Review Round-Ups

Mixed bag for Mole musical

A new musical based on Sue Townsend’s classic ”The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole” premiered at Leicester Curve last night to a mixed reception from critics

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 is a new musical by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary based on Sue Townsend's much-loved book. Running at Leicester Curve until 4 April 2015, it stars Lewis Andrews, Sebastian Croft, Joel Fossard-Jones and Toby Murray who share the role of Adrian Mole, as well as Rosemary Ashe, Cameron Blakely and Amy Booth-Steel.

Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage


"We get Townsend's plot – such as it is – squeezed into a fairly conventional shape and in the process it becomes, more or less, a touching dramatization of a divorce."

"Which isn't to say that it's not a decent musical – albeit well short of Matilda or Billy Elliot. There are flashes of brilliance"

"The score needs one or two more rousing ensemble numbers to really take off."

Lyn Gardner, Guardian


"A new musical which composer Pippa Cleary and lyricist Jake Brunger invest with the same jaunty mix of sharp-eyed absurdity and affection that Townsend brought to her enduring and endearing creation."

"This is a low-key adaptation done with love, and it’s a home-grown hit for the Curve"

"Not a blockbuster, but a quaint, unassuming little charmer."

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph


"It’s an unexpected pleasure to report that this all-singing, all-dancing Mole comes up trumps; in fact, it’s so good it could burrow its way to the West End."

"It makes you laugh, tugs at your heart-strings and honours the spirit of the original while being playfully inventive."

"I suspect that this fresh, funny, stirring spin on a Thatcher-era classic may be around for a long time to come."

Mark Shenton, The Stage


"It makes some elementary mistakes: where Adrian’s diary tells his story entirely from his own point of view, we often here get adult-only perspectives."

"As such, the book by Jake Brunger drifts in and out of its central focus, however sweet and appealing the music of Pippa Cleary is and however smart Brunger and Cleary’s lyrics are."

"If the fundamental structural storytelling of the show is resolved, there could be a strong addition to the roster of family musicals here."

Quentin Letts, Daily Mail


"A musical version of that 1982 novel opened last night in Mole’s home town. Catch it there if you must. The show may be unlikely to trouble the West End or flourish beyond the East Midlands."

"It is decently enough acted. The lad playing Adrian – last night Joel Fossard-Jones – does nobly. Young Imogen Gurney as his love’s desire, the shimmering, worshipped Pandora, is terrific."

"I was not entirely sure if the lack of a distinctive melody was the fault of a bottom-heavy band or an uncertain score – or a basic lack of hummable toons throughout the evening."