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

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Bat Out of Hell Returns to the West End


The producers of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell – The Musical, featuring Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits, are delighted to announce the musical’s return to London in 2023. The show, which is currently touring the UK and Ireland, will play a limited season at the Peacock Theatre with performances from 17 February, ending on 1 April 2023.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical will also have a residency at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino from 27 September 2022.

Casting for both productions to be announced.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 to 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre in 2019. The current UK and Ireland tour began performances at Manchester Opera House on 11 September 2021 and has been playing to sold out houses and great critical acclaim.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical. Bat Out of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 60 million copies worldwide. 16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which contained the massive hit I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

For the stage musical, the legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out of Hell albums, including You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Bat Out of Hell, I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

The electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The UK & Ireland Tour of Bat Out of Hell - The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, original wig designs by Linda McKnight, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell, original casting by David Grindrod CDG and UK Tour casting by Anne Vosser.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical is produced by David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl & Tony Smith, with executive producer Julian Stoneman.

This tour is dedicated to the memory of Jim Steinman, who sadly passed away on 19 April 2021, and Meat Loaf, who passed away on 20 January 2022.

Twitter, Facebook & Instagram: @BatTheMusical

photo credit: Chris Davis Studio

Bat Out of Hell Returns to the West End

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Alex Gibson-Giorgio Discusses Playing the Villain and Returning to the Stage | Zorro | Interview

You’re in for a night of heartfelt story telling full of passion, love, swashbuckling and sword fighting Alex Gibson-Giorgio is set to play Ramon in Zorro the Musical which is set to open at the Charing Cross Theatre this weekend. Pre-opening he chats to us about the rehearsal process, what it's like playing the villain and what audiences can expect from the musical...


Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about what audiences can expect from Zorro?
We all know and love the mask-wearing, sword-wielding bandit who fights for the poor and defends injustice, breaking many a heart along the way; made eternally famous by Antonio Banderas. Well, the musical has all the passion, love and fire of the film, with a little extra heart, all set to the songs of the Gipsy Kings.

It must be great to get back into theatre post-lockdown, especially with such a high energy show, what has the rehearsal process been like?
Being back in the rehearsal room is a huge privilege … it’s definitely one of my favourite parts of putting on a show. The pure magic of a group of actors in a space creating an imaginary world together … it’s so exciting! It’s a place to make bold offers and explore the full range of your character with no judgement … there are no wrong choices, instead there are endless possibilities. As my acting teacher Margot Fenley would say “Be bold and fail gloriously!”

Ramon is a pretty evil character and you’ve previously played Jafar in Aladdin, are you a fan of the villains?
I do love myself a villain. I think they’re the most interesting characters to play because you get to safely explore often darker ways of thinking and existing that are not always socially acceptable in everyday life. In the case of Jafar, it’s just CAMP!

The score of Zorro is by the Gipsy Kings, if you were to have a band write the score for a musical about your life, who would you choose?
Fleetwood Mac for sure. Or Gaga. Maybe James Taylor … this one’s hard.

What song are you most excited to perform for an audience when the show opens?
I love Baila Me … such a good tune! But watching Djobi Djoba and Bamboleo from offstage is a personal highlight for me. We are lucky to have such a talented company who not only sing and act, they also have to play multiple instruments, dance (WHILST PLAYING), shoot guns and sword fight!

Why should people come and see Zorro?
If you love The Gipsy Kings, you will love this show. The music fills your soul! You’re in for a night of heartfelt story telling full of passion, love, swashbuckling and sword fighting. VIVA EL ZORRO!


Thank you so much Alex for taking the time to chat to us. Zorro opens at the Charing Cross Theatre 2nd April

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Alex Gibson-Giorgio Discusses Playing the Villain and Returning to the Stage | Zorro | Interview

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Friday, 19 November 2021

My Fair Lady to Open at the London Coliseum


New York’s Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed and multi award-winning production of Lerner & Loewe’s much loved MY FAIR LADY will transfer to the London Coliseum for a limited summer engagement in what will be the first major West End revival of the show for 21 years. The season comes as part of the ongoing celebrated tradition of summer musicals at the London Coliseum. The perfect way to celebrate London’s theatre scene as it blossoms once more after the pandemic. Performances begin on 7 May 2022 with an opening night on 18 May 2022.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on 23 November 2021 at 10am. For the latest news and to be amongst the first to access tickets please sign up to the mailing list at www.myfairladymusical.co.uk 

Directed by Bartlett Sher, this sublime production, which premiered in the spring of 2018 at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, was the winner of the Tony Award for Best Costume Design,  5 Outer Critics’ Circle Awards including Best Musical Revival, the Drama League Award for Outstanding Musical Revival, and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical Revival and Costume Design. The London production will feature the English National Opera’s award-winning Orchestra playing Frederick Loewe’s ravishing score.

