Posts with the label jodie steele
Showing posts with label jodie steele. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jodie steele. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace, The Other Palace | Review


Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 19th May 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The Other Palace is playing host to a new series of intimate solo concerts, where the West End's finest get to perform their favourite songs in a laid back session called Sunday Favourites. Last Sunday Dreamgirls and Waitress superstar Marisha Wallace, took us on a soulful journey where she opened up about her life and showed off her golden pipes in a wonderful celebration of music. 

Featuring an eclectic selection including an Aretha Franklin medley, My Funny Valentine, Zero to Hero and How Deep is Your Love, Marisha provided something for everyone and vocal gem after  vocal gem.

As well as a fine solo repertoire, a number of guests also helped the proceedings. Nicole Raquel Dennis and Nathaniel Morrison brought some smooth, crazily tight backing vocals to a few songs, including a remixed version of Britney Spears' Lucky which was hauntingly brilliant. Jodie Steele also took to the stage for a lovely performance of the India Arie classic, Ready For Love; whilst Lucie Jones joined Marisha for a fiery rendition of Take Me or Leave Me. Both Jodie and Lucie complemented Marisha excellently and all three created a warm, natural environment that welcomed the audience in. It goes without saying that the vocals were super and it's great to know that all the performers are thriving on musical theatre stages where their talents can really shine. Competition winner Lashayah, also showed that the future of the West End is in very safe hands.


Despite having missed the concert version of The Colour Purple I was lucky enough to hear Marisha perform the powerful I'm Here at her 2017 Soul Holiday concert, and was absolutely thrilled to have another chance to hear her incredible rendition on Sunday. Marisha has a wonderful ability to word paint even the smallest of words to truly bring a piece of music to life. Her vocal skills are matched by her magnetic personality and witty rapport with the audience. 

Again, Marisha spoke candidly about her life, namely the ups and downs she has experienced throughout her career and more recently as she soared in Dreamgirls but struggled in her personal life. Hearing someone be so honest on stage is refreshing and works to unite the audience through common emotions.

It's evident from the new levels Marisha has consistently been reaching since she came to our side of the pond, that she's got a long career ahead of her and a loyal fanbase over here. It just goes to show that talent really is appreciated and alongside being a kind, genuine person, will get get you everywhere. Of course there are negatives and lows, but Marisha is proof that with perseverance, hard work and real skill, you can succeed.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace, The Other Palace | Review

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Rock of Ages (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review


Rock of Ages (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome
Reviewed on Tuesday 16th April 2019 by Isobelle Desbrow
★★★

Rock of Ages is a jukebox music which lacks any storyline but makes up for it through the use of humour and performance. Featuring such songs such as ‘We Built this City’, ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, the music is really stand out. Without these well know songs, and the musicianship of the actors the show wouldn’t have been worth watching.

Jodie Steele leads the cast wonderfully as Sherrie, her voice perfectly in sync with the rock genre. Steele's command of the stage is fantastic, with highlights being when she ran over Lonny’s foot with a toy tractor and her vocals in song like ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and ‘High Enough’ along side Drew played by Luke Walsh. Both performers provide outstanding vocals which you can't fail to be impressed by. However, they are unfortunately plagued by a one dimensional love story. 

Lucas Rush plays the charismatic Lonny, who also also narrates the show. His shenanigans with the audience often breaking the forth wall, really keep the audience involved. His enthusiasm and characterisation, are well needed in this dry at times show. Overall his acting and singing utterly brings the house down in tears of laughter and he also keeps the pace of the show going. 


Regina played by Rhiannon Chesterman is a hilarious and spectacular singer, who often left me jaw dropped while singing such numbers like ‘We're Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’. Dennis is played by the rocking Kevin Kennedy who’s rockstar voice matches the music well. Zoe Birkett plays the sultry Justice who owns the Venus Gentlemen’s club, and is a mother like character for Sherrie during the second half. Her soulful singing is a well cast addition to the show.

While this musical lacks a notable storyline, the interaction with the audience and jokes make it worthwhile and the performances all round are fantastic.

