Posts with the label the other palace
Showing posts with label the other palace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the other palace. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Reputation, The Other Palace | Review


Reputation
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Friday 8th November 2019 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

It's the 1930s and the males in Hollywood are King. The world is glamourous, 'talking pictures' are all the rage and a good story can get you far. Alick and Suzanne Glass' musical is narrated by Freddy Larceny, a huge Hollywood producer who steals a young up-and-coming writer's work and has to fight for the reputation he's so carefully sculpted. 

At this time, women are expected to be domestic creatures who stay in their lane and are there to support men with all they require; however, our heroine Michelle Grant confronts this and aims to write a novel and be her own boss. Maddy Banks plays Michelle with a burning energy and a sweet level of self-confidence. Her voice is strong, well-controlled and perfectly fitting for the musical style of the show, but the lack of variation in the score means we don't hear the full extent of Banks' vocals. 

Alick Glass' music is entertaining at times and is certainly evocative of the 30s, New York and Paris, but overall the musical feels overstuffed with underdeveloped pieces. Abrupt stops and repetitive melodies often hinder the flow of the show and instead of adding anything to the story, just reiterate something already mentioned. The best musical moments happen when the girls join together in ensemble harmony but these are equally overused and begin to lack oomph quickly.

Tamsyn Salter's choreography is delightful and again very fitting for the time period. Salter has worked wonderfully with the limited space of The Other Palace Studio and will surely look even better when the show develops to bigger venues. 

As the sleazy but kind of likeable crook, Jeremy Secomb is superb as Freddy Larceny. He is confident, slick and highly accomplished in his performance, giving a super strong vocal performance and is seeming well rounded despite actual character development. The lawyer who takes on Larceny, Archie Bright is played well by Ed Wade who is charmingly awkward and gives a stand out performance in act two when his vocals really shine.

Overall this is a production which certainly has potential but definitely needs to be edited and streamlined. It's great to see a show which focusses on a female narrative and rewriting history but it's hard to sympathise fully with our leading lady when many of her decisions remain motivated by a man. The love story is sweet but overshadows the female empowerment aspect which had the potential to be crucial and really make this show stand out. The cast do a great job and there are glimmers of magic but there absolutely needs to be more.

photo credit: photo donato

Reputation, The Other Palace | Review

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Falsettos, The Other Palace | Review

 
Falsettos
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Thursday 5th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★
 
Despite feeling a little too long and being shrouded in recent drama, the current production of Falsettos at The Other Palace makes it clear why this musical was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2017. 
 
The musical in its current form is based on three one-act musicals which have been fused together by James Finn and William Lapine. It began in 1979 with In Trousers, followed by March of the Falsettos in 1981, and Falsettoland in 1990. In 1992 these were combined to create the show which played on Broadway for over a year and is currently making its UK premiere.
Falsettos begins with the hilarious 'Four Jews in a Room Bitching' where we are introduced, as the name suggests, to four Jews and "one half-jew". Throughout the show we learn about a family as they crumble and put themselves back together. Family patriarch Marvin (Daniel Boys) is falling in love with a charming man, Whizzer (Oliver Savile) and is ready to leave his wife Trina (Laura Pitt-Pulford) and son Jason (Albert Atack). Meanwhile Trina gets closer to her therapist, (Joel Montague).
PJ McEvoy's set of blocks which are moved around to form the various locations, are highly effective and just simplistic enough to provide interest without taking away from the emotional songs. Bright, evocative lighting by Nic Farman is equally entertaining.
Although this show does feel a tad too long, with a lot of songs crammed in and not a whole lot of story, there's no denying that it's fabulously staged and features an absolutely stellar cast. Laura Pitt-Pulford brings the audience to rapturous applause with her stellar rendition of 'I'm Breaking Down'. In fact, this is a cast made up of crystal clear singers with perhaps some of the best placement on the West End. Natasha Barnes and Gemma Knight-Jones brings lightness and power both vocally and physically as the "lesbians next door", and Oliver Savile also provides many stand out vocal moments. The entire team act through song fantastically and truly bring out the best of the work, whilst, Chris Whybrow's sound design highlights the strong vocal techniques which course through the cast.
The show is pretty much sung through, with a variety of rhythms, colours and musical feels. There's humour and heartbreak and a warm sense of conversation throughout. Intricate but not in-your-face Falsettos is a must-see reminder of human love; and a great example of how moving music can be.
photo credit: The Standout Company

Falsettos, The Other Palace | Review

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Feeling, The Other Palace | Review


The Feeling
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Monday 2nd September 2019

With an influx of Broadway transfers and film/book to movie adaptations dominating the London theatre scene, it's always wonderful to see new British theatre developing. The Feeling by Kyra Jessica Willis is a good example of this, as it brings social troubles to light in a headstrong way that feels authentically British.

