Jackie! The Musical

The atmosphere on New Road was buzzing. Groups of ladies giggled over glasses of white wine in the Theatre Bar. Friends and family waited excitedly in line to get their tickets from the box office, and smiling down at us were blown up covers of old Jackie magazines.

Fantastically produced and fantastically performed, Jackie! The Musical is quite simply a must-see and cannot be praised highly enough.

Jackie! The Musical is based on the popular girl’s magazine Jackie, launched in 1964 and reigning over young teen’s love lives, makeup problems and wardrobe dilemmas for a tremendous 30 years. Want to know if he loves you? Need to know what lipstick not to wear? Look no further. I have no doubt that girls from the Jackie generation remember flicking through their favourite magazine as if it was their bible, and if that was you, you’d certainly enjoy this musical.

Jackie! The Musical opened with a wonderful five-piece band playing a 70’s classic, bathed in bright pink and purple lighting that illuminated the stage and its sparkling disco ball on the upper-tier of the set.The crowd enthusiastically clapped and cheered as we are introduced to the titular Jackie, a woman of ‘a certain age’ (Janet Dibley). Her hilarious and charismatic performance as a fifty-something woman, soon to be divorced and relentlessly encouraged by her outrageous best friend Jill (Lori Haley Fox) to get back into the world of dating marks this as a truly wonderful and entertaining evening of theatre.

Whilst packing her old life into boxes, Jackie comes across her collection of magazines, which conjure up her fresh faced teenage-self (Daisy Steece). Together they negotiate her old relationship with husband John (Graham Bickley) who is attempting to complete a bucket list with his new thirty-something lover, and Jackie’s new, charming date Max (Nicholas Bailey). Joined by the multi-talented ensemble who dance and sing their way across the fabulous stage in mixtures of 70’s and modern day costume all designed by Jim Shortall, the stage is rife with talent.

The show benefits from an enthusiastic and gifted cast thanks to Casting Director Debbie O’Brien, directed perfectly by Anna Linstrum and choreographed by showbiz legend Arlene Phillips. There is no wonder the show gives you the ultimate feeling of girl-power, jam packed with ultimate sing along tracks such as 20th Century Boy, Puppy Love and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

Even the gentleman in the audience were seen cheering and laughing when Jackie’s teenage love-struck and endearing son David (Michael Hamway) and his fellow band member Keith (Sam O’Hanlon) attempt to create an album based on the love stories they read in old copies of Jackie magazine. The clever use of these characters that appeal to both the male teenage experience and the younger members of the audience gives credit to the fantastic writing by Mike James.

Fantastically produced and fantastically performed, Jackie! The Musical is quite simply a must-see and cannot be praised highly enough. The performance received a standing ovation, myself included, as we clapped and sang along to I Can See Clearly Now for the shows finale. Take your mothers, take your daughters, and you know what, take your husbands to this perfect, feel-good show that everyone will enjoy.

Reviews by Bronte Nicoll

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The Blurb

Do you remember when there were no mobile phones, no apps, no texting, no e-mails and no twitter? When your only contact with other angst ridden teenage girls was through the pages of Jackie magazine, which every Thursday morning you read with bated breath (unless your big sister had grabbed it first!)

In Jackie The Musical we revisit those heady days of forty years ago, and tell the story of a recent divorcée, who seeks advice once more from the pages of her old Jackie annuals on ‘how to get a boyfriend’.

The quizzes, the fashion tips, the ‘do’s and don’ts on a first date’ and above all the ‘Cathy ‘n’ Claire’ problem pages are all devoured eagerly by our fifty-something heroine as she re-engages with the dizzy world of romance!

And to recapture the spirit of those early years, her journey is accompanied by a pulsating sound track of hits from the seventies – played live on stage – guaranteed to unleash a tidal wave of nostalgia over the entire proceedings.

Thrill once more to the unmistakable sounds of Donny Osmond, David Cassidy and Marc Bolan and many others as we take a whirlwind tour of Planet Seventies in Jackie The Musical.

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