Bartlett Sher said: “Getting a chance to revisit Shaw's extraordinary story of class and privilege in a new age, and especially for London audiences, is a rare and special event.  And I am also thrilled to be back at the ENO and the Coliseum, a perfect space for this epic musical.

“Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady has returned to Broadway in a smashing new production from Bartlett Sher (The Sound of Music, The King and I).”
The Guardian

Lavish revival of Lerner and Loewe’s 1956 masterwork…
The Washington Post

My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady”. But who is really being transformed?

With a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, MY FAIR LADY boasts a score including the classic songs “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Get Me to the Church on Time,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” 

“Thrilling! Glorious and better than it ever was! A marvellous and transformative revival.”
New York Times

Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion, Lerner & Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY premiered on Broadway in March 1956, winning 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and becoming the longest-running musical in Broadway history at the time. Following this success, the production transferred to London in 1958, where it played in the West End for five and a half years. 

MY FAIR LADY has seen many notable revivals and adaptations, including the acclaimed 1964 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, which won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Most recently on the London stage, Cameron Mackintosh’s 2001 revival at Theatre Royal Drury Lane won three Olivier Awards, and later toured across the UK and Ireland in 2005.

James L. Nederlander, Jamie Wilson, Hunter Arnold, Playful Productions and the English National Opera present the Lincoln Center Theater production of Lerner & Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY at the London Coliseum, with sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Marc Salzberg, original musical arrangements by Robert Russell Bennett and Phil Lang, and dance arrangements by Trude Rittmann. 

Full casting for the London production will be announced in due course.

My Fair Lady to Open at the London Coliseum

Friday, 19 November 2021

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

My Name is Not Wigs, Angela Cobbin (Book) | Review



My Name is Not Wigs! | Angela Cobbin
Published: 11th November 2021 by Brown Dog Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you're a theatre fan (which I'd assume you are if you're reading this) then I would urge you to pick up My Name is Not Wigs! by Angela Cobbin. It's not just a look at theatre but it provides a deep dive into what goes on behind the scenes, and a look at all the hard work which goes into learning and perfecting a craft.

The book is an enticing and enthralling journey through theatre, fashion and history as Angela goes from a hairdresser/manicurist in the 1960s, to a wig maker for massive West End and Broadway shows. What's lovely about this book is that it feels like chatting to an old friend. Angela's writing is witty and natural from page one, with the whole thing reading like a very entertaining and humourous train of thought.

Angela expertly makes us feel part of her backstage adventures without being excessive or including gossip to make things seem extra dramatic. As far as stagey memoirs go, this is up there with the most entertaining and certainly broaches an aspect which is not often written about. Angela's career is super interesting, with so many exciting moments combined with hard graft. The beautiful imagery included in the book adds another element and takes you through the various locations Angela mentions. I particularly loved the photo of Angela's work place Nathans at the start which was so evocative of the time- I felt like I could breathe in the photo and would absolutely love to watch a film set purely in that work room!

My Name is Not Wigs is a fascinatingly beautiful insight into what goes on behind the scenes at theatres as well as a celebration of a theatrical aspect which is so important to shows but often goes unsung. My Name is Not Wigs! is a perfect addition to a theatre fan's bookshelf and you'll never watch a show without paying special attention to the hair on the characters heads after reading it!

My Name is Not Wigs! is available for purchase now

*This book was sent to me for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own*

My Name is Not Wigs, Angela Cobbin (Book) | Review

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Friday, 12 November 2021

The Choir of Man, Arts Theatre | Review


The Choir of Man 
Arts Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 11th November 2021 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Nine men, a pub, singing, dancing and amazing energy levels, The Choir of Man is an absolute treat of a show that's ready to entertain audiences this year at the Arts Theatre. Following three sell-out seasons at the Sydney Opera House and various US and European tours, a West End debut seems like the natural next step and how lucky we are that it's found a home in London where it can spread musical joy every evening.

