Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Cleve September. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Cleve September. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, 6 February 2017

In Conversation With... Cleve September | Hamilton | Interview

Cleve September is a rising star of the West End. He recently starred in Annie Get Your Gun and In The Heights to much acclaim and has just been cast as Laurens/Philip in the upcoming West End production of Hamilton so it safe to say he's destined for stardom! 




Was being a performer what you always dreamt of or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?


I've been singing since I can remember but only started dancing about 6, nearly 7 years ago. Before that I was really into my sports.. I played a lot of basketball and rugby. And I also love 100m and 200m sprints. So I was quite athletic because I got into musical theatre. And the dream back then was to be in the Olympics.


You just finished playing Sonny in In The Heights to much acclaim. It just seems like the funnest show and cast to be a part of. Can you sum up that experience?


Really there are no words to describe how incredible the experience was! In The Heights will always have a place in my heart, as will the cast! They were all such incredible human beings! And they really made my first professional job so amazing.


Did you feel any extra pressure joining so many original Southwark Playhouse cast members when you joined the show at the Kings Cross Theatre? How did you put your own spin on the role?

Not at all because everyone was so welcoming and everyone was so supportive! And I wasn't expected to do the things that Damian can do or did in the show so I could do a bit of creating and figuring out how my body wanted to move in terms of the dance routines. And we just found new things.


You definitely became a fan favourite at Heights; did you expect to gain so many fans in your first role after training?


I didn't know that I was a fan favourite... I had no idea what to expect but I am so thankful for the fans because their love and constant support was amazing throughout the run.


The Kings Cross theatre is super intimate. Are you excited to perform in the Crucible and other larger venues in the future? Do you prefer more intimate or bigger venues?


I'm yet to experience a bigger venue... so I'll let you know!


Annie Get Your Gun is such a Classic musical. Did it get a modern twist in your recent production or did it stick to its original roots?



Nope there was no modern twist to it, we very much stuck to the roots and played it truthfully! The choreography was stunning and it was such an honour and a pleasure working for the team of creatives behind that show!


Can you explain a little about Annie Get Your Gun and how your character Tommy fits into it?


AGYG is about a woman called Annie who is an incredible shooter. She falls in love with a 'swollen headed stiff' named Frank Butler and their story of how they fell in love through the circumstances that they were put through. My character had his own little love story going on with a character called Winnie Tate, who's older sister Dolly, forbids them to be together.


What was your biggest challenge with taking on this role?



I had more than one big challenge haha. The style of Choreo and also singing in a legit style were the two biggest challenges for me as they were both very new to me. However once I managed to kinda wrap my head around it I had the most incredible time! 


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


Hamilton 👀👀


You have a five minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?


If there is food near my I'm eating, or trying to wrap my head around something that may have confused me or I might have done wrong..


You studied at Mountview, what was the best piece of advice your were told during your time there?


To be a sponge and soak everything up that works for me!



Thank you so much to Cleve for taking the time to answer these questions. Make sure you go see Cleve in Hamilton and any other shows he does- you'll love him!


Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Follow Cleve on twitter here


Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Francis Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage to Star in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical


DLAP Group are thrilled to announce that Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage will star as the titular Bonnie and Clyde in the West End premiere of the cult-sensation Bonnie and Clyde The Musicalopening at the Arts Theatre from Saturday 9 April 2022


Following the extraordinary reaction to her performance as ‘Bonnie’ in Bonnie and Clyde In Concert in January 2022, Olivier-Award nominated Frances Mayli McCann reprises the role in this full production at The Arts Theatre, performing alongside West End star Jordan Luke Gage as ‘Clyde’. 

