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

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Here Come the Boys, London Palladium | Review


Here Come The Boys
London Palladium
Reviewed on Wednesday 26th May by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Here comes the sun, here comes the bank holiday, here comes some form of normality and most importantly, Here Come The Boys. In their West End transfer, following a successful UK tour, four of Strictly's favourite boys take to the stage to showcase their impeccable dance skills and take us on a journey of styles and music.

Backed by an excellent ensemble of professional dancers, Aljaž Škorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Robin Windsor and Graziano di Prima are joined by Strictly celebrity finalist Karim Zeroual, who also hosts the night in a fiercely entertaining dance contest. The audience play they key role in "deciding" who wins each round and ultimately becomes the King of Dance. The boys are also joined by Nadiya Bychkova who is utterly brilliant and serves some girl power realness throughout.


A latin filled first half, followed by a ballroom and swing filled second half mean there's something for everyone, with Karim's tiktok segment also proving an audience favourite. The selection of top 40 music, combined with great mash ups and reworked versions of classics works really well, and the resident DJ does a great job of engaging the crowd, although it perhaps would be nice to have some aspect of live performance, just to add some extra oomph. 

It's a show which knows exactly what it is and thrives off of giving the audience completely what they want. Of course the dancing is outstanding but aside from that there is witty banter between the performers on stage and cheeky smiles, winks and bum-wiggles with the audience. 

Here Come The Boys almost feels like the winning combo of Magic Mike and Strictly Come Dancing. There are moments that feel highly cheesy but what else would you expect? It's a really fun, glitzy and enjoyable night out that'll leave you smiling and tapping your toes, what more could you want?

Photos by Fiona Whyte for The TCB Group

Here Come the Boys, London Palladium | Review

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Thursday, 12 April 2018

An Evening With Jason Robert Brown, London Palladium | Review


An Evening With Jason Robert Brown
London Palladium 
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th April 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★


Last night the London Palladium played host to one of the most brilliant concerts I have ever witnessed. American composer, pianist and conductor Jason Robert Brown debuted some of his new songs as well as hits from his various musicals and orchestral works. He was joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra (plus his own rhythm section), conductor Larry Blank, Capital Voices and musical theatre superstars Rachel Tucker, Betsy Wolfe and Norm Lewis in this one night only musical spectacular. Concerts of this caliber are so often confined to the New York scene so to get something like this live in London was truly magical and is not a night I'll forget in a hurry. 


Jason opened the show with an emotive song about finding hope in a hopeless situation which he revealed was written the day after the last presidential election. He followed this with a song from a musical he has yet to complete, which tells the story of a teen in New York who dreams of having a career as a musician. The upbeat, rhythmical song, Melinda had the audience tapping their feet and ready for the concert ahead of them. This song with various musical dance genres entwined in it was the perfect song to show off Jason's musicianship and vocals as well as the clear dexterity of the BBC Concert Orchestra players. The two songs in succession set the tone for what was set to be a joyous as well as moving night. 


The entire concert was of an immense standard and it would be unfair to pick a particular stand out but over the course of just over two and a half hours, we were treated to some of the gems of Jason Robert Brown's career, as well as a glimpse of what's to come with his new album, How We React and How We Recover. Similarly to last year's Kristin Chenoweth concert, this performance made the vast space of the London Palladium feel intimate and warm and proved that whilst donning various hats as singer, conductor and pianist, at the heart of it all Jason is a storyteller. In my recent interview with him, Jason told me that he loves when you can "go on an adventure with a piece of music" which truly sums up what this night was about.

Rachel Tucker who Jason called "the real thing" gave a glorious rendition of Stars and the Moon from Songs For a New World, which Jason described as "a medley of my greatest... hit!" Her rendition of the anthem, Invisible, written by Jason for a young wheelchair bound girl in collaboration with the Ronald McDonald House and Broadway Inspirational Voices was especially moving and energetic. Rachel also brought the house to their feet with her final performance of Flying Home, which although usually sung by a male voice, sounded as though it was written for Ms Tucker.


Norm Lewis performed gorgeous, mellow renditions of It All Fades Away and All Things in Time as well as joining Betsy Wolfe for a beautiful duet of Before and After You/One Second and a Million Miles which proved that the West End needs a production of The Bridges of Madison County, pronto! I know I said I didn't want to name stand-outs but Betsy's act 2 performance of I Can Do Better Than That from The Last Five Years was truly marvellous and proved why she's as adored as she is.

