REVIEW: JACKIE THE MUSICAL (Churchill Theatre Bromley)

Jackie The Musical celebrated in style at The Churchill Theatre at their gala press night on Wednesday 23rd March with a night full of colour, cheesy pop classics and a few renditions of ‘Tiger Feet’!

This musical is based upon the popular 1970’s magazine which was published from 1964 to 1993. At the height of it’s fame it was selling more than 600,000 copies every single week.

Jackie tells the story of Jackie played by Janet Dilby, a recent divorcee, who seeks comfort and advice from her old copies of her Jackie annuals. From fashion tips, the do’s and don’ts of dating and the ‘Cathy ’n’ Claire’ problem pages – Jackie finds herself back in the world of dating and romance and the modern day struggles that follow.

To help Jackie along in her quest for love, she is helped by her younger self, played by Daisy Steere, who gives her a helping hand, straight from the pages of the Jackie magazine, including advice on how to kiss a boy – “Deep breath, chin up and no tongues”.

There are many hit classics in the show including ‘Puppy Love’, ‘Crazy Horses’ and ‘Love Is In The Air’ which had many of the audience members singing along, enjoying a trip down memory lane.

Whilst Janet Dibley played Jackie well, her voice was not suited to this musical and at times it often felt strained. The sound during the show appeared to be too high and it often meant that the vocals couldn’t be heard during the ‘louder’ numbers.

There was great choreography throughout the entire evening and Arlene Phillips has done a fantastic job in choreographing plenty of big numbers with lots of energy and passion throughout . However I did find the choreography to ‘Love Is In The Air’ a little odd – lots of re-arranging of plastic trees around the stage. This felt out of place and this could have been choreographed a little more romantically, perhaps.

There was also use of speech bubbles which paid homage to the magazines photo stories ‘back in the day’ – but unless you were sat within the first 10 rows of the stalls, I would imagine this would be very hard to see and would lose it’s effect.

The staging for this musical was very simple and featured two sets of stairs and a platform at the rear of the stage. The set was quite underwhelming and dull, and this made the production look a little cheap. There was however good use of lighting (and disco balls) to provide a great atmosphere for the energetic dance numbers and songs.

Jackie The Musical is a trip down memory lane for many and it had the audience on it’s feet, with lots of whooping and whistles to finish the gala night in spectacular style. This is a musical you take as it comes and to enjoy being taken back in time for a few hours to reminisce on days gone by.

Reviewed by Sam Harler
Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

Jackie continues it’s UK tour until 30th July 2016.