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Here You Come Again – The New Dolly Parton Musical

July 16th - July 20th

 

For the first time ever, all of Dolly Parton’s biggest hits can be experienced together in a rollicking and joyous new musical comedy.

Packed with the iconic songs Jolene, 9 to 5, Islands in the Stream, I Will Always Love You, Here You Come Again and more, this lively and touching new musical tells the story of a diehard fan whose fantasy version of international icon Dolly Parton gets him through trying times.

With her wit, humour and charm, Dolly teaches him a whole lot about life, love and how to pull yourself up by your bootstraps…even if your bootstraps don’t have rhinestones! This is one musical that is sure to make you smile. After several successful runs across the United States, Here You Come Again was originally written by two-time Emmy award-winning comedy and songwriter Bruce Vilanch with Gabriel Barre (who also directs) and Tricia Paoluccio (who also plays Dolly) and has now been adapted for the UK by acclaimed British playwright Jonathan Harvey (Gimme, Gimme, Gimme and Coronation Street).

Age Guidance: 11+


Photo Credit: Hugo Glendinning

Details

Start:
July 16th
End:
July 20th
Event Categories:
,

Venue

Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB

Other

Price:
Wed & Thurs 2.30pm: £45.92, £43.68, £40.32, £36.96 & £33.60
Tues-Thurs 7.30pm; Sat 2.30pm: £48.16, £45.92, £42.56, £39.20 & £35.84
Fri & Sat 7.30pm: £50.40, £48.16, £44.80, £41.44 & £38.08
£2 Concessions Over 60s, Unwaged, Under 26s
Members discounts apply
Groups 19+ 25% off (Tues-Thurs only)
Prices include 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th July
Evenings at 7.30pm; Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday Matinees at 2.30pm

Event Reviews

  • Showtime! John Phillpott

    It's March 2020. Kevin’s just broken up with his boyfriend, the Government’s imposed the Covid lockdown, and all he can do now is feel sorry for himself, stuck in his attic bedroom with just four poster-plastered walls for company.

    Several of the posters in Kevin’s gruesome garret are of his idol Dolly Parton, who stares impassively and unchanging, pinioned with drawing pins in her ever-fading grandeur.

    If only she knew of Kevin’s plight. She would know what to do. Oh yes, she would. Stroke his fevered brow… maybe even sing an acapella version of I Will Always Love You. Sharp intake of breath. Sob.

    Sadly though, she might as well be a million miles away. But wait a moment, she’s not…

    For in an explosion of glitter, heels, peroxide and hourglass glory, Dolly Parton herself bursts through the door into Kevin’s pokey pied a terre, like some busty batman hero to the rescue, eager to help him back on his journey to happiness.

    This is a truly brilliant piece of plot development by the writers, and one that will stir a thousand male adolescent memories. For me, the equivalent would have been Kathy Kirby crashing into the coal shed circa 1964, and taking me by surprise as I pored over the latest edition of Health and Efficiency.

    Yes, it was certainly a novel idea. And here’s me, thinking this would be a bio production, tracing Dolly’s humble beginnings in the mountains of Tennessee to Nashville fame, and the ultimate global superstardom.

    However, judging by the number of Stetsons sprouting like mushrooms in the crowd, I was not the only one taken by surprise.

    Kevin, played by the multi-talented Steven Webb, is endlessly hilarious. Blessed with the timing of a stand-up act, a voice that ranges from Bee Gee-esque vice-tight underpants to pure country harmonies, and an athleticism that never tires or falters, one could watch this guy in action until the end of time.

    Now we come to Dolly herself, played right up to the hillbilly hilt by Tricia Paoluccio, that Smokey Mountains southern drawl richer that a jumbo-sized plate of catfish, collard greens and grits. Have mercy!

    Like Kevin, we really feel that we’re in the presence of the rags-to-riches legend. And especially so when she launches into the hits, Islands in the Stream, I Will Always Love You, Jolene, 9 to 5 and, of course the title song Here You Come Again.

    The Nashville sound has always been a niche taste here in Britain, yet you wouldn’t think so, judging by the capacity crowd in the Festival Theatre. But there again, Dolly Parton has for long been a crossover artist rather than hardcore country.

