Posts with the label new victoria theatre
Showing posts with label new victoria theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new victoria theatre. Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Red Shoes (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 4th February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Originally a dark fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Red Shoes was adapted for the big screen by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1948. It follows a dance company as they tour the world; and the story of two men's obsession with Victoria Page, a dancer who longs to be a star and becomes possessed by her red ballet shoes.

With multiple locations, sometimes indistinguishable characters and intricate meta-narratives, The Red Shoes isn't the easiest of ballets to follow, but Matthew Bourne's production somehow provides a perfect introduction to the art form and takes you on a journey that you don't want to end, as the continuous flow and incredible emotion keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

What really elevates this show is the way the story forms a distinction between creating and performing art. We see the process of the dressers and choreographers bringing a vision to life in a structured and unified way; whilst, the performers are intensely frenzied and intense. These opposites come together to create a beautifully enchanting show. Just like the real world of theatre, what we see on stage is the graceful swan above the water, but what we miss is the underwater kicking of intense rehearsals, quick changes and personal drama. If anything, The Red Shoes is a fantastic reminder and celebration of the hard work, creativity and energy that goes into putting on a great piece of theatre.


Before the show even begins, magic is created thanks to Lez Brotherson's exceptional design. A luxe red curtain drapes the stage and reveals the varying worlds of The Red Shoes. From monochrome moments to full colour clubs and beaches, every moment feel luxurious and perfectly designed. The costumes are timely and tailored to perfection, with a divine attention to detail that is understated enough to be effective, but not in your face. When Victoria first dances in her red ballet shoes, she wears a flawless costume that highlights the red and welcomes her as a prima. During act two however, the mental and physical toils she faces are mirrored through the demise of her costume which is shredded and faded. These details are effective beyond belief and make this whole production feel superior.

Bourne's company are outstanding. Ashley Shaw is of course, technically wonderful as Victoria, but it's her steely drive and intensity to succeed that make her so enjoyable to watch; especially when contrasted so excellently against her compassion and vulnerability. As Victoria's lover/musician/muse, Harrison Dowzell is pure joy to watch. The way he flies around the stage, and shows his love for music with a genuine sense of revelry can't help but bring a smile to your face.

Victoria's dances with both men are incredibly striking and Reece Causton as Boris Lermontov is utterly shocking. His obsessive and sharp but quiet demeanour is terrifying to witness but completely absorbing.  This is a production where you often find yourself holding your breath as it rarely lets you escape from it's magical grip. The end of act one is one of the most spectacularly effective moments in theatre and really should be experienced.

The entire New Adventures company prove once again why they're so revered in this glorious looking and exceptionally assured production. The Red Shoes is a must see tale of passion, envy and tragedy.

The Red Shoes plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 8th March before continuing its tour

Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Peter Pan Goes Wrong (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Peter Pan Goes Wrong (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 14th January 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The masters of laughter, Mischief Theatre are back at it again with a gut wrenchingly funny touring version of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, which takes everything theatrical and jumbles it into a mess of impassioned, choreographed mayhem.

The Goes Wrong franchise has achieved an astounding amount of success. From a Fringe company, they have taken over the West End, with new productions regularly being released and a series recently beginning on BBC One. Their timeless form of physical comedy, provides excellent entertainment, as well as a celebration of the intricacies of theatre.

Previously televised, this raucous version of Peter Pan, performed by the most bumbling amateur dramatic group ever, is as amusing as ever as it journey's around the UK. It's slapstick of course, but more than that, it is a precisely executed piece of theatre, full of well thought-out characters and exuberant joy. From the pre-show that audience are involved in the mayhem and it's quite excellent how the cast are able to mould us to laugh both at and with them.

During the show, there are missed cues, comedy falls, props malfunctioning, wires crossing and many, many casualties. Mischief Theatre wonderfully balance physical and visual gags, and never cross the line of overdoing their jokes. That's not to say all the gags are highly original, but they're pulled off so seamlessly that this farce is almost comedic perfection.

Tonight's performance was a real testament to understudies, as they really saved the day for the show. Amongst the host of theatrical parodies are Katy Daghorn as Wendy who boastfully struts around the stage and gives a completely stellar performance. Chris, the grandiose director who also plays Hook and Mr Darling, is expertly portrayed by Tom Babbage who bounces back and forth with the audience as he insists the show is not a pantomime. Stepping in as Trevor, Ava Pickett is a complete joy to watch and Christian James' Peter is likeable and dynamic as he dizzily flies around the stage.

