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Bat Out of Hell, London Coliseum | Review

Bat Out of Hell, London Coliseum | Review

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Bat Out of Hell
London Coliseum
Reviewed Tuesday 20th June 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★


Let's make one thing clear: this show is epically crazy. Jim Steinman's rock musical is like nothing else currently on any West End stage. It feels like a rollercoaster ride where things are constantly being thrown at you from every direction: the great, the good, the bad and the ugly sides of rock music are all thrown together to create a show like no other.

The new show based on the music of Jim Steinman tells a Romeo and Juliet-esque tale mixed with Peter Pan themes and a whole lot of randomness. If you don't like out there shows then this definitely isn't for you but if you're up for a wild ride then stick around. The songs have very little relevance to the storyline and it kind of feels like an excuse to put on a massive budget concert every night but somehow they fit and work in the context. Each one is performed so much energy and excitement that you can forgive them for not technically fitting in. Each song works as a masterpiece of its own instead of fitting perfectly into an overall narrative. 

Bat Out of Hell is set in a sort of dystopian world where a man named Falco rules a derelict, broken city where 'The Lost', a bunch of genetic mutants who don't age past 18, live in their underground lair known as 'The Deep End'. The leader of this mutant group is  Strat who despite barely knowing her, is head over heels in love with Falco's daughter, Raven who longs to escape her boring life. One fateful night Strat visits her room and from there on we fall down the rabbit hole of craziness and things get even more mental. I did say it was crazy! Overall I would describe it as a rock retelling of Peter Pan through the eyes of someone who's had a few too many!

Whilst the writing of the show isn't stellar and there are faults with it, the cast are a talented bunch indeed, with voices that raise the roof. Andrew Polec as Strat and Christina Bennington as Raven have great chemistry, although it is particularly cheesy at times they work well together and their booming voices compliment one another very nicely. The pairs voices are stunning and goosebump inducing. Another cast member who will give you chills is Danielle Steers (Zahara) who received a gasp from the audience when she sung her first solo notes. Danielle's voice is strong and sexy and when she joins with Dom Hartley-Harris (Jagwire), especially in Act 2, they really create a magical vocal moment. 

As Raven's parents who have fallen out of love and are trying to regain their spark, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton (Sloane) are outstanding. They are witty and suitably mental with their performance of "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" becoming it's own mini show within the show. Both their voices have the right amount of attitude and drama to command the stage and ring out above the ensemble.

Jon Bausor's set is mental, with fire balls, motorbikes and so many more surprises to always keep you on your toes. The use of screens is extremely clever, not only mimicking the screens you get at a concert but also acting as a kind of cctv camera, showing us close up action which we wouldn't normally see- it really reminded me of Robert Icke's Hamlet.

The pyrotechnics are intense but not so overdone that they become gimmicky. Emma Portner's choreography fits wonderfully with the disjointed world of the show, conjuring up Michael Jackson "Thriller" vibes mixed with Maddie Ziegler's iconic dances for Sia. It's sharp and popping and fills the vast stage of the London Coliseum well. Patrick Woodroffee's lighting is eccentric and blinding, the exact lighting you expect from a rock concert. But as the Coliseum is smaller than an arena, the bright lights are exemplified and add to the psychedelic experience.

Now this definitely isn't a masterpiece of musical theatre but it is a jaw-dropping spectacle that really has to be seen to be believed. There are more than just moments of gold and flashes of light- it's an extravangaza for the eyes and ears which will definitely leave you feeling something!!

Bat Out of Hell runs at the London Coliseum until 22nd August 2017.

West End Live Lounge: Icons and Legends, Union Theatre | Review

West End Live Lounge: Icons and Legends, Union Theatre | Review

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West End Live Lounge
Union Theatre
Reviewed Sunday 11th June 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

When I went to the first West End Live Lounge back in March, I didn't think it could get any better. I was wrong! Every single performance was absolutely outstanding and I was in awe of each and every performer, it was honestly one of the best concerts I've ever seen, full of so much incredible talent and just a wonderful night for a wonderful cause.

