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

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

Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre | Review

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Monday, 12 December 2022

Rebecca to get its English Language Premiere


Following 12 hugely successful foreign language productions, critically acclaimed musical Rebecca by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay is to get its English language premiere in a new production at London’s Charing Cross Theatre in an English translation by Christopher Hampton
The hugely successful musical production by the Austrian musical producer VBW (Vereinigte Bühnen Wien) based on Daphne Du Maurier’s 1938 novel ‘Rebecca’ that has captivated more than 2 million people worldwide in 12 countries and 10 languages is to get its English language premiere in a new production at London’s Charing Cross Theatre.

Rebecca, by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, two of the most successful German-language musical theatre composers, had its world premiere at the VBW-theatre Raimund Theater in Vienna, Austria, in September 2006, where it went on to play to sold-out houses in three seasons, and where it is currently enjoying a successful revival.

Rebecca will run at Charing Cross Theatre from 4 September - 18 November, 2023.

Press night is Monday 18 September, 2023 at 7.30pm.

Rebecca, with an orchestra of 18, will be directed by Alejandro Bonatto (director of the critically acclaimed production of Donizetti’s ‘Rita’ and the upcoming production of Francis Poulanc and Jean Cocteau’s ‘The Human Voice’ at Charing Cross Theatre later this month).

It has a new English translation by Christopher Hampton (two-time Tony Award winner Best Score & Best Book for ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ & ‘The Father’) and Michael Kunze.

Cast to be announced.

Rebecca to get its English Language Premiere

Monday, 12 December 2022

Thursday, 10 November 2022

From Here To Eternity, Charing Cross Theatre | Review


From Here To Eternity
Charing Cross Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 9th November 2022
★★★

Based on the novel by James Jones and the classic film adaptation, From Here to Eternity follows the soldiers of G Company in the days leading up to the Pearl Harbour attack. There are dramas, romance and social commentary galore, and this production at the Charing Cross Theatre showcases it all with stunning performances, but a mishmashmed plot. 

There have been a number of musical changes from the previous London production with songs being cut and some new additions made; the first act is very plot heavy and almost feels like a play with songs as opposed to a full blown musical. However, the score (lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Stuart Brayson) definitely has some stand out moments and the consistently strong cast give their all and provide absolutely divine harmonic moments throughout.

As Prewitt the leading man, Jonathon Bentley is astounding. In a vocally and physically demanding role, he completely excels and exudes star power. As Maggio, Jonny Aimes is incredibly enjoyable to watch, showcasing his versatility, beginning as the cheeky comedian before becoming beaten down by army life and what it entails. The entire male cast are strong and this is certainly a show which thrives in its ensemble moments where everything comes together in harmony and synchronicity. The female cast is small but mighty. Desmonda Cathabel as Lorene, Eve Polycarpou as Mrs Kipfer and Carley Stenson as Karen are uniformly formidable and give some great solo and trio moments. However, as with most of the characters there's limited development to their storylines so it's difficult to really root for them. Also, most of their action is just in reaction to the men and they aren't given much agency of their own which is a shame.

This is a show which pack a lot in but it's not all successful. With such a vast number of stories going on throughout and not enough time for their background exposition, there's a distinct lack of connection which means the drama never fully hits. That being said, this is a real powerhouse of a show vocally and is worth seeing for the sheer talent on display.

Another great aspect is the combination of Adam King's lighting and Stewart J Charlesworth's set design which work in unison to create  a very cinematic feeling production. There are some visually striking moments and the small space of the theatre is used to its full potential. Cressida Carré's choreography also fits well and is perfectly sharp and clean.

From Here to Eternity has some faults but is ultimately a show which delivers oomph thanks to its completely committed cast. The story is a bit all over the place but the moments which hit, really do so well and it's great to see a much loved British musical back on stage.

photo credit: Mark Senior

From Here To Eternity, Charing Cross Theatre | Review

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol – A New Musical will play a Christmas season at the Southbank Centre


Producers Fiery Angel Entertainment and Red Tail Entertainment are delighted to announce that the European Premiere of Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol – A New Musical will play a Christmas season at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from 8 December 2022 to 8 January 2023, with a press night on 13 December 2022. Tickets go on sale on 4 July 2022www.dollyschristmascarol.com
 
Dolly Parton said today “Bringing our reimagined Charles Dickens classic to London feels like a homecoming. My songs weave the music of my beautiful Smoky Mountains into this timeless Christmas story, and I can’t wait for London audiences to hear them as we tell that story, set in a place that is truly special to me.”  

Set during the 1930s in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, this heart-warming and truly unforgettable production imagines Ebenezer Scrooge as the owner of a mining company town, where his callous greed blinds him to the joys and gifts of the season. As a Christmas Eve snowstorm approaches, Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his deceased business partner and three ghosts who compel him to see life anew and discover that love and family are the greatest and most precious gifts we have. Dickens’s classic characters and Parton’s heart-felt songs beautifully reimagine this timeless story in a whole new light.  
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol is an adaptation by David H. Bell, Paul T. Couch and Curt Wollan. The book is by David H. Bell with music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton.  It is produced by Fiery Angel Entertainment and Red Tail Entertainment.

