Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Carolyn Maitland. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Carolyn Maitland. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review

West End Live Lounge: Woman
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Sunday September 24th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

If you're a frequent reader of Rewrite This Story (which I hope you are) then you will know that I have been to the previous two West End Live Lounges and raved about them to no end, so it's no surprise that last night's concert completely blew me away too. As always this will probably be a pretty long review because I want to praise as many people as I can, so go grab your drink of choice and get ready to relive an amazing night, or cry because you missed it!

Each West End Live Lounge raises money, with all proceeds from ticket sales and collections going to a specific charity, in last night's case, Women's Aid which helps women who are in/have been in abusive relationships; a cause which i'm sure we all agree is super important. So not only do you have an amazing night hearing some of the best the theatre world has to offer but you get to support a fantastic cause!

Last night's incredible line up was made up of: George Ure, Marcus Ayton, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Marisha Wallace, Liisi LaFontaine, Rob Houchen, Natalie Green, Matthew Harvey, Paul Wilkins, Rachel John, Kelly Agbowu, Sabrina Aloueche, Jodie Steele, Carolyn Maitland, Laura TebbuttMadalena Alberto, Emma Lindars, Lauren Ingram and Sapphire Soul.

Our compere for the evening was the ridiculously hilarious Samuel J Holmes who delivered gag after gag and was his own stand up act between performers.

Sapphire Soul were flawless as usual when they opened with a medley of classic Bond songs- the ladies, as their name suggests are full of soul and are just powerhouse vocalists which they proved again in act 2 with Bang Bang. From then on the energy was high and the first act flew by with some dazzling performances. Lauren Ingram's version of Crazy in Love was slowed down and sexy; Marcus Ayton's I Who Have Nothing was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as was Matthew Harvey's, Gravity.

Brady Isaacs Pearce was stunning as always with her emotive and heartfelt rendition of Jessie J's Big White Room; her clear, smooth voice is just so stunning to listen to and as I always say, she needs to be in a West End show NOW! Natalie Green as usual was fantastic, with her performance of If I Ain't Got You giving me chills!

The final trio of act one could not have been better; Rob Houchen had the whole audience in the palm of his hand with his insanely brilliant performance of I'd Rather Go Blind. I knew he could sing but man he's good! Kelly Agbowu then owned the belter One Moment in Time before Rachel John sent the whole audience to church with her Take My Hand/You've Got a Friend mash up. Needless to say, by the interval everyone was truly on a music induced high.

Act 2 was equally as good, if not better with banger and banger being delivered flawlessly by each and every person. Emma Lindars delivered Rolling in the Deep perfectly, with some added audience harmonies. Rachel John again wowed with My Kind of Love followed by Carolyn Maitland exquisitely performing Sia's Chandelier which could only have been made better if Maddie Ziegler was there to perform her iconic dance routine.

This act featured two impeccable duets; firstly Sabrina Aloueche and Matt Harvey with Girl Just Wanna Have Fun and secondly Paul Wilkins and Rob Houchen with Field of Gold. Both of which featured perfect harmonies and left me breathless. Kelly Agbowu's Chains was perfect and Jodie Steele's scarily relevant cover of Dear Mr President was beautifully, sincerely and emotively performed.

Liisi LaFontaine and Marisha Wallace are the definition of powerhouses, their vocals, stage presence and overall auras are just impeccable. Marisha along with her own back up singers brought the audience to their feet with her faultless Whitney Houston medley as she sang her heart out to the gods and slayed the entire audience. Liisi slayed equally with her stunning performance of Uninvited but it was their closing number, Listen which absolutely blew the roof off of The Other Palace Studio. Now I've heard Listen several times when I've seen Dreamgirls but this performance was just mind blowing and proved why these ladies are getting all the hype and praise they are at the moment. Absolutely sensational!

So yes, this was an incredible concert. Shaun McCourt is a saint for putting so much time and energy into this impeccable concert for a wonderful cause and I hope the West End Live Lounges continue for a long time to come. If you want a night of hilarity, fun and vocal perfection then get yourself along to the next one and help out some wonderful charities!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts:

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Annie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Annie (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 10th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell

Annie is an absolute cult classic show, from it's various film incarnations and tours around the world, there's something wonderful about the story of a young orphan who overcomes adversity and finds the love she's always desired.

Nikolai Foster's current UK touring production of the show features a wonderful set, some thrilling choreography and a whole lot of foot stamping energy from both the children and the adults. Colin Richmond's set is reminiscent of Matilda, with fragments (in this case puzzle pieces) framing the stage and creating a backdrop which leaves a lot to the imagination but also seems to flow and transition. Richmond's costumes are perfect for the setting but also manage to put a refreshing spin on the styes which have become synonymous with the show such as Annie's red coat and Lily St Regis' flowing dress. 

