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Newsies, Troubadour Theatre | Review

Friday, 9 December 2022


Newsies 
Troubadour Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 8th December 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

As temperatures soar below zero, the heat is definitely up at the Troubadour theatre in Wembley as their long awaited production of Newsies sizzles and soars.


The musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein has become somewhat of a cult classic in the musical theatre world, with many fans around the globe despite the show only previously being performed in America and Canada. The 2017 Broadway pro-shot brought the show within touching distance but now London finally get to see it in the flesh, and the good news is, it was completely worth the wait. 


Telling the story of the New York Newboys and Girls who went on strike over unfair work conditions, it’s an unlikely plot for a musical but it mostly works so well. More than anything this is a show with dance at its core and it’s quite astounding to see so many talented dancers on stage, even more so when you hear their divine vocals which accompany the moves. Matt Cole’s choreography is fierce, sharp and so so strong. The energy and precision is truly mesmerising to see and is so appreciated by the audience who give several standing ovations throughout.


It's the plot of this show which lets it down somewhat. The pretty formulaic story doesn't exactly thrill and whilst it does touch on important issues, there's a lack of depth so you don't fully connect with the characters and their plight. Due to this there are moments where the pacing feels a bit slow, however this is quickly fixed every time a big dance number is performed. 


What is great is that despite some stilted moments in the story, the show as a whole is continuously moving. Morgan Large's semi-immersive set allows for action to be taking place at all times, whether through actors walking along sides or quite literally soaring into the audience. The grey-toned backdrop somehow feels gloriously colourful as various shades leap across the stage. The multi-level design allows for varying sight lines and there's something to discover in every nook and cranny. Mark Henderson's lighting design works in complete harmony with all of this and really brings some wow moments to life; it's a very well oiled machine.


The incredibly strong cast who make up this show (and must have a physio bill to rival any other) are the beating heart of it all. The varying characters of the Newsies all get small moments to shine and their interactions are very touching to watch. Leading the pack Michael Ahomka-Lindsay is charming as Jack Kelly, at moments too cool for school, and others afraid of his circumstance, his performance is really moving. Alongside him BrontĂ© BarbĂ© is sparky and witty as Katherine Plumber; her performance of Watch What Happens is a real stand out (although it could be a touch faster) and her portrayal of the role allows you to really engage and connect with her. Ryan Kopel as new newsboy Davey is delightful too. 


This has got to be one of the strongest casts in theatre right now and the astounding performances really need to be seen to be believed. Newsies is a hugely welcome addition to the London theatre scene and it's sure to delight anyone who sees it!


photo credit: Johan Persson

Cinderella (Panto), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 7 December 2022


Cinderella (Pantomime)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 6th December 2022 
★★★★

It's that time of year again (oh yes it is) where audiences flock to their local theatres to see the seasonal panto, and this year the New Victoria Theatre, Woking are providing the glitziest of night's out with their version of Cinderella.

Getting the show off to a magical start, is Jenny Gayner as the Fairy Godmother, flying out into the audience and getting the children (and let's be fair the adults too) on the edge of their seats, ready for a fantastically festive night out. From then it's full-on, non-stop action, audience participation and slapstick humour. A complete maelstrom of energy, you wonder how the cast can consistently do two shows a week until December 31st!

With panto veteran Kathryn Rooney at the helm as Director, this is a show which has something for everyone including some great comedic, as well as theatrical moments. The best comedy comes from Brian Conley as Buttons who completely knows how to work the crowd, with just the right amount of audience participation and a great number of references to his own work as well as to the local area. The wonderful step sisters Claudia (Neal Wright) and Tess (Ben Stock) not only have an astounding wardrobe of over the top, ridiculous gowns, but they also have great chemistry with one another and are thoroughly entertaining throughout their time on stage.

What works so well with this production is that it truly feels luxurious and there is a whole lot of spectacle sprinkled in with the silliness. Aesthetically, the costumes are glorious; an array of sparkle and massive head pieces that look really great. Sarah Vaughan goes to the ball in dazzling glitz and even the Prince (Samuel Wilson-Freeman) gets some cracking costumes.  

Other "wow" moments also include the end of Act One snow (always a winner at Christmas) and the real life horses which are just adorable. Pyrotechnics and confetti also add to the drama and festivity of it all and the great vocals and choreography from the cast help make it more than just a laugh a minute, no substance show. 

Of course, like with any Panto, there are aspects which might not hit personally for every audience member, but you can't deny that there's at least a moment for everyone and hearing the children of the audience in fits of laughter is enough to make you feel the festive spirit. Cinderella provides exactly what you'd expect with a Christmas pantomime and you can't really ask for much more!

Full Cast Announced for 'No Limits' at the Turbine Theatre


Sam Caldwell He/Him for Paper House Productions is pleased to announce the full cast of No Limits – A Song Cycle by Sam Thomas He/Him.
 
Directed by Dean JohnsonHe/Him, (BKLYN, LIFT), this exciting new production will open in London at the Turbine Theatre on 15th February 2023. 
 
Joining Natalie May Paris (SIX The Musical)She/Her, in the role of #DREAMER will be, Owen Clayton (Julie: The Musical and It’s In The Air), They/He, as #ROMANTIC, Hannah Lowther (Heathers The Musical, Millennials, Emojiland), She/Her, as #CATFISH, Michael Mather (Soho Cinders and But I’m a Cheerleader), He/Him as #FIGHTER, Mary Moore (Grease and Little Women) She/They, #FUNEMPLOYEDSaffi Needham (Recently graduated and making her professional debut),  She/Her as  SWING.
 
