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

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Callum Scott Howells and Madeline Brewer Announced to Join Cabaret From 3 October 2022


The producers of the multi award-winning, critically acclaimed production of CABARET at the KIT KAT CLUB in London’s West End are thrilled to announce that BAFTA Award nominee Callum Scott Howells will play ‘The Emcee’ and Emmy Award nominee Madeline Brewer will play ‘Sally Bowles’ from 3 October 2022 until28 January 2023kitkat.club

 

Callum Scott Howells said today “I can't wait to work with the incredible team and company, and follow on from two actors who I hugely respect and admire. I feel very lucky and excited to be taking on such an iconic role within this widely celebrated and unique production. It's going to be a ride.”

 

Madeline Brewer said today Rebecca’s vision is the most magical and emotional and exciting Cabaret I’ve ever seen. It’s a Sally and a Kit Kat Club so thrillingly fun and humbly prescient. I’m beyond honored to be invited to the party.”

 

Callum Scott Howells is best known for playing Colin in Russell T Davies’ hit Channel 4 drama It’s a Sin. For his performance as Colin, Callum won the BAFTA Cymru Award for Leading Actor and the Royal Television Society Award for Best Male Actor. For the same role, he was twice nominated at the 2022 BAFTA Television Awards; for Best Supporting Actor and Virgin Media’s Must See Moment. Later this year, he will be seen in the Netflix film The Beautiful Game opposite Bill Nighy. Callum’s theatre credits include She Loves Me at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Matthew Bourne’s production of Lord of the Flies.

 

Madeline Brewer has starred as Janine Lindo in all four seasons of Hulu’s hit drama The Handmaid’s Tale, for which she was nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She will star in the fifth season of the show, due to premiere this September. Madeline began her career portraying Tricia Miller in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Her film credits include Hustlers alongside Jennifer Lopez and Cam for Netflix. Madeline’s other credits include Netflix/Channel 4’s Black Mirror and Apple TV’s Shining Girls. 

 

At certain performances, the role of Sally Bowles will be played by Emily Benjamin.

 

As a member of the original cast of this production, Emily has been a swing and understudy to the role of Sally Bowles since the show opened last year. Her other West End theatre credits include Bat Out of Hell The Musical at the London Coliseum and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Bridge Theatre.

 

Also joining the cast on 3 October 2022 will be Sid Sagar as ‘Cliff Bradshaw’, Danny Mahoney as ‘Ernst Ludwig’ and Michelle Bishop as ‘Fraulein Kost’. Vivien Parry and Richard Katz continue to play ‘Fraulein Schneider’ and ‘Herr Schultz’ respectively.

 

The cast is completed by Gabriela Benedetti, Charles Croysdill, Laura Delany, Sally Frith, Matthew Gent, Ying Ue Li, Ela Lisondra, Chris O’Mara, Grant Neal, Hicaro Nicolai, Adam Taylor, Toby Turpin, Patrick Wilden and Sophie Maria Wojna.

 

The Prologue Company currently includes Rachel Benson, Laura Braid, Asmara Cammock, Julian Capolei, Celine Fortenbacher, Reuben Greeph, Samantha Ho, Andrew Linnie, Carys McQueen, Kate Robson-Stuart and Sally Swanson

 

This unique production of CABARET opened in December last year to critical and audience acclaim, widely praised as the ultimate theatrical experience. In April this year, the production won a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards, the most for any musical revival in Olivier history, as well as three prestigious Critics Circle Awards.

 

In a time when the world is changing forever, there is one place where everyone can be free… Welcome to the Kit Kat Club, home to an intimate and electrifying new production of CABARET. This is Berlin. Relax. Loosen up. Be yourself. 


Transforming one of London’s most famous theatres with an in-the-round auditorium and reimagined spaces, before the show guests are invited to enjoy and explore the Kit Kat Club with pre-show entertainment, drinks and dining all on offer. When booking, guests receive a 'club entry time' to allow enough time to take in the world of the Kit Kat Club before the show starts. But of course, the show really starts when you first join us in the club…

 

One of the most successful musicals of all time CABARET features the songs Wilkommen, Don’t Tell Mama, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, Money and the title number. It has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood.

 

CABARET is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, set and costume design is by Tom Scutt with choreography by Julia Cheng. Musical supervision by Jennifer Whyte and musical direction by Ben Ferguson with lighting design by Isabella Byrd and sound design by Nick Lidster. The casting director is Stuart Burt and the associate director is Jordan Fein.

