Posts with the label Jon Bausor
Showing posts with label Jon Bausor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jon Bausor. Show all posts

Monday, 26 November 2018

Glyndebourne's Cendrillon (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Cendrillon (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Friday 23rd November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Fiona Shaw takes the lead in directing Glyndebourne's first production of Massenet's ravishing fairytale, and turns it somewhat on it's head. The line from the opera "don't be ordinary, nor too original" feels very fitting for this production which has moments of magic but doesn't leave you utterly wowed. 

From the get go, the show is a little frantic, with lots of action but no clear centre for us to focus on. Whilst this does make the later scenes of peace and tranquility more affecting, it sometimes feels unnecessary and indulgent.  However, the act one scene of the Stepmother and Stepsisters preparing for the ball, is perfectly overindulgent, just like the characters. Social media obsessed, snapping selfies throughout the whole process and getting padded up to the nines a la the Kardashians, Agnes Zwierko, Eduarda Melo and Kezia Bienek are humourous, vocally excellent and suitably annoying.

Also well performed is the relationship between Cendrillion and her country-loving, spineless father played by William Dazeley. The pair are tender with one another and Dazeley provides some comic relief as he tries to stand up to his wife. Alix Le Saux and ElĂ©onore Pancrazi are convincingly youthful as Cendrillon and the Prince as they perform with heart and passion.


The real star of the show is soprano Caroline Wettergreen as the Fairy Godmother. Dressed in an Elsa-esque coat, with braided hair and sparkles adorning her face; Wettergreen casts spells before reclining in her chair with a cigarette and is perfectly nonchalant but magical. Her coloratura is outstanding and the oak tree dance in act three really shows off her voice, as well as Sarah Fahie's choreography which is perfectly timed with every trill and ornament.

Jon Bausor's set brings not only magic to the stage but makes it feel expansive. The use of mirrors throughout, transports us to a huge ballroom and makes the stage seem double the size it truly is. Small details such as the butterflies symbolically appearing across the stage, alongside Anna Watson's clever use of projections do bring an element of magic as well as keeping the stage uncluttered with unnecessary props.

The ultimate magic of Cendrillon is truly Massenet's gloriously sumptuous score but this production does a good job of making the classic fairytale more psychological as well as retaining the mystical feel we desire, especially at this festive time.

photo credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Glyndebourne's Cendrillon (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Monday, 26 November 2018

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Band (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


The Band (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Whether you're an avid fan of Take That, or you just know a few of the hit songs, get yourself along to The Band for a show full of friendship, laughs, emotion and nostalgia. The story is compelling and relatable to anyone who's ever hardcore admired a band, performer or celebrity.

The story opens with our main protagonist, Rachel, exclaiming how she grew up with 'The Band', and judging by the buzzing audience of the New Wimbledon Theatre, many of them did too.  From the get go, the show is well paced and bubbling with energy as we flash back to the group of five young friends as the fangirl over their boys. Their portrayal of head-over-heels fans is truthful, witty and exudes youth as the girls are as loyal to each other as they are to the band.

The Band themselves, reappear throughout to perform a number of Take That's greatest hits, both old and new. In the iconic outfits and with the classic moves, they really embody Take That and bring to life the spirit and energy of a band of friends who love performing with one another. They also do a wonderful job of propelling the story forward.


The show takes a sudden turn after the first couple of scenes when tragedy strikes and the tight-knit friend group are broken apart. Fast forward 25 years and we see the how the girls have settled into their various lives. The grown up Rachel, (played by Rachel Lumberg) seems to be living her dream life, but is unable to move on from the childhood tragedy that struck and she once again feels drawn to the band. Rachel plays the role with a beautiful balance and sense of realism; wonderfully showing off her exuberant side, alongside the side which is struggling with loss. 

As the friends reunite, the show really powers on and the story of each girl has something audience members can relate to. Act two includes a number of hilarious group scenes, accompanied by great musical performances. Despite the name, this show isn't about The Band, it's about the leading ladies who steal the show and our hearts with their sincere and charismatic performances. Whilst the girls always had The Band at the forefront of their lives, it was their friendships that glued them together and created a bond that even time apart, couldn't break.

The entire cast are superbly strong. The Boys, played by AJ Bentley, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri, Nick Carsberg and Sario Solomon provide the perfect starring moments as well as backing moments where they blend in as a natural part of the story. The Girls, both young and old are perfectly cast to be highly realistic whilst giving fantastic performances.


