Latest Instagrams
Showing posts with label concerts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concerts. Show all posts
Tuesday, 26 September 2017

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Read post

West End Live Lounge: Woman
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Sunday September 24th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

If you're a frequent reader of Rewrite This Story (which I hope you are) then you will know that I have been to the previous two West End Live Lounges and raved about them to no end, so it's no surprise that last night's concert completely blew me away too. As always this will probably be a pretty long review because I want to praise as many people as I can, so go grab your drink of choice and get ready to relive an amazing night, or cry because you missed it!

Each West End Live Lounge raises money, with all proceeds from ticket sales and collections going to a specific charity, in last night's case, Women's Aid which helps women who are in/have been in abusive relationships; a cause which i'm sure we all agree is super important. So not only do you have an amazing night hearing some of the best the theatre world has to offer but you get to support a fantastic cause!

Last night's incredible line up was made up of: George Ure, Marcus Ayton, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Marisha Wallace, Liisi LaFontaine, Rob Houchen, Natalie Green, Matthew Harvey, Paul Wilkins, Rachel John, Kelly Agbowu, Sabrina Aloueche, Jodie Steele, Carolyn Maitland, Laura TebbuttMadalena Alberto, Emma Lindars, Lauren Ingram and Sapphire Soul.

Our compere for the evening was the ridiculously hilarious Samuel J Holmes who delivered gag after gag and was his own stand up act between performers.

Sapphire Soul were flawless as usual when they opened with a medley of classic Bond songs- the ladies, as their name suggests are full of soul and are just powerhouse vocalists which they proved again in act 2 with Bang Bang. From then on the energy was high and the first act flew by with some dazzling performances. Lauren Ingram's version of Crazy in Love was slowed down and sexy; Marcus Ayton's I Who Have Nothing was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as was Matthew Harvey's, Gravity.


Brady Isaacs Pearce was stunning as always with her emotive and heartfelt rendition of Jessie J's Big White Room; her clear, smooth voice is just so stunning to listen to and as I always say, she needs to be in a West End show NOW! Natalie Green as usual was fantastic, with her performance of If I Ain't Got You giving me chills!

The final trio of act one could not have been better; Rob Houchen had the whole audience in the palm of his hand with his insanely brilliant performance of I'd Rather Go Blind. I knew he could sing but man he's good! Kelly Agbowu then owned the belter One Moment in Time before Rachel John sent the whole audience to church with her Take My Hand/You've Got a Friend mash up. Needless to say, by the interval everyone was truly on a music induced high.

Act 2 was equally as good, if not better with banger and banger being delivered flawlessly by each and every person. Emma Lindars delivered Rolling in the Deep perfectly, with some added audience harmonies. Rachel John again wowed with My Kind of Love followed by Carolyn Maitland exquisitely performing Sia's Chandelier which could only have been made better if Maddie Ziegler was there to perform her iconic dance routine.

This act featured two impeccable duets; firstly Sabrina Aloueche and Matt Harvey with Girl Just Wanna Have Fun and secondly Paul Wilkins and Rob Houchen with Field of Gold. Both of which featured perfect harmonies and left me breathless. Kelly Agbowu's Chains was perfect and Jodie Steele's scarily relevant cover of Dear Mr President was beautifully, sincerely and emotively performed.


Liisi LaFontaine and Marisha Wallace are the definition of powerhouses, their vocals, stage presence and overall auras are just impeccable. Marisha along with her own back up singers brought the audience to their feet with her faultless Whitney Houston medley as she sang her heart out to the gods and slayed the entire audience. Liisi slayed equally with her stunning performance of Uninvited but it was their closing number, Listen which absolutely blew the roof off of The Other Palace Studio. Now I've heard Listen several times when I've seen Dreamgirls but this performance was just mind blowing and proved why these ladies are getting all the hype and praise they are at the moment. Absolutely sensational!

So yes, this was an incredible concert. Shaun McCourt is a saint for putting so much time and energy into this impeccable concert for a wonderful cause and I hope the West End Live Lounges continue for a long time to come. If you want a night of hilarity, fun and vocal perfection then get yourself along to the next one and help out some wonderful charities!


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

Vlog of West End Live Loungehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hClGUk1_Sxk

Previous West End Live Lounge reviews: http://www.rewritethisstory.com/search?q=West+End+Live+Lounge
Thursday, 29 June 2017

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Wyndhams Theatre | Review

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Wyndhams Theatre | Review
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Read post

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Wyndhams Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday June 28th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Honestly, I don't know how to start this review because I'm still in shock and awe of what I saw last night. Seeing a six time Tony award winner up close on stage is already a spectacle but seeing her transform into Billie Holiday and embody a heartbreaking character was just another level of incredible. The queen of Broadway, star of screen and most recently the wardrobe in the Beauty and the Beast remake, Audra McDonald is the embodiment of talent and to see her perform on stage is an honour.

