Posts with the label concert
Showing posts with label concert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concert. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Mimma (Concert), Cadogan Hall | Review


Mimma (Concert)
Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Monday 28th February by Holly Inch
★★★★★

Ron Siemiginowski and Giles Watson’s Mimma tells the story of two women who form an unlikely friendship in the midst of World War 2: Sarah, an aspiring jazz singer, and Mimma, a young Italian girl sent to live with her uncle in London’s Soho. Through the growing fear in London, her brother’s arrest, and the tension between Italy and England, Mimma’s danger grows evermore, and she could lose everything- apart from the only person that she can trust: Sarah.
Mimma’s one night performance was not something to be missed and showcased the best of what theatre has to offer. The musical concert took place at Cadogan Hall and included a cast of seventeen alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra. The stage didn’t include much set, however the cast brought the story to life with the props, tables, and chairs that they had (I must note, there were also projections on the back wall that helped differentiate from scene to scene). All of the cast members were fitted with beautiful 1940’s outfits that only added to the world of Mimma and looked amazing on stage together.

The show’s cast were phenomenal. Led by Sir David Suchet as Alredo Frassati, Celinde Schoenmaker as Mimma, and Louise Dearman as Sarah, all of whom brought Mimma’s story to life through the score and the phenomenal 40s style choreography, brilliantly choreographed Chris Whittaker. Celinde Schoenmaker was outstanding as Mimma, bringing her powerful soprano voice into the. Her portrayal of the hardships that Mimma goes through was unparalleled, her acting beautifully natural, and her higher register something to marvel. As her on stage friend, Louise Dearman was a standout role. Dearman brought such range to the role of Sarah that you found it hard to believe that she hadn’t gone through the experiences that she portrayed on stage. Aside from that, her singing was utterly beautiful and captivating to listen, combining jazz and opera styles into a wonderful blend that was heavenly to hear. Her performance of 'The Folds of Time' (a beautifully emotional song about Sarah and her fiancé, who is in the navy) was so sweetly sung and incorporated such truth tied into it.


John Owen-Jones as Lorenzo- though we didn’t see this part as much as some others- was brilliantly played and sung and was exactly what you would expect from the amazing Owen-Jones. A beautiful moment in the show came when Ashley Riches- playing Aldo Marini, Mimma’s brother- and Elena Xanthoudakis- playing Ada Marini, Mimma’s mother- sang together in the song 'Aria Pieta'. The two’s voices blended well together, and they had a beautiful dynamic as mother and son. Riches specifically had an incredible range on him and portrayed the hardships experienced by Aldo in a way that had me almost in tears. Riches and Xanthoudakis joined Schoenmaker in an out-of-this-world group number called 'Aria Piemontese' which left my jaw on the floor. 

Steve Serlin as Jacob Katz was another stand out performance because his comedy timing was impeccable and brought the comedic relief that left the audience with smiles on their faces. The ensemble just made the show. They constantly were acting, singing, dancing, and just all together brought their moments to life. The dancing was to an amazingly high-standard, and their vocals added a wonderful layer to the song.

With a wonderful composition, an absolutely phenomenal cast with insane vocal, Mimma was a fantastic musical and spoke on issues faced during World War 2 in a respectful and truthful light. I only hope that this is the start of a bright future for this musical.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Mimma (Concert), Cadogan Hall | Review

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Friday, 11 June 2021

West End Musical Celebration, Palace Theatre | Review



West End Musical Celebration (Concert) 
Palace Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday10th June 2021 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

As two pioneers in making theatre accessible, diverse and welcoming, Shanay Holmes and Chris Steward have continually pushed through all of the setbacks of the last year to provide high quality, delightful entertainment. Most recently through their West End Musical Drive In’s and now through their West End Debut which was a full, flamboyant and fabulous celebration of, and return to theatre.


As hostess with the mostess, Shanay took us through the night with grace and passion. Like all the performers, it was really evident just how much theatre and the theatrical community means to her and the love throughout the auditorium was frenetic.


