Thursday, May 23

Stranger Sings! – Floral Pavilion

Fans of the Netflix sensation Stranger Things will love this tongue in cheek parody of the hit show. Mainly focusing on Season 1 as the source material we get an ensemble cast all of which playing different well-loved characters.

It begins with an instantly recognisable set by Justin Williams, consisting of fairy lights and 80’s decor in what doubles up as Mike’s and Joyce’s house. The boys are playing dungeons and dragons and being set in Hawkins, a town where nothing happens, was perfectly normal to cycle back home without supervision. Ahh what a decade. If you’ve seen the show you will know that Will ends up missing, but is really in the upside realm, a creepy alternative reality. If you haven’t watched Stranger Things yet then I would say watch it first, as this is a parody musical and full of spoilers and far too many inside jokes. Not only is this a spoof of the TV show, but we also get musical theatre parodies of famous songs, along with lots of 80’s pop culture references too. My favourite moment was Eleven looking like ET in front of the bicycle and a spotlight looking like the moon behind them. We even get a song all about Winona Ryder. Oh and if it doesn’t already sound bonkers yet, Will is played by a puppet!

If like me all of these things ticks the boxes then you’re bound to have a fun night watching this. I laughed a few times overall, some jokes landing more than others. The cast were all brilliant but it was Joyce and her accurate portrayal of her frantically chain-smoking energy that stole the show for me. Along with justice for Barb! The vocals were terrific from all of the cast members. Most noticeable was Anna Amelia who played Nancy, Eleven and Robin, Philippa Leadbetter as Barb and Verity Power as Joyce. Philippa’s song ‘Barbs Turn’ done to the Gypsy tune of ‘Rose’s Turn, was both funny and packed a punch with such strong vocals too!

Overall, I did really enjoy it. I just couldn’t help but think how much better it would be if it was polished up a little bit. Some transitions felt a bit unnecessary and some jokes didn’t quite land for me. Saying that the audience were laughing along throughout, earning the odd whoop and cheer. Barb for example got a lot of love from the audience. Her song which poked fun at her being a disposable character that was soon forgot about by her supposed best friend Nancy. For those contemplating coming along with children it’s worth noting that there was a bit of swearing and some innuendo. Some jokes may have gone over their heads depending on how young they are. It’s officially recommended for 16 years upwards, or to be under supervision for any younger if you have any young fans.

The sound wasn’t the best at some parts too. Whether that was just an issue with the venue, some of the actors microphones could have been a bit louder so they’re not drawn out by the live piano sound. Speaking of, it was nice to see live music by the piano player.

Jonathan Hogue did a great job with the script. Condensing the plot into a 125 minute long show must have been tricky, but was well achieved, all whilst keeping it entertaining and linear.

So, if you’re a fan of Stranger Things and are after something delightfully bonkers, this is the show for you. The UK tour continues at multiple locations yet up until the end of May.

Reviewer: Emma Lambe

Reviewed: 27th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.