Ovation for Susan Boyle on opening night of her new musical
SINGER Susan Boyle received a standing ovation as she sang at the finale of the opening night of the musical based on her life.
Fans from across the world travelled to Newcastle's Theatre Royal to see I Dreamed A Dream.
Both sad and funny, it charts her life growing up in a large Catholic family in Blackburn, West Lothian, until she was catapulted to world fame in 2009 after her jaw-dropping audition for Britain's Got Talent.
She is played by Scottish actress Elaine C Smith, who co-wrote the show and who herself demonstrates a talented voice.
She won a standing ovation - as did the rest of the cast - at the curtain call.
Boyle, 50, took to the stage in a shimmering red dress and belted out the title song to an adoring audience.
When an American voice shouted from the stalls "We love you", she replied: "I love you too, see you outside."
The show has had a thumbs-up from critics, with Patrick Marmion giving it three out of five stars in the Daily Mail today.
He was pleased to find the musical was an "affectionate" look at the life of a woman who has already been "exploited and hounded to near nervous breakdown".
Mr Marmion described the show as "a cocktail of schmaltz and hyperbole", with the schmaltz coming from the songs Boyle grew up with, and hyperbole in the way she singer is "set on a big chintzy pedestal".
But he praised the production as a "jolly good knees-up", adding: "Between moments of throat-clearing reverentiality and tear-stained crooning, there is much fun to be had."
Writing in the Telegraph last week, Veronica Lee also awarded the show three stars, describing it as "often funny and touching".
She added: "Smith has a belter of a voice of her own in a score packed with hits, performed with vim by the large cast and a six-piece band."
Adoring fans gathered at the stage door after last night's performance.
Among them was Marie Sheahan Brown, from Oregon, who saw a preview on Monday as well as last night's official opening.
She said: "I could watch it again, it was fabulous. Elaine did a marvellous job and she can really sing.
"There are people from 15 countries here, and from 20 states in the US.
"She speaks to a lot of people's hearts. It's not only her stunningly glorious voice, it's her as a person."
Julie Johnson, from Cramlington, Northumberland, is related to the singer, who has had mild learning difficulties from birth as she suffered a brain injury.
She said: "The show was absolutely out of this world. It tells us everyone has a voice to be heard."
The show will tour for the rest of the year with Boyle expected to sing at the curtain call of many of the performances.