What’s it all about?
This is a musical named after a pop icon, so you know what you’re going to get with Dusty; it’s the theatrical equivalent of Ronseal. Here, hit after Springfield hit punctuates the story of Dusty’s life, from her days as plain old Mary O’Brien to recording her seminal Dusty In Memphis album.
The twist is, even though a talented young actress plays the role of Dusty, many of the songs are performed by a projected – sometimes in sci-fi style 3D – Dusty.
Who’s in it?
Alison Arnopp is the corporeal Dusty, departing the stage to make way for her… ahem, Spooky… ghostly counterpart.
Arnopp finds the loneliness, the selfishness, the bitterness in a Dusty who’s not all that loveable. Talented, yes, but troubled in a way that does not evoke much sympathy.
What should I look out for?
The 3D projections. They’re fascinating in a Princess-Leia-distress-signal-wobbly-hologram fashion.
What will I be humming tomorrow?
You know the songs going in. Today, for me, is very much dominated by I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.
In a nutshell?
Hits and holograms, perfect pop and projection combine as Dusty is served three ways in this new jukebox bio-musical.
What’s being said on Twitter?
— maggie robson (@maggierobson) August 30, 2015
— ionica™ (@Adriana_ionica) September 7, 2015
Will I like it?
Dusty is an interesting beast. Its writing team have chosen to ignore much of the drama in Springfield’s life – her addictions and self-harm for example – to focus more on delivery of hit after hit performed live or by a spectral re-animated Dusty.
If you want to know more about the iconic singer, this is not the way, but if you’re Wishin’ And Hopin’ for an evening of soulful hits with a smattering of technological trickery, Dusty will entice you to Stay Awhile.
Dusty is running at the Charing Cross Theatre until 21 November. You can book tickets through the show’s website.