The Feeling follows a tight knit group of friends who congregate in their local cafe to chat, moan and laugh. Various issues begin to plague the group as they struggle through life's ups and downs and we see how easy it is to fall apart. The small cast features cafe owner Mel (Halie Darling) who is a little unsure of herself as she begins a relationship with geeky and incredibly caring Jamie (George C Francis).  Kyra Jessica Willis plays the snide Jessie who has an innuendo to offer at every moment; with PJ Tomlinson playing her ex and moral supporter Kasey. Chloe Hazel brings the psychologically controlling Edie to life and Chris Barton is Holt, the new man in Jessie's life. Completing the cast are Pippa Lea as Lexie and Sean Erwood as Archie who have a good chemistry with one another and provide some touching moments.

Director George C Francis does a good job of utilising the small stage of The Other Palace but at times there seems to be either too much or too little going on in terms of action. The cast are clearly developing their characters as they exchange knowing glances which extend beyond the text, but these sometimes detract from crucial moments on stage. This is especially evident when conversations continue as the cast exit the stage and space. Whilst, at times this brings an effective realism to the characters, at others it takes away from the main action and would perhaps be more efficient if mimed.

The text lends itself to being a straight play but this show takes on a jukebox format, with several pop songs dotted throughout to further the drama and emotions. Often these work but the show could work equally well as a sleek play, perhaps with musical interludes to fill scene changes as opposed to full songs. Despite this, the song choices are catchy and there are a number of strong performances, especially from Pippa Lea and Chloe Hazel. From Kelly Clarkson to Kate Nash, there's a variety of music that does provide entertainment and varies the tone throughout. The lighting changes from the spoken scenes to the sung scenes are somewhat abrupt in their contrast but do a good job of differentiating the emotions from being internal to external.

As Willis' first foray into theatrical writing, this is a production which shows promise and a positive willingness to create new work which sheds light on intense subjects. For the most part the dialogue is realistic, the characters are well defined and the subject matter is delicately handled. There are several tweaks which can made in terms of rounding out the story and bringing further truth to the text, and the show definitely needs to be streamlined to make it a real competitor in the theatre scene, but as a work in progress The Feeling definitely has potential. Monsteers Artistry continues to rattle forward with innovative ways to break down barriers in the theatre industry and provide opportunities for a range of people, something which can only be applauded.

The Feeling plays at The Other Palace on 7th September at 3pm and 8pm

The Feeling, The Other Palace | Review

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Monday, 12 August 2019

Squad Goals, The Other Palace | Review


Squad Goals
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Saturday 10th August 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Squad Goals written by Michelle Payne follows Lexi who wants to have the best summer ever playing football with her friends (and foes) before results day comes and they all have to take steps towards their futures. 

What's great about this piece is that each person has a characteristic or emotion the audience can relate to; so whilst football may not be your bag, there are other aspects which will draw you in and entertain. From Mel the theatre fanatic to Missy the wannabe lawyer and Ellie-Mae the social media influencer, there's a whole array of characters, each of whom are well identified and enjoyable to watch.

This is the third play to be performed by students of the Caspa Arts: Acting for New Writing part time course and it's terrific to see a showcase of performers in training, and new British theatre. The 10 strong cast work incredibly well as a  team and it's clear that they are loving working and developing together. 

Whilst the ensemble work is wonderful, there are a number of stand out performances. Firstly Mia Kelly as the hopeful drama student Mel. Mia is fantastically natural on stage and has great comedic timing, her performance is witty and well thought out. As leader of the squad Lexi, Hannah Khalique-Brown gives an ardent and charismatic performance as she races forward to fight inequality between women's and men's football and break barriers between social groups in her local area. As a character, Lexi is very truthful as she steps up to the plate without being over the top or unbelievable, something Khalique-Brown emphasises well. 

The influencers who are forever taking selfies and posting #ad posts are everywhere you look these days and Sophia de Souza brings the squad's resident 'It Girl' Ellie-Mae Hague to life with a marvellous balance of humour and kindness. Whilst Ellie-Mae is extra in every sense of the word, she is also a team player and the bond she has with the other girls is put across very well by de Souza, as is the compassion she shows as she influences the union of the groups. Lauren Cooper also shines as the dippy Sharky who is charming throughout and naturally gets the audience on her side.

Elsewhere, Emily Clark gives a strong performance as Amanda and has a great chemistry with Verona Smith as Missy who delivers some great one-liners and bounces off the other girls well.  Morag Davies is suitably feisty as Scrappy-Doo and Stephanie Stevens gives a well nuanced portrayal of Misha who is consistently fighting for equality but also longs for a group of friends to share her triumphs with. Antonio Ayuso provides comedic moments as he tries to prove himself to be a "man's man", Clara Mainardi is greatly mysterious as Assassina and as a whole the cast are very strong.

The use of movement is very effective in this piece, with the opening scene giving Spring Awakening vibes as the women approach the issues they face not only in football but in life. Throughout there are entertaining passages where the cast transition from one place to another or highlight specific feelings through sharp movement. This does well to both further the story and keep the intensity high from start to finish. 

In a time when the world seems pretty dark, it's lovely to see such an uplifting piece of theatre that highlights the importance of passion, hard work and friendship. Of course this is the beginning stages for Squad Goals and there's certainly room to pad out the story and establish the characters a bit more but overall, this is a really enjoyable hour, with a company of fantastic promise. Hopefully the show gets the further development it deserves and we don't see the end of this female story.

