Latest Instagrams
Showing posts with label west end. Show all posts
Showing posts with label west end. Show all posts
Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Woman in Black, Fortune Theatre | Review

The Woman in Black, Fortune Theatre | Review
Sunday, 1 October 2017
Read post

The Woman in Black
Fortune Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 29th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

To celebrate National Ghost Hunting day -which is today if you're reading on upload day- Raw PR invited a selection of bloggers to attend a ghostly evening of spooky fun at The Woman in Black. The Fortune Theatre is tiny but steeped in history and provides the perfect intimate feel for an evening of ghost stories.

We were treated to a pre-show supernatural tour of the theatre where paranormal expert Dr. B. Vilder told us about various presences seen or felt in different areas of the theatre. Being in the actual location was certainly spooky and I'd recommend being extra careful when booking your tickets, to avoid seat F17 of the Royal Circle on November 7th unless you want to be joined by a guest.....! Needless to say, we were all pretty nervous by the time the show started and as someone who literally jumps at EVERYTHING, I was extremely scared when I sat in my seat.

For those who haven't been brave enough to read of see this haunting tale, the story follows Arthur Kipps who wishes to lay his haunted story to rest by retelling his experience of visiting Eel Marsh House and his numerous run-ins with The Woman in Black.

The show begins innocently enough with jokes being told and a little time being spent on setting up the 'performance'. It does gets off to a bit of a slow start but once we get to Eel Marsh House that all changes as we are thrown into an intense and gripping world of mystery.

Adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt and with set designs by Michael Holt, a lot of the story is left up to the audiences imagination, especially when picturing the location and surroundings of the house. The script is so descriptive that this is easy to do and depending on how much you've built the show up in your mind, allows it to be even more scary. I found myself thinking I'd seen things out of the corner of my eye so was on the edge of my seat even more throughout. 

Terence Wilton and James Byng as Arthur Kipps and "the actor" are a wonderful duo, managing to keep the audience engaged from start to finish and making their actions natural as opposed to over the top and unbelievably dramatic. 

If you are the kind of person that enjoys being scared witless (or even if you're terrified like me), it's worth making the trip to see this show. For edge of your seat, suspense filled, jump scare drama this is definitely the show for you and it's clear why it's lasted so long on the West End.


Book tickets for The Woman in Black and get £10 off using my code: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/ 

Watch my vlog of the event here
Thursday, 28 September 2017

Jane Eyre, National Theatre | Review

Jane Eyre, National Theatre | Review
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Read post

Jane Eyre
Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

The National Theatre are outstanding at championing new, innovative work and thinking outside the box to bring audiences spectacular shows, something which they have once again succeeded at with this Sally Cookson's production of Jane Eyre. In Bristol, the tale was split into two parts but artistic director Rufus Norris has wisely squeezed the action into one performance.

I'm sure I'm not alone in having gruelling flashbacks to A-level English literature when I hear Brontë's novel mentioned, and what's lovely about this adaptation, thanks to the minimal sets, is that it allows the audience to create the world of Jane Eyre with their imagination as they would do when reading the book. The set is extremely modernistic in it's simplistic design with no grand structures to show the various momentous locations in Jane's life but instead using wooden platforms, metal structures and ladders as a framework for the action. The use of lighting is particularly impressive with white cloth backdrop that surrounds the stage being changed to different colours to show the various moods. The shocking red room is especially effective.

What struck me about this production is not only how modern it is in terms of aesthetics but how contemporary the character of Jane herself is. She's feisty with strong morals and a real feminist side. Although having seen her as ahead of her time when I read the novel, I'd never realised how truly relatable she is until watching this production. Her quest for freedom whilst not compromising her passions is joyous to watch.

The strong use of physical theatre added an intensity to the piece, as well as flow, especially in the running transitions during Jane's travels. The varying motion from smooth lyrical to frenzied, perfectly mirrored the changes in Jane's physical and metal health throughout. Another particularly interesting aspect was members of the ensemble speaking Jane's thought's aloud. This was humourous at times but also a very clever way of developing the character more without her having to tell the audience anything directly.

