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

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Greatest Days, New Victoria Theatre (Tour) | Review


Greatest Days (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
★★★

The Official Take That Musical: Greatest Days (formerly The Band) written by Tim Firth with music by Take That, offers a heartwarming story that will resonate with those who have been part of a fandom and experienced the highs and lows of a friendship with so much history. The plot's utilisation of a double timeline is effective, and the show is likely a trip down memory lane for some but overall it falls short of delivering a fully impactful emotional punch.

Made up of Kalifa BurtonJamie CornerArchie DurrantRegan Gascoigne and Alexanda O'Reilly, The Band's presence in the musical, acting as a Greek chorus supporting the girls, is a clever concept. They contribute to the story through well-placed songs, although there are instances where songs do feel a bit forced. While the band's performances are good, they don't exude world domination star quality, and although each band member has their shining second, they lack standout, memorable moments considering their significant role in the show.

Greatest Days has the potential to be a great show, but it falls slightly short of achieving that status. It taps into 90s nostalgia and Take That references, making it a must-see for fans of the era. However, the overall energy of the production could use a boost. The choreography by Aaron Renfree captures the boyband aesthetic and has its impressive moments, but there is a lack of precision and unity among the cast at times which leaves things feeling flat.

The lighting design by Rob Casey stands out as a strong element, effectively evoking the feeling of being at a concert. On the other hand, while Lucy Osborne's set design works well with the show and offers adequate levels for mirroring, it doesn't offer much to visually engage the audience beyond the surface.

The chemistry between the girls, both the younger (Emilie Cunliffee, Kitty Harris, Hannah Brown, Mari McGinlay and Mary Moore) and older versions (Kym Marsh, Rachel Marwood, Holly Ashton and Jamie-Rose Monk), is commendable. Their well-defined personalities contribute to the plot, creating a strong through line which has some heart-wrenching moments. However, there are some of jokes and lines which feel outdated and unnecessary, and detract from the overall experience.

Despite its flaws, Greatest Days manages to provide some humorous moments and an ending that will have you on your feet. It caters to its target audience who will undoubtedly appreciate the 90s nostalgia and Take That references. As a fun night out, it delivers an enjoyable experience, but it doesn't leave a lasting impression worthy of raving about.


Reviewed on Monday 5th June 2023
photo credit: Alastair Muir

Greatest Days, New Victoria Theatre (Tour) | Review

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Unmissable Summer Theatre Ticket Sale From London Box Office | ad


*this post contains sponsored content*

As the days grow longer and the temperature rises, the vibrant spirit of summer fills the air. And what better way to embrace the season than by indulging in the magical world of theatre? London Box Office, the hub for all things stagey, and trusted ticket provider has announced an unmissable summer theatre ticket sale that will have you seeing your favourite shows for less. Whether you want to see something new or visit an old faithful, London Box Office's summer sale promises to get you there with the best prices.

The Summer Theatre Ticket Sale which runs from 29th May to 11th June brings you a host of incredible shows that promise to leave you spellbound. From iconic long-running musicals to critically acclaimed plays, they've curated a selection of the best performances the West End has to offer. Whether you're a fan of heartwarming stories, adrenaline-pumping dramas, or toe-tapping musical numbers, there's something for everyone.

London Box Office is committed to making theatre accessible to all, and their Summer Theatre Ticket Sale ensures that you can witness these world-class productions without breaking the bank. With exclusive discounts and tickets from £25, you can enjoy incredible savings. Don't miss out on this chance to experience the magic of the West End - book your tickets today and get ready for an unforgettable summer of entertainment!

To find out all the shows included in this stagey sale, click here

Unmissable Summer Theatre Ticket Sale From London Box Office | ad

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre | Review


Operation Mincemeat
Fortune Theatre
★★★★

If you're looking for a unique and intriguing musical, then look no further than Operation Mincemeat in its West End transfer to the Fortune Theatre. This production tells the incredible true story of a WWII deception operation, that although morally grey, helped Britain win the war and it does so with style, charm and heart in spades.

