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Showing posts with label musical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label musical. Show all posts

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.

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

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.

The Addams Family (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

The Addams Family (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

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The Addams Family (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre

Reviewed on Tuesday May 16th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

The Addams Family musical comedy first made an appearance on the Broadway stage in 2010 and has finally made its way over the pond for its UK premiere. This version of the much loved cartoon series family, sees them struggle as their daughter Wednesday falls in love with a 'normal' boy. In an attempt to make good, Wednesday organises a dinner party between the two families. What ensues are secrets, wackiness and a whole load of kooky chaos.

The production is wonderful and great to look at. Diego Pitarch's set is constantly changing and extremely layered but doesn't look overcrowded or messy and the Gothic feeling is achieved extremely well. The lighting and sound effects work well alongside it and the elaborate costumes and make up add a whole other, very effective, dimension.

Samantha Womack's Moticia is surprisingly funny and suitably dark and stiff but at times it feels she is too reliant on people already knowing the character instead of making it her own. Overall though she gives a very good performance, especially in the tango scene!

Cameron Blakely is the standout of the show as Gomez. He is passionate and energetic throughout, with a constant humour and stage presence. His little camp moments are hilarious and his voice is outstanding. His relationship with the whole cast is brilliant but especially with his daughter Wednesday.

Played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, Wednesday is witty and sharp whilst being suitably kooky. Her vocals are fantastic and she seems at ease on the stage. Her incredibly clear voice works wonderfully with large belting moments and her precise diction is notable especially during 'Pulled' which seems to be an audience favourite!

Oliver Ormson plays Wednesday's love interest, the all-American Ohio born, Lucas. The pair work well together but Fletcher is definitely the stronger of the two performance wise. Les Dennis is strong as the quirky uncle Fester and has the audience laughing with him as well acting as the narrator at points. His character does seem a little out of place at times and not developed enough to warrant a full song but Dennis pulls it off well.

Charlotte Page is hilarious as the rhyme talking mother, her voice is brilliant and she frequently steals the show! Her partner is played by Dale Rapley who is good but again feels a little under developed.

Andrew Lippa's music is full of life (and death), colour and vibrance and certainly has something for everyone. There are energetic moments (helped along by Alistair David's brilliantly slick choreography), hilarious moments and more contemplative moments which all combine for a lovely production.

This is a wonderful production which will hopefully see a West End life after its tour. There are genuine laugh out loud moments which are sure to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Overall, a stellar production.

The Addams Family is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until the 20th May before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Matt Martin

Tick, Tick... Boom, Park Theatre | Review

Tick, Tick... Boom, Park Theatre | Review

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Tick, Tick... Boom
Park Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday May 11th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★
With the success of Bruce Guthrie's current production of Rent, one of the defining musicals of the 90s, it's not a surprise this revival of Tick, Tick... Boom! has come about. Originally written as a one man semi-autobiographical musical, Tick, Tick... Boom! portrays the years of struggle Jonathan Larson faced and acts as a bittersweet reminder of the triumphs he never got to see after his untimely and heartbreaking death on the eve of Rents opening off-Broadway.
Bronagh Lagan's production is nostalgic and intimate whilst providing a reflective look at the brooding and anxious story of Jonathan. The staging allows warmth and engagement throughout, with Chris Jenkins as the composer often making direct eye contact with the audience therefore allowing them to really feel part of the story and environment.
For any Rent fan this is a truly brilliant piece of theatre as there are so many parallels with Larson's life and the lives of those in Rent which are explored throughout. Namely where Jon and Michael are dreaming of escaping the life they're living. There are also musical moments which conjure up the same feelings as Rent and it's lovely to hear the roots of Larson's writing and what developed from this show. 
Larson's desire was to bring rock music into the world of musical theatre and this piece acts as a clear demonstration of that; providing moments of angsty drama as well as soaring glistening moments. The inner monologue is ever present but combined with moments of humour and sadness, the show has enough depth to keep the audience focussed and committed. Gareth Bretherton's band push the music along well and capture each side of the musical styles extremely well.
Joining Chris to make up the three piece cast are Jordan Shaw as the smooth toned best friend, Michael and Gillian Saker as the loving but conflicted girlfriend, Susan. All three have wonderful voices and fit the roles extremely well, seeming like true friends and giving very realistic performances. 
This is a lovely production which works well in the space and is overall very fun and entertaining. It's up close and personal, with some brilliant singing and performances which are worth a watch!
Tick, Tick... Boom! is on at the Park Theatre until 27th May 2017
Photo by: Claire Bilyard

Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

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Thoroughly Modern Millie
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday May 8th 2017 by Valerie Field
★★
Thoroughly Modern Millie has had many reincarnations and is based on a 1967 movie musical that is itself based on a 1956 London stage musical that in turn became a 2002 Broadway show. This new tour mixes a bit of each in to create a very enjoyable and well constructed production.
Set in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of small-town girl Millie Dillmount who makes her way to New York with the sole intention of finding a husband, not out of love but for money. However, events take a sinister turn when she checks into the Hotel Priscilla for single women which just happens to be owned by Mrs Meers, the leader of a white slavery ring. Things get interesting for sure!
Joanne Clifton as Milly, the Kansas girl desperate to make it in New York, is superb and effervescent. Although she is probably best known for her dancing on Strictly she can certainly act and has a good singing voice. She's the perfect fit for the title character and she warmed to the audience immediately. 
A big mention must go to Graham McDuff as Mr Grayden, especially for his drunken scene which was hilarious and had the whole theatre laughing. Lucas Rush also deserves a mention as Mrs Meers, embodying the character well and showing off a great stage presence throughout.
The glamorous costumes,  all out dancing and typically Broadway music are exactly what you'd expect from a show like this and combined with the art deco set, it's easy for the audience to get drawn in and lost in the 1920s world. Each scene change is done effortlessly, especially the office scene which is simplistic but highly effective.

All in all, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a 'feel good show' of the highest decree. I would highly recommend going to see it for a few hours of escapism and entertainment. The whole cast are outstanding and really seem to be having a wonderful time on stage which comes across in making their performances lively and energetic. The standing ovation received at the end of the show was evident of how much the audience enjoyed it so it's well worth a visit to Thoroughly Enjoyable Modern Millie!

Alice's Adventures Underground, The Vaults | Review

Alice's Adventures Underground, The Vaults | Review

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Alice's Adventures Underground
The Vaults
Reviewed on Thursday April 27th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Alice's Adventures Underground at The Vaults underneath Waterloo station is not just a show, it's an experience. An experience which everyone should have. It's magical, mystical, unique and altogether brilliant.

Based on the books by Lewis Carroll, we travel around the whimsical Wonderland meeting a variety of characters in a number of different, fantastically designed locations. The great thing about this event is that it's always different and everyone's experience is completely unique. Depending on your choices, you follow varying routes and the multiple casts and audience members mean that everything is always different.

Upon entering Wonderland, we're ushered into a room filled with photos, chandeliers, dusty books and of course, a looking glass. A blonde haired, blue eyed girl appears and seems to have forgotten who she is, asking "who am I?" before disappearing and leading the way for our adventure to begin.

The excitement can be felt in the room as we are taken to make our first decision of the night: 'eat me' or 'drink me'. This determines which path we will take, and with 24 adventures happening at the same time, it's basically impossible to be part of the same show twice. We're given a playing card and split into suits who are each led by a performer who guides us madly through the labyrinth of wonderland.

The impressive thing about this immersive experience is how seamless it is. Not a beat is missed and each moment is so well planned that nothing is clumsy or rushed. It's mind-blowing how slick it is. The characters are crazy and mad but performed perfectly, I particularly loved Zara Plessard as the Queen of Hearts. I don't want to give too much away about the characters and story because not everyone sees them all and it's definitely best to go into this without any preconceptions but every moment is truly brilliant and the its honestly does get curiouser and curiouser at every turn.

If you get the chance to go to this magic underground then please do! You're guaranteed a theatrical experience like no other, it's bewildering, breathtaking, beautiful and an absolute must-see.

Alice's Adventures Underground runs at The Vaults until 23rd September 2017.

Funny Girl (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Funny Girl (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

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Funny Girl (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday April 25th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Funny Girl is one of my absolute favourite musicals  and was one of the first reviews I ever wrote (which you can read here.) I saw the show when it was in previews at the Savoy Theatre and never had the chance to go back so I was very excited to see it again on it's UK tour to see if it still lived up to my initial praise. I am very pleased to say that it did and even exceeded it!