In addition to these songs we also got to experience a whole selection of songs from Honeymoon in Vegas which I saw in it's concert form at the Palladium last year, as well as some beautiful excerpts from Jason's symphony, The Trumpet of the Swan. Not only did this instrumental moment show of the virtuosic playing of the orchestra but showed just how emotive music is. Before beginning, Jason briefly explained the plot of the symphony which is based on a children's book, so we knew what was coming. What I found incredible was how everyone laughed and gasped at the same times despite there being no lyrics to describe the drama. This just proved how powerful music is as an art form and was an especially magical moment for me.


I have to briefly mention the lighting for this concert which was outstanding. For a one night only event which is going out to radio, not television, I was blown away by how much thought and time had clearly gone into every lighting cue. This really added to the warm feeling of the entire night.

At the risk of babbling on for an obscene amount of time, I'm going to wrap up my review here. I'm sorry to say that if you weren't there you missed out of a truly fantastic night but don't worry because you can hear the whole things on this week's Friday Night is Music Night and experience the joy of Jason Robert Brown's music for yourself. I was enchanted, surprised and blown away by every moment of this gem of a concert.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

An Evening With Jason Robert Brown, London Palladium | Review

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Monday, 9 April 2018

In Conversation With... Jason Robert Brown | An Evening with Jason Robert Brown | Interview

Last week I posted my interview with Rachel Tucker all about her participation in the upcoming concert, An Evening with Jason Robert Brown at the London Palladium starring Betsy Wolfe and Norm Lewis. I was also lucky enough to do a brief interview with the main man himself, Jason Robert Brown, to get you even more excited for the concert!


You're finally coming back to London! I know people are very excited already but what can they expect from this concert?
A little bit of everything! I’m doing songs from most of my shows, two new suites with the orchestra, and lots of stuff from my new album, How We React and How We Recover, which will be out on Ghostlight Records in June.



If you could bring any of your shows over here as a full production in the West End, which would you choose?
Can’t we do them all? In repertory, or something?




Why do you love musical theatre so much?
I probably don’t love it as much as the people reading this article, but I love music and I love theatre, so I can’t really resist the combination. I love it when I can go on an adventure with a piece of music and it helps to illuminate character and story. I really don’t know any other medium that would let me do that.




If you could collaborate with any composer or performer, who would you choose?
I’m still waiting for my moment with Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’ll happen.




What's your number one piece of advice for aspiring composers?
If it doesn’t sound good, fix it. If it doesn’t make sense, fix it. Just because people applaud doesn’t mean it’s good. Make sure it’s always good.

Thanks so much to Jason for taking the time to do this interview. Wednesday's concert is certainly not one to be missed! An Evening with Jason Robert Brown takes place on April 11th

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Erika Kapin

In Conversation With... Jason Robert Brown | An Evening with Jason Robert Brown | Interview

Monday, 9 April 2018

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium | Review


Kristin Chenoweth (Concert)
London Palladium
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

When this post goes live it will officially be my 21st birthday which is crazy, but what’s even crazier is how incredible my birthday eve was. I spent the night at the London Palladium seeing the amazing, pint-sized superstar Kristin Chenoweth in concert. Before I continue on this review I must say that it’ll be pretty different to my usual ones as it’s going to be way more informal and personal, purely because I’ve had such a long history with Kristin so it was a pretty momentous night and I’m finding it hard to put into cohesive words.

So let’s start with the history... like many UK Kristin fans, I saw Wicked when it opened back in 2006, subsequently listened to the Broadway recording and fell in love with the cast. I then entered an obsessive phase where I watched all Kristin videos, listened to every song she'd ever sung, read every interview she'd done and was generally that annoying fan that could talk about nothing else. Since then I have become less over the top with my obsession but my love for Kristin has definitely not diminished and I was dying with excitement when I knew I was finally going to see her live.

The concert was marketed as an "Intimate Evening" with Kristin which I was dubious about seeing as it was taking place in the vast London Palladium; and whilst the venue certainly isn't intimate in any way, shape or form, Kristin somehow managed to pull me in and make me feel as if I was watching her sing in her living room.