Nick Winston once again provides the goods with his sharp choreography that incorporates a number of dance styles and never waivers. Particularly impressive are the tap numbers and rousing NYC sequences. The cast are precise and clean as they bring Winston's vision to life in an entertaining and stylistic way.

The young cast do a great job of bringing the various personalities of the orphans to life, with stand outs at this performance including Chancé Quaye, Aliya Bashir and Francesca Robinson. Leading the way as Annie herself, Freya Yates gives a good, assured performance and is sure to grow and develop into a wonderful musical theatre performer.

Among the adult cast it's Carolyn Maitland who stands out as the caring Grace, who takes Annie under her wing and becomes the perfect mother figure. Maitland's voice is superb and she really does radiate warmth. Richard Meek is entertaining as the bad boy schmoozer Rooster, who cons his way through life but remains annoyingly charming. Alongside the talented Jenny Gayner as Lily, the pair give fiery performances, especially in the kick-line inducing Easy Street. Craig Revel Horwood is a clear audience favourite and does give a rounded performance. Whilst there are moments which lack in energy, others fizzle and excite. Overall there are times when the audience could have benefitted from Horwood having stronger diction within his strong New York accent but he does, mostly, do the iconic role justice.  

Although the sun might not be coming out in Surrey tomorrow, there's no doubt that this show will bring light and joy to many children. The beaming faces and exclamations of "I want to see it again" prove how magical theatre can be; and whilst this show is not everyone's cup of tea, it certainly has the heart to inspire. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Ghost (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Ghost (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 27th February 2017 by Valerie Field

Despite all the drama and speculation that has been surrounding this show, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it very moving and well acted. I have never seen the film but know of the story and have heard all about the iconic scene at the potters wheel so I was a bit surprised that more wasn't made of that scene on stage. The fact that this is my only major criticism shows how much I enjoyed the show.

The scenery was great and scene changes were smooth and convincing with each set feeling exactly like the place it was portraying and the characters fit into it perfectly. The special effects were brilliant and really added to the show, although sometimes they did feel a little unnecessary, altogether they added a very nice layer to the performance.

The acting, dancing and songs were great and very entertaining, memorable and enjoyable. Carolyn Maitland was wonderful as Molly and has fabulous chemistry with Andy Moss as Sam. Both their voices are strong and they are convincing as the characters.

Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae was a definite stand out and was fantastic on stage, stealing the show at points and really showing off her star power. Garry Lee Netley as the Subway Ghost deserves a special mention as he was a great presence on stage and suited the character wonderfully.

My only other criticism is that I did feel sometimes the orchestra was a bit too loud when the solos were being sung as it seem to drown the singer's voices slightly. This was probably just an issue that night. 

Apart from that the show was great and I enjoyed it immensely and will definitely recommend it. The cast are strong and well rounded. The sets, costumes and effects fit the show precisely and overall it was a great night out seeing a much loved musical. All in all I think the whole show came together really well and was a very entertaining evening.

Ghost runs at the New Victoria theatre until March 4th and then continues on it's UK tour.

Photo credit: Matt Martin

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Rags, Park Theatre | Review

Park Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 15th January 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

Originally developed by Fiddler on the Roof writer, Joseph Stein as somewhat of a sequel, Rags has been reworked many times since the original Broadway production closed after only four performances. Lucky for us, the Hope Mill Theatre production was rather more a success and has transferred to London's Park Theatre. 

David Thompson's rewrites have made this a sleek production that ebbs and flows well, whilst retaining an gitty side. With four onstage musicians and wonderful performances from the cast, Rags is certainly successful in its ambition.

Opening with a solitary violinist who is extremely reminiscent of Fiddler, the musical follows two Jewish girls as they make port in New York and try to create a new life for themselves and their families. There are various subplots about worker's rights, the Jewish contribution to art and culture, conformity and of course, romance. Most of the time the musical is paced well but there are still times which feel a little slow, or confusing as too much is happening at once.

However, overall this musical isn't about the plot, but rather the human experience and genuine struggles faced by people trying to live the American Dream that was promised to them. Its a clear window to the vile anti-semitic views held and the trials which are unfortunately still faced today. It's quite shocking that a musical written in the eighties, still has so much relevance today. 

Whilst the songs (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz) are not individually particularly memorable, the overall moods created are very moving and do the job to tell the story, even if you won't leave the theatre humming the tunes. Nick Barstow's arrangements are beautiful and the cast give exceptional performances.