 

They join the previously announced Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche Barrow’ and George Maguire as ‘Buck Barrow’. The full company includes Cleve September as ‘Ted’ and Ako Mitchell as ‘Preacher’, Pippa Winslow as ‘Cumie Barrow/Governor Miriam Ferguson/Eleanore’, Gracie Lai as ‘Emma Parker/Stella’, Alistair So as ‘Sheriff Schmid’, Alexander Evans as ‘Henry Barrow/Deputy Johnson’, Ross Dawes as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’, Barney Wilkinson as ‘Bud/Archie’ and swings Charlie McCullagh and Annie Guy. Casting for the roles of ‘Trish’ and Young ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Clyde’ to be announced. 

 

Frances Mayli McCann is an Olivier Award nominated actress, who originated the role of ‘Kylah’ in “Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour”. Her other West End credits include ‘Heather McNamara’ in “Heathers” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ‘The Mistress’ in “Evita” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and ‘Eponine’ in the UK and International Tour of “Les MisĂ©rables”.

 

Jordan Luke Gage is best known for his portrayal of ‘Romeo’ in the Olivier Award winning “&Juliet” at The Shaftesbury Theatre. His other West End credits include ‘Strat’ in “Bat Out Of Hell” at The Dominion Theatre and ‘JD’ in “Heathers” at Theatre Royal Haymarket. His television credits include playing ‘Adrian Barber’ in ITV’s Cilla, and ‘Luc’ in Cucumber on Channel 4.

 

Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in “9 to 5 The Musical” at the Savoy Theatre, “Wicked” at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of “Wonderland”, “Murder Ballad” at the Arts Theatre and “Starlight Express” at The Other Palace. 

 

George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in “Sunny Afternoon”. His other theatre credits include “35mm: A Musical Exhibition” at The Other Palace Studio, “Oliver!” at the London Palladium and the European tour of “Rent”. 


Cleve September is perhaps best known for his Olivier Nominated performance as ‘Philip Hamilton/John Laurens’ in the original West End cast of “Hamilton” at the Victoria Palace Theatre. His other theatre credits include “Jesus Chris Superstar” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Crucible Theatre, “In The Heights” at Kings Cross Theatre and “The Last Days of Troy” at The Globe Theatre. 

 

Ako Mitchell is an actor and filmmaker whose recent theatre credits include playing ‘Larry’ in “Indecent Proposal” at the Southwark Playhouse, ‘Bob Baker’ in “Wonderful Town” at Opera Holland Park, ‘Mister’ in “The Color Purple” at Curve and the Birmingham Rep and ‘The Moon/The Bus’ in “Caroline, Or Change” at the Chichester Festival Theatre and The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End. 

 

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.

When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

 

Bonnie and Clyde The Musical has a book by Ivan Menchell(Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents). The production will be directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow MorningMAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with Set and Costume Design by Philip Witcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, MAME), Musical Supervision from Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys), Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr (Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, Hamlet at Theatre Royal Windsor), Sound Design by Tom Marshall (The Drifter’s Girl, Nativity The Musical, Curtains), Video Design by Nina Dunn (The Shark Is Broken, Lazuli Sky)Casting Director Jim Arnold CDG (Wicked, The Prince of Egypt)Musical Director Nick Barstow (The Last 5 Years, Zorro), Keys 2/ Assistant Musical Director Debbi Clarke Associate Director/Choreographer Megan Louch (The Bodyguard, Annie), Wigs Designer Darren Ware (The Rocky Horror Show, Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell)Fight Director Kate Waters (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Constellations), Production Manager Phil McCandlish (Curtains, Rock of Ages), Orchestra Fixer Rich Morris (American Idiot, Jesus Christ Superstar), Costumer Supervisor Jemima Penny (Machinal, Richard III), Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl for Propworks (2:22 A Ghost Story, Pretty Woman), Company Stage Manager Paul Deavin (Rock of Ages), Drums Zach Okonkwo, Violin Clodagh Kennedy, Bass Guitar Annie Blake. 


Further crew and band to be announced.  


photo credit: Darren Bell


Monday, 23 May 2016

Hamilton Dream Cast


My Hamilton obsession has been out in full force recently and the prospect of it coming to the West End in 2017 has got me ridiculously excited and kind of nervous. I'm praying that I'll get tickets and that I won't have to sell a body part to pay for them! 