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol – A New Musical will play a Christmas season at the Southbank Centre

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson’s Epic Musical From Here To Eternity Returns to London


Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson’s epic musical From Here To Eternity is to get its first London revival in a newly revised production at Charing Cross Theatre.

‘From Here To Eternity’ will run from 29 October - 17 December.

Set in the two weeks leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, ‘From Here To Eternity’ is a compelling portrait of humanity, love, duty and redemption set against the backdrop of a beautiful and conflicted paradise.

Adapted from the classic novel by James Jones this breathtaking musical unites the writing talents of Tim Rice (lyrics), Stuart Brayson (music) and Donald Rice and Bill Oakes (book), and is directed by Brett Smock (Producing Artistic Director / The Rev Theatre Company).

From Here To Eternity marked Tim Rice’s first new stage musical for over 10 years. His extraordinary career includes winning 12 Ivor Novello awards, 4 Tonys and 3 Oscars, with smash-hit musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Chess and The Lion King.

Director Brett Smock said: “After extensive development work on ‘From Here To Eternity’ in the US at The REV Theatre Company in New York and The Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, we are thrilled to join forces with UK producer Katy Lipson/Aria Entertainment to present a powerful new production designed specifically for the intimacy of Charing Cross Theatre. Framed by a world on the brink of war, at a time when we are losing the last of the ‘Greatest Generation’, and with the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor just last year, it feels timely to revisit this fascinating series of events.”

 

Lyricist Tim Rice said: “It’s wonderful to have ‘From Here To Eternity back in London. Since its world premiere in the West End in 2013, there have been two excellent productions in North America, both directed by Brett Smock, and I’m delighted he’s bringing the latest iteration of the show back across The Pond. Katy Lipson and her team are the perfect partners: young, dynamic and energetic - like the fighting men of G Company. It’s been a treat to get back to the writing desk with Stuart, too.If you like your musicals soft and fluffy, this show is not for you. We have nothing to offer but danger, betrayal, heart-break, hope, blood, sweat and tears!”

 

Composer Stuart Brayson said: “Since my tiny acorn of an idea that the classic James Jones novel would make a good musical - and everyone thought I was mad - I’ve been fortunate to experience its remarkable journey from early workshops at the Bridewell Theatre to a West End run, a wonderful film of the production, a successful cast album and two terrific American productions. That’s not too shabby for a self-taught musician and working class lad from Gateshead!”

 

“Gentlemen rankers out on a spree
Damned from here to Eternity”
(Rudyard Kipling)

Cast to be announced.

Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson’s Epic Musical From Here To Eternity Returns to London

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Monday, 6 June 2022

Six in the West End to be Filmed Live from the Vaudeville Theatre


The producers of Six the Musical are pleased to announce that the original principal cast members of SIX will remain in (re)formation following next month’s sold out, open-air performances at Hampton Court Palace, swapping the cobblestones of their infamous ex-husband’s courtyard for the silver screen, with a cinematic capture of the production to be filmed at the Vaudeville Theatre.

The film, recorded for future release, will immortalise the hit West End production and feature the original West End Queens Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Catherine of Aragon), Millie O’Connell (Anne Boleyn), Natalie Paris (Jane Seymour), Alexia McIntosh (Anna of Cleves), Aimie Atkinson (Katherine Howard) and Maiya Quansah-Breed (Catherine Parr). Since the show’s first full run at the Arts Theatre in 2019, the ‘OG’ Monarchs have become synonymous with the show, earning an Olivier Award nomination for their roles, and winning a legion of loyal fans for their royal portrayals.

From Monday 27 June, performances of Six at the Vaudeville will be suspended for four nights to create a film that combines the best elements of live theatre and cinema, culminating in a performance on Friday 1 July for the show’s biggest fans - the Queendom.
The film of Six will be directed by Liz Clare, who most recently directed Adele - Live at the London Palladium.

A limited number of tickets for the performance on Friday 1 July will be made available to purchase via a public ballot, which opens at 10am on Friday 10 June via the production’s social media channels. Lucky winners will be given the opportunity pose on the purple carpet, pose for photos, and be part of SIX history - the ultimate bragging rights to the show’s most ardent fans.

Creators of Six Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss said: “Having our original Oliviers cast captured on film is just such an exciting, mind-blowing prospect. We are so thrilled that we are finally going to be able to share their incredible performances of our show with the whole world! Live captures are SUCH an important part of the world of theatre accessibility today - and we are so very grateful that we get this opportunity to share the six queens’ story this way.”

 

The seating capacity of the Vaudeville Theatre will be reduced to allow for the camera and sound equipment necessary to capture the performance. Some sightlines may be affected, and access seats will remain available for patrons who require them, subject to availability.

Six, which now has productions in London, on Broadway (for which it recently received eight Tony Award nominations), and tours across the UK, North America and Australia, is produced by Kenny Wax, Wendy and Andy Barnes, and George Stiles.