Carolyn Maitland gives a sensational performance as Rebecca. Her solo moments are complete vocal treats and she leads the show with a delightful nuance. Alex Gibson-Giorgio is instantly likeable and vocally exemplary as the Italian immigrant, Sal. As bright eyed Bella, Martha Kirby is an absolute vocal star who brings the youth and vulnerability of the character to life excellently, and is certainly one to watch! Oisin Nolan-Power as Ben and Rachel Izen as Rachel also give stand out performances.

Bronagh Lagan's production has heart in spades and provides a real impact through the thoughtful way its themes are tackled. It's a life-affirming show which will make you want to hug those close to you a little tighter.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Sunday, 18 June 2017

West End Live Lounge: Icons and Legends, Union Theatre | Review

West End Live Lounge
Union Theatre
Reviewed Sunday 11th June 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

When I went to the first West End Live Lounge back in March, I didn't think it could get any better. I was wrong! Every single performance was absolutely outstanding and I was in awe of each and every performer, it was honestly one of the best concerts I've ever seen, full of so much incredible talent and just a wonderful night for a wonderful cause.

I could honestly talk in depth about every single performer because they all deserve a huge amount of praise but I fear that it could be the longest review in the history of reviews so I won't talk about everyone in depth but I will talk quite a lot so you might want to settle down and grab a cuppa!

The concert opened with a lovely performance of the Amy Winehouse classic "Valerie"by Katie Paine, which started the night on an upbeat, joyous note. Leigh Lothian (who created the concert series along with Shaun McCourt) and George Jennings then took us through the history of James Bond with a glorious medley of the hit Bond songs. 

I have seen a lot of Sapphire Soul recently, both at the previous Live Lounge and as special guests and the Dreamgirls Unplugged concert and am a massive fan of their unique arrangements and brilliant voices and was very glad that they were a part of this concert. The glamourous girls sung a delightful version of "Over The Rainbow" and closed the show with a joyous Aretha Franklin medley which left everyone on a high. Ashford Campbell sung one of my favourite songs "Human Nature" and made me love it and his voice even more! 

Now if Brady Isaacs Pearce doesn't become a West End star, I will personally knock on Cameron Mackintosh's door and demand he puts her in a show. At only 17 years old, her voice is insanely good and her overall stage presence is of someone vastly experienced. Brady sung a mash up of songs by the queen of stage Barbra Streisand and filled her huge shoes perfectly, giving the audience chills.

Cleve September has such a likeable personality which came across when he stepped on stage and explained he had only decided what to perform on the morning of the concert; going out and purchasing a loop pedal and kind of winging his way through. However, if we hadn't known this, we wouldn't have noticed. Cleve's performance of "Feeling Good" was unique and so fun to watch and he certainly seemed like an experienced loop pedlar (??) to me!

The first act flew by with stellar performance after stellar performance. Hannah Ducharme superbly performed "Hallelujah", Alexis Gerred absolutely owned "Come Together" and Sejal Kashwala gave an astonishing performance of "How Comes You Don't Call Me" which had me in awe of her voice. To end the first act, Kelly Agbowu sung the hell out of "The Show Must Go On" and completely blew the roof off the intimate venue which her effortless and faultless performance.

Act two included a few duets where the performers got to have fun signing with one another. Andrew Bateup and Marcus Ayton sung the Stevie Wonder favourite, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", Matthew Seadon-Young and Leigh Lothian performed "Careless Whisper" and Carolyn Maitland and Lauren Ingram sung a Billie Jean mash up. All three duets were fantastic and it's just a joy to get double the talent per song!

Perhaps my favourite part of the night was when two Whitney Houston classics were performed back to back with Ruth Brown singing "I Will Always Love You" and Emma Lindars singing "I Have Nothing". Both performances were completely awe-inspiring and just breathtaking. The talent of these ladies is just unbelievable and it's crazy that they're not international stars!

Oliver Savile channel his inner Frank Sinatra with "Let's Face The Music" and I'm sure made many of the ladies in the room swoon with his suave performance. Laura Mansell's Celine Dion mash up was so sensational and it was glorious to hear my favourite Celine song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" performed so well.

Liam Doyle gave an upbeat rendition of "I'm Still Standing" before Natalie Green gave the penultimate performance of the night with Prince's "Purple Rain". I'm a massive fan of Natalie's voice and adored her performance so much, as it seemed did the entire audience. 

Although an absolutely fantastic night of entertainment showing off some of the best the West End has to offer, the main reason for the concerts series is to raise money and awareness for charity. This concert was raising money for Mind which supports people suffering from mental health issues, a cause close to so many of our hearts and it's great to see so many people coming together for such a great cause.

If you couldn't tell from that very long review, I completely loved West End Live Lounge and know I will love all the future concerts. If you can get along to the next one then please do because you will definitely enjoy it. What's better that West End stars blessing your ears on a Sunday evening?!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts: