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

Friday, 16 March 2018

Wicked (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review


Wicked (UK Tour) 
Bristol Hippodrome 
Reviewed on Thursday 15th February 2018 by Isobelle Desbrow 
★★★★★

Come with me to the Emerald City...


Wicked is a phenomenal show that has been taking the West End by storm over it’s 11 year run and I’m pleased to say that the tour equally amazing. The cast couldn’t have been better and it was a privilege to be able to watch Glinda’s understudy take to the stage during the matinee performance at the Bristol Hippodrome.

Amy Ross’s Elphaba is the seamless combination of good and wicked. Every note she sings is bone chillingly beautiful and her stellar diction allows us to hear every word and become immersed in the story. A stand out was ‘Defying Gravity’ which was a perfect way to end Act 1 and left me eager so the final half.


Unfortunately Helen Woolfe (Glinda) wasn’t performing for this performance. Instead we were treated to the equally cheerful and Popular Charli Baptie who has an excellent voice and plays a fabulous, frilly, humourous Glinda who manages to have depth, light and shade in her performance. 

The glorious music is note perfect and I was pleased that it was not too loud (as I have experienced previously) so dialogue could still be heard whilst it was being accompanied.

The dancing was crisp and spell blindly visually; whilst the cast’s singing made each song sound new and exciting. The quality of this tour is almost West End standard and I’d thoroughly recommend anyone who can’t get to London, to see this show as it flies round the UK on it’s current tour.

If you get the opportunity, spend One Short Day watching Wicked as it’s a tour not to be missed!

photo credit: Matt Crockett

Wicked (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Friday, 16 March 2018

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review


Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir (Concert) 
Shoreditch Town Hall 
Reviewed on Friday 17th November 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll probably have twigged that I'm a huge fan of Wicked star, Rachel Tucker. Most recently I saw her perform as a special guest at Kristin Chenoweth's concert and previously in Wicked and her solo concerts at the Zedel; every single time she has completely blown me away with her effortless performances and last night was no exception.

Rachel is a masterful performer, both in terms of her faultless vocals and her ability to embody and live every song she sings.  She is magical in the way she transports the audience into her thoughts and make us feel the emotions she's portraying as if we're experiencing them ourselves. The way she interprets songs is unique, extremely moving and I find it incredibly impressive how she is able to switch so quickly from one mood to another. 


During act 2 Rachel came off the stage to perform an a capella folk song which had the audience in enraptured silence but within moments of finishing she snapped back to her larger-than-life, joyous self and had the audience laughing out loud. That ability to manipulate an audience's emotions is truly remarkable.

The set list for the night included something for everyone from theatre classics such as 'Children Will Listen' to pop songs and a personal favourite, her own composition 'I'm Falling' which always wows me. This varied programme meant the night flew by and by the time it came to her second encore we still wanted more! Other stand outs included 'The Man That Got Away' and Kris Rawlinson's stunning arrangement of 'No Good Deed' which brings new life to the Wicked classic. Kris and Rachel make the perfect duo, bouncing off one another both comedically and musically. Also great, were Jodie Steele and Amanda Coutts who doubled as stage managers and back up singers- 'Proud Mary' was brilliant and got the entire audience on their feet!

With a few ex-Elphaba's and Galinda's in attendance, it was Emma Hatton who took the stage as the special guest of the night. Dressed in a suitably emerald dress, Emma joined forces with Rachel to perform a jazzed up version of 'I'm Not That Girl' and a lively version of 'That's Life'; the two work wonderfully together and it's so enjoyable to see them having fun on stage together. Also joining Rachel were the Stagebox choir who helped out with a notably touching performance of 'You Will Be Found' from Dear Evan Hansen.


Overall it was just a joyous night of glorious music. Rachel is one of the most versatile performers I've seen; funny, relaxed and charming, her voice is like no other. Powering through every song with her own personal style- belting it out and emotionally reigning it in with equal skill and motivation. Rachel is at the top of her game- a master of her craft who continually delivers time and time again. This was billed as Rachel's 'biggest solo concert to date' but I sincerely hope things get bigger and bigger for her as she continues to charm and wow audiences around the world... but preferably mostly in London so I can be at them all!

Watch my vlog of the concert here

Rachel Tucker with Stagebox Choir, Shoreditch Town Hall | Review

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium | Review


Kristin Chenoweth (Concert)
London Palladium
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

When this post goes live it will officially be my 21st birthday which is crazy, but what’s even crazier is how incredible my birthday eve was. I spent the night at the London Palladium seeing the amazing, pint-sized superstar Kristin Chenoweth in concert. Before I continue on this review I must say that it’ll be pretty different to my usual ones as it’s going to be way more informal and personal, purely because I’ve had such a long history with Kristin so it was a pretty momentous night and I’m finding it hard to put into cohesive words.

