The long-awaited musical adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ has finally made its way to Leicester’s Curve theatre.
We first enter the Mole household on New Year’s Day, surrounded by the typical bickering and comfortable dynamics of a family, and complete with Adrian’s raw, honest and entertaining commentary on the situation and indeed his life in general.
With the appearance of an average prepubescent schoolboy, Joel Fossard-Jones does an extremely convincing job of playing Adrian as someone we can all recognise from our schooldays. His portrayal of a confused, naïve, vulnerable and awkward adolescent who has not yet developed a full understanding of the world is heart-warming and credible, even carrying out the dance sequences in a slightly awkward fashion to keep in line with his character.
Capturing the intimate connection harnessed between a reader and the protagonist is no small feat to recreate in a theatre full of people, however with the convincing personas, audience engagement, familiar accents, themes, and even locations, the small cast create an intimate and relatable experience for the spectators, authentically capturing the much-loved and cherished voice of Adrian Mole. The set is also accompanied by a backdrop of an oversized sheet of paper and pencil, with Adrian’s scrawled handwriting plastered upon them, connecting both the stage and the novel.
The musical successfully transports us back to the 80s, intertwining quick and witty sexist and political quips reminiscent of that era with a light-hearted and humorous take on issues still very relevant to today such as family fragmentation and divorce.
The musical adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is one not to miss; this magical show will appeal to everyone. Some may be hoping to be transported back to their youth while those encountering Adrian Mole for the first time will discover in him a kindred spirit.
His refreshingly honest and humorous commentary of teenage life is still very much relevant now as in Sue Townsend’s time. With extremely catchy songs accompanied by fabulous singing, dancing, infectious energy, and some surprisingly moving scenes, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is a remarkable show that will capture any heart.
The show runs until April 4 at Curve theatre in Leicester. For tickets go to www.curveonline.co.uk
Review by Rumneek Gill.