Joining Shanay were some of the West End's best: Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Ben Forster, Rachel John, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Layton Williams. It's unfair to pick favourite moments when every performance was a complete treat and the song selection was outstanding. From Defying Gravity, to a bluesy version of Don't Rain on My Parade and a sweetly sentimental rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow there was something for absolutely everyone. If that wasn't enough, the pre-show/interval playlist was also a stagey delight. 


As well as this, the night featured a fantastic band, wonderful backing singers and excellently sleek dancers. Several standing ovations and plenty of chair dancing highlighted that the audience were completely on the performers side and were just as much a part of the show as those on stage, albeit with considerably vocal ability. Overall the whole evening felt like a high quality, well-oiled, musical theatre sensation.


Alongside the mile a minute song selection, the night also included the sparkling wardrobe of dreams. The sheer glitz, glam and spectacle of the whole night's proceedings felt so special to be a part of. 


The night closed with a series of high octane numbers, including Don't Stop Believing, How Will I Know and One Night Only, which had everyone on their feet and proved that we really can have a good time, even under covid restrictions. 


As the final chorus of The Greatest Showman’s From Now On rang out “and we will come back home”, I was reminded that the theatre really is home and if last night's concert is what it's like then never want to leave.



West End Musical Celebration runs at the Palace Theatre until Sunday 13th June 2021


Photos by Bonnie Britain

West End Musical Celebration, Palace Theatre | Review

Friday, 11 June 2021

Monday, 23 November 2020

Thespie Present Streamed Concert Series with Dozens of UK Stage Stars


Theatre discovery platform Thespie today announces the Reunited Series, bringing together more than two dozen of the UK’s top musical theatre artists for a series of filmed concerts premiering throughout December. Developed by Aimie Atkinson, Thespie’s Creative Producer and the Olivier nominated star of Pretty Woman and SIX), each concert presents ensemble music performances (filmed in COVID-secure London venues), and ranges from musical theatre hits, to pop music, to favourite Christmas songs. The program of each concert has been developed by the artists involved and will also include intimate interview footage.

 

The concerts are designed to inspire global theatre audiences, by bringing the UK’s best musical theatre talent directly to their homes this holiday season. The artists collectively represent over two and a half centuries of experience on UK stages; their recent credits include The Prince of Egypt, Pretty Woman, SIX, & Juliet, Come From Away, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, and Kinky Boots.

 

Thespie Creative Producer Aimie Atkinson commented, “We’re thrilled to be bringing you our first shows—high-energy, joyful concerts with great production values and astonishing vocal performances. I am so in awe of the level of talent working with us to make these December shows incredibly special. You are in for a treat.”

 

The series begins with the premiere of Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz on 3 Dec at 8pm GMT, a celebration of the famed composer’s works including WickedPippinGodspellChildren of Eden, and The Prince of Egypt, Schwartz’s newest musical. The nine artists in the concert (Nikki Bentley, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Alexia Khadime, Melanie La Barrie, Carl Man, Dianne Pilkington, Liam Tamne, Oliver Tompsett) all starred in Wicked during its first 14 years in London, and two (Khadime, Tamne) are in the current cast of The Prince of Egypt. Schwartz himself will make a special appearance in the program, with further details to be announced.

 

Oops!... I Streamed It Again... premieres 10 Dec at 8pm GMT and is a high-energy concert of favourite classic pop, rock, and musical theatre songs. The concert is performed by five artists who met as part of the original company of the UK musical & Juliet: Jordan Luke Gage, Tim Mahendran, Grace Mouat, Oliver Tompsett, and 2020 Olivier Award Winner Cassidy Janson.

 

Next up is the return of the artists from The Reunion, with an empowering concert of songs by famous girl bands through the decades: Girl Power premieres 17 Dec at 8pm GMT. Expect the tight harmonies and true sisterhood vibes that these artists have come to be known for since they first met as the original West End queens of the musical SIXGirl Power stars Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Grace Mouat, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Jarneia Richard-Noel.

