'DREAM A LITTLE DREAM': Theatre Review by Emma Barraclough
The Grand Theatre’s production of “Dream A Little Dream: The nearly true story of The Mamas and The Papas” follows the story of the quick rise and fall of the iconic 60’s band The Mamas and The Papas. The musical, written by late band member Denny Doherty and playwright Paul Ledoux, began as a monologue performance, before turning into the full production it is now. It tells the story of how four downtrodden, broke, musical artists hit the big time and all the problems that came along with it. It is a light hearted story with sharp wit that had the audience burst into laughter on various occasions. It also kept in mind the harsh political situations of the time such as the assassination of JFK and war protests. The music, directed by Marek Norman, included numbers from other famous bands of the 1960’s including The Beatles, The Big 3, The Lovin’ Spoonful and many others. On opening night you could sense the excitement in the air, with a full theatre of an eager crowd that included two of Denny Doherty’s children.
The set, designed by Cameron Porteous, was somewhat simple. There was a balcony connected by stairs to two platforms on either side of the stage for the entire show, along with three screens above each of the pieces for image and video projection. The platforms were used incredibly well, having different scenes acted at the same time, showing the differences with spotlights and backgrounds of differing cities on each screen. The screens were also used to express what year it was, allowing for smooth chronological changes.
What blew me away was the eight-member cast. The Mamas and The Papas are a group well known for their folk rock sound and their vocal ability, specifically their extremely difficult harmonies. As a fan of the band who has heard their music long before this show, the cast definitely lived up to my expectations. The group was led by John Phillips, played by Isaac Bell, his wife, Michelle Phillips (Katie Ryerson), along with longtime friends Cass Elliott, played by Lili Connor, and Denny Doherty, played by Robert Mark