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

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Unmissable Summer Theatre Ticket Sale From London Box Office | ad


*this post contains sponsored content*

As the days grow longer and the temperature rises, the vibrant spirit of summer fills the air. And what better way to embrace the season than by indulging in the magical world of theatre? London Box Office, the hub for all things stagey, and trusted ticket provider has announced an unmissable summer theatre ticket sale that will have you seeing your favourite shows for less. Whether you want to see something new or visit an old faithful, London Box Office's summer sale promises to get you there with the best prices.

The Summer Theatre Ticket Sale which runs from 29th May to 11th June brings you a host of incredible shows that promise to leave you spellbound. From iconic long-running musicals to critically acclaimed plays, they've curated a selection of the best performances the West End has to offer. Whether you're a fan of heartwarming stories, adrenaline-pumping dramas, or toe-tapping musical numbers, there's something for everyone.

London Box Office is committed to making theatre accessible to all, and their Summer Theatre Ticket Sale ensures that you can witness these world-class productions without breaking the bank. With exclusive discounts and tickets from £25, you can enjoy incredible savings. Don't miss out on this chance to experience the magic of the West End - book your tickets today and get ready for an unforgettable summer of entertainment!

To find out all the shows included in this stagey sale, click here

Unmissable Summer Theatre Ticket Sale From London Box Office | ad

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

2:22 A Ghost Story at the Apollo Theatre review: A tremendously tense night out


2:22 A Ghost Story
Apollo Theatre 
★★★★

2:22 A Ghost Story is quickly carving its name out in the UK theatre scene. Having played a number of runs at various West End theatres to much acclaim and with a touring version coming up, it's certainly a show which knows how to spook and entertain audiences.

Based on experiences had by the play's writer, Danny Robbins, this haunting production takes you on a thrilling journey into the supernatural, exploring themes of love, loss, and the unbreakable bonds that transcend time. The storyline is quite masterfully crafted, keeping you on the edge of your seat but equally including lots of humour which really works well and in fact makes the whole thing feel even more realistic. The pacing is solid, with suspense building at the right moments, and unexpected twists that keep you guessing. Sometimes the sound effects are a bit over obvious and aren't particularly scary but as a whole this is a really solid production.

Set at a dinner party, with minimal set or moving pieces, this really is a character driven piece and the cast do well at creating a truthful atmosphere that perfectly portrays a boozy evening. Sophia Bush's performance as Lauren is a really wonderful one; she is effortlessly sarky and charming and also has some tender moments that bring layers of complexity to the role. Ricky Champ plays her partner, Ben and is absolutely fantastic, his comedic timing is perfect and his intriguing character is so enjoyable to watch and try to work out. Taking on the role of Jenny, the tormented protagonist, Jamie Winstone brings depth and vulnerability and comes across quite genuinely terrified, with Clifford Samuel as her husband Sam the pair showcase an interesting dynamic which really takes you on a journey and shows you that families aren't always what they seem on the outside. 

Whats great with this show is that it's more than a surface level thriller; it also comments on social and economic issues, as well as beliefs and science vs supernatural. There are times when the commentary comes across as a bit forced and out of left field but for the most part, topics are broached well and really elevate the production to be more socially nuanced and topical. The chemistry among the whole cast is palpable, adding an extra layer of realism to the relationships portrayed on stage.

Anna Fleischle's set design leaves space for lots of spooky moments but is also perfectly mundane and fitting for the setting of the show. The Apollo Theatre really looks like it's had an open plan kitchen dropped into it and the attention to detail really captures the essence of a family home. Combined with atmospheric lighting by Lucy Carter, the ghostly tale has a perfect backdrop.

If you're a fan of thought-provoking theatre 2:22 A Ghost Story is a definite must-see. From the superb performances to the captivating storyline, this play transports you to a realm where the lines between the living and the dead blur, and where love and loss intertwine in ways you never thought possible. Running for two hours which fly by, this is theatrical experience that will linger in your mind like a persistent ghost long after the final curtain falls.

Reviewed on Tuesday 30th May 2023
photo credit: Helen Murray

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2:22 A Ghost Story at the Apollo Theatre review: A tremendously tense night out

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Operation Mincemeat at the Fortune Theatre a review: The must see musical of 2023


Operation Mincemeat
Fortune Theatre
★★★★

If you're looking for a unique and intriguing musical, then look no further than Operation Mincemeat in its West End transfer to the Fortune Theatre. This production tells the incredible true story of a WWII deception operation, that although morally grey, helped Britain win the war and it does so with style, charm and heart in spades.

The star of this exciting musical is undoubtedly the music which manages to be both catchy and poignant, with some of the wittiest lyrics in the West End right now. The book, music and lyrics are expertly constructed by SpitLip founders David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson, ZoĆ« Roberts and Felix Hagan (four of whom also star) and the whole show is maelstrom of musical magic. You'll find yourself continually laughing out loud and then all of a sudden wiping tears from your eyes as this hug of a musical manages to wrap you around its theatrical finger.

Every performance from the talented cast -completed at this performance by Claire Marie Hall, Jak Malone and Geri Allen (in her cover debut)- is a standout one. The precision with which they perform is just astounding and thanks to the script, there's a perfect balance between humour, satire and drama.

Aesthetically, Operation Mincemeat is a sleek mission. Ben Stones' set and costumes are perfectly evocative of MI5 and wartime London, as well as having a healthy dose of camp dramatics. One scene in particular features costumes perfect for a bedazzled version of Sweeney Todd! Really clever direction by Robert Hastie and joyous choreography by Jenny Arnold both let the story and performances to soar and ideally balance the line between allowing the performances to be genuinely funny without being cringe inducing. Shoutout must also go to Publicity Designer Bob King Creative for the genius artwork which accompanies the show. Once you see it, you won't un-see it!