Set in your average pub (The Jungle), the show follows nine individuals as they discuss aspects of their lives and share their stories with one another in a sort of beer filled utopia. The show features a number of reimagined classic songs such as Sia's Chandelier, The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha, Somebody to Love and many more. Every single number is performed expertly by the performers and you're constantly waiting for the next song to start and wrap you up in its harmony filled embrace.

What's so wonderful about this show is the simplicity of it. The basic set includes a bar, some tables and the band set up on a higher level. The costumes are everyday clothes and aside from some glasses and the occasional other item, there are no props. This is a show which really relies on its cast to carry it and they do so with an ease and grace that only comes with innate musicality. It's wonderful to experience such powerful harmonies without any gimmicks overshadowing them. One aspect which must be mentioned though, is Richard Dinnen's lighting design which works perfectly with the songs and helps evoke the various moods throughout.


The only flaw with The Choir of Man is that there isn't really any story or through line to the songs. Whilst it's great that each moment is a snapshot into one of the men's lives, it would be nice if there was a little more plot to tie everything up and round it out. However, credit must go to Ben Norris who plays The Poet and also wrote the monologues which open and close the show and are dotted throughout. These moments are funny, moving and so well performed. Ben is really a masterful storyteller and is completely enthralling.

In fact, the whole cast and band are first-rate. They work smoothly both individually and as a team and really make you feel like you're on a night out with a group of friends.

The energy of this show is really like nothing else on in the West End. Each moment was a sucker punch of emotion or musical brilliance and the whole audience seemed to be buzzing throughout. If you want feel-good, The Choir of Man is the show for you! The cast seems to so genuinely enjoy performing and it really shows and helps make the experience so uplifting and welcoming. This show is a perfect reminder of the importance of community, a message which couldn't be more prevalent now, and it's well worth a visit (and probably a repeat visit) for a night of carefree fun.

Photo credit: Helen Maybanks

The Choir of Man, Arts Theatre | Review

Friday, 12 November 2021

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Six the Musical, Vaudeville Theatre | Review



Six The Musical
Vaudeville Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 10th November 2021 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Since opening in 2017 Six the Musical has taken the world by storm, with productions running in the West End, Australia and Broadway, as well as on tour and cruise ships. Laden with awards, critical, and audience praise, it's a history lesson you'll want to revisit time and time again.

In Six the wives of Henry VIII come back to life and remix five hundred years of trauma, grief, drama and exploits to decide who will get to lead their girl-power band. A series of stylistically varied songs chronicle their lives and how they got their place in the classic rhyme: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. It's an 80 minute treat that flies by in a whizz of comedy, vocal excellence, spangly costumes and heart.

The incredible women who make up the cast (at this performance: Jarnéia Richard-Noel, Courtney Bowman, Collette Guitart, Cherelle Jay, Sophie Isaacs and Hana Stewart) give first class solo performances, whilst also bouncing off of one another perfectly. The chemistry and camaraderie on stage is a joy to watch and alongside the stellar audience reaction, makes you really feel part of the girl power rewrite. From the opening beats the energy in Six's new home, the Vaudeville theatre, is completely frenetic and doesn't slow until you're brought back to the real world when you step onto the Strand.

Gabriella Slade's bedazzled costumes are the perfect combo of modern sass, mixed with historical elements. With Tim Deiling's fantastically precise and impactful lighting the women sparkle like royal disco balls and the whole production is an explosion of brilliance. Like the whole show, Emma Bailey's set has had a slight upgrade and continues to perfectly frame the Tudor tale. Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss' score continues to hit however many times you hear it and since last seeing the show, the small tweaks and tucks have made the whole thing tighter and chicer than ever before. 

With huge energy, this royal riot is everything you could wish for and Six the Musical is sure to continue it's reign long into the future. Move aside Henry, it's these Queens we want to remember!

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Six the Musical, Vaudeville Theatre | Review

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Friday, 2 July 2021

Wonderful Town, Opera Holland Park | Review


Wonderful Town
Opera Holland Park 
Reviewed on Thursday 1st July 2021 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

As the world returns to a new normal, there aren't many better ways to spend a Thursday evening than enjoying a glorious musical in the beautiful setting of Opera Holland Park. Quick Fantastic have returned to the space to present Wonderful Town, the half-forgotten 30s  musical which brims with exhilarating jazz and witty comedy.

