Sue Townsend’s beloved novel gets a musical makeover.
Everyone’s favourite spotty, bespectacled teenager from Leicester comes to the stage in a musical adaptation that fans of the book have been waiting decades for.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical is adapted by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary and directed by Luke Sheppard. It transfers to the West End after being originally commissioned by Northampton’s Curve in 2015 and produced by the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2017.
Now making its home the Ambassador’s Theatre, this musical is showing everyone in London why audiences love Adrian Mole. Here’s everything you need to know about the musical.
What is Adrian Mole about?
The musical portrays the entirety of the first book in the Adrian Mole series, which captures a year in the life of its hapless lead as he deals with all of his problems with the grace and maturity of any 13-year-old boy who believes himself an undiscovered intellectual.
The musical starts on New Year’s Day and Adrian is setting his resolutions for the year. Never drinking alcohol. Being kind to the dog. Helping the poor and ignorant. The usual. The trouble is keeping them, it turns out.
His parents aren’t having a great start to the year either. Mr Lucas, the neighbour, spends a little too long visiting Adrian’s mum and things aren’t going well at work for Dad. Adrian worries he might end up in care by this time next year.
As if life at home wasn’t bad enough, Adrian has it rough at school. Bullies are out for his pocket money, tyrant teachers suppress his individuality, and his new paramour, Pandora, likes his best mate more than him. No wonder he’s taken up doing good deeds for the elderly just to get out of maths. If only he didn’t have to do good deeds for the smelly and horrible Bert Baxter.
With all this on his plate, what will his life be like when the next New Year’s Eve countdown begins?
Who stars in Adrian Mole?
The lead is shared by four boys: Aaron Gelkoff, Michael Hawkins, Nicholas Antoniou-Tibbitts, and Rufus Kampa, all of who take turns filling Adrian Mole’s shoes.
The perfect girl, Pandora, is played by Molly-May Gibson, Riya Vyas, Matilda Hopkins, and Rebecca Nardin. His best friend, Nigel, is played by Jeremiah Waysome, Regan Garcia, and Cuba Kamanu, and Albert Green.
Amy Ellen Richarson and Andrew Langtree portray Adrian’s bickering parents, with his terrifying grandmother (who has his back at all times) is taken on by Rosemary Ashe. John Hopkins excels in the double role of next-door neighbour, Mr Lucas, and tyrant headmaster, Mr Scruton.
All of the adult cast (no matter how old or big) also double up as Adrian’s classmates in a hilarious casting decision which fully pays off by the time the school disco comes around.
What can audiences expect from Adrian Mole?
Fans of the novel can look forward to their favourite book being brought to life on stage. Susan Townsend’s wry, sardonic words are brilliantly interpreted by the script and score, offering fans the opportunity to truly look forward to seeing their favourite book brought to life on stage. The actors brilliantly capture the feeling of working-class life in 1980s England.
Life-changing moments of Adrian’s life are punctuated by songs that defy musical convention. This is a show where singing about rebuilding the NHS and freeing Tibet feel right at home in a romantic duet between two thirteen-year-olds.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole portrays the teenage experience with an honesty that’s true to the book. The young leads explicitly discuss their changing bodies, new urges, and angst (often in song). By offering knowing hilarity to any adult audience members as well as plenty of fun for youngsters, the musical has everyone in the audience laughing. For the older generation in particular it’s a perfect journey back to the contradictions and confusion of adolescence through the eyes of a genius writer, a skilled creative team, and a brilliant cast.
What are critics saying?
“A perfectly realised new British musical. A lovely, lovely show” ★★★★★ – Evening Standard
“A blast” ★★★★★ – WhatsonStage.com
“A ray of giddy sunshine” ★★★★ – Time Out
★★★★★ – The Independent
What else do I need to know?
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical is now running at London’s Ambassadors Theatre until 12 October 2019. Running time is 2 hours and 20 minutes including an interval.
Tickets for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.