 

Finally, the fourth instalment of the Reunited Series arrives on the 21 Dec at 8pm GMT. All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre is a love letter to the tradition of seeing theatre with those you love during the holiday season. More than three dozen top UK theatre artists are lending their talents to this special concert, featuring classic Christmas songs of all styles. Performers from UnlimitedOops!... I Streamed It Again, and Girl Power will all be featured, alongside more than a dozen more, to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Streaming tickets for a single concert are £12.50 ($15) if booked early (by 30 Nov), or £15 ($18) if purchased in December. (10 other currencies available.) Purchasers of the first three concerts will have 72 hours to watch, and purchasers of All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre will have 7 days to watch with their households. An Extended-Access bundle (£37.50/$45 in Nov; £45/$54 in Dec) gives purchasers access to all four concerts from their premiere through 31 December, and provides a 25% discount over booking the concerts separately. All concerts and the bundle can also be purchased after their premiere, with the same window of access (72 hours, 7 days, or through 31 Dec.)

 

The Reunited Series and Thespie’s original content initiative support its work to foster the connection between artists and audiences on its theatre discovery platform. Thespie’s first original production, The Reunion, was one of the bestselling paid theatre streaming events in the UK, selling tickets to 3600 households across 65 countries; and employed 35 live entertainment workers who received over £30k in income from the event.

 

Thespie founder Tyler Stoops said, “Watching our first concert, The Reunion, revived my spirits, and hundreds of viewers told us how meaningful it was, how inspired they were, and how much fun they had. So I’m thrilled we can deliver four more concerts for audiences at home around the world, just in time for Christmas. I think all of us are ready for some joy and excitement.

 

Thespie offers listings for theatre streaming, theatre music & audio, theatre eBooks, educational resources, live London theatre, theatre news, and more. Audiences can use Thespie to stream the Reunited Series and more than 400 other shows, or to discover over 1000 more shows available on other popular platforms and services, such as Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Audible.

Thespie Present Streamed Concert Series with Dozens of UK Stage Stars

Monday, 23 November 2020

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Hiba Elchikhe Brings Together West End Performers For A New Musical Theatre Series


In collaboration with Nimax and The Theatre Café, West End performer Hiba Elchikhe is thrilled to announce a brand-new musical theatre based web series: Out Of The Darkness, Into The Spotlight.


Bringing a little bit of glitter to the grey, this three-episode series hopes to not only entertain, but shine a light on the performers who are keeping the West End alive, even during lockdown.


Hiba, who is currently starring in the West End hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and who has created the series says “In a time of such uncertainty I am so excited to be able to bring together a spectacular group of freelance artists, that are representative of the UK.”  


Featuring a line up of stellar creatives, each episode shines a “spotlight” on something different: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Musical Theatre and Christmas. The first episode is set to premiere on November 18th, with the next two going live on November 25th and December 9th. Each episode will feature a different line-up of star performers, running at approximately 45 minutes and including a mixture of songs. Performers include: Danny Becker (Prince of Egypt, Aladdin), Courtney Bowman (Six, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Danielle Steers (Six, Bat Out of Hell), Hiba Elchikhe (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Brooklyn), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Les Misérables, Heathers), Sejal Keshwala (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Tim Mahendran (& Juliet, Spring Awakening), Grace Mouat (& Juliet, Six), Trevor Dion Nicholas (Hamilton, Aladdin), Liam Tamne (Prince of Egypt) and Noah Thomas (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie).


As well as Maisey Bawden, Paul Bradshaw, Rhiane Drummond, James Gillan, Shanay Holmes, Rob Houchen, Melissa Jacques, Emma Kingston, Carl Man, Frances McCann, Scott Paige, Sharun PhullAmy Trigg and Andrew Patrick Walker, with more to be announced.


Tickets are available from: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/2020/11/news-out-of-the-darkness-into-the-spotlight/


#IntoTheSpotlightConcert


Hiba Elchikhe Brings Together West End Performers For A New Musical Theatre Series

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Rachel John on Bringing Back Live Theatre | Songs For a New World | Interview

After the success of the online streamed version of Jason Robert Brown's Songs For a New World, Lambert Jackson have brought the musical back as one of the first live, in person performances in the West End. Theatrical powerhouse Rachel John will be starring in the show and is extremely excited to get back to performing...