In summary, this show is the epitome of fun. Poking fun at everyone and everything it is a satirical, stupendous, stomper of a show that will have you entertained and inspired. The new must-see musical, it needs to be booked immediately!

Reviewed on Tuesday 2nd May 2023 by Olivia Mitchell

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

Operation Mincemeat at the Fortune Theatre a review: The must see musical of 2023

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Friday, 21 April 2023

Ain't Too Proud at the Prince Edward Theatre review: A tumultuous tale told through stellar performances


Ain't Too Proud
Prince Edward Theatre
★★★★

A hit on Broadway, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, has finally opened in the West End and is a thoroughly entertaining, charismatic and soulful journey. The musical, with a book by Dominique Morisseau is a breathtaking celebration of the legendary Motown group, The Temptations, and their iconic music. Taking you on a journey through the highs and lows of stardom, it showcases how some of the most famous music was created and provides a really really fun night out.

The heart and soul of this musical are the performances which are unanimously nothing short of spectacular. The cast deliver powerhouse vocals that charm and mesmerise throughout and there are so many standout moments. The whole cast are spectacularly strong but mention must go to Cameron Bernard Jones, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, Ryan Carter and Michael James Stewart who really shine in their solo and ensemble moments. Each member who becomes part of The Temptations, does so with a real sense of nuance and the varying personalities and talents are showcased throughout; really capturing the essence and ethos of the original group.

Above all this is an ensemble piece, with some of the strongest moments coming when the cast unite both vocally and choreographically. Sergio Trujillo's choreography is some of the best in the West End right now, the sheer slickness and precision is a wonder to behold and the energy created on stage is supremely infectious. Featuring iconic hits like My Girl, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, and Ain't Too Proud to Beg, the show is a top-tapping fest of gusto and spirit.

The storytelling is mostly compelling, and the narrative (led by Sifiso Mazibuko) is engaging from the start. Spanning the long and tumultuous history of The Temptations, from their humble beginnings to their rise to stardom the show has a lot to fit in, and especially in the first act it feels a bit too much. Whilst every performance is engaging, it does feel a little too long and seems to keep going even when there's a natural break point. However, the story is a poignant and emotional one that delves into the personal struggles, triumphs, and dynamics of the group and includes some powerful messages. Alongside the musical elements, the show touches on themes of friendship and brotherhood, as well as shedding light on the social and political challenges faced by The Temptations and African American artists during that era. A poignant reminder of their impact on American music history and the enduring legacy they left behind, Ain't Too Proud is a strong celebration of The Temptations.

Ain't Too Proud is a wonderful addition to the West End that features dazzling production value, and timeless music. A celebration of The Temptations and their impact on Motown, it will leave you humming their hits long after the curtain falls. 

Reviewed on Wednesday 19th April 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Johan Persson

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

Ain't Too Proud at the Prince Edward Theatre review: A tumultuous tale told through stellar performances

Friday, 21 April 2023

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

The Mousetrap (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Mousetrap (Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
★★★★ 

“The World’s longest running play”, The Mousetrap is a classic whodunit play that has been running for 70 years in London’s West End and is now embarking on a UK tour. Seeing this touring iteration, it's easy to see why it has stood the test of time and continues to charm audiences.

The play is well-written and tightly plotted, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the audience guessing until the very end; Agatha Christie proves again why she continues to be one of the most lauded and loved mystery writers. The characters are interesting, and the performances by the cast are generally strong. Todd Carty as Major Metcalf and Kieran Brown as Mr Paravicini give especially strong performances and really engage the audience.

One of the things that impressed me about The Mousetrap is how it manages to keep you engaged and guessing throughout the entire performance. The play does an excellent job of setting up the mystery and then slowly unraveling it, with each new revelation leading to more questions and intrigue. Not only this, but sprinkled amongst the mystery of it all, are some really humorous moments which go down very well and make the pacing really work.

The set design and staging of the play are simple yet effective, and the use of lighting and sound helped to create a suitably ominous atmosphere, without being gimmicky or over the top.

Overall, The Mousetrap is a fantastic play that is definitely worth seeing for two hours of escapism. Whether you're a fan of murder-mysteries or just enjoy a good story, this play will not disappoint. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a thrilling and entertaining night out at the theatre. Find out for yourself Whodunit at your local touring theatre!

Reviewed on Tuesday 11th April 2023 by Valerie Field

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

The Mousetrap (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Vikki Stone on her Olivier Award Win | Hey Duggee Live | Interview



Vikki Stone is a British composer, comedian, actress and musician who has had huge success in tv, radio and theatre. She recently won an Oliver Award for her adaptation of the popular children's TV show, Hey Duggee. Vicki sat down to talk to us about her process when taking something from screen to stage, and how important it is for young people to experience theatre...

Firstly, congratulations on being an Olivier Winner 2023! Where were you when you found out you were nominated?
I was at the gym. (I didn’t share my excitement with anyone around me, as I’m not sure they’d have fully understood what I was excited about.)

