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Some Girl I Used to Know @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 18th Feb 2014 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye

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With the prevalence of social media in our lives it’s now very easy to re-connect with people from our past, bringing old memories flooding back.  What if your first real love contacted you through Facebook and you were tempted to pick up where you left off, all those years ago?  That’s the premise of this touching and amusing new musical play starring Denise Van Outen as Stephanie Canworth.  On the surface, Stephanie has it all, she’s rich, beautiful, runs a successful business and has a supportive husband and the media love her, but something is missing in her life.
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The story takes us on a journey through Steph’s life and 7-year relationship with Sean, beginning in her teens when she partied hard and hopes were high.  We share with her the raw, intense emotions we all experienced in our youth and long to feel again as we move into middle age.  It’s a heart-warming story of a woman reliving rose-coloured memories and struggling with the realities of her life today.

Basildon-born Denise has been in the business since the age of 7, when she started out modelling knitting patterns.  She attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School and at 12 played Eponine in Les Miserables.  She went on to appear in the Anthony Newley directed production of Stop the World I want to Get Off and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In a long and varied career, Denise has presented Big Breakfast, played Roxie Hart in Chicago in the West End and on Broadway and made copious TV appearances as an actress, presenter and celebrity guest.  On screen Denise appears as Michelle Smith in the film of Ray Cooney’s farce Run for Your Wife.  She has also recorded numerous singles including duets with Andy Williams and Russell Watson.
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The show opens with Denise singing some very familiar lyrics ‘say hello, wave goodbye’, but the arrangement is completely original and sweet  showcasing her rich, mezzo voice.  Then ‘Steph’ starts to tell us her story and we become a part of her confidences.  There’s quite a long 20 minute monologue at the beginning, which I felt would benefit from another song to break it up a little and also because she has such an amazing singing voice it would be good to hear more songs.  She also speaks very quickly and sometimes with her strong Essex accent we miss some of the lines, which is a shame, but those are minor points.

Denise co-wrote the show with Terry Ronald and it’s funny and recognisable. Denise allows herself to expose her vulnerable side towards to the end, with some very real, heart-felt emotions and we share her confusion and pain. The song arrangements are superb, especially Do You Really Want to Hurt Me and the title track Some Girl I Used to Know.
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It really is one of the toughest things to stand alone on stage and hold an audience for 2 acts and Denise, quite rightly, received a standing ovation.  She’s a very talented lady and this show is proving a big hit around the country.

Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury Performances:   Tuesday1 8th & Wednesday 19th February @ 7.30 p.m.
Tickets:   £27.50
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)

The tour continues to:
The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton 20th-22nd February
Wyvern Theatre, Swindon 24th-26th February
 and The Swan, High Wycombe 27th Feb-1st March
Further dates can be found on www.somegirliusedtoknow.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
17.2.14

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Thanks, Yvonne. This is an interesting premise for a play and seems to fit the "one-woman show" format well - particularly when that woman is Denise Van Outen.
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