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

Thursday 22 February 2024

Hadestown at the Lyric Theatre REVIEW: A Soul-Stirring Journey to the Depths of Hell


Hadestown
Lyric Theatre

There are musicals that touch your soul and for me that’s Hadestown. I first saw the show in 2018, where I went in completely blind and came out gob smacked and awed. Tonight after the official West End opening night, I feel equally awed as well as inspired, moved, astounded, heartbroken and overjoyed. There really aren’t adjectives to describe how heartfelt and special this show is. Not only is it a piece of fantastic quality theatre but it’s also a poem, a concert, a celebration of life and humanity, an ode to music and above all, a love story.

Hadestown tells the tale of young Orpheus and Eurydice as their tales intertwine. It's a musical retelling of the ancient Greek myth of the duo and follows the journey of Orpheus as he descends into the underworld, determined to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the clutches of the charismatic but menacing Hades. Despite the various iterations and productions this musical has gone through, one constant is how scarily relevant the themes it explores feel in our modern world. Hades, ruler of the underworld and the mines, ostensibly grants "freedom" through employment while simultaneously confining his subjects behind a barrier. Why We Build The Wall is certainly one of the most pertinent songs of the production, its relevance hits all too close to home in the current world.

The musical borders the line between acting as "the world we live in, and the one we dream about", in thanks part to Rachel Hauck's set. Scaled down slightly from the National Theatre production, it still evokes Depression-era vibes and cleverly frames the story. Bradley King's lighting literally highlights some of the most astounding moments of the show, especially during Hades' peak moments, as well as casting shadows to create an almost cinematic feel; overall it's just an incredibly cohesive show that has a vibe and aesthetic that matches it so well.

This undefined world is perhaps best showcased by Anaïs Mitchell's incredible score which combines so many styles a creates such special storytelling. The intricate lyrics allow layers upon layers of emotions to form as Anaïs weaves a musical tapestry that is charming and delightful at times, but gritty and painful at others. Mitchell has truly crafted a musical masterpiece that transcends time and genre and creates a theatrical experience like no other.

Director Rachel Chavkin has meticulously pored over each performer, set element, musician, and lighting effect to craft a production that leaves us suspended between despair and hope. This version of the show also feels perfectly tweaked for the West End, with the use of the performer’s natural accents making the whole thing feel very real and grounded, an inspired change! David Neumann's precise choreography fits seamlessly with the revolving stage, continually moving between frenetic energy and poignant stillness that works so well. This is a piece which is so reliant on balance, the balance between good and bad, love and hate, light and dark, loud and quiet, beauty and pain, among others, and the entire cast and creative team have perfectly understood and managed this balance to form a musical that leaves you not quite sure what emotion you're experiencing, but 100% sure you experienced something special.

At it's core this is a story about people, and the people who lead it are wonderful. As the headstrong Eurydice, Grace Hodgett Young is everything you could ask for in a leading lady, her calm is as strong as her passion and she fills every moment with charisma. There’s often mention of “stage presence” but it’s rare you see the phrase as outwardly displayed as with Grace who commands even the smallest of moments. Of course she’s also vocally dreamy, showcasing all layers of her voice and perfectly bringing the vocal grit that’s so necessary for the role. Her easy swagger and playfulness is a perfect balance to Orepheus' more nervous persona. Taking on the role of this heartstrong counterpart, Donal Finn is delightfully whimsical and charming. Donal's Orpheus truly comes into his own during act two when his passion for his partner and also his music are on full display and his voice becomes a beacon of hope cutting through the darkness of despair. It's utterly heartbreaking when we reach the expected conclusion, a testament to the emotion the cast pour out to get us to that point.

As the enigmatic Hermes, Melanie La Barrie is all parts wonderful, her presence commanding the stage with every word and gesture and bringing humour and gravitas in equal measure. Her performance weaves together the threads of myth and legend with an all knowing wisdom that seems to transcend time, she truly gives everything on stage and is a marvel to behold.

