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Welcome to Rewrite This Story, here you'll find all things Theatre, Music, Arts and Culture! Created and curated by Olivia Mitchell, we share the latest stagey news, reviews, interviews and more!
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2:22 A Ghost Story on Tour REVIEW: A Spooky Night Out

Wednesday 10 April 2024

2:22 A Ghost Story (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre

Since premiering in the West End and playing at a number of theatres, 2:22 A Ghost Story has established itself as a must-see spooky night out.  It's a production that promises to thrill and entertain audiences, and definitely does just that.

Drawing from the personal experiences of playwright Danny Robbins, this haunting journey into the supernatural explores themes of love, loss, and enduring connections. The storyline is skilfully crafted, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats while infusing humour that enhances the realism. However, amidst the solid pacing and unexpected twists, the abundance of overacting in this touring version detracts from the authenticity, making it challenging to fully engage with the narrative. 

Set against the backdrop of a dinner party with minimal set changes, the focus remains on the characters so there's a lot riding on them. This cast, made up of Vera Chok, Jay McGuiness, George Rainsford and Fiona Wade, mostly succeed in creating a believable atmosphere, capturing the essence of a boozy evening, however at times, it really feels like you can see some of the performers acting and the line delivery is too over the top to be realistic. When I last saw the show, it almost felt as if you were a fly on the wall during the haunted dinner party, but this time everything is a bit more forced and over performed. The dynamics between the characters are there and you can understand the boiling pot of traumas and emotions that are sewn throughout, but they're not as impactful as when the play is performed with more nuance.

Additionally, while the sound effects aim to heighten the tension, they often feel conspicuous and unnecessary, failing to enhance the overall atmosphere. However, beyond these surface-level thrills, 2:22 A Ghost Story delves into social and economic issues, as well as the dichotomy between belief and science. This commentary adds depth to the production, and helps to create a genuinely good play.

Anna Fleischle's set design allows for spooky moments while maintaining the mundane setting of a family home. The attention to detail, combined with Lucy Carter's atmospheric lighting, provides a perfect backdrop for this ghostly tale.

2:22 A Ghost Story is definitely worth seeing. Despite its flaws, including excessive theatrics and unnecessary jump scares, the play offers moments of genuine suspense and an interesting array commentary.

Reviewed on Tuesday 9th April 2024 by Olivia

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Wild About You the Musical in Concert at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane: A Musical Misfire

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Wild About You the Musical in Concert
Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Wild About You: The Musical in Concert presents a mixed bag of highs and lows. On one hand, the cast undeniably pours their heart and soul into every note and step, igniting the stage with energy and harmony during ensemble numbers, providing genuine excitement and joy for the audience. However, the love story it weaves isn't without its thorns. The music, while splendidly performed, lacks the emotional depth to truly resonate, resembling forgettable pop tunes rather than soul-stirring melodies. Similarly, the lyrics feel clichéd, failing to capture the complexity of human emotion, leaving much to be desired.

But perhaps the most glaring issue lies in the storytelling. The plot meanders like a lost tourist, introducing subplots only to abandon them moments later, resulting in a directionless narrative that fails to engage. The show feels like two separate shows, neither of which succeed in creating a cohesive story, leaving audiences more puzzled than swooning.

Despite the stellar cast, which includes luminaries like Rachel Tucker and Oliver Tompsett, the characters remain underdeveloped, with surface-level exploration hindering empathy. The ambitious score, while showcasing vocal prowess, suffers from disjointed pacing and inconsistency, detracting from the overall experience.

In the end, Wild About You falls short of its promise, leaving viewers longing for more substance amidst the spectacle. While it may have fared better as a play, the musical format exacerbates its shortcomings, ultimately delivering a tale of missed opportunities and half-hearted attempts at romance. For a concert production, with only a small amount of rehearsal, this was undeniably sleek and well put together but in my opinion, it would need a big overhaul to succeed as a full production.


