Tag Archives: Graham Bickley

Jackie The Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

At the height of its powers in the 70s, D.C. Thomson’s beloved teen magazine Jackie, had an enviable circulation of over half a million readers a week. With fashion tips, beauty secrets, celebrity gossip, photo-stories and the now infamous Cathy and Claire problem page, its loyal readership eagerly awaited its arrival every Thursday. Doubtlessly hoping to emulate the success of Mamma Mia, it’s a canny production team that have exploited this demographic to produce a nostalgia-laden, feel-good musical, chock-full of the cheesiest hits of the decade.

Our heroine, of course, named Jackie (Janet Dibley), is a 50-something with a teenage son and a private life in turmoil since her husband left her for a younger model. Clearing out her attic, she finds a stack of the cherished magazine and imagines what advice her younger self (perfectly played by Daisy Steere) would give to her present self. The magazine’s wholesome morality and simplistic words of wisdom make for a hysterical trip back from the future.

The plot, as wafer thin as it is, is infused with such joy and enthusiasm that the production is elevated above the usual jukebox musical and the cast’s commitment to their roles makes it look as if they are having a whale of a time and transmits right to the back of the packed auditorium. Janet Dibley is a thoroughly likeable and relatable Jackie and the supporting cast are top-notch. Shining brightest among them are Michael Hamway as son David, and his show stopping 20th Century Boy and Bob Harms’ fleet of foot barman Frankie’s Puppy Love.

Tim Shortall’s colourful design is the magazine pages brought to life: primary colours, cartoon speech bubbles and those eye-popping 70s fashions (to the production’s credit, recreated authentically, not a cheap parody). Arlene Phillips stunning choreography is both inventive and energised and is executed to perfection, this is the most pin-sharp dancing this reviewer has seen in a very long while.

If the reaction of the audience is any indication (singing every lyric, laughing at every joke, a dancing ovation at the end) then, with a little judicial editing, this could very well be the next Mamma Mia. Uplifting, feel-good fun that appeals to more than its intended demographic – the perfect girls’ night out.

Runs until Saturday 30 July 2016 | Image: Pamela Raith

This review was originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: A West End Christmas at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall


This is becoming a yearly ritual at the Royal Concert Hall. With numbers from the greatest West End and Broadway musicals including: The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Wicked, Guys & Dolls, Chess, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Singin’ in the Rain, Top Hat, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King, Mamma Mia! and many more. This year’s soloists are:

Leila Benn Harris:


Jacqui Scott:


Daniel Boys:


and Graham Bickley:


all accompanied by the Scottish Festival Orchestra and City of Glasgow Chorus, conducted by Martin Yates.

Instead of the usual two hours of Christmas songs, this is a cleverly chosen selection of songs with a festive connection or from beloved movies seen during the festive season. The choices range from the familiar to the less well known but the running thread through it all is the superb quality.

In the hands of the four talented soloists the whole show flies by, each bringing a different vocal and performance style which lends great light and shade to the concert. Highlights include Jacqui Scott’s stunning rendition of Macavity from Cats, Leila Benn Harris’ Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera, Daniel Boys great comic delivery of Mr. Cellophane from Chicago and the final goosebump-inducing rendition of One Day More from Les Miserables by the ensemble and the City of Glasgow Chorus which sent the audience back onto the street with a song in their hearts and a spring in their steps.

Looking forward to next year already.


WHAT’S ON CHRISTMAS: West End Christmas returns to the Concert Hall

Sunday 16th December 2012 at 3.00pm and 7.30pm

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall : Main Auditorium

After last year’s knock-out show – West End Christmas returns to the Concert Hall.

Show-stopping numbers from the greatest West End and Broadway musicals including The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Chicago, My Fair Lady, Cats, Miss Saigon, Wicked, Mamma Mia!, The Lion King, We Will Rock You, Jersey Boys and many many more, sung by four glittering soloists from London’s West End, Leila Benn Harris, Jacqui Scott, Michael Xavier and Graham Bickley, accompanied by the Scottish Festival Orchestra and City of Glasgow Chorus, under the baton of Martin Yates.

Join the festive fun and head to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for A West End Christmas.

Details here