The Osmonds A New Musical is currently on its world premiere tour as it tells the story of the iconic band from the 70s through the eyes of Jay.
As the drummer in the group, he was able to witness all that was going on and his recollections make a magical trip down memory lane for the theatre goer. Although an excellent vehicle to showcase some mighty hits of yesteryear, there is more than enough in this production to raise it above the level of an ordinary juke box musical as the tale of the family’s rise and fall is told with honesty.
Jay takes us behind the saccharine sweet façade shown to television audiences when the boys first hit the screen as mere children. Their father George vigorously encouraged the children into show business using methods that would cause palpitations among modern-day parenting experts. This caused family tensions as the family grew with Alan not possessing the ability to meet the responsibilities placed on his shoulders as the oldest sibling and Merrill in particular suffering from having to put the family’s needs before his own. Later, the band members felt under-valued as they became little more than supporting artistes for Donny and Marie.
A disastrous business decision almost brought the family tumbling down but for once the Osmond creed of Faith, Family and Career proved a support rather than a millstone in the fight to preserve their heritage and reputation.
Alex Lodge as Jay puts in an excellent performance as he narrates the journey from the early days through to a reunion concert and – alongside Ryan Anderson (Merrill), Jamie Chatterton (Alan), Danny Nattrass (Wayne) and Joseph Peacock (Donny) – brings the band to life with dance routines and harmonies that are absolutely spot on.
Backed by the excellent vocals of Georgia Lennon as Marie and Tristan Whincup featuring as Jimmy this production is easy on both the eyes and ears. Peacock produced a show-stopping version of Puppy Love that had the audience swooning, an excellent rendition of Let Me In ends Act 1 and there is a superb finale that had the ecstatic audience on its feet.
Charlie Allen plays disciplinarian father George and Nicola Bryan his more sympathetic wife Olive with just the right touches of hard love and affection and there are some excellent pieces of interaction with the young actors who play the child versions of the Osmonds. Jack Jones, Alfie Jones, Alfie Murray, Tom Walsh, Osian Salter and Fraser Fowkes were a talented team that won the hearts of the audience and provided good dramatic opportunities as the adult cast members recalled their childhood memories. The ensemble also shows its versatility with good vocals and choreography alongside playing the minor roles
Director Shaun Kerrrison, Choreographer Bill Deamer, Designer Lucy Osborne and Musical Supervisor Julian Bigg have devised a production that for many watching was a delightful dollop of nostalgia. Wendy – the Number 1 fan (Katy Hards) – would have been truly satisfied. However, there were a fair number of younger audience members who were also smitten by the music that was the soundtrack of their parents’ courtship.
The Osmonds A New Musical is 2 hours and 45 minutes (including interval) of pure bliss. Love It For A reason? The reason is love – love of a beautifully crafted piece of musical theatre that deserves to be seen.
I manged to catch up with Jay Osmond just before the show hit the town. Listen below:
For ticket information contact 0844 871 7615 or www.agtickets.com/stoke. The show runs until April 9th.