Reviewed on Tuesday 26th March by Olivia
Photo Credit: 

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Priscilla the Party at HERE at Outernet REVIEW: A Glitzy, Camp Night Out

Monday 25 March 2024

Priscilla the Party
HERE at Outernet

Priscilla the Party is like stepping into a glittering dreamland where every corner is bursting with energy and excitement. From the moment you walk through the doors of the venue, you're greeted by pulsating beats and dazzling lights that promise a uniquely camp and sparkling experience. Following the adventures of three friends as they journey across the Australian outback aboard the iconic Priscilla bus, the plot is a rollercoaster of emotions that has you grinning from ear ear and dancing your way back onto Tottenham Court Road.

The venue itself is impressive, with its adaptable layout and top-notch sound design, HERE at Outernet ensures that every moment of the performance is delivered with crystal clarity. However, if you're on the shorter side, finding the perfect spot to catch all the action might require a bit of manoeuvring, as the stages aren't particularly high. Pro tip: head towards the front near the non-moving stage at the front for a great view and minimal movement.

Now, let's talk costumes. Each sequin and feather is a work of art, adding an extra layer of sparkle to an already glitzy affair. Tim Chappel and Lizzie Gardiner's designs are wonderfully extra, often providing humour alongside shine. There are also full glitter wigs which are just spectacular.

Equally spectacular are the cast who bring all the good vibes and deliver the story of drag queens travelling the outback so well. Leading proceedings, Trevor Ashley, Reece Kerridge, Dakota Starr and Owain Williams are absolute delights, bringing their characters to life with a level of energy and enthusiasm that's infectious; as well as showing moments of vulnerability which really add to the story.

But, as with any show, there are a few bumps along the way. The constantly shifting perspectives of the stages can sometimes make it hard to fully immerse yourself in the storyline, leaving you feeling a bit disconnected. The immersive aspect of the show is exciting and fairly unique but it doesn't always feel necessary with this show, especially when it stands so strongly on its own. While the pre-show performances are entertaining, they do have a tendency to drag on a bit, delaying the main event's grand entrance, plus, the choice of slow songs might not have been the best for getting the party started.

Despite these hiccups, Priscilla the Party delivers on its promise of a night filled with laughter. So, if you're in the mood for a night of joy and unadulterated fun, Priscilla the Party is the place to be. Embrace the campy atmosphere, lose yourself in the dazzling costumes, and get ready for a ride you won't soon forget. Despite its flaws, this glittering extravaganza is guaranteed to leave you with a smile.

Reviewed on Monday 25th March 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

I Should Be So Lucky on tour at the New Victoria Theatre REVIEW: A Misguided Melange of 80s Madness

Tuesday 19 March 2024

I Should Be So Lucky (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre

In the sun-drenched world of I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical, there's a flicker of potential, but sadly, it fades quicker than the sparkle of a disco ball. The show, buoyed by a strong cast and glitzy staging, is fun but struggles to hit the high notes it aims for.

Let's start with the positives: the cast. They're the shining stars of this production, injecting life and energy into every scene. With their talent and charisma, they manage to elevate even the most lacklustre moments. Each member deserves applause for their efforts in salvaging what they can from the material. To name a few, Scott Paige brings hilarity to every moment of his stage time, Kayla Carter as Bonnie provides some wonderful vocals and her blossoming relationship with Ash played by Giovanni Spanò is one of the highlights of the show. Giovanni is laugh out loud funny and get to briefly show off his killer vocals. It's a bit of theme in the show that the amazing vocal talents of the cast don't get to really be shown off, due to the hundred other things that are happening throughout. This is definitely the case with Melissa Jacques as Shelley who is wonderful, but having seen her in Everybody's Talking About Jamie, I would've loved some more chances for her to sing and soar.

As I mentioned, there's a LOT going on. There are a heap of side plots and vague character references and development which never have enough time to really mean anything. It sort of feels like every idea made it into the show and there was no development or streamlining to make it work. Another issue is that the show borders between being super sincere and not taking itself too seriously, so at times you're unsure whether you're laughing with or at the show. There's certainly potential, but in it's current form, it feels like a strange fever dream.

