Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Christina Modestou. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Christina Modestou. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, 14 May 2018

West End Live Lounge: Number 1, The Other Palace | Review

West End Live Lounge: One
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday 13th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell

The email telling me about an upcoming West End Live Lounge concert is one I look forward to with excitement and anticipation as the night always proves to be a joyous, talent-filled one. Last night's concert was exactly that, a celebration of Number 1 music, performed by a stellar line up, in aid of Centrepoint, a charity which supports homeless young people.

Opening the show with a gloriously haunting version of Sia's Titanium, were the ever stunning Kelly Agbowu and Natalie Green. Both performers have beautifully smooth vocals and they complement one another perfectly. 

From here on, act one of the concert raced by with vocal brilliance after vocal brilliance. Lisa Marie Holmes and Zoe Birkett gave heartfelt performances whilst, Jodie Jacobs gave an energetic performance of Jerry Lee Lewis' rock classic Great Balls of Fire. Rock numbers proved to be an audience favourite with Andrew Polec earning rapturous applause and cheers after his performance of Living on a Prayer.

Adam Bailey's haunting interpretation of Run was a sure stand out and Moya Angela closed act one with a spine-tingling, note perfect performance of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You.

Hosting the night were the hilarious Vikki Stone and The Other Palace producer, Paul Taylor-Mills. The pair bounced off each other naturally with their wit and banter providing fantastic transitions between songs.

Vikki took a break from hosting to open act two with her comical, stripped back performance of Cotton Eyed Joe. The great thing about West End Live Lounge is that although it's for a serious cause and a celebration of immense talent, at it's heart it's about love and humour. The whole night is set out to be a joyous night of fun and that's exactly what it is. You can feel the love in the room and it's truly heartwarming to be a part of.

Act two was a maelstrom of talent with 1/3 of Divalution: Sejal Keshwala involving the audience in her spirited version of Aretha Franklin's Think. Joel Harper Jackson and Andrew Bateup both brought chills with their performances of Lay Me Down and Georgia on my Mind. Their voices are smooth as butter and they are mesmerising performers to watch.

Natalie and Kelly returned with the wonderful Impossible and Liisi LaFontaine, on her fleeting visit to London, treated us to a seamless performance of Grenade. The song selection of this concert was top notch, with song after song fulfilling my emotive ballad craving. Christina Modestou's performance of If I Were a Boy was vocally flawless as was Liam Tamne's rendition of Diamonds.

Musical director extraordinaire Sam Coates and his incredible band did an outstanding job of accompanying the performers and creating their own musical magic. American singer Stacey Francis brought gospel to The Other Palace, whilst Divalution (formerly Sapphire Soul) brought their usual sass and killer belt with an epic 23 song mash up.

Bat Out of Hell stars Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington concluded the night with an acrobatic, dynamic performance of Evanescence's hit, Bring Me To Life. The pair have enough sparks to power all the lights in The Other Palace and it's clear why audience's are loving them over at the Dominion theatre.

Although the performers were amazing, the real star of West End Live Lounge is Shaun McCourt who set up the concerts. Shaun puts so much work into them and it's clear that his passion and drive are infectious throughout the entire West End Live Lounge family. There's so much joy evident and each concert provides a perfect, musical night out. Don't miss the next one... you'll regret it!

photo credit: Nick Brittain

Thursday, 21 February 2019

In Conversation With... Shaun McCourt | West End Live Lounge | Interview

West End Live Lounge is back at The Other Palace on March 10th for a celebration of WOMEN. The stellar line up of performers will sings songs from powerful ladies, all whilst raising money for Samaritans. I spoke to founder, Shaun McCourt about all things West End Live Lounge...

Can you tell us a bit about the creation of West End Live Lounge?
West End Live Lounge started in 2017 as an idea for a series of concerts to raise money for charity and has since grown to where it is today. I wanted to create an event which would allow West End performers the platform to sing material which was not from the world of musical theatre with a live band. There was a gap in the gig/concert circuit for such an event and I simply decided to go for it-and what an exciting journey it has been.

