REVIEW: I Dreamed A Dream – The Susan Boyle Musical, Empire Theatre 17/04/12

Global singing sensation Susan Boyle’s life story has been brought to the stage in a musical charting her meteoric rise from obscurity to international stardom. The Liverpool leg of the I Dreamed A Dream tour stopped off at the Empire Theatre this week and our reviewer Rachel Donohoe was there.

I couldn’t say that I’m a Susan Boyle fan in terms of her music, although I can appreciate her talent. Susan’s not someone that you could find on my iPod but I do find the whole ‘SuBo’ phenomena quite fascinating, her international rise to fame from appearing on Britain’s Got Talent to going viral on YouTube becoming a household name in a matter of days.

Her fairy-tale story was tinged with sadness from birth, her parents were told not to expect too much from Susan who was starved of oxygen to the brain upon entering the world. She was bullied at school and only briefly experienced love once, till her father chased the boy away. Her parent’s death had a massive impact on her as well as dealing with cruel jibes from the hounding press when she became famous. However the musical although touching on this sadness with a real sincerity also made me laugh.

Elaine C Smith who I remember as ‘Mary hen’, the long suffering wife as Rab C Nesbitt, stars as Susan and mixes comedy with melancholy quite exceptionally. Elaine plays Susan remarkably well and I must admit did look very similar to the ‘glam’ 51 year old Susan we’re more familiar with now. A gasp went up as my mum and some other ladies realised they were actually older than Susan. Don’t worry mum you don’t look it. She’ll kill me for sharing that!

Elaine can really sing well and with the supporting cast of 11 actors and  a seven-piece band the musical varies from operatic to popular music including sixties songs from Patsy Cline and The Carpenters.

The stage was set with an unusual backdrop of retro TVs piled on top of each other which would change frequently to suit what was happening on stage but also enforces the Britain’s Got Talent bubble.

After we’ve heard Susan’s story the lady herself takes centre stage in a sparkly red dress and performs I Dreamed a Dream and Who I Was Born To Be for the finale which had everyone standing.

As we left the Empire there was a throng of SuBo fans outside the backstage entrance waiting to catch a glimpse of their heroine. They were still there a quarter of an hour later when we ran back realising I had left my purse (my new favourite thing to do – loose things I’m a natural at it!) and fortunately a kind usher went and found it for me.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience. If you’re a fan it’s a must see and if not, it gives an interesting look into a very unusual woman’s life.

I DREAMED A DREAM runs at the Liverpool Empire until Sat 21st April 2012 – BUY TICKETS

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.