Posts with the label lucie jones
Showing posts with label lucie jones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lucie jones. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Spice World drive-in concert to feature Lucie Jones, Aimie Atkinson, Bronté Barbé, Danielle Steers and Zizi Strallen


Five West End stars will come together to perform a live concert of Spice Girls hits before a drive-in cinema screening of Spice World.

Presented at the Troubadour Meridian Water, the drive-in experience will start at 9pm on Saturday 1 August, with doors opening at 8.15pm.

Put together by producer Paul Taylor-Mills, the concert will feature Aimie Atkinson (Six / Pretty Woman) as Ginger, Bronté Barbé (Shrek/Beautiful) as Baby, Lucie Jones (Waitress/Rent) as Sporty, Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins/Strictly Ballroom) as Posh and Danielle Steers (Bat Out of Hell/Six) as Scary.

The performances are in a raised central location and relayed back to a giant cinema screen, giving everyone a great view wherever they park up.

Social distancing guidelines will be adhered to and updated in accordance with government guidelines for the performances, with cast, crew and audiences all observing protocols throughout the evening.

The concert has lighting by Andrew Exeter, sound by Dan Samson and choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento.

Tickets are on sale now. There are ten free car tickets per showing for NHS and care workers, booked with the code NHSSTAFF. Valid ID must be presented at event.

Spice World drive-in concert to feature Lucie Jones, Aimie Atkinson, Bronté Barbé, Danielle Steers and Zizi Strallen

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Waitress, Adelphi Theatre | Review


Waitress
Adelphi Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 17th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Sara Bareilles' cherry sweet musical follows Jenna as she bakes her feelings into pies. In an abusive relationship and expecting a child she is not excited about, we follow Jenna as she journeys through life and has some unexpected experiences.  

Three new cast members have joined the diner to form the second West End cast. They are Lucie Jones as Jenna, Ashley Roberts as Dawn and Blake Harrison as Ogie. Despite lacking vocal strength, breath control and diction at times, Ashley Roberts grew into the role of Dawn throughout the performance and as her limited run continues, she will surely relax more and bring the quirky character to life in a genuine, witty and entertaining way. Currently she feels somewhat as if she's overacting and is often flat or reaching for the notes in both her solo and group numbers and certainly lacks the finesse expected in the West End, but hopefully this will be rectified and she will prove a good star cast choice. Her partner, played by fellow newcomer Blake Harrison is supremely funny one hundred percent of the time. Again his vocals are ever so slightly lacking, but as the nerves fade, so will the faults. Harrison is a hugely entertaining performer and a pleasant surprise in this sweet show. 

As leading lady Jenna, Lucie Jones is second to none. Her impeccable interpretation of the character is charming, sincere, humourous and heartbreaking at once. Each small facial expression and movement is filled with a thousand words; and alongside Lucie's phenomenal, clear-as-glass voice, the performance is mesmerising. The vulnerability of Jenna is brought to life in a nuanced but completely effective way by Jones, with her rendition of She Used To Be Mine not only breaking hearts, but bringing the audience to their feet mid show. 

Michael Hamway (swing) embodies the erratic but charming Dr Pomatter admirably, as well as bringing some stellar vocals to the stage. You Matter To Me was performed with heartbreaking sincerity by Jones and Hamway. Marisha Wallace continues to bring sass, sass and more sass to the stage, as well as powerhouse vocals, lively one-liners and delicate moments with Jenna. Take it From an Old Man is a welcome moment of calm and simplicity performed by diner regular, Old Joe, played by Shaun Prendergast


The villain of the show, and highly flawed character Earl is played with menace by Peter Hannah. Whilst the moments of physical anger are jarring, it's the brief moments of emotional blackmail which really strike the audience. Hannah manages to capture both tormenting sides of Earl, in a spectacularly well-constructed and controlled way. The character is vile but Peter must be applauded for performing him so well and truthfully. 

Nurse Norma is a highly amusing character who pops up throughout the show to deliver brilliant one-liners. Brought to life by Kelly Agbowu she is an especially memorable character and manages to gain numerous laughs in the stage time she has. Charlotte Riby also puts a smaller character in the forefront of our minds with her honest performance as Jenna's mum who faced many similar struggles as well as teaching her daughter all she knows about baking. Jones and Riby have a chemistry which is visible even from their brief moments together and it's lovely to see.

Scott Pask's set and Lorin Latarro's choreography are particularly effective with the sets and ensemble often moving as one to create a fluidity throughout. Equally as impressive is the way the stage transforms to mirror the moods of leading lady Jenna. The home shared by Jenna and her abusive husband is surrounded by darkness and is much smaller than each of the other settings so physically emphasises how trapped Jenna feels, and is. When she begins to rediscover her spark, the space expands in a moment of relief and theatrical wonder. 