Alongside the cast, Jon Bausor's set is a real star of the show; with screens cleverly transporting us to concerts and music videos. A particular stand out, set moment is when the blue confetti used earlier in the show is cleverly fanned out by The Band to create  The Flood over the audience. Small details like this, really step this show up from a simple musical, to something special.

The small cast do a fantastic job of creating a high-energy piece which feels full of love and life. From post-show audience reactions, it's clear that The Band has many fans and the show is sure to continue delighting audiences on tour and in it's upcoming stint at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. For a story that will have you beaming and tearing up like the roller coaster of life, accompanied by a thrilling score, get yourself along to The Band and live your best fangirl life.

The Band (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Friday, 20 April 2018

Bat Out of Hell, Dominion Theatre | Review


Bat Out of Hell
Dominion Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 19th April 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Bat is well and truly back and at home in its new space: The Dominion Theatre. When I first saw this show back at it's press night at the Coliseum I wasn't the biggest fan. The performances were outstanding but the book itself really let it down. This time however, I knew what to expect so was ready for a carefree night of relaxed, rocking fun. Obviously the story is still the same (although this time around did feel less cheesy) but if you can overlook its short-fallings you are destined to have an electric night. The show has matured a lot and it's evident that work is continually being done to make it the best show it can be. 

Jim Steinman's rock musical is an electrifying roller-coaster of drama, lights, confetti, and so much more. Everything is thrown together to create a show that's refreshing and really like nothing else currently in the West End. This show is a Romeo and Juliet-esque retelling of Peter Pan. With Strat, the leader of The Lost who's frozen at aged 18, falling in love with Raven, the girl whose dad is the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian and doesn't want her leaving the house, let alone mixing with The Lost. Bat Out of Hell is a wild ride from the opening moment to the final bows.

It's not a stretch to say that the cast of this show are potentially the most talented currently on the West End. There is not a weak link throughout, with every member not only committing themselves fully to the show and looking as though they're truly loving it, but showcasing their outstanding vocals and performing with enough vigour to make us feel as though we're at a rock concert. 

A search call might need to be put out for the roof of the Dominion because Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington's voices completely blew it off last night. The two bounce off each other as if they're electrical currents and their ridiculously powerful voices compliment each other beautifully. Whilst their characters are very archetypal of rebelling teens, they also showcase needs and desires of being a young adult. Raven comes across as an aggressively whiney/needy character which although somewhat grating, is also a wonderful portrayal of what being an 18 year old is like. The constant desire to rebel but remain loved is something which we can all relate to growing up. Strat is larger than life and crazy but completely draws you into his world. The pair are receiving high praise for Bat Out of Hell and I doubt it's the only show they'll be applauded for in the future- they're definitely ones to watch!


Also vocally outstanding is Danielle Steers who once again received an audible gasp from the audience when she sung her first notes of Two Out of Three Ain't Bad. Her voice is sexy, strong and oh-so-powerful; when she joins forces with Wayne Robinson (Jagwire) they create vocal bliss as well as working with each other wonderfully.

As Raven's parents who are fighting to regain their spark, Sharon Sexton (Sloane) and Rob Fowler (Falco) are fantastic. Again they have voices to die for and are suitably wacky in their roles. The duets are stellar and they work fantastically as a pair to complement each other rather than over powering one another. Each of the leads truly command the stage but the ensemble also get a chance to shine, especially during Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are. Mention must go to Giovanni Spano, Jonathan Cordin, Emily Benjamin and Charlotte Anne Steen who really caught my eye throughout. 

If you were to search for the definition of Energetic,  I wouldn't be surprised if the cast of Bat Out of Hell popped up. Every ensemble moment is full-out and it's amazing how many intricate details are woven in. This is one of those shows that you need to see several times just to pick up every detail; there's action on every inch of space. The innovative use of live-camerawork throughout the show helps pick up these details very cleverly. The screens on either side of the stage and the use of vast projections allows the large space of the Dominion theatre to feel intimate whilst also adding to the futuristic, always being watched, vibe of the show. Jon Bausor has done a wonderful job creating this set and all the surprises included in it. 


Patrick Woodroffee's lighting is blinding and is just what you'd expect and need in a show like this, whilst Emma Portner's choreography is suitably strange and futuristic, with the sharp movements adding to the frenetic energy on stage. 

