This new musical is based on the beloved novel by Sue Townsend is now playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory – but what have critics been saying about it?
Set in 1980s Leicester, we follow the daily dramas and misadventures of Adrian’s adolescent life. With dysfunctional parents, ungrateful elders, a growing debt to school bully Barry Kent and an unruly pimple on his chin, life is hard for a misunderstood intellectual who is only 13 3/4… To top it off, when new girl Pandora joins the class and captures his heart, his best friend Nigel steals hers. Can Adrian win her love and escape from his chaotic family life?
WhatsOnStage: ***** ” an entertainment-focused spectacle with smart jokes and even better songs.”
The Telegraph: **** “A show for all ages, really, but particularly all 13 and three quarter-year-olds.”
London Theatre.co.uk: **** “This is a fresh, feel-good musical that will leave you with a smile on your face.”
The Stage: **** “a joyous British musical comedy that feels funny, poignant and – despite being set in the 1980s – remarkably fresh.”
The Guardian: **** “Luke Sheppard’s production is swift, lively and makes good use of an ensemble in which the adults turn, in a second, into blazered or gym-slipped schoolkids.”
A Younger Theatre: “Catch this iteration for the excellent cast and crisp production.”
The Independent: ***** “This endearing and thoroughly enjoyable show should not be missed.”
The Times: **** “Benjamin Lewis and Asha Banks give stellar performances.”
Time Out: **** “In a desperate year for the British musical it’s a ray of giddy sunshine – book now so you can smugly say you caught it before the West End transfer.”
The FT: *** “Crucially, although the musical accompaniment is lively, there isn’t a single song that lingers in the memory, and the production seems awkwardly pitched between child and adult registers.”
Evening Standard: ***** “Luke Sheppard’s production fizzes with pep and verve.”
West End Wilma: ***** “It’s not often that a musical grabs your attention from the very first few seconds but I was instantly drawn in and have never laughed so much in my life. ”
Broadway World: *** “this is a lovingly crafted, homegrown piece, and a good outing for theatregoers transitioning from family shows to more mature fare.”
Musical Theatre Review: ***** “Adrian Mole is the perfect family choice, but also one that will touch anyone who’s been through puberty.”
London Box Office: ***** “Under Luke Sheppard’s assured, witty and fast moving direction it’s all about having a great evening.”
Culture Whisper: **** “As an adult it’s impossible to watch without a flush of nostalgia. And for today’s teens – with all their spot-fading Instagram filters, and social media sharing – this heart-warming tale of growing up will still amuse and enlighten.”
There Ought to Be Clowns: “Luke Sheppard’s production certainly benefits from the intimacy of the South London venue but where it now excels is in its emotional intensity.”
British Theatre Guide: “Director Luke Sheppard has worked very hard to ensure that a script which is adequate rather than sensational comes across with maximum impact, inventively creating many additional comic moments with the assistance of a cast in which all four of the youngsters are far from embarrassed by comparison with their much more experienced colleagues.”
London Theatre1: **** “Acting, singing, dancing, even bringing life to a puppet dog, there seems to be no end to the talented youngsters’ skills.”
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole The Musical continues to play at the Menier Chocolate Factory until the 9th September. To book tickets visit: Discount Theatre.com, Love Theatre.com, Theatre People.com and UK Tickets.co.uk.