You’ve gone from the Union Theatre to the Other Palace Studio to the main house and each concert is getting bigger and better. What’s the next thing you’d like to achieve with your concerts?
I am always overwhelmed by the support that West End Live Lounge receives. It is great to see so many people enjoying the concerts. Without this support, its reputation would not be where it is now. The show continues to grow and there are certainly exciting plans in place for its future. However, I am going to keep the secrets for now I am afraid. Watch this space!

In terms of what I would like to achieve, my aim is to continue to produce concerts that not only entertain our audiences, but also raise as much money for charity as possible.

What’s your favourite part of putting the Live Lounge concerts together?
Though I may look slightly stressed on the day of a Live Lounge concert, I have to say that I enjoy the whole process of putting it together- from picking the theme, to casting the line-up, liaising with The Other Palace, to the day of the concert itself. However, if I had to pick a favourite moment, it would be the rehearsals and soundcheck on the day of each event. The Live Lounge band are all incredible musicians and our musical director, Sam Coates, is a genius. That moment when we are all set up and I hear the band play for the first time is really special. It is always a reminder of just how much hard work people put into making these events a success. 

West End Live Lounge has become a bit of a family. The central team is made up of Sam Coates (musical director), Will Miney (technical manager) and myself. However, all performers and musicians that have been involved become part of this family. Getting to work alongside so many talented individuals always makes this such a rewarding process.

What can people expect when they come and experience a West End Live Lounge?
People can expect a great night at the theatre. If this doesn't happen, then I am doing something wrong! A West End Live Lounge event promises a fantastic line up of incredible singers and musicians. Each concert has an exciting theme and gives the audience the chance to see their favourite West End performers step out of the world of musical theatre. 

Each concert you raise money for a different charity, how do you choose the charities to support and what do they mean to you?
Choosing the charity for each concert is always a tricky job. There are so many important charities, so rather than continue to raise money for just one, I decided that it was really important to me that each concert raised money for a different cause. For some concerts, the theme and charity often go hand in hand. There have also been times where a major event has happened in the world around the time of the concert and it makes total sense to donate the proceeds to this cause. 

If you could have any performer dead or alive to perform at a Live Lounge, who would you choose and why?
This is a tricky question! I am incredibly grateful to every single performer who has given up their time to be part of a West End Live Lounge event. They each bring an amazing talent and such a great energy to the stage. It is important to me that I continue to introduce new faces to the Live Lounge stage and that each concert offers a diverse and exciting line up.

But if I had to pick one person... 

Well...If I could get Jennifer Hudson along to sing a number, would I be excited? Absolutely!

Can you sum up in 5 words why people should come to the next West End Live Lounge?
Belting for a good cause.

West End Live Lounge tickets go on sale March 25th.

Full cast (subject to availability): Adam Bailey, Christina Bennington, Louise Dearman, Lauren Drew, Simon Gordon, Jennifer Harding, Matthew Harvey, Emma Hatton, Lisa Marie Holmes, Claudia Kariuki, Sejal Keshwala, Emma Lindars, Shekinah Mcfarlane, Kayleigh McKnight, Christina Modestou, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Lauren James Ray, Danielle Steers, Laura Tebbutt, Jennifer Tierney, Rodney Vubya.

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Little Shop of Horrors, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre | Review

Little Shop of Horrors
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 13th August 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Productions at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre are basically a summer rite of passage. The beautiful outdoor space is the perfect place to watch brilliant theatre as the sun sets over you and (as long as it's not raining) provides a perfect summer evening. Currently on offer at the venue is a re-worked version of the 1982 plant-horror (?) musical, Little Shop of Horrors

This story of a monster plant is crazy anyway so has the tendency to turn tacky very easily, but Director, Maria Aberg embraces the weirdness with open arms and pulls of a gloriously cheesy but worth-the-ticket-price production.