You won for Hey Duggee which is a show that entices young audiences/families to the theatre, perhaps for the first time. What was the process like for creating a show, made to entertain and engage children?
Hey Duggee is a well loved kids TV programme, and there are 300+ episodes, so the very first thing myself and co-adaptor Matthew Xia did was sit down in a room with a massive whiteboard and write down all the things that audiences would expect to be in the show. We also wanted to surprise audiences, and deliver an experience that lifts the 2D cartoon into a 3D theatre world. We were also aware that this show would be many people’s first time in the theatre, so we wanted to make it magical and memorable too. We kept that list of audience expectations in our minds throughout the whole process and I think it paid off.

Why do you think it’s so important to involve people of all ages in theatre?
Family co-viewing, which is where Hey Duggee Live sits, is such an important genre of theatre. Those shows where 3 year olds can sit* down with parents, and grandparents and everyone has a good time.

*In Hey Duggee Live there’s no pressure that the under fives have to sit. There’s probably more bouncing around with joy, than sitting.

Within theatre you’ve had a pretty diverse career, what draws you to a project?
When I first started writing theatre it was whoever would pay me! There’s an advantage in the arts for those that can write without the pressure of needing to earn a living, and they can afford to be more choosy, I was not one of those people. I don’t think we talk about that enough in the arts. I wrote anything and everything. These days I do have passion projects that I’m working on that don’t have any finance attached, and you have to believe in those much more, and hope that at some point in the process someone will come along and help get it off the ground.

If you could create your next dream job, what would it include?
I’ve got something “in development” that is pretty much my dream job. I’d really like to work on an on-screen musical theatre show next! Watch this space.

What advice would you give to other female writers who want to break into the industry and forge out a path like yourself?
My advice would be to keep pushing and pivot if necessary. My whole career has been formed out of pivoting, and all the skills I gathered along the way - classical music, stand-up, composing - all form part of who I am as a writer now.

Thank you so much, congratulations on the award!

Vikki Stone on her Olivier Award Win | Hey Duggee Live | Interview

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Sunday, 2 April 2023

For Black Boys..., Apollo Theatre | Review


For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy
Apollo Theatre
★★★★

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is powerful and thought-provoking production which offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by young black men in today's society. The exceptionally strong play tackles heavy topics such as mental health, racism, and police profiling, all with a skilful blend of humour and heart that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. For Black Boys... is a must see in its limited run.

The performances from the cast, made up of Mark Akintimehin, Emmanuel Akwafo, Nnabiko Ejimofor, Darragh Hand Aruna Jalloh and Kaine Lawrence are universally strong, with each actor bringing a unique and enticing angle to their role. Ryan Calais Cameron's writing is equally impressive, with sharp dialogue and powerful monologues that strike you whilst watching and also stay with you long after the play has ended. What's so effective is how the show flawlessly integrates spoken word, music, and dance to create an immersive and multifaceted experience. The whole thing is utterly seamless and flows with such a strong balance of urgency and intimacy.

The set design (Anna Reid) and lighting (Rory Beaton) add to the immersive experience, transporting the audience to the therapy room, without feeling basic; and the use of multimedia elements and striking choreography (Theophilus O. Bailey) add extra layers of depth to the production. As a whole it feels incredibly modern, relevant and powerful; a stunning representation of why new British Theatre is so necessary.

The show tackles important and sometimes taboo topics surrounding mental health, masculinity, and the experiences of young Black men and it's often incredibly moving; but what works so well is how these important social issues are balanced with humour and light. The authenticity which runs through the piece makes it feel so personal, and the audience really go through the journey with the performers.

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is a deeply moving and important work of art that, is a must-see for those interested in social justice, mental health, and ultimately, the power of storytelling. When the ensemble come together, they create some of the most powerful theatre seen in the West End in a long time.

Reviewed on Saturday 1st April 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Ali Wright

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For Black Boys..., Apollo Theatre | Review

Sunday, 2 April 2023

Friday, 31 March 2023

Cast Announced for 42nd Street Tour


David Ian for Crossroads Live and Jonathan Church Theatre Productions are thrilled to announce that Samantha Womack will star as Dorothy Brock, alongside Michael Praed as Julian Marsh, Faye Tozer as Maggie Jones, Les Dennis as Bert Barry and Nicole-Lily Baisden as Peggy Sawyer in the UK tour of 42nd Street.

The cast will be completed by Sam Lips as Billy Lawlor, with Erica-Jayne Alden, George Beet, Charlie Bishop, Kevin Brewis, Olly Christopher, Briana Craig, Jordan Crouch, Rhianna Dorris, Ashleigh Graham, Alyn Hawke, Aimee Hodnett, Connor Hughes, Deja Linton, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Greta McKinnon, Ben Middleton, Benjamin Mundy, Anthony Ofoegbu and Jessica Wright.

Following its run at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, the production will visit Leeds, Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle, Woking and Belfast. Current tour schedule below, with further dates to be announced. 42ndstreettour.com

Samantha Womack most recently starred as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Her other credits include the role of Rachel in The Girl on the Train both in the West End and on tour, Morticia Addams in The Addams Family UK tour, Nellie Forbush in the Lincoln Center’s production of South Pacific at the Barbican and on tour, and Miss Adelaide in Michael Grandage’s production of Guys and Dolls alongside Patrick Swayze. Her screen credits include Ronni Mitchell in EastEnders, Mandy in Game On, the titular role in Imogen’s Face and The Kingsman franchise.

Michael Praed’s theatre credits include Tom Beauregard in Darker Shores at Theatre Royal Windsor and on tour, George in War of the Worlds at the Dominion Theatre, Alex in Aspects of Love at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Lawrence Jameson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dexter Haven in High Society and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music all on UK tours. His television credits include the role of Frank Clayton in Emmerdale, Prince Michael in Dynasty and the titular role in Robin of Sherwood.

