Dreamgirls, 27/02/2018; a review.

On Tuesday 27th of February, I (finally) saw 'Dreamgirls' at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End. 

This show has been on since 2016, and is still doing astonishingly well. It's remarkable really, as the original production rocked Broadway 35 years ago; it seems audiences will always love Effie, Deena and Lorrell. 

The original book and lyrics is by Tome Eyen and the music by Henry Krieger; this London production is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. 

Set in America in the 1960s, Dreamgirls tells the story of a trio of young women singers called The Dreams. The musical follows the group’s stormy journey from their hometown of Chicago up the greasy pole of success and celebrity.

'Dreamgirls' London now boasts 3 different Effies; Moya Angela, Marisha Wallace and Karen Mav. On Tuesday 27th, we were treated to a night with Moya. And good grief, did she bring it! Her characterisation was spot on; the diva flouncing and pouting was hilarious, her outrage at being ousted was enormous, and h
er rendition of the explosive ballad (famously difficult and daunting for every musical professional who tackles it) 'And I Am Telling You' was truly magnificent. As she belted the line 'I'm not waking up tomorrow morning//And finding that there's nobody there' tears actually sprang unexpectedly in my eyes, and when the final line was fired and the lights faded on her face, the entire audience was already on its feet clapping and whooping. 

(Me and the incredible cast...sort of)

Effie is obviously a force to be reckoned with; both in the story and as a presence onstage. It must be easy in some productions for other characters to fade a little beside her, but that was definitely not the case in this one. We as an audience all adored superstars Deena and Lorrell, the precious C. C., and even cheesy sort-of-sleazy Jimmy, too. 

I often found myself struggling to squeeze in my applause, as the show was so smooth in its transitions and the musical numbers continued for several scenes, sometimes. Every actor had a stunning voice and range - I was shocked over and over at how easy it seemed to be for them to just tilt their heads back and let rip, blowing us all away every time they did so. Deena's voice in particular was crystal clear and lilted beautifully in places. Lorrell's was unmistakable too, and she very rightfully earned a massive wave of applause after that last scene she had with Jimmy. 

(source: dreamgirlswestend.com) 

The scenic design (by Tim Hatley) was astonishing; the amount of times I gasped as a glittering curtain fell was obscene. 

I also loved how the scenes would sometimes have two sides; they'd start with a band or soloist singing to us, then they'd swiftly turn to play to the back of the stage so we could see what was happening 'behind' them. Very clever, and worked a treat. It really felt as if we were glimpsing the inner workings of showwwbizzz. 

The costumes (designed by Gregg Barnes) were a treat throughout, and of course the costume changes were flawless. It was so fascinating to see the transitions and growth of the characters through their changes in wardrobe. Effie, for instance, started with cardigans and little pinafore dresses, wearing wigs that didn't flatter her very well - by the end she was in floor length glittering gowns and draping scarves, wearing her hair more naturally. Deena also made a noticeable transition from demure and dainty to smouldering and suggestive, as she was thrust into the spotlight by Curtis. 

It was extra special going to see this show last night, because we were actually meant to go as a family, the 4 of us, last year in May for little sis' birthday. But of course, I did the thing where I got ill and couldn't make it, and poor Mama had to look after me so just Dad and Sis went. So of course, I was delighted to have the opportunity to finally go, with Mama. And I can safely say, it was worth the year-long wait. 

You can book to see 'Dreamgirls' at the Savoy Theatre with From the Box Office NOW. Do it as soon as you can, not because it's going anywhere any time soon, but because you need to see it and experience the magic.

(Me and Mama, post-theatre and pre-nightcap)


  1. Oh I absolutely loved this! I saw it last summer and was blown away by how amazing it was. One of the best west-end shows I've seen, and one I'd love to see again! I'm glad you also enjoyed it! L x

    1. I loved it so much - I hope it stays in the West End for a very long time!


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