Review: Here You Come Again at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Review: Here You Come Again at Newcastle Theatre Royal

When you think Dolly Parton, you think fantastic country singer, fantastic songs that have surpassed generations to be as popular now as when they were released. Obviously 9 to 5 is a standout film and musical. And the latter being one that many theatre goers will associate with Dolly Parton. If however you are attending thinking that’s what you are expecting with Here You Come Again then don’t. There’s plenty of Dolly to go around and it’s nice to see a new take and approach celebrating her songs.

This is a fresh new musical appreciation of a wonderful singer,  person and musical hits set in an era and experience of which we can all relate too.
In brief we rewind to March 2020 and get to observe Kevin a would be stand up comic, and die hard Dolly Parton super fan.

After a split with his partner, Kevin is currently living back at his parents house due to having to isolate due to the COVID pandemic in his childhood bedroom which is adorned with Dolly Parton memorabilia and posters. Kevin has to come to terms with the changes that are happening in his life and being a natural negative nancy isn’t too positive about things. Queue the inspirational arrival of Steven’s hero to help him through these tough times. With the help of Dolly we get to see Kevin face these challenges head on.

Set in Kevin’s Bedroom there’s no need for big set changes and any transitions for any changes flowed easily. Musicians are cleverly placed in and out of view. This show was small in cast but big in performance, essentially a two person show we have Kevin played by Stephen Webb and Dolly Parton played by Tricia Paoluccio. 

Stephen Webb is great. While his character may be a wannabe comic, Webbs ability to bring humour in both language and physical outpouring is in abundance. Many of the laughs had in this show are credit to his delivery of the script. His voice also delivers.

Tricia Paoluccio is a wonderful Dolly Parton. Reading her background she has grown up loving the singer and imitating her and she is as comfortable as can be on the stage of the Theatre Royal. This southern belle brings a bang on her entrance and a bundle full of positivity throughout. What I also liked was that we had a few facts about Dolly throughout the show slipped in, whether it be related to song writing or relationships which I thought was a nice touch. It would be hard to not mention her wonderful voice and displayed this throughout the show especially at the end of the first act.

Kevin’s mum and dad are played by our backing vocalists Aidan Cutler and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke who also play multiple roles. I might add though I heard a glimpse of Cutlers solo voice for what must have been one line of a song and was taken by what I heard in that moment. She also plays understudy for the Dolly role and feel in the event she was needed to step up would be great.

What makes this show work though is the immersive nature they create right from the off. Both talk to the audience and encourage participation (where appropriate of course), it draws us into Kevin’s world and care about our main characters story. 

Songs fit and aren’t shoe horned into a story line, it feels very natural and we get to hear all of the hits you would expect like Jolene9 to 5Islands in the StreamI Will Always Love YouHere You Come Again and more. 

If you want a happy, feel good, joyous night out then I’d certainly recommend Here You Come Again. Remember this it’s own Dolly Musical not to be compared with 9 to 5 and provides its own space to celebrate Dolly Parton as she should rightly be! 

Reviewed by Aaron Whittington

*press tickets gifted for review purposes

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