Whilst I could go in depth about each song, there isn't really much point as I'll just be praising every one to no end, so what I will say is that each piece was vocally beautiful and Kristin gave honest, heartfelt performances from start to end. Of course she sang a number of her most famous songs including 'Popular' and 'Taylor The Latte Boy' (my grade 8 musical theatre piece!) but she also sang some lesser known tracks such as 'Upon This Rock' and 'I Was Here'. A particularly stunning moment was Kristin's rendition of the Les Miserables classic: 'Bring Him Home'- I was in floods of tears... as I was for the entire concert! We were also treated to a spine tingling duet of 'For Good' with one of my favourite performers ever: Rachel Tucker... truly epic!

I must be honest and admit that I was a little wary about watching Kirstin perform. Obviously I am a huge fan but I was worried that seeing such a big idol of mine live would be a bit of a let down. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This was honestly the best concert I have ever experienced and I have never had such a strong emotional reaction to seeing someone live. Sure I cry at emotional parts of shows but this was another level, my mum and I were blubbering messes throughout... especially when Kristin finished the show with a NO MIC rendition of 'Smile'... tears upon tears! 

I just want to touch upon my personal connection to Kristin so you can really understand how much this concert meant to me. Firstly, as a Classical singer in training, Kristin is just everything I aspire to be. Her stage presence and vocal technique are things I can only dream of mastering on her level and her unapologetic performances inspire me to no end. I don't want to go too in depth with the second reason but several years ago I had a series of extended hospital stays and 20 operations on my knee (ouch, right?) due to an illness and during that time I remember reading Kristin's book 'A Little Bit Wicked' and being motivated and positive to get better. It wasn't something I had thought about until watching her perform but Kristin's influence on my life has truly been vast and way more involved than I'm going to explain but basically this was a magical and emotional night.



I'm still struggling to really put into words what made this concert so special but it was truly the most incredible theatrical experience I've ever had. Kristin is a master of her craft as well as a hilarious woman who completely commands the stage. Her outfits were the glitziest things I've ever seen but honestly, she could've worn a paper bag and I still would have been blown away. I couldn't have asked for a better entrance to being 21 and I will continue to strive to reach the levels Kristin is continually climbing. I pray to all the theatre gods that we can get Ms Chenoweth over on our turf for a bit. But in the mean time I will continue to relish in the delight and emotion that this devastatingly brilliant concert provided and I hope to one day meet Kristin and tell her in person how amazing I think she is!


Watch my vlog of the concert: https://youtu.be/5-Bsh6_UKJk

Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium | Review

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Friday, 4 August 2017

In Conversation With... Rufus Hound | Interview | The Wind in the Willows

Rufus Hound started out his career as a comedian but over the last few years has been a frequent star of the stage and is currently making audiences laugh starring as Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium. He was lovely enough to do an interview with me where he talks about his transition from comedy to theatre and much more...



For anyone that doesn't know, could you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?


Sure. I started off as a stand-up comedian having grown up as a kid always wanting to be a stage actor and when the opportunity to do actual stage acting arose, I couldn't quite believe it. Jumped at it with both hands and that's really what I've concentrated on doing even since. It's been how I've earns a living I think for the last sort or four years, five years. Starting with Utopia at the Soho theatre, then One Man, Two Guvnors, then Neville's Island for Chichester and then Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at The Savoy, then War of the Roses and the Kingston Rose and Don Quixote for the RSC and I'm currently in The Wind in the Willows. So there are my career and highlights so far.


I read that it was during a summer job with a PR agency that you decided to go into comedy. Had you always wanted to perform or did you have other career paths in mind when you were younger?


I guess I've sort of already answered this but from about the age of three I watched The Muppet Show and thought "that's what I wanna do, I wanna do theatre". And the lovely thing about theatre, well one of the lovely things about being a kid is that your opportunities to show off are largely limited to school plays and the like. So yeah, from about three to seventeen I was like "that's all I wanna do". Then as eighteen dawned on me and nineteen dawned on me I realised that that was something that was going to cost a lot of money to train to do and the likelihood was that I wouldn't you know, succeed in trying to do it. So, I put that dream in a drawer.


I decided to go into comedy because I always liked standing up, I liked showing off, I like making people laugh. So I started going out with a woman who was a judge at a lot of new act competitions, saw what people were doing and thought: "I could do that". But as I say, once the opportunity to do more acting came up, that was what I did!


