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Showing posts with label emma kingston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label emma kingston. Show all posts
Wednesday, 16 August 2017

In Conversation With... Emma Kingston | Interview

In Conversation With... Emma Kingston | Interview
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
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In my opinion, Emma Kingston has one of the absolute best voices on the West End. I've been fortunate enough to see her in a number of shows and concerts, including Les Miserables, In The Heights and most recently, the stunning Fiddler on the Roof at the Chichester Festival theatre. Emma was kind enough to sit down and discuss Fiddler, After Anatevka, her hidden passion and more...




Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different dream when you were younger?

I've always wanted to be a performer. I used to sing Les Mis and Anything Goes with my dad all the time. 



Have you got any hidden passions you’d like to pursue?

I love Psychology! As an actor I love getting inside a characters brain. I studied Psychology at A Level and I would love to further my understanding of why people are the way they are. Furthering my study's would interest me as well as it being useful as an actor.



What drew you to the role of Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof- are the two of you alike in any ways?

I'm jewish, so growing up Fiddler was always being quoted around the house. I used to watch the film with my grandma. Also, ‘Far from the Home I Love’ was the first song I ever sang in a singing lesson when I was 11.



How is this production bringing something new to the well-loved musical?

We are so lucky that our production in Chichester has amazing new orchestrations by David White and new choreography by Alistair David, bringing a fresh take on the brilliant musical.

Sam MacKay (Usnavi) and Emma Kingston (Vanessa) in In The Heights

Do you feel any extra responsibility or pressure playing one of the few explicitly Jewish female characters in musical theatre?

I feel a responsibility to show the traditions in a way that people of other cultures can relate to. I want to show people that Judaism is a way of life as well as a religion. The community aspect for me is so important.



What’s your research process like for each role you take on, has After Anatevka helped add a new dimension to your portrayal?

For Fiddler I dived into researching about Russia pre 1905 and Russian attitudes towards jewish people. Also looking at Jewish culture in shetles in Russia. My paternal grandparents were children of immigrants from Lithuania and Oddessa, so I had lots of family history to draw on.

After Anatevka I am enjoying so much, especially now I understand so much more about Hodel. I’m loving reading her journey after she leaves home, and how Alexandra has filled in the parts of Fiddler that we don't see in the musical. 



If you’d written After Anatevka would you have given Hodel the same after story? 

Alexandra's story has portrayed so many aspects of Hodel's life during the Fiddler story and after that I thought about a lot. Especially the way she highlights her relationship with her sisters and Perchik. As I'm reading, I feel that the story all completely slots into place and I can't imagine her next journey any other way.



Tradition is obviously the central theme in Fiddler. Do you have any family traditions?

My family traditions are the Fiddler traditions! Every Friday night my family and I get together for a shabbat meal. We celebrate Jewish festivals like Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Passover and many others.

Emma Kingston (Hodel), Simbi Akande (Tzeitel) , Rose Shalloo (Chava) in Fiddler on the Roof

How do you keep your voice healthy? Do you have any vocal rituals?

Drink endless amounts of water and concentrate on centring your breathing.  



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

After Fiddler, I'm playing Eva Peron in the Hal Prince production of Evita, international tour and I can't wait! My mum is Argentine, so it's a huge bucket list role, much like Hodel in Fiddler is! 



Whats a fun fact people might not know about you?

One of my first words was Archemeaies (the owl from sword in the stone) my parents were so proud haha! 



What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?


Don't compare your journey to anybody else's. Be original. I read a quote by Steve Martin "Be so good they can't ignore you”, to me that means work as hard as you can on being the best you can be.



Thank you so much Emma for taking the time for this interview. Fiddler on the Roof runs until September 2nd. 

Read my review of After Anatevka here and keep an eye out for an interview with Alexandra Silber and a giveaway!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber (Book) | Review

After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber (Book) | Review
Saturday, 12 August 2017
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Not just a writer, but a renowned actress both here in the UK and across the pond, Alexandra Silber has successfully made an incredible transition from stage to page with her debut novel, After Anatevka. The novel is a study of love and tradition in Russia in the early twentieth century and is the perfect continuation of Fiddler on the Roof and Hodel's story. Silber's writing is stunningly eloquent and she conjures up images of the long gone world with a delightful flow and accuracy.

With the ever growing popularity of sites such as fanfic and wattpad, there seems to be a desire to continue the stories of our favourite characters, but whilst these can sometimes be cheesy and idealistic, Silber's is raw, truthful and gritty.

We last see Hodel, the second eldest daughter of Tevye and Golde, when she is leaving her father in Anatevka as she gets on a train to Siberia to work and be with her love, Perchik who has been branded as a political criminal by the Tsarist government. As the train approaches, Hodel promises her father that one day, she and Perchik will be married in a traditional Jewish ceremony although they both know Tevye will never see this happen as she says "God alone knows when we shall see each other again". This is the final time we see Hodel and are left to to deal with the heartbreaking reality of what she would have faced when she reached Siberia.  

After Anatevka tells us exactly what Hodel faced in the corrupt, violent world she was placed in on her mission to reach her fiancé. I think what's most heartbreaking about this novel is how much truth is in it. Whilst this is a work of fiction, the happenings are not fictional and many, if not all prisoners of the state were treated in the same atrocious ways. What's clear is how painstakingly meticulous Silber's research was and how she was able to weave this all in to create a shockingly truthful portrayal of Siberia in the early twentieth century. 

