Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Adrian Hansel. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Adrian Hansel. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday 10 June 2023

We Will Rock You at the London Coliseum review: Still Has 'A Kind Of Magic'

We Will Rock You
London Coliseum

After a ten year absence from the West End, the ‘show must go on’ for We Will Rock You (WWRY) as it takes up its summer residency at the London Coliseum. Set on the iPlanet, a corporate cyberspace where live music is forbidden, this iconic musical follows a group of rebellious bohemians in their search to rediscover the legendary art of rock and roll.

Unfortunately, jukebox musicals have come a long way since WWRY last graced the West End. Unlike newer examples such as &Juliet which prioritise cohesive and earnest story-telling, Ben Elton’s book is inarguably weak. It’s tiring to watch several scenes cynically shoehorned in to allow for a fan-favourites to feature in the show. Musical numbers often feel bookended awkwardly between immature dialogue, rather than moving the narrative along through song. However, these criticisms have been levelled at the show since its first inception, so no surprises there!

This production is clunky and cringeworthy at times. Scenes at GlobalSoft, Gaga High and Gaga Mall are cheapened by dated, distracting graphics and garish costumes. While clearly a deliberate aesthetic, for a show set decades from now it presents a futuristic vision that is firmly rooted in past. Fortunately, the overall design improves greatly when we’re invited into the rebel stronghold at Heartbreak Hotel. The set, designed by Stufish Entertainment Architects, becomes warm and inviting, with miscellaneous scraps and festoon lights cluttering the stage.

If the world of GlobalSoft is silly and contrived, then sadly so is their leader. A WWRY veteran, Brenda Edwards is vocally strong but her Killer Queen is more pantomime villain than ruthless technocrat. Lee Mead is woefully underused. He brings gravitas to his role as sidekick Commander Khashoggi and his performance of the Seven Seas of Rye is a great fun to watch as he peacocks across the stage with an air of gleeful sadism.

The show finally finds its heart when we meet the Bohemians, the first act belonging entirely to Christine Allado as Meat and her spellbinding delivery of No One But You. She is joined by the brilliant Adrian Hansel as hopeful believer Brit, creating a truly dynamic duo.

Elena Skye shines as Scaramouche. She’s feisty and spunky, with cracking comic timing and stellar vocals. Ian McIntosh gives an outstanding performance as the unsuspecting messiah of rock Galileo. He is an absolute vocal powerhouse, having the audience eating out the palm of his hand on more than one occasion. Together their chemistry is palpable and their bickering rendition of Hammer To Fall is a real treat.

Special mention must go to Ben Elton as rebel leader Pop. A singer he is not but he remains a joy to watch as he lives his best life in a world of his own creation.

At risk of being a relic of jukebox musicals past, WWRY still holds up as a night of rousing entertainment and the payoff is immense when it finally reaches its electric and euphoric finale of Queen’s greatest hits. Overall, it’s safe to say it still has ‘a kind of magic’ that will bring audiences back time and time again.

Reviewed on Friday 9th June 2023 by Hope Priddle
photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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

Thursday 25 April 2019

Ain't Misbehavin', Southwark Playhouse | Review

Ain't Misbehavin'
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Wednesday 24th April 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Tyrone Huntley makes his directorial debut with this vivacious production that hasn't been seen in London for almost 25 years. With Oti Mabuse's choreography, the show is a whirlwind of energy which excites and entertains throughout.

Originally conceived by Richard Maltby Jr the show is billed as The Fats Waller Musical. It's more of a cabaret revue than a musical but, thanks to Huntley's direction, the performers have their own characteristics which thread throughout the show and create a fantastic cohesion. Songwriter and pianist, Fats Waller had a hugely successful career which combined jazz, slapstick comedy and gin. However, this show isn't about the man himself, but the music he created.

The powerhouse cast bring spades of energy and vocal prowess with every number. RenĂ©e Lamb is sassy and animated, Carly Mercedes Dyer is sweetly comedic, Landi Oshinowo brings spades of soul, Wayne Robinson is smooth and sharp and Adrian Hansel is sleek throughout. Alongside the strong five-piece band, the team give contagious performances.

The set and costume design by takis is glitzy and exuberant, with sparkles and swing embodied on every inch. The Southwark Playhouse is transformed to have an almost speakeasy feel as we are whisked away to a world of jazz and gin.

The 100 minute show is a sexy and sassy celebration of Fats Waller's music, with choreography and vocals to impress everyone. The cast do an outstanding job of selling all of the thirty musical numbers and providing both emotional and hugely comedic moments.

Ain't Misbehavin' runs at the Southwark Playhouse until June 1st 2019

photo credit: Pamela Raith