Book: Mike James
Director: Anna Linstrum
Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen
If you were a teenager in the 1970s, then Jackie the Musical is a production that will fill you with a sense of nostalgia and energy. In a pre-internet world, when iPhones, social media and 24 hour television were non-existent, it was Thursdays and the latest edition of Jackie (and Top of the Pops) that was on the top of every young girl’s priority list.
This is a show packed with cheesy dialogue and one that certainly cannot be taken too seriously. But if taken in the right vein, it has the Mamma Mia!effect of injecting you with the feel good factor and leaving you wanting to get on your feet to dance. It is by no means the strongest musical you are ever going to watch – the vocals at time need work and can sometimes be drowned out by the music, and the plot is barely Shakespeare – but it does have the ability to lift the audience’s spirit and transport them back in time.
It tells the story of a woman named *cue drum roll* Jackie (Janet Dibley), who after a failed marriage is preparing to leave the marital home with her son David (Michael Hamway). As she packs up her boxes filled with years of memories, she uncovers some of her most treasured teen possessions – her Jackie magazines. Here, the pages start to be brought to life and Jackie is reunited with her younger self, who is filled with plenty of advice from – you guessed it – Cathy and Claire.
Storylines including a regrettable rebound, a husband who has fallen for the younger model, and nights out with the crazy but loveable matchmaking best friend are interjected with lively performances of songs including What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, Love is in the Air and Enough is Enough. on a clever two-tiered stage. The renowned choreography of Arlene Phillips remains strong throughout, the ensemble never faltering with timing and placement.
Directed by Anna Linstrum, it is the comedic element of the production that is truly stand-out – with highlights coming from up-and coming star Daisy Steere as Young Jackie, Lori Haley Fox as Jill and Hamway as David. But to take the show up another level, a stronger contrast of emotion in numbers such as Love Hurts would leave a more profound impact.
If you are looking for a night with the girls, a chance to listen to and even join in with some 70s classics, and a good excuse to boogie, then look no further. It is not going to blow you away in terms of production values, but Jackie the Musical will certainly fill you with “puppy love” as you reminisce and reflect on days gone by…
Runs until Saturday 22 May 2016 | Image:Pamela Raith Photography