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Review: Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre, London)

Thursday, 1st Mar 2018  

Review of Dreamgirls - Savoy Theatre

A trip to London’s most famous (and first luxury) hotel is a worthwhile experience in itself. The Savoy hotel was actually built in 1889 after the theatre (and partly because of the theatre) in 1880. It is a symbol of class and luxury recognised the world over with excellent dining, beautiful accommodation and excellent hospitality.

So, if you have a show in the Savoy Theatre, it had better live up to the standards of one of the worlds most famous hotels! Dreamgirls does just that.  The production dominated the 2017 Olivier Awards and it’s not hard to see why.

The first act is a story we have all seen before (if not in the Academy award winning film Dreamgirls, anyone who knows about Diana Ross and the Supremes will see the similarities with this story –Effie (played by on the night by Karen Mav when I saw the show – there are three actresses who share the role and you’ll understand why when you see it!) Deena (Brennyn Lark) and Lorrell (Asneret Ghebremichael) are three friends who form a music trio called the Dreamettes to compete at a talent show where manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Joe Aaron Reid) sees their potential and offers them the a huge opportunity - to be backup singers for national star Jimmy Early (Tosh Wanogho-Maud).

Taylor manages to manipulate his way into the driving seat as manager of the group and turning them into a Super-group in their own right. He then manipulates the girls themselves to get what he wants and who he wants – driving a wedge between them, which makes them turn against each other, splitting the group and destroying their friendships.

The first half is set up all the way. The rise to the top and the group imploding is a story we have seen many times in life and fiction. This is done as well in Dreamgirls as any musical. What happens in the second half is what elevates it above most show of its kind (the song ‘Listen’ is worth the price of admission alone).  The music and performances are outstanding and the resolution is both spectacular and satisfying. There is no way to give this show anything less than your all and this cast will blow you away.

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