This is clearly a physically demanding piece of theatre, which is expertly performed by the entire cast, of which there are zero weak links. A genuinely entertaining show, this is a definite family pleaser and a great night out at the theatre. The company may get everything wrong, but in the end it all seems so right.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 18th January before continuing its tour

photo credit: Alistair Muir

Peter Pan Goes Wrong (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Rigoletto, New Victoria Theatre (Glyndebourne Tour 2019) | Review


Rigoletto
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th November 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Surprisingly this is the first time Rigoletto has been part of Glyndebourne's rep but Christiane Lutz's radical rewrite definitely proves a welcome addition. Verdi's dramatic revenge tragedy based on Victor Hugo's play is full of emotion and provides great opportunities for stand out performances.

Rigoletto, the hunchbacked jester, seeks revenge on his employer, the Duke of Mantua for generally being a bit of a jerk, but mainly for kidnapping and seducing his daughter, whom he has protected and kept hidden for most of her life. There are disguises, storms and in the end it's Rigoletto who loses the most. 

In Lutz's production, the plot has been transferred from 16th-century Mantua to 1930s Hollywood, where a hunchback-less Rigoletto has become Charlie Chaplin and his vicious employer the Duke, is a movie director. In this version the opening scene features courtier Monterone's daughter committing suicide seemingly due to the way the Duke (encouraged by Rigoletto) took advantage of her and then tossed her aside. She leaves behind a baby daughter Gilda whom Rigoletto adopts, but not before both he and the Duke are cursed by the distraught courtier. What follows in a 17 year gap and an incestuous relationship (neither the Duke or Gilda ever find out they are in fact father and daughter), envisaged by neither Hugo or Verdi. 


Overall the changes are mostly effective but the plots feels much more complicated than necessary and it's hard to follow the various relationships, with the end of act one leaving many audience members scratching their heads. The whole added dynamic of Gilda and the Duke proves less compelling and more confusing. That's not to say this production doesn't work and the modernised setting is very effective, but some of the changes feel too dramatic to have not been resolved by the end of the opera.

However, the singers are top notch and this is an opera worth visiting purely for the drama and intensity of the score. At this performance, Nikoloz Lagvilava was unwell so the role of Rigoletto was sung by Michael Druiett and walked on stage by Jofre Carabén van der Meer. Duiett gave an outstanding vocal performance which resonated beautifully and conveyed every emotion exceptionally. Having the role acted separately was actually extremely effective, with Jofre almost taking on the role of a silent movie star against the film set background from Christian Tabakoff. This added a new element to the opera and in a way, let Gilda shine throughout. 

As Gilda, Vuvu Mpofu achieves great success in her vulnerable performance and her top register soars elegantly. Matteo Lippi's resilient Duke is surprisingly charismatic despite his flawed personality and is entertaining throughout.

Despite being somewhat hard to follow, this is a strong production with great theatrical elements, that are entertaining and superbly performed.

Rigoletto, New Victoria Theatre (Glyndebourne Tour 2019) | Review

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Girl on the Train (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Girl on the Train (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 28th October 2019 by Melanie Mitchell 
★★★★

Having never read the book nor seen the film apart from the first 20 minutes, I was unsure what to expect from the stage version of Paula Hawkins' 2015 bestseller The Girl on the Train. I knew that it was a psychological thriller involving a girl, a lot of train journeys and a murder but that was all!

I was unsure how the train element of the story would be transferred on to a fairly small theatre stage, but thanks to the extremely clever set design by Anthony Banks accompanied by the atmospheric lighting from Jack Knowles and sound by Ben & Max Ringham, this was very successfully  and effectively achieved.

The story focusses on Rachel Watson after the breakdown of her childless marriage. Her life begins to unravel and she sinks deeper and deeper into the bottom of a bottle. Whilst on her daily commute she starts to watch a couple on their balcony, living close to where she used to live. Convinced that they have the perfect life that she no longer has, she becomes fixated and obsessed by them. But  as we all know, things aren’t always as perfect as they seem...

Samantha Womack plays the alcoholic Rachel superbly, conveying her feelings of inadequacy, confusion, loneliness and envy, interspersed with moments of laugh out loud one liners, that don’t take away from the drama at all. 

All members of the production are very well cast, especially Adam Jackson Smith who portrays Rachel's caring ex and now perfect husband to Anna, played by Lowenna Melrose who also gives a strong performance.

As the story goes on it becomes increasingly apparent that people are often not living the lives that are seen and admired by outsiders or people looking in. Things are very different behind closed doors and when one of the characters disappears these facades begin to fall away, culminating in an unexpected twist, which I didn’t see coming. Altogether this is a very clever adaptation and production of the book, which takes you on a journey of human emotions and is well worth seeing.