I could honestly talk in depth about every single performer because they all deserve a huge amount of praise but I fear that it could be the longest review in the history of reviews so I won't talk about everyone in depth but I will talk quite a lot so you might want to settle down and grab a cuppa!

The concert opened with a lovely performance of the Amy Winehouse classic "Valerie"by Katie Paine, which started the night on an upbeat, joyous note. Leigh Lothian (who created the concert series along with Shaun McCourt) and George Jennings then took us through the history of James Bond with a glorious medley of the hit Bond songs. 

I have seen a lot of Sapphire Soul recently, both at the previous Live Lounge and as special guests and the Dreamgirls Unplugged concert and am a massive fan of their unique arrangements and brilliant voices and was very glad that they were a part of this concert. The glamourous girls sung a delightful version of "Over The Rainbow" and closed the show with a joyous Aretha Franklin medley which left everyone on a high. Ashford Campbell sung one of my favourite songs "Human Nature" and made me love it and his voice even more! 

Now if Brady Isaacs Pearce doesn't become a West End star, I will personally knock on Cameron Mackintosh's door and demand he puts her in a show. At only 17 years old, her voice is insanely good and her overall stage presence is of someone vastly experienced. Brady sung a mash up of songs by the queen of stage Barbra Streisand and filled her huge shoes perfectly, giving the audience chills.

Cleve September has such a likeable personality which came across when he stepped on stage and explained he had only decided what to perform on the morning of the concert; going out and purchasing a loop pedal and kind of winging his way through. However, if we hadn't known this, we wouldn't have noticed. Cleve's performance of "Feeling Good" was unique and so fun to watch and he certainly seemed like an experienced loop pedlar (??) to me!

The first act flew by with stellar performance after stellar performance. Hannah Ducharme superbly performed "Hallelujah", Alexis Gerred absolutely owned "Come Together" and Sejal Kashwala gave an astonishing performance of "How Comes You Don't Call Me" which had me in awe of her voice. To end the first act, Kelly Agbowu sung the hell out of "The Show Must Go On" and completely blew the roof off the intimate venue which her effortless and faultless performance.

Act two included a few duets where the performers got to have fun signing with one another. Andrew Bateup and Marcus Ayton sung the Stevie Wonder favourite, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", Matthew Seadon-Young and Leigh Lothian performed "Careless Whisper" and Carolyn Maitland and Lauren Ingram sung a Billie Jean mash up. All three duets were fantastic and it's just a joy to get double the talent per song!

Perhaps my favourite part of the night was when two Whitney Houston classics were performed back to back with Ruth Brown singing "I Will Always Love You" and Emma Lindars singing "I Have Nothing". Both performances were completely awe-inspiring and just breathtaking. The talent of these ladies is just unbelievable and it's crazy that they're not international stars!

Oliver Savile channel his inner Frank Sinatra with "Let's Face The Music" and I'm sure made many of the ladies in the room swoon with his suave performance. Laura Mansell's Celine Dion mash up was so sensational and it was glorious to hear my favourite Celine song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" performed so well.

Liam Doyle gave an upbeat rendition of "I'm Still Standing" before Natalie Green gave the penultimate performance of the night with Prince's "Purple Rain". I'm a massive fan of Natalie's voice and adored her performance so much, as it seemed did the entire audience. 

Although an absolutely fantastic night of entertainment showing off some of the best the West End has to offer, the main reason for the concerts series is to raise money and awareness for charity. This concert was raising money for Mind which supports people suffering from mental health issues, a cause close to so many of our hearts and it's great to see so many people coming together for such a great cause.

