If you read the Jackie magazine as a teenager in the 70s, this is the show for you. In essence it is a love story complete with the need to turn to an agony aunt for answers. Add to that a selection of 70s music and you have a fun filled evening.
Jackie, the soon to be divorced 50 something woman, is sorting through her attic in preparation for the move out of the marital home. She finds a box of old Jackie magazines and starts to flick through them. Her alter ego appears in the form of her teenage self, full of excitement and wonder at what her life will hold, the young Jackie stays around offering advice straight from the pages of the magazine while the other Jackie, with the encouragement of her best friend and the local bar tender, tries to find love again. Does she find that love? Will her sons unrequited love be returned?
With a nifty bit of hairdressing and mirroring movements it is very clear from the start that Daisy Steere is the young Jackie to Janet Dibley’s current day Jackie. The dynamic between the two Jackie’s is an interesting one, it is one of balance, neither is the boss, they are equals, not the more experienced looking down on the naivety and youth of the other. Steere oozed with teenage exuberance and optimism. There were many stand out moments in the show, Frankie (Bob Harms) and David (Michael Hamway) both took centre stage with powerful voices for a song or two, to tell you which ones will spoil the story. The dancing was intricate, energetic and snappy, it was hard to know where to look at times with the dancers all giving extremely polished performances. While the main set was static there were moving parts that transformed it for each scene, the lighting adding to this to fantastic effect.
I have never heard a reaction from the audience like the one I heard tonight when a plot twist revealed itself, the penny dropping was audible as it swept around the theatre. This to me showed how engaged the audience were, although that wasn't in any doubt. Almost every song had the audience singing along and swaying in their seats, when it came to the end and the obligatory musical medley curtain call, the whole theatre was on its feet dancing, clapping and singing. There were many knowing laughs too, the script was perfectly tuned to ladies of a certain age while still triggering laughs from other members of the audience.
Jackie the Musical is a jukebox musical; using songs from an era that many are nostalgic about, this is very likely to make it a hit as it tours around the country. Grab a group of friends and go along for a fabulous fun night out.
Jackie runs at Belgrade Theatre until 19 March.
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