Review: Jason Donovan, Ipswich Regent, May 17

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance.
Selina and Chris

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance. Selina and Chris Mayhew. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

He was the floppy-haired prince of antipodean pop who was one of the biggest heartthrobs around in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance.
Clare and Dawn Sy

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance. Clare and Dawn Symonds. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

And the signs (well, screams really) from the crowd at the Ipswich Regent last night suggested that Jason Donovan remains as popular as ever among his dedicated supporters.

Bubblegum pop and slightly embarrassing dance moves were the order of the night which will have brought back memories for many of the (mostly female) fans filling the auditorium.

After a string of 16 top 40 hits between 1988 and 1992, successful concert tours and a spell on the West End stage in hit musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jason virtually vanished from public view in the mid-1990s.

After struggling with drug addiction, damaging headlines and enduring a decade or so of touring student union halls and making the odd TV appearance, he relaunched his career thanks in large to turns on reality shows.

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance.
Carly Taylor and

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance. Carly Taylor and Christine Gooch. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Coming third on both I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2006 (a result which he says revived his career) and Strictly Come Dancing in 2011, which saw him partnered with Kristina Rihanoff, not only saw him reclaim his old fans but win over a whole new generation thanks to his heart-on-his-sleeve good-guy approach.

Now he’s back on the road with his Ten Good Reasons greatest hits tour and the star and his band stopped off in Suffolk last night.

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Tracks such as Sealed with a Kiss, Every Day (I Love You More), Nothing Can Divide Us and When You Come Back to Me were belted out as loudly as they once were from the stereo in my sister’s bedroom.

She was with me last night and it was a chance for her to relive her memories of the hugely popular Doin’ Fine tour of 1990, which saw her head to Wembley for a date with the star at the peak of his powers. She’s still got the T-shirt somewhere. It doesn’t fit any more (well, she was eight at the time).

Jason Donovan was at The Ipswich Regent last night

Jason Donovan was at The Ipswich Regent last night - Credit: PA

The hits kept on coming, mainly from the golden age of Stock Aitken and Waterman, the pop production masterminds who helped package Jason and fellow Neighbour stars Kylie Minogue. Any Dream Will Do (from Joseph), Rhythm of the Rain, Happy Together (which saw him take mid-song selfies with the fans closest to the stage) and – of course – the anthemic (and really, rather good pop song) Too Many Broken Hearts were included in the set.

In the second half he played debut record Ten Good Reasons – the biggest selling album of 1989, believe it or not – in full, culminating in the classic duet Especially For You, although without Kylie popping down to Suffolk’s county town, it was left to his more than capable backing singer to fill in for the fitting finale.

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead of Jason Donovan's performance.
L-R Hannah Stewar

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead of Jason Donovan's performance. L-R Hannah Stewart,Sue Bartlett,Hayley Stewart. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance.
Gemma Hewson and

Excited crowds start to gather at the Regent ahead if Jason Donovan's performance. Gemma Hewson and Shannon Dunnett. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

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