As well as showing the pain Hodel experiences in the present, Silber also throws in little anecdotes about her childhood and her relationship with her sisters, especially her somewhat combative but loving sister, Tzeitel. Their love is clear and provides moving passages showing the longing she feels to see those she left behind. Perchik's backstory is also particularly interesting and adds a layer which is not seen in the show and shows why he fights his way through the Gulag's challenges so ferociously.

After Anatevka is a profound debut novel. Alexandra provides a sentimental, insightful and truthful take on a world where change and tradition and forever at war with one another and a beautiful look at love. Silber's writing flows with an ease and simplicity that makes it a joy to read and she is an extremely accomplished story teller.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


After Anatevka is available to purchase here!

If you enjoy reading book reviews, head over to my book review site: www.livsbookishlife.blogspot.co.uk
Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester Festival Theatre | Review

Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester Festival Theatre | Review
Wednesday, 2 August 2017
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Fiddler on the Roof
Chichester Festival Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday August 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

It's not often that I venture out of London for theatre but when I do it's usually to Chichester and so far I've never been disappointed with a production. Of the various shows I've seen there, Fiddler on the Roof is by far the best and I am completely in awe of its brilliance. If I Were A Rich Man, I would fund this productions transfer to the West End right this minute, but as I'm not I will have to settle with the fact that the show, directed by Daniel Evans is absolutely fantastic so is more than likely to make the move without me... I'll just have to wait a little while.

Set in rural Tsarist Russia in 1905 when the first hints of revolution are revealing themselves, we follow Tevye who is trying to preserve tradition in the face of a changing world by marrying off his daughters. They, however, want to marry not for money but for love. In a time when Russia's Jews are facing incredible hardships where tradition is one of the few things keeping them together, Tevye has to decide whether his daughters' happiness is more important than his adored traditions. 

Omid Djalili was born to play the poor dairyman, Tevye. His masterful comedic timing is pure excellence but he also manages to capture his internal torment and external hardships perfectly. Djalili is able to involve the audience with every thought that goes through his head and makes sure that every side of the Festival Theatre gets to feel and see the emotion. Tracy-Ann Oberman is great as his wife, Golde, with her caustic personality the ideal contrast to the bright, humorous Tevye. 


Emma Kingston (Hodel) and Louis Maskell (Perchik)

The rest of the family are equally strong with the daughters each having clear personalities and being performed to the fullest. Simbi Akande as Tzeitel is sweet but strong, begging her father to allow her to marry the impoverished tailor, Motel (Jos Slovic). The pair work wonderfully together. Emma Kingston shows off her stunning voice as Hodel who falls in love with the forward thinking, Perchik played by Louis Maskell who has an equally beautiful voice which soared over every note perfectly in 'Now I Have Everything'. Particularly touching with the two was during the first Sabbath dinner when they kept subtly making eye contact with one another and we could see the first inklings of their romance. Rose Shalloo as Chava and Luke Fetherston as Fyedka have fantastic chemistry, showing their struggles with honesty and strength.

Lez Brotherston's design is bare and simplistic as it should be but transitions and evolves wonderfully to create the various settings and is able to establish feelings of both warmth and stark cold at various times. Alistair David's choreography is spectacular, lively and powerful. It unapologetically shows off Jewish tradition and does so in a extremely striking way; popping and dazzling from start to end. 

The entire cast are incredibly strong and this is as much an ensemble piece as it is a lead-led piece. Each moment when the cast come together- either in choreography or in close a cappella harmony- is magical.

I'm truly wowed by this production. My only little niggle is the accents at times, with some attempting and falling somewhat short but this is my only fault in an overall impeccable production. May it transfer and run for a very long time!

Fiddler on the Roof runs at the Chichester Festival Theatre until September 2nd 2017


photo credit: Johan Persson

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Musical Marathon, The Other Palace | Review

The Musical Marathon, The Other Palace | Review
Monday, 17 April 2017
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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
Saturday, 17 September 2016

Something Wonderful, Royal Festival Hall | Review

Something Wonderful, Royal Festival Hall | Review
Saturday, 17 September 2016
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Something Wonderful
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
Reviewed on Thursday 15th September 2016 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

Last night the Royal Festival Hall played host to a wonderful exploration and celebration of the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein in a fabulous one of concert featuring some of the West Ends best performers. Emma Kingston, Louise Dearman, Michael Xavier and Ryan O'Gorman fabulously performed songs from one of the best musical theatre partnerships of all time, treating us to some of their well known songs as well as some hidden gems.
Monday, 23 May 2016

Hamilton Dream Cast

Hamilton Dream Cast
Monday, 23 May 2016
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My Hamilton obsession has been out in full force recently and the prospect of it coming to the West End in 2017 has got me ridiculously excited and kind of nervous. I'm praying that I'll get tickets and that I won't have to sell a body part to pay for them! 

So with all the Hamilton fever going around, I wanted to do my own dream cast for the show (I was inspired by this post.) Before I start I want to say that I basically want the whole of the In The Heights cast to become the Hamilton cast so there's going to be a lot of them in this....! 
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