Lady Day was originally meant to make its, and Audra's, West End debut almost a year ago exactly but with a surprise pregnancy turning things around, the opening of the show was cancelled.  Whilst this was a huge disappointment at the time, the extended wait for Miss McDonald to perform our side of the pond just built up the excitement and made her debut even more triumphant. 

Originally premiering in 1986 at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, the play by Lanie Robertson tells a version of a concert performed by Billie in a dive bar with a tiny audience just a few months before her death. Visibly drunk and high its a story about a star falling so low in her last moments.  Robertson described it as "a monologue; a continuation of her thought process." Whilst the plot of the play may sound boring- starting before Holiday enters the stage and concluding 90 minutes later with her final song- it doesn't drag at all and is so affecting and powerful that you could keep watching and listening forever.


Audra McDonald is without a doubt the reason this play is so brilliant, can we give her every award going right now!?  However, when I first heard she would be playing Billie I was a little skeptical, as I learned, was Audra when she was first approached with the role. But from the moment the first note came out of her mouth, there was an audible gasp from the audience and we were wrapped round McDonald's finger. Audra transforms her voice to present Lady Day's elusive phrasing and raw timbre perfectly. This transformation is even more impressive when you know Audra's natural singing voice as a soaring, powerful, high soprano. She is so real in her performance, not only performing Billie but living and breathing her with every fibre of her being. She's truly in a league of her own. 

Of course the music of Billie Holiday would be a fraction of itself without the fantastic band supporting it. The trio of musicians- Neville Malcolm on bass, Frankie Tontoh on drums and Shelton Becton on piano and playing the role of Jimmy Powers- are wonderful and show off jazz music in a stunning way. 

A one woman show, set in a single dive bar is unusual and could become stagnant but Lonny Price's direction allows a flow and movement throughout, which along with little audience interactions creates a truly stunning piece of theatre. This is helped by the wonderful set and lighting by Christopher Oram and Mark Henderson which combined, create not only a wonderful set to look at but, but immerse you into the world and allow you to feel a part of the magic happening on stage.

Billie Holiday is brought back to life on the stage of the Wyndham's theatre as Audra McDonald gives a masterless in acting and musicianship in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and GrillAudra's performance is completely faultless and you know she's a star when even the adorable pup Pepi can't steal her moment! This is certainly a highlight of this theatrical season and I will be shouting from the rooftops for everyone to go and see this masterpiece on stage. 

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill runs at the Wyndhams Theatre until September 9th.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Scott Alan, Hippodrome Casino | Review

Scott Alan, Hippodrome Casino | Review
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Read post

Scott Alan
The Hippodrome Casino
Reviewed on Sunday June 25th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

The Hippodrome Casino is fast becoming one of my favourite venues as I see more and more brilliant performances. Scott Alan's concert was no exception, with gorgeous music, brilliant singers and a hilarious commentary throughout, it was a perfect night. After spending the weekend covering West End Live for Stage Faves then heading to The Theatre Cafe to see Rachel Tucker and Marisha Wallace, I hot-footed it over to the casino for a night of music from one of my favourite musical theatre composers.

I have adored Scott's music for as long as I can remember, I don't recall exactly how I found it but it's been with me for most of my childhood and I've been scouring youtube for every version of each song for a long time and have fallen in love with every single one. Although Scott has performed in London a number of times, I have never been able to attend so when I reached out to Scott on twitter and he was kind enough to offer me a ticket, my stagey heart was ready to burst and I was ecstatic that I would finally hear his songs performed live by a host of incredible performers.

Both acts were a celebration of Scott's career with the stars taking the stage to perform theirs and Scott's favourite compositions.  Scott joked how each song he writes is depressing, even his happy songs are emotive ballads which is extremely true and for me, someone who thrives on emotional, depressing music (I have playlist just for it) it was all I couldv'e asked for.

My personal favourites of the night were the stunning Lucie Jones, who dashed straight from West End Live to perform 'Never Neverland' and 'Home' both of which were devastatingly gorgeous.  Jodie Jacobs who I've been lucky enough to see in 27 and Lizzie performed 'Stay' which showed off her epic voice and Kieron Brown gave a heart-wrenching, powerful performance of one of my favourites, 'Again'. 

Another favourite section of the concert was when Scott introduced three competition winners who were each going to perform. He encouraged the audience to be extremely supportive of them both in the concert and generally in the performing industry and explained how he loves showcasing new talent. Erin Caldwell was the first of the three winners, performing 'Always' so beautifully. Her tone, clarity and control was just beautiful and you could've heard a pin drop. Secondly we had Sabrina Basile with 'And There It Is', Sabrina's acting throughout the song was impeccable, her voice is effortless and beautiful but her overall interpretation of the song really made it something special. The final of the three, Bill Harvey was introduced with a candid chat from Scott about depression and how it affected him, saying that he'd felt like he was the "only person to wake up heavy" and how dark things got for him but that we can all make our way out of the darkness and heaviness. Bill performed the beautiful and emotional 'Anything Worth Holding Onto' with a sincerity which shone through and drew the audience in. 