Rock of Ages runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until 20th April before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Richard Davenport

Rock of Ages (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Friday, 1 March 2019

Rock of Ages (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Rock of Ages (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 28th February 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Lets start by saying that this is not a musical masterpiece by any means, but it is a super self-aware, high intensity, fun and crazily well performed show, that'll definitely have your toes tapping to some of the most well-loved rock classics.

The story, which is highly basic, follows small town girl, Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the sunset strip whilst trying to achieve their Hollywood dreams. When German developers sweep into town, they threaten to ruin the rock n roll fairytales of everyone and the gang have to fight (and sing) for the the strip.

Rock of Ages absolutely doesn't take itself seriously, and instead revels in the cliches and nostalgia of the 80s with power ballads, rockers, shoulder pads and skimpy costumes. The minimal storyline is made up for with epic performances and a whole lot of fun. You can expect cheesy backdrops and props, tongue in cheek choreography, a rocking score and sexy rock chicks peppering the stage.


The flimsy script is brought to life by animated and intense performances from the cast. As  Sherrie, Jodie Steele belts out power ballads with vocal skill and ease, whilst her love interest Drew, is played incredibly well by Luke Walsh who has an outstanding voice. Zoe Birkett delivers completely stellar vocals in her small role as Justice and Kevin Kennedy brings vibrance and humour to Dennis who could easily command the stage as a bigger role. Kevin Clifton brings a surprisingly well rounded performance as the embodiment of sex and drugs and rock n roll, Stacee Jaxx. 

Also keeping up the humour and energy is Rhiannon Chesterman  as Regina who's voice is criminally underused but she does a great job with the script she's given. As German duo, Vas Constanti and Andrew Carthy are caricature's to the extreme but completely know how to work to the audience. 

The ensemble of skimpily clad men and women add moments of interest away from the main action and make the simplistic stage feel full and vibrant. It's Lucas Rush as Lonny who really steals the show with his charismatic performance and natural audience banter. He breaks the fourth wall with ease and seems to constantly be thinking of ways to entertain, and these pay off!


Nick Winston's direction and choreography is pretty strong throughout, although at time it feels like too much is happening at once, and what little story there is, becomes even more shadowed by other movement or action spread across the stage. At the same time, that does kind of sum up the show which is essentially a wacky showcase of some hit songs that have you not sure where to look or what to think.

Rock of Ages is thick with cliches, crudeness and semi-nudity but it's certainly fun. If you want a moving, dramatic narrative and a PG show, this is absolutely not for you. But, if you want great performances and a pretty electric atmosphere and some raucous, rocking fun, then pop along and have a fun night!

Rock of Ages runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until March 2nd before continuing it's UK Tour.

photo credit: Richard Davenport

Rock of Ages (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Friday, 1 March 2019

Friday, 14 September 2018

Heathers, Theatre Royal Haymarket | Review


Heathers
Theatre Royal Haymarket
Reviewed on Monday 10th September 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Every so often a show comes around which receives an exceptional amount of hype and has the West End buzzing. Heathers is currently that show and the good news is that it truly lives up to it. Based on the 1989 film starring Winona Ryder, this musical adaptation is full of energy and humour as it balances the line between political correctness and incorrectness. We find ourselves drawn towards the darkness but also cringing at the atrocities that go on.

Laurence O'Keefe had huge success with his adaptation of Legally Blonde and has applied his winning formula once again to bring this show to life with a camp, sassy and at times melancholic score. The plot follows Veronica Sawyer, a girl who is 'different' to the others at her school and longs for unity between all cliques and social standings. However, in order to make it through High School, she befriends the rulers of the school, the "lipstick gustapo" made up of three girls named Heather. Our protagonist then meets a brooding new boy, Jason J.D Dean who turns out to be a kill happy psychopath. From there on there are deaths, parties, funerals and a whole lot of destruction.

When the movie came out in 1989 it became an instant hit and then received a cultish following when it opened off-Broadway in 2014. The show's transition to the West End has been no different as teens and young adults flood to the theatre with scrunchies in hair and  pleated skirts on to see this wildly fun but disturbing musical brought to life.