Under Alex Parker's musical direction, Bernstein's score soars around the auditorium and reminds us just how brilliant the older Broadway musicals can be. The comedy on stage is matched perfectly with the music and the whole affair feels as rich and jubilant as can be. The musical  diversity is also a treat to hearr, with an Irish jig, a beatnik scat and some moving ballads, there's really something for everyone.

The book by Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields is basically the story who two sisters from Ohio who arrive in the New York with dreams of taking the town by storm. The source material for the show was taken from autobiographical short stories by Ruth, the sister who longed for a writing career and chronicled her and her sisters' lives in The New Yorker. There are a number of little adventures the duo go on whilst finding their careers (and romances) which make for a highly entertaining and all round wholesome story.

Ruth is played with grit and wit by West End superstar, Louise Dearman, who seems almost made for the role of the sassy, vulnerable, bookish author. Of course Louise is vocally effortless and provides some real highlights, but she also shines in the humourous moments which help make the whole production feel so jubilant.



Balancing Dearman out is the equally brilliant Siubhan Harrison as Eileen, the sister who knows how to get what she wants but in the end is unwaveringly committed to her sister. The double act are a dream to watch and have the audience wrapped around their little fingers, especially during their smooth as butter rendition of Ohio.

The male love interests are performed by Ako Mitchell who is vocally divine and very authentic as magazine editor Bob; Roger Dipper who is utterly wonderful and so humourous as the bumbling Walgreens worker Frank Lippencott; and Alex Lodge who is suitably sleazy as newspaper hack Chick Clark.

Billy Nevers is the washed up football player The Wreck, and Emma Harrold is his secret fiancé, Helen. Both do a great job of padding out their characters as well as providing super strong vocals and some light-hearted comedic moments.

The rest of the cast made up of: Jade Albertsen, Robson Broad, Ashley Daniels, Tamsin Dowsett, Gregory Haney, Jas[er Kajd and Natasha Leaver are super sleek throughout whilst bringing the vibes of 30s New York to life. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille's choreography is superb and a joy to watch.

From a conga to an incarceration there's a lot to enjoy and laugh at, and the cast do an outstanding job of making a semi-staged production feel full. Overall it's a wonderful night at Wonderful Town.

Photos by Danny Kaan

Wonderful Town, Opera Holland Park | Review

Friday, 2 July 2021

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

Friday, 28 May 2021

Public Domain, Vaudeville Theatre | Review


Public Domain
Vaudeville Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 27th May by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke first premiered their verbatim musical Public Domain in January as part of the Southwark Playhouse's lockdown streaming series. Directed by Adam Lenson, they have moved to the Vaudeville Theatre to bring their fresh, British musical to in person audiences.

Public Domain is interesting in the way that it doesn't have a fixed narrative or structure. Instead it's a melange of different characters' lives and their journeys with social media. There are two influencers, Z who drops out of school at 16 to make YouTube his career but who really doesn't know what he's doing with his life; and Millie, a health and lifestyle vlogger who is all about the #positivevibes. Alongside these two, we also hear mostly from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr Priscilla Chan. A number of other characters, all played by the extremely talented Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke (who also wrote the book, lyrics and orchestrations) join together to take us back to the roots of Facebook and see how what started as a harmless way of keeping in contact, has become so ingrained in our everyday lives without us even realising.

The set is simple but effective, with Libby Todd setting up see through screens that separate the actors and the audience, a clever nod to the divide between online personalities and their viewers. The space in the middle becomes the "real world" and the screens also provide the backdrop for a selection of extremely well done projections by Matt Powell. In a show about technology, it's delightful that there is so much of it used so well. The video overlays of real life comments made by Mark Zuckerberg amongst others are seamlessly woven in and the virtual choir who join for one number work really well. Cameo's by Donald Trump and George Bush also feel painfully poignant.

The verbatim musical takes quotes directly from posts, tweets, videos and other online content to create a semi-real, semi-distorted reality which is moved along by an entertaining techno-pop score. Forristal and Clarke are relentless and excellent in their performances and they cleverly highlight the struggles and contradictions of today's social media world, however, it does end up feeling a little one layer.

Whilst the topics covered are very affecting, especially that of the Facebook content moderators who were left scarred by watching hundreds of videos of abuse and murder, it was overall very 'the internet sucks, we're in an endless cycle of bad things'. Which to an extent is obviously true, but it would have been interesting to have a little balance with the more positive, community driven, wholesome sides of social media. There is a heart-warming moment with some senior citizens discussing their use of the internet but the positives felt somewhat outdated and brushed over.

That's not to say this isn't a good show though and aside from anything, it's a real treat to see a new, British musical paving the way in the West End. The music is incredibly catchy and the overall presentation of the show is great, it just feels like it's almost scratching the surface of what social media is, and what message the show wants to put across. This will certainly be a musical that has many iterations and it will be very interesting to see how it grows and changes alongside social media.

photos by Jane Hobson

Public Domain, Vaudeville Theatre | Review

Friday, 28 May 2021

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Monday Night at the Apollo, Apollo Theatre | Review



Monday Night at the Apollo
Apollo Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 24th May by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Since my last trip to the theatre in December, I have been dreaming of starting my week enveloped in the stagey comfort of musical theatre and I am oh so happy that last night my dream came true. Created by Wild Mountain Productions and presented by Greg Barnett, a spectacular lineup were brought to the stage of the Apollo to take us through a night of vocal gymnastics, diversity, humour and just a bunch of fun in the first instalment of Monday Night at the Apollo.

You couldn't have gotten a much better bunch than the first five performers in the series: Aimie Atkinson, Cassidy Janson, Lucie Jones, Cedric Neal and Julian Ovenden. Every artist gave powerhouse performances, as well as bouncing off one another and highlighting the fantastic camaraderie and community that comes along with the world of theatre.

After a lockdown of creating content online, forming a girl band and most recently performing on This Morning, seeing Aimie Atkinson back on stage was a real treat. Don't Rain On My Parade felt very apt as we all hold our breath hoping theatres can remain open and Aimie's performance was top notch. Sparkles galore, being a complete professional during technical difficulties and serving sassy vocals were the best reminders of why Aimie is quickly becoming West End royalty.

If you search "riff legend", it should really show a whole host of pictures and videos of Cedric Neal who is the definition of control. His smooth, pin-sharp vocals are passionate and utterly mesmerising. It's also incredibly impressive to see and hear how versatile he is as a performer, with So You Wanted to see the Wizard and Hold Me in Your Heart showcasing contrasting vibes but both being completely absorbing and joys to watch.

As always, Lucie Jones provided not only the most stunningly dexterous, ice clear and faultless vocals, but also showed off her excellent humour and stage presence which create a perfect performance. At this point I think Lucie just needs to star in everything and sing everything! 

I also wouldn't complain if Julian Ovenden started singing everything, including phone books, instruction manuals, weather reports etc... His absolute dream of a voice carried so well throughout the night and I found myself in complete awe of the the technical ability he displays in every note. He really is a masterclass in the importance of support, diction and classical technique. All of his songs were honestly just joyous to hear.

Completing the line up, recent Olivier Award winner Cassidy Janson brought her usual magnetism and soulful vocals to the Apollo as she performed a variety of songs, with Nobody's on Nobody's Side proving a real highlight.

The evening absolutely wouldn't have been the musical success it was without the stellar band who both backed the singers and also shed light on the importance of live music. The synchronicity and musicality was evident throughout and it really seemed like everyone was thrilled to be back on stage. The simplistic stage adorned by rugs and bathed in warm light worked brilliantly to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Also streaming online via Thespie the future Monday Night at the Apollo events are sure to be complete treats and the perfect way to bring back the stageyness we've all been missing.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Monday Night at the Apollo, Apollo Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Back To The Future To Release Original Cast Recording


Happy Back To The Future Day!

Masterworks Broadway is delighted to announce that in early Summer 2021, it will release the Original Cast Recording of Back To The Future The Musical.

The musical is scheduled to open in early Summer 2021 at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End and features new music by multi-Grammy winners Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard alongside classic songs from the movie.

As a special treat for audiences eager to connect with Back to the Future and to the exciting musical adventure awaiting them, Back to the Future Day on 21st October 2020 sees the release of the single ‘Back in Time’ featuring Olly Dobson.

Mark Cavell, President of Sony Masterworks notes: “I am thrilled beyond all measure that Sony Music Masterworks will be bringing you the fantastic music from this great show, featuring a host of new songs from the combined talents of Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard together with firm favourites from the movie”.

