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REVIEW - HEAD OVER HEELS | HOPEMILL THEATRE, MANCHESTER | 15/02/2023


head over heels artwork

all about theatre four star review

Head Over Heels is a jukebox musical which features songs from the all female rock band the Go Go's, the production at the Hopemill theatre is the European premier of the show and will be running at the Hopemill from 26th January - 4th March.

The musical is based on the book The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sydney, it was originally written and conceived by Jeff Whitty & adapted by James Magruder. This production has been directed and choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves.

Head Over Heels production shot of Cast

The show tells the story of the royal family of Arcadia who go on a quest to save their kingdom and stop it from losing it's 'Beat'. The 'Beat' is considered to be a divine power that ensures the kingdoms prosperity. The royal family consists of King Basilius (Fed Zanni), Queen Gynecia (Julie Stark) and their two daughters Philoclea (Maiya Quansah Breed) and Pamela (Jenny O' Leary). Philoclea is considered to be plain whilst Pamela is considered to be the most beautiful woman in the kingdom.


Head Over Heels production shot Jenny O' Leary as Pamela

The quest begins when the king receives a message from a new oracle named Pythio (Iz Hesketh) who has requested a meeting with the king. The king meets with Pythio who tells him 4 prophecies that once fulfilled will mean Arcadia will lose it's 'Beat'. Pythio tells the king that he will know once a prophecy has been fulfilled as a flag will fall. King Basilus then convinces his family and court to leave arcadia and journey into the woods in an attempt to escape the oracles prophecies. During there journey each of the characters discover something new about themselves and their own hearts. At its heart this musical is about unconditional love and acceptance no matter of gender or sexual identity.


Head Over Heels production shot of Maiya Quansah Breed as Philloclea and Luke Bayer as Musidorus

It did take me a little while to get in to the story as they speak in a Shakespearean sort of language but one I got used to the language I thoroughly enjoyed the show. All the songs in this musical are fantastic, I only knew a couple of Go Go's song going in to the show but I am now a fan and the way they have arranged the song's for the musical is excellent. It's hard for me to pick a favourite song as I loved them all but if I had to pick I would probably say Beautiful sang by Jenny O' Leary as Pamela and Automatic Rainy Day sang by Pamela & Mopsa (Khadija Sallet).


The entire cast for this show was incredible and they all gave amazing performances but a standout performer for me was Iz Hesketh, their portrayal of the non binary character pythio was excellent I particularly loved the parts when they were puppeteering the other characters.


Head Over Heels production shot of Iz Hesketh as Pythio

I thought the choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves was fantastic and executed perfectly by the Ensemble and principal cast. The set for this show was vey simple and a lot was left up to the imagination but the actors really managed to get the story across even with the simple set a small amount of props.


This is a great feel good show which is inclusive and has a good moral story even if it is a little silly at times. I loved this show and I left the theatre with a big smile on my face, I easily give this show 4 stars.


Tickets & More Info - hopemilltheatre.co.uk


Photos by Pamela Raith





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