Sheffield theatre fans are lucky enough to be in one of the 4 places that Dusty will be making a stop at. A new musical, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way while you are watching it. The producer, Eleanor Lloyd even asks the audience for feedback in the programme and provides an email address, stating that feedback will shape it’s development, however, this piece feels like it has already been developed and polished to the nth degree.
Whether you are a Dusty fan or not, it really doesn’t matter. You will either find yourself reminded of her colourful but sombre story or find yourself learning about this poignant character. The story starts on her journey to the number 1 spot with huge success and popularity throughout the UK. Dusty’s personal life takes centre stage with her relationship exposing some of her less desirable character traits, fuelled by her alcoholism. The story line is emotive and touching; towards the end you really can start to empathise with Dusty. It is clear how much pressure she was under to always be number one and compete with the young and upcoming stars.
Katherine Kingsley plays Dusty, and what a performance it is… she has perfected her hand movements, mannerisms and her stunning voice is very close to being a duplicate. Kingsley has real stage presence and when on stage, often she is all your eyes are drawn to. Hats off to her for portraying her character through some really tough subject matters which must be challenging as an actress, including some rather shocking racism.
There are some famous names on the stage in the shape of Rufus Hound and Roberta Taylor, both cast excellently. A less well known name comes in the shape of Joanna Francis, playing Lois. Lois is Dusty’s girlfriend and some of the duets that they perform together are just perfection. Francis’ voice is just beautiful and lights up the stage with her sweet sounds.
A real highlight of this show is the impeccably trained, well rehearsed chorus. The dancing is absolutely on point with extreme energy all the way through. Credit to the choreographer, Tim Jackson. Each character on stage has something to offer and during the performance of ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This’ they really do steal the show. It has to be said that this is aided with the magical effects on stage created by Tom Pye (set and costume design).