Whilst a lot of the morals and motivations in this musical are morally ambiguous and there is a lack of resolution, there's no denying that it's a sweet treat filled with musical delights and sugary performances. Sara Bareilles' score is a delightful listen and the mostly strong cast do a wonderful job of bringing it to life and showing that there is always light and support at the end of the tunnel.

Waitress is currently booking at the Adelphi Theatre until December 7th 2018, tickets can be booked at www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

photo credit: Johan Persson

Waitress, Adelphi Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace, The Other Palace | Review


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace, The Other Palace | Review

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A Christmas Carol (LMTO), Lyceum Theatre | Review


A Christmas Carol (LMTO) 
Lyceum Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 10th December 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra are fast becoming a staple part of my Christmas tradition, with their glorious performances of A Christmas Carol really bringing the joy and festivity of the season to life, and of course, providing a wonderful night of top quality musical theatre.

Based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens and with music by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens and a book by Mike Ockrent, A Christmas Carol tells the tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge as he's visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and is forced to evaluate the way he lives his life. 

Under the expert hand of Freddie Tapner the LMTO bring out all the best parts of this beautifully virtuosic score. Alan Menken's music brings a Disney-esque vibe to the story which actually broaches some dark subjects such as homelessness and poverty, and manages to evoke a whole range of emotions. 


Griff Rhys Jones brings the miserable but endearing Scrooge to life with a wonderful and fresh portrayal. His performance is supremely entertaining and he manages to enthral, even in this semi-staged concert production.

As the hilarious Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (among other characters) Nicolas Colicos and Rosemary Ashe have the audience in the palms of their hands whilst they give supremely humourous and vocally powerful performances. 

The vocal delights on offer in this concert are second to none, with Cedric Neal providing smooth riffs and a delicate but powerful tone that's to die for and Jeremy Secomb bringing the ultimate scrooge to life in a menacing but humourous rendition of Link By Link, in which he shows off his booming voice.  David Hunter is charming as Bob Cratchit alongside the fantastic Caroline Sheen as his wife and Jon Tarcy gives a memorable performance as Young Scrooge.


I'd like to be visited by the three ghosts just to be serenaded by them. Miriam-Teak Lee is sass embodied as the brings the Ghost of Christmas Past to life. Her vocals are super strong and she really brings magic to the stage with her performance. Lucie Jones' voice continually astounds; her clear as can be vocals and stellar diction bring Emily and The Blind Old Hag to the forefront of the show and equally, as the ghost of Christmas Future who never utters a word, Lucie still magnetises the audience and gives a subtle performance that you can't be drawn away from.

The young cast are great, as are the LMTO Chorus who are perhaps the strongest chorus at an LMTO concert yet. Completely in sync throughout their humourous numbers and close harmony pieces, they ground the piece and bring a magnificent Christmas choral feel to the show.

The true festive kindness was shown when two young girls in front of us beamed from start to finish and shared a single sweet between them during the final song. Cheer and love enveloped the theatre throughout this magically festive, and brilliantly performed evening. Get yourself to the Lyceum Theatre next Monday for a jubilant night of theatre. 

A Christmas Carol is on at the Lyceum theatre on Monday 17th December at 4pm and 7.30pm

photo credit: Nick Rutter

A Christmas Carol (LMTO), Lyceum Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Girlfriends, Bishopsgate Institute (LMTO) | Review


Girlfriends
Bishopsgate Institute
Reviewed on Friday 2nd November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra are taking a short residency at the Bishopsgate Institute whilst they perform a concert version of Howard Goodall's Girlfriends which follows a group of women as they join the Women's Auxiliary Airforce during World War Two.

Complete with new orchestrations specifically for the LMTO, Girlfriends has some beautiful virtuosic moments which are wonderfully showcased by the orchestra, led by Freddie Tapner. As always, the orchestra give a sleek performance, however, compared to previous concerts where the LMTO have had solo showcase moments playing musical interludes such as the police scene in Mack and Mabel, there weren't any moments where we could purely appreciate the orchestra. These concerts always tend to provide a platform to appreciate stripped back music which of course we could still do, but this particular production lacked some of the "wow" orchestral moments previously experienced.

Whilst the orchestrations are lovely, a lot of the music feels similar and there are a lot of songs which are repetitive. Many of the melodies are catchy but when heard time are time again, become ineffective in conveying the mood/drama they intend to and I believe the whole piece would be much more moving emotionally and technically sleek if it was cut down and smoothed out. That's not to say that there weren't some outstanding moments, especially when the women join together for tight choral moments of chromatic harmony which effectively push the pain and confusion felt by everyone during the war.