Faye Tozer is best known as a member of BRIT Award winning pop band Steps. Her theatrical credits include Singin’ In The Rain at Sadler’s Wells and on tour in the UK and Canada, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre, and touring productions of In The Spotlight, Over The Rainbow, Me And My Girl, Love Shack and Tell Me On A Sunday. Faye was also a runner-up in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.

Les Dennis most recently starred as Grandad Trotter in Only Fools and Horses The Musical. His other West End credits include Wilbur in Hairspray opposite Michael Ball at the London Coliseum, Amos Hart in Chicago and Bill in Me and My Girl. His touring theatre credits include Art, Legally Blonde, High School Musical 2 and Uncle Fester in the musical comedy The Addams Family. His many TV credits include Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street and a fictional version of himself in Extras.

Nicole-Lily Baisden’s theatre credits include the role of Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon, both in the West End and on tour, and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre and on tour.

Sam Lips’ theatre credits include the role of Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain and Scott Hastings in Strictly Ballroom, both in the UK and Canada. His Broadway credits Cats, Chicago, Pippin, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and The Cher Show.

This new production will be directed by Jonathan Church (Singin’ in the Rain, The Drifters Girl) with choreography and design by Olivier Award winners Bill Deamer and Rob Jones, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Ian Dickinson and Gareth Tucker, video design by Jon Driscoll, musical supervision by Jennifer Whyte and orchestrations by Larry Blank.

This iconic song-and-dance spectacular features a hit parade of toe-tapping songs, including the title number, “We’re In The Money”, “Lullaby of Broadway”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “I Only Have Eyes For You”. 42nd Street is a timeless and inspiring showbiz fairy tale that combines breath-taking tap dance routines, backstage intrigue, classic romance and delightful comedy to dazzling effect.

Fresh off the bus from small-town America, young and beautiful Peggy Sawyer arrives in New York City dreaming of her name in lights. She quickly catches the eye of a big-time director and lands a spot in the chorus line of Broadway’s newest show…and when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy gets her shot at stardom.

42nd Street is a larger-than-life, massively entertaining celebration of musicals and the irrepressible spirit of Broadway that’s guaranteed to lift anyone’s spirits.

42nd Street has music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, based on the novel by Bradford Ropes. Original direction and dances were by Gower Champion. The show was originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick.

The use of all songs is by arrangement with Warner Bros. and EMI Publishing Ltd.

Cast Announced for 42nd Street Tour

Friday, 31 March 2023

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Eugenius!, Turbine Theatre | Review


Eugenius!
Turbine Theatre
★★★ 

After a London Palladium concert and subsequent runs at The Other Palace, the comic book tale of Eugenius! has been on the radar of many theatre lovers, and fans were thrilled to hear of the show's reworked return at the Turbine Theatre. The sweet characters and over the top tale are back like before, but somewhere along the way, the musical has lost some of the sparkle and infectious joy that previously made it such a charming production.

Eugenius! tells the story of Eugene, a self proclaimed geek who creates a comic book and gets thrown into a world of Hollywood movies and space dramas. Alongside him are his best friends Janey and Feris who are all trying to make it through school and retain their identities and friendship. With a number of witty side plots and caricature characters, there's lots to be enjoyed, but compared to previous versions of the show, there's not as much of a wholesome, uplifting vibe.

The small Turbine space which works so well for other shows, feels like a hinderance for Eugenius. There's not enough space for the show to reach its soaring potential and some of the bigger moments are squashed. This is through no fault of Andrew Exeter's set design which effectively brings the comic book world to life, as does Andy Walton's excellent video design which is wonderfully aesthetic and in keeping with the show; but nothing fully takes away from the feeling of the show longing for a larger space. Mention must also go to the really well thought out design of the foyer and entrance to the theatre which is adorned in every space with Tough Man posters, as well as comic book memorabilia and neon lights, all of which help to create an immersive experience and are a treat to explore.

Cast wise, the production is bursting with talent. Elliot Evans is endearing as Eugene, and brings a really lovely sense of vulnerability to the role whilst also providing stunning vocals, which especially soar in act two. As his partner in crime (who feels firmly in the friend zone) Jaina Brock-Patel gives a humourous performance and really leans into the comedy which is fun to watch. Equally humourous is James Hameed as Feris who is a funny character for the most part, but sometimes a bit one dimensional. The trio are strong and there are some touching moments. Their chemistry isn't bursting off the stage but they certainly do a good job and really come into their own towards the end of the show.

Dominic Andersen is fabulous in all his roles, especially as the movie star Gerhard who has some of the most laugh out loud moments in the show. As Super Hot Lady, Maddison Firth is great and her solo number is very high octane, although it's somewhat overpowered by so much happening on stage, so she doesn't truly get a chance to shine. There are also some sound issues which plague the show and mean a fair bit of dialogue is lost. The show as a whole is loud, perhaps too much so at points, but the vocals are often too quiet so we miss the talent of the cast.

The 80s-esque music that has references to lots of iconic songs, is really wonderful and you can't help but bop along to the self-aware, hilariously literal tunes. Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins have written some incredibly catchy pieces that continue to shine in this rendition of the show. They also have some sneaky cameos on bedroom posters and music videos which are a nice touch. 

It's definitely nostalgic and energetic but this isn't the best Eugenius! has been. There are some great moments but the musical never evokes the same feelings of feel good empowerment and unity that it did previously. Hopefully there will be future iterations of the show where are the stars can align to create the ultimate version.