You’re going to be starring in Songs For A New World, can you tell us a bit about how it all came about and your journey with the show so far?
I was approached by Lambert Jackson with the exciting idea of being a part of a virtual production of the show. It was unlike anything I had done before, so I was excited to see the way that this format would translate through the screen and into people’s homes. After the show was streamed, we received the exciting news that we would be performing at the Palladium. I felt so blessed.


2020 has been crazy to put it mildly, has all the theatrical innovation in a time when the arts can’t run normally made you love what you do even more?
The innovation that has occurred during lockdown has been very inspiring and has shown me the strength and creativity of our theatre industry. I have had a renewed sense of my love of story-telling and have been reminded how we refused to stop sharing our gifts.


What’s one thing you’ve taken away from lockdown?
There are many things that I have taken away from lockdown, but if I had to pick one it would be valuing family time. I have had more time to speak to my family abroad and here and it has been a blessing.


Going back to live performances must be super exciting, what are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to working with a company again and I am really looking forward to hearing and seeing the live audiences. I miss the tangible feeling of the audience. The electricity.


When theatres are fully running in the (hopefully) near future, what show would you like to see first?
I cannot pick what I would like to see first! I am just eager to get back to support my fellow performers and soak up the atmosphere.


What can audiences expect from Songs For a New World?
Audiences can expect to come on a journey with us through this incredible song cycle. Jason Robert Brown’s lyrics and melodies will touch their hearts.


How do you want people to feel after experiencing Songs For a New World?
I would like people to experience the joy of being back together, even if there is distance. I would like them to feel hopeful and optimistic.


Songs for a New World plays at the London Palladium 11th October 2020

Rachel John on Bringing Back Live Theatre | Songs For a New World | Interview

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Monday, 24 February 2020

Zorro, Cadogan Hall | Review


Zorro
Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Fiery, Latin, wacky, soulful and brilliant, Zorro made a triumphant return to London last night, 12 years after its West End premiere. The story of Diego De La Vega who becomes the illusive Fox aka Zorro, to save his town from the tyrannical reign of his childhood friend Ramon, is the classic good vs evil that can't help but invest you with its sincerity and heart of gold. Add to this a score by the Gipsy Kings and a fantastic cast and you've got a great night on your hands.

The plot is wafer thin but in this concert setting, we really had the chance to go beyond that to focus on the fantastic Spanish music and the wonderful characterisation from the whole cast. Even in a full setting, I would imagine that the self-awareness of this show, means you can pretty much overlook the plot faults and just enjoy it for what it is- a heap of fun! There are many 'deep' moments peppered throughout the production, but they're equally balanced with camp humour and wit which lighten the tone and allow us to go on a pretty much carefree journey.

Ricardo Afonso was incredibly convincing and powerful as Zorro/Diego, giving a completely marvellous vocal performance and enrapturing the audience of Cadogan Hall. Delightfully tongue in cheek, with a great balance of sincerity, swagger and playfulness, there's not much more you could ask for from the debonair hero. In great contrast, Robert Tripolino was truly evil as the rapacious ruler Ramon and completely commanded the stage in every moment. Zubin Varla and Jo Parsons, gave solid performances and it's just a shame we didn't get the chance to see and hear more from them.


The love interest Luisa was performed with tenderness by Emma Williams, who revived her West End role and showcased her vocal dexterity, namely in her touching rendition of The Man Behind the Mask.

Also reviving her (Olivier Award Winning) role, was Lesli Margherita who deservedly garnered much applause as the vivacious, smouldering gypsy Inez. Lesli's rendition of Bamboleo will be a memorable moment for everyone at Cadogan Hall and we can only hope she'll be back on London soil soon!

Under the baton of Freddie Tapner, the LMTO orchestra brought vibrant energy to the Hall, with exceptional guitar and percussion woven throughout the entire score. The foot stomping music was fully realised thanks to Paul Smith's sound design which was wonderfully balanced and showcased every single performer and musician brilliantly.

