Review Round Up: Little Miss Sunshine, Arcola Theatre

This musical adaptation of the 2006 film is playing at the Arcola Theatre before embarking on a UK tour.

WhatsOnStage: ** “It’s ironic that the production ends up mimicking the film – a faulty yet nostalgia-laden vehicle, pushed along through sheer determination by a stoic group trying its best.”

The Stage: ** “It’s a shame, then, that the material is so middling and repetitive. The characters express their feelings by saying “I feel” a lot, then they move on to the next scene.”

Broadway World: *** “The artistic director introduces a feel-good show about the misfortunes of an unusual family that, regrettably, remains very basic in its presentation.”

The Guardian: *** “It’s a perfectly likable show, but one that nibbles at the excesses of American capitalism without ever baring its fangs.”

London **** “Little Miss Sunshine is a show that wears its heart on its sleeve; every single character, apart from little Olive who seeks the beauty prize of the title role, is fundamentally flawed.”

A Younger Theatre: **** “Little Miss Sunshine is not perfect, but for a story that highlights the necessity and inevitability of failure and the subtle art of profanity, perfection, I suspect, was never the goal.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Still, if you want to appreciate the detail and generosity of the original film all over again, this is a good way to do that: Little Miss Sunshine serves as a reminder of how remarkable its source material really is. Maybe not every remarkable thing needs to be turned into something else.”

The Spy in the Stalls: ***** “Mehmet Ergen directs the show with a freshness and inventiveness that allows the versatile and talented cast to sparkle.”

The Times: ** “It’s supposed to be an 800-mile journey in a funky VW campervan: a box with some headlights on top and a bunch of cafeteria chairs with ambitions just doesn’t cut it.”

Time Out: *** “It’s a loud, in-your-face, show, and manages to punch well above its weight, but it doesn’t always provide the playfulness or energy it needs to, though the cast absolutely give it their all.”

British Theatre Guide: “William Finn’s songs complement the story but few will live long in the memory. The undoubted musical and dramatic highlight comes immediately after the interval with what should be plucky Olive’s theme song, “Nothing Gets in the Way”.”

Sardines Magazine: *** “Lead performers Laura Pitt-Pulford and Gabriel Vick play the warring parents, and pull off the difficult trick of making two tiresome people both interesting and at times engaging. Musically they are also at the heart of the production and cope well with the rather talky lyrics and tricky melodies of this score, beautifully played by Arlene McNaught’s band including Natalie Hancock on cello.”

Plays To See: *** “Overall, I would recommend seeing this show as it does, above all else, offer an evening of expertly executed entertainment and its ability to capture the reality of family will have you fondly comparing it to your own lovable (if not a little less than perfect) one.”

The Upcoming: *** “While Little Miss Sunshine, therefore, may demonstrate that not all movies make a good musical, it’s harmless when doing so, and director Mehmet Ergen’s production is the best it can get with the source material, being perfectly engaging and providing many with plenty of laughter and earworms.”

The Reviews Hub: *** ” A valiant attempt, but the musical doesn’t combine the characters’ real and fantasy world as well as its famous source material.”

Little Miss Sunshine continues to play at the Arcola Theatre until the 11th May.

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