Now, onto the staging. It's undeniably flashy, dripping with sequins and neon lights reminiscent of a Kylie concert. The set (Tom Rogers) is really good, and there's a certain thrill in watching the glitzy spectacle unfold. However, as the show progresses, the excitement begins to wane, revealing a repetitive pattern that feels more like a recycling of ideas than a deliberate artistic choice. The 80s music video vibes are real, but there's only so many times you can get joy from the heart shaped bed rolling onto the stage. 

Despite these glimmers of promise, I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical ultimately falls flat. While it may provide a momentary escape into a world of pop music and glamour, it lacks the substance needed to sustain interest beyond the surface. Thankfully the cast do wonder with what they're given, but even the most talented performers can't fully save this misguided show. Much like an 80s tune, it's enjoyable in the moment but quickly fades from memory.

Reviewed on Monday 18th march 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

I Should Be So Lucky plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 23rd March and then continues its tour

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon at the Garrick Theatre REVIEW: Charithra Chandran makes a moving stage debut

Sunday 17 March 2024

Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon
Garrick Theatre

In a transfer from the Southwark Playhouse to to the Garrick Theatre, Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon sees Charithra Chandran making her stage debut after her notable appearance on screen in Bridgerton.

Written by Rosie Day (who previously starred as Girl), Teenage Armageddon revolves around a witty, introspective teenager coping with the loss of her sister amidst the tumult of teenage betrayal, manipulation, and trauma. Despite the dark undertones, Day lightens the mood by framing each section with the protagonist's quest for new scout badges. The story is moving, if at times predictable and is a good way of supporting teens and putting them at the forefront of a story.

In this 75-minute journey directed by Georgie Staight, Chandran deftly navigates through a poignant social satire, tackling a myriad of emotional themes. Her characterisation is good, breathing life into a variety of personas throughout the performance. While her comedic and emotional timing may not always deliver the biggest punch, Chandran's portrayal remains commendable, particularly given the emotional depths demanded by the role; and it's highly impressive that her first foray into theatre is with a one-girl-show.

Having seen the show in its previous iteration I knew what to expect but this version certainly felt different. Mainly in terms of staging, the show has moved away from the campfire setting as it's main framework and instead the action physically takes place in a muted bedroom which doubles as all the other locations. Video projections by Dan Light add depth and interest, especially with the extra on screen characters played by Shelley Conn (Mum), Philip Glenister (Dad) and Isabella Pappas (Ella). At times the show does feel a little too staged and as though its lost some of the real childishness which was so charming during its last run, however it retains it's heart and sincerity which really make it sparkle.

The show is adorned with quick, clever prose and such dark humour, you never quite feel certain you should be laughing as loudly as you are. The play is a poignant exploration of real childhood trauma, with relatable themes that will certainly resonate with audiences, particularly girls and women navigating societal pressures and concealing pain behind humour.

Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon serves as a cautionary tale, urging for open conversations about mental health and the importance of supporting one another. Chandran's performance is really admirable and the show's West End transfer is a testament to Rosie Day's brilliant writing.

Reviewed on Sunday 17th March 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Danny Kaan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Reneé Rapp 'Snow Hard Feelings' Tour in London and Intimate Acoustic Show REVIEW

Saturday 9 March 2024

Reneé Rapp's Snow Hard Feelings Tour
Eventim Apollo, Camden Roundhouse and Banquet Records

Having followed Reneé Rapp since 2018 and attending her debut London show last year, I snapped up tickets for her London residency in an instant and waited with extreme levels of excitement to see her perform again. It's funny having watched someone for so long, you feel a strange sense of pride without even knowing them personally. Perhaps with Reneé it's even stronger because of her connection to us fans that makes her feel almost like a friend, even on the other side of the Atlantic. So, going into the weekend I knew it was going to be special, but it turned out to be so much more than that.

