Book: Mike James
Director: Anna Linstrum
Reviewer: Carol Lovatt
Women of a certain age will instantly recognise the term Jackie and feel an affinity with this musical. Jackie was the magazine of choice when growing up in the 1970s and was packed full of advice relating to style, love and most importantly, boys. Essentially it touched on issues which previous teen magazines did not such as menstruation, sex and pregnancy. This was in an era where the contraceptive pill had become freely available and although Jackie was targeted at young teens, it also aimed to educate, albeit in a somewhat light-hearted manner. The magazine also had quality writers including a very young Jacqueline Wilson of Tracy Beaker fame.
Now, 40 years later, we have Jackie the Musical and it is interesting to see how the magazine translates to the stage. To put it plainly, it does so with panache. Directed by Anna Linstrum, the show captures the essence of teenage angst and transports it to the more modern day anxiety of the menopausal woman. Whether a teenager or a woman in her prime, love, sex, confidence and fun all resonate as important issues to contend with and manage. Linstrum interweaves the past and the present fluidly with humour and style. The story of Jackie, a woman in her 50s, played with passion by Janet Dibley of EastEnders and The Two of Us fame, who is trying to deal with the seismic change of divorce and disappointment and who is looking back to the hip young thing she once was and wondering where it all went wrong, conjures up a narrative that many women will relate to. Luckily, with help from good friends and the young Jackie, played stunningly by Daisy Steere, a sure fired talent for the future, the older Jackie has a new awakening and a lot of fun navigating the course of new beginnings and new horizons.
Nicholas Bailey also of EastEnders gives a great performance as Jackie’s love interest Max and Michael Hamway is genuinely funny and talented as her son David. Another outstanding performance is given by Bob Harms as Frankie, the emotional and exuberant bistro owner.
Jackie is a musical which has a story to tell alongside a whole host of fantastic tunes to sing along to. The magazine in the 70’s was as much about pop stars as it was about teenage issues and the music of the day was in a class of its own. All the big hits including; Puppy Love, Crazy Horses, Hold Me Close, Love Is In The Air, I Love To Love, Tiger Feet, 20th Century Boy and I Beg Your Pardon are featured and they are all as memorable as they ever were and are truly hits that make you feel good. With exciting choreography by Arlene Phillips, this is a show for dancers to display some breath-taking moves, typical of the era, and for the audience to want to get up and boogie.
Fun and entertaining.
Runs until Sat 4th June 2016 | Image: Contributed