On the 11th April 2009 the nation was, to put it bluntly, gobsmacked. Perhaps just as significantly, we were also more than a little shamefaced, having rolled our eyes and sniggered a bit at the slightly strange lady who wiggled her hips and aspired to become the next Elaine Paige. That was, of course, until Susan Boyle uttered that first, unforgettable note.
And now we can re-live that moment, complete with goosebumps, as Elaine C Smith (best known as Mary Doll in BBC TV's Rab C Nesbitt, and her stage performances in Calendar Girls) produces an awe inspiring impersonation of the lady herself in a moving, and sometimes humbling, bio-musical.
Charting her life as the youngest of nine children, suffering learning difficulties as a result of oxygen starvation at birth, through the bullying of school years, to becoming the somewhat eccentric spinster living alone with her cat Pebbles after the death of her parents, until that Britain’s Got Talent moment changed everything...
Central to the story of I Dreamed a Dream is that very audition – which Susan actually only managed to get to by the skin of her teeth after a journey requiring her to catch no less than six buses. The writer uses this experience as a metaphor for the challenges Susan has faced throughout her life, the ups and downs, the false starts and wrong turnings through to her eventual arrival, right place, right time... and instant global superstardom.
The show does not shy away from the issues of press intrusion and the relentless pressure which came dangerously close to sending the star into total meltdown. But the overall story is that of triumph over adversity. Boyle herself describes it as "an honest portrayal of my life and... a cathartic process to be involved in."
And then, the moment that takes this already magnificent show to another level. In case anyone has forgotten just who all this is about, Susan Boyle herself will take to the stage to perform, ensuring that there is unlikely to be a dry eye in the house.
Don't miss the show that is guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, and realise that just occasionally dreams can come true.
NB. Although the Producers of I Dreamed A Dream cannot guarantee the appearance of any artiste, Susan Boyle is expected to appear at all performances subject to unforeseen circumstances.