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REVIEW - TO WONG FOO THE MUSICAL | HOPE MILL THEATRE, MANCHESTER | 04/11/2023


To Wong Foo The Musical artwork


all about theatre 4 star review


To Wong Foo The Musical is based on the 1995 cult-classic movie To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar and has been written and directed by Douglas Carter Bean who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. The musical has music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn and choreography from Jane McMurtrie.



Peter Caulfield as Vida Pablo Gomez as ChiChi and-Gregory-Haney as Noxeema and the company of To Wong Foo The Musical

The musical tells the story of 3 drag queens, Vida Boheme (Peter Caulfield), Noxeema Jackson (Gregory Haney) and Chi-Chi Rodriquez (Pablo Gomez Jones). After taking part in the New York City's Drag Queen of the year competition Noxeema & Vida take joint first place and win a trip to Hollywood to attend the Drag Queen of the year finals. This was the first competition that Chi-Chi had entered and she was upset that she didn't win. Vida takes pity on young Chi-Chi and convinces Noxeema that they should take Chi-Chi on as their prodigy and take her to Hollywood with them. So Vida and Noxeema meet up with a friend at a restaurant to cash in their plane tickets, whilst there Vida finds an autographed photo of Julie Newmar which is signed "To Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar" and she takes this with her. The drag queens use the money they got for their plane tickets to buy a car so that they can drive to Hollywood but instead of buying a reliable car they choose style over substance and buy an old Cadillac. So, the 3 of them set off on a trip across America to get to the drag queen of the year finals in Hollywood. On the way their car breaks down in middle America and they are forced to spend the weekend in a small town named Snydersville. During there stay in Snydersville both their lives and those of the towns people are turned upside down.



the company of To Wong Foo The Musical

This show features an original score by Lewis Flinn which has some great catchy choons, some of my favourites include the opening number "feel the light" as well as "Make a Scene" and the closing number "It will be beautiful" . The costumes in this show were fantastic and were designed by Gregory Gale, each drag queen had a lot of costume changes and each costume thy wore reflected the drag queen's personality and unique style. I loved how colourful and flamboyant the drag queen's costumes were compared with the drab costumes the towns people wore. The set for the musical was simple but effective they used lots of props as well as using Dan Lights video design to create the scenery, the combination of set, props, lighting and video designed worked well together to give the audience a good visual experience.



Peter Caulfield as Vida Pablo Gomez as ChiChi and-Gregory-Haney as Noxeema and the company of To Wong Foo The Musical

The cast for this show were excellent, Peter Caulfield as Vida gave a strong and heartfelt performance with great vocals and he was definitely the stand out performer of the night for me, he was fantastic and commanded the stage whenever he was on it. Gregory Haney as Noxeema was perfectly cast his snarkiness and dry humour worked really well for the character and his vocals were fantastic. Pablo Gomez Jones played Chi-Chi and was hilarious in the role but he was also able to show Chi-Chi's vulnerable side perfectly. Carolyn Maitland was perfect as Carole Ann and her powerhouse vocals were a joy to hear. The show also featured a fantastic ensemble who were strong throughout and really helped to bring the story to life on stage.



Peter Caulfield as Vida Pablo Gomez as ChiChi and-Gregory-Haney as Noxeema in To Wong Foo The Musical

I loved To Wong Foo The Musical it is such a feel-good show which is all about friendship and acceptance and is just a wonderful celebration of drag. I did feel however that the Hope Mill stage was a little small for the production especially when the entire cast was on stage at the same time as they looked a little squashed up with not a lot of space to move. I think given a bigger stage where they would be able to have a full set and more room to carry out the choreography this show could do really well and I think it definitely deserves a life after its run at the Hope mill and I would love to see this show again.


To Wong Foo The Musical is on at the Hope Mill Theatre until 17th December, you can purchase tickets and find out more about the show by clicking on the button below.




Photo Credit - Pamela Raith








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