★★★★ | ‘Adrian Mole The Musical is jam-packed with songs and laughs, suitable for adults and children alike’
Where: The Ambassadors Theatre
Review date: Wednesday 3rd July 2019
About the Show:
Set in 1980s Leicester, this musical adaptation of Sue Townsend‘s best-selling book is a timeless tale of teenage angst, family struggles and unrequited love, told through the eyes of tortured poet and misunderstood intellectual Adrian Mole.
Encore rating factor
Standing Ovation: ★★★★
This fabulous new British musical triumphantly returns to London, after being created at the Leicester Curve and previously running at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Boasting book and lyrics by Jake Brunger, music and lyrics by Pippa Clearly and direction by Luke Sheppard; this toe-tapping musical fills the Ambassador Theatre.
Director Luke Sheppard has made great use of the space within the Ambassadors. Being one of London’s smaller venues, the dynamic set by Tom Rogers makes for swift scene changes, with set pieces coming in and out of cupboards and drawers.
Adrian Mole The Musical is relatable to all of us adults and is funny to those young audience members who don’t know what’s in store for them growing up. There are some real zany moments where you can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous the story is, but, I think we all need this kind of show in our lives.
The show hosts a small cast, that works as a complete ensemble from start to finish. Adults play children and vice versa, and this really adds a unique humour and dynamic to this production. Adrian Mole The Musical asks you to use your imagination and take it for what it is. In a brief thought, I came to the conclusion that Adrian Mole was like a combination of Matilda with a mild version of The Book of Mormon.
At this performance, the role of Adrian was played by Rufus Kampa. He commanded the entire story, with wit, energy and precise comic timing. Showing how an awkward teenager can be extremely lovable when they are pursuing romance and writing poetry to the BBC to get noticed.
The role of Pandora was played by the delightful Rebecca Nardin. A wonderous upcoming young talent. She takes the role of a posh private school child who enters state education, with great humour and throughout the show, Nardin develops a real likeability. Her partnership with Kampa as Rufus is very strong and they make a fantastic on-stage pairing.
In the adult company, Rosemary Ashe plays Adrian’s Grandma; her undeniable vocal skills soar at moments in this production. In act two, Ashe and Amy Ellen Richardson, who plays Pauline (Adrian’s mum), have a powerful duet which showcases both women’s vocals brilliantly.
John Hopkins plays Neighbour Mr Lucas and Headteacher Mr Scruton. You cannot help but be drawn in by him in every scene. The character differentiation Hopkins presents is a complete testament to his talents and skill.
The role of Miss Elf and Doreen Slater are played by Lara Denning. Denning is an extraordinary comic talent who has phenomenal vocals, often adding vocal riffs to her solos.
Overall Adrian Mole is guaranteed to please audiences. From start to finish this show is jam-packed with laughs suitable for adults and children alike. Full of songs that will go around in your head for days, the show can at times be a little off the wall, but, I believe that is where its charm lies.