The Girl on the Train runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 2nd November before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

The Girl on the Train (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

9 to 5 the Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

 
9 to 5 the Musical (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Glenys Balchin
★★★★

9 to 5 is a very enjoyable show, with strong performances by the cast, a great set, fabulous costumes and toe tapping songs to sing-a-long to. The three leading ladies give excellent performances with each having their own individual strength. It certainly feels like a West End performance rather than a touring show at a regional theatre. The storyline is executed well and takes the audience to the final conclusion that it is a man’s world.

The three leading ladies work exceedingly well together, as a band of sisters and leave us with the hope that they are that strong and united off the stage as well. Violet is played by Laura Tyrer, who is the whole package with a charismatic personality and triple threat abilities that wow; she shines within the cast.
 
Judy played by Amber Davies for me is the real surprise of the night, having last seen her on Love Island. I hadn’t envisaged that she is such a great singer but Get Out and Stay Out is a real highlight as she belts it out so powerfully. Georgina Castle as Doralee gives a very good performance with only the occasional blip in her deep south American accent. It is a hard act to follow when the legend that is Dolly Parton, announces at the beginning of the show that Doralee “is her”! This could colour your opinion of her performance but Georgina held her own and made the role hers.
 
Accolade, also must go to Lucinda Lawrence who is Roz Keith and gives a strong performance as the pent up frosty, delusional, hopelessly in love secret admirer of Franklin Hart Jnr. Her comedic timing, balletic dance movement and strong singing voice make her a very watchable character.
 
Sean Needham’s, performance as the male chauvinist Franklin Hart Jnr is perfect, he portrays the male ego eccentricities and bigoted views of women, in a comic manner. But these are issues that have truthfully been faced by many of the women in the audience. Both Lawrence and Needham have a real chemical interaction with each other and work well as a comedy act.
 
 
The rest of the cast give a great performance, supporting the main characters and story line with energy and enthusiasm to deliver an excellent show. I have to mention one person that stands out for me in the ensemble is Ross Lee Fowkes who plays Bob; his acting singing and dancing showed great intensity, I was quite transfixed.

Finally, as already mentioned the stage lighting, the scenery and costumes are all perfect for the 80s story line. Having been a girl of the shoulder pads and big hair era, it is all well delivered. It is sad that the political message, that both Jane Fonda and Patricia Resnick so, cleverly put across in a comedic approach on film and stage is still an on-going fight forty-one years on from the film release. I expect that it will be our children’s, children who will finally benefit from equality.
 
Patricia Resnick has said, “that it won’t be until 2059 that American women will achieve pay equity”. That will be 80 years on since the film was released. I believe that most women could step forward and give an account of male chauvinism and sexual predators in the work place. The show delivers this message in a funny and comic style with great songs but really it is quite sad and profound that we are still talking equality in the 21st-century. There should be a sequel, a comic-tragedy featuring recent events and the “me too” campaign that shows we still have a long way to go. 
 
I would recommend taking your daughters along to see the show and explaining to them why it was produced and what the political message is behind it, and for them to be firmly told that they are equal to the males in their life. All that said and done, I just wanted to say it was a great show, very watchable and I really enjoyed it and would recommend to others.
9 to 5 the Musical runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 19th October before continuing its tour

9 to 5 the Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Little Miss Sunshine (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Little Miss Sunshine (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 25th June 2019 by Christine Jacobs 
★★★★

A feel good road trip with an unconventional, dysfunctional family.

The Hoover family set out at the last minute to travel from Albuquerque New Mexico to California to get Olive brilliantly played by Lily Mae Denman, to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. The pageant she so desperately wants to enter, encouraged tremendously by Grandpa.

This flawed family consists of: downhearted mother Sheryl (Lucy O’Byrne), dad, upbeat Richard (Gabriel Vick); brother Dwayne (Sev Keoshgerian) who can’t wait to become a pilot to get away from the family; gay Uncle Frank (Paul Keating) and wonderfully irreverent Grandpa played outstandingly by Mark Monaghan, they all take the trip to California in a yellow VW camper van.

Determined to overcome all obstacles including:

1. No clutch on the van, meaning they all have to get out and push after each stoppage.

2. Frank meeting up with his former lover (over whom he tried to commit suicide), and his new partner played brilliantly camp by Ian Carlyle

3. Maxing out their credit cards, causing strain on Sheryl and Richard’s relationship.

4. AND Shock, horror, despite Grandpa-dying they still continue to the beauty pageant to fulfil Olive’s dream which Grandpa so encouraged, NO MATTER WHAT.


The lighting is atmospheric, the lovely yellow hues make the VW van come to life and the wonderful addition of the Sat Nav route in the back of the stage and the Sat Nav directional voice giving directions are very realistic.

