Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Jackie The Musical

King's Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

There aren't many magazines that could be transformed into a jukebox musical. But then, few publications have the lingering iconic status of Jackie, the teenage girl bible born in Dundee, and which changed lives along with hair-styles, hem-lines, hearts and minds. A couple of decades after Cathy and Claire advised their last and the magazine's not quite glossy pages finally folded, Jackie appears to have come of age. Or at least their readers have if the pink fizz sipping audience lapping up every moment of a show that began at the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee before being picked up like a small town hot date and given a make-over for its current tour are anything to go by.

The story focuses on Janet Dibley's fifty-something Jackie (natch), who, after being dumped by her husband of twenty years for a younger model is attempting to get back into the dating game. With her younger self escaping from her psyche to advise her and a box of old Jackie mags providing inspiration for her teenage son, what emerges from Mike James' script in Anna Linstrum's production is a cartoon-strip style part rom-com part sit-com. At times this resembles Tell Me on A Sunday rewritten for the teeny-bopper generation.

With each scene punctuated by a series of 1970s smash hits, Arlene Phillips' choreography is performed with an expressive gusto by a bright-eyed retro-clad ensemble who never take themselves too seriously in the literalism of shapes that probably haven't been thrown since Pan's People last shook a leg. As mid-life crisis turns to emancipation, the unadulterated glee that emanates throughout is life-affirming in every way.

The Herald, April 14th 2016

ends

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