The trio of onstage musicians added a whole other layer with a number of musical styles accompanying crucial moments and transitions. Melanie Marshall was absolutely fantastic both physically and vocally; singing atmospheric pieces to fit with other characters or her own, Bertha. Her voice is strong and angelic whilst having a menacing and painful side. Her rendition of Crazy was notably unexpected but brilliant and perfectly woven into the story.

As Jane, Nadia Clifford exceptionally plays the fiery 10 year old girl who transitions into a headstrong but more rational woman. Clifford perfectly shows Jane's unyielding side but also her pain and love for Rochester. Tim Delap is suitably brooding as Rochester but adds a depth and awkwardness which makes him charming and attractive.

The entire ensemble are faultless but I must give a special mention firstly, to Paul Mundell who is hilarious as Pilot, adding some welcome humour. And secondly to Hannah Bristow who perfectly and distinctly plays Adele, Helen, Grace Poole and others.

This is a somewhat lengthy (3 hours and 15 minutes) play, but a striking production of a classic. The start is slightly slow but as we get into the action the momentum speeds up and we really get to see is the power of one of the first literary modern women.
Sunday, 24 September 2017

Mack and Mabel (LMTO), Hackney Empire | Review

Mack and Mabel (LMTO), Hackney Empire | Review
Sunday, 24 September 2017
Read post

Mack and Mabel
Hackney Empire
Reviewed on Saturday September 23rd 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) have done it again. Another fantastic celebration of a beautiful score performed by a beautiful orchestra and a beautiful cast. It was just a whole lot of beautiful, okay! This time we were treated to the delights of Jerry Herman’s, Mack and Mabel which chronicles the story a young deli girl who miraculously ends up a film actress and falls in love and into a tumultuous relationship with her director, Mack Sennett who is so obsessed with making his next picture that he doesn't see what's right in front of him.

Opening the concert, Freddie Tapner (founder of the LMTO) explained that the music was going to speak for itself and he was so right. Having seen the show previously at the Chichester Festival Theatre I thought I knew what I was in for but seeing it so stripped back, I developed a new love and appreciation for Jerry Herman's stunning virtuosic moments and really realised what a stunning piece of work this is. 

I was lucky enough to be part of an LMTO sing-through and completely fell in love with the way Freddie conducts; making the players and singers feel comfortable whilst giving tonnes and tonnes of energy. His love of music and conducting is evident and, from watching the orchestra play with beaming smiles, obviously infectious. It was truly joyous to see so much excitement from the orchestra as they played, especially in the epic Hit 'Em On The Head instrumental break which is a maelstrom of astonishing musical moments. With no action on stage it's clear just how wonderful the music is as you could picture each movement the keystone cops would have been making without having to see a thing. With many shows cutting back on orchestra size and some even having recorded music, it's an absolute joy to be able to relish in the decadence of hearing a full orchestra in all their glory. 


Tiffany Graves was fabulous as Lottie Ames with her beautiful and powerful voice ringing out wonderfully and her facial expressions cracking the audience up! Her tap number in act 2 was certainly a stand out moment. I fell in love with Liam Tamne's voice every time he had a solo moment; so clear and lovely- I just wish we'd heard more! Will Arundell and Matt Harvey were great as the businessmen Kessel and Baumann, suitably dorky and humourous, especially in Hit 'Em On The Head, as was Jack Edwards as Fatty Arbuckle.

Taking the titular roles of Mack and Mabel we had David Bedella and Natasha J Barnes who both pulled them off expertly. David played the regretful, extravagant Mack with sincerity and full of glorious vocal moments, especially during the finale, I Promise You A Happy Ending. However, it was Natasha who completely stole the show with her utterly magnificent masterclass performance as the excitable, loved-up, Mabel who falls into darkness. Her rendition of Time Heals Everything physically gave me heart palpitations. Natasha took the ending up the octave which completely took my breath away and gained an instant mid-show standing ovation from the entire audience. It was a truly magnificent moment of musical theatre that I won't be forgetting soon. There aren't even words to describe how spectacular Natasha is; she's truly a gift from the musical theatre gods!