Hadestown is more than a musical—it's an experience, a testament to the enduring power of art to touch the very depths of our souls. It's a rare gem that shines brightly in the landscape of contemporary theatre, a reminder that sometimes, even in the darkest of times, there is still beauty to be found.

In the hallowed halls of the Lyric Theatre, you can bear witness to something truly extraordinary. Hadestown is a triumph in every sense of the word and it needs to be seen.

★★★★★
Reviewed on Wednesday 21st February 2024 by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Hadestown at the Lyric Theatre REVIEW: A Soul-Stirring Journey to the Depths of Hell

Thursday 22 February 2024

Saturday 17 February 2024

The Addams Family Concert at the London Palladium REVIEW | A Kooky Show with a Killer Cast


The Addams Family in Concert
London Palladium 

Since premiering in the UK in 2017, The Addams Family has been somewhat of a regular feature on our theatre scene with a number of tours that garnered great reviews and a fanbase who couldn't help but be charmed by the kooky family. This week, the London Palladium housed the latest iteration with three concert versions of the show that told the wacky, romantic tale so many have grown to adore.

Witnessing their daughter Wednesday fall in love with a "normal" boy, the Addams family finds themselves grappling with the challenge of acceptance. In an effort to bridge the gap, Wednesday takes it upon herself to arrange a dinner party, inviting both families to come together. What unfolds is a delightful blend of hidden secrets, eccentricity, and a whirlwind of kooky chaos, showcasing the unique charm and humour of the Addams family universe.

As is the case with many "concert" versions, this was really an almost fully staged production, complete with costumes, sets,  choreography and more. These sort of shows are always a real testament to the hard work of the entire team both onstage and backstage, to put together such sleek, well-rounded performances, with extremely limited rehearsal time.

This was a wonderfully sleek production, framed by Ben Cracknell's fantastically striking lighting and Diego Pitarch's suitably outlandish set and colour matched costumes. Taking most of the elements from the touring production, the whole concert embodied the vibes of the unconventional Addams family, highlighting the important parts of the storyline and making the whole thing feel much more elevated than a traditional concert. Having not had a permanent home, the show has had to create a design that fits within the confines of moving around the country every week so I do think if it were to find a permanent home in the West End, it could really lean into the lavish grandeur of the Addams Family, and perhaps bring Central Park to life a bit more, to really step things up and give it the wow factor.

In terms of casting this was a star studded affair. Ramin Karimloo took on the role of Gomez Addams, the suave protective father who just wants to do right by his family; giving a performance that was nothing short of wonderful. With hilarious line delivery and of course those smooth, powerful vocals we all know and love, Ramin showcased a hilarious side that I'd love to see more of. We must also mention the collective audience gasp when he took his blazer off, if you know, you know! As his partner in crime, Michelle Visage made Morticia Addams her own. Whilst her performance wasn't always the most exciting, with the dialogue being a little one note (even for Morticia), her look and the way she carried herself was perfect for the role. Just Around the Corner was a really brilliant theatrical moment and I think given time, Michelle could really develop and refine her Morticia. 

As the love struck teens, Wednesday and Lucas, Chumisa Dornford-May and Ryan Kopel were wonderfully paired. Having only recently graduated Chumisa already has an impressive resume and it's certainly set to expand, given her absolutely out of this world vocals. She not only hit every note perfectly but her tone and diction were noticeably brilliant and everything sounded so healthy, I can't wait to see her succeed and shine! The role of Lucas isn't particularly developed but Ryan did a wonderful job of bringing him to life and created some lovely moments. Another stand out was Kara Lane who astounded as mother Alice Beineke, giving vocals that pretty much blew the roof off of the London Palladium. Sam Buttery was charming as Uncle Fester, Nicholas McLean a great addition as Pugsley and Dickon Gough a wonderful dose of comedy. The rest of the ensemble brought the other characters and ancestors to life really well and helped form the world of Addams.

