On Thursday the 8th of September I visited the Opera House Manchester to see the UK premier of Mrs. Doubtfire the Musical. This show tells the tale of the infamous Mrs. Doubtfire, or should I say, Daniel Hillard, who is going through a divorce so decides to become a nanny in disguise in order to spend more time with the children he loves so dearly, whilst also trying to manage and get his own life in order.
I would like to start by saying how much I enjoyed getting to seeing Mrs. Doubtfire the musical. Due to the events of the day, I was unsure whether the show would even go ahead but the cast and crew handled the situation beautifully. They held 2 minutes of silence before the show and played our national anthem out of respect for our late Majesty giving people the chance to comprehend the events of the day and reflect before the show began.
I would like to start off by praising the choreographer Lorin Latarro for the diversity in this show. There was everything from contemporary to tap to the most minimal numbers. Every ensemble member was synced, expressive, and faultless when it came to their movement on stage which I always think speaks volumes for the choreographer.
The music/lyrics written by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick were catchy and definitely fit into your typical musical theatre genre. The songs contributed well to the storyline however I did feel some of the songs went on a little too long. Don’t get me wrong I love lots of songs in a musical, Les Mis being one of my favourites and that’s all music, however, I just felt it was sometimes a little unnecessary and made the show feel longer than it was and at a standstill.
Casting and Performance:
In terms of performances, there were many standouts for me, and the casting as a whole was done very well. The comedy duo of Frank Hillard (Cameron Blakely) and Andre (Marcus Collins) were scene stealers whenever on stage. Their duet ‘Make me a woman’ and relevant comedy made them endearing and extremely likable. The children in this performance, Fred Wilcox (Christopher Hillard) and Darcey Dean (Natalie Dillard) were so vocally strong, emotive, and so professional throughout. The ensemble played many different characters, from children’s entertainers to chefs to Mrs. Doubtfire herself, they were energetic and added even more comedy to an already funny show.
However, for me, there were 3 stand-out performances from this casting. First, the beautiful Laura Tebbutt playing Miranda Hillard. Miranda is known as a serious and practical parent, level-headed and stern. Tebbutt plays this part perfectly but also doesn’t neglect to show the soft side to Miranda, the side the children don’t get to see as often. As well as this, she has the most beautiful voice with so much variety, from the upbeat opening to act 2 to the beautiful ballad that is ‘Let Go’.
Carla Dixion-Hernandez who takes on the role of Lydia Hillard was sensational. Lydia is the teenage daughter of Daniel and Miranda who voices her opinions openly to her parents and to her younger siblings. You could clearly see Lydia’s heartbreak surrounding her parent’s divorce through Carla’s portrayal of this character and as an audience, you really felt for her and what she was experiencing. Her voice was most definitely the show-stopper, she had such a clean tone and was so confident and strong when it came to her singing.
Finally, it wouldn’t be fair for me to write a review on this show and not talk about the many talents of the star itself. Gabriel Vick (Daniel Hillard/ Mrs. Doubtfire) was not only an actor and singer in this show, but he was also a voice actor and a DJ and he must definitely hold the record for the most costume changes in one scene. This man truly has it all. His portrayal of Mrs. Doubtfire was perfect and his talents just kept coming and coming as the show went on. He was truly memorising to watch and he stole the whole show.
Direction and overall thoughts:
Overall Mrs. Doubtfire the musical was directed incredibly well, considering the practicalities of the costume changes not only for Doubtfire but the ensemble too, and the overall love for the story beforehand, the show was brilliantly done. It still had that feel-good family feeling the movie captures so well and really made me feel nostalgic as it was a film I loved as a kid. I would like to congratulate the director Jerry Zaks on this UK debut and if you get the chance go down to the Opera House Manchester before the end of September for a hilarious night out.
Click here to book your tickets to Mrs. Doubtfire the musical at Manchester Opera house.