Squad Goals, The Other Palace | Review

Monday, 12 August 2019

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace, The Other Palace | Review


Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 19th May 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The Other Palace is playing host to a new series of intimate solo concerts, where the West End's finest get to perform their favourite songs in a laid back session called Sunday Favourites. Last Sunday Dreamgirls and Waitress superstar Marisha Wallace, took us on a soulful journey where she opened up about her life and showed off her golden pipes in a wonderful celebration of music. 

Featuring an eclectic selection including an Aretha Franklin medley, My Funny Valentine, Zero to Hero and How Deep is Your Love, Marisha provided something for everyone and vocal gem after  vocal gem.

As well as a fine solo repertoire, a number of guests also helped the proceedings. Nicole Raquel Dennis and Nathaniel Morrison brought some smooth, crazily tight backing vocals to a few songs, including a remixed version of Britney Spears' Lucky which was hauntingly brilliant. Jodie Steele also took to the stage for a lovely performance of the India Arie classic, Ready For Love; whilst Lucie Jones joined Marisha for a fiery rendition of Take Me or Leave Me. Both Jodie and Lucie complemented Marisha excellently and all three created a warm, natural environment that welcomed the audience in. It goes without saying that the vocals were super and it's great to know that all the performers are thriving on musical theatre stages where their talents can really shine. Competition winner Lashayah, also showed that the future of the West End is in very safe hands.


Despite having missed the concert version of The Colour Purple I was lucky enough to hear Marisha perform the powerful I'm Here at her 2017 Soul Holiday concert, and was absolutely thrilled to have another chance to hear her incredible rendition on Sunday. Marisha has a wonderful ability to word paint even the smallest of words to truly bring a piece of music to life. Her vocal skills are matched by her magnetic personality and witty rapport with the audience. 

Again, Marisha spoke candidly about her life, namely the ups and downs she has experienced throughout her career and more recently as she soared in Dreamgirls but struggled in her personal life. Hearing someone be so honest on stage is refreshing and works to unite the audience through common emotions.

It's evident from the new levels Marisha has consistently been reaching since she came to our side of the pond, that she's got a long career ahead of her and a loyal fanbase over here. It just goes to show that talent really is appreciated and alongside being a kind, genuine person, will get get you everywhere. Of course there are negatives and lows, but Marisha is proof that with perseverance, hard work and real skill, you can succeed.

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Sunday Favourites: Marisha Wallace, The Other Palace | Review

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Thursday, 21 February 2019

In Conversation With... Shaun McCourt | West End Live Lounge | Interview

West End Live Lounge is back at The Other Palace on March 10th for a celebration of WOMEN. The stellar line up of performers will sings songs from powerful ladies, all whilst raising money for Samaritans. I spoke to founder, Shaun McCourt about all things West End Live Lounge...



Can you tell us a bit about the creation of West End Live Lounge?
West End Live Lounge started in 2017 as an idea for a series of concerts to raise money for charity and has since grown to where it is today. I wanted to create an event which would allow West End performers the platform to sing material which was not from the world of musical theatre with a live band. There was a gap in the gig/concert circuit for such an event and I simply decided to go for it-and what an exciting journey it has been.


You’ve gone from the Union Theatre to the Other Palace Studio to the main house and each concert is getting bigger and better. What’s the next thing you’d like to achieve with your concerts?
I am always overwhelmed by the support that West End Live Lounge receives. It is great to see so many people enjoying the concerts. Without this support, its reputation would not be where it is now. The show continues to grow and there are certainly exciting plans in place for its future. However, I am going to keep the secrets for now I am afraid. Watch this space!

In terms of what I would like to achieve, my aim is to continue to produce concerts that not only entertain our audiences, but also raise as much money for charity as possible.


What’s your favourite part of putting the Live Lounge concerts together?
Though I may look slightly stressed on the day of a Live Lounge concert, I have to say that I enjoy the whole process of putting it together- from picking the theme, to casting the line-up, liaising with The Other Palace, to the day of the concert itself. However, if I had to pick a favourite moment, it would be the rehearsals and soundcheck on the day of each event. The Live Lounge band are all incredible musicians and our musical director, Sam Coates, is a genius. That moment when we are all set up and I hear the band play for the first time is really special. It is always a reminder of just how much hard work people put into making these events a success. 

West End Live Lounge has become a bit of a family. The central team is made up of Sam Coates (musical director), Will Miney (technical manager) and myself. However, all performers and musicians that have been involved become part of this family. Getting to work alongside so many talented individuals always makes this such a rewarding process.


What can people expect when they come and experience a West End Live Lounge?
People can expect a great night at the theatre. If this doesn't happen, then I am doing something wrong! A West End Live Lounge event promises a fantastic line up of incredible singers and musicians. Each concert has an exciting theme and gives the audience the chance to see their favourite West End performers step out of the world of musical theatre. 


