Book and lyrics: Tom Eyen
Director: Michael Bennett
Set in the turbulent 1960s – a famously revolutionary time for the American music industry – Dreamgirls follows three friends, Effie, Lorrell and Deena as they follow their star-spangled ambitions and attempt to become the world’s next biggest girl group.
Led by a relentless talent manager, Curtis Taylor Jr. (Dom Hartley-Harris), and starting out – somewhat reluctantly – as backing singers for soul sensation Jimmy Early (Brandon Lee Sears), the girls’ rollercoaster ride through fame, fortune, and friendship is charted over the course of many years.
Featuring some classic, big-hitting songs (And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going and Listen are particular crowd-pleasers), sparklingly dynamic choreography and a plot with lots of twists and turns, the West End production of Dreamgirls is a huge hit in Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre.
With a cast of this calibre, it almost goes without saying that the vocal performances are second-to-none. As Effie, the lead singer of the Dreams’ girl group, Nicole Raquel Dennis delivers some spine-tingling performances, with a voice that transcends the stage. Deena (Natalie Kassanga) and Lorrell (Paige Peddie) are both powerhouses in their own right, and as Effie’s brother, CC, Shem Omari James adds real emotion to the songs’ performances.
The choreography is an absolute showstopper – with breathtakingly gymnastic routines backing up almost every musical number – and the ensemble carry it out flawlessly.
Aside from the brilliant execution and lively performance, the plot of Dreamgirls itself is something special. More involved than lots of musicals, with different layers to unpick – covering a huge amount of ground (and several important periods of history) – the story is a genuinely inspiring one to witness. Don’t miss it.
Runs until 30 April 2022