The hospital scene where Grandpa dies, one would assume to be tragically sad, but in this fantastically well-paced production it becomes humorous due to the determination of upbeat dad Richard. The ever present passion and desire to take Olive to her pageant is prevalent and a moving force for the characters and the show itself.

At the pageant, Buddy the host, yet again played magnificently by Ian Carlyle, and Miss California (Imelda Warren-Green) both work wonderfully together and really turn the audience against their conniving personalities. 

Tonight, the audience loved this show. Although (spoiler) Olive doesn't win her contest, if it was up to the audience reaction, she would have come first every night. The ending of this musical is especially sweet, and I can't help but wholly recommend this show to bring a smile to your face.

Little Miss Sunshine runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 29th before continuing its tour.

Photo credit: Richard H Smith

Little Miss Sunshine (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The House on Cold Hill (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The House on Cold Hill (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd April 2019 by Natalie Parsons  
★★★

Ollie Harcourt and his family have bought the house of their dreams in the country, but it is not as idyllic as it sounds!! 

This old mansion has a chequered history which explains why it has been empty for forty years. It is not long before the Harcourt family begin to realise that they are not the only residents of the house. 

The House on Cold Hill has the chill of the usual ghost story, such as Woman in Black but with a modern twist. It’s set in the present day in a house packed with modern technology – laptops, WIFI and leading lady Alexa. The modern influence makes the show feel more relatable, however, at times the suspense and thrill becomes overshadowed by the comical intervention of the script. 

Credit must go to the cast for portraying a modern professional family with Joe McFadden as Ollie, the former advertising man who's now setting up his own web design company; Rita Simons as his wife Caro, the practical and factual Solicitor and daughter Jade played by Persephone Swales-Dawson as the petulant teenager. 


Joe McFadden delivers a solid transition from joyful Ollie as his bubble is burst. From being exuberant about the move and the opportunities the house provides he is sent into disbelief as he accepts that there may be something sinister going on and the realisation that his family may be in terrible danger. 

Rita Simons, his wife Caro, is the more practical of the two when things go wrong and more willing to believe what she’s experienced. There is good chemistry between the cast and they all support each other well, to deliver a solid delivery of the plot. At times the suspense is broken by a change of direction to light heartedness so you aren’t sure if it is a thriller or light comedy. 

I think fans of Peter James may be slightly disappointed with the adaptation of the book to stage and may find that the transition to stage has lost a certain amount of the thriller element. But The House on Cold Hill does create some spooky moments, with some good stage effects. 

The play is performed well by the cast with special mention of Persephone Swales Dawson performance. The use of Alexa in this modern thriller was ingenious!

The staging, lighting, costumes and scenery were excellent. I enjoyed the play but can’t say I loved it.

photo credit: Helen Maybanks

The House on Cold Hill (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Dirty Dancing (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Dirty Dancing (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 18th March 2019 by Kay Adams
★★★★★

Dirty Dancing is not just a show about a love affair against the odds, or an early 60s period piece. Its continued popularity over the past 31 years is just as much due to tackling issues of class, family, loyalty, and right and wrong head on. It’s a coming-of-age story par excellence, acknowledged in Johnny’s introduction of Baby to everyone at Kellerman’s on the last night of the season. 

So, if you are in the minority of people who haven’t actually seen the iconic film all those years ago – It’s the summer of 1963 and 17 year old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is about to learn some major lessons in life as well as a thing or two about dancing. On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents she shows little interest in the resort activities and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles across an all-night dance party at the staff quarters. Mesmerised by the raunchy dance moves (and there are those aplenty in this stage production too), Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. Her life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off; as two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. 


Whether you know the story or not, this wonderful production, written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Federico Bellone, will captivate you from start to finish. Many favourite original masters feature within this stage sensation which blends the movie soundtrack seamlessly with this live performance. 

The quality of the dancing is phenomenal, with enigmatic dance numbers and sensual moments throughout. The scenery and special effects, especially the campfire and water scenes, were beautifully crafted. The audience were used at one point as part of ‘Kellerman’s’ entertainment as the scenes were seamlessly changed. 

This production gets a 5 star review from me – a night to remember – and remember “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”

Dirty Dancing runs at the New Victoria Theatre 23rd March 2019

Dirty Dancing (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Madagascar the Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Madagascar the Musical (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 

Reviewed on Tuesday 12th March 2019 by Glenys Balchin

★★★½ 


Madagascar the Musical was a perfect family night out, full of fun for the young audience as they tapped, cheered and danced their way through the story, against the backdrop of a damp and drizzly night outside the New Victoria Theatre. It has to be said, that many of the adults accompanying their young charges were enjoying the performance of the energetic cast just as much; with the cast bringing alive the animal inhabitants of New York Zoo and the story of their escape into the wilds of Madagascar.