Behind this eagerly-anticipated stage show are Producer Colin Ingram (Ghost – The Musical) and Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the creators of the Back To The Future film trilogy. The show moves to the West End following an out-of-town opening in March 2020 at the Manchester Opera House where it was enthusiastically received by critics and public alike. Roger Bart and Olly Dobson will reprise the roles of ‘Dr Emmett Brown’ and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively. Also returning are Hugh Coles as ‘George McFly’, Rosanna Hyland as ‘Lorraine Baines’, Cedric Neal as ‘Goldie Wilson’, Aidan Cutler as ‘Biff Tannen’ and Courtney-Mae Briggs as ‘Jennifer Parker’.

Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, 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.

Back To The Future The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winning director John Rando (Urinetown, On The Town), alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning design team of Tim Hatley (set and costume design), lighting design by Tim Lutkin, lighting consultant Hugh Vanstone, 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 To Release Original Cast Recording

Wednesday, 21 October 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

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Cabaret All Stars, Proud Embankment | Review


Proud Cabaret
Proud Embankment
Reviewed on Friday 2nd October 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

With theatrical nights out so few and far between (for obvious reasons) each opportunity to experience live performance is a real treat. With the weather getting colder and the nights getting longer, Proud Cabaret is a perfect remedy for the gloom which is so often prevalent these days, and is a treat for anyone craving some glitz and glam in their lives; plus you get to see West End superstar Kerry Ellis headline the night.

The evening takes place at Proud Embankment, a bustling venue under the arches of Waterloo bridge. You're escorted in by ushers draped in feathers and sparkles (including a glitzy face mask, of course) and it almost feels like entering a speak easy where unknown adventures will take place. The tables in the venue are socially distanced and you are asked to wear your own face mask any time you stand up or move around. As well as the performances the ticket includes a wonderful Japanese fusion three-course meal and a welcome cocktail, provided by head chef, Antonio Vacca. The food is outstanding, and a show in itself.

The show/event itself occurs in the round over two levels. Each table has a great view of the action and the varying levels of the acts themselves means every view is completely unique. The night is jam packed with world class circus and cabaret performers who keep you on the edge of your seat and completely invested from start to finish. The whole thing feels very vintage but with a modern twist; there's classic burlesque numbers mixed in with mime, sword swallowing and aerial work. There's no story or dramatic structure as such but the whole thing flows well and feels very dreamlike. Each week features a slightly different line up but they are all high class and high quality.

The through-line of the show is Kerry Ellis who appears periodically throughout the evening to wrap us around her finger with her powerhouse vocals. She is a certified star who controls the stage with elegance and power in perfect balance. Ellis' rendition of Diamonds Are Forever is completely brilliant and like each song, is followed by rapturous applause. 

It's a treat to see any sort of live performance these days, but performances of such high standards make it even more of a treat. A night of decadence which evokes the Jazz age, Cabaret All Stars is definitely worth a visit.

Cabaret All Stars, Proud Embankment | Review

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Saturday, 3 October 2020

The Theatre Channel, Episode One | Review


Innovation is coursing through the theatre community, as new ideas and ways to spread the joy of performance are brought to life everyday. One of these ways is the new brainchild of The Theatre Café and Adam Blanshay Productions: The Theatre Channel.

The channel is a series of musical episodes which celebrate the all-singing, all-dancing joy of theatre as well as showcasing fantastic performers and the café itself. Each episode is roughly half an hour long and features a different group of stage stars, as well as the Café Four (Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodwardwho appear in each episode as a sort of omnipresent group of musical theatre muses. The performers are encouraged to perform songs or roles they've not previously had the chance to, which leads to an eclectic episode of musical excellence.

The first episode opens with the café four performing the very fitting Coffee in a Cardboard Cup, in which they use pretty much the entirety of the  café to showcase their vocal, dance and acting skills; they're definitely a talented bunch! From then Tarinn Callender takes us on a soulful journey with On Broadway and Lucie Jones serves her stunning, clear-as-glass vocals with a brilliant rendition of Maybe This Time. Amongst an abundance of flowers, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson bring the classic duet, Suddenly Seymour to life brilliantly. Jodie Steele takes things up an octave (and a level) as she gives a gender-switched version of Heaven on Their Minds from the roof of the cafe, which oozes sass and strength. Rounding off the episode, Matt Henry is smooth and oh so stirring with Let It Sing from Violet and Jenna Russell is completely excellent in every way with Sondheim's Ladies Who Lunch.