Book wise I do think this is a show with flaws and the pacing isn't always perfect but it has heart, charm and a number of earworms that make it a really easy watch that you go back to again and again. 

It's not the most sophisticated piece of theatre but, The Addams Family in Concert was a ghoulishly delightful experience. With outstanding performances, this concert truly captured the essence of the Addams Family legacy. Whether you were a die-hard fan or new to the Addams universe, this concert provided a spooky, kooky night of fun and paved the way for the show to continue enrapturing audiences.

★★★
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th February by Olivia
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

The Addams Family Concert at the London Palladium REVIEW | A Kooky Show with a Killer Cast

Saturday 17 February 2024

Thursday 8 February 2024

Kathy and Stella Solve A Murder! transfers to the West End



Francesca Moody Productions, Kater Gordon, Wessex Grove and Fiery Angel are delighted to announce that award-winning smash-hit murder mystery musical Kathy and Stella Solve A Murder! will transfer to the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End for a strictly limited season from 25 May - 14 September after thrilling audiences in Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester. Tickets are now on-sale at www.kathyandstella.com with 5000 under £25 and a ticket lottery to be announced. 

Bronté Barbé and Rebekah Hinds will reprise their roles as Kathy and Stella alongside Imelda Warren-Green who will once again play Erica. Further casting is to be announced.

Originally brought to the stage by Francesca Moody Productions and Kater Gordon Kathy and Stella Solve A Murder! won Musical Theatre Review’s Best Musical Award at the Edinburgh Festival 2022. The production reunites the writing and musical talents of Jon Brittain - Book and Lyrics / Co-Director and Matthew Floyd Jones - Music and Lyrics who previously collaborated on the critically acclaimed, Fringe First award-winning A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad). Fabian Aloise Co-Directs and Choreographs.

BFFs Kathy and Stella host Hull's least successful true crime podcast. When their favourite author is killed they are thrust into a thrilling whodunnit of their own!

This big-hearted, laugh out loud musical follows the unlikely crime-fighting duo as they put their friendship on the line to become part of the story. Can they crack the case, (and become global podcast superstars) before the killer strikes again…?

Kathy and Stella Solve A Murder! transfers to the West End

Thursday 8 February 2024

Todrick Hall to play Sean and Michael Mather will play Jackson in Burlesque The Musical


Todrick and Michael join the already announced Jess Folley as Ali Rose, Olivier Award-winning George Maguire as Vince, Billie-Kay as Sophia,  B Terry as Georgie, West End favourite and TikTok and social media sensation Jess Qualter as Daphne, Yasmin Harrison as Brenda/Dance Captain, Lily Wang as Fifi, Hollie-Ann Lowe as Summer and Alessia McDermott in the Ensemble.  
 
Other cast members announced today are: Ope Sowande as Trey, Lewis Easter in the Ensemble, with Callum AylottLucy Campbell and Amber Pierson as Swings.

Steven Antin said: 

"Todrick Hall’s kinda genius is singular. The kind you rarely see. His work is prolific and masterfully entertaining.  The songs he wrote for the show are in a word…iconic.  The role of Sean is an anchor/entertainer who has poetry and is wickedly funny. So it was abundantly clear we had to get Todrick to play Sean. And sometimes I dunno if I wanna kiss him or slap him. ❤️  But I DO know I’m a very lucky guy to have him in our show. Very."
 
Todrick Hall, who has also written brand new songs for this new production of Burlesque the Musical added:  

“The movie of Burlesque was so iconic to so many of us — to now be working with both Steven Antin and Christina Aguilera who are reuniting for this new musical is a dream come true.
 
I am beyond excited to be returning to my first love, musical theatre, in such a special way. My first original role and my theatrical composing debut. To be able to bring music that I wrote to life, to share the stage and the writing credit with the star that is Jess Folley is a dream come true! I'm blessed, honoured, flattered and ready to dust off the old heels and let the kids have it 8 shows a week!”

