Posts with the label uk tour
Showing posts with label uk tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label uk tour. Show all posts

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 3rd August 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a staple and rite of passage for many musical theatre fans so when a production is mounted there's always a ready and willing audience to view it. Thankfully for current audiences, the Palladium production which is touring the country is absolutely top notch and a dream night out.

Laurence Connor's version of Joseph is a reinvigorated, large scale, glitzy production that feels like it's been plucked straight from the West End and dropped into Woking. The excellent sets by Morgan Large look luxurious but there's also a lovely element of simplicity which is reminiscent of the hugely popular film version. The entire set design is sleek and perfectly embodies the joy and energy which this show provides.

If you're looking for a killer cast, you need to look no further than Joseph. Every single cast member fires on all cylinders and the power and joy which pours out from the stage is just a treat to experience. In the lead role Jac Yarrow is star quality embodied. His Close Every Door To Me is absolutely excellent and he brings a lovely cheeky quality which draws you to Joseph and makes you root for him even more.

Yarrow is joined by Linzi Hately who is wonderfully witty as The Narrator as well as Bobby Windebank who gives a brilliant portrayal of the Elvis-esque Pharaoh. Mention must also go to Matt Gibson as Rueben and Will Hawsworth as Simeon, both of whom are real standouts vocally in their solo moments. The child performers are a joy to watch as they take on various roles and exude happiness.

This is also a choreography heavy production which further elevates it. There are tap numbers alongside a string of high intensity ensemble moments. Joann M. Hunter has done an outstanding job of providing an array of styles and making every number engaging.

For a show which could easily become pantomimic, there is a real level of intensity which upgrades it and makes it a two hour treat that you'd have to be a scrooge not to enjoy.  The outstanding band led by the joyous musical director John Rigby, alongside the super strong ensemble and superbly adapted show, mean and you can't help but leave the theatre smiling from ear to ear. 

photo credit: Tritram Kenton

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo credit: Johan Persson

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

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Maisie Smith to join Kevin Clifton in Strictly Ballroom UK Tour


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Maisie Smith is performing until 25 March

Maisie Smith to join Kevin Clifton in Strictly Ballroom UK Tour

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Thursday, 21 April 2022

The Cher Show (Tour), Leicester Curve | Review


The Cher Show (Tour)
Leicester Curve
Reviewed on Friday 15th April 2022 by Hope Priddle
★★★★★

After a brief run on Broadway, the beat goes on for The Cher Show as a new reimagined version, directed by Arlene Phillips, opened at the Leicester Curve this week. Spanning an astounding six decades and featuring iconic hits such as Believe and Strong Enough, The Cher Show charts the early life of Cherilyn Sarkissian and her spectacular rise to fame. In this uplifting girl-powered production, join Cher as she fights to take charge of her career in a man’s world, leaving a legacy as a trailblazing feminist icon.

This is not an ordinary jukebox bio-musical – there is not just one Cher, but three; Baby, Lady and Star. Though the book (Rick Elice) relies heavily on exposition and is not always successful in divorcing itself entirely from a tired format, it is sharp and quick-witted. By introducing us to three protagonists who interrupt each other with sassy asides and sage advice, an otherwise linear narrative suddenly feels reactive and full of endless possibilities. The Chers reclaim, retell and revise their own story.

The cast is led by a powerhouse trio of women in the role of Cher. Millie O’Connell (Baby) Danielle Steers (Lady) and Debbie Kurup (Star) give natural and nuanced performances as the legendary diva. Cher has become so mythologised into the annals of pop history, it is easy to forget she is a real person. Not once however do our leading ladies stray into the territory of camp or hammy caricature.

As the eldest Cher, Debbie Kurup grounds the trio with her wisdom and worldliness. Kurup’s vocals are truly outstanding, but it is in her ability to reveal the vulnerability, resilience and tenderness behind the icon, that her true power lies. Danielle Steers plays Lady, tasked with negotiating Cher’s fraught personal and professional relationship with husband Sonny Bono. Steers is infamous for her rich contralto vocals and as such, unapologetically devours the score. Steers’ commanding rendition of Bang Bang is a total showstopper, proving that Cher was a role she was born to play. Millie O’Connell is a delight as lovestruck dreamer Baby and is a comedic genius to boot – her repartee with Lucas Rush (Sonny) during The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour is a complete joy to watch.