Having seen other Dreamwork productions: The Lion King and Shrek on both film & stage, I was not sure what to expect of Madagascar and unfortunately for me this did not reach the same pinnacle as the others.  This was due to lack lustre look of some the main character costumes as well as having pre-recorded music rather than a live band. 

The puppetry was well executed and the presence of a human controlling them soon disappeared and captured the spirit of your imagination. A stand out for me was Melman the Giraffe, whose  characterisation by Jamie -Lee Morgan was thoroughly enjoyable and he delivered an excellent performance.


Although, the show was packed full of songs, none of them were very memorable. However, the dancing and abundance of energy displayed by all the cast members did not go unnoticed and I enjoyed the choreography, especially the exuberant 'Move It', but on the same note it was a little bit repetitive.

The plot itself is a little thin on the ground but the uncomplicated storyline makes it easy for small children to follow and remain enthralled by plenty of packed action fun and dazzle. Act two was more animated than the first, mainly thanks to the irrepressible, vigorously imaginative artistic style of Jo Parsons playing King Julien.

A little older than many of the children at the theatre, my companion's mane attraction for seeing the show was Matt Terry, so she was a little disappointed he was not playing Alex the Lion at this performance. However, I asked her verdict about the musical and she told me that whilst she had preferred The Lion King, she thought her younger sister (9) would love Madagascar. At the mature age of 14, she enjoyed it but was too cool to get up dance in the aisles with the other children and would certainly not have been happy if I had!



Her conclusion was that it is a song filled production, that features a set  that is inventive and all flows well. She loved how the characters were portrayed, in particular the Lion and the Hippo, and she thought that the voice of Marty was the same as the Zebra in the movie.

Overall the production went down well with the younger members of the audience and many of the adults that were there. For me, it lacked soul or a pinnacle to the production, due to repetitive choreography, unmemorable songs and basic costumes, however, the cast were pretty brilliant overall.

Whilst its a three and a half out of five stars for me, I'm sure many of the small children would disagree and give it a full five stars!

photo credit: Scott Rylander

Madagascar the Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 4th March 2019 by Louise Jordan
★★★★★

Over 30 million people have watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show live. I was one of them, thirty years ago. Would this version capture the energy, naughtiness and sheer exuberance of my previous experience, or Richard O’Brien’s cult film? The answer is abso-jolly-lutely. What a treat!

I could explain the plot in detail, but frankly it doesn’t really matter. In a nutshell Brad (Ben Adams) and Janet (Joanne Clifton), American squeaky clean and newly engaged college students, break down one night and seek shelter. They stumble across Dr Frank-N-Furter’s (Stephen Webb) castle, where he is unveiling his newest creation, Rocky (Callum Evans). A certain amount of, ahem, intimacy occurs all round (the warnings of adult themes are justified – don’t take your granny unless she’s especially broad minded). Enter stage left Dr Everett Scott (Ross Chisari) looking for his son Eddie and tada, we discover that Frank is an alien transvestite from the planet Transsexual. Are you any wiser? Thought not. But you don’t go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the plot. You go for the experience and the singalong joy of it – the entire audience is on their feet for ‘Sweet Transvestite’. The show is clearly held in enormous affection by its devoted audience and Dom Joly as narrator interacts brilliantly with the barrage of comments that punctuate his every appearance on stage.

The acting, singing and dancing are flawless, and the staging slick in this ensemble production of all round strong performances. The chemistry and timing between actors ensures the pace never dips from start to finish.

If you live in or near Woking, you’ve got a week to catch this show and leave behind the pressures of real life for a night. And if – man, woman or non-binary – you want to dust down your bustier and fishnets for the night, who am I to judge?

Rocky Horror runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 9th March before continuing its tour

photo credit: David Freeman

Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Abigail's Party (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Abigail's Party (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 25th February 2019 by Melanie Mitchell 
★★★★

I am old enough to have seen the original televised play for today of Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party in 1977 and have loved it ever since. Therefore, I was really looking forward to seeing Sarah Esdaile’s adaptation of this iconic piece and I wasn’t disappointed.

As we entered the theatre we were greeted by the most amazing set where we can take a somewhat voyeuristic view through the windows of a typical suburban house of the seventies. 

We watch as Beverly, played superbly by Jodie Prenger, flits in and out, preparing for her Party, switching on the fibre optic lamp, opening the drinks cabinet and laying out that most ubiquitous of party foods, the cheese and pineapple hedgehog. 

Beverly has invited new neighbours Angela & Tony for drinks, also inviting Sue, as her teenage daughter Abigail is having a party. The play centres around these 5 characters and their complicated relationships. Beverly and her husband Laurence who have enormous marital problems, The mousey downtrodden Angela and her monosyllabic husband Tony and Sue the timid, socially inept divorcee. 