Each concert you raise money for a different charity, how do you choose the charities to support and what do they mean to you?
Choosing the charity for each concert is always a tricky job. There are so many important charities, so rather than continue to raise money for just one, I decided that it was really important to me that each concert raised money for a different cause. For some concerts, the theme and charity often go hand in hand. There have also been times where a major event has happened in the world around the time of the concert and it makes total sense to donate the proceeds to this cause. 


If you could have any performer dead or alive to perform at a Live Lounge, who would you choose and why?
This is a tricky question! I am incredibly grateful to every single performer who has given up their time to be part of a West End Live Lounge event. They each bring an amazing talent and such a great energy to the stage. It is important to me that I continue to introduce new faces to the Live Lounge stage and that each concert offers a diverse and exciting line up.

But if I had to pick one person... 

Well...If I could get Jennifer Hudson along to sing a number, would I be excited? Absolutely!


Can you sum up in 5 words why people should come to the next West End Live Lounge?
Belting for a good cause.


West End Live Lounge tickets go on sale March 25th.

Full cast (subject to availability): Adam Bailey, Christina Bennington, Louise Dearman, Lauren Drew, Simon Gordon, Jennifer Harding, Matthew Harvey, Emma Hatton, Lisa Marie Holmes, Claudia Kariuki, Sejal Keshwala, Emma Lindars, Shekinah Mcfarlane, Kayleigh McKnight, Christina Modestou, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Lauren James Ray, Danielle Steers, Laura Tebbutt, Jennifer Tierney, Rodney Vubya.

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

In Conversation With... Shaun McCourt | West End Live Lounge | Interview

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Monday, 4 February 2019

MT Fest UK, The Other Palace | Press Launch


Brainchild of Paul Taylor-Mills, MT Fest, opens at The Other Palace in one week's time and is set to provide a host of new and exciting theatrical events. Last week saw the launch of the festival in The Other Palace Studio and featured special performances from Luke Bayer, Evelyn Hoskins and Sooz Kempner

When introducing the festival, Paul explained how he's always wanted to put an event like this on because of the large amount of work he gets sent that doesn't get the chance to be showcased. He told us how many pieces don't lack quality, but can't be developed because there is a "lack of resource and audience appetite"; and how this festival is his way of showcasing hidden gems in musical theatre and allowing composers, writers etc... to be seen by not only a paying audience, but industry professionals who can help them develop their work in the future.

He also reminded us that no one knows what makes a successful musical (and if they say they do, they're lying.) So this whole showcase of musicals is an exploration and adventure to see what works in front of an audience and what doesn't.


The two week event is structured so there's something to see at all times of day, including:

  • The Taster Menu: the main event for showcasing new musicals. Eight semi-staged shows lasting 45 minutes each. Information about the shows and tickets can be found here
  • BEAM Brunches: Shining a light on some of the most talented up and coming musical theatre songwriters. Full listings can be found here
  • Tea for Two: Frank and inspirational afternoon chats with some of the most celebrated people in musical theatre. Including chats about choreographing a musical, the do's and don'ts for auditions and how theatre criticism is changing. Full listings can be found here
  • Night Caps: Informal late night concerts with some of the top musical theatre performers. Paul told us he's also asked the performers to add in a song or two which hints at their next career move which is exciting. To see the performers and book tickets, click here
Evelyn Hoskins described the festival as a "pick n mix of new work" and it certainly seems like there's going to be something for everyone to discover so why not immerse yourself in theatre and attend this event!

MT Fest UK runs from 11th-23rd February 2019. Tickets are available online or from the box office at The Other Palace.

MT Fest UK, The Other Palace | Press Launch

Monday, 4 February 2019

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, The Other Palace | Review


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Thursday 31st January 2019 by Nicola Louise 
★★★★★

There’s a reason Showstopper! won an Oliver award; there’s a reason why this show (which on the tin has the potential to be messy) has been running for near enough 12 years without fail, and that reason is that it's pure brilliance.

Showstopper! is fun, new and refreshing and a different show every performance means you can go back and enjoy the comedy again and again without boredom setting in. There’s always something new and exciting to watch.

The basic premise of the show is this; Cameron Mackintosh wants a new musical, and he wants it written within the next two hours- as audience members we’re invited to help. Our job is to set the ball rolling and call out places for the setting as well as styles of musicals or composers, then vote which ones we think are the best. We also help with the title of the performance, ours was ‘Austria the Moosical’ (can you guess what that was about??)

We had a range of musical styles within out show, Fiddler on the Roof, Mamma Mia, Les Mis, Titanic, The Sound of Music and School of Rock.

There’s clearly a format which the actors follow but this doesn’t make the show less enjoyable. The story and songs are made up on the spot with the band doing very well to keep up with the styles of musicals being called out by the producer who’s sat on stage and helps move the story forward.

From scene to scene there seems to be a leader within the improv group, who the cast refer to for leads. The company work very well together and apart from a couple of actors speaking at the same time,  there’s nothing bad to say about this show.

Improv is always going to worry some theatre goers: "Are they going to be boring?", "Are they going to now know what to say next?". But personally I feel improv adds a whole other level to shows. Even scripted shows which include some improv always feel unique and special.

