What’s it all about?
I know it sounds like a 1960s beat combo, but this is actually a musical tale of World War I, looking at the conflict’s countrywide impact and the story of the Gallipoli-bound Captain David ‘Reggie’ Salomons.
Who’s in it?
A 22-strong ensemble of amateurs who play soldiers, wives, girlfriends, siblings and children.
Though a lucky handful get notable solo slots, most of the music – and action – is driven by the band of composers James Beeny and Gina Georgio, The Virgin Soldiers, which is placed firmly centre stage giving the feel of an elaborately staged folk rock gig.
What should I look out for?
The projected cameo appearances by stars including Amanda Redman, Philip Glenister, Tim Rice and Michael Buerk, which pop up to help narrate and push the piece along.
The spirit-lifting, wartime wit-packed Lads On Tour; a classic barrack-room ballad.
In a nutshell?
Folk rock gig meets tuneful history lesson in this evocative tale of World War I.
What’s being said on Twitter?
— Remember WW1 (@rememberww1) July 2, 2015
— Matthew Ward (@HistoryNeedsYou) July 1, 2015
Will I like it?
The Dreamers is an intriguing entity. With its light characterisation and loose narrative it feels as though the songs were written and a story – if that’s not too strong a description – fitted around them.
But maybe it’s just a different type of musical theatre, one that boldly says “The songs are the stars; the story aids them, not the other way around.” With its adult Jackanory style of storytelling and front and centre band if feels more like an overly theatrical concert.
If you like your musical theatre more gig than Gypsy, this could be for you.
The Dreamers plays at the St James Theatre until 11 July. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.