The cast are the best of the best who work well as a team and individually. As best friends leaving their "ordinary" lives to join the WAAF, Lucie Jones and Lauren Samuels show off their divine vocals and natural chemistry with effortless talent. Natasha Barnes is vocally stunning, whilst Vikki Stone gives both a humourous and heartbreaking performance and Bronté Barbé gives a memorable performance of The Chances Are. Rob Houchen and Chris McGuigan both give strong performances which showcase their talents whilst perfectly framing the women, as they should in a show focussed on female strength.  

Despite the dramatic content, the show itself never reaches a boiling point and somewhat lacks intensity. During act one, I couldn't help but think the show was romanticising war with the various love affairs that formed; however, a moment of text in act two changed that view and brought the stark reality of war back to the heart. Victoria Gosling MBE explains that she was born in a free world and grew up hearing "All You Need is Love" whilst for her grandparents, "All They Had is Love". This reminds us the importance of relationships both romantic and non-romantic as well as how lucky we all are to be able to watch this show without having experienced the pain and turmoil that accompanied the women featured.

Despite this not being my favourite production form the LMTO, there is no denying that the wealth of talent on offer gave remarkable performances. The melodic, complex music does provide moments of power and if anything, this show serves as a fantastic celebration of women and the crucial roles they had in the Second World War. 

photo credit: Nick Rutter

Girlfriends, Bishopsgate Institute (LMTO) | Review

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Lucie Jones, Live at Zedel | Review


Lucie Jones (Concert) 
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Friday 12th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

One of my first ever reviews on Rewrite This Story, was of Lucie Jones' cabaret at Waterloo East where I completely fell in love with her insane voice and magnetic personality. In the two years since that concert, Lucie has  starred as Elle Woods in the UK tour of Legally Blonde, wowed as Maureen in Rent and was the UK's entry in the Eurovision contest... I guess you could say it's been a pretty quiet time for her?! I have been lucky enough to see Lucie in her various roles, but there's always something special about a solo concert.

The Zedel consistently provides the perfect atmosphere for a cosy, intimate night and allows the sole focus to be on the outstanding vocals of whoever is performing, so seeing such a talented vocalist take the stage there was a real treat. From the get-go Lucie commands the space and welcomes us into, what feels like, the inner circle. Her bouncy humour and infectious personality puts us completely in the palm of her hand and allows us to experience a carefree night of laughs and joy, whilst our attention never wavers. In my experience of musical theatre cabarets, there are only a number of performers who are able to capture a crowd so effortlessly and remain natural and unforced throughout, Lucie has truly mastered this and it's clear why she has so many loyal fans.

Despite only having about 24 hours to put this concert together, the entire thing felt sleek and polished. MD for the concert was the outstandingly wonderful, Sarah Travis who looked and sounded as if she was born to play the piano. The banter between the pair is hilarious and they work together so well, that even moments which go slightly wrong, almost feel as if they're scripted.


I would talk about each song on the set list, but every single one was a highlight. From the opening The Winner Takes it All to the closing Eurovision song, Never Give Up On You, Lucie showcased her incredibly well supported vocals  and ability to act through song. Particularly impressive, is the control in Lucie's voice; her well-honed technique is evident through her smooth mix of straight tone and vibrato, as well as her effortless mix and belt. A stand out moment for me was the mesmerising If I Loved You, where we got to see a more nuanced, gentler side to Lucie. She truly is a masterful performer and the hard work she puts into her craft is clear in every second she is on stage.

Although every song was outstanding, I will fangirl a bit more and mention a few of my other favourites... As a huge Anastasia fan, I adored the lyrical, Disney-esque rendition of Journey To The Past; the intensely beautiful, Nothing Stops Another Day pulled at my heart and That's Life is made for Lucie's voice. Alongside stellar vocals, Lucie provides some cracking anecdotes and ad libs which could be a comedy show of their own!

We were also treated to two special guests: Danny Mac and Rebecca Stenhouse. Rebecca Joined Lucie as they channeled Cady and Janis in the Mean Girls jam, Apex Predator, before Rebecca performed a fantastic version of Hopelessly Devoted To You, which she made feel contemporary with some added riffs and option ups. Danny took on the role of Dr. Pomatter in a sickly sweet performance of It Only Takes a Taste from Waitress and brought a beautiful stillness to the Zedel with his performance of It All Fades Away.