Reviewed on Wednesday 22nd March 2023
photo credit: Pamela Raith

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


Eugenius!, Turbine Theatre | Review

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

The Way Old Friends Do, Park Theatre | Review


The Way Old Friends Do
Park Theatre
★★★★

The Way Old Friends Do is a heartwarming play set to the backdrop of ABBA, that has you feeling an array of emotions and having a really good time. Written by Ian Hallard and under the expert direction of Mark Gatiss we are taken on the journey of music, friendship and found family.
 
The talented ensemble cast that bring each character to life in a charming way. Rose Shalloo is a complete stand out, continually bringing an infectious energy and providing some of the most endearingly humourous moments. James Bradshaw and Ian Hallard give well thought out performances and have an excellently witty chemistry with one another.

Janet Bird's set design is simple but effective, allowing the focus to remain on the actors and their performances. The revolving set cleverly transforms to a number of rooms whilst maintaining the ABBA-ness of it all.

This is a heartfelt play explores themes of love, loss, and friendship in a way that feels both universal and deeply personal. The story is filled with moments of both joy and sadness, that feel mostly natural and have you invested in the lives of the characters. The second act does suddenly take a turn to drama and comes across somewhat rushed, without enough development to truly hit home but overall things are well paced, and it's a sweet tale that celebrates friendship.

Overall, The Way Old Friends Do is a production that I highly recommend. It's a touching, well-crafted play that will stay with you after the final curtain call and have you wanting to create your own ABBA tribute group!

Reviewed on Tuesday 21st March 2023
photo credit: Tristram Kenton

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

The Way Old Friends Do, Park Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Further Than the Furthest Thing, Young Vic | Review


Further Than the Furthest Thing
Young Vic
★★

The Young Vic's current revival production of Further Than the Furthest Thing is somewhat adventurous, with some redeeming qualities; but ultimately it's piece that falls short of providing any truly moving or effective moments. The production has some visually stunning aspects and some really impressive performances, however, the pacing and overall coherence leaves much to be desired, and has you exiting the theatre feeling somewhat dazed.

Zinnie Harris’ 1999 play tells the tale of a remote island who's peaceful world is upended by the evils of the wider world. Based on the 1960s history of Tristan da Cunh, the source material provides some interesting insights but the script itself is disjointed, and often makes the story hard to follow. The themes of colonialism and displacement are important, and there are some comments which really stand out, but the overall execution lacks depth and nuance and keeps any solid points from being made. The transitions between scenes are also clunky and disrupt the flow of the play, leading to a sense of confusion and continual detachment from the characters.

Furthermore, the sound design and lighting choices are often distracting and do not add to the overall experience. At times, the sound effects are overly loud and jarring, while the lighting feels gimmicky and unnecessary. Soutra Gilmour's set offers some moments of visual excitement. The clever projections make the piece feel almost like an immersive art installation and the revolve allows all angles to be shown to the audience, but there's never enough oomph to really bring the show to life.

That's not to say the performers don't do a solid job with what they've been given. Jenna Russell especially gives a captivating performance, bursting with charm and charisma. Gerald Kyd is mysterious as Mr Hansen and Cyril Nri has some of the best character development, as well as great chemistry with Russell.

Overall, Further Than the Furthest Thing has some admirable aspects, but they are very much outweighed by the weaknesses in the production. It's truly a tale of two acts, which could work on their own but the general lack of cohesion really hinders the strong messages trying to be portrayed. While it may appeal to some theatre-goers, I personally found it underwhelming and would not recommend it as a must-see performance.

Reviewed on Friday 17th March 2023
photo credit: Marc Brenner

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

Further Than the Furthest Thing, Young Vic | Review

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Girl From The North Country (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Girl From The North Country (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
★★★★★

Set to Bob Dylan’s poetic and politically charged back catalogue, Girl from the North Country introduces us to a rabble of lost souls at Nick Laine’s destitute guesthouse in 1930s Minnesota. Laine’s wife Elizabeth, adopted daughter Marianne and son Gene live alongside a host of wayward drifters, all with their own secrets and stories to share. Connor McPherson’s book is simple yet elegant; tragic anecdotes unravel across the next two and half hours, each punctuated by a song from Dylan’s discography. The musical numbers do not necessarily move the plot forward but are instead perfectly used to capture microcosmic moments in time.

Girl from the North Country is a real character piece, allowing a talented ensemble cast to individually shine. Frances McNamee gives a heartbreaking turn as Nick’s sick wife Elizabeth, masterfully shifting between moments of lucidity and child-like tantrums. Her performances of ‘Rolling Stone’ and ‘Forever Young’ are particularly spellbinding. Justina Kehinde shines as the spirited and effervescent Marianne, whilst Eve Norris (Katherine Draper) and Gregor Milne (Gene Laine) deliver an easy, understated version of ‘I Want You’ in Act one.
Dylan’s best known songs have been transformed tremendously by Simon Hale. Many take on an almost choral quality, including a stunning acapella section which closes the show and numbers lead by the soulful Maria Omakinwa as long-term resident and Nick’s lover, Mrs Nielsen. Other numbers are jaunty and percussive, creating a wonderfully varied musical landscape.

Rae Smith’s set and costume design are austere and efficient but entirely period appropriate, whilst Mark Henderson’s clever use of recurring spotlights against a backdrop of haunting silhouettes give several numbers an almost confessional feel. Time appears to stop still as interior monologues are shared under a stark beam of light. A twenty-strong ensemble fills an otherwise sparse stage; they execute Lucy Hind’s choreography with gumption, convulsing in sync as if we’re witnessing an evangelical awakening.

