Posts with the label natalie mcqueen
Showing posts with label natalie mcqueen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natalie mcqueen. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

9 to 5 The Musical, Savoy Theatre | Review

9 to 5 The Musical
Savoy Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 12th March 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Its almost forty years since Violet, Judy, Doralee and their misogynistic boss made their way to screens in the film 9 to 5. Musical adaptation by film creator, Patricia Resnick shows that whilst times have changed, unfortunately many of the issues are still prevalent and feel very relevant during the Trump Era and #MeToo movement. 

Despite what you may think, this is not a jukebox musical and apart from the world hit 9 to 5, many of the songs are forgettable although being pleasing to listen to at the time. The arrangements by Stephen Oremus, Alex Lacamoire and Mark Crossland are pretty and Lisa Stevens' buoyant choreography keeps the momentum of the show going but the music itself is not the highlight. 

However, Jeff Calhoun's West End production features a fantastic cast who perform Dolly Parton's score with vigour and drive.  Natalie McQueen completely shines as Dolly's character, Doralee Rhodes. Funny, feisty and a vocal powerhouse, Natalie brings life to the role and provides a memorable moment with Backwards Barbie. Amber Davies is charming as the naive Judy Bernly who finds herself throughout the show. Whilst her acting is somewhat lacking at times, Amber retains her charisma and gives a lovely performance of Get Out and Stay Out. 

Caroline Sheen brings a light to the show as the strong and capable, Violet Newstead. Together the three ladies are a  real force as they take drastic measures to stop their sexist boss, Franklin Hart Jnr. (played comedically by Brian Conley) from blackmailing them.  The real show stealer is Bonnie Langford as Hart's devoted assistant who is completely wonderful is her unrequited love for her CEO. Her high-kicking, leg-splitting performance of Heart to Hart is impressive beyond belief and utterly hilarious.

This is a crowd pleasing production that, with a second act of only 45 minutes, flies by with a flash of hair, power-suits and feminism. There's no denying that the principles are dated and it's more of a period piece  than a modern inspirational tale to live by, but it does provide a laugh. Whilst being set in the 80s, the various nods to 2019 allow it to feel more relatable. 9 to 5 is a feel-good show, helmed by powerful performers who allow you to ignore the shortcomings and enjoy it for what it is: a load of female led fun.

photo credit: Craig Sugden

9 to 5 The Musical, Savoy Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Wonderland (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wonderland (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 3rd April 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

I finished performing in Will Todd's opera Alice's Adventures in Wonderland on Friday and have already taken another trip down the rabbit hole to see the UK Tour of Wonderland- I see an Alice theme becoming part of my life!

Frank Wildhorn, composer of one of my favourite musicals Bonnie and Clyde has reworked the Classic tale of Alice into a contemporary story about finding your place in the world. The story follows single mother Alice (Kerry Ellis) who lives in a bleak city with her ridiculously mature daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris). Stuck in a rut after her manipulative ex-husband kicked all her confidence out of her, she seeks a life away from the real world. When a bunny which promises to take her out of her mundane life hops in front of her, it seems like the logical option to follow him down the hole... or lift! Joined by their neighbour Jack  (Stephen Webb) they end up in the magical and mysterious Wonderland.

The story is about self-belief and self-discovery and touches on some relevant issues. With Alice saying that "girls need to know that they should value themselves" and the rabbit expressing that "nothing can exist 'til you dream it first", it's sweet and heart warming.

Wonderland itself is bizarre, whimsical, quirky and truly bonkers. With all the well known characters such as the Queen and Hatter popping up throughout. Alice discovers that if she steps through the Looking Glass, she'll come out as a different version of herself. She toys with the idea of stepping through but is skeptical to return to the strong woman she was before.

Kerry Ellis is a star as Alice. Her vocals are faultless as she effortlessly belts out each number. Her stage presence is strong and it's joyful to watch her transformation throughout the show. Alongside Naomi Morris as her strong spirited daughter (who has a striking resemblance in voice and looks to Lilla Crawford) the pair create a lovely duo and a believable chemistry onstage.

For me the standout by far is Natalie McQueen. Her voice is off the charts and her scatty, feisty and extremely mad portrayal of the Hatter completely steals the show. She is compelling throughout and her facial expressions are enough to cure all types of illness!

Wendi Peters embraces the role of the evil Queen of Hearts well, mastering the comedic timing impeccably and showing off her superb singing voice. It's a shame how little time she is on stage  as it would be lovely to see her for more than a fleeting moment at a time. Nevertheless, her portrayal is wonderful.

The score is brilliant with wit, pace and just the right amount of craziness but the script is a little weak. At times it feels forced and cringey , with the dialogue not adding much to the show other than filling time. Personally I feel that the overall downfall is that there is not a clear target audience. There are times where it seems better for young adults and adults but others where it's almost pantomime like and seems aimed at very young children. There is a lot of potential but I think there needs to be a little work done to make the show fully solid and fluid.

The music is engaging and enjoyable. The spectacular performers and witty moments make it a really enjoyable show to watch and a fun family night out.

Wonderland is on at the New Victoria Theatre until Saturday April 8th

Wonderland (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 4 April 2017