Was the transition from comedy to presenting to tv and eventually theatre a difficult one or was it a natural transition?



It wasn't really natural, it's just that in life you get somebody saying "do you wanna give that a go?" and then if you're smart you can kind of have a look round, work out what other people are doing and how you could best do it, and hopefully don't muck it up so badly that that you never get another chance. Each job you learn on and you grow in each way. But yeah, I've never learnt how to do comedy or presenting or radio or theatre. No one's ever taught me how to do those things, you just give them a go, keep your ears pinned back, keep your eyes open and try and work out how the best people people bring about their best.




What keeps you motivated to keep working even when you get knock backs?

I have a mortgage and I have two children!


Do you have any hidden passions that you'd like to pursue?


Yes. They're not really so hidden but I really enjoy woodwork and currently where I live there's no space to have a kind of workshop or anything like that in order to do woodwork. But yeah maybe in the next couple of years we'll move somewhere with a bit more space and yeah, you'll largely find me under a pile of wood shavings.



The Wind in the Willows is a wonderful family show. What attracted you to the show in the first place?


When I was working on One Man, Two Guvnors, Pete Caulfied out of the blue, said to me "If you ever get the chance to play Toad, take it you'd be brilliant." A couple of years later, out of the blue, Matt  Kingsley in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels says to me "you know, if you ever get the chance to play Toad, you should take it" and I went: "you're the second person to say that to me". And because both of these were really out of the blue, it just totally stuck in my mind that I was, in the esteem of people that I respected, a good person to take on this role. So when the opportunity to play it came up, I jumped at it with both hands!



What do you think people will be saying on the train on their way home from the show?


Poop poop probably! We now live in the age of social media where people tweet you what they're talking about on the way home from the show. By and large it seems to be that anyone with kids is having to deal with and overexcited young person who is shouting to them about the flying, the sets, the mice, the weasels are very popular, the weasels and stoats! So yeah, people just come away from it knowing it was a big, warm hug of a show really.



Besides yourself, who else would you like to see play Mr Toad?


Crumbs. That's literally the last thing in the world I've thought about! I've been so focussed on doing it myself that I would never really deign to think of how somebody else might do it. Who would I like to see play it? Er...... I really don't know, I'm really struggling on that!





Can you sum up The Wind in he Willows in five words?


Yes! Big, warm, family, massive... hug!



What are some of your dream roles in theatre?


I'd really like to play Thenadier in Les Mis for a short run just because nothing would make my mum happier. I'd also really like to be in anything Tim Minchin has ever done.



What's a fun fact people might not know about you?


Ahhhh, I dunno. I think in this day and age everyone knows everything about everyone pretty much! But.... I was a Klansman in the first production of Jerry Springer: The Opera. There were some photographs taken and the protagonist is there surrounded by Klansmen and I was one of those. I was also a hillbilly having the tar knocked out of him on the floor. So if anyone has got any connection to Jerry Springer: The Opera then I was in it at about the age of twenty, in a very minor way.



Whats your number one piece for can aspiring performer?


Don't give up. The only thing that stops you from being a performer is stopping!



A huge thank you to Rufus for taking the time to do this interview. The Wind in the Willows is at the London Palladium until September 9th.


Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

In Conversation With... Rufus Hound | Interview | The Wind in the Willows

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Wind in the Willows, London Palladium | Review


The Wind in the Willows
London Palladium
Reviewed on Thursday June 29th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

The Wind in the Willows is a perfectly fun, family show. It's not a theatrical masterpiece but it's a cute, heartwarming fable that's sweet enough for both children and adults to enjoy.

Adapted by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Half a Sixpence), The Wind in the Willows is an old school tale given a modern twist. We follow Ratty and his new friend Mole as they venture around the countryside trying to hide from the evil of the Wild Wood and help their friend Mr. Toad curve his need for speed. It's a show which is quintessentially British:lazing by the river, watching the swallows returning home for summer, seeing animals foraging in the woods, each scene conjures up the good old English countryside.

The pastoral feel of the production is guided by the sets and costumes by Peter McKintosh, with each area and animal having its own unique "style" and each set piece combining perfectly to create the world of human-like animals which is both distinctive and mystical. Each animal is instantly recognisable without being too in your face animal. The set also strikes a good balance between being enough of a spectacle whilst still leaving enough room for your imagination to roam a little wild. 