So with all the Hamilton fever going around, I wanted to do my own dream cast for the show (I was inspired by this post.) Before I start I want to say that I basically want the whole of the In The Heights cast to become the Hamilton cast so there's going to be a lot of them in this....! 

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: https://twitter.com/WElivelounge17

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre | Review


Hamilton
Victoria Palace Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 21st December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

It's worth the hype.

Like many other musical theatre nerds, I jumped on the Hamilton bandwagon just over two years ago and haven't stepped off since. Swept up in the unique style of the show and the inclusivity of it, I fell in love and couldn't wait until I would finally see Lin Manuel Miranda's musical about the rise and fall of the USA's first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton.

During the past few months, while the show was being primped and preened for its arrival at the newly renovated Victoria Palace theatre, it has been receiving more press and excitement than Prince Harry's engagement! Even as a huge fan and supporter of the show, I was getting to the point where I thought there was no way it'd be worth it. Then I saw it...

Die-hard Hamilton fans are probably expecting everything to sound identical to Leslie Odom Jr.'s Burr, Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton or Philippa Soo's Eliza and we can't help but compare to what we're used to from the OBC recording but thanks to the power and brilliance of the London cast, all these comparisons fade away. The entire company pump in soul, heart and skill to the glorious narrative created by Miranda, musical supervisor Alex Lacamoire and director, Thomas Kail.



Giles Terera is charismatic and sharp as Aaron Burr, bouncing brilliantly off of the suave, likeable Jamael Westman as the titular, Alexander Hamilton. The two are perfect as the historical frenemies as Burr begins to resent Hamilton for rising in the ranks of office. Giles has some of the most iconic moments of the show with some truly show-stopping vocal sections, especially in the epic 'Wait For It' and jazzy, 'The Room Where It Happens'. Jamael tackles the huge role with skill and ease, showing his brash side in big rap numbers, as well as his more emotional, Shakespearean side towards the end in his final monologue and the heart-wrenching 'It's Quiet Uptown'.

Whilst these two talented men lead the cast, there is not a weak link anywhere. Powerhouse Rachel John is sassy and strong as the heartbroken Angelica; Rachelle Ann Go manages to be innocent but powerful at the same time in her performance of Eliza who falls for, is betrayed by and eventually forgives the man she loves. Christine Allado as "and Peggy" is particularly humourous as she bounds on stage with a childlike quality in the opening and is contrastingly seductive as Maria Reynolds in act 2 when she belts out 'Say No To This' with ease and drama.

West End newbie, Tarinn Callender is suave as Hercules Mulligan and full of dry humour as James Madison. Jason Pennycooke is frantic, hilarious and all round brilliant as Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson. His fast paced, faultless rap is perfectly balanced with his acting and smooth movement around the stage and he's certainly a stand out. Obioma Ugoala wows with his vocals as he belts 'One Last Time' and as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton, Cleve September is strong whilst maintaining his childlike quality. Michael Jibson as King George steals every scene he's in. When I say he's hilarious, I mean laugh out loud, unforgettable moments hilarious. Every movement is perfectly thought out and he milks each line with precision.



The ensemble are sharp and outstanding, with In The Heights alumni, Courtney-Mae Briggs capturing my attention throughout. The precise choreography is one of the ultimate parts of the show, it's sharp as sharp can be and mirrors the action to perfection. Like the music, each aspect of on stage drama is reflected by style. Hip-hop, operetta, lullaby's and more embelish the spirit of the moment.

I could continue to rave about this show but I fear that could turn into a full dissertation so here's where I'll end. Hamilton is truly groundbreaking, it challenges the status-quo, brings a freshness to  the West End and breaks conformity by casting people of colour and challenging racial tensions. The show embodies representation in every way and is a spectacle to behold.