 

CABARET at the KIT KAT CLUB is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions and Underbelly.

Callum Scott Howells and Madeline Brewer Announced to Join Cabaret From 3 October 2022

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Friday, 5 August 2022

Sierra Boggess to Appear Live in Concert in Christmas at Cadogan Hall


Fourth Wall Live is delighted to announce that Olivier Award nominated Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess will appear live in concert in ‘Christmas At The Cadogan Hall’ on Sunday 11 December 2022 at 2.30pm and 6.30pm. Tickets are on sale now www.fw-live.com/sierra

Sierra said today, “I’m thrilled to be returning to London to make music together at Cadogan Hall! The concert will feature songs that I love to perform, as well as some holiday music to celebrate the season!” 

Sierra Boggess has been seen on Broadway in the Tony nominated musical School Of Rock, It Shoulda Been You directed by David Hyde Pierce, the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, the revival of Master Class and The Little Mermaid, for which she received Drama Desk and Drama League nominations and a Broadway.com Audience Choice Award. 

In the West End, Sierra’s theatre credits include Les Misérables, the 25th Anniversary concerts of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall and her Olivier Award nominated performance as Christine Daae in Love Never Dies. 

Other New York theatre credits include the recent off-Broadway production of Barry Manilow’s Harmony, Manhattan Concert Productions’ The Secret Garden at Lincoln Center; the one-night-only concert of Guys & Dolls at Carnegie Hall opposite Nathan Lane, Patrick Wilson and Megan Mullally; the final Off-Broadway cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore; and Music in the Air for City Center’s Encores! series. She also starred as Christine Daae in the Las Vegas production of The Phantom of the Opera. Across the United States she has been seen in Into The Woods, A Little Night Music, Ever After, Age of Innocence, Princesses, and the national tour of Les Misérables. Her Film and Television credits include Vulture Club with Susan Sarandon and the web series What’s Your Emergency, directed by Michael Urie.

Sierra’s recordings include School Of Rock, It Shoulda Been You, the 25th-anniversary concert of The Phantom of the Opera, the symphonic recording of Love Never Dies, The Little Mermaid, and Andrew Lippa’s A Little Princess. Concert appearances include the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series The Lyrics of David Zippel, The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, and Broadway by the Year at Town Hall. Sierra has toured all over the world across Australia, Japan, Paris, and London with her concert show, which has been preserved live and released on CD, Awakening: Live at 54 Below. She recently released an album of duets with Julian Ovenden made during the pandemic entitled Together At A Distance. www.sierraboggess.com

Fourth Wall Live is an entertainment company that produces events, concerts and on-stage shows. In January 2022 FWL presented Bonnie and Clyde The Musical In Concert for two nights to a sold-out audience at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, starring Broadway favourite Jeremy Jordan. The concert broke Drury Lane box office records selling out a two-night run in less than six minutes. The concert was live captured for cinematic/streaming distribution, with its release to be announced in due course.

In 2022 Fourth Wall Live is delighted to be presenting Audra McDonald at the London Palladium, and Jeremy Jordan at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. FWL regularly presents concerts featuring stars of the West End and Broadway including Keala Settle, Jeremy Jordan, Matthew Morrison and Hannah Waddingham among others.

Fourth Wall Live was also a producer of Bonnie & Clyde the Musical which ran at The Arts Theatre in the West End for 13 weeks during 2022.

Sierra Boggess to Appear Live in Concert in Christmas at Cadogan Hall

Friday, 5 August 2022

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Chess the Musical in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane | Review


Chess the Musical in Concert
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Reviewed on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After the success earlier in the year of Bonnie and Clyde in Concert, the bar has been set rather high for what concert productions at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane can provide, and this most recent one certainly hits the mark.

Chess, last seen in London in 2018 at the Coliseum, is set in the 1970s/80s amid the Cold War. Two chess masters meet in Bangkok to fight it out for the world championship title, but also end up in political and romantic competitions. 

By Tim Rice's own admission in the programme notes, the music is the heart of this show, with many finding fault with the book that is sometimes all over the place. Thankfully in this production everything is fairly sleek and issues with the book can be overlooked thanks to the sumptuous cast, choir and orchestra.

