A FULL length musical about Susan Boyle – who’d have thought it when she first burst onto our television screens on Britain’s Got Talent almost three years ago?
But last night as the international tour of I Dreamed a Dream – The Susan Boyle Musical kicked off at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, the ecstatic audience got just that.
The perfect rag-to-riches story, the crowd lapped up Elaine C Smith’s portrayal of Susan – from her humble and often difficult beginnings in the tiny Scottish town of Blackburn to her stratospheric rise to fame as the clip from her audition went viral across the world.
Susan’s captivating life story was both emotional and sometimes tragic but also very humorous – loud sobs could be heard in the auditorium one moment, then someone would laugh out loud the next.
From the moment we saw her parents take baby Susan home after being told she been starved of oxygen at birth and may have suffered brain damage, the plot did not shy away from difficult topics.
Susan was bullied at school for being “different”, her one boyfriend left after her father told him to back off, and she found it difficult to cope with the media pressure in those early days of fame.
However, the warmth showed her by her mother (Karen Mann) and her friend Lorraine (Ashleigh Gray) as well as the happiness she clearly draws from her singing made the story a true heart-warmer.
Add to that a talented cast and a very slick production which showed off the story at its best did nothing to dampen the very enthusiastic audience.
After a standing ovation, a cameo appearance from Susan herself ensured first-night success as she performed two songs – including the obligatory I Dreamed a Dream to deafening applause before mingling with lucky fans at the after show party.
It is perhaps not a musical for everybody, but to say that those who were there last night enjoyed it would be an understatement.
I Dreamed a Dream – The Susan Boyle Musical is at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, March 31. Tickets are available from the box office on 08448 112121