Whilst of course the performances are uniformly wonderful, it's the production value which really makes this series worth the hype. Ben Hewis' outstanding videography is sleek, high quality and just beautifully shot; and alongside Bill Deamer's choreography-which is astoundingly bold for happening in such a small space- the whole thing feels much more cinematic than any of the online theatrical offerings so far.

The creative team clearly have a strong vision and there's no doubt that each episode is going to be a step bigger and bolder. With themed episodes in the works including the upcoming Halloween episode, there are sure to be surprises galore. With everything from the vocals to the finished product being recorded on the premises, this really is a celebration of not only theatre and performance, but the Theatre Café itself where the arts still has the space to thrive, even when performances themselves are few and far between.

With a great team behind it, this series is a treat for those missing theatre and a gem of an online offering. Once purchased for £12 you have unlimited access to the episode so you can relive the stagey goodness time and time again. So grab your laptop and take yourself on a virtual trip to the theatre.

★★★★★


The Theatre Channel, Episode One | Review

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Pippin, Garden Theatre | Review


Pippin
Garden Theatre, Vauxhall
Reviewed on Friday 18th September 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After six months of a world with no in person theatre, it feels almost foreign to see a stage in front of you with real life performers, performing real life music, but ever so slowly it's becoming the norm again. Well, the new, socially distanced norm.

The Garden Theatre in Vauxhall are paving the way for the reopening and reconfiguring of venues as one of the first to put on productions in this post-lockdown world. The latest in their programme being Stephen Schwartz's Pippin; the tale of a boy trying to prove he's extraordinary as he finds his place in the world. A show which often excels by involving the audience could be a strange option given the regulations, but the cast do an outstanding job of making you feels as though you're getting a personal performance and that you're part of the story, without being too close. The team of "players" who are often shown as circus performers, are in this production, a hippie tribe who are telling the tale of young Pippin. Together they weave a story of drama and excitement which feels truly uplifting and joyous during these unpredictable times. 

Thanks to Steven Dexter's Direction, this is a production which highlights all the wonderful parts of fringe theatre and Nick Winston's choreography is overwhelming in all the best ways. Bursting from all nooks and crannies every movement feels both precise and free and it's amazing how much power has been fit into such a small space. Plus, the way so many dance styles (including wonderful homages to Bob Fosse) flow into one another, is truly sensational to experience.

The title role is taken on expertly by Ryan Anderson who relentlessly showcases his brilliant vocals and outstanding dance ability, whilst making Pippin a multi-faceted, endearing, earnest and infuriating character. His renditions of Corner of The Sky and the motif versions which are consequently peppered throughout are beautiful and controlled oh so well.

Pippin's glamourous, manipulative "normal" step-mother is played excellently by Joanne Clifton who also takes on the role of the sweet and sassy Grandmother, Berthe. Each moment of Clifton's stage time is completely electrifying. Whether she's ad-libbing hilariously or leading the audience in a singalong she finds a way to completely draw the audience in.


It would be shameful to not mention the rest of the cast who bubble with energy throughout. Harry Francis is playfully enjoyable as the self-obsessed bother Lewis and sweet Theo who longs for a father figure and also provides vocals which stand out due to their exceptional power and mastery. As Charlemagne Dan Krikler is dominant and impressive and his Gilbert and Sullivan-esque solo is a right treat; he leaves you wanting more from him once his individual moments end . Tsemaye-Bob Egbeis takes on the role of the Leading Player with ease and freedom. Her vocals soaring above the sounds of passing busses and her movement around the stage oozing authority. Completing the cast, Tanisha-Mae Brown thrives in the intimate moments of the show and is in beautiful contrast to the more high-octane, over the top moments of the story.

The only downside to this production is the sometimes questionable approach to social distancing. While the staff are brilliant and it appears lots of measures have been put in place such as temperature checks, table service, copious amounts of hand sanitizer and social distancing before the show, the actual auditorium is somewhat cramped. Seats are very close together which it does feel strange when everything else is so organised. Whilst the audience does only seat 50, it would perhaps be better to have even fewer seats for the moment.

Despite this, the terrific cast of triple threats make this bittersweet, upbeat and consistently enjoyable musical a must see (covid permitting, of course). There's magic to do and the Garden Theatre are certainly doing the most they can in these crazy circumstances to do it.

Photos by Bonnie Britain Photography

Pippin, Garden Theatre | Review

Saturday, 19 September 2020