Director Nick Winston put on the show in a previous iteration in Japan and has superbly brought it to the London stage with a version that puts the focus strongly on storytelling, both through the music and the buoyant choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento and Tara Young

This is further helped in no small way by the outstanding LMTO Orchestra, directed expertly by Freddie Tapner. The sumptuous, melodically complex, beautifully syncopated score is showcased to the highest degree. There's a sensitivity given to the more pared back moments whilst the rousing, dramatic pieces of score are stretched to their full extent to provide real wow moments. The LMTO Chorus also bring add excellent power and oomph to the proceedings.

There were some songs which were cut from the show, namely the song Talking Chess between Anatoly and Freddie and Commie Newspapers which I think would have helped the plot be a bit clearer, especially for those seeing the show for the first time. But of course given the short turnaround and runtime for the concerts, I can certainly understand why some pieces had to be cut and shifted and what was still included was excellent. Any plot issues really fly under the radar when you have such a wonderful team on stage and offstage making everything else so enjoyable.

This onstage team is made up of some musical theatre heavyweights and there are standout performances throughout. Samantha Barks' rendition of Nobody's Side and the Anthem Reprise are definitely at the top. Joel Harper-Jackson's Pity The Child, Hadley Fraser's Anthem also bring the house down, and Frances Mayli McCann and Barks also compliment one another beautifully in the classic I Know Him So Well.

Having first seen Chess in concert version at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 and falling in love with it at age 10, seeing this production of equal strength was an absolute treat to witness. Here's hoping we see more of this outstanding adaptation and the stellar cast who brought it to life!

photo credit: Mark Senior

Chess the Musical in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane | Review

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Millennials, The Other Palace | Review


Millennials
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Thursday 14th July 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

With the recent announcements of many West End shows closing, it certainly feels like the perfect time to inject something new onto the scene and Elliot Clay's Millennials certainly does just that. Entering the completely transformed studio space at The Other Palace you are greeted by pink cellophane walls, slinkies suspended from the ceiling, inflatable flamingos, ball pits and so much more. Andrew Exeter's design makes it a feast for the eyes from the moment you enter and at just over an hour, the song cycle continues to provide a brilliant way to spend an evening.

The six strong cast who make up the show are all forces to be reckoned with, as they bring individuality to the piece whilst also being a gloriously well-blended ensemble. Opening the show, Luke Bayer starts contemplative and later brings energy in spades; always providing  super strong vocals. Hiba Elchikhe is star power embodied as she belts and riffs for her life in 21st Century Girl before showing her versatility with an emotionally intense performance near the show's closing.

Rob Madge is everything you could with for in a comedic role. Their performance makes the most of every second of the music and imbues perfect humour alongside great vocals- a real stand out! Luke Latchman's rendition of Priceless is also wonderfully humourous. Taking on one of the most beautiful songs in the show, Hannah Lowther is lovely. Her vocal talent really shines as does her acting as she really welcomes the audience to feel the song and experience it alongside her. Completing the cast is Georgina Onuorah who's voice is heavenly in her solo number Remember the Feeling. It would be hard to find such a strong cast elsewhere and the entire six are are a credit to musical theatre.

Millennials is everything you could want in a fun show but there are some elements that don't quite work. Mainly the fact that it isn't really millennial, instead it's a look at growing up. Which is fine and entertaining but with the insistence of the millennial theme, it just feels like it's missing something. The show would do well with being slightly more specific in its lyrics to really fit the millennial theme, however there's certainly something to be said for how universally relatable the lyrics and feelings are, no matter the generation. Of course this is a song-cycle not a fully fledged musical but it would also be good to have a bit more of a through line between the songs.

There may be a little final sprinkle of fairy dust missing but Millennials is one of the funnest shows about and it'll be brilliant to see where it progresses. Hurray for new British writing and hurray for Millennials!

photo credit: Mark Senior

Millennials, The Other Palace | Review

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Friday, 1 July 2022

Les Misérables Extends Booking in the West End Until March 2023


Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre is delighted to announce it has extended booking until Sunday 5 March 2023, and a new performance schedule from Wednesday 5 October 2022. Tickets for the new booking period are on sale from 11.00am today, Friday 1 July.
 