The star of this exciting musical is undoubtedly the music which manages to be both catchy and poignant, with some of the wittiest lyrics in the West End right now. The book, music and lyrics are expertly constructed by SpitLip founders David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson, ZoĆ« Roberts and Felix Hagan (four of whom also star) and the whole show is maelstrom of musical magic. You'll find yourself continually laughing out loud and then all of a sudden wiping tears from your eyes as this hug of a musical manages to wrap you around its theatrical finger.

Every performance from the talented cast -completed at this performance by Claire Marie Hall, Jak Malone and Geri Allen (in her cover debut)- is a standout one. The precision with which they perform is just astounding and thanks to the script, there's a perfect balance between humour, satire and drama.

Aesthetically, Operation Mincemeat is a sleek mission. Ben Stones' set and costumes are perfectly evocative of MI5 and wartime London, as well as having a healthy dose of camp dramatics. One scene in particular features costumes perfect for a bedazzled version of Sweeney Todd! Really clever direction by Robert Hastie and joyous choreography by Jenny Arnold both let the story and performances to soar and ideally balance the line between allowing the performances to be genuinely funny without being cringe inducing. Shoutout must also go to Publicity Designer Bob King Creative for the genius artwork which accompanies the show. Once you see it, you won't un-see it!

In summary, this show is the epitome of fun. Poking fun at everyone and everything it is a satirical, stupendous, stomper of a show that will have you entertained and inspired. The new must-see musical, it needs to be booked immediately!

Reviewed on Tuesday 2nd May 2023

Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Friday, 21 April 2023

Ain't Too Proud, Prince Edward Theatre | Review


Ain't Too Proud
Prince Edward Theatre
★★★★

A hit on Broadway, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, has finally opened in the West End and is a thoroughly entertaining, charismatic and soulful journey. The musical, with a book by Dominique Morisseau is a breathtaking celebration of the legendary Motown group, The Temptations, and their iconic music. Taking you on a journey through the highs and lows of stardom, it showcases how some of the most famous music was created and provides a really really fun night out.

The heart and soul of this musical are the performances which are unanimously nothing short of spectacular. The cast deliver powerhouse vocals that charm and mesmerise throughout and there are so many standout moments. The whole cast are spectacularly strong but mention must go to Cameron Bernard Jones, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, Ryan Carter and Michael James Stewart who really shine in their solo and ensemble moments. Each member who becomes part of The Temptations, does so with a real sense of nuance and the varying personalities and talents are showcased throughout; really capturing the essence and ethos of the original group.

Above all this is an ensemble piece, with some of the strongest moments coming when the cast unite both vocally and choreographically. Sergio Trujillo's choreography is some of the best in the West End right now, the sheer slickness and precision is a wonder to behold and the energy created on stage is supremely infectious. Featuring iconic hits like My Girl, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, and Ain't Too Proud to Beg, the show is a top-tapping fest of gusto and spirit.

The storytelling is mostly compelling, and the narrative (led by Sifiso Mazibuko) is engaging from the start. Spanning the long and tumultuous history of The Temptations, from their humble beginnings to their rise to stardom the show has a lot to fit in, and especially in the first act it feels a bit too much. Whilst every performance is engaging, it does feel a little too long and seems to keep going even when there's a natural break point. However, the story is a poignant and emotional one that delves into the personal struggles, triumphs, and dynamics of the group and includes some powerful messages. Alongside the musical elements, the show touches on themes of friendship and brotherhood, as well as shedding light on the social and political challenges faced by The Temptations and African American artists during that era. A poignant reminder of their impact on American music history and the enduring legacy they left behind, Ain't Too Proud is a strong celebration of The Temptations.

Ain't Too Proud is a wonderful addition to the West End that features dazzling production value, and timeless music. A celebration of The Temptations and their impact on Motown, it will leave you humming their hits long after the curtain falls. 