 

Todrick Hall to play Sean and Michael Mather will play Jackson in Burlesque The Musical

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical extends its season at The Other Palace


Bill Kenwright Ltd is delighted to announce that the London premiere of Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical (“Sexy, smirky... a fast, funny guilty pleasure” - Evening Standard) will extend its acclaimed season at The Other Palace by 5 weeks to Sunday May 19th.

The cast of  Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical is led by Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky and Daniel Bravo as manipulative step-siblings Kathryn and Sebastian.It also features  Abbie Budden as Annette and Rose Galbraith as Cecile, Josh Barnett as Blaine, Jess Buckby as Ms Bunny Caldwell/Dr Greenbaum, Nickcolia King-N’Da as Ronald and Barney Wilkinson as Greg, with an ensemble of Craig Watson, Nathan Lorainey-Dineen, Charlotte O’Rourke and Verity Thompson.
Step-siblings Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil, manipulative monsters flushed with their own sexual prowess, engage in a cruel bet: Kathryn goads Sebastian into attempting to seduce Annette Hargrove, the headmaster’s virtuous daughter.  Weaving a web of secrets and temptation, as the two set out to destroy an innocent girl - and anyone who gets in their way - their vengeful crusade wreaks havoc on the students at their exclusive Manhattan high school and the diabolical duo become entangled in their own mesh of deception and unexpected romance, with explosive results...

Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical extends its season at The Other Palace

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Monday 5 February 2024

Cara Delevingne and Luke Treadaway to join the cast of Cabaret | THEATRE NEWS


The award-winning West End production of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club is thrilled to announce that actress and model Cara Delevingne will play Sally Bowles, and Olivier Award-winning actor Luke Treadaway will take on the role of The Emcee from March 11 to June 1, 2024. Delevingne expressed her excitement about making her stage debut, while Treadaway is thrilled to join the Kit Kat Club production.

The show is booking until February 2025, and Cara Delevingne will have specific dates when she won't be performing*. They join Michael Ahomka-Lindsay as Clifford Bradshaw, Beverley Klein as Fraulein Schneider and Teddy Kempner as Herr Schultz. Nic Myers plays the role of Sally Bowles once a week.

Completing the company are Wilf Scolding as Ernst Ludwig, Jessica Kirton as Fraulein Kost/Fritzie, Liv Alexander as Texas, Natalie Chua as Frenchie, Taite-Elliot Drew as Hans, Damon Gould as Victor, El Haq Latief as Helga, and Travis Ross as Bobby, joining Laura Delany as Rosie, Grant Neal as Herman/Max and Hicaro Nicolai as Lulu. The cast is completed by Rebecca Lisewski, Ela Lisondra, Nic Myers, Andy Rees, Toby Turpin and Patrick Wilden.

The prologue company are Rachel Benson, Ami Benton, Onyemachi Ejimofor, Joseph Hardy, Liz Kamille, Andrew Linnie, Aine McLoughlin, Jack William Parry, Jazmyn Raikes, Oliver Stockley and Ena Yamaguchi.

Cabaret, praised as the ultimate theatrical experience, opened in December 2021 and won seven Olivier Awards in April 2022. The Broadway production featuring Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin is set to open at the Kit Kat Club in April.

Transforming the theatre with an in-the-round auditorium and reimagined spaces, the Kit Kat Club invites guests to enjoy pre-show entertainment, drinks, and dining. The musical, featuring iconic songs like "Wilkommen" and "Don’t Tell Mama," is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, with set and costume design by Tom Scutt and choreography by Julia Cheng. The production promises a unique and immersive experience for audiences.