As the drinks flow, whether the guests want them or not, the tensions rise between the partners and the group. The underlying problems begin to emerge and escalate to the 70’s sounds of Donna Summer and Demis Roussos. 

The play portrays the era perfectly, tapping in to the social climbing, aspirational working class often associated with the 1970’s. 

In the original show, Beverly is played by the amazing Alison Steadman, who created the voice of Beverly. I think that Anyone who has seen the original will agree that this is one of the most important and fundamental facets of this character. I was slightly apprehensive as to how another actor would carry this off. I needn’t have worried, as from the minute Jodie Prenger spoke, she was Beverly. From her flowing psychedelic dress and cleavage to her cutting and withering remarks to Laurence, fabulous performance. 


The other characters were also played brilliantly, Vicky Binns is great as the mousey, impressionable and excitable Angela. Alongside Calum Callaghan as Tony her monosyllabic husband simmering with underlying aggression. Daniel Casey gives a super performance as Laurence, the socially mobile estate agent desperate to show that he does have class. Rose Keegan is perfectly cast as Sue, she was totally believable as she squirmed uncomfortably at the others behaviour. 

As previously mentioned, the set, lighting and sound design are wonderful, I was immediately transported back to the 70’s, with the orange and brown décor, the party food and the music. Not a single item of detail was missing from that room. 

Mike Leigh's original production has certainly stood the test of time with themes in the play as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. 

This tragicomedy has laugh out loud moments tinged with both pathos and sadness. It is a wonderful evening out to the most uncomfortable party you may ever attend.

Abigail's Party runs at the New Victoria Theatre until March 2nd 2019 before continuing it's tour

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Abigail's Party (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Band (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Band (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th February 2019 by Kay Adams
★★★★★

The Band is a unique experience like no other show I have seen. It is a mix of emotions from beginning to end, stirring up personal memories for everyone lucky enough to be in the audience. 

Written by award winning writer Tim Firth and Gary Barlow and directed by Kim Gavin, its a beautiful story for anyone who grew up with a boyband and how those songs became the soundtrack to their lives. 

For five 16 year old girls in 1993, 'the band' is everything. Their lives are intertwined by their obsessions with these boys and their music. 25 years on, we are reunited with this group of friends as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes. 

Featuring the music of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband of all time, whose songs include Never Forget, Back For Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine & Rule the World and starring the winners from the BBC’s Let it Shine, Five to Five, who I have to say have amazing voices, and if you closed your eyes would sound exactly like their mentors. Their live band, playing unseen backstage, except in one scene, were brilliant. 


The show isn’t even about Take That per se, it’s about these five charismatic and funny girls and how their friendships stand the test of time. More importantly, it’s about the emotions and nostalgia that this show evokes for the whole of the audience, taking them back to their lost youth, their teenage dreams and to the adult who never wants to grow old! 

The set is fairly simple but with the aid of graphics, projections and sleek changes it was highly effective. The audience was actually part of the set, re-enacting a concert and even holding phones up in the air, the atmosphere was electric and bad singing not even noticed! 

The female characters were funny, fabulous and really relatable and how they ended up after twenty five years was not at all predictable. 

A five out of five for me, The Band is a musical experience that will leave a lasting impression, have you grinning from ear to ear and feeling so good inside. It is a reminder that we never really change despite age creeping up on us, it will leave you wanting to go back and watch it all again. 

The Band runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 23rd February 2019

photo credit: Matt Crockett

The Band (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Monday, 26 November 2018

Glyndebourne's Cendrillon (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Cendrillon (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Friday 23rd November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Fiona Shaw takes the lead in directing Glyndebourne's first production of Massenet's ravishing fairytale, and turns it somewhat on it's head. The line from the opera "don't be ordinary, nor too original" feels very fitting for this production which has moments of magic but doesn't leave you utterly wowed. 

From the get go, the show is a little frantic, with lots of action but no clear centre for us to focus on. Whilst this does make the later scenes of peace and tranquility more affecting, it sometimes feels unnecessary and indulgent.  However, the act one scene of the Stepmother and Stepsisters preparing for the ball, is perfectly overindulgent, just like the characters. Social media obsessed, snapping selfies throughout the whole process and getting padded up to the nines a la the Kardashians, Agnes Zwierko, Eduarda Melo and Kezia Bienek are humourous, vocally excellent and suitably annoying.

Also well performed is the relationship between Cendrillion and her country-loving, spineless father played by William Dazeley. The pair are tender with one another and Dazeley provides some comic relief as he tries to stand up to his wife. Alix Le Saux and Eléonore Pancrazi are convincingly youthful as Cendrillon and the Prince as they perform with heart and passion.


