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

Monday 17 July 2023

Diva Exhibition at the V&A Museum Review: A Majestic Showcase of Feminine Power and Artistry

a treasure trove of memorabilia and artefacts, breathing life into the stories of these extraordinary divas"


DIVA
Victoria and Albert Museum 
★★★★★ 

The newest exhibition at the V&A, Diva is an absolute treat, immersing visitors in the captivating world of awe-inspiring women who have enchanted us with their extraordinary talents, strength, and charisma.

From the moment you step into the exhibition hall, you truly feel a part of the glamour and empowerment. Split into two acts, the first being historical context of diva’s and the second focussing on the modern day artists, this enchanting journey through the lives and legacies of iconic divas is really awe-inspiring.

The curation of Diva is exceptionally well done. Skilfully interweaving various disciplines such as music, film, fashion, and photography as well as showcasing objects alongside outfits to tell personal and intriguing stories. The exhibit creates a multi-dimensional experience that effortlessly transports visitors into the captivating world of these remarkable women. Every display is meticulously crafted, capturing the very essence of the divas, their defining moments, and their profound contributions to popular culture. With 60 costumes and 250 items spanning from the 19th century to today, there is so much to take in and a number of highlights to be found throughout. Some personal favourites included the various Bob Mackie designs, which are accompanied by original artwork, Elton John's Louis XIV-inspired 50th birthday party look and the fringed black dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot in 1959.

The exhibition is a treasure trove of memorabilia and artefacts, breathing life into the stories of these extraordinary divas. From the elaborate stage costumes that exude the flamboyance of performers like Madonna and Lady Gaga, to the intimate handwritten letters and personal diaries that offer a glimpse into the private lives of divas like Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin, each piece on display serves as a testament to their unrivalled greatness.

What sets the Diva exhibition apart is its unwavering commitment to highlighting the immense cultural impact of these trailblazing women. It delves deep into how these divas challenged societal norms, shattered glass ceilings, and emerged as symbols of empowerment for generations of women. Through interactive displays and thought-provoking installations, visitors are invited to reflect on the ongoing struggle for equality and the profound power of self-expression.

The audiovisual elements of the exhibition are incredibly effective. As you stroll through the halls, you’re treated to a symphony of iconic performances and interviews playing on large screens, perfectly complementing the visual feast before you. The accompanying soundtrack, carefully curated from the divas' most unforgettable hits, transports you through time, allowing you to immerse yourself in the journey.

The meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the exhibition is truly praiseworthy. From the thoughtfully crafted lighting and set design that immerses visitors in a captivating ambiance to the informative plaques offering historical context, the Diva exhibition ensures an enriching experience that not only entertains but also educates about the indelible impact these women have made on the world.

The V&A Museum has truly surpassed expectations with the Diva exhibition, serving as a remarkable tribute to the enduring influence of these extraordinary women. Whether you're an avid fan of a specific diva or simply intrigued by the diverse tapestry of female talent, this exhibition is an absolute must-see. Be prepared to be dazzled and inspired by the unwavering spirit and artistic brilliance of the divas who have left an indelible mark on our cultural landscape.

Seamlessly weaves together art, history, and music, paying homage to the iconic women who have redefined what it means to be a diva, this exhibition is a must visit. Get ready to be enthralled, uplifted, and deeply moved by this extraordinary showcase of feminine power and artistry.

Reviewed on Thursday 13th July by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Anna Gordon

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Diva Exhibition at the V&A Museum Review: A Majestic Showcase of Feminine Power and Artistry

Monday 17 July 2023

Thursday 22 June 2023

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic review: A Theatrical Gem That Transcends Time

the repetition never becomes tiresome, but rather serves as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth.


Groundhog Day
Old Vic
★★★★ 

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Theatre is a delightful production that offers a hilarious and enchanting journey, filled with a talented ensemble, sleek quick changes and witty songs in the classic Tim Minchin style. This extraordinary production, breathes fresh life into the beloved story, delivering an experience that warms both the heart and the funny bone.

From the moment the curtains rise, we are transported to the enchanting world of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The set design by Rob Howell, a skilful blend of simplicity and innovation, effortlessly captures the essence of small-town charm. Each scene change is flawlessly executed, seamlessly guiding the audience through the repetitive yet captivating cycle of Bill Murray's iconic character, Phil Connors, as he relives the same day over and over again.