If you couldn't tell from that very long review, I completely loved West End Live Lounge and know I will love all the future concerts. If you can get along to the next one then please do because you will definitely enjoy it. What's better that West End stars blessing your ears on a Sunday evening?!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts: https://twitter.com/WElivelounge17

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review

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Idina Menzel
Royal Albert Hall
Reviewed on Thursday June 15th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

If you're a theatre fan then I'm sure you've heard of Idina Menzel. The last time she played the glorious Royal Albert Hall, she was known among the theatre community for creating the roles of Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked but since then has reached a stratospheric level of fame. Thanks in part to John Travolta mangling her name, but mostly for her role as the Queen herself, Elsa in Disney's hit movie, Frozen.

Compared to previous concerts, Menzel sung less of the classics and throughout her almost two hour concert, pulled a lot from her eponymous fifth studio album which was released last September. She came out with a power strut, and after a couple of mic issues started playing her drum and swinging along to the upbeat "Queen of Swords", gradually transitioning to the sweeter "Small World" then to the audience favourite "Season's of Love" from Rent. The fans cheered and joined in as Menzel cracked a smile, obviously enjoying her performance at the iconic venue already.

Idina is clearly very comfortable on stage; her personality and self-deprecating humour flowing easily and filling time between songs along with little anecdotes and witty comments to the audience. Aside from the humour, she was also unafraid to get personal. Before bursting into the upbeat "Cake", Idina explained that she wrote it after a conversation she had with her fiancé Aaron Lohr.

"I said to him 'Are you sure you wanna marry me because I have a lot of issues?'" she shared and explained why his response made her love him even more and inspired this song. "he said 'I can handle you, honey. It's  all good, you're cake'" And so we heard Idina tackle the song with vigour and excitement before moving into a wonderful cover of Led Zepplin's "Black Dog".

Another of Menzel's recent achievements was starring in the remake of Beaches alongside Nia Long so it was only fitting that she included her beautiful rendition of "The Wind Beneath My Wings" which smoothly transitioned into the mighty "Defying Gravity" earning Idina her first standing ovation of the night.

A wonderful moment during the concert was when each of the band members got a little solo/improv moment to show off how talented they all are, especially Idina's back up singer who was outstanding in the cover of Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady" and stole the stage with her huge voice.

The moment soon came which delighted many of the younger audience members as well as most of the older ones, when Menzel performed a wonderfully arranged mash up of the The Beatles' "Dear Prudence" and the Frozen hit "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?". The almost a cappella "For Good" was another lovely moment which achieved a second standing ovation.

As the last piece before the encore of "I See You", Idina asked all the little children in the arena to come to the stage to help her perform "Let it Go" which was extremely adorable and hilarious as most of them looked terrified the minute the mic was near them! Menzel made sure none of the children were scarred for life and let them repeat the song as many times as it took for them to feel comfortable.

I found it to be somewhat more sombre and reflective than her previous concerts but I guess that comes with having to adapt to younger audiences and it was nice to see a different side to Idina. This was a memorable night for sure and I'm sure a treat for Menzel as well as her fans!


See my concert vlog here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY8m8Em9Wnk

photo credit: Steve

Life of Galileo, The Young Vic | Review

Life of Galileo, The Young Vic | Review

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Life of Galileo
The Young Vic
Reviewed on Thursday June 8th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
½

Part planetarium and part theatre-in-the-round, Life of Galileo invites us to look to the stars in an inspiring look at a revolutionary time for science. Some of the audience are able to sit (or lay) in the centre of the round with cushions and gaze up at the galaxy filled ceiling as it moves in a beautiful and magical way.

Brecht reminds us throughout that this is a play, using dance and song to make the play more surreal and to distance us from reality. Particularly entertaining is when Cowell announces the scene numbers throughout and the clever use of puppetry which explains what's to come in each scene.

The actors spend their time before the show and during the interval moving around the stage and chatting with the audience which makes the play feel extremely immersive. The ensemble work very well, integrating with the people sat in the centre and cleverly moving into the action and switching between roles. The whole cast work like a seamless machine.