From Wednesday 5 October 2022 the new performance schedule will be:
 
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 2.30pm
Monday at 7.30pm
 
Les Misérables currently stars Jon Robyns as Jean Valjean, Bradley Jaden as Javert, Gerard Carey as ThénardierJosefina Gabrielle as Madame ThénardierChanice Alexander-Burnett as Fantine, Harry Apps as Marius, Sha Dessi as Éponine, Jordan Shaw as Enjolras and Charlie Burn as Cosette. They are joined by Kelly Agbowu, Joseph Anthony, Emma Barr, Richard Carson, Rodney Earl Clarke, Danny Colligan, Matthew Dale, Matt Dempsey, Natalie Green, Jessie Hart, Christopher Jacobsen, Connor Jones, Jessica Joslin, Michael Kholwadia, Sarah Lark, Georgie Lovatt, Ellie Ann Lowe, Luke McCall, Leo Miles, Claire O’Leary, Kathy Peacock, Mark Pearce, Sam Peggs, Sake Wijers, Mared Williams and Phoebe Williams.  
 
Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of 
Les Misérables in 2009, to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary, it has taken the world by storm. It will relaunch its record-breaking tour of North America in October this year, a new tour of The Netherlands is set for early 2023 with further productions to be announced. The UK and Ireland tour continues its acclaimed run.
 
Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent iconic score of 
Les Misérables includes the classic songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more. Several of its songs have become real life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular and contemporary musicals.
 
Cameron Mackintosh’s production of 
Les Misérables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Orchestrations are by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron. The production is directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, projections realised by Finn Ross & Fifty Nine Productions, musical staging by Geoffrey Garratt, and music supervision by Stephen Brooker and Alfonso Casado Trigo.

Les Misérables Extends Booking in the West End Until March 2023

Friday, 1 July 2022

Come From Away to Play Final Performance in West End on 7 January 2023

The multi award-winning London production of global hit musical Come From Away will extend in the West End from September until the end of the year before holding its final performance at the Phoenix Theatre on Saturday 7 January 2023.

By the time the West End company take their final bow, this critically acclaimed production will have played 1048 performances in London, 47 performances in Dublin and won many major UK theatre Awards including the Olivier, Critics’ Circle and What’s On Stage Awards for ‘Best Musical’.

The current London cast of Come From Away includes Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), James Doherty (Claude and others), Mark Dugdale (Kevin T/Garth and others), Alice Fearn (Beverley/Annette and others), Kate Graham (Diane and others), Robert Hands (Nick/Doug and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J/Ali and others), Gemma Knight Jones (Hannah and others), Kirsty Malpass (Bonnie and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others), Lejaun Sheppard (Bob and others), with Chiara Baronti, Ricardo Castro, Stuart Hickey, Alexander McMorran, Sarah MorrisonLucy ParkJennifer Tierney and Matthew Whennell-Clark.

The Come From Away band includes Alan Berry (Musical Director/UK Musical Supervisor), Matt Bashford (Whistles/Irish Flute/Uillean Pipes), Aoife Mairead Ní Bhriain (Fiddle), Oli Briant (Electric/Acoustic Guitar), Justin Quinn (Acoustic Guitars/Mandolins/Bouzouki), Joey Grant (Electric and Acoustic Bass),  Ray Fean (Bodhrán/Percussion), Ian Whitehead (Drums/Percussion), Huw Evans (Associate Musical Director), Andrew Barrett for Lionella Music, LLC (Electronic Music Design), Phij Adams (Associate Keyboard Programmer), Ryan Driscoll (Music Preparation), and David Gallagher (Orchestral Management).

Come From Away shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives.

Experience the joy, heartache and soaring music as the spirited locals and global passengers overcome their fears and a world of cultural differences to come together and forge friendships that will stay with them forever. The first female American Airlines captain, the quick-thinking town mayor, the mother of a New York firefighter and the eager local news reporter are among the many real characters caught at the start of the moment that changed the course of history, and whose stories became a true celebration of hope, humanity and unity.

The international hit musical has celebrated sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, in Canada, throughout Australia, and on a 60-city North American Tour.

The Come From Away creative team includes Irene Sankoff and David Hein (Book, Music and Lyrics), Christopher Ashley (Director), Kelly Devine (Musical Staging), Ian Eisendrath (Music Supervision and Arrangements), Beowulf Boritt (Scenic Design), Toni-Leslie James (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (Lighting Design), Gareth Owen (Sound Design), David Brian Brown (Hair Design), August Eriksmoen (Orchestrations), Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG (Casting), Joel Goldes (Dialect Coach), Michael Rubinoff (Creative Consultant), Bob Hallett (Newfoundland Music Consultant),  Shirley Fishman (Dramaturg) and Tara Overfield (Associate Director and Choreographer UK).