Entertaining and enthusiastic, Zorro was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Hopefully the rapturous reception is enough to bring this musical back to London very soon. Viva el Zorro!

photo credit: Darren Bell

Zorro, Cadogan Hall | Review

Monday, 24 February 2020

The Pirate Queen, London Coliseum | Review


The Pirate Queen (Concert)
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Hope Priddle
★★★★

The Pirate Queen sailed into the London Coliseum for a one off charity concert in aid of Leukaemia UK. Set in 16th Century Ireland, Boublil and Schönberg's musical tells the real life story of fearless mariner Grace O’Malley as she embarks upon a heroic struggle to defend her homeland from English rule. A tale of politics and passion, The Pirate Queen is an inspiring story of one woman’s efforts to determine her own destiny in a world run by men.

Rachel Tucker shines in the titular role. Tucker is feisty and fearless, perfectly capturing O’Malley’s youthful optimism in the opening scenes of Act 1. Her voice soars across the auditorium as she performs Woman. Likewise, Tucker beautifully explores O’Malley’s tender side as a mother, daughter and lover. The intimate duets she shares with Jai McDowall as sweetheart Tiernan and Father Dubhdara, played powerfully by Earl Carpenter, are highly moving.

Hannah Waddingham had a hard task playing Queen Elizabeth I, an imperious foil to Tucker’s spirited O’Malley. However, she undoubtedly excelled in this role. Waddingham was poised and dignified, commanding every scene with her impressive operatic prowess.

Daniel Boys provided excellent comedic relief as the unfoundedly arrogant and hapless Lord Bingham, one of two antagonists alongside Grace’s husband and eventual betrayer Donal, played by the terrific Matt Pagan.

It is however, Jai McDowall as Tiernan who steals the show with his rendition of I’ll Be There. He is endearing and charismatic as O’Malley’s sweetheart who proves his unconditional love for his Pirate Queen on more than one occasion.


The ensemble and choir are vocally assured and provide some beautiful harmonies. They are best showcased in a rousing rendition of Sail to the Stars which brings the first act to a swelling crescendo.

Special plaudits must also go to choreographer Jack Ludwig, who’s sharp and spritely Irish dance numbers inject the piece with joyful energy.

Technical elements work together to elevate this semi-staged production, despite a few niggles with mics early on. Lighting and visuals by Ben Rogers are simple yet effective. Painterly illustrations depicting the Irish Coast and English Royal Court provide a pleasing backdrop, while the use of coloured lighting seamlessly signals a shift between land and sea. A single purple spotlight shone upon Elizabeth and Grace as they converse in Act 2 was an especially nice touch; this royal hue indicated a meeting of two equals, both noble in character if not in title.

Fran Levin’s costumes are timely and sympathetic, yet mostly modest. Hannah Waddingham is an exception here; she looks suitably regal in Elizabeth’s embellished gown towering over O Malley’s boyish and diminutive frame.

Though the performances are indeed outstanding, the score so often borrows melodies from Les Misérables and Miss Saigon that it becomes somewhat predictable. Boys’ll be Boys is a fun but ultimately trifling homage to Master of the House. In short, unashamedly familiar tunes followed by unfamiliar lyrics resulted in an effect which was at times jarring.

While audiences may find this musical too repetitive to work as a fully realised production, The Pirate Queen provided an evening of outstanding vocal talent and swashbuckling storytelling.

photo credit: Earl Carpenter

The Pirate Queen, London Coliseum | Review

Monday, 10 February 2020

Twisted, Trafalgar Studios | Review


Twisted (Concert)
Trafalgar Studios
Reviewed on Sunday 9th February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

There weren't many reasons to leave the house on Sunday, as Storm Ciara battered the UK, but a dose of musical theatre and Disney were certainly two. The latest in Monsteers' concert series, Twisted provided a chance for performers to sing the Disney songs they've always wanted to, as well as those which they wouldn't typically be cast in. This led to an afternoon of uplifting numbers, belting galore and a great escape from mother nature.

