Posts with the label Emma Salvo
Showing posts with label Emma Salvo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emma Salvo. Show all posts

Monday 18 February 2019

Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre | Review

Come From Away
Phoenix Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 12th February 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Come From Away is a giant hug in a musical which even the most icy of people will be moved by, as it portrays a time of amazing and heroic hospitality under immense pain and pressure.

Discussed as a 9/12 musical, Come From Away is set on and after the horrific events of September 11th 2001, but instead of leaving you downtrodden, it will leave you inspired and probably feeling a little sentimental. Written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, it is an incredibly well rounded and fluent piece of theatre which provides catharsis whist becoming a celebration of goodness.

The show is set in the small town of Gander in ,Newfoundland Canada, which homes just over 11,000 people. On September 11th 2001, 38 planes were diverted to Gander airport, with 7,000 passengers and crew plus several pets and a pair of chimpanzees who were headed for a zoo. The people of Gander came together to provide shelter, food and friendship to the 'plane people'; and all who were there have incredible stories, bonds and live changing experiences from their time. They may have left Gander, but Gander never left them.

After interviewing many Plane People and Ganderites, David and Irene condensed these stories into a 100 minute show that features sleek role-swapping, musical theatre numbers and catchy Celtic tunes. Christopher Ashley's direction is crisp and to the point but also leaves room for us to study the story further, and of course allows us to look at ourselves and wonder what we would do in the same situation. This is further helped by Tara Overfield-Wilkinson's relentless and sharp choreography and Howell Binkley's striking and mood-evoking lighting. These aspects married with Beowulf Borritt's well thought out space, keep up momentum and evolve the story as simply but effectively as possible.

The heart of this show is community, and like the stories themselves, it is built around ensemble and teamwork.  The typically Newfoundland scenes such as the 'Screech In', feel like we've stepped into a pub and are really experiencing a group of people enjoying life. In such a group led piece, with smooth character changes, amazing use of simple props/set, it is unfair to name standout performances. The cast as a whole bring these people and stories to life and it's truly moving to witness such a wonderful and transformative piece of theatre. 

The cast is comprised of Jenna Boyd, Nathanael Campbell, Clive Carter, Mary Doherty, Robert Hands, Helen Hobson, Jonathan Andrew Hume, Harry Morrison, Emma Salvo, David Shannon, Cat Simmons and Rachel Tucker with Chiara Baronti, Mark Dugdale, Bob Harms, Kirsty Malpass, Tania Mathurin, Alexander McMorran, Brandon Lee Sears and Jennifer Tierney. All of whom, alongside the distinguished on stage band  (led by Alan Berry) and all the crew, who are unseen during the 100 minutes, should be equally applauded for their work on the must-see show in the West End. 

Concise and well-rounded, Come From Away is a stunning and poignant reminder of human kindness, which will surely leave you standing a little taller and smiling a little more.

Come From Away runs at the Phoenix Theatre and is currently booking until September 2019

photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre | Review

Monday 18 February 2019

Tuesday 3 October 2017

The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre | Review

The Toxic Avenger
Arts Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 2nd October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

When seeing this show, you should take it like it takes itself: not too seriously. Based on the 1984 cult movie, The Toxic Avenger received its New York premiere in 2009 before enjoying a short run at London's Southwark Playhouse in 2016. Most recently it played at the Edinburgh Fringe and has now opened a limited run at the Arts Theatre. 

Set in New Jersey, where pollution has over taken the city, we meet Melvin the dweeby teenager (in love with the town's blind librarian) who is thrown into a vat of toxic waste, becomes the Toxic Avenger and vows to take justice into his own hands.  The plot is bonkers but easy to follow and the production celebrates this wackiness with a clever and genuinely funny script. The fourth wall is broken and it becomes a game of spot the musical theatre reference; from Hamilton to Mary Poppins to Phantom- they're all in there somewhere!

The humour is unashamedly crude and whilst this is refreshing to see on stage, it sometimes becomes a bit too much. With the same jokes repeated several times and therefore loosing any impact. The "blind girl almost walking off the stage" was especially repetitive.

Whilst not all of the music is particularly memorable, the cast perform it with exuberance and stellar vocals throughout. Mark Anderson is wonderfully awkward but gentle as Melvin and 'Toxie'; his voice is beautiful and he overacted just enough to avoid the whole thing becoming too silly. Natalie Hope's vocals are outstanding, both as Toxie's mother and the woman who's to blame for the pollution: the mayor! She is humourous, sexy and an all round, brilliant entertainer. Emma Salvo as Sarah is funny and crude but still sweet; her Oprah obsession is hilarious and her vocals are fantastic. The rest of the towns people are impressively brought to life by Ché Francis and Oscar Conlon-Morrey. From the town bullies to the hairdressers with "indistinguishable accents", they do a stellar job.

Takis have done a great job of using the space of the small Arts Theatre well, with a clever set design that means the stage never feels cramped. It's simplistic but effective as are the costumes which also have many musical theatre references within them. It's a very cleverly done show in terms of intricate details.

This is a non-pc show thats fun, lighthearted and silly. If you're easily offended then it's not for you but for a blast of fun and some sublime vocal performances then pop along to the Arts Theatre. 

The Toxic Avenger runs until December 3rd at The Arts Theatre. 

The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre | Review

Tuesday 3 October 2017