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Showing posts with label uk tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label uk tour. Show all posts
Thursday, 19 October 2017

War Horse (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

War Horse (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review
Thursday, 19 October 2017
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War Horse (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th September 2017 by Isobelle Desbrow

On the 10th anniversary since their first show, I was lucky enough to go and watch War Horse. The play is emotion filled and the stunning story telling through the music and ensemble work make the show a must see.

The first act tells the story of Albert training his horse, Joey who we see grow from a foal, to a riding horse, to a farm horse and finally to a war horse. Joey is controlled by 3 puppeteers: the head, heart and hind. This allows the puppet to mimic and move as if it were a real horse, something that is not easy by any means. Bob Fox’s spectacular folk voice helps tell the story through music,adding the perfect amount music to accompany the drama onstage. The cast are amazing as they all play multiple characters but if I hadn’t have looked throughly at the program I would never had known, as each character on stage had a different accent and characteristics. This show truly highlights the amazing work that can be produced by an ensemble cast. 

Thomas Dennis as Albert brought the perfect mix of innocence and will to fight for what he believes in: saving and bringing Joey home from the war. His portrayal of Albert was emotional and moving he deserves credit for his acting talents. 

At the end of the first act we see the beginning of the war and Albert going off to find Joey. These scenes were powerful, compelling, honest and emotional, showing the audience another aspect of World War 1, which I had never seen before.

Something that I haven’t mentioned yet but is off massive importance for the story telling aspect of War Horse is the large projection on to a cloud above the stage; throughout the story, drawings and animations are shown. This adds another dimension to the story, and without spoiling the show for those who haven’t seen it without these images the story wouldn’t be as complete.

Act 2 is spectacularly beautiful and sad. We are shown both the loss on the home front and the front line. However instead of just being shown the fighting aspects we are also shown how the Germans used the horses to move machinery around and pull carts, we follow Albert and Topthorn on their journey through France and whether or not they get the happy ending they deserve. We also see the cruel side when the horses go lame they are no longer required, something that although normal is still shocking to see.

“The puppets in the show are only wood, however it is our imaginations that make them real.” This is how the play was described by Tom Morris at the end of yesterday’s special 10th anniversary show, and I believe this is the perfect way of describing the complexity and beauty of War Horse.

I don’t want to give too much more away but if you have the opportunity, go and watch War Horse- it is not to be missed. 
Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Five Reasons to See Legally Blonde on Tour

Five Reasons to See Legally Blonde on Tour
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
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Last night I visited the New Victoria theatre to see the UK tour of Legally Blonde. Seeing as I've already seen the show and reviewed it here, I thought I'd do a bit of a different post and tell you some of my top reasons to see it. 

The production is great and all my thoughts were pretty much the same during my second viewing; the only difference was that Rebecca Stenhouse was playing Elle. Whilst I'm not re-reviewing I have to talk about Rebecca for a little bit. Her debut performance as Elle was completely outstanding, her voice sounded beautiful and she perfectly embodied the role. If I hadn't known she was the understudy I would have noticed zero difference or nervousness; Rebecca owned the stage and won over the audience with her heartfelt performance. 

So now my moment of gushing is over, lets get on with the reasons to see the show...

It's Feel-Good Fantasticness: Legally Blonde is brilliant because it's exactly what it claims to be: a feel good, pink and positive show. So many shows I've seen recently have been depressing or try and be dramatic, moving or life-changing so it's really a breath of fresh air to see something fun and lighthearted. You'll leave the theatre smiling and feeling great- what more can you ask for?

Dogs: Need I say more? Who doesn't love a cute little pup scuttling across the stage? Whilst they're not in the show a lot, their moments in the spotlight gain "aw's" all around and are as cute as can be!

The Music is Crazily Catchy: I think Legally Blonde is a pretty underrated musical, I don't really hear people talking about it much, but they should! The music is catchy, upbeat and has so many witty lines. There are various styles and so many wonderful vocal moments. You'll definitely have the tunes stuck in your head.

The Performances are Brilliant: A great show with rubbish performances is pretty pointless to see, luckily they're fantastic in this production. I've gone into detail in my review but the cast are super strong and very attractive as the larger than life characters. Especially great is Helen Petrovna's 'Whipped into Shape' which makes me out of breath just watching!

