Brett Herriot Review

The Osmonds, A New Musical, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Review:

A stylish tribute to a pop culture phenomenon

**** 4 Stars

The Osmonds, the most globally successful family in pop music history can lay claim to the most epic of highs in the industry and the most crushing of lows that threatened to shatter there family forever. They came back from the brink to secure their place in the hearts of millions who were with them through it all. This is truly what musicals are made of and now Jay Osmond brings the story to the stage featuring all the hits of the brothers Osmond into the bargain.

There are in fact nine Osmond Children, the two eldest Virl and Tom were both born profoundly deaf which makes the fact that the remaining brothers, Merrill, Alan, Jay, Wayne, Donny and Jimmy alongside the sole daughter Marie can produce such intricate harmonies all the more astonishing. It was the families wish to provide hearing aids and support for Virl and Tom that started their performing careers.

This musical from co writers Shaun Kerrison and Julian Bigg (Kerrison also directs and Bigg’s is musical supervisor) takes the point of view of Jay Osmond (Alex Lodge) who always felt caught in the middle of every family argument and explores his relationship with the brothers and his parents.

The Osmonds father George (a delicate performance from Charlie Allen) used his military experiences to guide the way he parented the children, often going too far and forgetting where military service ends and being a father begins. That said thanks to Charlie Allen’s fine performance it’s always clear that above all else George had nothing but love for all his children.

Kerrison delivers excellent performances from across the entire company and there are stand out moments especially from Alex Lodge as “Jay Osmond” who narrates the show as well as performing as an Osmond brother. It’s a stylish show but it does start to drag slightly with an overall running time of two hours and forty five minutes (including twenty minute interval) among all the hits including Paper Roses, Long Haired Lover from Liverpool, Love me for a reason, he ain’t heavy he’s my brother and Crazy Horses are scenes with real nail biting drama that brings a complete silence to the theatre.

Lucy Osborne’s basic set designed its complemented well by her costume design that see’s many of the famous Osmond fashion styles revisited, combined with Ben Cracknell’s excellent lighting design and Dan Samson on the money sound design you have all the right ingredients in play for a jukebox musical that for once puts the story and dramatic performances at its heart.

The Osmonds a new musical could easily have been a cheap chance to roll out the hits to an audience of women of a certain age reliving there youths. The production takes a far classier road, putting the emotional journey of a family  at its heart and reminding us just how much the Osmonds reshaped popular music and pop culture, they never abandoned their mantra, Family, Religious beliefs then Career and despite the biggest of falls, they proved to themselves that by sticking together, families can get through anything that comes their way. This is a show worthy of the ticket price as its a stylish tribute to a pop culture phenomenon! So grab those tickets now.

The Osmonds, A New Musical, Festival Theatre Edinburgh Runs until Saturday 24th September for tickets go to: The Osmonds: A New Musical (capitaltheatres.com)

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