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Showing posts with label katy lipson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label katy lipson. Show all posts
Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hair, The Vaults | Review

Hair, The Vaults | Review
Thursday, 12 October 2017
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Hair
The Vaults
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

First premiering on Broadway in 1967, Hair is about hippies, the anti-war movement, LGBTQ+ rights, Black Lives Matter, women’s equality and so much more; themes which sadly still resonate with us 50 years later.

Although I’d never seen a production of Hair, many of the songs were familiar to me and I felt as if I’d almost been born knowing them! Whilst I wasn’t part of the ‘Hair Generation’ (I wasn’t born for another 30 years) I feel that this production has reinvented it and definitely made it perfect for my generation as well as those younger than me. The setting is historical but it’s been cleverly entwined with the modern world and the parallels to the youth of today to make it extremely pertinent.

The Vaults at Waterloo have been transformed into a colourful, relaxed, hippy den which provides the perfect vibe and atmosphere for the performance and certainly puts everyone in the right mind set for what they're about to experience. It feels immersive but not over the top.

Hair is musically brilliant, it's songs have been performed by some huge artists and it's become a source of inspiration for many composers. The rhythmic music pairs with the story wonderfully and manages to be funny, powerful and clever all at once. These feelings are of course exemplified by the outstanding performances from the cast, especially during the finale: 'Let The Sun Shine In' which becomes a sort of battle cry and is really very moving.

Leading the plot we have Robert Metson as Claude who's been enlisted into the army. His vocals are strong, he gives a heartfelt performance and shows his transition from the free life to the life he lives for his country extremely well. Fresh from his stint in Yank!, Andy Coxon takes on the role of the carefree, larger than life Berger with grace and ease and is especially funny during his moments of audience interaction. Laura Johnson brings an innocence to Sheila which is touching to see and really draws you into her character and her rendition of 'Easy To Be  Hard' was particularly memorable.

A special mention must go to Natalie Green (Cassie/Mom) who's solo and ensemble vocal moments are completely out of this world. Her clear, powerful voice both when belting and  singing in a more classical style is faultless, her natural performance draws the eye at various points and she's a joy to watch on stage. The entire cast are great and work seamlessly together to create the idyllic and harmonious feeling.

Hair is more than a show, its an experience. This production is fresh and striking and certain to be loved by audiences during its run. So let the sun shine into your life and go see this show for a night of youthful, uninhibited freedom, expression and love. After all, the world could do with a little more love these days!

Hair runs at The Vaults until 3rd December 2017

photo credit: Claire Bilyard

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre | Review

The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre | Review
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
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The Toxic Avenger
Arts Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 2nd October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

When seeing this show, you should take it like it takes itself: not too seriously. Based on the 1984 cult movie, The Toxic Avenger received its New York premiere in 2009 before enjoying a short run at London's Southwark Playhouse in 2016. Most recently it played at the Edinburgh Fringe and has now opened a limited run at the Arts Theatre. 

Set in New Jersey, where pollution has over taken the city, we meet Melvin the dweeby teenager (in love with the town's blind librarian) who is thrown into a vat of toxic waste, becomes the Toxic Avenger and vows to take justice into his own hands.  The plot is bonkers but easy to follow and the production celebrates this wackiness with a clever and genuinely funny script. The fourth wall is broken and it becomes a game of spot the musical theatre reference; from Hamilton to Mary Poppins to Phantom- they're all in there somewhere!

The humour is unashamedly crude and whilst this is refreshing to see on stage, it sometimes becomes a bit too much. With the same jokes repeated several times and therefore loosing any impact. The "blind girl almost walking off the stage" was especially repetitive.

Whilst not all of the music is particularly memorable, the cast perform it with exuberance and stellar vocals throughout. Mark Anderson is wonderfully awkward but gentle as Melvin and 'Toxie'; his voice is beautiful and he overacted just enough to avoid the whole thing becoming too silly. Natalie Hope's vocals are outstanding, both as Toxie's mother and the woman who's to blame for the pollution: the mayor! She is humourous, sexy and an all round, brilliant entertainer. Emma Salvo as Sarah is funny and crude but still sweet; her Oprah obsession is hilarious and her vocals are fantastic. The rest of the towns people are impressively brought to life by Ché Francis and Oscar Conlon-Morrey. From the town bullies to the hairdressers with "indistinguishable accents", they do a stellar job.

Takis have done a great job of using the space of the small Arts Theatre well, with a clever set design that means the stage never feels cramped. It's simplistic but effective as are the costumes which also have many musical theatre references within them. It's a very cleverly done show in terms of intricate details.

This is a non-pc show thats fun, lighthearted and silly. If you're easily offended then it's not for you but for a blast of fun and some sublime vocal performances then pop along to the Arts Theatre. 


The Toxic Avenger runs until December 3rd at The Arts Theatre. 
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