The entire cast bring this show to life with vivacious passion and immense talent. Leading the gang, Carrie Hope Fletcher is a powerhouse as she battles between what's right and wrong and what she wants to do to boost her social standing/love life. Carrie steps  on stage to well deserved cheers and blows the roof of with her entire performance, especially her new song 'I Say No' which gives her a backbone and the rough 'Dead Girl Walking Reprise'. Veronica's moments of strength are certainly where Carrie shines but she is also humourous and likeable as she swoons over JD.

Under Andy Fickman's direction, Jamie Muscato plays the mysteriously murderous JD with an intensity that you can't help but be drawn to. Whilst it's not wise to partner up with a murderer, we all love a bad boy and the combination of JD's smooth talking and Jamie's perfectly rough voice make us feel for him a little bit, even though he becomes a monster before our eyes. Muscato's frenetic energy in 'Meant To Be Yours' is certainly a theatrical highlight of the year.

The three Heathers waltz around the stage as one but have quirky personality traits which are owned and embodied by each. As leader of the pack, Heather Chandler who "floats above it all", Jodie Steele is brilliant. Her permanent scowl, sharp movements, sublime vocals and stellar comedic timing make her perfect for the role. Sophie Isaacs brings an innocence to Heather McNamara which is interesting to play out. Whilst she is part of the mean girl group, it's clear from the outset that she is merely following the pack and wishes to break away. Isaacs' rendition of Lifeboat is a pin-drop silence moment which stands out in the show. As the final Heather, Duke, T'Shan Williams is feisty and aggressive, with her solo Never Shut Up Again earning her laughs and cheers from the audience. 



Stand outs of the cast also include Jenny O'Leary who gives a moving performance of Kindergarten Boyfriend, Rebecca Lock who brings the entire theatre to life with her fiery, belt-tastic Shine a Light and Christopher Chung and Dominic Andersen who are humour embodied as the jocks who combine to create Kram. Ensemble members Lauren Drew and Olivia Moore also catch the eye throughout.

Gary Lloyd's choreography is especially effective with the Heathers, namely during the iconic Candy Store which sees them sashaying round the stage but in true Heathers style, being in complete control the entire time and never stepping out of sync with one another.

Mention must go to Ben Cracknell's lighting, which like the music, intensifies every emotion on stage. Particularly effective are the varying tones of light between the characters. The Heathers are of course lit in their iconic colours (brought to life vibrantly through David Shields' costumes) but whats most striking are the moments when Veronica is lit in warm spotlights whilst JD is basked in stark, almost grey tones. This highlights the contrast between the true evil and the kind-of-forced-into-evil in a clever way.



Most of the subject matter of this show is uncomfortable but sadly ever present: bullying, suicide, murder, depression. Heathers does a good job of satirising the sensationalism of them and shines a light (pun intended) on the fact that unity and kindness are always the way forward.

Whilst this isn't a light hearted show in content, the songs are crazily catchy, the talent level is ridiculously high and it's just a really good night out. For Big Fun, get down to the Theatre Royal Haymarket!

Heathers runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 24th November

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Heathers, Theatre Royal Haymarket | Review

Friday, 14 September 2018

Sunday, 25 February 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge (Concert) 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday 11th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll know that I am a huge West End Live Lounge fan, I've been going since they started and feel so proud watching them get bigger and better. The most recent concert was the biggest to date, taking over the main stage at The Other Palace; hosting a number of uber talented performers and providing a wonderful, chilled out, musical night. For anyone that doesn't know, West End Live Lounge is a concert every few months featuring some of the best the West End has to offer who perform a variety of non-musical theatre songs to entertain and raise money for a specific charity. This time, the musical theatre performers united to raise money for the charity Barnardo's. Our compère for the night was the fantastic Ian Stroughair (who wowed me before Christmas with his Velma Celli show) who opened the show with a bang and set the tone for the talent and joy to come.

As always every performance was top notch so I'm just going to mention a few stand outs instead of turning this into an essay! Firstly, the stunning Jodie Steele, fresh off her stint on BBC One's All Together Now,  performed 'Castle on the Hill' with ease and smooth riffs which left us all wanting more. Equally riff-tastic was Emma Kingston who joined the West End Live Lounge family during her brief break from touring with Evita, to wow us all with her performance of Lady Gaga's 'Edge of Glory'. The always hilarious Natalie McQueen brilliantly put her own twist on the classic 'Hot N Cold'.  All three ladies continually blow me away with their vocal performances.