The cast on stage clearly love what they do and this comes through from the moment they step on stage and the first word is spoken. They enjoy the laughter their improv brings and you can see the hard work and dedication they put in to performing a new musical every night.

I wasn’t too sure what I’d make of this show when I first heard about it, but from the moment the show started, I realised that my worries were just that of how I’ve seen previous improv shows performed.

If you’re questioning whether to see this show or not ... STOP! This show defies theatre as we know it and will bring a smile to our face from beginning to end. I’ve already informed friends that they need to see this show, I suggest you run out now and buy the tickets, you won’t regret it.

Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical is currently playing at The Other Palace until the 16th March 2019. Tickets can be purchased via London Box Office here

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, The Other Palace | Review

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, The Other Palace | Review


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Wednesday 23rd January 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

It's. So. Good. 

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is exactly what it says on the tin, a musical that is created new every night by audience input and the amazing, fast thinking and uber talented cast. Every show is different and every show is a celebration of the amazing improv performers. Tonight was the 1000th performance of Showstopper but you could've been at every single one and seen something unique every time; that's the joy of the show.

Tonight's show, titled The Cream of Yorkshire, was set in a soup kitchen and featured songs inspired by Singing in the Rain, Oklahoma, The Producers, The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret, Joseph and Bat Out of Hell. It was wild and wonderful. 


The cast work together to create priceless, drama filled and absolutely wild shows. Up to seven performers appear at each performance, with each one having an unrivalled amount of comedic and improvisational talent. They create a show, and command an audience who are in the palm of their funny hands from the second they step on stage.

Despite the full improv of this show, it's so well planned it's unreal. The cast know each other and their movements so intensely that they pick up every innuendo and make it into a polished, laugh out loud performance. 

This is top dollar entertainment that will have you laughing your socks off and feeling inspired to create. Showstopper! is a magical, mysterious and wonderful show that needs to be seen... and then seen again!

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is at The Other Palace until March 16th 2019

photo credit: Savannah Photographic and Alex Harvey-Brown

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, The Other Palace | Review

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Friday, 23 November 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 18th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

We all know by now that West End Live Lounge concerts are in my top ways to spend a Sunday, and last weeks 90s extravaganza was no different! A host of the West End and theatre in generals finest, took to the stage at The Other Palace to perform some remixed and refreshed versions of 90s classic hits as well as some less remembered tunes.

Ever humourous and energetic, Vikki Stone and Paul Taylor Mills presented the night, which raises funds for a different charity each month, with banter and bounce. Opening the show, Matthew Harvey treated us to a laid back version of the secondary school music class classic, Wonderwall which perfectly set the tone for the night of nostalgia. 


A string of vocally flawless performances followed with Sam Coates' arrangements doing justice to the performers, venue, musicians and audience. As always he breathes fresh life into music and manages to balance warmth and energy in everything he touches. Particular stand outs included Lauren Drew's spine tingling rendition of I'm Your Baby Tonight, Sharon Sexton's All About Soul which had the entire audience bopping along, and Brady Isaacs Pearce's Hallelujah which brought Carrie Manolakos vibes and a whole lot of heart and power. 

The buzz was clear during the interval, from the beaming faces, to bopping heads and general chipper vibes, the anticipation for act two grew and we all knew we were in for another series of musical treats.


Vocal powerhouse and sultry queen Danielle Steers gave ballad realness with Don't Speak whilst Divalution brought their usual sass with their epic 90s mash up. All the ladies have not only voices for days, but for months. Some icy vibes were given to the evening by Jordan Luke Gage's dark and vocally incredible performance of You Oughta Know. 

Sophie Isaacs also performed a lovely mash up, whilst, accompanied by gasps from the audience, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton joined forces to perform the well loved song which was cut from Bat Out of Hell: It Just Won't Quit. Every single performance of the night had something special and it's really magical to experience such diversity come together to celebrate music and talent.

As always, if you weren't at this West End Live Lounge, you missed a whole lot of brilliance but don't fret because there will be future concerts and it's clear from the Union Theatre to now, that the only way is up for Shaun McCourt and West End Live Lounge!

Keep up to date with West End Live Lounge on twitter

photo credit: Leigh Lothian

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review

Friday, 23 November 2018

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Monstersongs, The Other Palace | Review


Monstersongs
The Other Palace Studio 
Reviewed on Tuesday 6th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The Other Palace played house for the UK premiere of Rob Rokicki's Monstersongs, a theatrical experience that combines rock music, theatre, graphic novels and technology. Taking form as part song cycle, part staged show, Monstersongs is a journey into the minds of often misunderstood 'monsters' and 'baddies'. The music flips the switch on the traditional monster narrative and welcomes us to look at the alternative side of a story and the humanity which unites us all.

This show has the potential to be performed in a number of venues and formats so it will certainly be exciting to see how it evolves and progresses. In its current iteration, we see a series of stories introduced by the young narrator, Bradley Riches who welcomes the creatures to centre stage as well as becoming the Dragon in the rousing song, Reluctantly.

