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Burretti - The Man Who Sewed The World Musical - The Film

I felt honoured to be invited as a VIP guest of Lee Scriven to see the film of the Burretti musical stage show I first saw last year. I was so excited to see this again but this time in film format on a big screen. Cineworld, Milton Keynes, were kindly our hosts for the evening and many of the cast members were also there alongside the Mayor of Milton Keynes and Freddie’s brother. I feel so proud that this is a Milton Keynes film starring Milton Keynes talent. But then, Burretti was a Bletchley boy so it feels right and proper that his legacy has been brought back home. Freddie was born in London but grew up in Bletchley, Milton Keynes. Just like me. Of course, If you are a David Bowie fan, Freddie Burretti needs no introduction. He was the talent behind many of Bowie’s early costumes including the Starman outfit on Top Of The Pops and that iconic blue suit in Life On Mars video. But do you know the story of Freddie Burretti? Written by Lee Scriven and directed by Caz Tricks, Burretti, The Man Who Sewed The World – The Musical is a must for anyone wanting an authentic show about Freddie. Lee told me, ‘This show has original songs written especially for the show and the star of the show is Freddie rather than David Bowie. There is no Starman performance‘.

It’s 1968 and Freddie and his parents are home. Freddie’s dad (Luke Ashmead) doesn’t understand his son. He wishes that Freddie would play football and drink in the legion with him. Freddie’s mum (Sharon Watson) is more supportive and just loves Freddie for who he is. Freddie loves making his own clothes and looks outrageously stunning in them, but Bletchley isn’t ready for Freddie. Freddie finds some special fabric in his favourite shop run by Doris Delectable (Amanda Booth) and then goes to the Wimpey to meet up with his mate, Dave (Jordan Murphy). Dave is in love with a girl called Genevieve (Estelle Randle), but she is in love with Freddie. It’s a messy love triangle. Freddie gets a job working as a seamstress in a factory but feels he is destined for greater things and keeps having dreams about a Starman. Finally, Freddie makes a decision go to London and work with his uncle (Stuart Rillstone). This is how you change your life. You make decisions that make things happen. Soon Freddie and his new best friend Sandy (Ginny Davies) are VIPs at the Sombrero club where they meet Starman and Anika

The script is funny and warm hearted – and in the film version, I like how the songs are now animated with the actors as well as the singers. It’s been beautifully filmed. It’s never easy to film a stage show but this has been done professionally. It’s great to see the expressions on the actors faces. The pace of the show moves along well, telling the story and all the significant moments of Freddie’s life.

Dennis French plays Freddie Burretti and absolutely nails the role. He takes us on Freddie’s journey of self-discovery and we fall in love with him. Dennis is a superb actor and really allows Freddie to be the star of the show. There is a lovely touching moment at the end of the first act where Freddie is about to leave for London and his dad runs up to the station to say goodbye. I do hope that really happened. It’s such a lovely moment.

Of course, we need to talk about the Starman. We all know who he is representing. Benjamin Batchelor plays Starman who gives a fantastic performance. and I liked both his gentle speaking voice (Bowie was rather shy back in the early 70’s) and his soulful singing voice. Benjamin captured Bowie’s essence and that is the key to playing Starman. I think it was clever to have a black actor play Starman so there aren’t the obvious comparisons. You do not have to look or sound like David Bowie to represent what he did and how he impacted his fans. There is a song that exactly describes how I feel about Bowie. It captures that moment when you first saw him. When you first fell in love with Bowie. It’s called Loving The Alien, (no not that one – this is new!), and its emotional. However, the most emotional moment for me and most fans will be another song, White Feather, which is the stand out song. It’s sung by Benjamin as Starman when he hears about Freddie’s passing and he finds a white feather. After the song, it cuts to a photo of David Bowie wearing a jumper with a white feather motif on it. It’s one of the last photos of Bowie, taken around the time of the Lazarus premiere. Trust me, No Bowie fan had a dry eye in the house. There are things that only Bowie fans may pick up on. They talk about the Arnold Corns period without actually saying that and mention Haddon Hall without naming it. The show covers Freddie’s passing too. Did Bowie get a call to let him know Freddie had passed away? I suppose we will never know for sure, but what I am sure of is that while Freddie was with us, his star shone brightly.

One thing is for sure, Freddie Burretti left an impact on Bowie and in turn, all of us. After the screening, Lee thanked me for my input and said I’ve been a part of this. I felt humbled and honoured. After all, anything Bowie related is close to my heart. If you are lucky enough to get an opportunity to see this – please go. It’s already been agreed to be shown at LGBTQIA+ festivals… hopefully it will come to a town near you soon.


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