It would be easy to assume that Baby and Lady take a secondary role to Star, that they perhaps function as her warm-up act. However, they shine brightly on their own. Baby and Lady are no less accomplished, no less complete than Star. What is so wonderful about The Cher Show is that although their shared story is a linear one, the Chers exist in parallel timelines, supporting rather than replacing one another along their journey.

Lucas Rush gives a tremendous performance as Cher’s first husband and lifelong artistic partner, Sonny Bono. Not only does Rush masterfully imitate Sonny’s nasally vocal inflections, they skilfully embrace his smarmy unlikability and genuine charisma. Though Sonny exhibits exploitative and explosive behaviour at the height of their career, he remains an enduring confidante and champion. We are also introduced to a host of influential characters – Cher’s Mother (Tori Scott), Bob Mackie (Jake Mitchell), and her subsequent husbands Gregg Allman (Sam Ferriday) and Robert Camilleti (Ferriday) - all of whom are treated with affection and goodwill. The ensemble are strong and deliver Oti Mabuse’s dynamic choreography with pizazz.

Tom Roger’s set design is simple yet highly effective, transporting the audience backstage by flanking the wings with monochrome rails and wig-laden shelves. The costumes retain all the glamour of Bob Mackie’s original wardrobe, but his departure from the creative team has clearly allowed designer Gabriella Slade the freedom to take a more inspired approach. Slade’s gladiatorial designs fully embody the fierce spirit of Cher and transform our leading ladies into goddess warrior queens.

The Cher Show is a universally uplifting story of a woman’s fight for independence in an industry driven by men. While it unashamedly embraces all the flair and flamboyance that fans will most certainly expect, as a respectful homage to a much-loved icon, it retains real heart. If I could turn back time, I would watch it all over again.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

The Cher Show (Tour), Leicester Curve | Review

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Singin' in the Rain (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Singing in the Rain 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th March 2022 
★★★★

It's been 10 years since Jonathan Church's stage version of Singin' in the Rain was brought to life at the Chichester Festival theatre, showering the front rows during the title number and delighting audiences with its sheer spectacle. The show is a fast-footed feast which is full of charm and keeps its wow factor after all these years.

This UK tour which opened with a run at Sadler's Wells closely mirrors the original film in which Gene Kelly created some iconic moments, including his joyful tap dancing through puddles. This scene and many others are performed brilliantly by Adam Cooper as the lead Don Lockwood. A former Royal Ballet dancer, Adam has been with the show since the start and is enthralling in the role of the silent movie star making the transition to 'talkies'.

His famous counterpart, Lina Lamont (played hilariously by Faye Tozer) doesn't make the move quite so seamlessly, with her poor singing voice and harsh, shrill speaking voice not quite delighting audiences. So, at the suggestion of Cosmo Brown, Don's real life love interest Kathy Selden is drafted in to dub the voice and vocals.

Alastair Crosswell plays the highly energetic Cosmo Brown in the most engaging and entertaining way. His incredibly hard working performance provides great slapstick moments alongside stellar dancing. As Kathy Selden, Charlotte Gooch is a sleek, stunning, star. Her magnetic aura is a delight to watch and she never falters for even a second.

What's so impressive about this touring production is the sheer scale of it. It's amazing how such a detailed and technical show can go on such a quick turnaround tour- major props to all the backstage team! Simon Higlett's set is brimming with art deco features and feels like it goes on far beyond the stage of the New Victoria Theatre; and the costumes are utter treats.

This is a complete spectacle of a show that feels sleek and refreshed. Comedic moments including the re-creations of stilted silent films contrast beautifully with Andrew Wright's larger than life choreography which floats and fills the stage with the elegance you dream of. This is a decadent production that really stands the test of time and provides a treat for all the senses.