Aside from the vocal performances, the live band are the stars of the show. Providing enough oomph for the rock feel but not becoming overpowering, even in the intimate space of The Other Palace Studio. David O' Neill's graphic novel artwork is also it's own character, with projections adding another layer of interest to the story and helping create the multi-sensory feel of the performance. 

Sinéad Wall and Amanda Flynn give a stand out performance with Blood and Brains which is equal measures humourous and gruesome. Sinéad also performs Say Goodbye, a moving number about the pain of Medusa as she freezes another man to stone, with vocal ease and power; whilst Amanda is suitably heartbroken and wicked at the scorned witch in Hell Hath No Fury. Tyrone Huntley is a vocal powerhouse in Down and Under which tells the story of the troll under the bridge and Right Through You is performed with chilling smoothness by Cleopatra Higgins. Another stand out is certainly George Damms in both his first number, The Plans, where he is extremely witty as Igor and his second solo, I'm Sorry in which he showcases his superb vocals.

Whilst I wouldn't say Monstersongs is an immersive show right now, it certainly has the potential to be one and it could definitely do well as a musical which becomes a sort of art installation. It's a 60 minute rock musical about monsters, that provides vocal greatness and heartfelt (if at times predictable) stories- what more could you ask for?

Monstersongs, The Other Palace | Review

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Friday, 7 September 2018

Five Reasons to see Eugenius



I've been lucky enough to see Eugenius throughout it's journey, from it's first public concert at the London Palladium, to its first stay at The Other Palace and now at its triumphant return. It's wonderful to see such a fun British show become an audience favourite and a cult classic. At risk of full on repeating myself, instead of reviewing the show again, I bring you a list of reasons why should see it...

It's the Definition of Catchy- If you're a fan of upbeat, 80s inspired music and heartfelt ballads then this show is for you. If you don't find yourself humming "go Eugenius" or "Don't shoot for the stars, shoot higher" basically all the time after seeing the show, then you are very good at escaping musical earworms! (It's in my head even just from writing those words)

The Cast are Superstars- The talent on the stage of The Other Palace is unreal. Rob Houchen perfectly embodies the geeky Eugene who loves comics more than life and dreams of a brighter future where he will "inherit the earth". Laura Baldwin's voice is complete perfection as she balances angst, humour and joy with ease. Dan Buckley is the ultimate musical theatre comedian and Scott Paige brings the ideal level of sass to The Other Palace. Basically, this cast are astronomical and deserve to be seen.




It Allows us all to be G.E.E.K Geeks- However hardcore we try and be, deep down (or not deep down in my case) we're all geeks. This show allows us to embody this whilst living our best 80s lives. The message of the show is all about acceptance and inspiring us to strive for more, which is pretty great indeed.

The Whole Show is Pure Fun- Eugenius is one of the most self-aware shows I've ever seen. There are so many parts that are ridiculous and super cheesy and it does have it's faults but it knows that and doesn't try to be anything more than it is, which is a pure fun-fest. For a light-hearted, truly joyous night, get yourself along to Eugenius.




The Fans Are the Best- It's my belief that the fans can make or break a show. Regardless of what critics/reviewers say, a shows fanbase can spread the love and word quicker than wildfire. Sitting in row G I had a wonderful view of the fantastic fans who took up much of the first two rows and who were giving as much to the cast as the cast were giving to the audiences. Their beaming smiles, instant applause, knowledge of every word and action in the show and love on social media is heartwarming to watch. Go see Eugenius purely to see what the fans are raving about!

Eugenius runs at The Other Palace until October 21st 2018 

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Scott Rylander

Five Reasons to see Eugenius

Friday, 7 September 2018

Monday, 21 May 2018

Divalution: The Re-Launch, The Other Palace | Review


Divalution: The Re-Launch (Concert) 
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 20th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

What a night. Divalution took over The Other Palace for a Sunday night of flawless vocals, spades of personality and a whole load of fun. I was made aware of Divalution (previously Sapphire Soul) when I saw them perform at West End Live Lounge. From the first time I heard their killer voices I was obsessed. These ladies are class, sass, fire and vocal prowess combined to create a perfect group who deserve to been seen and heard everywhere.

Made up of friends Laura Tebbutt, Sejal Keshwala and Lisa-Marie Holmes, Divalution come together to belt out new songs and classics which are beautifully arranged and showcase the ladies' brilliant technique. It's clear from their polished performance that many hours of hard work have gone into creating a perfectly oiled machine and their passion, determination, dedication and love really shine through.

The ladies opened the show as they meant to go on, with a fiery rendition of Survivor by Destiny's Child and the song of the moment, This is Me from The Greatest Showman. We were then introduced to their fab personalities, with each including jokes and anecdotes throughout. Every song was wonderful but standouts included Over The Rainbow, their 23 song 90's Medley, Defying Gravity and All I Ask/When We Were Young.