Scott's personality is just infectious and he carries the whole concert with his own unique brand of crass inappropriateness and self-deprecating humour. There were laugh out loud moments from start to finish and the entire concert, which of course overran it's anticipated hour and a half run time by almost an hour, flew by. Scott is candid and honest and whilst he is humorous and shocking, he quickly slips into his own world when performing himself and you can see how much music means to him. I especially loved 'Simpler' which was heartfelt and touching.

As I said before, each and every performance was absolutely brilliant and I could say fabulous things about all of them but that would mean we'd be here all day! Scott's music is touching and truthful and it's crazy that the whole world don't know about it and him. If you get the chance to see Scott or any of the performers in concert then take the opportunity up and you're guaranteed a fantastic night!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

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

West End Live Lounge: Icons and Legends, Union Theatre | Review
Sunday, 18 June 2017
Read post

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
Friday, 16 June 2017

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review
Friday, 16 June 2017
Read post

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
Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Read post

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
Sunday, 4 June 2017

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | Interview

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | Interview
Sunday, 4 June 2017
Read post
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.
Saturday, 22 April 2017

An Intimate Evening with Lea Michele, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review

An Intimate Evening with Lea Michele, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review
Saturday, 22 April 2017
Read post

An Intimate Evening with Lea Michele
Shoreditch Town Hall
Reviewed on Friday April 21st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

I, like so many others, went through a huge, and I mean huge Glee phase. I had all the merchandise, all the dvds, cds, posters, the lot! Seeing my Facebook 'on this day' I think it was all I ever thought about. Every day a status memory pops up saying something along the lines of "watching Glee... love it so much! Rachel woo! xx" so I was pretty deep in the obsession, and yes, I used to put kisses after my status'!

Anyway, Glee was my life so in turn, Lea Michele was too. Lea as Rachel Berry was everything I wanted to be, yes she was over the top and a demanding diva but beneath it all she was a hardworking talented individual who knew what she wanted. She motivated me to work and improve myself and added even more to my musical theatre obsession. Needless to say when last week Lea announced she would be coming to the UK to do a London concert, my 13 year old self came right back. My excitement levels were through the roof and I booked to see her at the Shoreditch Town Hall straight away!

So there's my little background story, now lets get on to the review of the actual concert. Honestly, Lea could have sung the phone book and I would have been happy but she did so much more than that and created a really beautiful night and performance. One of the key factors in the concert being so warm and welcoming was the fact that you knew everyone in the room was feeling the same. We were all (I'm assuming) Glee fans back in the day and were shocked and excited to finally see Lea over in the UK so a lovely, excited, contented buzz filled the room from the get go.

The concert included a taster of the upcoming album Places which is released on Friday April 28th as well as some songs from Michele's first album Louder and a medley of songs from Glee. Each number seemed well thought out and there were lovely introductions given to each one about what the song means to Lea or a little anecdote about the writing process.

Lea has a grace and elegance that makes everything look so effortless. She is sophisticated and simple whilst being rough and vulnerable at the same time. For me personally, Lea has always been such an icon that I never really thought of as a real person. I know it sounds crazy but I'm sure (at least I hope) some of you know what I mean! Lea has always been this idol of talent, beauty and creativity that I never imagined I'd see in real life, so seeing her close up, in the flesh on stage was kind of weird and didn't feel real. I also found it hilarious every time she swore not only because it accompanied a funny story but because it made her seem so normal and genuine. 

Each song was performed wonderfully along with the fabulous band who were impeccable and sleek with Misty Boyce providing the main back up vocals effortlessly and wonderfully. Particular stand-out tracks for me were 'My Man' and 'Battlefield' which are two of my favourite songs anyway but they were done so well I even felt emotional listening.

The tracks from Lea's upcoming album Places were exciting and beautiful and I'm sure the whole album will be exquisite. Lea has such a stunning tone to her voice that soars easily and adds warmth to every note which comes out of her mouth. At just over an hour, I would have liked  the concert to be a bit longer but with only a weeks notice and I'm assuming a lot of jet lag, it was understandable that it wasn't overly long. 

The Shoreditch Town Hall was the perfect venue for this intimate concert, creating an impressive setting whilst still feeling warm and personal. Overall it was a radiant night and I only hope that Lea will come back to the UK soon to do further performances and show off more of her impressive vocal talents and stage presence.

