BrumHour saw Little Miss Sunshine at the invitation of The Alexandra.
Please note this post contains affiliate links.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, BrumHour’s Dave Massey spoke to Lucy O’Byrne about her role in Little Miss Sunshine.
By Julie Wallis twitter.com/NiceNic63
Little Miss Sunshine at
The Alexandra, Birmingham
Directed by Mehmet Ergen, Book by James Lapine, Music and Lyrics by William Finn
Little Miss Sunshine, is a road musical which tells the story of the misadventures of the somewhat dysfunctional Hoover family as they make their way across America. This musical is based on the 2006 movie of the same name.
Daughter Olive (Lily Mae Denman) has won a child’s beauty pageant and is on her way to the next stage. Well, technically she came second, but the winner was disqualified. With her family on the verge of bankruptcy they can’t afford to fly the 500 Miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico to California so they set off in Grandpa Hoover’s (Mark Monaghan) VW van to do the long drive. With Dad (Gabriel Vick) and Mom (Lucy O’Byrne) leading the way.
Along with uncle Frank (Paul Keating) and sullen brother Dwayne (Sev Keoshgerian) they experience a few setbacks on their way. Including the VW breaking down and a funny scene where the family have to steal a body away from the hospital. On the plus side, Dwayne, who hasn’t spoken to anyone in three months does eventually speak, but only because uncle Frank has delivered him some very bad news.
When the Hoover family do eventually arrive to the pageant, we meet the cheesy host of the pageant who is responsible for a lot more audience laughs. Ian Carlyle plays two parts, Larry and Buddy and has lots of fun in both parts.
There are plenty of laugh out loud moments alongside a bit of a tearjerker but on the whole this was lots of fun. There is a simple set, even the VW Van is just a set of wheels, I still managed to feel like a fly on the wall as I watched this family being held together by the only sensible one, Mom. Lucy O’Byrne is a wonderful actress and as soon as I saw her name in my program I knew this was going to be a good show. I was not disappointed. (Miss O’Bryne was the lead in The sound of Music and Evita.)
Having not seen the film of the same name, I can’t say how the two compare but I did find lots to enjoy in this show. Not as saccharine sweet as it could have been, it’s not what I expected, it was so much better. The part of Olive is played by three different young actresses over the course of the week. Our young Olive (Lily Mae Denman) is aged 10, so they are very young, but she was also super impressive as her role is big. Lots of lines, singing, dancing and acting for two hours is a big ask for such a youngster.
Considering that Grandpa’s VW Van was a set of wheels and a lot of audience imagination, it was pretty clever the way the entire family managed to convey the efforts of push starting a non existent bus.
With five musicians on stage throughout to provide the perfect soundtrack, lots of singing and dancing, Little Miss Sunshine lives up to its name and is eventually very uplifting. Ending with a huge song and dance routine which lead to a standing ovation.
Little Miss Sunshine is at The Alexandra until Saturday 20th July. Book tickets with BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.
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When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Julie Wallis can be found on her own blog at redandgoldweb.wordpress.com