This production feels prophetic, visceral and cathartic all at once. Like an open wound, it pours with the voices of the lonely and disenfranchised during one of America’s darkest decades. However, there are several revelatory, uplifting moments and welcome flashes of caustic humour. Girl from the North Country is a moving testament to the tenacity of the human condition and a truly class act.

Reviewed on Tuesday 14th March 2023 by Hope Priddle

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


Girl From The North Country (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Monday, 13 March 2023

The Phase, The Vaults | Review


The Phase
The Vaults
★★★★ 

A new, British musical, The Phase follows four best friends and bandmates, Aziza, Rowan, Sage and Ava as they take on their Catholic school's oppressive rules which restrict them from expressing their queerness. The coming-of age musical tackles a number of issues in a short time and is a well written exploration of teenage life and identity.

The Vault Festival is a great event for shows to form and find audiences but the space, budget and time constraints don't always allow for much development. The team behind The Phase have done a great job working with these limitations and have created a musical that feels pretty well rounded and has design interest as well as great performances. The set comprises of large drawn out items such as rulers and pens that are transformed into various other things, and the band dressed as crayons complete the pencil case assortment and give the show a unique look and feel.

Led by musical director Amy Hsu, the band do a great job of leading the piece and accompanying the cast who provide consistently strong vocals. With Jocasta Almgill as Aziza, Ashley Goh as Rowan, Holly Ryan as Sage and Gracie McGonigal as Ava, the quad create a wholesome group who really support one another and give each other room to grow and be who they want to be. All four have well defined characteristics, and in a different setting there would certainly be room to flesh them out further. The occasional mic issue did mean some moments were lost at this performance but this is something that can be easily ironed out.

The Phase is a show which knows its identity and retains it throughout. Every moment is cohesive and feels quite genuinely like a school drama. There is a lot of angst and a whole host of personal struggles from anxiety to friendship, and although at times it feels a little too much, there is a sincerity sewn through which makes it a lovely piece.

Zoe Morris and Meg McGrady have created a great piece of musical theatre, that under Izzy Rabey's direction really gets to soar. It's lovely to see queer stories told that are not surrounded by trauma, and this show does a great job at highlighting the joy and community found, even when individuals are struggling. From body dysmorphia to relationship boundaries, there is so much packed into the hour long show. At times it comes across a little too dramatic, but at the same time it is very evocative of school life.

Mention must also go to how accessible the team have made the show. With sensory items available as well as chill out spaces, the whole experience embodies inclusivity and is certainly paving the way for others.

The show has just finished its run at the the Vault Festival, but there's sure to be a future life for The Phase and it will continue to spread joy via a touching storyline and absolutely killer vocals.

Reviewed on Sunday 12th March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell

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

The Phase, The Vaults | Review

Monday, 13 March 2023

Friday, 10 March 2023

Jay Bryce on Taking Heathers on the Road | Heathers the Musical | Interview


Heathers is currently making its way around the country, on a high octane, 80s fuelled tour. Currently playing Veronica's Dad/Principal Gowan/Kurt's Dad, Jay Bryce tells us about his experience taking the show on the road and what it's like being part of a show with such a cult following...

How does it feel to be starring in such an iconic and well-loved show?
It feels such a privilege to be part of this great show and part of the Heathers Family. I’m so grateful to be working on this production. I didn’t realise the reach the show had until I joined and how much the show means to people. It is so heart-warming to be bringing this show to people around the UK and Ireland.

Which Heather would you most like to be friends with?
Definitely Heather Mac. I think she needs a good friend to look out for her and I think I could help bring out her kinder side. Plus, I’d want to get a yellow blazer to match with her.

Heathers has a really dedicated fan base, what are some of your favourite fan experiences from the tour so far?
Meeting the fans at stage door is always such a great experience. The Heathers fans are all so kind and lovely and we’ve been made to feel so welcome in the venues we’ve been to so far.

Something I’ve also LOVED is the scrunchy throw during the bows. It is so lovely and something that makes the show so unique.

What's your favourite line in Heathers?
I’m a big fan of my characters line “That was one hell of a fishing trip”. But I do love it when Veronica tells Heather Chandler to “Lick it up”. Definitely have been saying that in my everyday life now…!

Heather C is a big corn nut fan, what would your show snack of choice be?
I would love a Werther’s Original. Is that showing my age…?!

If you could bring any other film to stage, which would you choose?
I think American Pie on the stage would be absolutely brilliant. I’d love to play Jim. But I think my casting is now heading more towards playing Jim’s Dad…!

Why should people come and see Heathers on tour?
The show is just brilliant. It has energy, is fun, whilst also dealing with serious themes. Working with this cast has been such a joy and their energy and joy on and off stage is infectious.

You’ll want to come again and again to see this show.


Heathers The Musical plays at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking until 11th March 2023 and then continues its tour

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Jay Bryce on Taking Heathers on the Road | Heathers the Musical | Interview

Friday, 10 March 2023

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Bonnie and Clyde, Garrick Theatre | Review


Bonnie and Clyde
Garrick Theatre
★★★★

First seen in the UK as a concert version and then subsequently a full production at the intimate Arts Theatre, Bonnie and Clyde has now upgraded to the larger Garrick Theatre as it continues its riotous reign.