Life of Galileo looks at the momentous change in scientific exploration as well as Galileo's personal sacrifice and the resistance he faced. Returning to the Young Vic after his performance in Yerma, Brendan Cowell takes on the role of the inspiring Galileo robustly and cleverly. He distinguishes the different sides of the man well. With clear divides between Galileo the father and Galileo the scientist and he is particularly cold and harsh to his daughter, Virginia (Anjana Vasan).

The play is lengthy and intense but with music by Tom Rowlands and extremely impressive projections, it's exciting and forward-thinking. It's vast and enlightening  and a unique theatrical experience. Life of Galileo never takes itself too seriously but manages to make a number of scientific and political comments which remain relevant today.


Life of Galileo runs at the Young Vic theatre until July 1st.

TodayTix are offering rush tickets of £20 for Life of Galileo as well as brilliant deals on tickets for a number of shows. Book tickets for Life of Galileo or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/ 

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review

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La Strada
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Thursday June 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

La Strada is definitely the musical which I have been most pleasantly surprised by so far this year. I am a fan of going into shows without looking them up first and I went into The Other Palace with no idea what to expect; thinking I was going to see a cabaret, vaudeville like circus show but that was absolutely not the case. Based on Federico Fellini's 1957 Oscar winning performance,  La Strada tells the story of the young and naive Gelsomina who is sold by her mother to become the assistant to the touring gypsy, Zampanò: the "Strong Man". Her sister previously went to work for Zampanò and never returned so Gelsomina is struck with fear but fights and stays strong so she can send money back to her mother. This is ultimately the story of a young girl being taken advantage of purely because she doesn't know any better and because her circumstances don't allow her to escape.

The musicians play onstage in this piece and really bring it to life. A particular favourite moment was when everyone started clicking their fingers until the sound became overpowering and turned into raindrops. Each dramatic moment is heightened and an extremely visceral performance is created. This is helped along by Cameron Carver's brilliant movement which is extremely tight but looks natural and free. Flowing beautifully through moments and embodying each element that's being shown.

With credits including the National Theatre's Peter Pan, director Sally Cookson is know for her innovative, unique storytelling and has captured the themes and harshness of this story in a brilliantly imaginative way.

Finding herself trapped in Zampanò's world, wanting to escape but needing to make her mother proud we see the external and internal struggles of Gelsomina who is played so beautifully by Audrey Brisson. Capturing both her innocence and playfulness through the witty dialogue and  wide-eyed movements, Gelsomina becomes a character the audience grow to love and become extremely attached to. This is a wonderful contrast to the cruel, harsh portrayal of Zampanò by Stuart Goodwin. Although we see moments of kindness, these are rare and it is the overall menacing anger which fills the stage whenever the strong man is around.

Part way through, they meet, Il Matto (The Fool) played by Bart Soroczynski who acts as a friend and guide for Gelsomina who heartbreakingly confides in him that there isn't any point her being alive because she is good for nothing. Il Matto brings light and warmth to the story, with a carefree attitude and light movement, he is played wonderfully by Soroczynski.

La Strada is a masterclass in storytelling and Cookson has created a faultless production which draws the audience in and takes them along the road which Gelsomina and Zampanò travel along. The piece is fresh and engaging and the constant movement makes it feel alive, it's truly compelling to watch and I would highly urge you to see it.

La Strada runs at The Other Palace until July 8th.

Book tickets for La Strada or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

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Rachel Tucker
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Tuesday June 6th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Rachel Tucker is a superstar of the stage and is currently on a long awaited tour around the UK before heading to New York for a stint at the iconic, 54 Below. Now I knew Rachel's voice was good from the I'd Do Anything days, videos online and of course from seeing her in Wicked but I was completely blown away when I saw her solo performance last night. Rachel's voice is powerful, emotive, beautiful and her overall stage presence is that of a true star.

Rachel's set consisted of a number of upbeat songs to more balladic slow pieces with the flow from jubilation to tears completely smooth and seamless. The whole concert seemed so well put together and like a huge amount of thought had gone into each song and placement, it was really a night of everything. Opening the show with "Miss Otis Regrets", Rachel immediately created a bond with the audience and won over the room with her huge presence and personality.