It Has Lots of Heart: The story of Elle following her man to Harvard and realising she's more than a typical Malibu blonde is sweet and heartwarming. The romance, drama and humour makes you root for the characters and provides a fantastic night out. 

So there (right there!) we have five reasons to see Legally Blonde. To sum up, it's a fun, lighthearted, brilliant show which you will definitely enjoy. As the days get shorter and colder, Legally Blonde is precisely the pop of warmth and light that you need.

Legally Blonde runs at the New Victoria Theatre until October 14th before continuing on its tour.
Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour), Edinburgh Playhouse | Review

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour), Edinburgh Playhouse | Review
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
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Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour)
Edinburgh Playhouse
Reviewed on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 by Andrew Cowan 

Sunset Boulevard is a thrilling ride through the film industry of mid-century America, filled with the song, dance and cultural ephemera of the era. It’s an intoxicating spectacle that is both entrancing and, in parts, exhausting.

The production takes place in Hollywood on the cusp of the 1940s and 1950s. The show’s intermission pointedly falls at a New Year’s party in 1949 in a manner symbolic of the story’s main theme of the passing of one era to the next.

The time period and location is a particularly rich seam for the set design which, especially in the opening moments, is a flurry of transitions. The audience is taken from the gates of Paramount studio to production lots, writer’s rooms and soundstages in the space of a matter of minutes. Furthermore, artifacts of film production are woven intelligently into the set throughout. One driving scene in particular employed footage of busy Los Angeles streets projected behind the protagonist’s vehicle while shadowed cameramen revolved around him in a way that recalls the early special effects of the time. It could easily have been confusing, the fact that it wasn’t is testament to the care with which each aspect of the set had been considered.

As one might expect given the story, the music throughout the show was constantly evocative of the period and brilliantly performed by the band. One aspect to note is that your enjoyment of the show may in part depend on how you feel about Andrew Lloyd Webber, who supplies the music in the production and isn’t always for everyone.

Danny Mac as protagonist Joe Gillis was well cast and particularly excelled at both the breezy 50s dialog exchanged with members of the supporting cast and his rendition of the title song ‘Sunset Boulevard’. Predictably a cheer went up around the hall as the actor, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, danced a tango. His interaction with romantic interest Molly Lynch as Betty Schaefer was a touch lacking, but this relationship is not really the centrepiece of the story and as such both the songs and dialog were a little perfunctory. Special mention should be given to both the singing and acting of Adam Pearce as Max Von Meyerling, who deflty straddled the line between chilling and endearing and very nearly stole the show. However Ria Jones as the needy and demented Norma Desmond was superb throughout, delivering a deeply poignant performance.

Flashdance (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Flashdance (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

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Flashdance (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

Based on the 1983 film (which I've never seen), Flashdance is the story of Alex Owens, a welder who dreams of being a dancer but has had no formal training. She plucks up the courage to apply to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and also meets a new love interest on the way who just so happens to be the boss' son. 

There are a number of side plots, like the mechanics facing jobs losses, Gloria being drawn into a seedy drug filled world and her boyfriend Jimmy attempting to make it as a comedian in New York but these feel a little unnecessary. They're obviously added in to pad out the show but I felt it would have flowed better without them as they're not explored enough to add much. 

But lets be honest, people don't go to Flashdance for the plot. They're there for the big money numbers and nostalgia for the classics they remember, something which the show certainly provides. The instantly recognisable 'Maniac', 'What a Feeling' and 'Gloria' have the audience excited and invested whilst most of the other songs are not particularly memorable. That's not to say that the vocal performances aren't brilliant though. Ben Adams gives a strong performance as the misguided, rich boy, Nick Hurley. His popstar vocals are not those typically heard in musical theatre but they work well in the show and his his rendition of 'Enough' was especially good.

Joanne Clifton is outstanding as Alex. Obviously she's known for her dance skills but seeing them life and with so much energy is spectacular to see on stage. Vocally she is also strong and her acting stood up well within the cast and she is a very solid lead. I was particularly impressed by Hollie-Ann Lowe who showed a number of sides to Gloria as well as some lovely vocal moments. A special mention must go to Colin Kiyani (Jimmy) who's voice is beautiful and I got major Ben Platt vibes during 'Where We Belong'.