Singing in the Rain plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 2nd April and then continues its tour

Singin' in the Rain (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Gemma Collins to Star as Mama Morton in Chicago


David Ian in association with Barry and Fran Weissler are delighted to announce TV personality Gemma ‘The GC’ Collins will star as ‘Mama Morton’ in the acclaimed UK and Ireland tour of the international smash hit musical Chicago. Gemma will join the tour at the Sunderland Empire from Tuesday 31 May 2022, ahead of playing Cardiff New Theatre, Blackpool Winter Gardens, Sheffield Lyceum, Norwich Theatre Royal and New Theatre, Oxford.

 

David Ian said today, “We were completely stunned by Gemma’s audition for the role. She’s an undeniable force both on and off stage, and we can’t wait to see her portrayal of ‘Mama Morton’ on tour. Audiences across the country are in for a treat.”

 

Gemma Collins is best known as a media personality and businesswoman, having first featured in the reality series The Only Way Is Essex. She was awarded the 2021 winner of the Best Female Personality at the National Reality Television Awards. Since ‘Essex’ Gemma has appeared in numerous television shows including, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity Big Brother, Dancing on Ice and All Together Now in which she was a finalist. Most recently Gemma was seen on screens with her intimate Channel 4 documentary, Gemma Collins: Self-Harm & Me. Before finding fame on The Only Way Is Essex, Gemma was a keen performer having studied dance and winning a place at the renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School.

 

Gemma joins Faye Brookes as ‘Roxie Hart’, Djalenga Scott as ‘Velma Kelly’, Jamie Baughan as ‘Amos Hart’ and B.E. Wong as ‘Mary Sunshine’. The role of ‘Billy Flynn’ will be announced soon. Full tour schedule below. www.chicagothemusical.com

 

The cast is completed by Ishmail Aaron, Michelle Andrews, Gabby Antrobus, Delycia Belgrave, Joel Benjamin, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Daniel Clift, Callum Fitzgerald, Emily Goodenough, Billie Hardy, Aaron Jenkins, Liam Marcellino, Theo Reece, Hollie Jane Stephens and Harrison Wilde.  

 

Faye Brookes (Roxie Hart) reached the final of last year’s series of ITV’s Dancing On Ice. She is best known for her role as Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street, for which she won a National Television Award. Her theatre credits include Princess Fiona in Shrek and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, both on national tour, Ann/Edna in That Day We Sang directed by Victoria Wood at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Liesl in The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Frenchy in Grease at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre. Faye’s other TV credits include Agnes Franklin in Our Girl and Helena in Atlantis, both for the BBC.

 

Djalenga Scott’s (Velma Kelly) West End credits include Lily St Regis in Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London and Chicago at the Adelphi, Cambridge and Garrick Theatres. Her other credits include Anita in the national tour of West Side Story, Rizzo in Grease at Curve Leicester, Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show and Carmen in Fame, both on European tours, the US tour of Batman Live and Bombalurina in Cats at Kilworth House. Djalenga’s screen credits include Scarlett/Esme in Trapped for the BBC and Alexandra in the film I Give It A Year. 

 

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today's tabloids. 

 

Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, Chicago’s sexy, sassy score includes the show-stopping songs “Razzle Dazzle”, “Cell Block Tango”, and “All That Jazz”.  Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, Chicago is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history.

 

Since it opened in New York in 1996, Chicago has played in 36 countries worldwide and has been performed in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese and Korean.  Worldwide it has been seen by an estimated 33 million people, grossed over $1.7 billion and played over 32,500 performances.

 

Chicago, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.  The 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago was choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, directed by Walter Bobbie, and produced by Barry and Fran Weissler.

Gemma Collins to Star as Mama Morton in Chicago

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Rebecca Lock on Bringing Rock to the Stage | School of Rock | Interview

it has been such a joy to recreate this role and wonderful story
School of Rock is a cult classic film which celebrates music and how it brings people together. Post- pandemic it provides the perfect, lighthearted, high energy, night out. Currently starring in the show as headmistress Rosalie Mullins, Rebecca Lock tells us about her experience in the show and who her own inspirational teacher was...