    Meanwhile, the band did the stars of the show proud, never overplaying and staying true to the feel of the original numbers. It was only in the closing minutes of the show that guitarist Alex Akira Crawford really set his fretboard ablaze with some nifty picking as he duked it out with bass player Kevin Oliver Jones, but both deserved this rather late spotlight on their skills.

    After several successful productions across America, the show was originally written by award-winning comedy and songwriter Bruce Vilanch with Gabriel Barre – who also directs – and Ms Paoluccio. It has been adapted for UK audiences by acclaimed British playwright Jonathan Harvey.

    Here You Come Again is touring the provinces before it moves to the West End. And judging by the showing this week at Malvern, I’d say it was on course to be one of the hottest musicals of the year.

  • Curtain Call Reviews - Emma Rowley

    The songs of Country music icon Dolly Parton set the scene for new musical Here You Come Again which is on a UK Tour ahead of a proposed West End run. Will this show hit all the right notes or will we be grabbing our coat of many colours and heading for the door. After seeing this show at the Festival Theatre in Malvern, I can wholeheartedly say you’ll definitely want to come again!

    Written by Bruce Vilanch, Gabriel Barre and Tricia Paoluccio, who incidentally plays the role of Dolly Parton, more on her performance later, this show introduces us to Kevin (Steven Webb) as he deals with being on his own during the lockdown of 2020, living in his childhood bedroom located in the attic, where he is sent up food parcels from his parents so not to spread germs throughout the house, and having to climb a ladder into his abode. He is a wannabe standup comedian, trying to pursue his dream, but with a doomed relationship scuppering his chances for happiness, he turns to the person he loves the most, Dolly Parton, who appears to offer some worldly advice, and of course sing some of her biggest hits.

    There are so many moments we all remember from suffering the effects of the lockdown, including wearing masks, sanitising the shopping as you got home from the supermarket and the overall feeling of loneliness for some. This show explores the many emotions felt by a lot of people during this time, but with added humour and incredible music it really is a show that has a bright future.

    Firstly, Steven Webb is a total joy from start to finish. Knowing him from his time with the West End production of The Book of Mormon, and his quite brilliant social media presence, Webb just has it….whatever “it” is, he has it in abundance and is able to bring side splitting humour, along with being able to deliver the more dramatic heart wrenching moments that had us all welling up at the thought of his unhappiness. Every moment on stage is filled with brilliance, especially the moment when he dresses as Dolly and lip syncs in at least 9-inch heels, a vision to behold!

    Not only involved in co-writing the show, Tricia Paoluccio also plays the role of Dolly. The first time we are introduced to Dolly, we can only hear her and if I’m totally honest I thought it was a recording, however as soon as Tricia appears on stage its clear that its her voice we can hear, and boy what a voice! Everything about her performance is just spot on, obviously she sounds identical to Dolly when singing, but her talking voice was also perfect. You could literally have been watching the real thing, it was quite astonishing. A particular highlight for me was ‘God’s Coloring Book’ which was so beautifully performed by Paoluccio, that I found myself wiping away a tear. I can’t express how perfect she is for this role!

    There are plenty of fan favourites from Dolly’s back catalogue to enjoy, including ‘Here You Come Again’, ‘I Will Always Love You’, ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Jolene’ which was a standout moment in the show, where once again Webb shines like the star he is to provide more hilarity with a red scarf and wind machine….well, a household fan, but you get the idea!

    The show just uses the one set, the inside of Kevin’s attic bedroom, designed by Paul Wills. The walls are adorned with Dolly Parton posters and incorporates the feel of a childhood space (despite Kevin now being in his 40’s!), with cartoon bedding, and a ‘Skeletor’ curtain across the window. Every detail has been meticulously thought through and due to the intimate nature of the theatre in Malvern, you actually felt like you were in the bedroom too.

    Both characters break the fourth wall throughout, speaking directly to the audience and acknowledging our existence in the room. This was a nice touch, and as Kevin struggles with his many demons, you could tell how invested the audience was and how they just wanted to be his friend (including me!), wishing him nothing but happiness.