Reviewed on Wednesday 19th April 2023
photo credit: Johan Persson

Ain't Too Proud, Prince Edward Theatre | Review

Friday, 21 April 2023

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Vikki Stone on her Olivier Award Win | Hey Duggee Live | Interview



Vikki Stone is a British composer, comedian, actress and musician who has had huge success in tv, radio and theatre. She recently won an Oliver Award for her adaptation of the popular children's TV show, Hey Duggee. Vicki sat down to talk to us about her process when taking something from screen to stage, and how important it is for young people to experience theatre...

Firstly, congratulations on being an Olivier Winner 2023! Where were you when you found out you were nominated?
I was at the gym. (I didn’t share my excitement with anyone around me, as I’m not sure they’d have fully understood what I was excited about.)

You won for Hey Duggee which is a show that entices young audiences/families to the theatre, perhaps for the first time. What was the process like for creating a show, made to entertain and engage children?
Hey Duggee is a well loved kids TV programme, and there are 300+ episodes, so the very first thing myself and co-adaptor Matthew Xia did was sit down in a room with a massive whiteboard and write down all the things that audiences would expect to be in the show. We also wanted to surprise audiences, and deliver an experience that lifts the 2D cartoon into a 3D theatre world. We were also aware that this show would be many people’s first time in the theatre, so we wanted to make it magical and memorable too. We kept that list of audience expectations in our minds throughout the whole process and I think it paid off.

Why do you think it’s so important to involve people of all ages in theatre?
Family co-viewing, which is where Hey Duggee Live sits, is such an important genre of theatre. Those shows where 3 year olds can sit* down with parents, and grandparents and everyone has a good time.

*In Hey Duggee Live there’s no pressure that the under fives have to sit. There’s probably more bouncing around with joy, than sitting.

Within theatre you’ve had a pretty diverse career, what draws you to a project?
When I first started writing theatre it was whoever would pay me! There’s an advantage in the arts for those that can write without the pressure of needing to earn a living, and they can afford to be more choosy, I was not one of those people. I don’t think we talk about that enough in the arts. I wrote anything and everything. These days I do have passion projects that I’m working on that don’t have any finance attached, and you have to believe in those much more, and hope that at some point in the process someone will come along and help get it off the ground.

If you could create your next dream job, what would it include?
I’ve got something “in development” that is pretty much my dream job. I’d really like to work on an on-screen musical theatre show next! Watch this space.

What advice would you give to other female writers who want to break into the industry and forge out a path like yourself?
My advice would be to keep pushing and pivot if necessary. My whole career has been formed out of pivoting, and all the skills I gathered along the way - classical music, stand-up, composing - all form part of who I am as a writer now.

Thank you so much, congratulations on the award!

Vikki Stone on her Olivier Award Win | Hey Duggee Live | Interview

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Sunday, 2 April 2023

For Black Boys..., Apollo Theatre | Review


For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy
Apollo Theatre
★★★★

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is powerful and thought-provoking production which offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by young black men in today's society. The exceptionally strong play tackles heavy topics such as mental health, racism, and police profiling, all with a skilful blend of humour and heart that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. For Black Boys... is a must see in its limited run.

The performances from the cast, made up of Mark Akintimehin, Emmanuel Akwafo, Nnabiko Ejimofor, Darragh Hand Aruna Jalloh and Kaine Lawrence are universally strong, with each actor bringing a unique and enticing angle to their role. Ryan Calais Cameron's writing is equally impressive, with sharp dialogue and powerful monologues that strike you whilst watching and also stay with you long after the play has ended. What's so effective is how the show flawlessly integrates spoken word, music, and dance to create an immersive and multifaceted experience. The whole thing is utterly seamless and flows with such a strong balance of urgency and intimacy.

The set design (Anna Reid) and lighting (Rory Beaton) add to the immersive experience, transporting the audience to the therapy room, without feeling basic; and the use of multimedia elements and striking choreography (Theophilus O. Bailey) add extra layers of depth to the production. As a whole it feels incredibly modern, relevant and powerful; a stunning representation of why new British Theatre is so necessary.

The show tackles important and sometimes taboo topics surrounding mental health, masculinity, and the experiences of young Black men and it's often incredibly moving; but what works so well is how these important social issues are balanced with humour and light. The authenticity which runs through the piece makes it feel so personal, and the audience really go through the journey with the performers.