So let’s start with the history... like many UK Kristin fans, I saw Wicked when it opened back in 2006, subsequently listened to the Broadway recording and fell in love with the cast. I then entered an obsessive phase where I watched all Kristin videos, listened to every song she'd ever sung, read every interview she'd done and was generally that annoying fan that could talk about nothing else. Since then I have become less over the top with my obsession but my love for Kristin has definitely not diminished and I was dying with excitement when I knew I was finally going to see her live.

The concert was marketed as an "Intimate Evening" with Kristin which I was dubious about seeing as it was taking place in the vast London Palladium; and whilst the venue certainly isn't intimate in any way, shape or form, Kristin somehow managed to pull me in and make me feel as if I was watching her sing in her living room.


Whilst I could go in depth about each song, there isn't really much point as I'll just be praising every one to no end, so what I will say is that each piece was vocally beautiful and Kristin gave honest, heartfelt performances from start to end. Of course she sang a number of her most famous songs including 'Popular' and 'Taylor The Latte Boy' (my grade 8 musical theatre piece!) but she also sang some lesser known tracks such as 'Upon This Rock' and 'I Was Here'. A particularly stunning moment was Kristin's rendition of the Les Miserables classic: 'Bring Him Home'- I was in floods of tears... as I was for the entire concert! We were also treated to a spine tingling duet of 'For Good' with one of my favourite performers ever: Rachel Tucker... truly epic!

I must be honest and admit that I was a little wary about watching Kirstin perform. Obviously I am a huge fan but I was worried that seeing such a big idol of mine live would be a bit of a let down. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This was honestly the best concert I have ever experienced and I have never had such a strong emotional reaction to seeing someone live. Sure I cry at emotional parts of shows but this was another level, my mum and I were blubbering messes throughout... especially when Kristin finished the show with a NO MIC rendition of 'Smile'... tears upon tears! 

I just want to touch upon my personal connection to Kristin so you can really understand how much this concert meant to me. Firstly, as a Classical singer in training, Kristin is just everything I aspire to be. Her stage presence and vocal technique are things I can only dream of mastering on her level and her unapologetic performances inspire me to no end. I don't want to go too in depth with the second reason but several years ago I had a series of extended hospital stays and 20 operations on my knee (ouch, right?) due to an illness and during that time I remember reading Kristin's book 'A Little Bit Wicked' and being motivated and positive to get better. It wasn't something I had thought about until watching her perform but Kristin's influence on my life has truly been vast and way more involved than I'm going to explain but basically this was a magical and emotional night.



I'm still struggling to really put into words what made this concert so special but it was truly the most incredible theatrical experience I've ever had. Kristin is a master of her craft as well as a hilarious woman who completely commands the stage. Her outfits were the glitziest things I've ever seen but honestly, she could've worn a paper bag and I still would have been blown away. I couldn't have asked for a better entrance to being 21 and I will continue to strive to reach the levels Kristin is continually climbing. I pray to all the theatre gods that we can get Ms Chenoweth over on our turf for a bit. But in the mean time I will continue to relish in the delight and emotion that this devastatingly brilliant concert provided and I hope to one day meet Kristin and tell her in person how amazing I think she is!


Watch my vlog of the concert: https://youtu.be/5-Bsh6_UKJk

Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium | Review

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Stagey Guide To Singing: Kerry Ellis


If you've ever wanted singing tips from a West End star, then this series of posts is the one for you! This post is courtesy of the wonderful Kerry Ellis who will soon be starring as Eve in the tour of the new show, Heaven on Earth...


When did you realise you could sing? Did you have singing lessons?
I always sung from an early age I knew I loved it and that was enough for me to want to pursue a career it wasn't really about whether I was good enough or not. I've had lessons with various people along the way but nothing consistent. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

Have you always been able to belt? If not, when did you start belting?
I think so yes I grew up listening to Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Barbra Streisand Celine Dion and other incredible female vocalists. Liza Minnelli too and I'd just try to sing along with them so I guess it was all from a natural place. 


What vowels do you find easiest to belt? Do you modify words to make them easier to sing?
I think you have to sing the lyrics of the song regardless whether it easy or not but a good teacher would help you work your way through the song without forcing or causing any damage.

What tips do you have for singing and dancing at the same time?
Breathe and go for it and have fun!