As the charming, plant loving, Audrey admiring, Seymour, Marc Antolin is fantastic. He brings a real warmth to the character as well as providing sweet, smooth vocals and working well alongside Jemima Rooper as Audrey.

The Greek Chorus made up of Christina Modestou, RenĂ©e Lamb and Seyi Omooba bring a sense of realism to the show (well, as real as you can get with a man-eating, talking plant) and provide killer vocals. The trio are absolutely outstanding, commanding the stage and making all their moments on stage shine, especially the note-perfect rendition of The Meek Shall Inherit.

In an inspired piece of cast, the plant, Audrey II is played by drag queen, Vicky Vox who gives a sassy, fiery performance and brings a fresh layer to the show which makes it feel new all of a sudden.

Mention must also go to Matt Willis as Orin (among other characters) who gives a humourously versatile and sadistic performance.

Tom Scutt's bleak Skid Row set is in perfect contrast to the lush surroundings of Regent's Park and also helps heighten the pops of green and pink on stage. The costumes are camp and wonderful, especially at the end when the entire cast and ensemble are serving looks

This production is big, bold and wonderful. Humour, prime vocals and a crazy story make this the most enjoyable way to spend an evening. Tickets are limited but if you can find a way to get to Skid Row, you won't be disappointed!

Little Shop of Horrors runs at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre until September 22nd

photo credit: Johan Persson

Thursday, 21 September 2017

35mm: A Musical Exhibition, The Other Palace Studio | Review

35mm: A Musical Exhibition
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Wednesday September 20th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Honestly, when I stepped foot into The Other Palace Studio I had no idea what I was going to see except that it involved photos and singing. I was correct but it was actually so much more than that. 35mm is, as the title says, a musical exhibition and whilst this probably conjures up the idea of wandering around listening to music its actually a show like any other with an audience and a stage. The difference though is that each song is based on a photograph and instead of following one story, we follows lots of individual ones in each song.

I assumed that each photo and song would follow on from one another but they are actually not linked, instead they each tell a personal tale or capture a fragment of time told through music. However, as the show progresses there are some connections as well as juxtapositions, with each song blending into one another to create the idea that we are all the same in our overall experiences. Whilst the photos may look different to our own and even abstract in some cases, the stories behind them are often very similar to each of us and the magic of music and photography is that they can capture that and hold it as a memory. These memories allow us to reminisce but also grow.

The music itself, written by Ryan Scott Oliver is an amalgamation of styles which are performed wonderfully by the outstanding cast made up of Maisey Bawden, Gregor Duncan, George Maguire, Christina Modestou and Samuel Thomas.  Each member gets a chance to shine and take centre stage with their own story and the varying emotions from joy to anger to hatred are shown wonderfully by the small but extremely powerful cast.

I particularly enjoyed 'Leave Luanne' and 'The Ballad of Sara Berry' both of which were dramatic and emotive and worked wonderfully with the quick, sharp movements of the cast. 'Stop Time' opened the show in an interesting way, with sounds of swaying and movement as if we were travelling. To me it came across as a very unique form of music with the use of unusual sounds creating an impressionistic vibe which worked well in the intimate space. The religious choral section were also stunning with flawless harmonies which resonated wonderfully in the space.

Musically the songs are complex and layered which is a great contrast to the fairly simplistic looking photos. Most of the photos by Matthew Murphy are pretty basic looking with minimal action so it's wonderful to delve into them and bring out meaning with the music.  Joe Bunker leads the six-piece band very well and pulls off each genre perfectly.

The movement is also brilliant, with sharp, quick steps which flow and pop exquisitely with the music. The studio is small but seems bigger because of how easily the cast move with one another, never seeming like they're running out of room but instead working the space and using it to add to the story.

At seventy minutes through, a unique show, a great cast and variety of musical genres you can't really go wrong and I would definitely recommend going along to The Other Palace Studio to see it.

35mm: A Musical Exhibition runs at The Other Palace Studio until September 30th.

photo credit: Brittain Photography