The LMTO chorus and dancers just like everything else, were fantastic. The hundreds of girls moment was a spectacle choreographed by Anthony Whiteman and the cherry on top of an exceptional production. I honestly can't fault anything.

Overall this was just an impeccable night of musical theatre and despite only being a concert performance, was one of the best shows I've seen in a while. The LMTO are going from strength to strength and I can't wait to see everything they tackle in the future. This performance of Mack and Mabel was a truly glorious presentation of a spectacular score with a completely and utterly faultless cast and orchestra. Sensational. 
Thursday, 21 September 2017

35mm: A Musical Exhibition, The Other Palace Studio | Review

35mm: A Musical Exhibition, The Other Palace Studio | Review
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Read post

35mm: A Musical Exhibition
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Wednesday September 20th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★


Honestly, when I stepped foot into The Other Palace Studio I had no idea what I was going to see except that it involved photos and singing. I was correct but it was actually so much more than that. 35mm is, as the title says, a musical exhibition and whilst this probably conjures up the idea of wandering around listening to music its actually a show like any other with an audience and a stage. The difference though is that each song is based on a photograph and instead of following one story, we follows lots of individual ones in each song.

I assumed that each photo and song would follow on from one another but they are actually not linked, instead they each tell a personal tale or capture a fragment of time told through music. However, as the show progresses there are some connections as well as juxtapositions, with each song blending into one another to create the idea that we are all the same in our overall experiences. Whilst the photos may look different to our own and even abstract in some cases, the stories behind them are often very similar to each of us and the magic of music and photography is that they can capture that and hold it as a memory. These memories allow us to reminisce but also grow.

The music itself, written by Ryan Scott Oliver is an amalgamation of styles which are performed wonderfully by the outstanding cast made up of Maisey Bawden, Gregor Duncan, George Maguire, Christina Modestou and Samuel Thomas.  Each member gets a chance to shine and take centre stage with their own story and the varying emotions from joy to anger to hatred are shown wonderfully by the small but extremely powerful cast.

I particularly enjoyed 'Leave Luanne' and 'The Ballad of Sara Berry' both of which were dramatic and emotive and worked wonderfully with the quick, sharp movements of the cast. 'Stop Time' opened the show in an interesting way, with sounds of swaying and movement as if we were travelling. To me it came across as a very unique form of music with the use of unusual sounds creating an impressionistic vibe which worked well in the intimate space. The religious choral section were also stunning with flawless harmonies which resonated wonderfully in the space.

Musically the songs are complex and layered which is a great contrast to the fairly simplistic looking photos. Most of the photos by Matthew Murphy are pretty basic looking with minimal action so it's wonderful to delve into them and bring out meaning with the music.  Joe Bunker leads the six-piece band very well and pulls off each genre perfectly.

The movement is also brilliant, with sharp, quick steps which flow and pop exquisitely with the music. The studio is small but seems bigger because of how easily the cast move with one another, never seeming like they're running out of room but instead working the space and using it to add to the story.

At seventy minutes through, a unique show, a great cast and variety of musical genres you can't really go wrong and I would definitely recommend going along to The Other Palace Studio to see it.

35mm: A Musical Exhibition runs at The Other Palace Studio until September 30th.

photo credit: Brittain Photography

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Five Guys Named Moe, Marble Arch Theatre | Review

Five Guys Named Moe, Marble Arch Theatre | Review
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Read post

Five Guys Named Moe
Marble Arch Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday September 13th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

Five Guys Named Moe premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1990, ran for over four years, transferred to Broadway and won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment. Despite this, it's a fairly unknown musical so is an exciting addition to the London scene which is currently made up of a lot of long running classics. 

The rise of new and unique theatrical experiences is ever growing, with pop-up theatres and immersive events offering unusual theatrical adventures. Cameron Mackintosh has grabbed this trend by the horns in his new venture with the specially built Marble Arch Theatre. The theatre is simple on the outside but completely brilliant on the inside; as you walk in it's like entering the tardis. You're brought into a large 360 bar complete with a live band above and a wonderful selection of drinks to get your night started in the perfect way.