Thirteen performers took to the stage to treat us to a selection of (mostly) contemporary songs, ranging from Poor Unfortunate Souls to Hellfire. Each performance brought something special to the stage and offered a chance for stripped back performances celebrating musicality, Disney, Pixar and general theatricality.

Everyone on stage gave top notch performances, with a mixture of upbeat, chilled and full-out stagey numbers. Emily Mae Walker's rendition of Let It Go, Charlotte Anne Steen's Zero To Hero (complete with super fast mic reflexes) and Cameron Burt's Go The Distance were particular standouts among a group of wonderful performers. Gender swapped numbers proved exceedingly entertaining, with Maiya Quansah-Breed's I'll Make a Man Out of You and Grace Mouat's Proud of Your Boy earning huge applause and showing the audience the songs in a different light.

Completing the male line-up were Aran McRae, Lewis Asquith and Christopher Cameron who all gave brilliantly entertaining performances. On the ladies side, it was Lauren Soley's exceptional performance of Tangled's Mother Knows Best that really impressed, as did Jessica Cervi (who stepped in last minute) giving a luminous rendition of Beauty and the Beast. Also stepping up to the plate just the day before was Esme Laudat who's version of Speechless, closed act one in the best way possible. Josie Kemp and Chloe Hazel also gave strong performances with Hazel's Poor Unfortunate Souls a real highlight.

Although the bare, minimalist approach was effective, perhaps future concerts could include some props just to make the fairly large space feel a little more welcoming and less of a 'stand up, sing and go' affair. I did find that occasionally the speakers were a little loud and the lighting somewhat abrupt, and whilst these issues did not detract from the performances, they are things which could be tweaked to step the next concert up a level. 

Twisted was a great way to spend a Sunday and I'd certainly recommend booking future Monsteers concerts.  Great songs, a fab theme and an outstanding band led by the incomparable Steve Corley made for a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.

Twisted, Trafalgar Studios | Review

Monday, 10 February 2020

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Hannah Waddingham on Bringing a Queen to Life in The Pirate Queen | Interview


Based on the real-life story of history’s Grace O’Malley – an Irish Chieftain and notorious pirate, The Pirate Queen is an adventure chronicling the compelling, inspiring heroine who led an extraordinary life as a rogue, lover and mother in 16th-century Ireland. To protect her people and save her one true love, O’Malley must confront the one woman more powerful than her— her fierce rival, Queen Elizabeth I of England.

From the writers of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, the show combines classic storytelling and a sweeping score, with the powerful, vibrant traditions of Irish dance and song, to create a modern musical event that is both historic romance and a timeless epic.

Playing Queen Elizabeth I in this one night only extravaganza is Hannah Waddingham, who told us what we can expect from the musical, what other historical figure she'd like to play and what her favourite moment of the musical is...



Tell us about The Pirate Queen, what can we expect?
Audiences can definitely expect an absolutely glorious wall of sound to hit them from the get go. Just sitting in on rehearsals the last few days I can’t quite believe what the ensemble have already achieved, quite irritatingly quickly really! It’s the most beautiful, expansive, atmospheric  piece and I can’t wait for us to unleash it on the London Coliseum. 


You're playing Queen Elizabeth, what's it like brining a royal to life?
What’s struck me most about trying to mould myself into Queen Elizabeth I is the sense of responsibility and how information received by her from her court must be firstly processed as Queen, not as a woman. 


What's your current favourite moment of the show?
My current favourite moment of the show is when she and Grace (Rachel Tucker) are in their own heads ruminating about the “other woman” in the duet She Who Has All. 

It’s that beautiful construct of the audience seeing and hearing their insecurities in life and about the other person before they see it in each other in the flesh. 


If you could star in a musical about any other historical figure, who would you choose?
If I were to take on the role of any other historical figure it would have to be a biblical one! Nothing touches Judas Iscariot for me. Both vocally and emotionally there could be no more satisfying a role for me than that. 