Matt Cole's choreography is definitely the highlight of the production; tight and sleek throughout it provides some wow moments of impact. One thing I didn't like was the use of click tracks during some of the ensemble dance numbers such as 'I Love Rock and Roll'. I completely understand how demanding it is to do the energetic choreography at the same time as singing but it just felt a little obvious to me and could have been covered up more. However, the performances were still great.

This is definitely a feel good musical, whilst it does look at some darker themes, they are definitely not what you focus on. It's more of a drama with music but the energetic and sharp performances are enough to draw you in and will certainly leave you tapping your feet!

Flashdance runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until October 7th
Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK Tour), Theatre Royal | Review

Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK Tour), Theatre Royal | Review
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
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Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK Tour)
Theatre Royal, Brighton
Reviewed on Monday October 2nd 2017 by Melodie Hornett

Dreamboats and Petticoats at Brighton’s Theatre Royal was a joyful explosion of fun from the start. No long overtures, just a brief setting of the backstory before immediately coming to life with upbeat music from the whole cast. The set was vibrant and made excellent use of the space available on-stage whilst overcoming the lack of wing space seamlessly. The bumper cars used in several scenes worked brilliantly, operating smoothly, really indicative of the era and setting, and looked like the cast were really enjoying themselves. Carole Todd’s effective choreography worked very well, demonstrating skill whilst maintaining the authenticity of the setting.

Alistair Higgins and Elizabeth Carter were well matched in all areas as Bobby and Laura, vocally they blended well, they played an idyllic and convincing couple who looked great together. A particularly beautiful moment was their rendition of ‘Let It Be Me’. Alastair Hill could have done a little more with his representation of Norman, perhaps a little more arrogance was required to define him however he demonstrated a powerful voice that was well suited to the repertoire. Laura Darton’s Sue was superbly portrayed, with her strong vocals demonstrating a rich and powerful tone whilst her obvious dance ability and vibrant sex-appeal made her incredibly satisfying to behold. Vocally she shone out in ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and ‘Sweet Nothin’s’. Her sidekick Donna played by Gracie Johnson was a pleasing character with some delightful moments adding to the action of the leads. Again, she was well matched with on-stage partner Ray, played by David Luke, who presented some entertaining comic action with a solid voice which carried well over the band. Jimmy Johnston played a very likeable Phil, an ageing voice that still has some fantastic money notes, particularly in 'Shop Around’.

There was something truly exciting about the actor-musicians interchanging between their roles in the live, on-stage band and characters within the story. It was seamlessly done and great to see such an array of talent - these were a team of performers strong in a number of stage disciplines. Consistently solid performances from all cast. Chloe Edwards-Wood competently took the spotlight a number of times with her energetic saxophone playing. She and Lauren Chinery made a charismatic sax duo, but credit to all band members.

The main criticism of the show for me was audio balance; the instrumentalists sounded fantastic throughout, however at times some of the vocalists were lost in the audio mix due to having thinner-toned voices. Whilst being enjoyable to listen to in the more intimate moments, Higgins, Carter and Johnson were frequently difficult to make out when the band was in full swing. I felt that there could have been more vocal diversity amongst the cast, rather than what felt like a collection of similar sounding voices. 

This was a show that the audience clearly enjoyed from the start, with patrons singing along and tapping their feet to familiar tunes. It had a real feel-good factor and a pleasing plot conclusion. The energy from the cast in the finale sequence was at a peak and they interacted well with their audience at this point, getting everyone on their feet. A really great night out for all.

Legally Blonde (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Legally Blonde (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

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Legally Blonde (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome
Reviewed on Monday 2nd October 2017 by Elisha Harris

Legally Blonde is an absolute must see! I've had the Original London Cast Recording on repeat ever since it was released and have always been obsessed with the soundtrack. The songs are upbeat, funny and so catchy and although I can't hold a tune; I often find myself belting 'oh my god' like it was written for me on regular occasions. That being said, I don't know what kept me from seeing this beautiful show for so long, but I can assure you it won't be long until I'm back! 

