Reviewed by Joanna Woodburn
The fabulous hit West End show, Dreamgirls, is currently on tour and playing at the New Theatre in Oxford. Clearly inspired by the story of Diana Ross and the legendary Supremes, the musical tells the story of the girl group the Dreams, who dream of showbiz by name and by nature! Full of sparkly sequins, swish and megawatt smiles, the show is full of charming entertainment for all generations!
Any night out at The New Theatre, Oxford is guaranteed to be a treat. On arrival we made our way downstairs to the intimate and pleasant Piano Bar and enjoyed the talents of the wonderful pianist while enjoying pre dinner drinks. This was a great start to our evening and we were well looked after from start to finish! The New Theatre is well positioned in the centre of the historic city, close to the main bus station and a short walk from the train station. The New Theatre has an expansive auditorium, with comfortable seats with ample leg room and is completely access friendly.
Dreamgirls takes you through all the highs and lows of the entertainment rollercoaster as the girls make their way to stardom. The belting numbers, tight choreography and remarkable talent on stage are a winning combination.
Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, the musical follows the familiar journey of the naïve and charming trio who become rather cynical and jaded on their way to showbiz stardom. A tightknit group at the start, their friendship and trust in each other is broken when their talented lead singer, Effie (Nicole Raquel Lewis) is sadly sidelined for the prettier, more commercially appealing Deena (Natalie Kassanga). It is a story as relevant today as ever.
With great energy and pace, the songs and slick routines keep on coming, propelling the story forward as well as giving moments for the audience to just kick back and enjoy. All of this is perfectly performed with the backdrop of Nick Hatley’s spot on incredible sets as well as glamorous hair and make-up and costumes galore – which improve dramatically in correlation to the group’s rise to fame!
The very talented cast give convincing, fully committed performances. Nicole Raquel Lewis as Effie gives an outstanding, gutsy performance. Her voice is effortlessly note perfect and the standing ovation at the end of the first half with the show stealer ‘And I am telling you I’m not going’ was truly deserved. Natalie Kassanga is brilliant as Deena – I loved her sassy disco numbers in particular! The rest of the cast were stunning, effortlessly belting out perfect vocals and harmonies whilst energetically dancing perfectly in synch – just wow!
With so many genres of music, this is a show which will appeal to all – there is so much to enjoy.
Dreamgirls is an amazing, inspiring show with a song for all – as we left the theatre I heard a young girl next to me say ‘I’m just buzzing now, really buzzing’ and that just sums it up!
Tickets cost from £13 plus £3.65 transaction fee
Dreamgirls is at The New Theatre, Oxford from Tuesday 27th September – Saturday 1st October, for more information or to book tickets visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dreamgirls/new-theatre-oxford/
24-26 George St, Oxford OX1 2AG, UK