Hamilton lives up to the hype and is unforgettable. It's cool, unique and diverse as it subverts the typical language of storytelling. Find a way to get a ticket and see this show!

photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Sunday, 25 February 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge (Concert) 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday 11th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll know that I am a huge West End Live Lounge fan, I've been going since they started and feel so proud watching them get bigger and better. The most recent concert was the biggest to date, taking over the main stage at The Other Palace; hosting a number of uber talented performers and providing a wonderful, chilled out, musical night. For anyone that doesn't know, West End Live Lounge is a concert every few months featuring some of the best the West End has to offer who perform a variety of non-musical theatre songs to entertain and raise money for a specific charity. This time, the musical theatre performers united to raise money for the charity Barnardo's. Our compère for the night was the fantastic Ian Stroughair (who wowed me before Christmas with his Velma Celli show) who opened the show with a bang and set the tone for the talent and joy to come.

As always every performance was top notch so I'm just going to mention a few stand outs instead of turning this into an essay! Firstly, the stunning Jodie Steele, fresh off her stint on BBC One's All Together Now,  performed 'Castle on the Hill' with ease and smooth riffs which left us all wanting more. Equally riff-tastic was Emma Kingston who joined the West End Live Lounge family during her brief break from touring with Evita, to wow us all with her performance of Lady Gaga's 'Edge of Glory'. The always hilarious Natalie McQueen brilliantly put her own twist on the classic 'Hot N Cold'.  All three ladies continually blow me away with their vocal performances.


Kayleigh McKnight was definitely an audience favourite with her breathtaking performance of 'Creep' which showed off her vocals perfectly and Cleve September brought back his signature loop pedal to create an eerie but stunning vocal performance of 'Spirits'.

Superstar Natalie Green gave a beautiful rendition of Adele's 'When We Were Young' whilst Brady Isaacs Pearce channeled Demi Lovato gloriously with her effortless performance of 'Skyscraper'. My final mention goes to Joel Harper-Jackson who's ridiculously long note in 'Wicked Game' should be put into the World Record books- glorious!


The West End Live Lounge concerts are truly joyous to be a part of because they not only celebrate the fantastic talent the West End has to offer but raise money for fantastic causes. I cannot wait to see what's in store for the next concert; my only hope is that the intimate feel can somehow be brought back. With the previous concerts there has been a very informal vibe but bringing the performance into a theatre did distance it somewhat and the audience stuck to the 'normal' theatre etiquette rules more. Obviously it's amazing to be able to fill a bigger space and allow more people to see and hear these outstanding performances but it's hard to strike a balance between having more space whilst still maintaining an intimate feel.

Regardless, this was a wonderful concert and I know the upcoming ones will be to so do yourself a favour and follow @WELiveLounge on twitter so you can snap up tickets as soon as they go on sale!


Monday, 16 May 2016

In Conversation With... Lily Frazer | In The Heights | Interview


Back in October, I took a little trip to the Kings Cross theatre after my lecture to watch In The Heights. I didn't really know what to expect because I'd only heard a few of the songs but I was utterly blown away and have been in love with the show ever since! Check out my review here

I recently reached out to Lily Frazer who plays Nina in the show and she has been kind enough to do an interview with me about all things In The Heights...


For those that don't know, can you explain a little about the storyline of In The Heights and how your character Nina fits into it.

Lily Frazer as Nina and Cleve September as Sonny

In The Heights shows a few days in the life of the people who live in Washington Heights. There's a lot of poverty and financial struggle. Rent is rising due to gentrification and everyone seems to be trying to 'make it out' and make their mark on the world. The Rosarios for example own a taxi company which is failing financially. Nina Rosario the daughter has become the hope of the neighbourhood after leaving the barrio to go to Stanford university on a scholarship. However because she's been trying so hard to juggle her school work and working to pay for the rest of her tuition she has been failing her exams and after losing her  scholarship has decided to take leave of absence. She obviously feels a huge amount of guilt and anxiety on the way home and feels as if she has let the whole community and most importantly her parents down. She's come home to tell her parents the news and to also to try and get back to her roots and that's where her story begins really. 