    In the eaves of the attic throughout the show, some of the musicians appeared, along with Aidan Cutler and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke who played multiple parts including Kevin’s parents, his self-centred Hedge Fund Manager boyfriend and an unappreciative boss. Both performers added the finishing touch to what is a show full of fun, humour, heartfelt moments, and pure camp delight! It is one spectacular Dolly day dream! If you buy one ticket for a touring show this year, make it this one, you’ll have a blast, guaranteed.

  • The View from the Stalls

    A wonderfully evocative musical for the whole family!

    To distinguish a musical about a famous singer from being a simple tribute act to being a story, you need a setting. And, in the case of Here You Come Again, that setting is a somewhat surprising one for two reasons. Firstly, it is set in the attic of Dolly Parton superfan Kevin Rutter's attic and secondly, this location was originally American actor Kevin Cahoon's real hometown of Longview, Texas. For the UK, the script and setting have been masterfully translated into something very British, the attic being located in Halifax and overlooking an Aldi carpark. Equally as important is making the setting something which audience can relate to and in this case, we are presented with something so recent and which had such a massive impact that it is still in the minds over everyone - Covid lockdowns.

    The show is largely a two-hander with Steven Webb playing Kevin and Tricia Paoluccio as not only Dolly but also taking the credit for writing the show with husband Gabriel Barre and Bruce Villanch. Tricia, an American who clearly knows a thing or two about Dolly, gives a rendition of this undoubted Queen of Country which is spot on in every aspect. Steven's portrayal of the lovable Kevin is equally superb, from the moment he first appears, climbing through his attic window wearing a mask and carrying multi-packs of toilet rolls (we all remember that, don't we?!) to his chance to perform with his idol. It's all in his head, of course. The two actors play off each other brilliantly and convincingly, especially as the pair could hardly be more different: she a confident world-class star and innovator, he a shy 40-year old coming out of a failed relationship with his uncaring boyfriend and wandering through life with little direction, locked away in his parents' attic with little or no human contact except for him mum and dad who are self-isolating downstairs.

    The songs, as you would expect, fit in neatly with the narrative without appearing forced, from the major hits like Jolene, 9 to 5, Islands in the stream (which was a hilarious duet), I will always love you, Love is like a butterfly and the title track to others like Hush-A-Bye Hard Times and Me and Little Andy. And when it comes to a party, who better to invite than good old Boris (or at least a cardboard cutout) which shows, along with saucepan banging, Joe Wilks and banana bread, how much this script has been expertly crafted for a British audience. And there’s more than a little of real Dolly magic too!

    And if the response of the first night audience is anything to go by, it must be a very satisfying show to be part of. A very, very funny script and setting, beautifully sung classic Dolly songs and a story we can all, on various levels, relate to – whether you are a Dolly fan or not, young or old, this is definitely a show to see.

  • Malvern Observer - Euan Rose

    ‘Here You Come Again’ is not easy to put into a genre. Yes, it’s a musical – a jukebox musical even – with a terrific catalogue of Dolly Parton songs as its backbone – but talking anatomically and metaphorically, it also has a great big heart which pumps away and sucks you in.

    The show was written during Covid by Bruce Vilanch along with husband-and-wife team Gabriel Barre and Tricia Paoluccio. This version was adapted from a US to a UK setting by Jonathan Harvey. It concerns the incredibly cheesy idea of a single chap (called of course Kevin), who is on the verge of losing all hope for any kind of future, with nothing to do in his attic Covid prison above his parents’ house but to drink too much and pop anti-depressants like they are a tube of Smarties.

    Kevin is a Dolly Parton devotee with posters and paraphernalia about her all over his attic bedroom. In a desperate attempt to bring himself out of the doldrums, he plays his favourite Dolly album. Wham Bam and Alacazam – the country music goddess appears in a cloud of tinsel to do a ‘Mary Poppins’ and change his life. He realises from the get-go that it’s all a self-induced dream, but he’s more than happy to go along with it – and so are we!

    Steven Webb and the characterisation he brings to Kevin are joined at the hip. It’s an all-embracing performance so cleverly executed by Webb that you cannot see the join twixt actor and player.