*Cara will not be performing on the following dates - Wednesday 13 March (matinee), Thursday 21 March (evening), Wednesday 27 March (matinee), Thursday 4 April (evening), Tuesday 9 April (evening) Wednesday 10 April (matinee and evening), Thursday 11 April (evening), Friday 12 April (evening), Thursday 18 April (evening), Wednesday 24 April (matinee), Thursday 2 May (evening), Monday 6 May (evening), Tuesday 7 May (evening), Wednesday 8 May (matinee and evening), Thursday 16 May (evening), Friday 17 May (evening), Saturday 18 May (matinee and evening), Wednesday 22 May (matinee) and Thursday 30 May (evening).

Photo credit: Jay Brooks and Emilio Madrid

Cara Delevingne and Luke Treadaway to join the cast of Cabaret | THEATRE NEWS

Monday 5 February 2024

Thursday 18 January 2024

Rehab the Musical at Neon 194 Review: Struggles to Find Its Narrative Harmony


Rehab the Musical
Wyndham's Theatre

Written by Elliot Davis with music and lyrics from Grant Black and Murray Lachlan Young, Rehab the Musical follows 26-year-old pop star, Kid Pop (Christian Maynard), who finds himself in court, after being caught red handed in a drug fuelled tabloid sting. A judge gives Kid the choice between jail time or a rehabilitation centre for six weeks. Kid chooses to go the Glade rehab centre where he meets a host of characters and has to face some harsh realities about himself.

The musical tries to seamlessly weave together an array of elements that, unfortunately, leave the overall production feeling a bit scattered. The emotional journey is a rollercoaster, evoking heartfelt moments that pull at the audience's heartstrings, only to be swiftly followed by chaotic, feverish musical interludes that seem to materialise out of thin air. This tonal inconsistency gives rise to an emotional whiplash, making it a bit challenging for the audience to fully immerse themselves in the unfolding narrative.

Amidst the theatrical mosaic are intriguing plot line crumbs, teeming with the potential for impactful developments. Regrettably, these narrative threads are left hanging, never fully explored or developed. The overarching structure of the production yearns for a more streamlined approach, as the multitude of introduced ideas creates an unfocused and somewhat in-cohesive storyline. The musical teeters between being sincere and heartfelt, whilst also really leaning in to over the top humour, a balance which in this instance doesn't quite work.

However, within the ebb and flow of its narrative, Rehab the Musical has some luminous moments. The production sparkles with genuinely hysterical instances and unforgettable one-liners, thanks to the standout comedic performances by Keith Allen (Malcolm Stone) and Jodie Steele (Beth Boscombe). Steele's solo number is particularly striking, a testament to her vocal prowess, even though the character she portrays lacks the nuanced depth required for a fully rounded portrayal.

The undeniable chemistry between Maiya Quansah-Breed (Lucy Blakeand Christian Maynard (Kid Pop) adds a dreamy allure to the stage. Both actors deliver performances that resonate, yet the dialogue between their characters falls short of allowing for a fully realised emotional connection. That being said, their duets and solos are truly some of the high points of the show, with vocals that float and soar around the venue.

Commendation is due to the set design (Simon Kenny), which functions seamlessly in the round. Stairs metamorphose into drawers, and a minimalist aesthetic facilitates smooth scene transitions, preventing the physical aspects of the production from feeling cumbersome. It's not particularly inventive or exciting but really works in the confines of the space. On the flip side, while the choreography (Gary Lloyd) offers visual interest from every angle, it fails to weave itself significantly into the overarching action or storyline, missing an opportunity to enhance the narrative through movement.

Mica Paris, once again, graces the stage with a stellar vocal performance but finds herself in a role that echoes with underdevelopment. Her undeniable talent radiates- especially in her duet with Maiya, Museum of Loss which is a true theatrical treat- but again, the character lacks the narrative depth necessary to fully showcase Paris's abilities.

A standout moment in the production is the glorious gospel song that concludes the first act Letters Goodbye/Don't Eat Your Feelings, etching itself into the collective memory of the audience. It underscores the musical's potential for powerful and emotionally resonant moments. 

