I Dreamed A Dream is just hours away from its first preview (23 March 2012) and Whatsonstage.com Northeast will be at the opening night on Tuesday 27 March to review this new production, before it starts touring.

So when Producer, Michael Harrison, invited me to pop in to the technical rehearsals there was no question of not accepting the offer!

On arrival the darkened theatre, yesterday evening, I settled in to a seat in the front stalls and found technicians both in the auditorium and on stage, with the directors’ voice booming out in the from his seat in the Grand Circle.

The first thing to hit me was how much Elaine C Smith looks like Susan Boyle. The likeness is extremely uncanny and of course we have Boyle herself appearing in the production - she was not there last night.

While not wanting to give any details away, there is no doubting this is going to be a popular show, allowing people a better understanding of Boyle's early life, which until now we know very little about. The part of the show I saw was both captivating and enlightening and allowed Smith to sing two very familiar numbers as the “pre-fame” Susan.

Michael Harrison has been very supportive of Whatsonstage.com Northeast for many years, allowing us access to his recent production of Chess, before the tour began in Newcastle. Also to the Theatre Royal record breaking pantomimes, which he not only produces, but, writes and directs as well.

From the small segment I saw of I Dreamed A Dream, there is little doubt I was lucky enough to witnessed a hit show in the making.

I Dreamed A Dream debuts at Theatre Royal from 27 March (previews from 23 March) until 31 March 2012 prior to tour dates in Manchester, Inverness. Cardiff, Birmingham, Southend-on-Sea, Bristol, Bradford, Liverpool, Dublin and Aberdeen.