After the show flopped on Broadway, it's nice to see that the creative team are taking risks and switching things up. In this new venue, there are clear changes and the larger space is used to create more drama and help the development of scenes. Paul Whitcomb's set has lots more going on, with everything feeling more developed and bolder than before. Zoe Spurr effectively lights the scenes,  creating some very effective moments during the various robberies and shoot outs. Nina Dunn's video design covers the set in historical photos as well as helping back up the on stage drama. These projections alongside the forceful tableau's created throughout, make the whole musical feel far more cinematic than its previous iteration.

In the titular roles as the West End's favourite felons, Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage excel. McCann really encapsulates the dreamer quality of Bonnie Parker as she is swept off her feet, whilst later on contrasting with a woman hardened by her life on the run. Vocally, her portrayal is dynamic and melancholy, with her rendition of Dyin' Ain't So Bad providing the perfect amount of emotional impact needed in the show. Gage is suitably menacing, whilst also bringing spades of charm to the role of Clyde Barrow and he performs the soaring score with seeming ease. The pair have excellent chemistry, often balancing one another well. This is a sultry, sexy show which leans heavily into the romance, and the duo do a really thrilling job at bringing their all encompassing passion to life; their fiery partnership ringing out until the very last shot.

In contrast to Clyde's intense hostility, Ted as a character is pretty underdeveloped but Cleve September performs the role with great intention and uses the material well; especially when he really lets his voice soar in act two. As Buck Barrow, George Maguire gives a very engaging performance and creates a dynamic partnership with newcomer to the cast, Jodie Steele, who's performance as Blanche is utterly brilliant. Full of humour and heart in equally wonderful measure, Steele's performance is a definite highlight. Dom Hartley Harris also joins the cast and gives a rousing performance as the Preacher; whilst Barney Wilkinson and Julie Yammanee have some real stand out moments in their tracks.

The story of Bonnie and Clyde's journey to being outlaws is a fascinating one, and Ivan Menchell's book begins to look deeper at their motives and aspirations and it's interesting to see how the pair took their desire for fame and turned it on its head. But perhaps more compelling is when their story is paralleled with the economic and emotional turmoil of America at the time. The Barrow brothers discuss how they've been profiled by police since they were young and there's some exploration on why people turned to crime, when their lives were torn apart by poverty. Made in America is one of the most striking numbers in the show and really brings another layer to proceedings but unfortunately it's not developed much further. Whilst the romance is the heart of the show, it would maybe be improved if there was more analysis of the socio-economic climate and its effects. This version of the show also cuts out a few of the scenes where the duo commit their crimes which hinders the development of Bonnie and Clyde as villains, meaning we don't see the full extent of their misdeeds and therefore the stakes never quite feel high enough.

The musical has its faults and the book could certainly use some editing but this still remains an incredibly enjoyable show that is feisty and thrilling. Don Black and Frank Wildhorn's pacy, engaging score is a treat to hear live. A law-breakingly good cast make Bonnie and Clyde a show that's well worth seeing and hearing.

Reviewed on Wednesday 8th March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: The Other Richard

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

Bonnie and Clyde, Garrick Theatre | Review

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Five Reasons to see Heathers the Musical on Tour


Since making its London debut in 2018, Heathers the Musical has gained a massive cult following and has gone on to do a number of London runs and touring productions. This current version takes the iconic show around the UK and features a fantastic cast who absolutely nail the roles. If you're still debating whether you should catch the show on tour, here are five reasons why we think you should...

The Soundtrack is Super Catchy
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s book, music and lyrics have so many witty moments where you'll be laughing out loud and there are also some genuinely touching moments. The music is engaging and camp with so much 80s realness woven throughout. If you're remotely stagey, you've probably heard some of the songs, most likely Candy Store which is a definite stand out of the show. Aside from the humourous songs there are some very heartfelt moments like Kindergarten Boyfriend, a beautiful soliloquy performed by Martha aka Kingsley Morton, and some definite earworms such as Seventeen and Shine a Light.

The Cast are SO Talented
This touring cast are one of the strongest I've seen in Heathers with a number of standout performances and some great ensemble work. As Veronica Sawyer, Jenna Innes gives a really well developed performance and feels vocally strong throughout. Her chemistry with the brooding serial killer JD (Jacob Fowler) is pretty strong and the duo really shine in their moments together, especially when the drama really gets going. The Heathers themselves bring all the farce and sass you'd expect. Elise Zavou is enjoyable as Duke, Verity Thompson is hilarious and vocally dreamy as Chandler and Billie Bowman really highlights the reluctance of McNamara to go along with her 'friends' and gives a surprisingly nuanced and emotive performance, not always seen in Heathers.

The Production Value is Really Strong
This is a show which transfers so effectively to touring, David Shields' 80s design is bright and engaging whilst Ben Cracknell's lighting is super effective, especially when highlighting the cast in their signature colours. The fairly simple set is elevated by a number of special effects and costume quick changes, all of which really feel at home on a touring stage. The slow mo fight scene and clever sound effects (Dan Samson) for the croquet game work really well too, and the ensemble do so much to really embellish all the scenes, with individual characteristics and storylines shining through and adding a lot of interest.

It's Melodrama at its Finest
Whilst Heathers touches on some really sensitive topics, it does so in a way that is hilariously over the top. It's camp and angsty at the same time. With deep moments suddenly balanced with a gag; the more times I see this show, the more effective I think it is. Kurt Kelly (Alex Woodward) and Ram Sweeney (Morgan Jackson) are peak hilarity in their portrayals and really lean into the teen humour of the piece. The whole shebang, with the ott choreography and character entrances make the whole thing so dramatic you cant help but enjoy it. Once you get over the slight cringe of it all, it's a really fun night out!