While Rehab the Musical boasts strengths, including comedic brilliance, dreamy performances, and impressive set design, it falls short of deciding what sort of show it wants to be and fails to achieve a cohesive narrative.

★★★
Reviewed on Wednesday 17th January 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Mark Senior


{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Rehab the Musical at Neon 194 Review: Struggles to Find Its Narrative Harmony

Thursday 18 January 2024

Sunday 17 December 2023

Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre London | REVIEW


Stranger Things: The First Shadow
Phoenix Theatre 

As someone who ventured into the realm of Stranger Things: The First Shadow without much prior experience with the series, aside from watching a few episodes and a recap, I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly captivated by this spectacular supernatural spectacle. The Duffer Brothers, with Jack Thorne and Kate Trefry have crafted a story that effortlessly drew me into the mysterious world of Hawkins, Indiana, even as a newcomer to the Stranger Things universe.

From the very first applause inducing scenes, I found myself immersed in the gripping narrative that skilfully combines elements of suspense, nostalgia, and the supernatural. The show's ability to seamlessly introduce me to its characters and the intricacies of their relationships made it easy to connect with the story, and I was quickly invested in the fates of these intriguing personalities.

The prequel introduces both beloved characters and fresh faces, each receiving substantial development and individuality. The performances are exceptional, characterised by universally nuanced and emotionally charged portrayals. Louis McCartney, in his striking West End debut as Henry Creel, delivers a chilling performance that combines twisted actions with an alarming charm. McCartney's masterful physicality, full of spasms and contortions, adds an extra layer of intensity to the role- I can only imagine how much physio he'll need during the run! Isabella Pappas embodies Joyce with fierce brilliance, seamlessly incorporating Winona Ryder's iconic traits while infusing the character with her own spin. Pappas creates a captivating, headstrong persona that garners unwavering support. Alongside her, Oscar Lloyd portrays James Hopper Jr. with suave charisma, delivering witty one-liners and exuding an aura that captivates throughout.

The brilliance of this show lies in the meticulous attention and craftsmanship dedicated to shaping the intricate backstories of every character. Each member is endowed with distinct intentions and personality traits, allowing for intrigue at every turn. There isn't a single weak link to be discovered, but special recognition is deserved for the performances of Christopher Buckley as the endearing Bob Newby and Michael Jibson, who delivers haunting moments as the tormented Victor Creel. Max Harwood as Alan Munson, injects copious amounts of humour, energy, and vitality into the narrative, fashioning a persona that practically begs for its own enthralling spin-off storyline; whilst Patrick Vaill brings eerie menace to the stage as Dr Brenner.

In the hands of Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, the play unfolds like a blooming flower, or more aptly, the opening mouth of a demogorgon. It moves seamlessly between the whirlwind of action and the rich tapestry of each thoughtfully crafted scene. High-school hallways and bathrooms, the mundane backdrop of everyday life, transform into breathtaking alternate worlds in the blink of an eye, all thanks to the nimble touch of Miriam Buether's set design. Jon Clark's lighting is like a choreographed dance, shifting between mysterious shadows and warm sunlight, mirroring the transformative journey of the characters.

The story takes a deep dive into the shadows, embracing a genuinely dark undertone with jumps and eerie sounds reminiscent of horror films, all expertly blended into the production by Paul Arditti's exceptional sound design. Yet, within the darkness, there's a contrasting brightness—a nostalgic, retro Americana that permeates the air. Sprinkled with snippets of song, it adds layers of emotion and complexity to this multidimensional theatrical experience, making it a journey that feels both supernatural and believable.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow is a testament to the storytelling prowess of its creators. As someone unfamiliar with the series, I can confidently say that this instalment stands alone as a brilliant and engaging piece of theatre. It has ignited my curiosity about the series as a whole, and I am now eager to explore the it to uncover the mysteries that follow this captivating chapter. Whether you're a seasoned fan or a newcomer like myself, this show is a spectacle that you must see. Full of drama, amazing performances and genuine sincerity, it's a Creel-y Creel-y great piece of theatre.

