28 June to 2 July 2016
Reviewed by Rebecca Banasko
Visiting the Empire Theatre in Liverpool to watch Jackie the Musical was so easy. I drove and parked in Queen Square multi-story car park. I went with a friend and we were tempted to get the train to Lime Street as the station is literally next door to the theatre. The staff within the theatre were so helpful once we got there, making sure we got to where we needed to go and helping with any queries.
Before the show started it was obvious that the audience was primarily made up of women who were probably the Jackie magazine target audience during the 70’s. I myself absolutely loved Jackie magazine and never missed a copy but this wasn’t until the early 90’s not long before it ceased publication. The show is definitely a reference to the early years of the publication centred on the 70’s.
The story joined a recently separated, soon-to-be divorced almost 50 year old called Jackie, played by Janet Dibley, who lived with her teenage son and was desperately trying to move her life forward and not fall apart inwardly as she felt she was doing outwardly. With a lot of encouragement from her hilarious best friend, Jill, played by Haley Fox, Jackie was encouraged to ‘live it up’ and play the field. But rather than be pushed by others she took matters into her own hands when an accidental phone call led her to a blind date. Alongside this, finding her old copies of Jackie magazine and conversing with her younger, Jackie-magazine-fanatic-self she finds herself moving in directions she didn’t expect. With a number of twists and turns along the way involving her ex, her son and did I mention her hilarious best friend, this story had me hooked throughout.
The cast was a great ensemble of recognisable stars, some eye candy for the girls (and boys) ahem Dr Anthony Trueman (Nicholas Bailey) of EastEnders fame, has not aged one bit and was very pleasing on the eye. Oh and I must mention THE (2nd) Joey Boswell (Graham Bickley), oh yes right there before my eyes!
The stage was brilliantly set up and incorporated features from the magazine along the way that brought giggles from the audience and no doubt flashbacks as well. Be warned though bring your glasses along so that you can read the speech bubbles. The audience seemed to be having a wonderful time, the music was brilliant and offered a range of hits from the era that had the audience clapping and dancing along. With this the costumes from the 70’s were just superb and I found myself eyeing up the outfits and secretly wanting them in my wardrobe.
The end of the show brought a standing ovation from an audience who were absolutely buzzing. But it wasn’t left there, a little party had everyone up on their feet dancing and singing at the end, leaving everyone with a smile on their face. It was a brilliant night out and I’d recommend the show to anyone, particularly Jackie magazine fans, who want to have a good time and relive their youth. It’s a 5/5 from me.
Tickets cost from £14.90 to £42.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Jackie The Musical is at the Liverpool Empire until 2 July 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017