I cannot sing the praises of this musical enough. Not knowing much about the show prior to seeing it, I was blown away by the goose bump-inducing musical talent and the powerful story the show offered.
This story follows, three, young, black girls on their journey to become the ‘The Dreams.’ The girls begin participating in a talent show as ‘The Dreamettes’, that changes their lives forever. Curtis Taylor (Joe Aaron Reid) a former used car salesman, sabotages the result of the show so he can take over as their manager. He renames them ‘The Dreams’ and replaces the feisty and extremely talented Effie White (Marisha Wallace) as both leader singer and lover with her backup singer, and childhood best friend, Deena Jones (Brennyn Lark). Curtis thinks she is more likely to appeal to a mixed audience and TV record buyers because she is prettier and has a softer sound. Curtis’ passion for the success of the ‘The Dreams’ is when the song ‘Cadillac car’ is ripped off by a white group, and their version makes it into the Top Forties, Curtis is, understandably, livid and is now even more determined to win even if it does involve some bribery.
The non-stop changes and fluid movement of the show capture the evolution of the group, as they become more successful in their career, they become more broken in their personal life through Curtis’ manipulation of his wife Deena, the now lead singer of ‘The Dreams.’ We only get a glimpse of the issues of each character, but this constant transition is key for the shows meaning. I loved the meta-theatrical element of the show, and how they demonstrated the difference between on stage and back stage. The performance within the performance would turn around, but continue performing in silence while the other characters would converse front of stage.
This powerful story, offers an incite into how black composers are forced to compromise themselves, artistically, in order to fit into the mainstream market. Also, the compromise of a friendship and sibling bond and the powerful black women that fight against the abusive man in their lives.
The songs in the show, have now become part of my everyday playlist. I definitely recommend ‘Dream Girls’ if you’re looking for a west end show to go and see.