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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


See my concert vlog here:


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

photo credit: Steve

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | Interview

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | Interview

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


What are some of your career highlights so far?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


What's one talent you wish you could have?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


What is your go to karaoke song?

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samantha Barks, Mayflower Theatre | Review

Samantha Barks, Mayflower Theatre | Review

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Samantha Barks with Kerry Ellis
Mayflower Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday May 20th 2017 by Mary Schofield
★★

The Mayflower is a fantastic venue located in the heart of Southampton, I have visited it frequently over the past two years that I have been at University and it's brilliant that such a wonderful theatre is on my doorstep. The venue is often visited by West End shows on their UK tours and seats a capacity of 2,300 people.

Despite the large capacity of the theatre the performance itself felt intimate as Samantha Barks (first discovered on I'd Do Anything and known for her recent appearances in: Les Miserables, The Last Five Years, Oliver and most recently her films Bitter Harvest and Interlude in Prague) took us on a nostalgic journey down memory lane. She sung a collection of songs from her new album including: “When He Loved Me” and “If I Die Young” as well as a gorgeous cover of "Blackbird" by The Beatles. Sam also shared with us a spectacular performance from The Last Five Years, “I Can Do Better Than That” which she wrapped in the St James Theatre (now The Other Palace) last December. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to see this in the theatre but the film version will have to help ease my new musical obsession!
Samantha's special guest for this one off concert event was the wonderful Kerry Ellis (known for her appearances in Wicked and currently on tour with the production Wonderland). Her set consisted of performances from both Wonderland and We Will Rock You. Ellis really showed off her unique, rocky voice and was a perfect complement to Barks.
The highlight of the evening was definitely when both ladies joined together for a wonderful duet of "For Good" from Wicked. Samantha went on to explain that this performance was one that she previously had on her bucket list, making the occasion even more special. You truly missed a magical moment if you weren't there! The evening was rounded up with a throwback to Les Mis with “On My Own”, bringing tears to every member of the audience and showing the power of Samantha's stage presence.

The only thing that upset me about the event was the timings; I would have been more than happy to listen to Barks sing for another 3 hours! This was a fantastic concert with two powerhouses of musical theatre joining together for a fabulous evening of entertainment. Hopefully this isn't the last of the pairing we see and I can't wait to see Samantha perform again- fingers crossed for another stint on a West End stage! 

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

Dreamgirls, Original London Cast Recording | Album Review

Dreamgirls, Original London Cast Recording | Album Review

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Dreamgirls
Original London Cast
Reviewed by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Recorded live at London's Savoy Theatre, backed by a fourteen piece band, this new recording of the well loved musical, Dreamgirls, gives you a wonderful opportunity to hear some of the finest voices on the West End singing one of the most high energy and belt heavy scores. And I Am Telling You that you need to get out and get a copy asap because it's a triumphant recording indeed.

The whole album feels like you're really watching the show and although there are probably far less swarovski crystals in your living room than on the stage of the Savoy, nothing is lost with the transition from stage to cd and with the recorded audience applause you can fully pretend you're in the show as you sing along in the shower! 

'The Dreams' are of course the stars of this show and the impeccable vocals from the three girls are fully shown off in this recording. Amber Riley's effortless belt and riffs are a joy to be heard at full volume through headphones, along with Liisi LaFontaine's beautiful smooth tones and Ibinabo Jack's huge voice and moments of complete hilarity. Overall they really are a Dream Team and it's clear to hear why the show is getting the rapturous praise that it is. Joe Aaron Reid (Curtis Taylor Jr), Tyrone Huntley (C.C. White), Lily Frazer (Michelle Morris)  and Adam J Bernard (Jimmy Early) are equally brilliant and provide fabulously dramatic vocal moments throughout. 

Personal highlights of the recording include 'It's All Over', 'Listen', 'Steppin' To The Bad Side', 'Ain't No Party' and 'Dreamgirls' which all pack a punch and a half. Each song is balanced well and comes across as it would on stage: with vibrance and emotion.

Overall the album provides a wonderful complement to seeing the stage show but is also brilliant in its own right. You can feel the energy and passion through your speakers and it's a really brilliant recording to add to any theatre lovers collection. The entire cast are faultless and the love for performing together really comes across. I will certainly be listening to this recording for more than One Night Only and highly urge you to download it and give it a Listen for yourself. If you haven't seen the show then definitely try and grab yourself a ticket because it's honestly one of the best things I've seen and this recording the best thing I've heard!

The Dreamgirls Original London Cast Recording is released Friday 12 May 2017.

Dreamgirls is currently booking at the Savoy Theatre until 21 October 2017.

West End Unplugged feat. Dreamgirls, W Hotel | Review

West End Unplugged feat. Dreamgirls, W Hotel | Review

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West End Unplugged feat. Dreamgirls
The W Hotel
Reviewed on Monday May 8th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

West End Unplugged is a new series of concerts taking place at the W Hotel in Piccadilly Circus inspired by the concept at the W Times Square: Broadway at the W. The idea is to gather together a whole group of West End performers and see them showcase their skills with a variety of songs and performances in an intimate, relaxed environment and to just have a good time. The first concert included the cast of Motown and for the second we were treated to the cast of Dreamgirls performing their hearts out flawlessly, even though they'd just finished a show! 

Marisha Wallace carried us through the evening of powerhouse performers singing songs of their choosing, with a few special guests and a whole load of energy and love. Throughout the night, every single performer went all out and gave nothing but their best, with every single one owning the stage and holding the audience in the palm of their hand.

The relaxed, stripped back setting of the W Hotel bar was perfect for the concert. With drinks flowing and comfy sofas all around, there was enough space to feel intimate whilst not feeling closed in. The acoustic set worked wonderfully in the space with it being the perfect mix of stripped back and club, party vibes.

I have to talk about Amber Riley singing 1+1' as my ultimate performance of the night. I mean, I knew she was talented but the runs and effortless belt had me open mouthed in awe and adoration,-what a superstar. Special mentions must also go to Joe Aaron Reid's 'I Lived', Marisha Wallace's 'My Funny Valentine' and Liisi La Fontaine's 'One Last Time' as the other stand out performances of the night, but there were absolutely no weak links and every single performance was outstanding. Additionally I have to quickly mention Tyrone Huntley who blew me away again with his rendition of 'Rock With You' which I recently heard at the West End Live Lounge, his voice is just angelic and so so effortless. I want to talk about every performer individually but I'm afraid that would be a ridiculously long post so just know that the cast of Dreamgirls are freaking talented and deserve every bit of love and praise they get!

Our host for the night was the hilarious, talented and just all round brilliant, Marisha Wallace who is the current alternate for Effie White. Marisha kept us entertained between performances with jokes and anecdotes about her life and the other performers as well as providing back up vocals for a number of the acts and belting her way through some songs. Her overwhelmingly fabulous stage presence kept the audience engaged and laughing all the way through and created a glorious night which showcased one of the most talented casts on the West End. 

I can't wait to see more of these acoustic sets and hopefully more of each and every Dreamgirls cast member! West End Unplugged is a unique opportunity to hear the stars of the stage outside of their usual confinements and a brilliant chance to just enjoy talent and music. For an absolutely fantastic night out, be sure to attend one of their concerts. Who said Monday's have to be boring!?

Keep an eye out here for upcoming West End Unplugged concerts, you won't regret attending!
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