ALL it takes is a burst of music and an array of psychedelic lights and we’re back in the Seventies. Back when life revolved around listening to the Top 10 on a Sunday, flares, platforms... and the arrival of Jackie magazine.
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King’s Theatre, Leven Street
At The King’s this week, it’s a period viewed through the eyes of Jackie, as her 20-year marriage ends. In the role, Janet Dibley, familiar from EastEnders and The Two of Us, carries the years lightly.
The idea of an ‘agony aunt musical’ may not have obvious mileage, but the plot doesn’t linger on the break-up, rather it cements a slick script about hopes and changing emotions as Jackie and her younger self interact.
As the teenage Jackie, delightful Daisy Steere is a wise head on young shoulders, delivering wisdom gleaned from the pages of the magazine.
Against a sound track of the era the story unfolds. Every tune perfectly placed, the lyrics flood back.
It’s Strictly’s one-time judge Arlene Phillips who sets the moves and her experience of choreographing Pan’s People shows as she evokes scenes reminiscent of Top of the Pops - the first night audience are right up for it. They might be of a certain vintage, but what does that matter when the energy keeps pulsing from the stage.
Other memorable moments include a soulful rendition of Love Hurts from Jackie’s ‘ex’ John, played by Graham Bickley, best know as the second Joey from the BBC sitcom Bread; a hilarious yet strong rendition by Bob Harmes, as bar-owner Frankie, of Puppy Love, which improves on the original; and Michael Hamway as Jackie’s wannabe musician son. A high octane 20th Century Boy, he wins the eye-candy-of-the-night award and can do no wrong.
Just don’t be tempted to leave early, the 70s sing-along is the finale you have been waiting for. Flair with flares.
Run ends Saturday