Why should people come and see The Pirate Queen?
People should come and see The Pirate Queen because it deserves to be heard in the beautiful, epic setting of The London Coliseum. They are such fitting bed fellows. 


The score is Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg at their atmospheric best, and what greater cause could there be than for the Leukaemia Uk charity. The evening will be a great privilege for everyone to be part of, both on stage and off. 


The Pirate Queen plays at the London Coliseum on 23 February, 7pm

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Hannah Waddingham on Bringing a Queen to Life in The Pirate Queen | Interview

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Rachel Tucker on Starring in The Pirate Queen | Interview

Based on the real-life story of history’s Grace O’Malley – an Irish Chieftain and notorious pirate, The Pirate Queen is an adventure chronicling the compelling, inspiring heroine who led an extraordinary life as a rogue, lover and mother in 16th-century Ireland. 

From the writers of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, the show combines classic storytelling and a sweeping score, with the powerful, vibrant traditions of Irish dance and song, to create a modern musical event that is both historic romance and a timeless epic.

Rachel Tucker is taking on the role of Grace O'Malley in the one night only London premiere of the musical. Rachel told us all about the show, her favourite moments and what it's like to bring real life characters to life on stage...


Tell us about The Pirate Queen, what can we expect?
The Pirate Queen is a very old, true Irish story about how the daughter of the O’Mally clan became the first woman Queen of in Ireland in 16th century. She was known for her fearlessness not just as a woman but as a leader and was known for her ruthlessness in political negotiations with Queen Elizabeth I and trying to get her peoples land back no matter what it took.

Today in rehearsals I sang two very powerful duets with Hannah Waddingham who plays Queen Elizabeth and we were both struck at how amazing it is that these two women back in the 1500s were the leaders of each of their own lands and negotiated with each other not just as chieftain & queen but woman to woman. 

Their dialogue together is fascinating, the lyrics are so graceful yet explosive! It’s been a long time since I’ve listened and sang through an known score with so much excitement! 


You're currently playing Beverley Bass and are now taking on Grace O'Malley for one night only. What's it like bringing real life people to life on stage? 
Well as a job, it’s blooming great! I love bringing my own take and as much as Rachel to each role. I am constantly looking to bring only truth to every line and character I get to play, whether it be a comedic, tragic or heroic role. What ever the room, I love to tell the truth. 


What's your current favourite moment of the show?
Can I say all of it?! Well today has been a first day rehearsals so my favourite moment of the day was hearing Queen Elizabeth sung like only Hannah could sing it! Just jaw dropping! 


Why should people come and see The Pirate Queen?
I think this is a piece of musical theatre that should be seen and heard in this day and age. It almost feels more relevant now than it was when it first was first conceived. 

You do not want to miss hearing the stunning choral ensemble of around 40 members and the orchestrations by Julian Kelly are going to transcend you to another level! The event of 2020 if you ask me!!! 


The Pirate Queen plays at the London Coliseum on 23 February, 7pm

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Rachel Tucker on Starring in The Pirate Queen | Interview

Monday, 21 October 2019

Cinderella, Cadogan Hall | Review


Cinderella
Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Sunday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Yesterday, Cadogan Hall played host for a one-night-only staged concert of the much loved musical, Cinderella. Written in the 50s by Rodgers and Hammerstein for television, the musical has since been adapted for various stage productions but until now, hasn't been seen in London. Thanks to the exceptional London Musical Theatre Orchestra and stellar cast, that changed last night and those in attendance were treated to a sparkling night of magic.

Upon entering the auditorium bathed in purple light, the mystical scene was set and as the cast stepped out we were transported to a kingdom where kindness wins and anything is possible. Directed by Jonathan O'Boyle, this really was a stunning production which hopefully paves the way for future Cinderella-filled magic in the West End.

Thanks to the LMTO under the baton of Freddie Tapner, the sumptuous score was really the star of the night. Evoking fairytale vibes, causing laughter and creating a romantic atmosphere even before the stellar performers joined in, the performance just reminded us how excellently sumptuous Rodgers and Hammerstein's work is.