How do you keep your voice healthy, do you have any rituals before shows?                              Depends on the day I think the best advice somebody gave to me was use the voice you have that day, which means you mustn't give yourself a hard time if your voice doesn't feel the same every day just sing with the best of your ability and give yourself a break. Lots of water lots of rest and don't abuse your voice.
Rest is so underrated you have to take care of your voice like any other part of your body it's precious and needs care and attention and respect!

Overall, what's your number one piece of advice for finding and developing your singing voice?        Trust yourself and enjoy it!

A Stagey Guide To Singing: Kerry Ellis

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review


Idina Menzel
Royal Albert Hall
Reviewed on Thursday June 15th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

If you're a theatre fan then I'm sure you've heard of Idina Menzel. The last time she played the glorious Royal Albert Hall, she was known among the theatre community for creating the roles of Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked but since then has reached a stratospheric level of fame. Thanks in part to John Travolta mangling her name, but mostly for her role as the Queen herself, Elsa in Disney's hit movie, Frozen.


Compared to previous concerts, Menzel sung less of the classics and throughout her almost two hour concert, pulled a lot from her eponymous fifth studio album which was released last September. She came out with a power strut, and after a couple of mic issues started playing her drum and swinging along to the upbeat "Queen of Swords", gradually transitioning to the sweeter "Small World" then to the audience favourite "Season's of Love" from Rent. The fans cheered and joined in as Menzel cracked a smile, obviously enjoying her performance at the iconic venue already.

Idina is clearly very comfortable on stage; her personality and self-deprecating humour flowing easily and filling time between songs along with little anecdotes and witty comments to the audience. Aside from the humour, she was also unafraid to get personal. Before bursting into the upbeat "Cake", Idina explained that she wrote it after a conversation she had with her fiancé Aaron Lohr.

"I said to him 'Are you sure you wanna marry me because I have a lot of issues?'" she shared and explained why his response made her love him even more and inspired this song. "he said 'I can handle you, honey. It's  all good, you're cake'" And so we heard Idina tackle the song with vigour and excitement before moving into a wonderful cover of Led Zepplin's "Black Dog".

Another of Menzel's recent achievements was starring in the remake of Beaches alongside Nia Long so it was only fitting that she included her beautiful rendition of "The Wind Beneath My Wings" which smoothly transitioned into the mighty "Defying Gravity" earning Idina her first standing ovation of the night.

A wonderful moment during the concert was when each of the band members got a little solo/improv moment to show off how talented they all are, especially Idina's back up singer who was outstanding in the cover of Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady" and stole the stage with her huge voice.

The moment soon came which delighted many of the younger audience members as well as most of the older ones, when Menzel performed a wonderfully arranged mash up of the The Beatles' "Dear Prudence" and the Frozen hit "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?". The almost a cappella "For Good" was another lovely moment which achieved a second standing ovation.

As the last piece before the encore of "I See You", Idina asked all the little children in the arena to come to the stage to help her perform "Let it Go" which was extremely adorable and hilarious as most of them looked terrified the minute the mic was near them! Menzel made sure none of the children were scarred for life and let them repeat the song as many times as it took for them to feel comfortable.

I found it to be somewhat more sombre and reflective than her previous concerts but I guess that comes with having to adapt to younger audiences and it was nice to see a different side to Idina. This was a memorable night for sure and I'm sure a treat for Menzel as well as her fans!


See my concert vlog here:



photo credit: Steve

Idina Menzel, Royal Albert Hall | Review

Friday, 16 June 2017

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review


Rachel Tucker (concert)
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Tuesday June 6th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Rachel Tucker is a superstar of the stage and is currently on a long awaited tour around the UK before heading to New York for a stint at the iconic, 54 Below. Now I knew Rachel's voice was good from the I'd Do Anything days, videos online and of course from seeing her in Wicked but I was completely blown away when I saw her solo performance last night. Rachel's voice is powerful, emotive, beautiful and her overall stage presence is that of a true star.

Rachel's set consisted of a number of upbeat songs to more balladic slow pieces with the flow from jubilation to tears completely smooth and seamless. The whole concert seemed so well put together and like a huge amount of thought had gone into each song and placement, it was really a night of everything. Opening the show with "Miss Otis Regrets", Rachel immediately created a bond with the audience and won over the room with her huge presence and personality.

Moving wonderfully into a rendition of "Candyman", Rachel kept the atmosphere bright and warm and set the stage for an evening of glorious entertainment. The segway into each song was done flawlessly, a sign of Rachel's stage training from a young age. The transition from "Waving Through a Window" (beautiful) to "Climbing Uphill" was particularly entertaining with Rachel reenacting a bad audition before giving a hilarious performance of the Jason Robert Brown classic.