The cast is a formidable force, with the incredibly talented Andy Karl at the helm, delivering a remarkable portrayal of Phil Connors. With impeccable comedic timing and a nuanced understanding of the character's emotional journey, Karl brings authenticity to every scene. His charisma and stage presence make it impossible to look away, keeping the audience fully engaged and invested in Phil's transformation, plus he delivers some killer vocals.

Alongside, each cast member delivers outstanding performances that enhance the overall narrative. From the endearing yet determined Rita, played by Tanisha Spring, to the versatile ensemble effortlessly transitioning between various characters, their energy and dedication create an immersive experience, making us feel like part of the Punxsutawney community. Amongst the solid cast, stand out's include 
Eve Norris who shines in her role as Nancy, bringing depth and charm to the stage and Billy Nevers who uses every solo line to his complete advantage to deliver some scene stealing moments.

The direction by Matthew Warchus, skilfully navigates the delicate balance between comedy and introspection. Demonstrating a deep understanding of the source material, whilst infusing it with fresh perspectives and surprising moments that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Warchus expertly guides the pacing, ensuring that the repetition never becomes tiresome, but rather serves as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth.

The musical numbers, composed by Tim Minchin, are a delightful addition to the production. The songs are catchy, with lyrics that cleverly reflect the themes of self-reflection and seizing the day. The choreography (Lizzi Gee), executed with precision and flair, adds an extra layer of excitement and dynamism to the overall performance.

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic is a testament to the transformative power of live theatre. It serves as a reminder of the beauty found in life's simplest moments and the significance of embracing change. This production effortlessly balances humour and heart, leaving the audience with a renewed sense of joy and hope.

If you're seeking a theatrical experience that transcends time and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling, Groundhog Day is an absolute must-see. This exceptional production will undoubtedly captivate audiences of all ages, reminding us that every day is an opportunity for growth, love, and second chances.

Reviewed on Wednesday 21st June 2023
photo credit: Manuel Harlan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic review: A Theatrical Gem That Transcends Time

Thursday 22 June 2023

Wednesday 22 March 2023

The Way Old Friends Do, Park Theatre | Review


The Way Old Friends Do
Park Theatre
★★★★

The Way Old Friends Do is a heartwarming play set to the backdrop of ABBA, that has you feeling an array of emotions and having a really good time. Written by Ian Hallard and under the expert direction of Mark Gatiss we are taken on the journey of music, friendship and found family.
 
The talented ensemble cast that bring each character to life in a charming way. Rose Shalloo is a complete stand out, continually bringing an infectious energy and providing some of the most endearingly humourous moments. James Bradshaw and Ian Hallard give well thought out performances and have an excellently witty chemistry with one another.

Janet Bird's set design is simple but effective, allowing the focus to remain on the actors and their performances. The revolving set cleverly transforms to a number of rooms whilst maintaining the ABBA-ness of it all.

This is a heartfelt play explores themes of love, loss, and friendship in a way that feels both universal and deeply personal. The story is filled with moments of both joy and sadness, that feel mostly natural and have you invested in the lives of the characters. The second act does suddenly take a turn to drama and comes across somewhat rushed, without enough development to truly hit home but overall things are well paced, and it's a sweet tale that celebrates friendship.

Overall, The Way Old Friends Do is a production that I highly recommend. It's a touching, well-crafted play that will stay with you after the final curtain call and have you wanting to create your own ABBA tribute group!

Reviewed on Tuesday 21st March 2023
photo credit: Tristram Kenton

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

The Way Old Friends Do, Park Theatre | Review

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Monday 13 March 2023

The Phase, The Vaults | Review


The Phase
The Vaults
★★★★ 

A new, British musical, The Phase follows four best friends and bandmates, Aziza, Rowan, Sage and Ava as they take on their Catholic school's oppressive rules which restrict them from expressing their queerness. The coming-of age musical tackles a number of issues in a short time and is a well written exploration of teenage life and identity.

The Vault Festival is a great event for shows to form and find audiences but the space, budget and time constraints don't always allow for much development. The team behind The Phase have done a great job working with these limitations and have created a musical that feels pretty well rounded and has design interest as well as great performances. The set comprises of large drawn out items such as rulers and pens that are transformed into various other things, and the band dressed as crayons complete the pencil case assortment and give the show a unique look and feel.

Led by musical director Amy Hsu, the band do a great job of leading the piece and accompanying the cast who provide consistently strong vocals. With Jocasta Almgill as Aziza, Ashley Goh as Rowan, Holly Ryan as Sage and Gracie McGonigal as Ava, the quad create a wholesome group who really support one another and give each other room to grow and be who they want to be. All four have well defined characteristics, and in a different setting there would certainly be room to flesh them out further. The occasional mic issue did mean some moments were lost at this performance but this is something that can be easily ironed out.

The Phase is a show which knows its identity and retains it throughout. Every moment is cohesive and feels quite genuinely like a school drama. There is a lot of angst and a whole host of personal struggles from anxiety to friendship, and although at times it feels a little too much, there is a sincerity sewn through which makes it a lovely piece.

Zoe Morris and Meg McGrady have created a great piece of musical theatre, that under Izzy Rabey's direction really gets to soar. It's lovely to see queer stories told that are not surrounded by trauma, and this show does a great job at highlighting the joy and community found, even when individuals are struggling. From body dysmorphia to relationship boundaries, there is so much packed into the hour long show. At times it comes across a little too dramatic, but at the same time it is very evocative of school life.

Mention must also go to how accessible the team have made the show. With sensory items available as well as chill out spaces, the whole experience embodies inclusivity and is certainly paving the way for others.

The show has just finished its run at the the Vault Festival, but there's sure to be a future life for The Phase and it will continue to spread joy via a touching storyline and absolutely killer vocals.

Reviewed on Sunday 12th March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

The Phase, The Vaults | Review

Monday 13 March 2023

Thursday 19 January 2023

Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre | Review


Allegiance
Charing Cross Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th January 2023 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The Charing Cross Theatre is one of the best venues for showcasing a variety of interesting musicals, and thankfully it’s currently playing house to George Takei’s brilliant show, Allegiance. Having last visited the venue to see From Here To Eternity, which chronicles the lead up to the Pearl Harbour attacks, this moving musical felt like a very fitting follow on.

Inspired by Takei's life, Allegiance tells the story of over 120,000 Japanese Americans who were thrown into internment camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbour in 1941. The musical is a timely one indeed and really highlights an awful part of history. A "legacy project" for Takei, it's clear that a lot of time and love went into making it as sweet as it is.

Now this is by no means a flawless musical but it is full of emotion and drama that keeps you invested throughout. Marc Acito, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione have written a book which is multi layered, taking into account history, family drama, romance, humour and heartbreak, and is well paced with a good amount of build up and tension. At times it gets a little bit confusing but is continually an easy show to watch.

Kuo's music is not particularly memorable but has some lovely moments as you're watching. Given the subject matter it's surprisingly upbeat, and despite not having any ear-worms, it is suitably stirring and enjoyable to listen to. Group numbers are especially effective and there's also a nice mix of styles and vocal inflections. Andrew Hilton and Charlie Ingles' orchestrations highlight the intense emotions well.

It's always a treat to see how the Charing Cross theatre is transformed and Tara Overfield Wilkinson's staging is extremely well done.  The stage becomes a variety of settings, from a moving train to a battlefield and each setting feels completely realistic. The continual motion of the set pieces and the actors throughout makes the whole thing flow so seamlessly and it's very impressive how large the stage feels.

Cast wise this show has a uniformly strong group of performers who completely give themselves over to the story and create some splendidly magical moments. Earning applause when he enters the stage Takei is an endearing and commanding stage presence who brings different shades to the characters he plays and does a stellar job of taking us through the family saga. As Takei's younger self (Sam) Telly Leung brings such warmth and charm. It's a treat to see him on a London stage and especially to hear his wonderful voice fill the arches of Charing Cross. 

Megan Gardiner showcases equally beautiful vocals as the nurse for the camp and there are also excellent performances by Aynrand Ferrer and Masashi Fujimoto who both bring great depth to their characters. Ferrer's voice is particularly stunning as she performs her solo moments with impeccable clarity.

Whilst this is a show about the atrocities which happened in 1941, it's surprisingly uplifting and often celebrates love and community. There are some tear-jerking moments at the end but overall this is a really heart-warming piece of theatre that deserves to be seen.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre | Review

Thursday 19 January 2023

Friday 9 December 2022

Newsies, Troubadour Theatre | Review


Newsies 
Troubadour Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 8th December 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

As temperatures soar below zero, the heat is definitely up at the Troubadour theatre in Wembley as their long awaited production of Newsies sizzles and soars.


The musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein has become somewhat of a cult classic in the musical theatre world, with many fans around the globe despite the show only previously being performed in America and Canada. The 2017 Broadway pro-shot brought the show within touching distance but now London finally get to see it in the flesh, and the good news is, it was completely worth the wait. 


Telling the story of the New York Newboys and Girls who went on strike over unfair work conditions, it’s an unlikely plot for a musical but it mostly works so well. More than anything this is a show with dance at its core and it’s quite astounding to see so many talented dancers on stage, even more so when you hear their divine vocals which accompany the moves. Matt Cole’s choreography is fierce, sharp and so so strong. The energy and precision is truly mesmerising to see and is so appreciated by the audience who give several standing ovations throughout.


It's the plot of this show which lets it down somewhat. The pretty formulaic story doesn't exactly thrill and whilst it does touch on important issues, there's a lack of depth so you don't fully connect with the characters and their plight. Due to this there are moments where the pacing feels a bit slow, however this is quickly fixed every time a big dance number is performed. 


What is great is that despite some stilted moments in the story, the show as a whole is continuously moving. Morgan Large's semi-immersive set allows for action to be taking place at all times, whether through actors walking along sides or quite literally soaring into the audience. The grey-toned backdrop somehow feels gloriously colourful as various shades leap across the stage. The multi-level design allows for varying sight lines and there's something to discover in every nook and cranny. Mark Henderson's lighting design works in complete harmony with all of this and really brings some wow moments to life; it's a very well oiled machine.


The incredibly strong cast who make up this show (and must have a physio bill to rival any other) are the beating heart of it all. The varying characters of the Newsies all get small moments to shine and their interactions are very touching to watch. Leading the pack Michael Ahomka-Lindsay is charming as Jack Kelly, at moments too cool for school, and others afraid of his circumstance, his performance is really moving. Alongside him Bronté Barbé is sparky and witty as Katherine Plumber; her performance of Watch What Happens is a real stand out (although it could be a touch faster) and her portrayal of the role allows you to really engage and connect with her. Ryan Kopel as new newsboy Davey is delightful too. 


This has got to be one of the strongest casts in theatre right now and the astounding performances really need to be seen to be believed. Newsies is a hugely welcome addition to the London theatre scene and it's sure to delight anyone who sees it!


photo credit: Johan Persson

Newsies, Troubadour Theatre | Review

Friday 9 December 2022

Tuesday 6 December 2022

‘We Will Rock You’ Will Return to London in June 2023


21 years after it first exploded into the West End, Queen and Ben Elton’s sensational smash hit show ‘We Will Rock You’ returns to London next year for an historic, strictly limited 12-weekresidency at the London Coliseum – the same iconic stage which saw Freddie Mercury’s Royal Ballet gala performance in 1979.

Featuring 24 of Queen’s greatest hits and a hilarious script by Ben Elton who returns to the director’s chair for this London homecoming - We Will Rock You rivals the scale and spectacle of the band’s legendary live performances. Queen superstars Brian May and Roger Taylor are delighted that the show will soon be wowing London fans once again

Brian May said: “I’m thrilled we finally have this opportunity to put We Will Rock You back on stage in London, where it was born. The show’s original message of the fight to re-establish individuality in a dystopian corporate world is even more relevant now than when we began.  It will be a completely new production that will burst on to the prestigious London Coliseum stage – but the story, the humour, and of course the Queen music, will hit you harder than ever.  We WILL Rock You – again!!” 

Roger Taylor said: “Bigger, better, faster, funnier! Here we go again… yeaaaaaaaah!

Ben Elton said: “I hope somebody's squared this with English Heritage because the fabulous London Coliseum is Grade II listed theatre and We Will Rock You is gonna blow the roof off.”

First premiering at London’s Dominion Theatre in 2002, ‘We Will Rock You’ was seen by six million people over 4600 performances during an astonishing 12-year run, becoming one of the most successful musicals in West End history and the longest runner at the Dominion by a margin of nine years. It also foundunprecedented popularity around the worldplaying to a global audience of 20 million across 28 countries.

We Will Rock You tells the story of a globalized future without musical instruments. A handful of rock rebels, the Bohemians, fight against the all-powerful Globalsoft company and its boss, the Killer Queen; they fight for freedom, individuality and the rebirth of the age of rock. Scaramouche and Galileo, two young outsiders, cannot come to terms with the bleak conformist reality. They join the Bohemians and embark on the search to find the unlimited power of freedom, love and rock!