As well as hearing the delightful group sound of Divalution, we were also treated to solo performances. Laura Tebbutt put her own spin on Elbow's One Day Like This which included to my delight, some audience participation. Laura, known as the belter of the group has vocals and facial expressions for days and I fully want to be her when I grow up (still fooling myself that 21 isn't grown up.) Laura's vocals are honestly some of the best I've ever heard; just when you think she can't belt any higher she takes it up a billion octaves and sounds impeccable doing it. I don't understand how she hasn't been Elphaba yet, or why she's not in every single show in the West End. Honestly outstanding.

Lisa Marie-Holmes' solo was a haunting version of Snow Patrol/Leona Lewis' Run which showed off her powerful voice, stellar belt and lyrical soprano range. Again, this lady needs more recognition in the world because she is AMAZING!

Completing the trio is Sejal Keshwala who's performance of Dangerous Woman blew the roof of The Other Palace off and had most of the audience on their feet- truly mesmerising.

As well as Divalution themselves, we also got to hear special guests Rob Houchen who perfectly sung I'm Not the Only One and Marisha Wallace who blessed the audience with her Whitney Houston medley. Marisha has taken the West End by storm since appearing as Effie White in Dreamgirls and by god does this lady know how to work a crowd. The audience were putty in her hand as they stood up, sung along and absorbed themselves in her insanely good vocals and stage presence.


Due to the fact that the ladies of Divalution also have solo careers, they have a couple of stand ins who replace them if all three can't make a gig. We were introduced to Nicola and Katie when the five ladies joined together for the rousing act one closing number, Power. West Finchley is very lucky to have so many talented vocalists residing there!

Mention must also go to the outstanding band, led by Robert Eckland and made up of Doug Harper on drums, Richard Coughlan on bass, Jeff Leach on keys and Adam Goldsmith on guitar. They kept the night going and provided fantastic accompaniments throughout with Adam completely wowing me with his insane playing. My only negative of the night was that the mics were a little too loud at the start but this was quickly remedied and didn't diminish my enjoyment of the evening at all.

Every song was so full out that my larynx hurt for Divalution when leaving the theatre and as a  classical soprano who can't belt to save her life, I can only dream of being able to hit the notes they do. It's concerts like this that get me riled up because these ladies are so so SO talented but don't get half the recognition they deserve. With so many 'famous' artists nowadays being auto-tuned beyond belief, it sucks that naturally talented people such as Divalution are not at the stratospheric levels of fame they deserve to be at. Of course it's not about fame and it's clear from the three ladies that they do what they do for a love of singing and music but tell all your friends, families, acquaintances and people you meet on the street to listen to Divalution so they can keep wowing people. Spread the Divalution word and be inspired not only by their vocals but their strength and conviction as women.

Keep up to date with Divalution via their twitter and instagram.

photo credit: West End Video & Olivia Mitchell

Divalution: The Re-Launch, The Other Palace | Review

Monday, 21 May 2018

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Louise Dearman: This is Me, The Other Palace | Review


Louise Dearman: This is Me (Concert) 
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Saturday 19th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Louise Dearman is West End royalty so it's only fitting that her first solo concert in four years took place on the day of the royal wedding. The question is: who's the bigger queen? Well Meghan may actually be royalty now but Louise's killer voice, perfect humour and all round brilliant stage presence certainly makes her a Queen in my eyes.

Last night's concert at The Other Palace felt like a family coming together to celebrate Louise. I must admit I'd never seen Ms Dearman in a solo concert before but looking around at the smiling faces and hearing the instant applause made it clear that her loyal supporters and friends were all there to revel in the gloriousness of her performance. There was no hesitation in cheering, joining in to clap or laughing out loud; the audience were so giving and I can only imagine how great that must feel as a performer. 

Louise's performance was faultless. Her natural wit and charm had me smiling from ear to ear and just feeling joyous. The concert featured a number of songs from new album For You, For Me which includes songs Louise has fallen in love with over the years and songs fans have asked her to sing. Particular stand out's of the night were Easy as Life which was effortlessly beautiful and Time Heals Everything which not only sounded glorious but rekindled my love for Mack and Mabel. Other standouts were the haunting, Uninvited, heartfelt She Used to Be Mine and the wonderful Donna Summer medley.

The band were outstanding as were Louise's backup singers/duet partners. Ashley Samuels sounded especially beautiful durning his duet of City of Stars. The delight on everyone's faces was evident which made the killer vocals even more impressive.


Obviously Louise's powerhouse belt mixed with smooth vocals are outstanding but it's her charisma which makes a night like this so special. From the get go she commands the stage and is genuinely funny. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at a concert and am truly honoured to have been a part of the night. Louise's quick wit goes a mile a minute and she fills every moment of no singing with a joke, anecdote or hilarious facial expression which keeps the show flowing and the audience invested through the concerts entirety. Particularly hilarious was when Louise restarted her song after singing it in a MirandaSings style (not that it sounded bad to me at all!), a self-confessed lyric forgetter, Louise is professional at carrying on and makes light of any mistakes and she certainly didn't forget as many lyrics as this iconic performance of June is Busting Out All Over. 

