jackie top

Janet Dibley as Jackie with dancers from the lively cast. Pictures: Janet Raith Photography

Jackie the Musical

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry


WE didn’t know what to expect when we turned up to this new musical written by Mike James and directed by Anna Linstrum.

How could anyone make a musical about a teenage girls’ magazine of the 60s and 70s? We joined the large audience of ‘women of a certain age’ along with a spattering of men and twenty something’s.

What we saw can only be described with the proverbial F word!  FAB! FAB! FAB!

The open leaves of the popular periodical framed the set in neon splendour complete with speech bubbles.

Jackie, beautifully portrayed by Janet Dibley, is a 54 year old, soon to be divorcee who seeks advice once more from the pages of her rediscovered collection of Jackie mags. 

Young Jackie (Daisy Steere) pops up to give her older self a reminder of lost youth, whilst offering tips on makeup, fashion and how to mend a broken heart.

Jackie’s 19 year old son and budding musician David (Michael Hamway), is on hand to make tea and toast, whilst blogging about his unrequited love.  Hamway not only provides the eye candy in this production but also the strongest singing voice and perfect characterisation.

A strong cast, with no weak links include Lori Hayley Fox as best friend Jill, Graham Bickley as ex husband John, Nicholas Bailey as Jackie’s love interest Max, Tricia Adele-Turner as John’s yoga loving fiancée and Bob Harms who gives his all as bartender Frankie.

The choreography by Arlene Phillips, reminiscent of Pans People, was delivered with flair precision and bucket loads of energy.  It also provided the effortless set changes which kept the pace fast and seamless.  Totally on point guys and gals!

Costuming  (Jim Shortall) was an accurate and happy walk down fashion memory lane with cool tank tops, hot pants, platform shoes and carpet sweeping flares, straight from the cover of Jackie. Man, that gear was groovy.

The quizzes, the fashion tips and the Cathy and Claire problem page are featured in this fun, vibrant, energetic, glitter ball of a musical.  The favourite hits of the time are belted out by the cast and ensemble, supported by the superb on stage band. These include Tiger Feet, I Love to Boogie, Sad Sweet Dreamer, Crazy Horses, Hold Me Close, 20th Century boy and Puppy Love to name but a few. This was sing along heaven!  Yes, we all knew the lyrics, and we were happy to join in with the cast for the rousing finale.

Love, life, humour, relationship issues and Marmite.  It's all served up by the strong cast in this full on production which is guaranteed to deliver a huge helping of feel good escapism. To 19-03-16

Rosemary Manjunath /Elizabeth Smith



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