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

Thursday, 26 January 2023

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 25th January 2023 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

One of the most moving and stunning pieces of theatre, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is currently making its way around the UK on a tour that is truly a must see. Based on Neil Gaiman's book with the same name, the play is a complex story which deals with the concept of memories and how we carry them with us, as well as forgetting them. A visual and emotional masterpiece, it's an intriguing tale which has many magical realism elements that are transferred to stage so well by Joel Harwood's adaptation and Katy Rudd's expert direction.

The show was originally staged at the National Theatre and many of their trademark features and overall aesthetic are completely woven through. From the start you are immersed in a world which is dark but enticing. Fly Davis' stunning set really embodies those childhood memories of imagining what spookiness lies just out of sight. A minimalistic moss covered design provides the backdrop for some moments of pure magic, where chiffon becomes an ocean and clever stagecraft movement (Steven Hoggett) is transformed into out of this world beings. There's also great contrast between the father's home which never truly feels complete since his wife passed and the nightmare world which is dark and loud.

The fantastical elements of the show feel strangely natural while still being awe-inspiring. Jamie Harrison's illusions are so well pulled off and are authentically magical and the balance of magic and genuine heartfelt moments is perfect.

Perpetually moving, the play perfectly captures grief and the painful fear that your lost loved one is being replaced and erased. These emotions are intensely portrayed not only through the action on stage, but via Jherek Bischoff's imposing and enchanting music which is utterly cinematic and combined with Ian Dickinson's sound design- so powerful. Alongside Paule Constable's lighting design, the whole thing is a masterclass is storytelling and theatricality.

As well as all of this, the cast of outstanding performers imbue every moment with sincerity and vulnerability. Keir Ogilvy really taps into the innocence of childhood whilst bringing to life the Boy who is struggling with the pain of losing his mother. As his Sis Laurie Ogden is fantastic at portraying her need to be loved and noticed through her's, and her families pain. Charlie Brooks fulfils that need as the chilling, omnipresent Ursula who is really what nightmares are made of. Trevor Fox as Dad has some really emotionally challenging scenes which are brought to life incredibly well. Finty Williams, Millie Hikasa and Kemi-Bo Jacobs have excellent chemistry as the Hempstock trio, and individually give wonderfully strong performances as well as coming together to provide some humourous moments. The rest of the ensemble work as one entity to bring the whole world to life with complete fluidity and power.

A spectacle of a show in the most quiet and beautiful way, The Ocean at the End of the Lane embodies everything that makes theatre so magical and is moving in all the best ways.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Thursday, 26 January 2023

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 CarabĂ©n 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