Everything about Bat Out of Hell is extra and excessive but that's the charm and appeal of it. The story isn't the focus; instead, we get to hear Jim Steinman's rousing music and see it performed with a vigour and drive that seems unattainable for 8 shows a week. What's special is that the cast do attain it and give 110% every show. If you like energetic, fast paced shows then For Crying Out Loud go and see Bat Out of Hell. Below all the lights and drama this is a show about love. From the audience reaction and instantaneous standing ovation when the last note was played, it's clear that a lot of people love this show. I am definitely a Bat convert and thoroughly recommend you see and EXPERIENCE this show for yourself.

Bat Out of Hell runs at the Dominion Theatre until 27th October 2018

photo credit: Specular

Bat Out of Hell, Dominion Theatre | Review

Friday, 20 April 2018

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Bat Out of Hell, London Coliseum | Review


Bat Out of Hell
London Coliseum
Reviewed Tuesday 20th June 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

★★★

Let's make one thing clear: this show is epically crazy. Jim Steinman's rock musical is like nothing else currently on any West End stage. It feels like a rollercoaster ride where things are constantly being thrown at you from every direction: the great, the good, the bad and the ugly sides of rock music are all thrown together to create a show like no other.

The new show based on the music of Jim Steinman tells a Romeo and Juliet-esque tale mixed with Peter Pan themes and a whole lot of randomness. If you don't like out there shows then this definitely isn't for you but if you're up for a wild ride then stick around. The songs have very little relevance to the storyline and it kind of feels like an excuse to put on a massive budget concert every night but somehow they kind of fit and work in the context. Each one is performed so much energy and excitement that you can forgive them for not technically fitting in. Each song works as it's own performance instead of fitting perfectly into an overall narrative.

Bat Out of Hell is set in a sort of dystopian world where a man named Falco rules a derelict, broken city where 'The Lost', a bunch of genetic mutants who don't age past 18, live in their underground lair known as 'The Deep End'. The leader of this mutant group is  Strat who despite barely knowing her, is head over heels in love with Falco's daughter, Raven who longs to escape her boring life. One fateful night Strat visits her room and from there on we fall down the rabbit hole of craziness and things get even more mental. I did say it was crazy! Overall I would describe it as a rock retelling of Peter Pan through the eyes of someone who's had a few too many!

Whilst the writing of the show isn't stellar and there are faults with it, the cast are a talented bunch indeed, with voices that raise the roof. Andrew Polec as Strat and Christina Bennington as Raven have great chemistry, although it is particularly cheesy at times they work well together and their booming voices compliment one another very nicely. The pairs voices are stunning and goosebump inducing. Another cast member who will give you chills is Danielle Steers (Zahara) who received a gasp from the audience when she sung her first solo notes. Danielle's voice is strong and sexy and when she joins with Dom Hartley-Harris (Jagwire), especially in Act 2, they really create a magical vocal moment. 

As Raven's parents who have fallen out of love and are trying to regain their spark, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton (Sloane) are outstanding. They are witty and suitably mental with their performance of "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" becoming it's own mini show within the show. Both their voices have the right amount of attitude and drama to command the stage and ring out above the ensemble.

Jon Bausor's set is mental, with fire balls, motorbikes and so many more surprises to always keep you on your toes. The use of screens is extremely clever, not only mimicking the screens you get at a concert but also acting as a kind of cctv camera, showing us close up action which we wouldn't normally see- it really reminded me of Robert Icke's Hamlet.

The pyrotechnics are intense but not so overdone that they become gimmicky. Emma Portner's choreography fits the weird world of the show but is a somewhat weird mix of things, conjuring up Michael Jackson "Thriller" vibes mixed with Maddie Ziegler's iconic dances for Sia. It's sharp and popping and fills the vast stage of the London Coliseum well. Patrick Woodroffee's lighting is eccentric and blinding, the exact lighting you expect from a rock concert. But as the Coliseum is smaller than an arena, the bright lights are exemplified and add to the psychedelic experience.

Now this definitely isn't a masterpiece of musical theatre but it is a jaw-dropping spectacle that really has to be seen to be believed. There are more than just moments of gold and flashes of light- it's an extravangaza for the eyes and ears which will definitely leave you feeling something?!

Bat Out of Hell runs at the London Coliseum until 22nd August 2017.

Bat Out of Hell, London Coliseum | Review

Wednesday, 21 June 2017