Kayleigh McKnight was definitely an audience favourite with her breathtaking performance of 'Creep' which showed off her vocals perfectly and Cleve September brought back his signature loop pedal to create an eerie but stunning vocal performance of 'Spirits'.

Superstar Natalie Green gave a beautiful rendition of Adele's 'When We Were Young' whilst Brady Isaacs Pearce channeled Demi Lovato gloriously with her effortless performance of 'Skyscraper'. My final mention goes to Joel Harper-Jackson who's ridiculously long note in 'Wicked Game' should be put into the World Record books- glorious!


The West End Live Lounge concerts are truly joyous to be a part of because they not only celebrate the fantastic talent the West End has to offer but raise money for fantastic causes. I cannot wait to see what's in store for the next concert; my only hope is that the intimate feel can somehow be brought back. With the previous concerts there has been a very informal vibe but bringing the performance into a theatre did distance it somewhat and the audience stuck to the 'normal' theatre etiquette rules more. Obviously it's amazing to be able to fill a bigger space and allow more people to see and hear these outstanding performances but it's hard to strike a balance between having more space whilst still maintaining an intimate feel.

Regardless, this was a wonderful concert and I know the upcoming ones will be to so do yourself a favour and follow @WELiveLounge on twitter so you can snap up tickets as soon as they go on sale!


West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review


Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir (Concert) 
Shoreditch Town Hall 
Reviewed on Friday 17th November 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll probably have twigged that I'm a huge fan of Wicked star, Rachel Tucker. Most recently I saw her perform as a special guest at Kristin Chenoweth's concert and previously in Wicked and her solo concerts at the Zedel; every single time she has completely blown me away with her effortless performances and last night was no exception.

Rachel is a masterful performer, both in terms of her faultless vocals and her ability to embody and live every song she sings.  She is magical in the way she transports the audience into her thoughts and make us feel the emotions she's portraying as if we're experiencing them ourselves. The way she interprets songs is unique, extremely moving and I find it incredibly impressive how she is able to switch so quickly from one mood to another. 


During act 2 Rachel came off the stage to perform an a capella folk song which had the audience in enraptured silence but within moments of finishing she snapped back to her larger-than-life, joyous self and had the audience laughing out loud. That ability to manipulate an audience's emotions is truly remarkable.

The set list for the night included something for everyone from theatre classics such as 'Children Will Listen' to pop songs and a personal favourite, her own composition 'I'm Falling' which always wows me. This varied programme meant the night flew by and by the time it came to her second encore we still wanted more! Other stand outs included 'The Man That Got Away' and Kris Rawlinson's stunning arrangement of 'No Good Deed' which brings new life to the Wicked classic. Kris and Rachel make the perfect duo, bouncing off one another both comedically and musically. Also great, were Jodie Steele and Amanda Coutts who doubled as stage managers and back up singers- 'Proud Mary' was brilliant and got the entire audience on their feet!

With a few ex-Elphaba's and Galinda's in attendance, it was Emma Hatton who took the stage as the special guest of the night. Dressed in a suitably emerald dress, Emma joined forces with Rachel to perform a jazzed up version of 'I'm Not That Girl' and a lively version of 'That's Life'; the two work wonderfully together and it's so enjoyable to see them having fun on stage together. Also joining Rachel were the Stagebox choir who helped out with a notably touching performance of 'You Will Be Found' from Dear Evan Hansen.


Overall it was just a joyous night of glorious music. Rachel is one of the most versatile performers I've seen; funny, relaxed and charming, her voice is like no other. Powering through every song with her own personal style- belting it out and emotionally reigning it in with equal skill and motivation. Rachel is at the top of her game- a master of her craft who continually delivers time and time again. This was billed as Rachel's 'biggest solo concert to date' but I sincerely hope things get bigger and bigger for her as she continues to charm and wow audiences around the world... but preferably mostly in London so I can be at them all!