The Audience Atmosphere Needs to be Experienced
Heathers is an absolute crowd pleaser that has made and retained so many fans over its time and the way these fans love and support the show is truly lovely to experience. Cheering and whooping as if their family members are on stage, the audience appreciation is so real and makes for a really warm feeling theatrical experience.


Heathers The Musical plays at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking until 11th March 2023 and then continues its tour

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Five Reasons to see Heathers the Musical on Tour

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

The Bodyguard the Musical (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


The Bodyguard the Musical (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
★★★★ 

Literally opening with a bang, The Bodyguard the Musical takes you on an exciting and exhilarating journey of glorious music and a sweet romance, which will have you engaged throughout.

Based on the 1992 movie of the same name, the show tells the story of a Secret Service bodyguard hired to protect a world famous singer/actress from a threatening stalker. When released the movie became one of the highest grossing of all time and this stage adaptation includes all the memorable moments as well as retaining the original 90s vibes which so many love.

The leading role of Rachel Marron was made famous by Whitney Houston and is a huge role to fill. Taking the cup and stepping into the glitzy boots for this production is Melody Thornton of The Pussycat Dolls. Melody absolutely nails the role and provides some killer vocals throughout, really coming into her own and becoming the star in act two. Thornton performs the iconic songs incredibly well, keeping close enough to the originals that the audience are satisfied but also putting her own small twist on them. 

As her love interest and bodyguard Frank Farmer, Ayden Callaghan is an imposing but charming character, easily gaining empathy from the audience through his serious and stern but sensitive portrayal. The chemistry between the pair is pretty strong with some touching moments, especially when the drama really amps up. They're sure to become even more comfortable with each other throughout the tour!

A stand out performance comes from Emily-Mae as Rachel's sister, Nicki. Not only does she portray her unrequited love and upset at constantly being overshadowed extremely well. But her vocal moments are some of the most memorable in the show.

Reneo Kusi-Appauh is equally delightful as Rachel's son Fletcher, especially during act two and the bows when he shows off some killer vocals. Definitely a performer to keep an eye on!

The second act is where things really get going, including the audience getting to see more of the ensemble who are absolutely fantastic. They don't get a massive amount of stage time but when they do, they are outstanding; full of energy they really elevate the show.

The set and costume design by Tim Hatley fit the vibe of the musical well and for a touring production are very effective but at times the space does feel underused and there could certainly be some more wow factor added throughout.

The overly dramatic sound effects and scene transformations are very telenovela/soap opera-esque and the intense thriller aspect doesn't quite transfer, but mostly the show is effective and is a faithful screen to stage adaptation.

The story is well paced and you can't help but revel in the brilliance of Whitney Houston's music from start to finish. The Bodyguard is a well performed show that works well on tour. Run To You-r closest touring venue to see this sparkling production for yourself.

Reviewed on Monday 6th March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Paul Coltas

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

The Bodyguard the Musical (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

The Great British Bake Off Musical, Noel Coward Theatre | Review



The Great British Bake Off Musical
Noel Coward Theatre
★★★★

A British institution, Bake Off may not seem like the most likely source for a musical but thankfully, it's musical adaptation works incredibly well and is an easily digestible, heart-warming show and a love letter to the series so many love.

Surprisingly sincere, the musical with book and lyrics by Jake Brunger and music and lyrics by Pippa Cleary is legitimately earnest in its portrayal of the characters and their stories but also includes excellent humour and always manages to stay on the right side of being a parody or caricature of itself. Moments that could be overplayed are often reigned in and you're always laughing with the show rather than at it. That's not to say there aren't some cringe moments and the odd line that doesn't quite hit correctly but none of them take away from the pure joy and sweetness of this musical and it really is a delight of a show.

Pacing wise, it's pretty perfect. It never feels like it drags and really you could do with a second helping of the brilliance on stage because it's just so lovely. It's quite surprisingly just how well everything works. From colour coded bowl choreography (Georgina Lamb) to the incredibly effective set by Alice Power there's not much to fault. Of course you could nitpick, but for the sheer sentimentality and wholesomeness, this musical is a showstopper.

The cast are incredibly strong and there's so much connection between them that shines on stage. As the presenters Zoe Birkett (Kim) and Scott Paige (Jim) are wondrously witty and have excellent chemistry, as if they've been genuine presenters for years. Taking on the job of the judges, Haydn Gwynne and John Owen-Jones are dynamic and somehow retain their individuality whilst bringing the iconic double act to life (in the show Prue Leith becomes Pam Lee and Phil Hollywood becomes Phil Hollinghurst). All of the contestants have stand out moments and are so solid in their portrayals. Charlotte Wakefield especially has some touching scenes and provides some of the top vocals of the show. Grace Mouat's character is also incredibly engaging and is a great contrast to the rest of the bakers. Michael Cahill, Claire Moore, Damian Humbley, Aharon Rayner, Jay Saighal, Aanya Shah and Cat Sandison all bring such humanity to their roles and are so wonderful to watch.

Every aspect of Bake Off makes the cut to the musical, from the challenges to the general structure and joke format. Like the tv show, there are innuendos galore and more baking puns than you could fit in the oven, but above that, it really encapsulates the warmth and community feeling that The Great British Bake Off provides. The contestants each get a bit of development and there's even a romance and some social commentary; all elements feel well thought out and it's really just a well structured, well oiled (greased?) musical. You couldn't really ask for a more genuinely touching show. It truly has all the ingredients to be a hit and is so worth seeing!

Reviewed on Friday 3rd March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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


The Great British Bake Off Musical, Noel Coward Theatre | Review