Written and directed by Clarke Peters, the show charts the story of Nomax, whose girlfriend Lorraine has left him. With no money and booze as his best friend, he meets Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe and Little Moe as they emerge from his 1930s-style radio to guide and comfort him as they sing the songs of saxophonist and songwriter, Louis Jordan. Personally I found the story pretty pointless. At times it felt that the songs didn't really fit and I didn't feel emotionally attached enough to either Nomax or Lorraine to care whether they got back together or not. 


Despite this not so stellar story, the music is spectacular. Each song is playful, catchy, foot-tapping and filled with warmth and affection for one another. The five Moe's are energetic and throw themselves into the fast paced, jazzy pieces and choreography by Andrew Wright with joy and exuberance. The on stage band showcase the rhythm and complexity of the music well and are particularly impressive during their solo moments. 

The Moes are Four-Eyed Moe (Ian Carlyle), Little Moe (Idriss Kargbo), Know Moe (Dex Lee), Big Moe (Horace Oliver) and Eat Moe (Emile Ruddock). The Moes are banterous with one another and seem like the kind of guys you'd have an amazing night out with. They are all equal, sharing solos with one another and each having their own personalities which bounce off one another and work together seamlessly in moments of tight harmony. All five men have absolutely outstanding voices as well as sleek, sharp dance moves which are showcased in a smooth and stylish way. Similarly, Edward Baruwa is fantastic as Nomax, his effortless, strong voice soars and he manages to be emotional, funny and contemplative at times.

As previously mentioned, the venue is very cool, however, I don't feel like it's ideal for this show. The round space doesn't really add anything to the story and due to the un-raked seating there  are moments missed by the audience. I  was sat in the third row of the stalls which sounds fine but with three tall people in front and no varying levels it was very difficult to see and I often found myself craning my neck to try and see through the gaps- something which could've been avoided with even a slight rake between rows. The screens used around the sides of the space are a very nice touch but felt underused. It would be exciting to have them at other points, as long as they don't become gimmicky.

Overall I did enjoy this show though. The story is nothing special but I adored the music and it's certainly a brilliant, toe-tapping show with flawless performances all round and perfect for a fun, light-hearted night out. It you want catchy songs and first-rate singing in a very neat London venue then this is the show for you! So let the good times roll and hop along to the Marble Arch Theatre!

photo credit: Roy Tan

Friday, 8 September 2017

Zigger Zagger, Wilton's Music Hall | Review

Zigger Zagger, Wilton's Music Hall | Review
Friday, 8 September 2017
Read post

Zigger Zagger
Wilton's Music Hall
Reviewed on Thursday 7th September 2017 by Alex Saddiqi

I personally was unfamiliar of the work of Peter Terson prior to my viewing of the National Youth Theatre production of Zigger Zagger, so I was watching this performance with no context and knowledge prior. I only knew the subject of what the performance was based around.


Zigger Zagger tells the story of Harry Hilton played by Josh Barrow, an avid fan of his local football team, torn between the life of sex, drink and violence which football hooliganism offers and the prospect of a stable future. It's one of the first stories to capture the culture of football hooliganism and was the National Youth Theatre's first ever new writing commission.


Watching the entire performance, I was blown away by the ensemble moments that were dotted throughout. I felt as though they were very well presented and the vocals of the entire cast resonated  throughout the whole venue and created beautiful sounds. Also, the vibe of the 70s/80s setting around the piece was very well presented; from the Jackie magazine to the music that was played, even down to the choreography. While we are on the subject of music I have to highlight the outstanding work of the musicians who played live during the piece. They both worked very well together to create some lovely sounds that really benefitted many of the scenes. 


There are a huge array of characters that show very interesting development as the story progresses and the actors who portray them do a brilliant job. There are some rich and beautiful character relationships with one another that are very strong and I found great pleasure in watching how the story unfolded. There was so much talent and professionalism during this show, especially from some of the younger performers. 