I must admit I struggled to imagine Lucie Jones as Elle before the performance but the second she appeared on stage she took my breath away, her vocals are completely out of this world I was in complete awe. I hadn't seen her in anything since her X factor days so I didn't know what to expect but she was incredible. The other standout for me has to be Rita Simons as Paulette. She had me in tears of laughter from start to finish, and has such a versatile voice; it gave my shivers! In the future, I'll make a conscious effort to see her in any other shows she does.

The cutest cast members have to be Bruiser & Rufus. Rufus didn't do exactly as he was told this evening as he wandered on stage before his cue and long story short, the crowd was in hysterics, and Lucie took 3 attempts to finish her line as she was laughing so hard.  The audience roared with cheer when she completed it, it was hilarious! Despite that little mishap, both adorable dogs stole hearts every time they took to the stage. 

The whole company gelled together so well, I feel so privileged to have witnessed such an incredible performance. 

Legally Blonde is playing at Bristol Hippodrome until October 7th, don't miss out; I promise you won't regret it!
Wednesday, 27 September 2017

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

The Addams Family (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
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New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 26th September 2017 by Valerie Field

The spooky, kooky classic, The Addams Family has made its way to the New Victoria theatre, Woking in its spectacular UK tour.

The Addams Family first become known to the public in the 1960’s as a TV show, they then made their way to the big screen in 1991 and on finally to Broadway in 2010. This production is the first ever professional one in the UK and has received brilliant reviews since it opened.

The story is about the very weird and spooky family whose daughter, Wednesday falls in love with a ‘normal’ boy. This causes many problems and some hilarious situations and she tries to tell her overprotective family and discovers that no one is really as normal as they seem. 

The energy was up right from the get go of the show. During the iconic opening theme tune music, the entire audience joined in with the signature clicks which was very funny and set the night off on a fantastic foot.

Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday Addams and Cameron Blakely as Gomez were the stand out performances for me, with fantastic acting and singing from both. Cameron was suitably wacky and humourous whilst Carrie was suitably moody and full of love.

Samantha Womack looked great, but I felt that she didn't have the presence you would have expected from her character of Morticia. Whilst she looks the role and embodies the character well, she was a little underwhelming at times and could have played the character up a little more.

Les Dennis was unable to perform as Fester but his understudy, Scott Paige did very well as the man who’s in love with the moon. Dickon Gough' was the biggest surprise as Lurch. When he burst into song at the end, the whole audience were shocked at his fantastic voice.

All the scenery, stage sets and special effects were brilliant and all in all it was a very entertaining and enjoyable show. I would have liked it to be a little more spooky but its definitely worth a visit before the tour ends.

The Addams Family is at the New Victoria Theatre until September 30th before continuing its tour.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

In Conversation With... Oliver Ormson | Interview

In Conversation With... Oliver Ormson | Interview
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
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Oliver Ormson is currently playing the role of Lucas in the first ever UK Tour of The Addams Family. He was kind enough to chat all things Addams, career and Harry Potter with me...

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

I think when I was really young I wasn’t too bothered, I think the first ever thing I wanted to be when I was really young was a policeman. But I was interested in football from a young age cause of my dad so probably a footballer really… But my mum was interested in amateur dramatics so I went that way when I was older. About the age of 16/17 I decided I wanted to be an actor.

Can you explain a little about The Addams Family and how your character Lucas fits into it?

The Addams Family is the classic everyone knows but it’s ten years on and in this story Wednesday (Carrie Hope Fletcher) is all grown up and she’s fallen in love with an American boy from a normal background and I’m that American boy! 

So the Addams invite the Bieneke's round for dinner because Wednesday’s got a little secret and it’s a secret she’s kept from her parents. So the main premise is inviting a ‘normal’ family into the Addams family mansion where there’s all sort of ghouls and ghosts going on. 

Lucas Beineke is that all-American boy but he likes the darkness and he’s intrigued by it. He’s come from a normal family and the first time he meets Wednesday she shoots a pigeon with an arrow and it lands by his feet in central park and he just falls in love with her straight away cause she’s so different from the background he grew up with.

So Lucas looks all clean cut but he does have a hint of the darkness as well!

Are you anything like Lucas and what drew you to the role?

It was more the project that drew me in. It’s the first time it’s been done in the UK by a professional company. It’s very rare these days that you get the opportunity to create your own role. So I am the first professional Lucas in the UK arnd Ireland so it’s really wow because I get to create and make things which doesn’t happen a lot. Especially on a tour which has been done time and time again; they tell you where to stay on a straight line but I had the chance to play with it which was amazing.