Moving wonderfully into a rendition of "Candyman", Rachel kept the atmosphere bright and warm and set the stage for an evening of glorious entertainment. The segway into each song was done flawlessly, a sign of Rachel's stage training from a young age. The transition from "Waving Through a Window" (beautiful) to "Climbing Uphill" was particularly entertaining with Rachel reenacting a bad audition before giving a hilarious performance of the Jason Robert Brown classic.

As her special guest for the night, Rachel introduced Samantha Barks (who we all know I love) at the end of act one for a rendition of "Nowadays/All That Jazz" from Chicago. This was a particular treat for us Londoners who didn't get to see Samantha as Velma Kelly in Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl and it was a marvellous end to the first half.

The second half of the concert was just as seamless and brilliant as the first, with little anecdotes sprinkled throughout and an absolutely hilarious tribute to Tina Turner which Rachel explained was her unique selling point when she used to perform with her dad.  Needless to say, the audience loved the ridiculously fantastic and energetic performance of "Proud Mary/River Deep Mountain High".

Samantha and Rachel joined forces again with a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of Wicked's "For Good" which was lovely to hear and joyous to see the two friends performing such a beautiful song in the intimate setting of the Crazy Coqs, Zedel.

Not only is Rachel's singing top notch, but her acting and interpretation of music is outstanding. Able to go from elation to heartbreaking sincerity in a matter of bars. Act two saw Rachel perform "The Man That Got Away" which was just phenomenal and left the audience in pin-drop silent awe. Rachel closed the show with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and the Ed Sheeran favourite, "Castle on a Hill" which really summed up the evening and gave the audience the whole spectrum of emotions once again and gave Rachel her third and final standing ovation of the evening.

Rachel is just a sensational performer and last nights concert was completely faultless. I honestly couldn't have asked for anything more from Rachel or Samantha except for them to sing more and serenade me for the rest of my life! Rachel is truly remarkable, a joy to watch and a brilliant inspiration for anyone wanting to perform. If you get the chance to see Rachel in concert, or in any other show then 100000% take the opportunity as you do not want to miss the chance to be blessed be her performance of dreams and pipes from heaven!

Read my interview with Rachel here: https://goo.gl/FyfrTy

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | Interview

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | Interview

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Rachel Tucker is basically theatrical royalty, with a an impressive resume, an incredible voice and an extremely dedicated following. Currently touring the UK and about to start her second stint at the Zedel in London, Rachel was lovely enough to discuss what we can expect in her concerts, how she stays motivated, her dream role and much more... 


What are some of your career highlights so far?

Wicked on Broadway, it was my absolute dream. The I'd Do Anything programme was a highlight, I loved it, it was great. Oh Wicked 10 is definitely the most recent highlight, it was amazing and a great night.


What keeps you motivated to keep working even when you're knocked down?

I guess the belief in myself, I know I can do it. I think people get confused with not getting the job, they think that it's a personal thing and 99% of the time it's not. It's just you're not right for them or at that particular time or moment for whatever their reasons are. But it's about remembering that it's not me, it's them. I mean not them, but their choice, not because I'm bad but because they don't want me.


Elphaba is obviously a very iconic role. How do you add your own spin on such well known songs and characters?

I try and approach it with a fresh look at it and as close to Rachel as I can because I think it's important to not copy and not be what everybody else thinks you should be and also because it's boring to do it the way someone else has done it when you're not being true to yourself. I'm a very honest person and I think it's very important to be honest with everything you think and how you approach the music and songs and interpret it as close to yourself as you possibly can.


You have a lot of repertoire, so what can people expect when they come and see you perform your solo concerts?

I like an eclectic collection of songs. I've grown up with old school musicals and entertainers and also love very current stuff like Ed Sheeran and I love standards, like some jazz standards. I also love modern musical theatre as well as the old stuff. So yeah, a real mixed bag. A real collection... and a few surprises thrown in for good measure!