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is a deeply moving and important work of art that, is a must-see for those interested in social justice, mental health, and ultimately, the power of storytelling. When the ensemble come together, they create some of the most powerful theatre seen in the West End in a long time.

Reviewed on Saturday 1st April 2023
photo credit: Ali Wright

For Black Boys..., Apollo Theatre | Review

Sunday, 2 April 2023

Friday, 31 March 2023

Cast Announced for 42nd Street Tour


David Ian for Crossroads Live and Jonathan Church Theatre Productions are thrilled to announce that Samantha Womack will star as Dorothy Brock, alongside Michael Praed as Julian Marsh, Faye Tozer as Maggie Jones, Les Dennis as Bert Barry and Nicole-Lily Baisden as Peggy Sawyer in the UK tour of 42nd Street.

The cast will be completed by Sam Lips as Billy Lawlor, with Erica-Jayne Alden, George Beet, Charlie Bishop, Kevin Brewis, Olly Christopher, Briana Craig, Jordan Crouch, Rhianna Dorris, Ashleigh Graham, Alyn Hawke, Aimee Hodnett, Connor Hughes, Deja Linton, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Greta McKinnon, Ben Middleton, Benjamin Mundy, Anthony Ofoegbu and Jessica Wright.

Following its run at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, the production will visit Leeds, Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle, Woking and Belfast. Current tour schedule below, with further dates to be announced. 42ndstreettour.com

Samantha Womack most recently starred as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Her other credits include the role of Rachel in The Girl on the Train both in the West End and on tour, Morticia Addams in The Addams Family UK tour, Nellie Forbush in the Lincoln Center’s production of South Pacific at the Barbican and on tour, and Miss Adelaide in Michael Grandage’s production of Guys and Dolls alongside Patrick Swayze. Her screen credits include Ronni Mitchell in EastEnders, Mandy in Game On, the titular role in Imogen’s Face and The Kingsman franchise.

Michael Praed’s theatre credits include Tom Beauregard in Darker Shores at Theatre Royal Windsor and on tour, George in War of the Worlds at the Dominion Theatre, Alex in Aspects of Love at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Lawrence Jameson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dexter Haven in High Society and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music all on UK tours. His television credits include the role of Frank Clayton in Emmerdale, Prince Michael in Dynasty and the titular role in Robin of Sherwood.

Faye Tozer is best known as a member of BRIT Award winning pop band Steps. Her theatrical credits include Singin’ In The Rain at Sadler’s Wells and on tour in the UK and Canada, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre, and touring productions of In The Spotlight, Over The Rainbow, Me And My Girl, Love Shack and Tell Me On A Sunday. Faye was also a runner-up in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.

Les Dennis most recently starred as Grandad Trotter in Only Fools and Horses The Musical. His other West End credits include Wilbur in Hairspray opposite Michael Ball at the London Coliseum, Amos Hart in Chicago and Bill in Me and My Girl. His touring theatre credits include Art, Legally Blonde, High School Musical 2 and Uncle Fester in the musical comedy The Addams Family. His many TV credits include Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street and a fictional version of himself in Extras.

Nicole-Lily Baisden’s theatre credits include the role of Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon, both in the West End and on tour, and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre and on tour.

Sam Lips’ theatre credits include the role of Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain and Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom, both in the UK and Canada. His Broadway credits Cats, Chicago, Pippin, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and The Cher Show.

This new production will be directed by Jonathan Church (Singin’ in the Rain, The Drifters Girl) with choreography and design by Olivier Award winners Bill Deamer and Rob Jones, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Ian Dickinson and Gareth Tucker, video design by Jon Driscoll, musical supervision by Jennifer Whyte and orchestrations by Larry Blank.

This iconic song-and-dance spectacular features a hit parade of toe-tapping songs, including the title number, “We’re In The Money”, “Lullaby of Broadway”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “I Only Have Eyes For You”. 42nd Street is a timeless and inspiring showbiz fairy tale that combines breath-taking tap dance routines, backstage intrigue, classic romance and delightful comedy to dazzling effect.