★★★★★
Reviewed on Friday 15th December 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre London | REVIEW

Sunday 17 December 2023

Tuesday 28 November 2023

He Sang to Me by Casey Tyler book review: A Delightfully Cheesy Ode to Broadway Romance


He Sang to Me by Casey Tyler
Self Published: 3rd October 2023 by Truelove Publishing


Casey Tyler's debut novel, He Sang to Me is a book that unabashedly caters to the delulu girlies, and as a self-proclaimed member of that tribe, I found myself both cringing and grinning through its pages. This 320 page tale, is reminiscent of a sweet and charming fanfic; intertwining the enchanting worlds of Broadway and romance – two of this reader's, favourite things.

The narrative unfolds amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, and the author's vivid descriptions and location name drops skilfully bring the city to life. As well as this the pages are dotted with stagey references that act like hidden treasures for theatre enthusiasts like myself. The book really evokes the frenetic energy of the theatre district and certainly sparked my desire to hop on a flight back to New York to explore every corner of the city.

He Sang to Me follows Sunday Truelove, an aspiring actress who moves to New York to pursue her dreams. Within moments she wins tickets to the hottest show on Broadway and whilst she's there has a magical encounter with the leading man and famous British actor, Tyler Axel. From here the two enter a fairytale romance and discover whether they're truly meant to be.

Honestly, it's as cheesy as it sounds and I kind of loved it. There are all the classic tropes, from being spotted by paparazzi to caring for the sick partner and in a way it's pretty iconic. On the other hand, it's pretty basic. The characters aren't particularly developed, Sunday has extreme 'not like other girls' energy which is a little grating and the book, at times, tips into self-indulgence and lacks a grounded narrative. Despite the characters being in their late twenties and thirties, their personalities and emotional journeys comes across quite immature and lean towards a younger audience. It's clear that a bit more editing and development could add a layer of realism to their characterisations. Some of the British aspects were also inaccurate and took me out of the world a little but these are definitely things that could be tweaked and edited for future prints. Nevertheless, the book shines in capturing the essence swooping romance and is a sweet stagey story, with some charming moments.


There are elements of the characters that I truly enjoyed such as Sunday's bright eyed optimism and Tyler's love for his family and his craft. I know I would fall for an ex-Fiyero with a killer voice, although in my experience they're never quite as unproblematic as Tyler! 

The rest of the characters, while somewhat idealised, form a found family that's lovely to discover. The friendships and relationships are sprinkled with relatable moments, creating a sense of nostalgia for those who have ever dreamt of having a dreamy friend group.

The musical theatre aspects of the story are really fun but I do think it would be interesting to include more of the backstage aspect of Broadway. With both of the leads being so heavily ingrained in the world, it would be easy to explore but a lot of the plot points surrounding it are quite surface level and because of the idealised world they are living in, the challenging realities of the Broadway business don't get a light shone on them. I definitely think this is a story that could benefit from a sprinkle of grit to elevate it to the next level.

Casey clearly has a love and talent for writing and whilst I found the initial chapters a bit heavy-handed with unnecessary descriptions, the writing blooms and improves throughout and it's quite wonderful that she's has taken the plunge to write and self publish the story, I'll certainly be keeping an eye our for future (hopefully stagey) treats.

In a nutshell, He Sang to Me offers a quick and enjoyable escape for fans of theatre, celebrity/normal dating dynamics, and the allure of found family tropes. While it may not be a polished piece of literature, its endearing charm, lively New York setting, and relatable theatrical moments make it a worthwhile indulgence for those in need of a cosy break from reality.

★★★
Reviewed by Olivia

Follow Casey to keep up with her writing journey

{AD PR product- book gifted by author}

He Sang to Me by Casey Tyler book review: A Delightfully Cheesy Ode to Broadway Romance

Tuesday 28 November 2023