Performances at the Vaudeville Theatre, featuring the reigning West End cast will resume on Saturday 2 July.

photo credit: Idil Sukan

Six in the West End to be Filmed Live from the Vaudeville Theatre

Monday, 6 June 2022

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Grease The Musical, Dominion Theatre | Review


Grease The Musical
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

It’s a cult classic that’s got the word, got the groove, it’s got meaning, and in its current West End run at the Dominion Theatre, Grease provides a high energy, fun night out that’ll have you feeling good and tapping your toes.

The production which previously toured the UK features all the iconic moments and songs from the film, but shuffles them around and combines them with their original stage versions. For example The T Birds are now back to their og name of the Burger Palace Boys. These small tweaks allow the audience to be more engaged as they don’t quite know what’s coming. However, other attempts to somewhat modernise the book fall a little flat. You would assume that ending the show with the punchline of the girl changing herself so the boy likes her, could’ve been switched up a little but it remains the same as the movie and certainly feels dated. This version of Grease does give Sandy's character more of a backbone but it would be nice to see just a bit of dialogue added to give her a bit more autonomy at the end.

The West End cast is chockablock with strong performers who bring the array of characters to life incredibly well. As the leading lady, Olivia Moore is a delight as Sandy. Her powerhouse voice soars every time she opens her mouth and she gives a dynamic and endearing performance. Leader of the Burger Palace Boys, Danny Zuko is played well by Dan Partridge who really comes into his own in the angsty number How Big I'm Gonna Be and also provides great humour and vocals in Stranded at the Drive In.

Other standout performers include Jocasta Almgill, who’s rendition of There Are Worse Things I Could Do, is heart-wrenching and transforms the song to be heard in a new light. Mary Moore is also a gem as Jan and Eloise Davies is wonderfully witty and whimsical as the Beauty School Dropout, Frenchie. Paul French’s Kenickie is rough and brooding but sometimes lets his softer side show and is a delight to watch. 

If you’ve seen the adverts for this show, you’ll have probably seen Peter Andre who is starring as Vince Fontaine and Teen Idol. Whilst only appearing briefly in act one, in act two he comes to life and is highly entertaining and will certainly please audience members who are fans!

There are a few moments in the show where the energy lulls or jokes fall a bit flat but it’s the full ensemble sections that really bring it back up and make it soar. The Hand Jive and We Go Together are especially good moments that ooze energy and almost create electricity in the auditorium. This is in a big way thanks to Arlene Phillips' outstanding choreography that is fresh and exciting but completely in keeping with what we know and love as typically Grease

As a whole the cast are top notch and work really well together. It's great to see how much characterisation work has gone into each role, so that no matter who you're looking at one stage, you can always see a story or relationship developing with them.

Despite a few shortcomings, the musical is a real laugh and a nice, hand jiving escape from reality. It's not groundbreaking but Grease The Musical does what it says on the tin and delivers iconic scenes and songs that fans of the film will love. So, all you crazy cats better get booking!

Grease The Musical, Dominion Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

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

Singin' in the Rain (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Singing in the Rain 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th March 2022 
★★★★

It's been 10 years since Jonathan Church's stage version of Singin' in the Rain was brought to life at the Chichester Festival theatre, showering the front rows during the title number and delighting audiences with its sheer spectacle. The show is a fast-footed feast which is full of charm and keeps its wow factor after all these years.

This UK tour which opened with a run at Sadler's Wells closely mirrors the original film in which Gene Kelly created some iconic moments, including his joyful tap dancing through puddles. This scene and many others are performed brilliantly by Adam Cooper as the lead Don Lockwood. A former Royal Ballet dancer, Adam has been with the show since the start and is enthralling in the role of the silent movie star making the transition to 'talkies'.

His famous counterpart, Lina Lamont (played hilariously by Faye Tozer) doesn't make the move quite so seamlessly, with her poor singing voice and harsh, shrill speaking voice not quite delighting audiences. So, at the suggestion of Cosmo Brown, Don's real life love interest Kathy Selden is drafted in to dub the voice and vocals.

Alastair Crosswell plays the highly energetic Cosmo Brown in the most engaging and entertaining way. His incredibly hard working performance provides great slapstick moments alongside stellar dancing. As Kathy Selden, Charlotte Gooch is a sleek, stunning, star. Her magnetic aura is a delight to watch and she never falters for even a second.

What's so impressive about this touring production is the sheer scale of it. It's amazing how such a detailed and technical show can go on such a quick turnaround tour- major props to all the backstage team! Simon Higlett's set is brimming with art deco features and feels like it goes on far beyond the stage of the New Victoria Theatre; and the costumes are utter treats.

This is a complete spectacle of a show that feels sleek and refreshed. Comedic moments including the re-creations of stilted silent films contrast beautifully with Andrew Wright's larger than life choreography which floats and fills the stage with the elegance you dream of. This is a decadent production that really stands the test of time and provides a treat for all the senses.

Singing in the Rain plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 2nd April and then continues its tour

Singin' in the Rain (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 30 March 2022