Firstly, for anyone that doesn’t know could you explain a little bit about School of Rock?
A wanna be failed rockstar pretends to be his flat mate and earn some money by being a substitute teacher in a posh prep school. He forms a band with the class and enters into the battle of the bands whilst charming the headmistress Rosalie Mullins along the way.
 
This is such an iconic story and now show, what’s it been like bringing it to the stage?
It’s one of my favourite films so it has been such a joy to recreate this role and wonderful story.
 
If you could star in any other screen to stage adaptation, which film would you choose?
Oh cripes… there’s far too many to choose from… all the best ones have already been adapted!
 
Aside from the music, this is really a show about an inspirational teacher, have you had any influential teachers in your life?
Oh definitely… Mr Cobly my first drama teacher taught me so much and encouraged my pursuits.
 
You play the headteacher Rosalie Mullins who is an authority figure but also has some really humorous moments. How do you balance the two?
That’s the joy.. she’s one extreme and then she flips and you see a whole new side to her… super fun to play
 
Why do you think people should come and see the show?
It’s a proper family show… something for everyone! From 8- 98… you’ll leave wanting to pick up a guitar and form your own rock band!
 
Thank you so much Rebecca for taking the time to chat to me. School of Rock plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 26th March and then continues its tour.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

photo credit: Paul Coltas
 

Rebecca Lock on Bringing Rock to the Stage | School of Rock | Interview

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Jake Sharp on Bringing Rock to Wimbledon | School of Rock | Interview

All that was taken away from us during the pandemic is celebrated in the show by some genius young superstars. 

School of Rock is a cult classic film which celebrates music and how it brings people together. Post- pandemic it provides the perfect, lighthearted, high energy, night out. Currently starring in the show as leading man Dewey Finn, Jake Sharp tells us about his experience in the show and what it's like stepping into Jack Black's shoes...




Firstly, for anyone that doesn’t know could you explain a little bit about School of Rock?

School of Rock is about a wannabe rockstar Dewey Finn, who, needing some money, intercepts a phone call and poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious school. When he hears the straight-A students playing classical music he transforms them into mini rockstars in order to compete at the Battle of the Bands.

Jack Black made Dewey such an iconic character, what’s it been like creating your own version?
Obviously Jack Black is a genius so they are quite big shoes to fill. But the blueprints that his performance has given means there is so much room to play. Dewey Finn is basically a big kid so it’s so much fun seeing how he reacts in the world of Horace Green School.

What’s been your favourite part of starring in School of Rock?
Playing ‘Teachers Pet’ to audiences all round the country. In that moment everything the audience hears is just us playing live on stage. It never fails to give me goosebumps and the reaction from the crowds is next level. The fact that people from all over have the opportunity to see the show is amazing, but the knowledge that we are inspiring the next generation of musical protégées is super cool.

It’s a very high energy show, how do you keep your voice and body strong doing the show every night whilst touring the country?
A lot of water, a lot of sleep and a lot of pasta. It’s been a real personal undertaking to get myself to a fitness level vocally, physically and mentally to be able to keep producing the energy levels that the show requires. But it’s absolutely worth it! Plus pasta is delicious. 

Dewey inspires his students in many ways, did you have an influential teacher growing up?
I did but when it comes to Dewey I always think more about the other adults that have been influential. I grew up playing sports and a lot of the time as a kid I would be around or apart of the adult teams. The way that they treated me as an equal in that environment is how I think Dewey treats the kids. They are all level pegging in the band - it doesn’t matter how old or how ‘cool’ they might seem in ‘normal’ life.

Why do you think people should come and see the show?
I hate it when people say this but it’s completely true for this show. It’s absolutely fun for all the ages. Whether on a date, a solo trip, with kids, with a school - everyone will enjoy School of Rock. It’s high energy, face melting rock and roll and champions live music and being creative. All that was taken away from us during the pandemic is celebrated in the show by some genius young superstars.

