REVIEW: Donny Osmond BIC, Bournemouth

By Hilary Porter

FIFTY years in showbusiness and Donny Osmond proved that even Puppy Love can last!

The signature hit featured at the start of the legendary performer’s two-hour BIC show that celebrated his half century in the business.

The man whose face adorned millions of bedroom walls and sold 100 million records worldwide will hit 60 this year but who was counting?

Donny-mania is still alive and kicking as his fans sang, swayed, swooned and gazed adoringly at their teen idol back for his first solo tour in four years.

The Soundtrack of My Life Tour took us through five decades of hits with a career that started when Donny aged just five made his TV debut on The Andy Williams Show with his brothers.

Brimming with energy and fun, he burst onto the stage in black spangled jacket instantly igniting a party atmosphere with a celebratory themed medley of disco tracks. His vocals were impeccable despite some equally smooth and exciting dance moves from the multi-talented star who won America's answer to Strictly.

There was nostalgic video footage throughout - not least the 1972 clip of white suited Donny singing Puppy Love, prompting fans to sing along and scream: ”I swear I have the best fans in the world- you’ve stayed with me through five decades…how about we stay together for another five!” said Donny who also joked "I think I will still be singing Puppy Love when I'm a hundred!"

Recalling the excitement of being cast as Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber's show he launched into a rendition of Any Dream Will Do stopping the song to run off stage and return wearing not only his coat of many colours but a long, comical wig. "This has seen 2,000 performances by me,” he quipped. There was more laughter as he brought on the famous loin cloth too! “My agent told me I must take this role – it would bring me great exposure!” he laughed, recalling that it actually did when his loin cloth fell off on stage in Salt Lake City.

Vocally, Donny never sounded finer and he really shone as he delivered the mellow jazz hit Breeze on By (from his new album The Soundtrack of My Life) followed by The Beatles Long and Winding Road - which led to him telling an amusing story about Sir Paul McCartney asking him for his autograph!

To the utter joy of fans he got up close and personal in the second half, inviting a number of gobsmacked ladies on stage to be photographed with him. Later he answered written questions submitted on forms. Reading out one from Anne Bush who said her friend Ruth had been unable to join her as she was ill Donny walked up through the audience and sang down Anne’s phone for Ruth much to the delight of the audience.

Shockingly the 70’s teen idol revealed he had been given some exciting news at Christmas …he is going to become a Grandad again twice, taking his number of grandchildren to ten!

There was a very fitting musical tribute to Andy Williams with a stunning performance of Moon River and a moving rendition of Love Me for a Reason, accompanied by all the Osmond brothers on screen – the very last video footage where they all sang together.

There was a further moving family tribute with the song ‘Whenever You’re in Trouble’ , written by Donny 13 years ago shortly after he lost his mum and two years before his dad died.

Donny revealed that he has just agreed to do his ninth year at Vegas with sister Marie but it will be his last as he wants to go back to other projects – including Broadway and the West End.

After a powerful performance of Close Every Door there followed the dramatic new song ‘I’m a Survivor’.

Recognising his lows as well as his highs Donny said of the self-penned track:

“The song sums up my life as an entertainer- which isn’t a career for me: this is my life; this is what I do. I wanted to be in showbusiness since I was a little kid but I know what matters is what you do when you are down and you have to get back up again.”

Concluding with a roof-raising, electrifying performance of Crazy Horses and a more calming 'This Is the Moment' it was difficult to imagine a more entertaining and enthralling show from a true music legend.