They all seemed in the moment and seemed to be really indulging in the world that was built around them of this 70s/80s football hooligan setting. There are visuals inside the piece that are very interesting and turn the set from one space to another. 


At some points there were parts of the show where you could see actors crossing in the back of a scene or shadows cast by cast members which distracted from some points on the centre stage, but such a minor “inconvenience” does not distract from the hard work and power that each cast member has put into this show. If I were to put the piece in a rating out of five stars I would give it a four out of five and I would recommend this show to others especially young people who might find passion in the arts and theatre as a whole.

Follies, National Theatre | Review

Follies, National Theatre | Review

Read post

Follies
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 7th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

It's been 30 years since a fully staged production of Follies has been seen on a London stage so there's been a huge buzz surrounding the current production at the National Theatre, which boasts a stellar cast.  The production is largely sold out but don't fret if you didn't manage to snap up tickets as it is set to be broadcast to cinemas through NT Live on November 16th.

Mr Weismann's iconic theatre is closing so to commemorate he invites all his old Follies to dance and reminisce about their time in the company. Being back in the places of their youth, many characters start being pulled back to the past and we watch as the past and present become intwined. Childhood best friends with a past, Sally and Phyllis and their husbands Buddy and Ben reopen a chapter of their lives which they all thought closed.  Both couples are experiencing problems in their marriages and despite time having passed, they can't help but relive old feelings. 

Follies was originally written as a straight-through piece with no interval; whilst some productions have included intervals, the National Theatre's doesn't. Speaking to others about the show it seemed that people were wary of having to sit for that long without a break and whilst it is the same as watching a film, I suppose there's more freedom and less embarrassment to have a loo break during a film. This needn't be a worry at all though as the show flows wonderfully and really builds up momentum throughout, meaning that stepping out doesn't cross your mind as the show flies by.

The entire cast are absolutely stellar, keeping up the energy from the get go to the end. I particularly enjoyed Di Botcher's rendition of 'Broadway Baby' which is completely hilarious and gorgeously sung and Tracie Bennett's 'I'm Still Here' which is gritty and powerful. The younger selves of the two main ladies, played by Zizi Strallen and Alex Young are extremely well played, with Alex really transitioning from the giddy girl into her obsessive nature with Ben.

This obsession continues with the adult Sally, played by the ever brilliant, Imelda Staunton. Sally has not really changed throughout the years and comes onto the stage just as giddy as a child when we first see her. Her fragility begins to show little by little, coming to a head in her stunning rendition of the classic, 'Losing My Mind'. Sally's partner in crime, Phyllis is played by the equally brilliant, Janie Dee who is strong and sassy from start to end. 

Dominic Cooke's direction creates a flow of movement and an ease throughout which is joyful to watch. Bill Dreamer's choreography works hand in hand with is and showcases the best of the Follies era. Along with the National's revolve, the choreography swims along and is faultless. A particular stand-out moment is the tap number 'Who's That Woman?'... I'm a sucker for tap and this was pulled of perfectly as the older Follies girls join their younger selves to create a thing of beauty.


Vicki Mortimer's set design cleverly shows hints of the former glory of the grand Weismann theatre as it crumbles in current day. The costumes are stunning not only with the gorgeous glitz and glam of the Follies but with how well they show off the character of each individual lady in the current day.

Overall this is an absolutely wonderful production which has everything you could wish for in a musical. There's glitz, glam, grit and emotion which along with a perfect cast create an absolutely wonderful show. 


Follies runs at the National Theatre until January 3rd. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Late Company, Trafalgar Studios | Review

Late Company, Trafalgar Studios | Review
Thursday, 31 August 2017
Read post

Late Company
Trafalgar Studios
Reviewed on Thursday August 24th 2017 by Lucy Jardine
★★★★

Late Company has transferred recently from Finborough Theatre to the tiny Trafalgar studios, where you sit, as if sharing the dining room, with the members of the cast.  Debra and Michael, a couple whose gay son Joel committed suicide after having been taunted online, have gathered, a year after his death, with Tamara, Michael and their son Curtis, to try and find some kind of 'closure', some kind of reparation. Curtis was responsible for some of the bullying. A place at the dining table has been laid for Joel.


