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The Osmonds, A New Musical at Churchill Theatre, Bromley

This ‘juke box’ musical offers highly polished, undemanding, feel-good entertainment, showcasing, as it does, 35 songs dating from the 1960s to the 2000s in superbly choreographed (Bill Deamer) copies of the originals: the predominantly female audience at Bromley were clearly entranced by the show from the opening number.

LtoR Tom Walsh, Alfie Murray, Alfie Jones, Jack Jones in The Osmonds A New Musical, credit Pamela Raith.
LtoR Tom Walsh, Alfie Murray, Alfie Jones, Jack Jones in The Osmonds A New Musical, credit Pamela Raith.

The Osmonds, A New Musical purports to be the true story of the highly successful American family singing group from the point of view of Jay Osmond, so it may be slightly biased?

We are shown an example of the earliest performances using young actors: at the performance I saw, these were Alfie Murray (Merrill), Jack Jones (Alan), Tom Walsh (Jay), Alfie Jones (Wayne), Osian Salter (Donny) and Fraser Fowkes (Jimmy), all of whom acquitted themselves superbly, both in their singing and dancing. However, they were soon replaced by Alex Lodge as Jay, who has the most to do as he tells his version of the progress of the family over the space of forty years or so. As with the other Osmonds, he has been well cast to look, sing, dance and speak like Jay himself, aided by some terrific wigs (Sam Cox) and costumes (Lucy Osborne – also responsible for the all-purpose, multi-level set).

Jamie Chatterton (Alan) again looks and sounds the part, as do Danny Nattrass (Wayne), Georgia Lennon (Marie), Tristan Whincup (Jimmy), Ryan Anderson (Merrill) and, especially, Joseph Peacock (Donny) – clearly the favourite of the members of the audience in the front row!

Parents George and Olive are given rather two-dimensional roles, but in the hands of Charlie Allen and Nicola Bryan are very believable, especially whenever George instils army discipline into his children!

In secondary roles, Alex Cardall is very impressive as Andy Williams, who gave the Osmonds their first ‘break’, and sings ‘Music to Watch Girls By’ with typical Williams’ style.

The script is by director Shaun Kerrison and music supervisor Julian Bigg. They have clearly had difficulties as the Osmond family had few major disagreements so there is little dramatic tension in the telling of the story, except towards the end of Act Two, but one device they use cleverly is to have a working-class girl from Manchester (Wendy – superbly played by Katy Hards) writing to Jay Osmond at different times over the years, and gradually ageing.

For a touring show, the production values are very high – I quickly lost count of the number of costume changes each member of the 23 onstage cast has! Many of the songs are accompanied by a highly-skilled band directed by Will Joy, whilst others are performed to backing tracks in order to successfully achieve the period sound and style needed.

Lighting is by Ben Cracknell, with a reliance on follow spot operators who seemed to need a tad more rehearsal, as too often faces were left in darkness at the beginning of a number. Sound Design, by Dan Samson, occasionally allowed the voices to be swamped by the band which was a shame, but, to be frank, these are small gripes compared to the professionalism of the whole show. Many senior – and less senior – members of the audience obviously believed by the end of the 165 minute running time that they were actually seeing and hearing the real Osmonds on stage – belief had been totally suspended, and that is what theatre is all about!

The tour continues until early December, including ATG Theatres at Wimbledon (w/c 23 August) and Brighton (w/c 27 September). Highly enjoyable – highly recommended!

4 stars

The Osmonds have sold over 100 million records worldwide and won 59 Gold & Platinum awards, and now Jay Osmond pulls back the curtain to reveal the real family behind all these hits: parents George and Olive Osmond and their nine children, Virl, Tom, Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny, Marie and Jimmy.

The Osmonds: A New Musical has a story by Jay Osmond and book by Julian Bigg and Shaun Kerrison, and will be directed by Shaun Kerrison, with choreography and musical staging by Bill Deamer, set & costume design by Lucy Osborne, musical supervision and arrangements by Julian Bigg and Rich Morris, wigs, hair and make-up design by Sam Cox, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Dan Samson and with Will Burton CDG as casting director.

The World Premiere of The Osmonds: A New Musical is produced by ROYO in partnership with Twins Entertainment, with Vicky Nojesproduktion, Krall Entertainment, Aria Entertainment and Guy James Theatrical.

2022 Tour Schedule

Tue 26 – Sat 30 April BROMLEY Churchill Theatre 020 3285 6000
churchilltheatre.co.uk

Tue 3 – Sat 7 May NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate 01604 624811
www.royalandderngate.co.uk

Tue 16 – Sat 22 May CANTERBURY Marlowe 01227 787787
marlowetheatre.com

Tue 26 – Sat 30 Jul SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion 0343 310 0030
thecliffspavilion.co.uk

Tue 2 – Sat 6 August
YORK Grand Opera House 0844 871 7615

Tue 9 – Sat 13 August
MANCHESTER Palace Theatre 0844 871 7615

Tue 23 – Sat 27 August
LONDON New Wimbledon Theatre 0844 871 7615

Tue 30 Aug – Sat 3 Sept
TORQUAY Princess Theatre 0844 871 7615

Tue 6 – Sat 10 September
LIVERPOOL Empire 0844 871 7615

Tue 13 – Sat 17 September
SUNDERLAND Empire 0844 871 7615

Tue 20 – Sat 24 September
EDINBURGH Festival Theatre 0131 529 6000
capitaltheatres.com

Tue 27 Sept – 1 Oct BRIGHTON
Theatre Royal Brighton 0844 871 7615

Tue 4 – Sat 8 October CARDIFF New Theatre 0343 310 0041
newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

Tue 11 – Sat 15 October HIGH WYCOMBE Swan Theatre 03433100060
wycombeswan.co.uk

Tue 18 – Sat 22 October HULL New Theatre 01482 300 306
hulltheatres.co.uk

Tue 25 – Sat 29 October
BIRMINGHAM The Alexandra 0844 871 7615

Tue 1 – Sat 5 November ABERDEEN His Majesty’s Theatre 01224 641122
aberdeenperformingarts.com

Tue 8 – Sat 12 November SOUTHAMPTON Mayflower Theatre 02380 711811
mayflower.org.uk

Tue 15 – Sat 19 November DARTFORD The Orchard Theatre 01322 220000
orchardtheatre.co.uk

Tue 22 – Sat 26 November BRADFORD Alhambra Theatre 01274 432000
bradford-theatres.co.uk

Tue 29 Nov – Sat 3 Dec LLANDUDNO Venue Cymru 01492 872000
venuecymru.co.uk

*Subject to booking / transaction fees

Further dates to be added.

Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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