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High Fidelity


The Turbine Theatre

High Fidelity

High Fidelity

The Turbine Theatre

Reviewed – 1st November 2019



“The pitch is perfect, as is the balance of ballads and foot stompers – the ideal mixtape”


Nick Hornby’s novel, written nearly twenty-five years ago, was an instant hit capturing the mid-nineties zeitgeist when the notion that ‘boys will be boys’ was just beginning to be chipped away by the new sensibilities. This could have been a death blow for the novel, but the emotional intelligence of Hornby’s writing allowed it to endure; its success leading to the millennial film starring John Cusack and Jack Black, and eventually a stage musical. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire with music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Amanda Green it premiered on Broadway in 2006 but closed after thirteen performances.

Paul Taylor-Mills’ production at the Turbine Theatre has successfully brought the show up to date while staying true to its roots, and it is safe to say that this sensational reinterpretation will not suffer the same fate. Writer and comedienne Vikki Stone has been brought on board to adapt the script and lyrics, relocating the action back to London and reclaiming the inherent buoyancy and playfulness of the story.

The plot focuses on Rob, the owner of a record shop in Holloway, whose girlfriend, Laura, has just left him. Obsessed with compiling lists and ‘mixtapes’, he recalls his five most memorable breakups before Laura, and eventually his self-examination leads to self-realisation and reconciliation. On paper it should be hard to like the overgrown, commitment-phobic problem child that is Rob. His dated sense of male entitlement should rub you up the wrong way in today’s climate, but Oliver Ormson’s winning performance grabs our empathy with both hands.

Supported by an outstanding cast, the laughs come thick and fast. Robbie Durham and Carl Au as Barry and Dick, the part time hired help in Rob’s record store, complement Ormson, creating a trio that could win awards if that was the goal. But there is a self-deprecatory disregard for approval that is reflected in the characters’ relish in working in a shop that has “zero growth potential”. Yet in this mannish world, the women call the shots. Shanay Holmes, as Laura, knows she has the upper hand, but Holmes underscores her fiery independence with a vulnerability that simultaneously softens and strengthens the character.

Tom Kitt’s score mixes pop with rock, heavy metal and Motown, country and soul with a seasoning of rap and R&B. It could easily be a mess but, aided by director Tom Jackson Greaves’ sharp choreography, the eclectic selection of styles has a cohesive whole. It is a feat pulled off only by the close-knit chemistry of the entire ensemble and band of musicians. The pitch is perfect, as is the balance of ballads and foot stompers – the ideal mixtape. In an age of Spotify playlists, it is refreshing to hear references to cassettes and vinyl. David Shields’ set places us in a bygone world of the record shop, before music went online. But the essential truth of music and its undeniable impact on us remains true and keeps this story relevant and timeless. “High Fidelity” is a timely boost of optimism. Rob would put it at the top of his list of reasons to be cheerful.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Mark Senior


High Fidelity

The Turbine Theatre until 7th December


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Torch Song | ★★★★★ | September 2019


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Mamma Mia! – Casting






Joining the previously announced Sara Poyzer, Kate Graham, Jacqueline Braun, Richard Trinder, Alasdair Harvey, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Georgina Castle, Christopher Jordan-Marshall, Bobbie Little, Harriet Bunton, Damian Buhagiar, Nye Rees and Caroline Deverill in the global smash hit musical MAMMA MIA! at London’s Novello Theatre from Monday 12 June 2017, will be Alishia-Marie Blake, Stuart Hickey, Mark Isherwood, Matt Jordan-Pidgeon, Tyler Kennington, Madeleine Leslay, Natasha O’Brien, Alice O’Hanlon, Alexanda O’Reilly, Adam Paul-Robertson, Oli Reynolds and Katy Stredder. They will be joining Tabitha Camburn, Adam Clayton-Smith, Katy Day, Katy Hards, Jennifer Hepburn, Robert Knight, Stacey Leanne Mills and Robbie Scotcher, who are already in the Ensemble.

From West End to global phenomenon, MAMMA MIA! is Judy Craymer’s ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs with an enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise. To date, it has been seen by over 60 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages grossing more than $2 billion at the box office. In 2011, it became the first Western musical ever to be staged in Mandarin in the People’s Republic of China. MAMMA MIA! is currently on its first ever UK Tour, receiving great critical and public acclaim.

MAMMA MIA! originally opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1999, before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. The musical re-opened at the Novello Theatre in 2012, where it recently celebrated its London 18th birthday on 6 April 2017.

The London production of MAMMA MIA! has been seen by nearly 8 million people, played over 7,500 performances and has broken box office records in all three of its London homes.

Produced by Judy Craymer, MAMMA MIA! The Movie, starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, is the highest grossing live action musical film of all time.

With music & lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! is written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The production is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitken, and musical supervision, additional material & arrangements by Martin Koch.

MAMMA MIA! is produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East & Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.