From her breakout role as Regina George in Mean Girls on Broadway and then the recent film adaptation, to her portrayal of Leighton in the charmingly relevant The Sex Lives of College Girls series, to her acclaimed debut album, Rapp has grown from strength to strength, gaining an adoring fanbase along the way, and always staying true to her values of honesty and integrity. Last year her first full length album was released to much critical acclaim (snubbed by the Grammy's, but we move) and this tour was a testament to her evolution as an artist, and a celebration of her impressive musical intuition and writing skills. I won't go into depth because we'd be here forever but for me it's a no skip album that perfectly blends elements of pop, rock, and theatre to create a spellbinding journey. Lyrically it hits hard and musically it offers variety and so much melodic interest whilst still retaining a very Reneé feel.

Watching last year's concert, with music from Rapp's EP 'Everything to Everyone' it was hard to imagine it could get better but with time, it seems Renee has grown in confidence and truly proves to be born for the stage. Two of the shows I saw (Hammersmith Apollo and Camden Roundhouse) were part of the Snow Hard Feelings Tour, which included a mixture of songs from both releases. During these full production concerts, Rapp commanded attention with her dynamic vocals and infectious energy, delivering unforgettable performances, supported by her brilliant band and excellent lighting and video design. 

But it was Rapp's acoustic performance at Banquet Records that truly showcased her vocal prowess and artistry. Stripped of elaborate production, Rapp delivered soul-stirring renditions of her songs, allowing her powerhouse vocals to take centre stage. With each note, she demonstrated remarkable control and nuance, effortlessly navigating through intricate melodies and emotive lyrics. Her performance was a masterclass in vocal performance, with faultless transitions between delicate falsetto and powerful belting.

I've always been in awe of Reneé's vocal technique, from her rounded vowels, to her impeccable breath control, phrasing and healthy belt, so getting a chance to witness it close up felt really special. Vocally she shone in all three shows, but there's really something magical about an acoustic show, with only a few hundred people all living in the moment and experiencing someone's innate talent. This show's version of 'Snow Angel' will go down as one of my favourite live vocals I've ever heard. 

Throughout the shows, Rapp's authenticity and vulnerability were palpable. Whether sharing personal stories or engaging in playful banter with the crowd, she created an intimate connection that made everyone feel like old friends. Despite the occasional interruptions caused by fainting fans, Rapp handled each moment with grace and humour, turning potential disruptions into endearing anecdotes. Plus, her ability to convey emotion through her vocals and infuse each lyric with depth and sincerity, creates an intimate connection with her audience. Part comedy show, part concert, you're sure to be laughing out loud and probably crying during a Reneé Rapp concert.

Music is such a community former, and these shows were testament to that. From standing in the queues to waiting in the venue for the concert to start, I got chatting to so many people and felt like I was in a room of likeminded people who just wanted to have a good time. The ethos of acceptance and friendship which Reneé fosters, trickles down to her fans, allowing the creation of a brilliantly welcoming environment. There are also a number of excellent audience chants which when screamed out, really unite the crowd, and I must say, as a Brit I feel like we really excel at these, thanks to our years of assemblies and pantomimes. The signs held up by fans added to the sense of community, but unfortunately there were many which veered into objectification. Sign culture and boundaries is a whole topic of it's own but Reneé navigated these situations with poise, reminding fans of the importance of respect; let's just hope people chill out for her next performances.

The support acts, Towa Bird and Sekou, brought their own energy to the stage, setting the perfect tone for Rapp's captivating performances. Towa Bird, with their soulful melodies and infectious energy, warmed up the crowd with their genre-bending sound, seamlessly blending elements of indie-pop and R&B. Their dynamic performance left a lasting impression, showcasing their undeniable charisma and artistry. Meanwhile, Sekou captivated audiences with his powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics, delivering an electrifying performance. At only 19 years old, he's sure to go from strength to strength and I can't wait to see him flourish in the music industry.

As the final notes of 'Snow Angel' echoed through the venues and confetti rained down, it was clear that Rapp's London shows had left an indelible mark on all who were lucky enough to witness them. With her unparalleled talent, genuine connection to her fans, and unwavering authenticity, Reneé Rapp has proven once again why she is a force to be reckoned with. And as London basks in the afterglow of her triumphant performances, one thing is certain: the star of Reneé Rapp is only just beginning to rise. Bring on the Reneésance.

Reviewed on 1st, 2nd, 3rd March by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Olivia Mitchell