The real star of the show is soprano Caroline Wettergreen as the Fairy Godmother. Dressed in an Elsa-esque coat, with braided hair and sparkles adorning her face; Wettergreen casts spells before reclining in her chair with a cigarette and is perfectly nonchalant but magical. Her coloratura is outstanding and the oak tree dance in act three really shows off her voice, as well as Sarah Fahie's choreography which is perfectly timed with every trill and ornament.

Jon Bausor's set brings not only magic to the stage but makes it feel expansive. The use of mirrors throughout, transports us to a huge ballroom and makes the stage seem double the size it truly is. Small details such as the butterflies symbolically appearing across the stage, alongside Anna Watson's clever use of projections do bring an element of magic as well as keeping the stage uncluttered with unnecessary props.

The ultimate magic of Cendrillon is truly Massenet's gloriously sumptuous score but this production does a good job of making the classic fairytale more psychological as well as retaining the mystical feel we desire, especially at this festive time.

photo credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Glyndebourne's Cendrillon (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Monday, 26 November 2018

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Glyndebourne's La Traviata (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


La Traviata (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 20th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

La Traviata, Verdi's well loved opera, has spawned various productions and inspired a number of other works, including Moulin Rouge which is set to open on Broadway in June 2019. This success is partly due to the fact that it is a passionate and moving piece which still remains fiercely relevant in terms of gender roles and male privilege.

This current Glyndebourne Tour which is celebrating its 50th year, is a beautiful showcase of Verdi's music and an emotive story about honour, honesty and love. The inbuilt drama from Violetta abandoning her life as a courtesan, living with Alfredo, having their idyll torn away by his father and facing terminal illness the entire time, of course leads to a well rounded piece. However, in this production, there is little chemistry between the struggling couple so they fail to fully capture the audiences hearts and take them on the gut wrenching journey, La Traviata should provide.

The production's most moving pieces come from Giorgio (Noel Bouley) and Violetta (Mané Galoyan) who have an unequal, but well performed bond on stage. Armenian Soprano, Galoyan is certainly the star of the show, providing vulnerability, fragility and beauty whilst also giving us emotionally intense and opulent vocals. The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra deftly perform the intricate score, with guidance from Conductor Christoph Altstaedt who manages to highlight key moments of score and plot-line with ease and dexterity.


Hildegard Bechtler's sets and costumes are not period specific so work well to make the piece feel strangely relevant, whilst also embodying an eerie air about the whole thing. A cool colour palette of beiges, blacks and greys, punctuated with sharp hints of red, does a good job of drawing our eyes to certain places and highlighting the passion and greed throughout. 

The sets and costumes, alongside Peter Mumford and Keith Benson's extremely subtle lighting, make this an engaging but not over the top piece of theatre. The transitions from warm light to cool light throughout Act 1, Scene Two, as well as the removal of the few pops of pink on stage, do a great job of mirroring the tensions which are rising. Another detail is Violetta's hair which changes fractionally throughout, from an intricate updo at the start to an untamed style as her health reaches its lowest point.

This really is a production of subtlety where everything is brought out gracefully to have a fully enchanting effect. It's a production to welcome you into opera with open arms and either reignite a passion or create a passion for the art-form and Verdi's music. Outstandingly controlled vocal performances make this a must see production.

La Traviata is on again at the New Victoria Theatre on 24th November, before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Robert Workman

Glyndebourne's La Traviata (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Jersey Boys (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review



Jersey Boys (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 17th October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Jersey Boys is one of those musicals that pretty much everyone has heard of, it needs little marketing and has a bit of a cult status after is various runs around the world. For that reason and the fact that the music of the Four Seasons is so well known, the packed New Victoria Theatre is a hub of excitement as people bop in their seats and enjoy this lively, moving musical.

The cast are led by Dayle Hodge (Frankie Valli), Simon Bailey (Tommy DeVito), Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) and Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio). Each performer is vocally fabulous individually, but when they come together, they create absolute vocal magic and create a harmonious, chemistry filled team. Hodge is absolutely brilliant as Valli as he performs the classic falsetto sounds with vocal ease and evidently strong technique. Mention must also go to Tara Young who is fiery and vulnerable as Mary Delgado and Mark Heenehan who is extremely versatile and strong in the various roles he plays.


The musical tells the story of how four friends from Jersey united to form one of the most unique and successful music groups of their time. The series of ups and downs, including grief, time in prison and romantic failures, make a great storyline which show the rollercoaster of life in a natural and well constructed way. Alongside the popular music and continuous humour, a strong and enjoyable show has been formed which is sure to continue thrilling audiences.