Fresh off the bus from small-town America, young and beautiful Peggy Sawyer arrives in New York City dreaming of her name in lights. She quickly catches the eye of a big-time director and lands a spot in the chorus line of Broadway’s newest show…and when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy gets her shot at stardom.

42nd Street is a larger-than-life, massively entertaining celebration of musicals and the irrepressible spirit of Broadway that’s guaranteed to lift anyone’s spirits.

42nd Street has music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, based on the novel by Bradford Ropes. Original direction and dances were by Gower Champion. The show was originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick.

The use of all songs is by arrangement with Warner Bros. and EMI Publishing Ltd.

Cast Announced for 42nd Street Tour

Friday, 31 March 2023

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Eugenius!, Turbine Theatre | Review


Eugenius!
Turbine Theatre
★★★ 

After a London Palladium concert and subsequent runs at The Other Palace, the comic book tale of Eugenius! has been on the radar of many theatre lovers, and fans were thrilled to hear of the show's reworked return at the Turbine Theatre. The sweet characters and over the top tale are back like before, but somewhere along the way, the musical has lost some of the sparkle and infectious joy that previously made it such a charming production.

Eugenius! tells the story of Eugene, a self proclaimed geek who creates a comic book and gets thrown into a world of Hollywood movies and space dramas. Alongside him are his best friends Janey and Feris who are all trying to make it through school and retain their identities and friendship. With a number of witty side plots and caricature characters, there's lots to be enjoyed, but compared to previous versions of the show, there's not as much of a wholesome, uplifting vibe.

The small Turbine space which works so well for other shows, feels like a hinderance for Eugenius. There's not enough space for the show to reach its soaring potential and some of the bigger moments are squashed. This is through no fault of Andrew Exeter's set design which effectively brings the comic book world to life, as does Andy Walton's excellent video design which is wonderfully aesthetic and in keeping with the show; but nothing fully takes away from the feeling of the show longing for a larger space. Mention must also go to the really well thought out design of the foyer and entrance to the theatre which is adorned in every space with Tough Man posters, as well as comic book memorabilia and neon lights, all of which help to create an immersive experience and are a treat to explore.

Cast wise, the production is bursting with talent. Elliot Evans is endearing as Eugene, and brings a really lovely sense of vulnerability to the role whilst also providing stunning vocals, which especially soar in act two. As his partner in crime (who feels firmly in the friend zone) Jaina Brock-Patel gives a humourous performance and really leans into the comedy which is fun to watch. Equally humourous is James Hameed as Feris who is a funny character for the most part, but sometimes a bit one dimensional. The trio are strong and there are some touching moments. Their chemistry isn't bursting off the stage but they certainly do a good job and really come into their own towards the end of the show.

Dominic Andersen is fabulous in all his roles, especially as the movie star Gerhard who has some of the most laugh out loud moments in the show. As Super Hot Lady, Maddison Firth is great and her solo number is very high octane, although it's somewhat overpowered by so much happening on stage, so she doesn't truly get a chance to shine. There are also some sound issues which plague the show and mean a fair bit of dialogue is lost. The show as a whole is loud, perhaps too much so at points, but the vocals are often too quiet so we miss the talent of the cast.

The 80s-esque music that has references to lots of iconic songs, is really wonderful and you can't help but bop along to the self-aware, hilariously literal tunes. Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins have written some incredibly catchy pieces that continue to shine in this rendition of the show. They also have some sneaky cameos on bedroom posters and music videos which are a nice touch. 

It's definitely nostalgic and energetic but this isn't the best Eugenius! has been. There are some great moments but the musical never evokes the same feelings of feel good empowerment and unity that it did previously. Hopefully there will be future iterations of the show where are the stars can align to create the ultimate version.

Reviewed on Wednesday 22nd March 2023
photo credit: Pamela Raith


Eugenius!, Turbine Theatre | Review

Thursday, 23 March 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

The Way Old Friends Do, Park Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 22 March 2023