The first UK tour of Dreamgirls was due to kick off in 2020, but with that being the year that everything was cancelled, it eventually got started in Liverpool in December 2021. Its second stop was Bristol and I certainly wasn’t missing seeing it in my hometown. I drove an embarrassing distance to see this show and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
The main character of Effie White has become one of the most prestigious, sought-after roles in the theatre industry, and the casting for this show is exquisite. Meet Effie (Nicole Raquel Dennis), Deena (Natalie Kassanga) and Lorrell (Paige Peddie) who make up The Dreamettes. We follow the three girls as they navigate sly agents, useless men, tricky friendships and the toxicity of racism and showbiz in the 1960s.
Each ‘Dreamette’ shines and are strongly supported by the rest of the cast including Dom Hartley-Harris, who does an excellent job as the bad guy role of the underhanded agent Curtis Taylor JR. and Brandon Lee Sears whose comedic timing and physics-defying dance moves bring laughter and lightheartedness to the show.
The plot is nothing to write home about but never fear, this isn’t a show you watch for the story. It’s the incredible songs and literally breath-taking vocal performances that keep the audiences coming back again and again. Dennis’ rendition of And I am telling you I’m not going brought the audience to their feet and I’m sure a lump to many a throat. Her visceral performance made Effie’s pain almost tangible and it’s one that will stay with me for a long time.
Powerful ballads come in abundance with iconic numbers such as Listen causing a considerable buzz among the auditorium. One Night Only and Dreamgirls are also deserving of a mention. The dialogue and ensemble performances are equally as powerful but the solo and duet numbers are the real stars of the show.
If you want to shake your head in disbelief at what you're hearing and feel goosebumps with every note, then look no further than Dreamgirls. The show, which has come straight from the West End, is set to tour for 2022 and 2023 so there is every chance to grab a ticket for a night of empowering glitz and glam.