Review – I Dreamed a Dream

Sunday 13 May 2012

The “fairy tale” (a phrase uttered about 20 times) story of the very public transformation of a slightly odd, socially awkward, middle aged Scottish virgin to global singing sensation is understandably irresistible.

So it’s a shame that in I Dreamed a Dream the odd, socially awkward Susan Boyle has been replaced with an “inner” Susan Boyle and that Elaine C Smith – while in possession of an excellent singing voice – is not a singing sensation.

The result is the rather pedestrian story of an ordinary woman with an ordinary life who (eventually) wins a talent competition and becomes famous.

There is a lovely sequence set in a local club in which – in terrifying echoes of Andrew’s youth – people dance the Slosh to “Una Paloma Blanca” and Andy Gray does a quite accomplished turn as an overly entertaining karaoke host. But this has only very occasional moments of joy and/or inventiveness – notably a toe-tapping rendition of “Stuck in the Middle with You” by a line of Britain’s Got Talent contestants waiting to go on.

You know you’re in trouble when the cast have to dance on with coloured balloons indicating happiness. They were singing “Perfect Day” anyway, even Phil had got the gist of that one.

But the really tantalising (to us) stuff is only alluded to: the surreality of Demi Moore’s involvement in sending Ms Boyle “viral” and the idea that far from rubbing their hands with glee the BGT mandarins were panicking over the loss of control over an otherwise well-engineered story.

And anyway, this is all so 2009. It is time for the story of a slightly socially awkward canine who becomes a global sensation. Come on Elaine C Smith. Pull your finger out and get the wardrobe working on that giant dog out outfit.

That will get the Whingers back to Southend which is where we saw I Dreamed a Dream at the Cliffs Pavillion and ate chips in a hut on the prom which was awesome.

Oh, and no the real Susan Boyle didn’t pop up at the end which according to the poster she “is expected to appear at all performances subject to unforeseen circumstances.” Unforeseen by whom is not clear. Appearing on the BGT final as it happened. So not unforeseen after all.



4 Responses to “Review – I Dreamed a Dream”

  1. So, I’m rather out of the loop here…Has Susan any part of this show? Is it autobiographical, or are Elaine C. Smith and Co. profiting off of Ms. Boyle? In either case it seems like a dreadfully thin idea for a show. But, I wouldn’t have thought that Jerry Springer would be fodder for an opera, and that’s done fairly well. I’ve never seen it, though, and am a bit afraid to.

    What’s next? Rupert Murdoch’s “Hacked”, a Ballet in three acts?

  2. johnnyfox Says:

    Beware the wrath of @susan_boyle_com for daring to tarnish their immaculate vision of the hairy angel who has all but replaced Diana in the eyes of cardigan-wearing Daily Express readers. My review was fire spammed by the frumpistas of Boyle’s army.

    La Boyle did appear on my Wednesday foray to Southend, for two songs after the curtain call at 10.35pm in a cloud of dry ice and ear-bleedingly enriched reverb on the mike to perform I Dreamed A Dream, and Who I Was Born To Be. I can also answer Jenny Ketcham’s query:

    the curtain rises on Susan already wheeled into position, she faces front throughout, raises and lowers her arms like an automaton, says two lines of carefully rehearsed ‘dialogue’ and strides slowly off. Ms. Boyle apparently ‘owns’ 50% of this production but you wonder how much of that goes on managers, minders, security and sedatives.

  3. Emma Says:

    Nicely whinged, therefore surprised to see you give it 3 out of 5 – evidently it’s better overall than the various cringeworthy video clips floating about would suggest. I suppose the show does provide the public what they’re looking for, a tent-revival type of emotional catharsis, although the writers play fast and loose with the facts to achieve that end (Susan’s only boyfriend came into her life in her late 20’s, not ‘At Seventeen’, as portrayed in the show.)

    @johnnyfox also pointed out in his review,

    that the set design was pinched from ‘Matilda’, a fact that escaped the mainstream reviewers, who gave credit for the idea to the IDAD production.

    Unfortunately, johnnyfox’s review was yanked from its original site at The Londonist – perhaps because he made an egregious and unforgiveable error in stating that Susan lives alone with her cat – when in fact she ditched the cat early on in her pursuit of fame and fortune (Simon’s people found a home for it in Wanstead in July 2009).

    P.S.Although Susan did appear on BGT on the Saturday, she pre-taped it at 6 PM, so it would not have been out of the realm of possibility for her to appear onstage at Southend at 10 PM, if she had cared to.

  4. Emma Says:

    My error above – Subo’s BGT pretaping was at 7 PM. One take only, apparently, as she flubbed the lyrics.

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