Watch my vlog of the concert here

Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review


West End Live Lounge: Woman
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Sunday September 24th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

If you're a frequent reader of Rewrite This Story (which I hope you are) then you will know that I have been to the previous two West End Live Lounges and raved about them to no end, so it's no surprise that last night's concert completely blew me away too. As always this will probably be a pretty long review because I want to praise as many people as I can, so go grab your drink of choice and get ready to relive an amazing night, or cry because you missed it!

Each West End Live Lounge raises money, with all proceeds from ticket sales and collections going to a specific charity, in last night's case, Women's Aid which helps women who are in/have been in abusive relationships; a cause which i'm sure we all agree is super important. So not only do you have an amazing night hearing some of the best the theatre world has to offer but you get to support a fantastic cause!

Last night's incredible line up was made up of: George Ure, Marcus Ayton, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Marisha Wallace, Liisi LaFontaine, Rob Houchen, Natalie Green, Matthew Harvey, Paul Wilkins, Rachel John, Kelly Agbowu, Sabrina Aloueche, Jodie Steele, Carolyn Maitland, Laura TebbuttMadalena Alberto, Emma Lindars, Lauren Ingram and Sapphire Soul.

Our compere for the evening was the ridiculously hilarious Samuel J Holmes who delivered gag after gag and was his own stand up act between performers.

Sapphire Soul were flawless as usual when they opened with a medley of classic Bond songs- the ladies, as their name suggests are full of soul and are just powerhouse vocalists which they proved again in act 2 with Bang Bang. From then on the energy was high and the first act flew by with some dazzling performances. Lauren Ingram's version of Crazy in Love was slowed down and sexy; Marcus Ayton's I Who Have Nothing was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as was Matthew Harvey's, Gravity.



Brady Isaacs Pearce was stunning as always with her emotive and heartfelt rendition of Jessie J's Big White Room; her clear, smooth voice is just so stunning to listen to and as I always say, she needs to be in a West End show NOW! Natalie Green as usual was fantastic, with her performance of If I Ain't Got You giving me chills!

The final trio of act one could not have been better; Rob Houchen had the whole audience in the palm of his hand with his insanely brilliant performance of I'd Rather Go Blind. I knew he could sing but man he's good! Kelly Agbowu then owned the belter One Moment in Time before Rachel John sent the whole audience to church with her Take My Hand/You've Got a Friend mash up. Needless to say, by the interval everyone was truly on a music induced high.

Act 2 was equally as good, if not better with banger and banger being delivered flawlessly by each and every person. Emma Lindars delivered Rolling in the Deep perfectly, with some added audience harmonies. Rachel John again wowed with My Kind of Love followed by Carolyn Maitland exquisitely performing Sia's Chandelier which could only have been made better if Maddie Ziegler was there to perform her iconic dance routine.

This act featured two impeccable duets; firstly Sabrina Aloueche and Matt Harvey with Girl Just Wanna Have Fun and secondly Paul Wilkins and Rob Houchen with Field of Gold. Both of which featured perfect harmonies and left me breathless. Kelly Agbowu's Chains was perfect and Jodie Steele's scarily relevant cover of Dear Mr President was beautifully, sincerely and emotively performed.


Liisi LaFontaine and Marisha Wallace are the definition of powerhouses, their vocals, stage presence and overall auras are just impeccable. Marisha along with her own back up singers brought the audience to their feet with her faultless Whitney Houston medley as she sang her heart out to the gods and slayed the entire audience. Liisi slayed equally with her stunning performance of Uninvited but it was their closing number, Listen which absolutely blew the roof off of The Other Palace Studio. Now I've heard Listen several times when I've seen Dreamgirls but this performance was just mind blowing and proved why these ladies are getting all the hype and praise they are at the moment. Absolutely sensational!

So yes, this was an incredible concert. Shaun McCourt is a saint for putting so much time and energy into this impeccable concert for a wonderful cause and I hope the West End Live Lounges continue for a long time to come. If you want a night of hilarity, fun and vocal perfection then get yourself along to the next one and help out some wonderful charities!


Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts: https://twitter.com/WElivelounge17

Vlog of West End Live Loungehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hClGUk1_Sxk

Previous West End Live Lounge reviews: http://www.rewritethisstory.com/search?q=West+End+Live+Lounge

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review

Tuesday, 26 September 2017