Dreamgirls is one of my favourite musicals of all time, so you can imagine how excited I was when I had the chance to see it live last week. Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson were perfect in the 2006 film, and I was looking forward to watching Amber Riley (who won me over in Glee) as Effie.
So last Wednesday evening I headed to the Savoy Theatre with my mum. Despite the fact that the theatre was packed, we were lucky to get good seats that had a clear view of the stage. I don't think I saw any empty seats, which is not surprising - Londoners have been anticipating a West End performance of Dreamgirls for years.
Thirty-five years after it was first performed on Broadway, Dreamgirls has now finally hit the UK. The musical is directed by Casey Nicholaw and follows a singing trio from Chicago who go on to become hugely successful, despite being from a minority background. Dreamgirls was inspired by The Supremes, and the story is set during the 1960s. In the musical, the group's manager, Curtis Taylor Jr, makes background singer Deena the new lead, since she is considered more conventionally beautiful. This causes tension between the three women, and Effie is furious. The band ends up performing for nearly a decade without them.
As soon as the curtains opened, I knew I was in for a treat. I was impressed by the acting right from the start, and I loved the stunning sparkly costumes (which were sponsored by Swarovski). I'll admit I was slightly disappointed that Amber Riley didn't make an appearance, but her understudy Marisha Wallace was equally as talented. I also loved the actresses who played Deena (Liisi Lafontaine) and Lorrell (Ibinaba Jack). They all have such beautiful voice and put so much energy into each line and musical number. The same can be applied to Joe Aaron Reid, who played Curtis. He's such a strong and ambitious character.
In terms of music, the soundtrack is phenomenal. I absolutely loved this version of the iconic 'One Night Only', as well as 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' and 'Listen' (although some of the lyrics were different to that of the film). They are such memorable tunes that filled up the entire auditorium; it was a bit too loud at times, but that didn't really bother me.
Overall, I would highly recommend going to see Dreamgirls. It's a fascinating story that shows you shouldn't be afraid to chase after your dreams. Not only are the singing and costumes incredible, but the set is amazing too. It is so colourful and fits the era perfectly. I guarantee you'll be swept away by Nicholaw's lively and uplifting production.