Tag Archives: Courtney Bowman




Online via stream.theatre



Online via stream.theatre

Reviewed – 9th April 2021



“The ingredients, the writing, the musicality and the star-studded cast promise something to be respected and admired. But there is a definite sense of disappointment.”


‘Disenchanted’ (dɪsɪnˈtʃɑːntɪd/): disappointed by someone or something previously respected or admired; disillusioned. Synonyms include; let down, fed up, cynical, disabused. There is no question as to who the ‘someone or something’ singled out in Dennis T. Giacino’s “Disenchanted! A New Musical Comedy” is, and its subversive twist on the Disney fairy tale marketing machine, if not new, is a delight to watch. The swipes at the established misogynism, racism and many other ‘isms’ inbuilt into the portrayal of our favourite princesses are much needed, and Giacino has dressed them in pastiche melodies and some ingeniously clever and witty lyrics. It could do with perhaps more subtlety and less preachiness and bitterness, but the energy and gung-ho feistiness of all involved will appeal to all genders and persuasions.

That’s the good news. Unfortunately, some artistic decisions for this current digital revival make for awkward viewing, for the wrong reasons. ‘Digital’ is the key word. This is inherently a musical that needs to be witnessed live, in the flesh, a few sheets to the wind, in like-minded company. We, the audience, are being heckled and cajoled by these comic geniuses and we should be simultaneously shamed and charmed. It is cabaret at its finest. We should be ‘loving it!’. But, rather than challenging preconceptions, this version challenges our patience.

In the original Off-Broadway run in 2014 there is a wonderful moment midway through – a gorgeous swipe at the Disney franchise. The ‘Princess who Kissed the Frog’ sings “Why’d it take ‘em so long to give a sister a song… ‘cause I am that storybook princess that’s fin’lly gone black”. Giacino’s point is that it wasn’t until 2009 when, for the first time in animation history, the fairest of them all was black. Director Tom Jackson Greaves’ decision to introduce such diversity into the casting of ‘Disenchanted’ way before this moment lets the joke fall somewhat flat.

Overall, the irreverence of the material is dampened by the exaggerated gaiety of the cast. And the hue-changing green screen backdrop distracts instead of being a neutral backdrop to the colourful characters. It takes an effort not to be snagged by these grating hurdles, but for those who make the effort to overcome them there is some reward. There is a very fine line up of performers indeed. Led by Jodie Steele’s ‘Snow White’ and aided by side kicks Allie Daniel (Sleeping Beauty) and Sophie Isaacs (Cinderella) we are guided through a series of vignettes in which various princesses are summoned to sing their way through their dissatisfactions and parody the princess culture. Highlights include Grace Mouat’s ‘Pocahontas’ (a character hitherto homogenised by the entertainment industry willing to distort her true Native-American story purely to sell cinema tickets) who sardonically sings that she “looks like a porn star”. Jenny O’Leary, as ‘Rapunzel’, brilliantly bemoans the total absence of royalties she receives from the global merchandising of her name in a Kurt Weill inspired number. And Courtney Bowman’s scathing but catchy diatribe against Middle Eastern misogyny is inspired.

There is a tenuous thread running through the musical numbers, reinforced by the repeated #princesscomplex hashtag. The messages are clear, but even now becoming a bit dated; and the balance between spite and humour aren’t always weighed up fully. Its intended audience is clear too, but the delivery is confused and awkward, like the shady, disenchanted state of limbo an adolescent might feel: too old for the youth club but too young for the pub.

‘Disenchanted’ (dɪsɪnˈtʃɑːntɪd/): it lives up to its definition. The ingredients, the writing, the musicality and the star-studded cast promise something to be respected and admired. But there is a definite sense of disappointment.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans



Online via stream.theatre until 11th April


Reviewed by Jonathan this year:
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament | ★★★★ | Online | February 2021
The Picture of Dorian Gray | ★★★★ | Online | March 2021
Bklyn The Musical | ★★★★★ | Online | March 2021
Remembering the Oscars | ★★★ | Online | March 2021

Click here to see our most recent reviews


Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – West End Transfer

Once upon a time there was a 16-year-old boy who had a secret he wanted to tell … So, he approached a documentary film maker as you do, and asked if they would help him tell it. The resulting documentary was seen by a theatre director and it inspired him to create a musical. A producing regional theatre backed him. He then bumped into a famous musical theatre star who introduced him to a well-known pop composer who was working with a lyricist and book writer. The theatre put on the production. A major producer saw it and offered them a West End theatre.

So, thanks to Jamie Campbell, Firecracker Films, Michael Ball, Sheffield Theatres and Nica Burns, a new British musical by a new British theatre writing and directing team, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie opens at the Apollo Theatre on Wednesday 22 November 2017.

Sheffield Crucible Production Cast. Photo by Johan Persson

Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation. Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.

This fearless, funny, fabulous brand new musical sensation hits London with catchy new songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae. Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.

John McCrea in Sheffield Crucible Production. Photo by Johan Persson

John McCrea will reprise his role of Jamie, alongside the majority of the Sheffield Crucible cast including: Josie Walker, Mina Anwar, Tamsin Carroll and Daniel Anthony, Luke Baker, Courtney Bowman, James Gillian, Harriet Payne, Shiv Rabheru, Lucie Shorthouse, Kirstie Skivington.

Director Jonathan Butterell, Composer Dan Gillespie Sells and writer and lyricist Tom MacRae said:

“After Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was commissioned we spent three hours in a wig room in Sheffield in which we wrote the complete plot and framework for the show before catching the train back to London. The three of us just clicked and we were instantly a team. It has been a new adventure for all of us, this is our first musical and going from zero to West End has felt like a fairy tale.
There is a bit of all three of us that has ended up in Jamie. We knew we needed a very specially talented performer to play him and when John McCrea walked into the room he was perfect. We hope that audiences will see a bit of Jamie in themselves too.”

Producer and theatre owner Nica Burns said:

“Everybody seemed to be talking about the show so I went to see the final matinee in Sheffield with no expectations. I came out of the auditorium singing the tunes having laughed, cried, laughed again and dancing with happiness. I found the director, and immediately offered to produce the show in London at one of my theatres. It had to come to the West End. This is an uplifting musical for our times and for everyone.”






Apollo Theatre | 31 Shaftesbury Avenue | London W1D 7ES


Booking number: 0330 333 4809







PREVIEWS FROM : Monday 6th November 2017


Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm

Matinees – Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm


Ticket prices – £10 to £65