Dreamgirls ★★★★★ New Wimbledon Theatre | May 9 - 14, 2022


Dreamgirls is a piercing look at the heart of the American music industry. Behind all the glamour and amazing songs, people are exploited, the public is manipulated and dreams are destroyed. Yet, it is also a story of black and female empowerment, the development of unforgettable music, an expression of sheer energy and total joy. The American Dream of success and celebrity is simultaneously exposed and exalted. In this latest production, all the despair and exuberance are wonderfully captured by a cast led by Nicole Raquel Dennis who manages to rise to the ranks of the great artists who have previously performed the role of Effie White, while also making the part her own. Her renditions of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Am Changing" deservedly brought down the house. Paige Peddie is both hilarious and moving as Lorrell Robinson whose dream is to find love, but who, in the end, when finally exhausted by the inconstancy of Brandon Lee Sears' Jimmy Early, finds her own voice instead. Sears absolutely nails it in his depiction of the R&B singer who finally couldn't fit the commercial mold, and Dom Hartley-Harris is suitably slick as Curtis Taylor, exposing the cruel realism that motivates his own dream and his own vulnerability. Natalie Kassanga does a fine job as his protégée, Deena Jones, and her rendering of "Listen," which was written for the movie version, was a definite highlight. Dreamgirls remains one of the best musicals ever written and this present production does it justice!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Matt Crockett.

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