- Dress Circle Reviews
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole - Review
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
I haven’t realized before but Adrian Mole a very sanitized version of teenage years and very much looks at those years through rose tinted glasses. This should not be taken as a criticism, just an observation, and the show takes this same approach. The set is bright and colourful, with street signs having a giant pencil underneath – the focus is clearly on the childlike rather than adolescence with none of the teenage anxiety that has become expected in teenage shows now. Although being set long before social media it may just be a reflection on our time.
You can’t help but be charmed by this musical. The title character of Adrian is naive to the extreme and his misunderstanding of situations is amusing and often protects him from the harsher realities. Being a stage show it takes advantage of the opportunity to develop the adult characters and relationships more fully than can be achieved in the book, in particular his mother who has some excellent and moving scenes with Adrian’s grandma and his father as well as some hilarious scenes with her new lover.
Amy Ellen Richardson puts in a great performance in the role, which is in turns both hilarious and heartfelt (despite appearing to struggle on vocals, particularly in the second act). Rosemary Ashe is also excellent as his Grandma balancing the comic dottiness with her love for her son and grandson ensuring that when she has an argument with the mother it feels real and isn’t forced. The children impressed in their roles. We were particularly impressed with Cuba Kamanu who played Barry the evening we saw it who had great comics skills, someone to watch out for in future.
The music is upbeat and enjoyable and is reflective of the innocence the show portrays.
With fun, upbeat music and great acting the show is let down by a flimsy plot and weak script. There are heartfelt moments that draw the audience in but it goes over board on the sugarcoating, even the bullying scenes are comic rather than upsetting and you never really feel there is any danger. So while it’s certainly enjoyable it won’t challenge you in any way. It’s there to be cheerful and happy and if you don’t overthink it you’ll certainly enjoy it.
Most people will walk into this show with a touch of nostalgia and goodwill and it shows from the outset. It’s a fun, energetic and upbeat musical and you will likely leave humming the tunes. If you’re looking for a happy, fun and easy night out you can’t go far wrong. We rate this a 3 Laura Michelle-Kelly musical. Tickets can be purchased: https://adrianmolethemusical.com/#TICKETS