Review Round Up: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 the Musical, Ambassadors Theatre

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Luke Shepphard’s production based on Sue Townsend’s beloved book.

(c) Pamela Raith.

Time Out: *** “However much the musical makes clunky on-the-nose references to Greer-era feminism, it ends up feeling oddly Victorian in its values. And no one finds that charming.” **** “Indeed the joy here is that everyone is gloriously flawed. Adrian’s clueless pretentions to intellectualism are speared in his terrible poetry, and tub-thumping proto-feminist/millennial Pandora shelves her social conscience to whizz off on her pony. Hats off to the child performers who work every bit as hard as the adults – on our night Rufus Kampa made an endearing Adrian and Rebecca Nardin an insufferably feisty Pandora.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “there’s no doubting the commitment and panache of Luke Sheppard’s direction and Rebecca Howell’s choreography which fill Tom Roger’s slickly changing set with life and action.”

London *** “The score is predominately dialogue-driven, and there are probably a song or two that needn’t be included., however, the show does culminate in a masterful nativity scene, placenta n’ all.”

British **** “It’s a show that’s a little patchy- there’s a dream sequence that borders on outstaying its welcome, and the characterisation is hugely broad, poignancy is not mined for effect. But Adrian’s alternative Nativity is a hoot and hilarious, and the show may be cheesy but its heart is in the right place, with bags of charm that had me laughing out loud throughout.”

The Stage: *** “It’s all very polished: fine as a family-friendly, summer-holiday show, but disappointing for devoted fans of the fiction.”

Evening Standard: **** “Luke Sheppard’s fast-moving production is deliberately a little rough around the edges, and the design by Tom Rogers is almost too densely crammed with period detail. But while this is at times a noisily unsubtle show, its defining quality is a warm and joyful energy.”

A Younger Theatre: **** “While the songs, while they do drive the narrative, may not be that memorable, there are a few highlights like the rebellious anthem ‘Take a Stand’ and the hilarious ‘The Nativity’. The energy, however, and the ridiculousness is through the roof, and that is what makes this musical special: it’s funny (very funny), it’s touching and it’s over the top.”

West End Wilma: ***** “With an infectious score and a script as sidesplittingly outrageous as the original novel, this joyous production of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ – The Musical is nostalgic and heart-warming. The perfect summer holiday musical for the whole family!”

Rewrite This Story: **** “It’s definitely a must-see for families this summer and is sure to delight throughout its run.”

Broadway World: **** “This is a show that will of course appeal to those who grew up reading Adrian Mole (or watching the TV series), as well as 1980s enthusiasts. But the broad themes are universally relevant, ensuring that the show can also be enjoyed by those with no previous Mole knowledge, young and older alike.”

The Telegraph: **** “The opening diary entry set down by Adrian Mole on January 1, 1981 itemises eight New Year’s resolutions, passes scathing comment on the previous night (“My father got the dog drunk on cherry brandy … If the RSPCA hear about it he could get done”) and notices, in cheery horror, an unwelcome spot on the author’s chin: “Just my luck.””

Theatre Bubble: ***** “What a life-affirming, toe-tapping, heart-rending, spine-tingling celebration of a musical this is! From the opening scene (New Year’s Eve 1981, of course) to the closing one (New Year’s Eve 1983) this theatrical adaptation of Sue Townsend’s much loved novel, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the Musical doesn’t miss a beat.”

British Theatre Guide: “Luke Sheppard’s production is fast-paced with some clever staging and excellent choreography from Rebecca Howell. Doing justice to such a well-loved classic text is no mean feat, but Brunger and Cleary’s score does exactly that.”

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾- The Musical will play at the Ambassadors Theatre from the 15th June until the 12th October. To book tickets visit: See Tickets or ATG Tickets.

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