The play benefits from this close actor-audience involvement - you are drawn into the play as it unfolds, and leave feeling utterly involved, transformed in some way by what you have witnessed.  We learn how Debra was unaware of videos that Joel had posted online, and how Curtis, moody Curtis, didn't think about what he was doing. We learn about Joel's depression - the sympathy that Debra displays, and the somewhat bullish opinions expressed by Michael that people should toughen up - that children are too protected. 


Tannahill's script sparkles with authenticity. How many times have these conversations played out up and down the country? As Tannahill himself questions, and has us do, how much are we as parents responsible for what our children do and see online? How much space should we give our children? The actors succeed in bringing these questions to  life in a very real, believable way - even if, occasionally, the Canadian accents lapse a little. If you want an uplifting night out at the theatre, don't go and see this play. But if you want to be challenged, go and see it tonight.


Late Company runs at Trafalgar Studios until September 16th

Read Olivia Mitchell's review of Late Company at the Finborough Theatre

Get a ticket to see the show for just £8 by using my code on Today Tix: https://www.todaytix.com/refer/TFKMJ/

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

In Conversation With... Louis Dempsey | Interview

In Conversation With... Louis Dempsey | Interview
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Read post
Louis Dempsey has an extensive list of credits to his name including film, television and theatre. He will soon be starring in the English Touring Theatre's production of Conor McPherson's, The Weir which opens on September 8th at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester



For anyone that doesn’t know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?

I trained with Cygnet Training Theatre in Exeter. I've appeared in numerous stage productions including the original West End production of Stones in his Pockets, Romans in Britain at The Crucible, Sheffield, Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, Juno and the Paycock at Bristol Old Vic, Some Voices at The Young Vic, Brothers of the Brush at Liverpool Everyman. I've also appeared in another Conor McPherson play, The Seafarer, at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

On screen I've appeared in films such as Troy, Cloud Atlas, Shooters, Revolver, Grabbers, Six Bullets, Omagh, The Last Drop. I've also popped up on tv screens in Holby City, Waterloo Road, Sea of Souls and, of course, The Bill.

Highlight of my career so far? Hmm. Probably Troy because it was an amazing experience to be part of a huge Hollywood blockbuster movie with all that entails.



Have you always aspired to be a performer or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?

I never had any ambitions to become an actor. Where I grew up in Dublin your ambitions rarely went further than getting a job and a drink! I loved films as a child but I always assumed that actors came from Planet Actor. The idea that I might one day be up there on screen myself seemed utterly ridiculous.



What drew you to the role of Finbar in The Weir?

I don't know if one could say I was drawn to the role. My agent called, asked if I was interested in taking a meeting for a touring production of The Weir. I knew something of the play and having done The Seafarer (also by Conor McPherson) I was curious. When I read Finbar I kind of got where he was coming from but only in a very rough way.

When people come to see this production of The Weir they can expect to hear the best story they will hear all year! No doubt at all.



Can you sum up the show in five words?

Hmm. Funny. Poignant. Scary. Moving. Uplifting.



How is the 20th anniversary production of The Weir bringing something new to the modern classic?

Well I have never seen a production of The Weir so I cannot compare but I will say that The Weir is such a complete story, with so many layers and revelations about life, love, sadness, joy, heartbreak and happiness that I don't think it is even accurate to describe it as a modern classic. The Weir is simply a classic, regardless of when it was written or set.



What’s a fun fact people may not know about you?

Prince Charles once asked me to have a drink with him. I did. It was fun.



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

Well, I'm not a big fan of the past. I suspect that if I did travel back in time to a bygone era, people there would say "What the hell are you doing here??!! There's no email and toilets haven't been invented. Are you crazy???”


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


You have two eyes, two ears and a mouth. Use them in that order. 


Thank you so much Louis for taking the time to do this interview. The Weir starts touring on September 8th and continues through to November 25th. More information and tickets can her found here.
Latest pins

Subscribe