Review: Head over Heels is “full of great characters and hilarious jokes”

Head over Heels rocks its way into the Hope Mill theatre for this Go-Go’s musical that all audiences can enjoy.

Directed and Choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves, the show intertwines the timeless rock songs of The Go-Go’s with Greek myth and Shakespearean romance that gives a modern musical splash of paint to the classical comedies of Shakespeare. It’s As You Like It meets We Will Rock You.

The story is an original tale of courtly romance, prophecy and identity that follows the drama of the royal family of Arcadia.

Mainly the focus is on the romance of Philoclea played by Maiya Quansah Breed and the Shepherd Musidorus (Luke Bayer) who want to marry each other but are forbidden by Philoclea’s father, the King.

Both characters play off each other very well, both comedically and musically and both shine when given the spotlight.

The King of Arcadia Basilius, (Fed Zanni) a controlling patriarch who rules as he sees fit ignoring the wise counsel of his wife the Queen Gynecia (Julie Stark) and believes only he can save his kingdom when he and his long suffering manservant Dametas (Daniel Page) are presented with four prophecies from the all-knowing oracle Pythio (Iz Hesketh) and they proclaim that if all four will come true it will spell the end of the Kingdom, this sets the characters on a journey that changes them in ways that they never expected.

Also central to the plot is the relationship between the eldest princess Pamela (Jenny O’Leary) and her handmaiden Mopsa (Khadija Sallet) whose great chemistry and impressive musical talents are always on show, in particular their powerful duet of “Automatic Rainy Day”.

Another strength is the characters of Pythio and Dametas, great characters who always bring both the laughs and emotion to the story and they are always a welcome presence whenever they are on stage.

Also impressive are the ensemble cast of four dancers (Alison Driver, Marina Tavolieri, Samuel Routley and Timo Tatzber) who light up the stage with their impressive choreography and backing vocals help bring the scenes to life as they play a number of different roles throughout the show.

The show’s Shakespearean inspired dialogue, which while a bit jarring at first soon becomes easy to follow as there’s enough doses of British humour and modern references mixed in to keep the audience laughing throughout.

And while the plot is a bit over the top in parts, the true strength of the show is the characters.

As all are given appropriate time to shine and it is great to see them change over the course of their respective journeys, that are brought to life with the music of the Go-Go’s. With songs such as “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, “Our Lips Are Sealed” and of course “Head over Heels” that are performed by the cast and the amazing live band (Directed by Arlene McNaught).

With great songs, jokes, representation of LGBTQ+ values and uplifting message of finding your own identity, there is something on show for everyone, and it all comes to life in the intimate setting of Hope Mill Theatre.

So, if you’re in the mood for a musical then get yourself a ticket because this show definitely has the beat.

You can check it at at Hope Mill Theatre until March.

You can buy tickets here.


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