Little Miss Sunshine

THEATRE | Little Miss Sunshine, Bradford Alhambra Theatre

Evie Gibson as Olive in Little Miss Sunshine : A Road Musical

If you love cult family road trip story LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, you’ll love the musical version. If you haven’t seen the film, you’ll be in the same boat as JANINE WALKER who decided to take her children… (*spoiler* they all loved it!)

Okay, so I haven’t seen Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘s original film of Little Miss Sunshine! Listening to audience members around me, most haven’t so I don’t think it matters.

The story is the same. William Finn and James Lapine‘s musical has good song and dance numbers, great dialogue and somehow transfers a family road trip saga to the stage.

With a simple bright yellow revolving stage, we follow the Hoovers – an unconventional, and therefore typical family – as they reluctantly drive young Olive to her Little Miss Sunshine pageant hundreds of miles away in an old camper van. (The way they do the van is brilliant, by the way.)

At the best of times, family members rub each other up the wrong way, but with a failed life coach dad, overworked mother, troubled uncle, sex-crazed grandpa and moody teenage boy who is not speaking to anyone crammed together camper van that keeps breaking down, expect fireworks!

Little Olive is the glue that keeps everyone together. We see the family fall apart, but rally when it counts. We are all in love with Olive, played tonight by Sophie Hartley-Booth who is outstanding. She has the audience, as well as her onstage family, wrapped around her little finger. All she wants is to be crowned Little Miss Sunshine, but she comes to realise over the course of the journey that winning isn’t everything.

The whole cast is exceptionally good, but I have to mention Imelda Warren-Green. The whole audience scream with laughter at her Miss California!

Despite the adult content warning, I have my children with me. It does contain swearing and sexual references – there’s a whole song dedicated to it – but they think it’s great and howl with laughter! I only sit red faced for a few moments, thinking perhaps I made a mistake… but no. We love it, and find ourselves singing the final number all the way home.

Slightly inappropriate, but incredibly funny!

Drama, fun, lots of laughs and a few touching moments too. You really feel like you’re on the journey with the family… but be grateful you’re in the audience and not in that van!

Little Miss Sunshine : A Road Musical will be at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from 9th– 13th July. Details here.

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