Thank you so much Jake for taking the time to chat to me. School of Rock plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 26th March and then continues its tour.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

photo credit: Paul Coltas
 

Jake Sharp on Bringing Rock to Wimbledon | School of Rock | Interview

Monday, 21 March 2022

School of Rock (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


School of Rock (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 21st March 2022
★★★★

Many people know and love the hit 2003 film School of Rock. With Jack Black’s iconic comedy, incredibly catchy tunes and a true rock soul it became an instant classic. Fortunately, all of this translates brilliantly to the stage and to the current UK tour which is getting audiences up on their feet and releasing their inner rock god’s.


With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock provides a throughly entertaining night out.  The show follows Dewey Finn, a man who’s only goal is to live a life of music. One thing leads to another and he ends up taking the place of his best friend and pretending to be a supply teacher for the elite Horace Green school. There he discovers that he’s not the only one with music in his soul; he finds a classroom full of wonderful musicians who just want to be heard. Thus begins his mission to form a band and win the Battle of the Bands. The entire story is a comedic dream, with a cast of amazing talents and so many great songs.


There’s also astute observations on growing up and the pressures young people are under, as well as many witty and topical comments on the world as a whole.


Of course this show would not be half of what it is without the young performers who make up the class. There’s not a weak link, with utterly superb musicianship being displayed throughout. They all have enough energy to raise the roof off of the New Wimbledon Theatre and also do particularly well in the more moving moments of the show. Special mention must go to Souparnika Nair who shone supremely bright with her spectacularly controlled vocals as Tamika and Emerson Sutton who is a marvel on the drums. All the children are a joy to watch and there's also some exceptional hairography going on throughout!



As Dewey Finn, Jake Sharp carries the musical outstandingly. Not wavering a single moment he’s on stage (and that’s pretty much throughout). He’s hilarious, vocally virtuosic and brings enough of the iconic Jack Black attitude and swagger that we know and love but also adds his own flair and makes the role his own. 


Rebecca Lock as Rosalie Mullins the uptight headmistress who also longs to break free is utterly charming. Her vocals are spectacular with her operatic range shining in the Queen of the Night aria and her astounding belt providing a real highlight in Where Did The Rock Go.


You can’t have School of Rock without the music and aside from the formidable onstage musicians, the pit band are stellar. Natasha Katz's lighting is also especially effective and Anna Louizos’ set design works faultlessly to transport us from scene to scene.

This is an incredibly cohesive production that never falters in sleekness but still retains its spontaneous, high octane feel. Become part of the band and go see School of Rock on tour.


photo credit: Paul Coltas

School of Rock (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Monday, 21 March 2022

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Three Sets of Twins Cast in 'Identical’, the New Musical Adaptation of ‘The Parent Trap’


After a five-year casting search and multiple auditions across the UK, three sets of talented identical twins are about to become Britain’s latest musical theatre stars.

They say you should never work with children or animals but this summer Olivier and Tony award-winning director Trevor Nunn will be doing both, with three sets of identical twins! Kyla and Nicole Fox, aged 12, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Emme and Eden Patrick, 12 from Waltham Abbey and Sienna and Savannah Robinson, 12 from Bromley, are the youngsters playing Lottie and Lisa in the world premiere of Identical, a new musical destined for the West End.

Identical is based on the novel ‘The Parent Trap’ by Erich Kästner, which inspired hugely successful Disney films featuring Hayley Mills in 1961 and Lindsay Lohan in 1998.

It will open at Nottingham Playhouse 26 July – 14 August 2022, then transfer to Salford’s The Lowry 19 August – 3 September 2022.
Future dates will be announced.
Identical tells the story of Lottie and Lisa, twin girls separated at birth, reunited by chance at a summer camp 10 years later. In an attempt to re-join their divorced parents, they decide to swap identities.

It has Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, (the multi award-winning writers of the Olivier award-winnig National Theatre hit ‘Honk!’, who also created a new score for the international smash-hit Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of ‘Mary Poppins’) with a Book by Stuart Paterson.

Identical is co-produced by Nottingham Playhouse and Kenny Wax Ltd (producer of  the new global musical phenomenon ‘SIX’ and the ‘Goes Wrong’ shows) and directed by Olivier and Tony award-winning Trevor Nunn (responsible for some of the greatest hits in the world, including ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Starlight Express’, ‘Cats’ and ‘Sunset Boulevard’).