    Likewise, the co-writer Tricia Paoluccio who also plays Dolly Parton has her every movement, gesture, singsong word and singsong verse off to perfection. She’s the good fairy of Country come to save Kevin and that’s a dolly good thing.

    Supporting this dynamic duo is Aidan Cutler and Charlotte Yorke as backing vocalists and spoken voice artists as and when needed. They pop up mostly on the rooftops and chimneypots above Kevin’s room within the intriguing attic set designed by Paul Wills.

    It is directed with care, flair and a rainbow paintbrush by Gabriel Barre. He subtlety introduces Kevin’s broken relationship with his boyfriend, his failure to make it in the fringes of show business and the loss of his (not very special) day job from which he was expecting to be furloughed, but gets sacked instead. Barre makes what could be a ‘slit your wrists’ watch into something that makes the heart strings twang along with the country guitars.

    Lizzi Gee adds delicious choreography and Richard Pinner puts another layer to the show with some very clever illusions. With his help, Dolly turns Kevin’s prison into a fun palace.

    The musicians Jordan Li-Smith on keys, Alex Akira Crawford on guitar, Ben Scott on drums and and Kevin Oliver Jones on bass make magical music and look cool dudes when they appear on stage during odd moments of Kevin’s Dreamcast.

    Being set in Covid makes it personal, bringing back so many memories of not just sanitising everything three times over, hunting for loo rolls and praying for a vaccine, but for those of us who were lucky enough to be hunkered down with partners we loved, it was actually a chance to slow down and re-evaluate our lives. We were of course the lucky ones – many didn’t make it to the other side and I’m not just talking about Covid deaths here – in all honesty I didn’t lose anyone to the virus. I did however lose two single chums who couldn’t stand the isolation and ended their lockdowns badly and sadly. If only they would had a ‘Dolly’ to dance, sing and laugh with.

    I do not want to end this review on a down though as it is anything but – Kevin survives and in fact thrives and that for me is the back story that sets ‘Here you Come Again’ into a genre of its own – and yes – I would most definitely come again.

    It is so good it leaves you still feeling uplifted the day after.

  • A View from Behind the Arras - Jane Lush

    This rollicking and joyous new musical brings you all of Dolly Parton’s biggest hits, including Jolene, 9 to 5, I will always love you and Here you come again.

    The year is 2020. We are told the story of how a diehard fan, Kevin, played by Steve Webb who is separated from his long-time lover Jeremy, quarantines in the attic of his childhood home in Yorkshire during the pandemic. The fantastic opening set depicts his attic room strewn with memorabilia, musical instruments and posters of Dolly Parton amongst other things. He rediscovers precious belongings from his youth including a much-loved old record player and his cherished Dolly albums and remembers how these have helped him through difficult times in the past.

    Kevin’s fantasy version of international icon Dolly Parton once again gets him through difficult times in his life. She appears to him and attempts to comfort him in his grief over his fractious relationship with Jeremy and guide him forward to know who he really is and love and believe in himself, revealing her own struggles and attitude to life.

    Dolly, played by Tricia Paoluccio, teaches him, with her wit and charm a lot about life, love, and even how to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, even if they don’t have rhinestones!

    Aiden Cutler (backing vocal and cover Kevin) and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke (backing vocalist and cover Dolly) join the cast alongside previously announced star and co-writer Tricia Paoluccio who reprises her celebrated role as Dolly following US acclaim. West End star Steve Webb (Oliver! Book of Mormon) plays Kevin, the 40 year old has been that never really was comedian.

    Richard John is musical supervisor, Jordan Li- Smith is musical director. Kevin Oliver Jones joins the band on bass, Alex Crawford on guitar and Ben Scott on drums.

    This is a strong and dynamic cast with exceptionally powerful performances from Steve Webb as Kevin and Tricia Paoluccio as Dolly. Apart from taking us on a rollercoaster journey of mixed emotions recording his life struggles, Webb also performs energetic song and dance routines including a stunning drag queen routine. Tricia with her stunning voice and dynamic movement depicts Dolly as an extremely warm loving character, and reveals her own dependence on God to help her through some very difficult times in her own life.