West End and Tik Tok star Hannah Lower She/Her, said “I’m so excited to be joining the original London cast of No Limits, the team have been working so hard and we’re all so excited to finally share the show with an audience!"
 
Producer, Sam Caldwell He/Him said, “I am delighted to reveal the cast for our upcoming production of No Limits - A Song Cycle at the Turbine Theatre. I can’t wait to see this talent take to the stage and bring a fresh take to this wonderful material in this brand new, exciting production. This show has been a long time coming and I am looking forward to seeing how audiences connect with it in February.”
 
Joining Director Dean Johnson, He/Him, is Musical Director Ella Ingram She/Her, Associate Director Liv Byrom She/Her, Choreographer Rhys Wilkinson He/Him. No Limits - A Song Cycle also has set design by Justin Williams He/Him, lighting design by Alex Musgrave and stage management by Jack Evans He/Him.
 
No Limits - A Song Cycle deconstructs the concept of falling behind in life. It follows a diverse cast of characters from all walks of life as they dare to believe in themselves and strive for a brighter future.
 
This powerful collection of songs sees characters let go of their anxieties, take leaps of faith, and fight for who they truly are, from confessing their dreams of becoming a rockstar to catfishing their attractive neighbour.
 
No Limits - A Song Cycle features heartfelt and queer stories. This brand-new production emphasises that we are all in the same boat, and that with enough self-belief, we can always overcome our setbacks. There truly are No Limits to your journey.
 
Tickets for No Limits at the Turbine Theatre are on sale now

First Ever Relaxed Performance For Back to the Future The Musical


Lead producer Colin Ingram, together with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the creators of the Back To The Future film trilogy, are delighted to announce that Back To the Future The Musical will play its first ever relaxed performance at the Adelphi Theatre on Sunday 12 March 2023. Please click here to book.
 
Relaxed performances are open to everyone, but may benefit those who normally find it challenging to access and enjoy theatre. The performance will include reduced volume and lighting states with a laid-back approach to audience movement permitting and encouraging everyone to relax and respond naturally.
 
The critically acclaimed Olivier, WhatsOnStage and Broadway World Award-winning Best New Musical had its opening night in London on Monday 13 September 2021. The musical recently broke box office records at the Adelphi Theatre for the highest gross sales in one week.
 
Back To the Future The Musical currently stars Cory English and Ben Joyce as ‘Dr Emmett Brown’ (until 3 January 2023) and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively, with Amber Davies as ‘Lorraine Baines’, Oliver Nicholas as ‘George McFly’, Jordan Benjamin as ‘Goldie Wilson’, Harry Jobson as ‘Biff Tannen’, Sophie Naglik as ‘Jennifer Parker’, Gary Trainor as ‘Strickland’, Will Haswell as alternate ‘Marty McFly’ and ‘Dave McFly’ and Emma Lloyd as ‘Linda McFly’.
 
Tony Award winner, Roger Bart, will return to the show on 5 January 2023. His final performance in London will be 20 March 2023 after which he will lead the cast of the Broadway production, which begins performances at Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway) on 30 June 2023 with an official opening on 3 August 2023.
 
Also in the cast are Amy Barker, Simeon Beckett, Sia Dauda, Tyler Davis, Glen Facey, Dylan Gordon-Jones, Adam Margilewski, Cameron McAllister, Alessia McDermott, Bryan Mottram, Laura Mullowney, Anna Murray, Jon Reynolds, Melissa Rose, Georgia Tapp, Justin Thomas, Charley Warburton and Tavio Wright.
 
The Original Cast Recording, released on Sony Music’s Masterworks Broadway label, is now available on all formats, including vinyl, and has had over 3 million streams. It features the new music by multi-Grammy Award-winners Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard alongside classic songs from the movie including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode
 
Back To the Future The Musical won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, four WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical, and the Broadway World Award for Best New Musical. The productions in London and Manchester have so far been seen by half a million people and the musical has broken box office records at the Adelphi Theatre.
 
Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, 
Back To the Future The Musical has a book by Bob Gale and new music and lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri and six-time Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard, with additional songs from the film including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.
 
Marty McFly is a rock ‘n’ roll teenager who is accidentally transported back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr Emmett Brown.  But before he can return to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents fall in love in order to save his own existence.
 
Back To the Future The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winning director John Rando (UrinetownOn The Town), alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning design team of Tim Hatley (set and costume design), Tim Lutkin (lighting), Hugh Vanstone (lighting consultant), Gareth Owen (sound) and Finn Ross (video), with choreography by Chris Bailey, musical supervision and arrangements by Nick Finlow and Illusions by Chris Fisher. Orchestrations are by Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, with dance arrangements by David Chase. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.
 
Back to the Future the movie was released in 1985, starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown. The film grossed $360.6 million (£279 million) at the box office worldwide and the total box office for all three films in the Back to the Future franchise was $936.6 million (over $1.8 billion in today’s money).
 
Back To the Future The Musical is produced by Colin Ingram, Donovan Mannato, Frankel/Viertel/Baruch/Routh Group, Hunter Arnold, Gavin Kalin Productions, Playing Field, Crush Music, CJ ENM, Teresa Tsai, Ivy Herman/Hallee Adelman, Robert L. Hutt, Universal Theatrical Group, Ricardo Marques, Augury, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, in association with Kimberly Magarro, Stage Entertainment, Glass Half Full Productions/ Neil Gooding Productions.
 
photo credit: Matt Crockett