Producer Kenny Wax says: “Identical is a story about the reuniting of twins separated shortly after birth and the healing of a family which has been fractured. The narrative offers a powerful message for the world right now and under the directorial genius of Trevor Nunn, I have no doubt that Identical will be regarded as one of the great musicals of its generation…..providing that we can consistently cast incredibly talented identical twins!”
Nottingham Playhouse’s Executive Director Stephanie Sirr commented: “We can’t wait to create this show. It’s particularly exciting to give kids from our community the chance to work alongside world class professionals and to take part in the premiere of a newly commissioned musical.”
Stiles and Drewe said: “It’s been a delight to adapt Erich Kästner’s hauntingly beautiful and timeless tale of two identical twins separated as babies, and their wily determination to stitch their family back together. It’s a story packed with wonderful humour and characters which makes it a great canvas to become a musical and retell for a 21st-century audience.”

CREATIVE TEAM
Director Trevor Nunn
Choreographer Matt Cole
Set Design Rob Jones
Costume Design Jonathan Lipman
Video Design Douglas O’Connell
Lighting Design Johanna Town
Sound Design Paul Gatehouse
Musical Supervisor Caroline Humphris
Musical Director Tamara Saringer  
Orchestrator Tom Curran
Associate Director (with special responsibility for the children) Martha Geelan
Casting Director Anne Vosser
Children’s Casting and Administration Jo Hawes
Wig and Hair Designer Richard Mawbey
Production Manager Digby Robinson
General Management & Marketing Kenny Wax Ltd

photo credit: Alistair Muir

Three Sets of Twins Cast in 'Identical’, the New Musical Adaptation of ‘The Parent Trap’

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour), New Victoria Theatre Theatre | Review


Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 15th March 2022
★★★★

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is fast becoming a staple piece of theatre in the UK and indeed across the world. Having had various iterations in many countries including Japan and Italy, as well as the hit film which was released last year; the musical retains its Britishness, strong heart and morals and continues to be an inspiring and entertaining experience.

Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae's show tells the story of an extroverted 15 year old who dreams of being a drag queen. Despite being sure of himself and his abilities, young Jamie New faces a number of hurdles and people who try to dull his sparkle. So, he works to overcome these and to show the close-minded people around him that being true to yourself can get you far. It's a show which delights and inspires in equal measure, and is sure to keep its spot in theatre lover's hearts for a long time.

As the title character, Layton Williams is a treat to watch. He brings Jamie to life truthfully and so glamourously. From the opening of 'And You Don't Even Know It', Layton completely owns the character and shows us the light and shade enveloped in it. At times his vocals get lost but he makes up for this with his incredible wit and larger than life personality that soars on stage.

Playing Jamie's kind and strong mum is Amy Ellen Richardson who's vocal performance is outstanding. 'He's My Boy' is an absolute highlight of the show and her vulnerable performance is incredibly moving. Her chemistry with Layton is great and she also works incredibly well with her best friend Ray (played brilliantly at this performance by Lisa-Marie Holmes).

Another lovely friendship is that of Jamie and Pritti. The pair are both misunderstood and confined in their own ways and it's so sweet to see them discuss this and to support each other without any toxicity. Sharan Phull is endearing and moving as Pritti, especially in her solo moments and fantastic monologue at the end of the show.

Shane Richie as Hugo/Loco Chanelle is fantastically entertaining, giving a really strong vocal performance and also showcasing fabulous comedic timing. Other stand out performances come from George Samson as Dean Paxton and Gary Lee in various roles including Laika Virgin at this performance.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a musical which inspires us all to own what makes us 'different' and is a really heartwarming portrayal of family, friendship and acceptance. It's contemporary and over the top and so much fun. Let's talk about Jamie a bit longer! Go see the show on tour!

Everybody's Talking About Jamie plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 19th March 2022 and then continues its tour

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Tour), New Victoria Theatre Theatre | Review

Wednesday, 16 March 2022