As her special guest for the night, Rachel introduced Samantha Barks (who we all know I love) at the end of act one for a rendition of "Nowadays/All That Jazz" from Chicago. This was a particular treat for us Londoners who didn't get to see Samantha as Velma Kelly in Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl and it was a marvellous end to the first half.

The second half of the concert was just as seamless and brilliant as the first, with little anecdotes sprinkled throughout and an absolutely hilarious tribute to Tina Turner which Rachel explained was her unique selling point when she used to perform with her dad.  Needless to say, the audience loved the ridiculously fantastic and energetic performance of "Proud Mary/River Deep Mountain High".

Samantha and Rachel joined forces again with a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of Wicked's "For Good" which was lovely to hear and joyous to see the two friends performing such a beautiful song in the intimate setting of the Crazy Coqs, Zedel.

Not only is Rachel's singing top notch, but her acting and interpretation of music is outstanding. Able to go from elation to heartbreaking sincerity in a matter of bars. Act two saw Rachel perform "The Man That Got Away" which was just phenomenal and left the audience in pin-drop silent awe. Rachel closed the show with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and the Ed Sheeran favourite, "Castle on a Hill" which really summed up the evening and gave the audience the whole spectrum of emotions once again and gave Rachel her third and final standing ovation of the evening.

Rachel is just a sensational performer and last nights concert was completely faultless. I honestly couldn't have asked for anything more from Rachel or Samantha except for them to sing more and serenade me for the rest of my life! Rachel is truly remarkable, a joy to watch and a brilliant inspiration for anyone wanting to perform. If you get the chance to see Rachel in concert, or in any other show then 100000% take the opportunity as you do not want to miss the chance to be blessed be her performance of dreams and pipes from heaven!

Read my interview with Rachel here: https://goo.gl/FyfrTy

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Sunday, 4 June 2017

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | UK Tour | Interview

Rachel Tucker is basically theatrical royalty, with a an impressive resume, an incredible voice and an extremely dedicated following. Currently touring the UK and about to start her second stint at the Zedel in London, Rachel was lovely enough to discuss what we can expect in her concerts, how she stays motivated, her dream role and much more... 


What are some of your career highlights so far?


Wicked on Broadway, it was my absolute dream. The I'd Do Anything programme was a highlight, I loved it, it was great. Oh Wicked 10 is definitely the most recent highlight, it was amazing and a great night.


What keeps you motivated to keep working even when you're knocked down?

I guess the belief in myself, I know I can do it. I think people get confused with not getting the job, they think that it's a personal thing and 99% of the time it's not. It's just you're not right for them or at that particular time or moment for whatever their reasons are. But it's about remembering that it's not me, it's them. I mean not them, but their choice, not because I'm bad but because they don't want me.


Elphaba is obviously a very iconic role. How do you add your own spin on such well known songs and characters?

I try and approach it with a fresh look at it and as close to Rachel as I can because I think it's important to not copy and not be what everybody else thinks you should be and also because it's boring to do it the way someone else has done it when you're not being true to yourself. I'm a very honest person and I think it's very important to be honest with everything you think and how you approach the music and songs and interpret it as close to yourself as you possibly can.


You have a lot of repertoire, so what can people expect when they come and see you perform your solo concerts?

I like an eclectic collection of songs. I've grown up with old school musicals and entertainers and also love very current stuff like Ed Sheeran and I love standards, like some jazz standards. I also love modern musical theatre as well as the old stuff. So yeah, a real mixed bag. A real collection... and a few surprises thrown in for good measure!


If you could bring any guest star on stage with you, dead or alive, who would you pick?

Sammy Davis Jr, Bette Midler and Sting. Oh and probably Beyonce!


You've performed in a variety of venues both in shows and on tour. Do you prefer the bigger, elaborate ones or the smaller, more intimate ones?

They're all different, each of them brings a different thing. The intimate ones I think will be good to start out for me because they're more informal and I love that. You know, I'm not a formal girl, I love being casual and being able to see people and their reactions so that'll be nice. But I also love the big theatres where you have to look up to the balcony and get people joining in and singing along. So I like both.


You're taking this tour to Broadway with 54 Below, but would you ever consider touring it over there?

I think maybe in time, I mean it's taken ten years for me to be able to realistically tour the UK and these things I think take time so I think it'll be a little while longer before doing anything like that in America.


What's one talent you wish you could have?

I wish I could read music or play an instrument. Specifically the piano!


