Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: STRANGER SINGS!, The Vaults

Review: STRANGER SINGS!, The Vaults

Prepare to battle the Demogorgon in this award-winning musical parody

Review: STRANGER SINGS!, The Vaults We've all been there. You finish the latest episode of your favourite Netflix show and you think... now what? Well, fans of Stranger Things no longer need to turn upside down in a frenzy, because Stranger Sings! thrusts you firmly into the heart of Hawkins, Indiana in 1983.

Nestled deep underneath the Waterloo railway, get ready to be reintroduced to all your favourites, who will have you laughing your way through the chaotic events of season one (yes, that includes a dancing Demogorgon.) Even if you're not a fan of the original, there are enough quirky pop culture references and nostalgic 80's synth for you settle in and enjoy the on-stage absurdity.

For anyone who's not watched the series: local boy Will Byers goes missing in an alternate dimension and it's up to his three friends, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, to rescue him. When the boys discover Eleven, a mysterious girl with psychokinetic abilities who's escaped from a laboratory, they find themselves evading scientists and battling a ferocious monster lurking in their school halls. Will's mother, Joyce, and police chief Hopper assist the boys supernatural search, each as bereaved parents. There's also teen heartthrob Steve Harrington, his girlfriend Nancy Wheeler and Will's older brother Jonathan joining in, and who could forget Barb Holland, the Upside Down's first untimely victim.

From the moment you arrive, The Vaults is embellished with as many nods to the show as possible. Set designer Justin Williams has done a tremendous job at strategically placing iconic objects from the Stranger Things universe. There is an undeniable authenticity to the world created, from precariously fixed Christmas lights to discarded Eggos. Adding to this visual tribute are Clancy Flynn's triumphant lighting and Daffyd Gough's sound design. Just when you think you're safe at the end of a dance number, the stage floods red and the guttural roars of the Demogorgon send a shudder down your spine.

Guided by the expert direction of Ellis Kerkhoven and Madeleine MacMahon, the cast are sensational at bringing comedy to even the most desperate of plot lines. The use of puppetry is sharp and impressive, much like the bold choral tone achieved at the end of the many musical numbers. Joseph Riley's Mike leads his gang and fawns over Eleven with youthful enthusiasm, while Holly Sumpton's Joyce is magnificently tortured by visions of Winona Ryder (someone get her that Emmy.) Overall, the whole cast excel throughout, multi-rolling between characters succinctly.

Fans can finally experience #justiceforBarb with a soulful 11 o'clock number that pokes fun at how terrible Nancy is as a friend. Georgia McElwee is fierce and funny, conjuring a punchy feminist narrative that the show never delivered.

Created by writer Jonathan Hogue, Stranger Sings! is as invigorating as it is hilarious and is a great tribute to the original series. Hogue has injected just enough SNL style comedy to make things feel fresh and slight narrative twists give even the most devout fans something new to chew on. It dances the line between parody and original a little too finely at points, but this production is so immersive that you can't help but enjoy the high energy throughout. Lucinda Lawrence's choreography never falters, with an attention to detail that is brilliant in every aspect.

So there's only one thing left to do. Grab your walkie talkie, hop on your bike, and get ready delve into the gruesome Upside Down, this time overflowing with musical flair.

Stranger Sings! is at The Vaults until 15 January

Photo Credit: Giulia Paratelli



Review Roundup: SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND Photo
Read the reviews for Travis Alabanza’s Sound of the Underground, now playing at the Royal Court Theatre.

Cast Announced for Workshop of New Musical PAINTING THE TOWN Photo
A new musical, Painting The Town, is coming to New Wimbledon Theatre for a workshop and sharing this January – February, and the cast and creatives have been announced. See who is starring, and more!

Photos: Go Inside Rehearsals for WHEN DARKNESS FALLS UK Tour Photo
Get a first look at rehearsal photos of the UK Tour of When Darkness Falls starring Tony Timberlake and Thomas Dennis!

KWPR Announces The World Premiere of AN ABSOLUTE FARCE OF A MURDER MYSTERY Photo
In the year of our Lord Nineteen-Hundred & Agatha, the inhabitants and guests of Garbadale Manor have their evening rudely interrupted by the untimely death of Sir Cecil. 


From This Author - Paige Cochrane


Review: NOISES OFF, Phoenix TheatreReview: NOISES OFF, Phoenix Theatre
January 26, 2023

What’s that famous quote, never work with children or animals? After a peek behind the curtain at Noises Off, there should be no doubt that drunks, adulterers, or actors prone to nosebleeds should be added to that list.

Review: PARADISE NOW!, Bush TheatreReview: PARADISE NOW!, Bush Theatre
December 13, 2022

It all starts with a friend request out of the blue. Welcome to Paradise, the latest multi-level marketing scheme for every girl boss in need of a financial lift. Who could argue a £250 start-up fee and enough essential oils to fill a swimming pool when you’re so close to paving the way to self-employed luxury?

Review: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, Lyric HammersmithReview: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, Lyric Hammersmith
November 28, 2022

With winter nights growing ever darker and Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to treat yourself to everyone’s favourite festive entertainment. Who doesn’t love a pantomime? This year, the Lyric Hammersmith’s offering is a re-imagining of Jack and the Beanstalk. Nostalgia is thrust into the present with a soundtrack packed full of Beyonce, Billie Eilish and many more.

Review: PERFECT SHOW FOR RACHEL, Barbican TheatreReview: PERFECT SHOW FOR RACHEL, Barbican Theatre
November 21, 2022

This is a theatrical experience unlike any other, crafted with accessibility at the helm. The framework of each unique production is built around empowering disabled people’s autonomy; Rachel has every freedom available to her as both cast and audience await her next creative decision.

Review: STRANGER SINGS!, The VaultsReview: STRANGER SINGS!, The Vaults
October 24, 2022

Nestled deep underneath the Waterloo railway, get ready to be reintroduced to all your favourites, who will have you laughing your way through the chaotic events of season one (yes, that includes a dancing Demogorgon.) Even if you’re not a fan of the original, there are enough quirky pop culture references and nostalgic 80’s synth for you settle in and enjoy the on-stage absurdity.