Probably the thing that I’d say that is the Oliver Ormson in Lucas is that I’ve tried to make him a bit  dorky. Just a bit silly in that embarrassing phase where you go round to your partner’s house for the first time as a teenager and you’re sort of tripping over your words cause you’re trying to impress so it’s that sort of dorkiness. He just reacts to situations and doesn’t really think about it; he’s trying to be cool so he’s a bit dorky!

Who else besides yourself would you like to see play Lucas?

Oh wow, that’s really hard! I think it would have to be, and I know it’s cliched cause he’s massive at the moment, but it’d have to be Ben Platt. You know, he’s a fellow Hufflepuff as well! He tweeted saying that Evan Hansen is a Hufflepuff and I tweeted saying so is Lucas Beineke so I think we have the same sort of taste. I think he has that character cause he’s done it everyday like that twerpiness and he would sing it like an absolute dream! Unfortunately he’d probably be much better than me but as long as I’m gone and out the picture he can happily have it! 

You’ll have to switch and be Evan while he’s Lucas! 

Yes! Please make it happen, I’ll get you tickets to the opening night if you can make it happen!

Who in the show would you say is most like their character?

I would say Cameron Blakely who plays Gomez Addams cause he is crazy. He’s full of voices and full of character and he has a little daughter himself, a beautiful little daughter who’s three or four and you can see he has that protective side that Gomez has in the show over Wednesday. But he’s also that embarrassing dad so I’d definitely go with Cameron as Gomez.

If you were one of the ancestors, what would your crazy cause of death be?

This is really cool… erm maybe something silly when I was drunk or something? Yeah something silly like falling in a lake and my ancestors prop would be a can of lager or a pint!

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not on stage?

This sounds quite cliched but I like to keep fit cause you never know when this jobs gonna end. I do a lot of dancing, not so much in this show but I’ve danced in other shows so I try and keep that up. I don’t wanna  relax too much to think I just have to sing and act cause the next job you might wanna do could have a a tap number in it or something like that. 

Yeah just try and keep fit really, go to the gym and I’m quite a boyish boy so watch Netflix or football or play games like video games so very cliched unfortunately!

I know you’re a big Harry Potter fan, so if you could bring anyone or anything from the Potter world into our, what or who would you bring?

I would just like a wand. You know, just the elder wand would be fine, the casual elder wand! That’s what I’d bring because I was thinking about the invisibility cloak and stuff but I think after a while that might get a bit boring!

And if you have the wand you can get other stuff with it!

Exactly, like with the wand you can do crazy spells!

Well that’s a lovely segue as my next question is: what show would you wish to do if you had a magic wand?!

As I mentioned I love Dear Evan Hansen but I’ve always wanted to play Fiyero in Wicked. I watched it and thought it was really magical and cool and people always say to me “you could play Fiyero, you can do that!” so if I actually do it I can shut those people up… in a nice way 

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

I love the 80s. I was born in the 80’s, well only just by like 2 months in ’89 so I always claim that I’m an 80s child but to properly go and experience it and to actually live in that time I'd love. And I’ll see my mum and dad in their 20s which would be so weird!

Finally, what is your number one piece of advice for an aspiring performer?

There’s this amazing Bryan Cranston philosophy and he says to just act, just get yourself out there and act. Even if it’s just a local drama group, just hone your skills. Even if you’re doing an amateur production of Fiddler on the Roof you’re gonna learn things from that, you’re gonna be with people that have maybe done professional work before. So I’d say just act and be proactive and productive cause then you learn.

As professional actors we have stories of how we once did am dram and how that helped. So everyone starts somewhere. I think some people think that you come out of college and you go straight into the West End and all of a sudden you’re just a professional actor but you learn a lot of things before that. So just be creative and play and try things out, you’ll always learn things.

Do that and make sure it’s what you want to do and then pursue college or drama school which is an important route in my opinion but you can still do it without that. So go and learn, go and be proactive and just hone you’re skills.

Thank you so much to Oliver for taking the time to chat to me. The Addams Family runs at the New Victoria Theatre until the 30th September before continuing on it's tour.
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