Come From Away is produced in the UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away was co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre.

Tickets for Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre are available via comefromawaylondon.co.uk.

Come From Away to Play Final Performance in West End on 7 January 2023

Thursday, 30 June 2022

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


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

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

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

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Monday, 6 June 2022

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

photo credit: Idil Sukan

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

Monday, 6 June 2022

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

We Will Rock You (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


We Will Rock You (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 30th May 2022
★★★

Back for its 2022 tour, We Will Rock You is set in a dystopian future where "real" music has been outlawed and replaced with manufactured pop. Society is lived online and it's up to a group of Bohemians to travel across the Seven Seas of Rye, declare themselves the champions and bring back rock and roll and freedom for all.

This truly is a show about the music so you can somewhat overlook book issues but in terms of pacing it's a little clunky. The first act is chockablock with world-building including long winded character and plot introductions; and act two is a game of musical tetris where all the popular tunes we haven't already heard, are fired one after the other. In this production the book also has some modern updates thrown in here and there (some of which fall flat), but the rest of the set and staging doesn't match up and it certainly feels like it missed a chance to be revamped for 2022. There's an element of the outdated screens that does feel fitting but coupled with the budget wigs and costumes, it lacks the sparkle you expect with a tour of this scale.

The heart of We Will Rock You is certainly the cast and the show would be equally as good if it was just a concert of Queen's greatest hits performed by the superstars on stage. As leading man and hero Galileo, Ian McIntosh is wonderful. His vocals soar with so much power behind them and he really embodies the spirit of Queen. Alongside him, Elena Skye as Scaramouche is a dream. Giving major Kerry Ellis vibes, albeit in a different role, Elena's voice is outstanding and she really works with the limited script to make it funny and engaging.

As Killer Queen, Jenny O'Leary is a vocal powerhouse. Her command of the stage is enthralling to watch and she rightfully earns some of the biggest applause of the show. Michael McKell, David Michael Johnson and Martina Ciabatti Mennell also give strong performances. The rest of the cast and ensemble are also very good vocally but there is at times a lack of tight synchronicity that detracts from the clone message which is being put across.

The performances are absolutely top notch but the production itself gives more 'high-school final show' as opposed to 'big-buck tour' and for a show with such bold songs and ideas, there's no continuity or backup given through the sets or costumes, and they feel lacklustre in comparison to the score. 

Faults aside, if you want face melting vocals and all your favourite Queen songs, absolutely take a trip, but for a show that feels luxe and finessed, you'll need to look elsewhere.

photo credit: Johan Persson

We Will Rock You (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Maisie Smith to join Kevin Clifton in Strictly Ballroom UK Tour


Strictly Come Dancing finalist and much loved former EastEnders star, Maisie Smith, will make her musical theatre debut later this year, as she co-stars in the 2022/23 UK tour* of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical in the lead female role of Fran, alongside her former Strictly dance partner, Kevin Clifton, who she waltzed her way to victory with in the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Children In Need Special.

The musical, based on the award-winning global film phenomenon of the same name, inspired the world to dance and spawned the smash hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing. And now, new for 2022/23, this all-singing, all-dancing and all-glittering show – directed and co-choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood - is set to dazzle audiences once more with this glittering cast. Kicking off in Portsmouth on 26 September, the musical will then waltz around the UK before culminating in Bristol in July 2023. Tickets are on sale now from strictlyballroomtour.co.uk

Maisie first wowed Strictly fans with her dancing in 2019 in the Children In Need TV special with Kevin Clifton. After winning the hearts of the public, the following year she danced her way into the BBC One Strictly Come Dancing final. Earlier this year, Maisie joined the cast of the Strictly Live Arena Tour. She will now add another jewel to her Strictly crown, as she makes the move into musical theatre in Strictly Ballroom The Musical.

Maisie Smith said: “Dancing in Strictly has been a huge part of my life, and been so much fun. I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to continue that journey in Strictly Ballroom The Musical. Not only do I get to make my musical theatre debut with my former partner in crime, Kevin Clifton, but I get to work with Craig Revel Horwood and Jason Gilkison again too - I can't wait."

Kevin Clifton said: “I’m beyond excited to be performing with Maisie again – she’s amazing! And I’ll finally be fulfilling my lifelong ambition to play Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom The Musical. When I was 10 years old I first watched the movie that would become my favourite film of all time. This is my dream role. I can’t wait to don the golden jacket and waltz all over the UK with Maisie in what’s set to be an incredible show!”