I could rave about Lucie's voice for approximately the next 400 hours but I'll wrap it up here and say that if you turn down the chance to see Lucie in any future performances, you are missing out big time. If you want to see a truthful artist who is so giving in her performance and able to magnetise a crowd toward her, then go and witness the star that is, Lucie Jones.

photo credit: Olivia Mitchell

Lucie Jones, Live at Zedel | Review

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Legally Blonde (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Legally Blonde (UK Tour) 
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 18th June 2018 by Olivia Rose Dowden
★★

Based on the 2001 teen movie, Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, who follows her high school sweetheart all the way to Harvard Law School, finding herself along the way. 

This UK touring production is led by the hugely energetic Lucie Jones as Elle Woods. Vocally, she was extremely secure and tackled Elle’s huge numbers with confidence and charisma. Her portrayal of the character was a lot more goofy than I’ve seen done before, which was refreshing and quirky. However, there were moments where Jones occasionally missed the mark with her comedic timing and some of the jokes were lost. There wasn’t as significant a transformation of character as I would have hoped; it was only really at the most serious point in the show during the song Legally Blonde,  in which Elle decides to give up on Harvard and return home, that Jones began to show another layer to Elle. Despite this, she remained charming throughout and truly won over the audience, gaining a standing ovation at the end of the performance. 

David Barrett was a very strong Emmett Forest, creating an endearing and likeable character. Unfortunately, as his key number Chip On My Shoulder was played so slowly by the band, the song struggled to build as much as it should. This is not something he should be personally scrutinised for, but it admittedly affected his performance. I felt the same was the case for Rita Simons’ number Ireland. Simons mastered the voice of the brassy Paulette but could have offered more in terms of character.  


Act One, in particular, was paced very slowly. The songs of Legally Blonde are admittedly very “wordy”, but the slow speed at which they were played meant there was a distinct lack of energy that only really emerged in the final number of Act One with So Much Better. Act Two was much more secure, with the comedic numbers Whipped Into Shape and There! Right There! being definite crowd-pleasers. The cast also coped extremely well with one of the dogs who was rather reluctant to stay in character, ad-libbing in order to keep the piece moving. 

The production is nearing the end of its tour and I hate to say it but unfortunately it shows. Some half-hearted American accents and very mechanical blocking meant the production just didn’t have that spark that makes this show so special. I also felt the addition of a Legally Blonde megamix after the bows undermined the genuine message the piece portrays at the end. 


Nevertheless, after watching a show with so much wit and charm, portrayed by committed and skilled performers, it’s difficult to leave without a slight smile on your face. I want to emphasise that the cast themselves were very strong, with impressive dance numbers and secure vocals. Those seeing the show for the first time will most likely have an enjoyable evening due to the warm-hearted nature of the piece. However, the many patchy moments made me feel as if the piece had lost some of its soul somewhere along the tour. 

Legally Blonde runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 23rd June 

Legally Blonde (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

A Christmas Carol (LMTO), Lyceum Theatre | Review


A Christmas Carol (LMTO) 
Lyceum Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 18th December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra have a stellar reputation and provide theatrical treat after treat, this time in the form of Charles Dickens' festive favourite, A Christmas Carol. With the shows composer Alan Menken in attendance, the Lyceum theatre was a buzz of excitement and festivity and the LMTO provided a wonderful night of music and jovial entertainment.

A Christmas Carol is simple and easy to follow, telling the story of a rich, isolated man who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future as they show him the error of his ways and the importance of love and sharing. A heart-warming tale, it's perfect for people of all ages during the build up to Christmas.

Robert Lindsay reprises his role as the money-hungry Ebenezer Scrooge and is perfect for the role.  He is miserable but endearing at once as he brings humour to the "bah humbug" persona. I would love to see how Lindsay would perform in a fully staged production, I imagine his stellar portrayal would be even more entertaining and bold.

The entire cast are stellar with standout performances coming from Gemma Sutton as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Lucie Jones as Emily and Nicolas Colicos as Mr Fezziwig. Each performer gave their all both vocally and acting wise, really allowing the audience to use their imaginations and immerse themselves in the world Dickens created, despite the lack of sets and props. The children of the cast were equally brilliant with Ivy Pratt a vocal stand out for me.

The music truly does speak for itself and is really shown off when it's so stripped back. Seeing musicians, led by Freddie Tapner, enjoy what they're doing so much really transfers to the audience and provides a warm, intimate feeling throughout and it's always special to hear a score played by a full orchestra.

The LMTO give consistently brilliant performances and A Christmas Carol is no exception. A delightful production with glorious music it really is a treat and I would love for it to become a regular feature every festive season.

photo credit: Nick Rutter

A Christmas Carol (LMTO), Lyceum Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 19 December 2017