Stranger Sings

"This crazy, chaotic show will flip your head upside down"

The phenomenon that is Stranger Things has millions of fans all over the world, captivated by its dramatic and intense scenes involving creatures from another dimension. Written by the Duffer Brothers for Netflix, the characters have become iconic in the world of American science fiction horror drama television.

Now, flip that on its head in the most glorious and madcap way, and you are introduced to Stranger Sings, a musical parody packed full of familiar faces and hilarious moments that really do turn your mind upside down!  Forget everything you know of the seriousness of Stranger Things and prepare to be entertained.

As soon as each character appears on stage, you know exactly who they are supposed to be without them even opening their mouths.  The costuming is superb, and you are instantly transported to Hawkins in the 1980’s.  It would be prudent for me to say that you have to have knowledge of Stranger Things before seeing this show, as otherwise it would make no sense to you whatsoever! There are many jokes strewn throughout that only a fan of the show would understand, thankfully I am one of them and revelled in the clever use of the storyline and the reinvention of the characters into the bonkers show it is.

The cast showcased their comedic abilities during the show with special mention to Phillippa Leadbetter who plays ‘Barb’, a probably lesser known and short-lived character in the original TV series, however by the end of this show, she becomes centre stage and is hilariously entertaining, even falling in love with a Demorgorgon!  Other stand out performances go to Howard Jenkins as Hopper as he strode around the stage with the swagger of an action hero completely hamming up the role famously played by David Harbour.  Verity Power as Joyce not only has the look of Winona Ryder but nailed the mannerisms and the ‘woman living on the edge’ vibe perfectly!  There is a fantastic musical number showcasing the many shows Winona Ryder has featured in with cameos from Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands which raised more than a few laughs.

For the musical theatre fan there are many moments of familiarity with songs in the style of Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked and Gypsy.  The quality of the vocal performances is also first class, especially from Anna Amelia who plays multiple roles Nancy/Eleven/Robin and the aforementioned Phillippa Leadbetter as Barb.  There were plenty of songs throughout all played with a Synth 80’s feel, however if felt that there may be one too many musical interludes, feeling at times that as soon as one song finished, the next started.  There were also a couple of occasions where the music seemed to drown out the vocal, so not every word was clear.

There was the inclusion of Will as a puppet.  If I’m totally honest I didn’t get this directorial choice, but of course it made for a more hilarious and ridiculous plot line.  The story is condensed down, combining elements from all four seasons of the hit TV series to make this show a two-hour fun packed experience with all your favourite characters.  William Shackleton as Dustin was able to replicate not only the look of Gaten Matarazzo, but his slight lisp when speaking.  Elliott Wooster as Mike, Jessie Jae Davis as Lucas/Demorgorgon and Alfie Doohan as Steve/Jonathan/Dr Brenner all provided confident and polished performances.

For a completely mad, fun and crazy night out for any Stranger Things fan, this production has it all!

This show was reviewed on the 15th January 2024.  Stranger Sings runs at the Wolverhampton Grand until the 17th January 2024.  Tickets available here: STRANGER SINGS | Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Full tour details here: Buy Tickets | Stranger Sings (strangersingsuk.com)

Review written by Emma Rowley

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