The semi-staged concert was brought to life by George Reeve's projections which fit the space exceptionally and looked as though they were drawn straight from a long lost storybook. They transported us from setting to setting and breathed life into moments which would be grand spectacles in a fully staged production.


With a group of some of the biggest names in the West End, it was expected that the performers would be top notch and boy they did not disappoint. The stunning cast took us on a romantic journey filled with socially relevant comments and a boat load of whimsy. Mazz Murray was fantastically malicious and biting as the evil stepmother, whilst Dianne Pilkington was her contrast and the crazy but magical and airy fairy godmother. Zoe Rainey gave a sweet performance as Ella's "kind" stepsister Gabrielle, and Jodie Jacobs completely blew everyone away with her killer vocals and fantastically characterised portrayal of Ella's other sister Charlotte. 

As our leading lady for the night, Christine Allado gave a beautifully strong performance. With a grace and elegance any Princess would be proud of, Allado was a joy to watch on stage and her pristinely clear vocals filled Cadogan Hall with ease, power and wonder. In the role of the royal suitor Jack Yarrow was perfection. With an absolutely astounding voice, it's clear why he has begun taking the West End by storm.

This production of Cinderella is very much for a modern audience as it showcases the need for kindness alongside social reform. Ella's alertness to injustices outside those she faces in her family home is moving to see and works well alongside the romantic plot that is not all roses and chocolates. The political slant feels highly relevant, as well as allowing for extra comedic moments and I don't doubt this show would have a welcome place in the West End.

photo credit: Darren Bell

Cinderella, Cadogan Hall | Review

Monday, 21 October 2019

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Refresh (Concert), Spiegeltent | Review


Refresh (Concert)
Spiegeltent
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Refresh is a fantastically exciting cabaret series created by Ryan Carter. The idea is that a cast of talented, fresh west end performers, bring a set list to life that features re-worked versions of many well know musical songs.The concerts are designed to celebrate musical theatre and entertain fans of the genre, but also to provide a gateway experience for those less knowledgable or invested in it. After a selection of concerts, Refresh is taking a short residency at the Underbelly festival to captivate audiences in the intimate Spiegeltent setting.

The set features an eclectic and wholly enjoyable series of songs. From the beautifully haunting Kiss The Air by Scott Alan, to the Hamilton classic You'll Be Back, there's certainly something for everyone. The joy of Refresh is that even if a song is not your favourite originally, the inventive re-imaginings will have you seeing and hearing it in a new way. Highlights of Jo Noel-Hartley and Ryan Carter's arranging, include It Won't Be Long Now, My Favourite Things and the thrilling Rewind mash-up of the history of musical theatre.

The cast is made up of vocal powerhouses: Sam Carlyle, Kayla Carter, Linnéa Didrick, Ben Farrall, Adam Gillian, Abbi Hodgson, Charlotte Miranda Smith, Baker Mukasa and William Lloyd. Each performer brings something beautiful to the stage and even more magic is created when the team come together for their group pieces. The rapport between the cast is highly entertaining and it's clear that everyone's hearts are really into making Refresh as sleek and absorbing as it is. Stand out performances include the quartet rendition of Kiss The Air, Abbi Hodgson's There Once Was a Man, and the rousing opening Do You Hear The People Sing? The musicality and versatility of each performer is evident and it's fantastic to hear vocalists in a raw but professional and high quality performance. 

Mention must go to the brilliant lighting design which continually adds to the varying moods of the songs, as well as providing visual treats on its own, and making the experience more visceral. Ryan Carter's design of the graphics and videos which accompany must equally be applauded as they are lively, vibrant and entertaining, and also embody the ethos of Refresh as a whole.

For a night of musical theatre that is different to what you'd expect, pay a visit to see the Refresh gang. Not only are the performers fantastic, but the whole philosophy of the group is something which should be applauded and championed. It should also be noted that following Papa Can You Hear Me? my mum whispered "Babs would be proud" which is high praise indeed and a definite reason to experience these outstanding revitalised performances.

Refresh (Concert), Spiegeltent | Review

Wednesday, 14 August 2019