If you could bring any guest star on stage with you, dead or alive, who would you pick?

Sammy Davis Jr, Bette Midler and Sting. Oh and probably Beyonce!


You've performed in a variety of venues both in shows and on tour. Do you prefer the bigger, elaborate ones or the smaller, more intimate ones?

They're all different, each of them brings a different thing. The intimate ones I think will be good to start out for me because they're more informal and I love that. You know, I'm not a formal girl, I love being casual and being able to see people and their reactions so that'll be nice. But I also love the big theatres where you have to look up to the balcony and get people joining in and singing along. So I like both.


You're taking this tour to Broadway with 54 Below, but would you ever consider touring it over there?

I think maybe in time, I mean it's taken ten years for me to be able to realistically tour the UK and these things I think take time so I think it'll be a little while longer before doing anything like that in America.


What's one talent you wish you could have?

I wish I could read music or play an instrument. Specifically the piano!


What are some funny moments you had either on stage or off stage?

Oh wow.... funny moments. I'm trying to think what ones I can tell you!  At one point when I first did Wicked, I came back from holiday and I completely left out the whole bit of why Elphaba snatches the green bottle before 'Popular'. I literally couldn't remember a word of it and poor Gina Beck had to prompt me and say "was it because your mum was.....?" and she had to literally recite the whole paragraph and I just agreed with her. It was very scary!


Have you ever sneezed or got the hiccups in a performance?

Oh yeah completely. When I did The Wizard of Oz in Belfast, someone sneezed to me and I couldn't finish my lines cause I was laughing so hard. So absolutely, yes.


If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?

Ohhh which show would I do next? I'd probably do a new show, a brand new show to originate and create a new role, yeah.


If you could go back to any era, when would you go to?

I think I'd go back to the 60s or actually probably the Hollywood MGM era like 20s or 30s


What is your go to karaoke song?

I recently went with my friend and I did 'Simply The Best' by Tina Turner!


What's the best piece of advice you've received or would like to give to someone hoping to get into the performing industry?

You've got to absolutely know your worth, know how good you are and be realistic with yourself and whether you can hack this industry. And think seriously if there's something else you could do then you probably should go and do it because you know, there was nothing else I could do and I think you've got to be very dedicated and very driven and passionate and care a lot about it. And have patience, it takes years and years to get anywhere. It doesn't just happen over night!


A huge thank you to Rachel for taking the time to talk to me. All of Rachel's shows at the Zedel are currently sold out but you may be lucky and get a return! All information about her upcoming dates can be seen here.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Duke of York's | Review

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Duke of York's | Review

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Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
Duke of York's Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday May 31st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

When I saw Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour last summer at the National Theatre I instantly adored it. I started praying for a transfer and telling anyone who would listen to go and see it. I gave it the number six place in my top shows of 2016, five stars in my original review and was overjoyed when it scooped up the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. I'm pleased to say that I loved it just as much the second time in it's new West End home: The Duke of York's and will be raving to everyone again to snap up a ticket!

Our Ladies is exactly what the West End needs right now, it's a fresh, exciting, fun and unique theatrical experience for all ages (...well most ages!) The show manages to be angelic, vivacious, electric and foul-mouthed at the same time and more than anything is a celebration of females.

The six superstars of the show play every single character in the narrative, from their choir master, hilariously named Condom to a series of suspiciously shady middle-aged men. The girls are backed by an all female band who accompany the fantastic musical interludes. The girls are outgoing and dramatic but behind all of that have their own fears for their futures and impending adulthood. 

The girls are absolutely wonderful, not only being hilarious in the comedic moments, but quiet and sentimental in more emotional scenes. They all have incredible voices too, moving seamlessly from Bartók to ELO with emotion, energy and poignancy. Isis Hainsworth is sincere in her portrayal of Orla who has just come back from a 'miracle' cancer recovery at Lourdes, Karen Fishwick is extremely versatile as Kay, switching from on the floor drunk to heartbreaking honesty perfectly. Caroline Deyga as Chell is hilarious and larger than life and Kirsty MacLaren as Manda is just lovely! For me, Frances Mayli McCann (Kylah) and Dawn Sievewright (Finnoula) are the standouts of the group, with absolutely stunning voices and completely faultless performances, but the entire cast are perfect and work together like real life school friends, creating an extremely realistic  albeit extremely shocking portrayal of growing up.