    This stunning show which received a well deserved standing ovation.

  • Fairy Powered Productions - Kathie Hodges

    Im still buzzing. If I could give a six star review I would.

    Set in 2020 during lockdown amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic the show begins with Kevin (Steven Webb) wearing a face mask entering via his childhood attic bedroom window throwing multi packs of toilet rolls onto the bedroom floor followed by the rest of his shopping which he frantically douses in antibacterial spray.

    Kevin’s story is one that many can relate to. For those who don’t really know what it is they’re meant to be in this world who hope that one day it will all just fall into place. For Kevin though the global pandemic hits, he’s dumped by his boyfriend, forced to move back into his parents home, Life is rushing by and his dreams of becoming a successful comedian are slipping further and further away.
    At this low point in his life he turns to his childhood icon Dolly for help.

    The set is styled perfectly as a young boys bedroom. The self contained attic space adorned with Posters of Dolly Parton line the walls. A dartboard a skeleton, and storage bags and boxes fill the space.
    The floor above houses as most attics would, the Christmas decorations, and the backing vocalists and musicians. Who come to life on cue.

    At Kevins lowest moment Dolly (Tricia Paoluccio) appears as if by magic from behind her poster to offer upbeat optimism and guidance in a way which only Dolly could while singing her greatest hits unbelievably accurately.

    There are many touching moments, Kevin sharing his loneliness and concerns for his future, and Dolly her lowest point in life, the reality that she would never be a mother.
    However the overall Dolly mantra is to never give up and to always seek out the positives because they are there if only you look a little harder.

    Steven Webb is wonderful to watch. He captured the audience immediately with ease. From tugging at the heart strings in one sentence to making you howl with laughter the next. His acting skills were evident but he has something so much more and it shines and grabs you and pulls you in immediately. Lip syncing in six inch heels while dressed as Dolly and dancing like a total pro was definitely a huge highlight for me.

    Now for Tricia Paoluccio. I’m not sure there are any words to describe just how perfect she is for this role. Close your eyes and you could be fooled into believing that Dolly Parton was on the stage. The voice, the accent, the mannerisms, are absolutely spot on and delivered in the most charming way.

    There were lesser known songs that really showcased Tricia’s heavenly voice and then of course the big hits that had the crowd singing along in utter joy ‘9-5’, ‘Islands in the stream’, ‘I will always love you’ and more. The chemistry is utter magic.

    Aidan Cutler and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke join as backing vocalists, Kevin’s parents and have several other fun jobs like creating the illusion of a snowy scene.
    There are literally magic moments in this musical.

    What I personally loved the most about the way this play was written was that I left with a new found respect for Dolly Parton. What a woman. For all of her mocking jokes which she so openly aims at herself and her appearance, she really is the most classy lady. With a heart of pure gold and a sense of humour and a view on life that made me feel uplifted. Dolly is funny and happy and we could all take a leaf out her book. I left the theatre feeling lighter and brighter and I haven’t stopped singing ‘Here you come again’ since.

    This is a musical which is not to be missed.
    Can I go again?

  • Courie Amado Juneau

    A Dolly Parton musical you say? Well hot diggity dog, what on earth could be more fun? It turns out, not much.

    The story concerns a young man finding himself living back at his parent’s house during lockdown, wondering what on earth he’s going to do as his life falls apart. He needs a guardian angel. He gets one, direct from the mountains of Tennessee!

    Kevin, our hero, was played by Steven Webb in a simply stunning performance. He is personable, hilarious (the scarf-ography during Jolene is to die for) has exceptional dancing skills that nearly put my back out just watching it, a beautiful singing voice, bags of charisma and acting skills that herald a mega star in the making! A killer performance.

    Tricia Paoluccio is an equally incredible Dolly. She looks and sounds just like her, having her mannerisms down to a tee – not easy with such an iconic character. But her singing…she really blows one away with a sensitive yet powerhouse delivery that’s guaranteed to knock the rhinestones off your stetson from the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Total perfection!

