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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical - Review

Sue Townsend's beloved character returns home once more as Leicester Amateur Operatic Society stages a charming production of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical at the Little Theatre.

The cast of Adrian Mole with Zach Ball as Adrian (Centre). Photo by James Mottram Photography

The musical premiered in 2015 at Curve and was reworked for runs in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory and the Ambassadors and LAOS have clearly had a fun time in staging their first production for 3 years.

It follows Adrian as he navigates his early teenage years with his parent's marriage falling apart, falling in love, a growing sexual appetite as well as fitting in with his school peers. Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary's show punches these themes with music. The soundtrack includes some wonderful tunes.

Undeniably this is an uplifting show as the journey develops and Adrian comes out of his shell for romance and as he follows his passion for writing but it does take a little time to get going but once it does it rattles along at quite a pace. The 80s setting leaves means some references may go over your head.

Zach Ball does a tremendous job as Adrian. He carries the emotions of the role with real skill. It's a formidable part as the central figure for a youngster and Ball is believable throughout. Harrison Willmott is great as school friend Nigel.

The cast of Adrian Mole. Photo by James Mottram Photography

Both Ball and Willmott bounce well with Olivia King as Pandora. Arguably the strongest of the young performers, King shows great confidence as the love interest that attracts Adrian and Nigel. King has great vocals and moves with ease and confidence which shows clear potential for the future.

Adrian's parents go through a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the show as their failing marriage unravels. Sarah-Jane Barton-Wales impresses as Pauline, her initial infidelity and relationship with Richard Wiles as Mr. Lucas could easily make her unlikeable but she stays likeable throughout. Nick Cox superbly carries the role of George, Adrian's Dad, a bit of a slob and clearly not aware of how his behaviour affects those around him. 

There are some magnificent supporting roles with Martin Bell making aging Bert a grumpy funny figure, Emily Childs shows strong vocals and a warm presence as teacher Miss Elf and there's lovely puppetry by Jacq Ardron as the Mole family dog. 

Under director Joshua J Knott the show is impressively staged with the aid of two doors on either side of the stage and a variety of props that distinguish the locations from Adrian's home, to the school and to the final Nativity sequences. Jessica Vaughan adds good choreography that the company pulls off with great capability. There's a solid on-stage band under the musical direction of Steven Duguid.

If you're looking for a feel-good show then Adrian Mole won't let you down and LAOS once again prove their talents for staging a big musical. The passion and talent of all involved make for a hugely enjoyable evening.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical plays at The Little Theatre in Leicester until Saturday 24th September. Tickets are available from You can find out more about the Leicester Amateur Operatic Society from their website

 The cast of Adrian Mole. Photo by James Mottram Photography

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