Directed by Vicky Featherstone and at an hour and fourty five minutes, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour provides a tight-knit, laugh out loud, heartfelt story of six girls making their way through life. The raw authenticity generates a warm and relatable vibe of no strings attached purity and fun. Our Ladies is an unmissable production which I highly recommend you go and see!

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour runs at the Duke of York's until November 2nd 2017

Book tickets for Our Ladies or any other show with TodayTix and receive £10 off with my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/

Angels in America, National Theatre | Review

Angels in America, National Theatre | Review

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Angels in America
National Theatre, Lyttleton Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday May 13th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Angels in America has got to be one of the National Theatre's most eagerly anticipated productions and one of the hottest tickets in London right now. The production boasts a line-up of incredible stars with the entire run sold out apart from lottery and day seats. Due to the sheer size and epicness of this play, it is rarely staged so seeing this revival from director Marianna Elliott is a once in a generation opportunity.

The show is big. The glossy A4 programme is big, the set is big, the cast names are big and the length is big. So much is packed in and the scope of the production and the ideas within it are vast and although slightly overwhelming at times, it's an extremely well put together and a mesmerising production.

The cast includes Broadway's Nathan Lane, Olivier-winner Denise Gough, NT stars Russell Tovey and James McArdle and Hollywood film star Andrew Garfield, who had performed in shows at the NT before heading to Hollywood. The acting is utterly sublime, with ridiculous talent and confidence that is breathtaking throughout.

Tony Kushner's two-part play tells the story of the emerging AIDS crisis of the 1980s as it hit the gay community in New York, by as cast of both real life and fictional characters who are living through it. Both parts are dense but liberating in the way they play with form, moving from domestic realism to hallucinatory fantasy, especially in part two Perestroika.

Part one, Millennium Approaches is full of angst and drama but is extremely humorous at points. A homeless woman chaotically exclaims "In the new century I think we will all be insane", when get to part two, Perestroika, twenty-five years later we see that that premonition may have come to be.

Nathan Lane manages to have both our hate and sympathy as the vicious, closeted lawyer Roy. Denise Gough lives right up to her superstar name and she embodies the role of the drugged out, angry and upset, Harper, giving a mesmerising performance. James McArdle is wonderful as the infuriatingly sensitive Louis. Russell Tovey brings pain and innocence to the confused Mormon Republican Joe and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is fantastic as Belize who is perhaps the only sane one of the group. But it's Andrew Garfield who steals the show. He is breathtaking as the shows lead, Prior Walter. Garfield is intense and committed to the role with just the right amount of wit and grit to make this somewhat wacky character come to life in perfect colour on stage.

Although the context of Angels in America is different in 2017, especially with regards to AIDS, the play feels extremely relevant and the revival couldn't have come at a better time. The action looks back at the time Reagan was in office and studies his right-wing policies which are scarily analogous with Donald Trump's. This makes everything even more resonant and emphasises the fractured America where opinions on gender, wealth and race have unfortunately not changed.

This play is unlike anything else, with a mix of angsty, sardonic, gloomy surrealism which is a roller coaster from moment one. There are so many moments of shock that jump out like an endless stream of consciousness and it's really like being inside Kushner's brain as his thoughts vomit out. Although that doesn't sound particularly pleasant, it really is. There's something magical and truthful about the craziness. This play is not likely to be seen again in the near future and this production of the modern masterpiece is sure to stay with everyone who sees it until the next one comes about. Angels in America is epic but the most important thing is that it promotes discussion and remains relevant.

Angels in America will be broadcast to cinemas by NT Live from 20 July.

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