What are some funny moments you had either on stage or off stage?

Oh wow.... funny moments. I'm trying to think what ones I can tell you!  At one point when I first did Wicked, I came back from holiday and I completely left out the whole bit of why Elphaba snatches the green bottle before 'Popular'. I literally couldn't remember a word of it and poor Gina Beck had to prompt me and say "was it because your mum was.....?" and she had to literally recite the whole paragraph and I just agreed with her. It was very scary!


Have you ever sneezed or got the hiccups in a performance?

Oh yeah completely. When I did The Wizard of Oz in Belfast, someone sneezed to me and I couldn't finish my lines cause I was laughing so hard. So absolutely, yes.


If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?

Ohhh which show would I do next? I'd probably do a new show, a brand new show to originate and create a new role, yeah.


If you could go back to any era, when would you go to?

I think I'd go back to the 60s or actually probably the Hollywood MGM era like 20s or 30s


What is your go to karaoke song?

I recently went with my friend and I did 'Simply The Best' by Tina Turner!


What's the best piece of advice you've received or would like to give to someone hoping to get into the performing industry?

You've got to absolutely know your worth, know how good you are and be realistic with yourself and whether you can hack this industry. And think seriously if there's something else you could do then you probably should go and do it because you know, there was nothing else I could do and I think you've got to be very dedicated and very driven and passionate and care a lot about it. And have patience, it takes years and years to get anywhere. It doesn't just happen over night!


A huge thank you to Rachel for taking the time to talk to me. All of Rachel's shows at the Zedel are currently sold out but you may be lucky and get a return! All information about her upcoming dates can be seen here.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | UK Tour | Interview

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Samantha Barks, Mayflower Theatre | Review


Samantha Barks with Kerry Ellis
Mayflower Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday May 20th 2017 by Mary Schofield
★★

The Mayflower is a fantastic venue located in the heart of Southampton, I have visited it frequently over the past two years that I have been at University and it's brilliant that such a wonderful theatre is on my doorstep. The venue is often visited by West End shows on their UK tours and seats a capacity of 2,300 people.

Despite the large capacity of the theatre the performance itself felt intimate as Samantha Barks (first discovered on I'd Do Anything and known for her recent appearances in: Les Miserables, The Last Five Years, Oliver and most recently her films Bitter Harvest and Interlude in Prague) took us on a nostalgic journey down memory lane. She sung a collection of songs from her new album including: “When He Loved Me” and “If I Die Young” as well as a gorgeous cover of "Blackbird" by The Beatles. Sam also shared with us a spectacular performance from The Last Five Years, “I Can Do Better Than That” which she wrapped in the St James Theatre (now The Other Palace) last December. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to see this in the theatre but the film version will have to help ease my new musical obsession!

Samantha's special guest for this one off concert event was the wonderful Kerry Ellis (known for her appearances in Wicked and currently on tour with the production Wonderland). Her set consisted of performances from both Wonderland and We Will Rock You. Ellis really showed off her unique, rocky voice and was a perfect complement to Barks.

The highlight of the evening was definitely when both ladies joined together for a wonderful duet of "For Good" from Wicked. Samantha went on to explain that this performance was one that she previously had on her bucket list, making the occasion even more special. You truly missed a magical moment if you weren't there! The evening was rounded up with a throwback to Les Mis with “On My Own”, bringing tears to every member of the audience and showing the power of Samantha's stage presence.

The only thing that upset me about the event was the timings; I would have been more than happy to listen to Barks sing for another 3 hours! This was a fantastic concert with two powerhouses of musical theatre joining together for a fabulous evening of entertainment. Hopefully this isn't the last of the pairing we see and I can't wait to see Samantha perform again- fingers crossed for another stint on a West End stage! 

Samantha Barks, Mayflower Theatre | Review

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Monday, 28 November 2016

In Conversation With... Shoshana Bean | Concert | Interview

Firstly I want to apologise for how late this interview is. I interviewed Shoshana back in September but unfortunately my phone glitched and I couldn't retrieve the interview so it had to be put off. Thankfully I got it back so you lovely, stagey people can finally read it! So I hope you enjoy this late, but still very interesting and relevant interview from the wonderful Shoshana Bean!



Shoshana is a Broadway veteran who's starred in Wicked, Funny Girl, Hairspray and Beaches to name a few. She's released 3 solo albums, done countless solo concerts as well as those with the Postmodern Jukebox AND she sung back-up vocals for Michael Jackson! There's really nothing this lady can't do!...  

In Conversation With... Shoshana Bean | Concert | Interview

Monday, 28 November 2016