I know you saw the show on Broadway, in what ways is the West End production similar and different to it?

I didn't actually see the show on Broadway. (AN. I was having a moment writing that question, I thought I'd heard Lily say she'd seen the show on Broadway!) I was studying at Arts Ed in London when it was on Broadway but I remember everyone in college was still just as excited about it. The soundtrack and libretto in the library were always checked out by someone. So naturally years later when it came to London I was thrilled. 

As for the West End production the staging is in traverse rather than a traditional proscenium arch so the setting is more intimate I think and with the cast dancing in the aisles as well it allows the audience to feel submerged in the setting. Our theatre is unique! The Kings Cross theatre makes the whole experience quite magical. The audience enter along actual railway tracks and through the 'subway' onto our stage. 


You played Eponine in Les Mis who is quite a contrast to Nina to say the least! Do you prefer portraying the family orientated, upbeat dance atmosphere of In The Heights or the highly dramatic, deep emotional atmosphere of Les Mis?

I wouldn't say I prefer either. I like a challenge and both roles are equally as challenging for different reasons. I feel that both roles are equally as vocally and emotionally demanding. 


Throughout In The Heights there is the overarching theme of home and the importance of it. What three things remind you of home?

I get home sick after a holiday abroad. I'll be sat on my plane and we'll be landing and I'll get a first glimpse of the green fields through the clouds and I'll suddenly get really excited to feel the cold weather on my face. Hilarious because I hate being cold so this feeling doesn't last long! 

I grew up in the West Midlands so I get really excited when I hear someone with a Midlands accent! Especially if they're a fellow actor! Feel like I've found a team mate! 

The Eagles greatest hits was played on almost every car journey my family ever went on when I was a kid. So I can't hear The Eagles without thinking of my family! 


Congratulations on the Oliviers, 3 awards is incredible for the show and you looked stunning! How has it been for you seeing the positivity of critics and audiences alike? Did you know you were doing something special when rehearsals started?


Lily at the 2016 Olivier Awards
I’m so unbelievably proud. That sentence actually doesn't do justice to how I feel about In The Heights. Cast, Crew, Production, Creative team have been through a lot since we opened in October. And not always good times like the Oliviers. There's been a lot of hard work that's been done on and off stage to make this production possible which is why I have so much pride in it. 

Last year when we opened the theatre wasn't very well known so at the start of our contract a lot of us were worried people wouldn't come. Also with the show being described as a rap musical we were worried about our target audience because of course that's not all In The Heights is. Also if it wasn't for the sell out production at the Southwark Playhouse we might not be here. It's been great to watch the audiences get bigger and to hear more and more people talk about how much they love the show. Turning up to a little gig at the Theatre CafĂ© a few weeks ago and not being able to get in the door because it was so packed with fans wanting to show support was so touching! I am extremely proud to be apart of that. 


If you switched roles with anyone in the cast, who would you choose and why? (I think we'd all love to see Nina rap!)

Lily Frazer as Nina and Joe Aaron Reid as Benny

Daniela looks like so much fun! 

Also I think I'd love to play Benny. I think he gets the best of both worlds. He gets to rap and dance but also gets to sing some beautiful love songs with Nina. Jammy! 


As someone who studied and went straight into a West End show, what advice would you give for anyone currently at university hoping to get into the performing arts industry?

I did a degree course at Arts Educational Schools in Chiswick. So I'm not sure if you would call it a university. 