We Will Rock You is produced by Phil McIntyre Live Ltd, Queen Theatrical Productions and Tribeca Theatrical Productions.

‘We Will Rock You’ Will Return to London in June 2023

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Monday 24 October 2022

A Gig For Ghosts, Soho Theatre | Review


A Gig For Ghosts
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 21st October 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

As you enter the upstairs space at the Soho Theatre, you instantly feel welcomed. The bustling audience seem so joyous to be together and it's almost as if you're in a room full of long lost friends. This feeling becomes even more poignant as you watch A Gig For Ghosts unfold in front of you as it tackles a number of emotive topics which make you want to hug those around you a little tighter.

A Gig For Ghosts is a heart warming and heart breaking tale of the romance between Lily and Amy, two ladies living in London who feel alone in the world. Amy (Hanora Karmen) has the dark job of administering the deaths of people who have been left alone and forgotten; while Lily (Rori Hawthorn) is new to London and finds herself temping whilst desperately searching for her rom-com love story. The two seemingly opposite characters (Amy is dealing with the realities of death while Lily is facing impermanence in her work life) end up falling in love. Their sweet romance evolves as they struggle to truly find their place and balance with one another.  

This is a glorious show which creeps up on you and envelopes you in emotion out of nowhere. Fran Bushe's script expertly finds harmony between intense emotion and light-hearted humour, and paired alongside Becky CJ's wonderful score it just provides a treat of a show. A combination of full out folk songs, humourous songs and more intimate pieces, the score perfectly fits the story and never detracts from the emotion and pacing of the show.

The cast are incredibly talented, playing instruments as well as singing and acting; the gig theatre style really is perfect for this type of show. Completing the trio of performers is Liz Kitchen as Maud who is hilarious as she multi-roles throughout and provides an excellent through line to the story.

One of the most heart warming pieces of theatre I've seen this year, A Gig For Ghosts is a brilliant way to spend 80 minutes which will leave you feeling warm and loved.

photo credit: Mercedes Assad


A Gig For Ghosts, Soho Theatre | Review

Monday 24 October 2022

Friday 1 July 2022

Les Misérables Extends Booking in the West End Until March 2023


Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre is delighted to announce it has extended booking until Sunday 5 March 2023, and a new performance schedule from Wednesday 5 October 2022. Tickets for the new booking period are on sale from 11.00am today, Friday 1 July.
 
From Wednesday 5 October 2022 the new performance schedule will be:
 
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 2.30pm
Monday at 7.30pm
 
Les Misérables currently stars Jon Robyns as Jean Valjean, Bradley Jaden as Javert, Gerard Carey as ThénardierJosefina Gabrielle as Madame ThénardierChanice Alexander-Burnett as Fantine, Harry Apps as Marius, Sha Dessi as Éponine, Jordan Shaw as Enjolras and Charlie Burn as Cosette. They are joined by Kelly Agbowu, Joseph Anthony, Emma Barr, Richard Carson, Rodney Earl Clarke, Danny Colligan, Matthew Dale, Matt Dempsey, Natalie Green, Jessie Hart, Christopher Jacobsen, Connor Jones, Jessica Joslin, Michael Kholwadia, Sarah Lark, Georgie Lovatt, Ellie Ann Lowe, Luke McCall, Leo Miles, Claire O’Leary, Kathy Peacock, Mark Pearce, Sam Peggs, Sake Wijers, Mared Williams and Phoebe Williams.  
 
Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of 
Les Misérables in 2009, to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary, it has taken the world by storm. It will relaunch its record-breaking tour of North America in October this year, a new tour of The Netherlands is set for early 2023 with further productions to be announced. The UK and Ireland tour continues its acclaimed run.
 
Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent iconic score of 
Les Misérables includes the classic songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more. Several of its songs have become real life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular and contemporary musicals.
 
Cameron Mackintosh’s production of 
Les Misérables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Orchestrations are by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron. The production is directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, projections realised by Finn Ross & Fifty Nine Productions, musical staging by Geoffrey Garratt, and music supervision by Stephen Brooker and Alfonso Casado Trigo.

Les Misérables Extends Booking in the West End Until March 2023

Friday 1 July 2022