Musically this production is outstanding. The fast pace of the show means we are dragged through a maelstrom of music which is performed well not only by the leads but supported brilliantly by the ensemble and band led by Francis Goodhand. Alongside smooth set design from Klara Zieglerova and sound design from Steve Canyon Kennedy we are transported not only on the journey of the group, but feel as though we really are at a concert, which brings a lovely energy to the theatre. Jeff Goldstein's costume also bring an authentic touch to the show.


Overall this is a superbly slick production that long time fans and newbies are sure to enjoy. For a night of carefree fun, join the Four Seasons and experience the happiness their music brings.

Jersey Boys runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 27th October before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Jersey Boys (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Thursday, 2 August 2018

War Horse (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


War Horse (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st August 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, War Horse has been enthralling audiences around the world and after seeing it, it's clear why. The play follows the deeply moving story of the relationship between a young boy, Albert Narracott, played brilliantly by Thomas Dennis, and his adored horse, Joey.

Whilst this story begins as an unflinching quest for a boy to find his horse after it has been taken as part of the World War One front, it quickly becomes a story of how horses were sacrificed on mass at the battle lines. For the men of the army, the horses lives symbolise their own and its especially affecting to see how the men measure their lives by their horses.

The reality of war is brought to life with dramatic simplicity, with sound effects and bright lights hitting us with an intensity that transports us to the battlefield. This production is alarmingly powerful and honest.


Also brought to life are the friendships of life and war. Particularly moving is a scene where the two opposing sides make peace as the unite to free Joey from barbed wire in the midst of war. The friendship between Emilie (Joëlle Brabban) and Friedrich Müller (Peter Becker) is equally touching, especially as we see the way the war really effects Müller and takes it's toll on his mental health.

The stars of the show however, have to be the impeccable puppet and Handspring Puppet Company who bring them to life. The puppets become real and it's hard to believe there are puppeteers controlling them, even when they are in full view on stage. The breathing, galloping and entire personalities come to life and we are immersed in this stunning production.

Everything about War Horse screams National Theatre and this tour does a stellar job of making us feel as though we are in the Olivier Theatre. Although vastly complex, the whole show comes off looking and feeling simplistic and effortless. Whilst moving and poignant, this production all in all is beautiful. Providing a reminder of the sacrifices those before us have made and highlighting the futility of war, this is a must see for people of all ages.

War Horse runs at the New Victoria Theatre until August 18th before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Brinkhoff and Mögenburg

War Horse (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Evita (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th July 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Classic musical, Evita has been thrilling audiences in the UK and around the world since it opened in 1978, winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Multiple re-incarnations have allowed various portrayals of the iconic characters and different takes on the tale of Eva Perón. Despite not having a huge amount to compare to, having only seen the 1996 movie and 2006 West End production, I don't hesitate saying that this current tour helmed by Lucy O'Byrne, Glenn Carter and Mike Sterling has created an almost perfect production and showcases the music and story of Evita wonderfully.

Not only was tonight Evita's opening night at the New Victoria Theatre but was also the opening night for the three leads who each do an outstanding job. Mike Sterling commands the role of Juan Perón with power and fight whilst also showing off a softer side with his wife. He is vocally wonderful and complements Lucy's voice well. As Che (in some productions based on Che Guevara, and others as working class Everyman base of Peronism) Glenn Carter is versatile. A strong voice and all-knowing-rock-god-vibe means he brings a unique but perfectly suitable strength to the role.

As the leading lady, Lucy O'Byrne grows and blazes as Eva Perón. Starting out as a 16 year old who knows what she wants to a dying politicians wife, O'Byrne's transition is breathtaking to watch. Stand out moments include Rainbow High and You Must Love Me which show the drastic differences between Eva's character. Lucy performs the role with passion and drive whilst maintaining brief innocent moments. Her vocals grow as the character does and her stellar diction means we don't miss a word of the fast-paced passages.


Bill Dreamer's choreography brings to life the world of Argentina and cleverly moves us from one moment of action to another, whilst, Matthew Wright's sets and costumes create a vibrant world which draws you in from the opening. The fairly simplistic sets echo the world of the Perón's and at times provide a stark contrast to the glamour of Eva. 

It's hard to pick fault with such a strong production but one thing in particular strikes me as odd: the decision to give the entire cast English accents. This doesn't take away from the performances at all but feels like a bit of a cop out, and makes us forget the show is set in Argentina at times. 

However, overall this production is well thought out and does a brilliant job of bringing Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and lyrics to life once more. This show is not glitz and glam happiness, but it is a raw and moving story which should certainly be seen. Stellar music is brought to life by a magnificent cast who make Evita a must see!

Evita runs at the New Victoria Theatre until July 21st before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith pattison

Evita (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 17 July 2018