Before I got accepted into ArtsEd when I was studying for my A levels a lot of teachers told me to go to university and study drama or Theatre Studies which after doing my own research wasn't the right for the kind of actor I wanted to be. I'm very proud of my degree but I'd say that my training at ArtsEd and the connections the school gave me were key to my success in the industry. Not only is the training impeccable but I would never have had an audition for Les Miserables if I wasn't given the opportunity to audition in front of casting directors when they were invited to audition us in my final year. You need to really do your research on exactly what you're going to get out of your training and more importantly what YOU want to achieve at the end. Eg. Do they provide a showcase or a show at the end of your third year? Do they invite agents and casting directors? Do they specialise in one area of musical theatre or all three? I was lucky in that Arts Ed pride themselves on preparing you so well for everything! If theres something I wish I'd done more of though whilst I was training would be to take class out of school hours to broaden my training. Take class outside of school hours. Get a head start. Always be one step ahead of your classmates and take everything that your teachers tell you with a pinch of salt. Criticism is good for you but don't let it destroy you! Make up your own mind. Take inspiration from other performers but directly comparing yourself to others is poisonous! Don't do it! I had to learn that the hard way. I could talk about this all day but I'll stop now! 


Finally, for someone deciding whether to see In The Heights, what 5 words do you think best sum it up?

Olivier 

Award

Winning

Breakthrough

Musical 
;) 


I want to say a huge thank you to Lily for taking the time to answer these questions. The show is unbelievably brilliant and Lily is wonderful as Nina. Please, if you can get to the Kings Cross theatre, go and see In The Heights! 

Also, keep and eye out on RewriteThisStory for some more In The Heights themed posts which are coming up! My original review of the show is here!

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Bonnie and Clyde, Arts Theatre | Review


Bonnie and Clyde
Arts Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After over a decade of waiting, Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell's Bonnie and Clyde has finally entered the West End and has done so with a bang. Telling the story of the eponymous duo who became outlaws before being killed together, the romanticised musical is exciting and features some of the strongest performances seen in a long time.

Based on the semi-true story, we follow Bonnie and Clyde from their childhood dreams (her to be a movie star like Clara Bow, and he to be an outlaw like Billy the Kid) to their first flukey meeting, their following life of crime and eventually their downfall and death. Running in parallel to this story is an unrequited love plot as well as some glimpses into the economic depression of the time which highlight why turning to crime was in some ways, necessary, at least for the Barrow Brothers.

At times the book is a little jumbled and some things are over explained, whilst others lack a little development. However, it is equally brilliant in its comedy, especially in the snarky exchanges between Blanche and Bonnie. Aside from the few issues, this is a really wonderful production that is spirited and exudes intensity. As the leading characters, Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage completely own the stage. McCann is a certified star and she brings her clear as glass vocals to life in ballads such as Dyin' Ain't So Bad and she also gives a brilliantly dynamic portrayal as Bonnie. Gage is charming and terrifying in equal measure and vocally her fires on all cylinders. Raise A Little Hell is a complete roof raiser that is powerful, thrilling and aggressive. Together the pair balance one another well and are realistic in their juvenile, all encompassing love story. The sizzling chemistry grows from their first meeting and remains so until the very last second.


The entirety of the small cast are equally strong, with Natalie McQueen giving the most hilarious performance as God-fearing Blanche Barrow. You're Goin' Back To Jail is absolutely hilarious and she imbues every moment with wit, even down to her out of time clapping which is brief but wonderful. Alongside her comedy masterclass, she also brings a more mellow moment in the duet You Love Who You Love which is outstanding. As with much of the show, it's the tight harmonies which really bring the house down and have the audience enraptured. George Maguire is also strong as Buck Barrow and Cleve September nicely balances the hostility of Clyde with his smooth and calmer vocals. 

As well as the performances, the set by Philip Witcomb takes on a life of its own and makes the Arts feel so much bigger than it is. The set is ambitious and impressive and coupled with great projections bu Nina Dunn and sound design by Tom Marshall make the whole show a real spectacle.

Nick Winston has done an outstanding job with this production and it's so wonderful that it's finally getting the run it deserves. How bout' you dance your way to the Arts Theatre and grab yourself a ticket for this theatrical jewel.

photo credit: Richard Davenport