Craig Revel Horwood said: "I’m delighted that the super talented Maisie Smith is joining Kevin Clifton on the Strictly Ballroom UK tour. I can’t wait to see them dance together again. Expect some sexy moves, sizzling costumes and a simply sensational evening! I know that they’ll both be FAB-U-LOUS!"

Strictly Ballroom The Musical, co-choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Creative Director Jason Gilkison, tells the beguiling story of Scott Hastings, a talented, arrogant and rebellious young ballroom dancer – played by former Strictly Come Dancing professional and 2018 champion, Kevin Clifton. When Scott’s radical dance moves see him fall out of favour with the Australian Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran (Maisie Smith), a beginner with no moves at all. Inspired by one another, this unlikely pair gather the courage to defy both convention and their families – and discover that, to be winners, the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom.

Featuring a show-stopping book by Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce, and bringing together a sublime cast of over 20 world class performers, Strictly Ballroom brings to life iconic songs, including Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time with dynamic and joyous verve. This tour will also feature some amazing new songs by internationally acclaimed artists including Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect. The show’s scintillating singing, dazzling dancing and eye-popping costumes will combine together to bring audiences a story of heart, comedy and drama, and promises to be an unforgettable night under the glitter ball.

This uplifting and courageous musical originated as a stage play that Baz Luhrmann devised with a group of classmates at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1984. Eight years later he made his screen directorial debut with ‘Strictly Ballroom’, the first instalment in Luhrmann’s acclaimed Red Curtain Trilogy. The vibrant film enjoyed staggering success, winning three awards at the 1993 BAFTA awards and a 1994 Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture, going on to become one of the most successful Australian films of all time, earning more than $80 million at the box office. In April 2014 Strictly Ballroom The Musical had its world premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom the Musical is a fabulous, feel-good evening full of sequins, singing and salsa. This unmissable kaleidoscope of glitz and glamour is a tonic for the soul and will send your heart soaring and toes tapping long after you leave the theatre!

* Maisie Smith is performing until 25 March

Maisie Smith to join Kevin Clifton in Strictly Ballroom UK Tour

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Gary Barlow Going Back to His Roots with A Different Stage


Frodsham local, lauded singer, songwriter, composer and producer Gary Barlow, is heading back to his hometown for four very special performances of his critically acclaimed theatrical one man stage show. He’ll perform A Different Stage at the Frodsham Community Centre over 2, 3 and 4 June. Those with a credit card registered to a WA6 postcode* will be able to purchase tickets on Thursday 26 May, with general sale tickets available from Friday 27 May.

 

In A Different Stage, Gary takes audiences on a journey through his life story, which began in Frodsham back in 1971. A Different Stage premiered at The Brindley, the award-winning theatre in Runcorn, Cheshire, in February to a rapturous reception and Gary has since played to sell-out audiences in Salford, Liverpool and Edinburgh. He’ll also take the show to Dublin, Newcastle, York and more, plus he’ll make his West End debut at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre in August.

 

A Different Stage performance dates announced today:

Frodsham Community Centre - Thursday 2 June

Frodsham Community Centre - Friday 3 June

Frodsham Community Centre - Saturday 4 June (matinee)

Frodsham Community Centre - Saturday 4 June (evening)

 

Gary said: “It’s been thrilling to perform ‘A Different Stage’ in so many wonderful places over the past few months, but to be able to bring this show to Frodsham feels incredibly special to me. I can’t wait!”

 

Created by Gary and his long-time friend and collaborator Tim Firth, A Different Stage sees Gary narrate the journey of his life alongside the music from his incredible discography. In a project unlike anything he’s ever done before, Gary will take the audience behind the curtain, with nothing off limits in this special performance.

 

Gary Barlow is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters and record producers. As part of the group Take That, he has won eight BRIT Awards and sold over 45 million records. Aside from his achievements with Take That, he has also co-written and produced music for other renowned artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams.

 

In more recent years, Gary has also turned his attention to the world of theatre, composing the score for the hugely successful production of Finding Neverland; working alongside Tim Firth on  Calendar Girls The Musical; and collaborating with Tim and his Take That bandmates on The Band, a record-breaking stage musical currently being adapted into a feature film.

 


Gary Barlow Going Back to His Roots with A Different Stage