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Little Miss Sunshine
August 27th - August 31st
The road to happiness is a bumpy ride.
Based on the Oscar-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine is a new musical comedy from Tony Award-winners James Lapine (Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George) and William Finn (Falsettos, 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee).
This EUROPEAN PREMIERE stars Mark Moraghan (Coronation Street, Holby City, 9 to 5), Lucy O’Byrne (Evita, Les Misérables, The Sound of Music), two-time Olivier-award nominee Paul Keating (Little Shop of Horrors, The Full Monty), Gabriel Vick (Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Eastenders), and Ian Carlyle (The Lion King, We Will Rock You).
The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile in to their rickety yellow camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they?
This uplifting, modern classic celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences.
Lapine and Finn’s inventive musical version opens in London in a brand-new production directed by Arcola Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen, then takes to the road for a national tour.
Age Guidance: 14+
Running time: 2 hours (including interval)
★★★★ “Get on board for a feelgood road trip” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
★★★★ “Little ray of musical sunshine” Mark Shenton, London Theatre
★★★★ “Charming and funny musical” Sunday Express
★★★★★ “The perfect package” Spy In the Stalls
★★★★ “Hilarious numbers that have you laughing out loud” Londonist
★★★★★ “The whole thing is a joy” Spy In the Stalls
Production Photographs © Richard H Smith
Choice Radio Worcester
They say you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family and that it's the taking part not the winning that matters - two expressions which are applicable in equal measure to the show this week in Malvern - Little Miss Sunshine - A Road Musical which is based on the Oscar and BAFTA award-winning film starring Alan Arkin, Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette.
The Hoovers are the family in question and are, like your typical family, an assortment of characters: there is Richard (Gabriel Vick), the father who is rather unsuccessful in capitalising on his belief in self-help mumbo jumbo, his father played by Mark Moraghan (Tim Richards in Emmerdale) who is living out his days by enjoying many an illicit pleasure after being kicked out of his retirement resort, a morose teenage son (Sev Keoshgerian) who, for reasons better known to himself, believes that not speaking is the best way to become a fighter pilot. Then there is always the odd uncle - this time Uncle Frank who decided to try to end it all when his love life remained unrequited, Olive the daughter about whom the show is all about and the mother Sheryl (Lucy O'Bryne - finalist in The Voice) who is the glue which keeps the family together.
And keeping the family on the move is Grandpa's old VW campervan as the whole family set off perhaps unwisely on a trek from Albuquerque, New Mexico to California to take part in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant - a journey of some 800 miles.
There is plenty along the way to stop them from achieving their goal including a breakdown and a death in the family, arguments between all the family members and potential bankruptcy but, like most families, they will do all that they can to make it work, even if ultimately it is just the taking part which matters.
With a live band providing the music, the show is full of songs which tell the story and the singing is excellent, particularly Richard's lament to his father when he realises that he meant more to him than he thought. The set design is clever too, with the vehicle (or at least bits of it!) on stage to transport the family and even becoming a motel bed at one point. The depiction of the pageant itself, however, whilst accurately depicting the kitsch awfulness of these American rituals, was maybe a little too long.
There will be something in the show which everyone will recognise from their own family which is no bad thing given that the result is a harmony of sorts between people who, were they not related, would probably never be that close!
Saw this in Oxford last week and it was absolutely fab! I have family coming to the Malvern show on my recommendation.
A really feel-good musical with some absolutely hilarious moments. Hope to catch it again!
Absolutely loved this musical. Wonderful energy from the actors. Would happily watch it all over again.
Trelawney of the Wells
The only point in taking an existing work of art and turning into a different genre is to add something to it, to make us see it in a new light, to create a piece that can stand proudly alongside the original. Sadly this show does none of those things. The film is a joy - funny and moving, while avoiding sentimentality. The only thing the songs add to this tale is a dose of schmaltz. The music is bland and unmemorable, the lyrics often inaudible (you would have no idea why Olive's routine is so shocking unless you'd seen the film), the addition of the Mean Girls pointless (the same actresses are also far too old to be competing against Olive in the pageant) and the moment when Dwayne finally speaks is thrown away (that's not a spoiler, his head mic is a give-away from the start). Give this a miss and get the DVD out instead.