Sheffield enjoys a few rays of Little Miss Sunshine at Lyceum

You know that feeling of trepidation when someone takes a TV show or film you really love and adapts it for the stage?

By Julia Armstrong
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 20:33
Evie Gibson as Olive and Mark Moraghan as Grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine

I never shook it off when I watched the musical Little Miss Sunshine at the Sheffield Lyceum.

If we’re speaking in weather metaphors, the sunshine only breaks through the clouds a few times to bathe the stage in light.

The darkly comic 2006 movie about a hilariously dysfunctional family who go on a road trip to get little Olive to a beauty pageant was an absolute joy and a very hard-working cast could never hope to reproduce that magic. It makes you wonder why the producers thought they could.

The songs sound like Broadway by the numbers and don’t really add anything useful to the story-telling.

An odd device of a trio of imaginary mean girls poking fun at Olive is similarly superfluous, although performed well.

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The family's breakdown-prone yellow VW camper van is cleverly reproduced on stage, using chairs and a chassis.

Brookside’s Mark Moraghan as the old hippie grandad, extolling the virtues of drugs and sex, is a joy to watch but (plot spoiler ahead!) his character is killed off halfway through.

The girl playing Olive – I think it was Evie Gibson on the night I saw it (three rotate in the role) – had space to show off considerable acting and singing skills.

But mostly it’s left to supporting actors like Imelda Warren-Green and Ian Carlyle to upstage the main cast with comic cameos.

Little Miss Sunshine is at the Lyceum, Sheffield until July 13.