Simon Lipkin's Ratty is suitably funny and stern and despite not being a huge belting role, he really shows off his voice and beautiful tone. Craig Mather has wonderful chemistry with Lipkin as Ratty's partner in crime, Mole. He is the perfect mix of innocence and strength and is pretty perfect in the role. Another sweet and funny character is Mrs Otter played by Denise Welch although we never do find out what happened to her husband! Thankfully some contrast to the sweetness is brought with the baddie of the show, Chief Weasel played by Neill McDermott who is very reminiscent of Rooster in Annie. The Weasel scenes are my personal favourites and add a nice sharpness to the otherwise same level show. The ensemble are tight and bring a lot to the show. An audience favourite seemed to be the adorable hedgehog family who sing a lovely little ditty about the trouble of crossing the road. 

Aletta Collins' choreography fits exactly, adding not only dimension but humour to the show. Especially so with the tap dancing horse!

Of course I have to mention Mr Toad played by Rufus Hound who is great in the role. He is over the top and dramatic but actually very good. I was surprised at how good his voice is and really do think he's the perfect choice for the role.

The Wind in the Willows is good family fun which is certain to leave a smile on your face and at least one song in your head. It's simple, charming and exactly what it says on the tin, what more could you ask for for a family theatre trip? 

The Wind in the Willows runs at the London Palladium until September 9th

The Wind in the Willows, London Palladium | Review

Friday, 30 June 2017

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Honeymoon in Vegas (LMTO), London Palladium | Review


Honeymoon in Vegas
London Palladium
Reviewed on Sunday 12th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Founded in June 2015, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) prides itself on giving beautiful music a place to be heard and showcasing lesser known talent and works. On March 12th 2016 the orchestra accompanied a stellar cast who performed Jason Robert Brown's short lived 2015 Broadway musical, Honeymoon in Vegas

Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill led the cast as the engaged Betsy and Jack who are on their way to finally getting married. They've been a couple for five years but Jack is afraid to commit to marriage as he believes he's under a curse from his dead mother. Her dying wish was for him never to marry and he's taking any measure he can to ensure this is kept, despite this, he suggests an elopement to Vegas. Once again he gets cold feet and makes his way to a poker game organised by Tommy Korman. Unbeknownst to him, Korman wants Betsy (a dead ringer for his late wife) for himself and is ready to offer Jack an ultimatum.

The story is bizarre but that's what makes it exciting. The absurdity allows all kinds of craziness to take place on stage and makes the production truly hilarious and impressive. The LMTO's musical director, Freddie Tapner introduced the performance, stating that the music and score would be telling the story and that it was up to the audience to imagine dances, costumes, set changes and a herd of parachuting Elvis'! This worked wonderfully and it was surprising how little was lost by this being a concert rather than a full blown glitz and glam production.  

BWW Review: HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, London Palladium
Each member of the cast, chorus and orchestra worked harmoniously together to pull of an effortless performance. Simon Lipkin is a brilliant performer and he stole the show each time he appeared on stage, leaving us all laughing and feeling thoroughly entertained. Maisey Bawden was hilarious as the Hawaiian Mahi and had the audience in the palm or her hand as she caused everyone to laugh out loud.


Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill's chemistry was evident throughout and they seemed to really enjoy performing together, bringing the loved-up couple to life charmingly. Barks' voice seems to get better and better and after her success in The Last Five Years it was an absolute joy to see her perform another of Jason's scores which suit her voice so perfectly.  She gave a truly stellar performance. Darvill's voice was a surprise to me, it's effortlessly smooth and fits the easy swing feel of Honeymoon in Vegas to a tee, he gave a brilliant heartfelt and comedic performance.

If the outstanding performances weren't enough, this production was made even better by the fact that it was conducted by Jason Robert Brown himself as the LMTO's first ever guest conductor. Brown is funny, witty and animated and brought a wonderful sense of style to the whole performance. He even stepped down from his podium and played the ukulele at one point which was a real treat.  

The various standing ovations were a sign of how well done this production was and how much the audience loved this rarely performed piece. I don't think anyone would be complaining if it made a return to the West End stage and I hope we can keep Brown and his brilliant writing on this side of the pond!

Honeymoon in Vegas (LMTO), London Palladium | Review

Tuesday, 14 March 2017