Lea Michele's album PLACES is released April 28th 2017

Photo credit: Andrew Timms
Monday, 17 April 2017

The Musical Marathon, The Other Palace | Review

The Musical Marathon, The Other Palace | Review
Monday, 17 April 2017
Read post

The Musical Marathon
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday April 16th 2017 by Grace English 
★★

The Musical Marathon at The Other Palace was held in support of Orchid a cause close to the hearts of far too many of us; that of fighting male cancer. Even at its most light-hearted and celebratory points neither the performers nor the audience lost sight of what we were there for, and this is what marks it as a truly spectacular and important evening.

Paul Taylor-Mills and Caroline Flack carried us through a maelstrom of powerhouse performers singing songs of their choosing, most of which are in some way anthems of ambition and resilience. Nathan Amzi opened the show with a heartfelt rendition of 'Titanium', and from there, not a single performer gave anything less than their absolute best, each one truly holding the audience completely in the moment. A special mention has to go to Kim Criswell's 'Look to the Rainbow/Over the Rainbow', as well as Emma Kingston's 'Listen' and Marisha Wallace's heart-wrenching 'Stay With Me' as the standout performances of the night, even amongst a group with no weak links whatsoever. In addition, Aimie Atkinson, Genesis Lynea and Stephanie Rojas closing Act One with an energised rendition of 'Lady Marmalade' was a true testament to girl power and their boundless talents as individuals.

Between the performances, Paul Taylor-Mills and Caroline Flack kept us entertained with jokes and anecdotes from their time working with the performers, and even hosted a form of 'karaoke bingo' that resulted in a hilarious improvisation of 'Don't Stop Believing' in the style of Meatloaf and Britney Spears. This allowed the night to easily overcome an issue facing any concert-esque shows; that of failing to engage the audience and thus loosing their attention about an hour in. In overcoming this, we get a sometimes hilarious, sometimes emotional, and constantly enjoyable night showcasing some of the best talent on the West End.

In spite of the fun, it should be remembered that this night was held in the interest of raising money for a serious and important cause which you can learn more about here: https://orchid-cancer.org.uk/

Photo credit: Claire Bilyard
Monday, 20 March 2017

West End Live Lounge, Union Theatre | Review

West End Live Lounge, Union Theatre | Review
Monday, 20 March 2017
Read post

West End Live Lounge
Union Theatre
Reviewed Sunday 19th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

When I say last night was a perfect Sunday evening, I am not exaggerating at all. With the amount of talent that was in the room it was hard not to have a brilliant time! The West End Live Lounge at the Union Theatre was the first of what I hope become many concerts created by Shaun McCourt and Leigh Lothian. The premise of the concerts is that as many West End stars as possible are brought together to perform incredible music with all proceeds going to charity. There are no musical theatre songs to be heard so all performers are able to step out of their usual boxes and really explore and show off their musicality.

The star studded line up included: Marisha Wallace, Gabriela Garcia, Arun Blair, Tyrone Huntley, Phoebe Street, Kelly Agbowu, Natalie Green, Leigh Lothian, Matthew-Seadon Young, Sejal Keshwala, Laura Tebbutt, Nicola Avino, Iain Mattley, Paul Wilkins, Laura Mansell, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Jamal Andreas, Jonny Howe, Katie Brayben, Marcus Ayton, Gary Wood, Lauren Ingram, Adam Bailey, Oliver Savile and Andrew Bateup.

There were a number of lovely duets and trios as well as fabulous solos and the performers also got to show off their other musical abilities such as piano playing which was very impressive. The intimate atmosphere of the Union Theatre in Southwark was the perfect setting for the evening with the whole evening having a warm, laid back, friendly feeling. The stage, complete with sofas and a table added to this vibe and the overall mood was perfect for a relaxed Sunday.

The overall quality of performances was extremely high and every member of the cast and ensemble were flawless with wonderful song choices and joyous performances. There were a number of particular standouts for me. Firstly, Gabriela Garcia and Arun Blair who did a lovely, sweet, and harmonious medley of Rihanna and Sam Smith with a cheeky bit of Into The Woods mixed in! Their chemistry was evident and their voices just work so well together that it's a joy to see and hear them perform. Tyrone Huntley and Marisha Wallace were other standouts and were a theme of my weekend having seen Dreamgirls on Saturday (review coming soon!)

Tyrone's dulcet tones were perfect for the Michael Jackson hit 'Rock With You' and Marisha brought the house down and earned a well deserved standing ovation with her insanely good rendition of 'Natural Woman'. Natalie Green sang Sam Smith's classic, 'Lay Me Down' which was truly stunning.

The whole night was full of joy, friendliness and sweet, sweet harmonies. It was so lovely to see so many people come together to perform and raise money for UNICEF and I really hope there will be many more West End Live Lounges to come! Make sure to keep and eye out on Twitter to make sure you don't miss the next event which is sure to be as incredible and inspiring as this one!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WElivelounge17


Latest pins

Subscribe