REVIEW – Dreamers (Oldham Coliseum)

© Joel C fildes
© Joel C fildes
Date: 19 june 2015
Upstaged Rating: 

Oldham Coliseum is proud to present the world premiere of Dreamers, a new musical set in the 1990’s written by Cathy Crabb and Lindsay Williams. The narrative is set around Oldham’s legendary nightclub Dreamers – the only indie club in town, famed for its music, the variety of the people who went there and the bouncer who kept everyone under control. If you were around Oldham in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s – you probably have a few stories to tell about Dreamers too and this production is certainly loaded with witty humour, warmth and nostalgia, giving the Oldham audience a cheerful trip down memory lane.

The first half of the play is set in the 1990’s and explores the friendships and backgrounds of the young female characters. Izzy (Sally Carman) is a confident young woman who has grown up in care and who is desperate to escape from the streets of Oldham. Izzy and her best friend Toni (Rachel Leskovac), dream of escaping the grey skies of Oldham for the picture perfect marinas of the South of France as holiday reps. However, there is a longstanding disagreement between Izzy and her old friend Roz (Justine Elizabeth Bailey) which comes to a dramatic climax at the end of the first act. The second act revisits the girls twenty years later when we realise that not everything has played out the way that we thought it would.

Despite some slightly awkward overacting, most of the cast give believable performances throughout – Sally Carman shows depth as the bolshy but vulnerable Izzy and Rachel Leskovac shines playing the younger and older version of Toni with ease. Lauren Redding is outstanding though,  playing a variety of smaller parts with wit and energy, demonstrating that she is a versatile performer.

Not forgetting that Dreamers is a musical – it features some well known nineties classics with slightly tweaked lyrics, ‘Sit Down’ by James, ‘I am The Resurrection’ by The Stone Roses and ‘Friday I’m in Love’ by The Cure. There are also some original compositions written by Carol Donaldson. The play also features a community chorus of talented local women who deliver the harmonies with energy and passion.

Dreamers is packed full of wit and has plenty of references to Oldham and the infamous Dreamers nightclub which really struck a chord with the Northern audience. And the humour and sentiment can be appreciated by those who are not familiar with Oldham nightlife too – we all remember sticky carpets, Diamond White and the fear of not making it past the bouncer on the door, don’t we?

-Kristy Stott

Dreamers is running at the Oldham Coliseum from 19th June 2015 until 4th July 2015.