Everyone who was a part of this concert was outstanding and it was a truly mesmerising night. Louise Dearman is a spellbinding performer and I can only hope it's not another four years until we get to experience this joy again. Louise told the audience to never be afraid of asking her to sing songs so I'd like to put my request in that she performs the entire phone book... alternatively a gender-switched version of Moving Too Fast from The Last 5 Years.

Louise's album For You, For Me is available now.

Louise Dearman: This is Me, The Other Palace | Review

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Sunday, 25 February 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge (Concert) 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday 11th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll know that I am a huge West End Live Lounge fan, I've been going since they started and feel so proud watching them get bigger and better. The most recent concert was the biggest to date, taking over the main stage at The Other Palace; hosting a number of uber talented performers and providing a wonderful, chilled out, musical night. For anyone that doesn't know, West End Live Lounge is a concert every few months featuring some of the best the West End has to offer who perform a variety of non-musical theatre songs to entertain and raise money for a specific charity. This time, the musical theatre performers united to raise money for the charity Barnardo's. Our compère for the night was the fantastic Ian Stroughair (who wowed me before Christmas with his Velma Celli show) who opened the show with a bang and set the tone for the talent and joy to come.

As always every performance was top notch so I'm just going to mention a few stand outs instead of turning this into an essay! Firstly, the stunning Jodie Steele, fresh off her stint on BBC One's All Together Now,  performed 'Castle on the Hill' with ease and smooth riffs which left us all wanting more. Equally riff-tastic was Emma Kingston who joined the West End Live Lounge family during her brief break from touring with Evita, to wow us all with her performance of Lady Gaga's 'Edge of Glory'. The always hilarious Natalie McQueen brilliantly put her own twist on the classic 'Hot N Cold'.  All three ladies continually blow me away with their vocal performances.


Kayleigh McKnight was definitely an audience favourite with her breathtaking performance of 'Creep' which showed off her vocals perfectly and Cleve September brought back his signature loop pedal to create an eerie but stunning vocal performance of 'Spirits'.

Superstar Natalie Green gave a beautiful rendition of Adele's 'When We Were Young' whilst Brady Isaacs Pearce channeled Demi Lovato gloriously with her effortless performance of 'Skyscraper'. My final mention goes to Joel Harper-Jackson who's ridiculously long note in 'Wicked Game' should be put into the World Record books- glorious!


The West End Live Lounge concerts are truly joyous to be a part of because they not only celebrate the fantastic talent the West End has to offer but raise money for fantastic causes. I cannot wait to see what's in store for the next concert; my only hope is that the intimate feel can somehow be brought back. With the previous concerts there has been a very informal vibe but bringing the performance into a theatre did distance it somewhat and the audience stuck to the 'normal' theatre etiquette rules more. Obviously it's amazing to be able to fill a bigger space and allow more people to see and hear these outstanding performances but it's hard to strike a balance between having more space whilst still maintaining an intimate feel.

Regardless, this was a wonderful concert and I know the upcoming ones will be to so do yourself a favour and follow @WELiveLounge on twitter so you can snap up tickets as soon as they go on sale!


West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Eugenius, The Other Palace | Review


Eugenius
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Tuesday 30th January 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

I saw and loved Eugenius back in 2016 at it's premiere concert at the London Palladium, so I was very excited when I read it was returning to The Other Palace. I'm pleased to say I stand by my initial review- I absolutely adored this, unique, hilarious, feel-good show. 

Eugenius tells the story of Eugene, a G-E-E-K who has written a comic book and gets thrown into a crazy Hollywood, space story. Alongside we have Janey who is head over heels in love with him and does everything she can to impress him but has been placed firmly into the friend zone. 

With music and lyrics and a book by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, Eugenius is a full on cheese fest of all things brilliant about the 80s. I'm 21 so wasn't alive then but it's so iconic that I couldn't help but feel nostalgic in a weird way. The music is catchy, the dialogue is laugh a minute and the whole show is just a big, joyous delight.


The cast are absolutely outstanding. As Eugene we have West End newbie Liam Forde, who is geeky and charming with a beautiful voice. His chemistry with everyone is great but especially with the delightful love interest Laura Baldwin as Janey. Laura's voice is something else, 'The Future is Bright' is definitely a stand out moment. Equally witty and loving, Laura is perfectly cast in the role.

As the best friend, Dan Buckley is hilarious as Feris. Despite being a comic role, Daniel's vocals shine and he is wonderful throughout. Equally comic is Scott Paige as Theo who is sassy and vocally outstanding. As the mean man, Cameron Blakely is perfectly despicable as Lex. His demeanour and crude actions make you pray for his demise. Ian Hughes is striking as the other, spacey villain, Evil Lord Hector.

This show creates an infectious atmosphere and has everyone bouncing and humming the songs as they leave the theatre. In my initial review I said that "this musical is bound to become a cult classic and pave the way for a whole wave of new musicals" and I think that still sums up my feelings. Eugenius is a unique, humourous celebration of being yourself and embracing your inner geek. With catchy music and a stellar cast, there's not a reason you shouldn't see this show!

Eugenius runs at The Other Palace until 3rd March

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Eugenius, The Other Palace | Review

Thursday, 1 February 2018