    The show is rammed to the rafters with laughs – Dolly’s original one liners are deployed to great effect and Kevin’s are just as entertaining. It’s a truly witty script from the writers; Bruce Vilanch, Gabriel Barre and Tricia Pauluccio – yes, our lead actress is one of the writers! Multi talented lady.

    Backing singers Aidan Cutler and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke played multiple roles in the show (like Kevin’s parents). They, alongside the live musicians on stage, really enhanced the atmosphere, providing stellar support with moments to shine out front too. I enjoyed the illusions (by Richard Pinner) which propelled the story forward nicely; turning Dolly into a cross between a Fairy Godmother and The Fonz.

    A heartwarming story that most of us will (sadly) recognise including breakups, feeling lonely, lost and all at sea… Country music is the natural home for such universal themes and storytelling of this magnitude, so it’s a perfect fit. The writers have cleverly presented the girl next door side of Dolly whilst making Kevin’s everyman quality just as vital and interesting as the marquee name! We find ourselves genuinely caring about these characters.

    With a catalogue including the classics 9 to 5 and Islands In The Stream they take some beating – and I Will Always Love You manages to take the roof off the place. But, really, every song is an absolute classic.

    At heart this is an inspirational story about overcoming obstacles and grasping the opportunities to live the life you wish. Two Doors Down being a prime example – including a wonderful special guest appearance (I won’t spoil the surprise, but it provides some lovely social commentary too, not just laughs). Faith plays a major role too with God’s Coloring Book being particularly affecting.

    I cannot recommend this show full of love, joy, friendship and hope highly enough. It’s impossible to leave without aching sides, a massive grin on one’s face and a lighter heart. Well done all concerned – you did Dolly’s music proud and gave us a humdinger of a night. I absolutely loved it!

  • British Theatre Guide - Rachael Duggan

    A Dolly Parton musical you say? I saw the lady herself at Glastonbury a decade ago and it is quite the memory, so I admit I had some preconceptions going in to see Here you Come Again. Surely anybody trying to ‘be’ Dolly would just be an impersonator? Enter upstage right, in a flash and puff of smoke (quite literally) like a fairy godmother, Tricia Paoluccio—co-writer and a scarily incredible mimic of the lady herself. Let’s face it: when it comes to the Dolly Parton, you go big or you go home, and Pauluccio absolutely nails it.

    It's 2020—what seems like all too recent history to be the setting for any play—and 40-something Kevin (Steven Webb) has returned to his childhood home, isolating in his parents’ attic while they wait out the global pandemic. It’s a slow start, but the familiar nods are there: sanitising your shopping, stocking up on more toilet roll than any human could possibly need, some casual binge drinking. Webb’s characterisation is so nuanced that, for a moment, I wonder if he’s somehow forgotten his lines, but we soon learn that he’s an aspiring stand-up comic and we’re his unimpressed audience—I mean, we came to hear the songs, right?

    Dolly uberfan Kevin is stuck in a ‘pee-hole’ (not a description his idol favours), both in terms of his career and his love life, and it’s time to ask himself "What would Dolly do?". The premise of this entire show should mean it’s utterly corny, but it really isn’t. The script by Paoluccio’s co-writers Bruce Vilanch and Gabriel Barre (with additional material by Jonathan Harvey—Gimme Gimme Gimme and Coronation Street) somehow resonates on a deeper level. You don’t have to be a fan—of Dolly, or country music for that matter; you just need to suspend your disbelief for a little while and become invested in Kevin’s world.

    There are some brilliant touches: a sprinkling of magic tricks, the little details in designer Paul Will’s attic set and his costumes. We had an unintentional wardrobe malfunction with a sparkly number, but, undeterred, and with some light giggling and ad-libbing, the iconic "I Will Always Love You" was delivered, albeit with the need to firmly face front. The musicianship from the whole cast was flawless throughout—and I cannot reiterate enough how good our Dolly is.

    By the end of the evening, even the non-believers had to admit that a sprinkling of Dolly Parton is exactly what we all need in our lives. It’s OK to be down, but ultimately, we’re responsible for our personal happiness—we’re the stars in our own lives—with or without an icon cheering us on.


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