Funny Girl tells the story of the young Jewish girl, Fanny Brice who longs to be a star and is not going to take no for an answer. Whilst many people in the industry brand her as "not pretty enough", her comedic talent, natural stage presence, strong voice and sheer determination allow her her big break as she becomes a star with the Ziegfeld Follies. Along the way she meets the mysterious Nick Arnstein and we follow the ups and downs of their rollercoaster relationship. 

The simplistic but beautiful set and staging takes the audience to 1920s New York perfectly with the precise amount of extravagance and spectacle to add to the show and story without detracting from it at all. Most of the scenes take place on the created stage and backstage where Fanny is performing and the use of other theatrical elements is very cleverly used such as spotlights, curtains and mirrors. 

The entire cast are sublime with the versatile, energetic ensemble completely bringing the ornate dance scenes to life. Especially impressive was the dance which included pointe shoes with taps on them. The choreography is spectacularly sharp and show-stopping and executed faultlessly.

Natasha Barnes as Fanny Brice is completely and utterly mesmerising. Her stage presence is outstanding and she absorbs the audience into the world of Miss Brice flawlessly. Her portrayal is warm and witty, with sensational vocals and sublime comedic timing. It's not only her high energy moments which are impeccable though but the quiet moments of vulnerability where we really see what a brilliant actress she is. Music That Makes Me Dance was a particular stand out moment for me as the entire audience was not only silent but seemed as if they were so enraptured in the moment that they were holding their breath. It was a truly magical theatrical moment. I was thoroughly blown away by Barnes and can't wait to see her continue to become a star of the stage and the blazing supernova she deserves to be. 

Fanny's charismatic love interest is played by Darius Campbell who takes on the role very well. He is engaging and his strong voice carries well and pairs flawlessly with Barnes' especially in Who Are You Now which is touching and emotive. He has just the right mix of charm, wit, mystery and darkness to fully show the multiple layers of the problematic Nick Arnstein.

I am so impressed by this entire production and it is absolutely the best touring production I have seen. The calibre of every moment is top notch and I was mesmerised throughout. Funny Girl has every element necessary and ticks all the boxes needed for a wonderful theatrical experience. Natasha Barnes steals the show with her astonishing performance; she is truly the greatest star and a complete inspiration.

Funny Girl runs at the New Victoria Theatre until April 29th 2017 before continuing on it's UK tour.

Grease (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Grease (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

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Grease (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday April 24th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Grease was certainly the word last night at the opening night of the show at the New Wimbledon Theatre. The classic hits and story which are loved by many had brought a varied crowd who all seemed extremely excited for a carefree, upbeat night at the theatre. With an abundance of hair-gel and budding romances that's exactly what the production provides, it's not faultless but it's feel-good fun.

The onstage band open the show with a high energy performance of 'Grease is the Word' which created an electric atmosphere and introduced the powerful instrumental players and ensemble in a brilliant way. Leading the cast as the sweetly innocent Sandy is musical theatre favourite Danielle Hope who is marvellous in the role. Her voice is strong and she captures the character extremely skilfully. Danielle certainly shines in the role with her rendition of the 'Sandra Dee Reprise' being a particular standout of the whole production.

Her romantic counterpart Danny Zuko is played by The Wanted's Tom Parker who seemed slightly out of place and nervous but did come across well at points. As the show went on he seemed to settle into the role more but there's definitely some room for improvement in terms of overall performance. Similarly, the other celebrity name, Lousia Lytton as the fiesty Rizzo is lacking a certain something. Her energy is high and her sass comes across well but her vocals let her down at points.

The ensemble are absolutely outstanding though, with each one owning their quirky roles perfectly and showing off their boundless stage presence. Gabriella Williams is absolutely splendid as Patty Simcox, her dancing, acting and whole performance is stellar and she provides hilarious comical moments through her peppy, excitable, exaggerated performance. I also loved Michael Cortez who was extremely energetic and had some brilliant one liners which he delivered with great comedic timing. 

Arlene Phillips' choreography is retro and sleek and creates a great visual. The energy is the real key in this show and each move seems well thought out to provide optimum power and spirit. 

You can't fault the production values of this show and despite some lacking moments it ticks all the boxes for an infectious night out and will please anyone who is a fan of the iconic musical. 
Grease runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until April 29th 2017 before continuing on it's UK Tour.
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