The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole-absolutely brilliant.

Forget the West End – go to the Queen’s Theatre and watch the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole for Five Star entertainment and everything you need for a night to remember!

Saturday saw the Opening Night of the musical adaptation of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, and my goodness what a great occasion it was! Directed by Douglas Rintoul, the Queen’s Artistic Director,  this show has vitality, pathos, great music and a wonderful comedic feel good factor.

Many of you will be familiar either with the book or the TV series. As Adrian Mole decides to secretly keep a diary of his daily life; his writing of poetry and his reading of classical literature lead him to being an intellectual. At the same time suffering all the hormonal changes of a teenager, a spotty face and the discovery of girls! 
At school enter a new girl Pandora; whose father has taken her away from a private school to the local Comprehensive. Pandora is everything Adrian likes – confident, well read and attractive. Of course this leads to the boys in the class fighting to be the first to win her affection.
In the midst of all this teenage turmoil, things at Adrian’s house are not going well. Mum is trying to find a job as dad apparently can’t! Mum is also being pursued by her lusty next door neighbour Mr Lucas and the tension is mounting. Eventually Mr Lucas splits from his wife and persuades Pauline Mole to go and live with him and move to Sheffield.
Adrian’s dad, George, is beset and things get tough for Adrian, especially when dad moves in sassy Doreen who is rather over the top to say the least !
Time moves on, Adrian, as with the others,  gets older and devises a school play – a rather anarchic Nativity Play which Pandora raves about and sees that Nigel is rather shallow compared to the forward thinking of Adrian.
Pauline Mole, disaffected with her life, returns to George. Adrian’s play is a success – life is good. 
I have to say that the actor/musician cast was superb, the music enhanced the evening immensely. The sense of timing was perfect and the audience was treated to a five star performance. 
James Hameed as Adrian played the part to perfection and Sally Cheung as Pandora was terrific, her singing voice is quite something! It was great to see Steve Simmonds back at the Queen’s, playing George with a wonderful grumpiness, with Sioned Saunders his suffering wife catching the mood and the atmosphere of the times.
Dominic Gee-Burch doubling up as lusty Mr Lucas and school head Mr Scruton and Tom Self playing irascible, anarchist Bert lent a lot to the performance.
The scenery, lighting and choreography enhanced the evenings entertainment and the whole cast of creatives and production team should take a bow with this performance.
Sadly this is the final production directed by Douglas Rintoul. Having been at the Queen’s for six years, he achieved and oversaw, with Matthew Russell, a lot of innovative ideas, fantastic community engagement and many productions with a National Theatre partnership.Not only all this but kept the theatre going during the worst pandemic known to us!! He has left a legacy which hopefully will be built on in the future, Thank you Douglas.
Please try to get to see this production, you will not be disappointed!

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole-Photo credit Mark Sepple.

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