Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Craig Mather. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Craig Mather. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Barricade Boys: Christmas Cabaret, The Other Palace Studio | Review


The Barricade Boys: Christmas Cabaret (Concert) 
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Thursday 7th December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

The Barricade Boys bring together some of the finest Lew Miserables alumni (Scott Garnham, Craig Mather, Kieran Brown, Simon Schofield) and finest male voices to create truly beautiful sounds and performances. The boys have toured extensively and appeared on a number of television programmes but this time they're back for a three week-residency of Christmas delights at The Other Palace. 

I've really been getting into the Christmas spirit recently with a number of festive shows and this was certainly one of the best. Entering the studio of The Other Palace we are greeted with a beautifully adorned Christmas tree and a cosy log fire projected onto the wall which sets the mood for the relaxed, warm evening to come. The boys normally perform with a seven-piece band but this time opt for a "stripped back" performance with just them and the piano (played fantastically by musical director, Noam Galperin) which further adds to the intimate feeling of the night.

The set of 23 songs was varied and extremely well put together with a mixture of festive favourites, Les Mis hits and some more unexpected songs. Standout moments included I'll Be Home For Christmas/Bring Him Home and Man In The Mirror which both featured tight harmonies and wonderful interaction between the boys. Their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody must get a special mention as it was done so well; with suitable emotion and humour to keep it entertaining and amusing, whilst maintaining the integrity and showing off everyone's unique voices.

When speaking about the goals of the group, Scott explained that they take the work very seriously but not themselves and this is exactly right. The music was faultless but made all the better by the brilliant on stage interactions where the boys bounced off one another and seemed to genuinely be having fun.

Each night a special West End star will join the boys on stage, this particular night we had the pleasure of seeing the supremely talented Michael Xavier. He performed a haunting, melancholy version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas before the boys joined him for a side splitting, Les Mis version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Michael was a lovely addition to the programme and the number of amazing guests set to appear, certainly makes me want to go back to another concert in the run.

This pitch perfect ensemble with stand out solo moments and smooth, natural, humourous on stage rapport is all you could ask for at Christmas time. For a festive, lighthearted evening of  top notch entertainment, you can't go wrong with The Barricade Boys and I would high recommend paying them a visit during their run!

The Barricade Boys are at The Other Palace until December 23rd

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Wind in the Willows, London Palladium | Review


The Wind in the Willows
London Palladium
Reviewed on Thursday June 29th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

The Wind in the Willows is a perfectly fun, family show. It's not a theatrical masterpiece but it's a cute, heartwarming fable that's sweet enough for both children and adults to enjoy.

Adapted by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Half a Sixpence), The Wind in the Willows is an old school tale given a modern twist. We follow Ratty and his new friend Mole as they venture around the countryside trying to hide from the evil of the Wild Wood and help their friend Mr. Toad curve his need for speed. It's a show which is quintessentially British:lazing by the river, watching the swallows returning home for summer, seeing animals foraging in the woods, each scene conjures up the good old English countryside.

The pastoral feel of the production is guided by the sets and costumes by Peter McKintosh, with each area and animal having its own unique "style" and each set piece combining perfectly to create the world of human-like animals which is both distinctive and mystical. Each animal is instantly recognisable without being too in your face animal. The set also strikes a good balance between being enough of a spectacle whilst still leaving enough room for your imagination to roam a little wild. 



Simon Lipkin's Ratty is suitably funny and stern and despite not being a huge belting role, he really shows off his voice and beautiful tone. Craig Mather has wonderful chemistry with Lipkin as Ratty's partner in crime, Mole. He is the perfect mix of innocence and strength and is pretty perfect in the role. Another sweet and funny character is Mrs Otter played by Denise Welch although we never do find out what happened to her husband! Thankfully some contrast to the sweetness is brought with the baddie of the show, Chief Weasel played by Neill McDermott who is very reminiscent of Rooster in Annie. The Weasel scenes are my personal favourites and add a nice sharpness to the otherwise same level show. The ensemble are tight and bring a lot to the show. An audience favourite seemed to be the adorable hedgehog family who sing a lovely little ditty about the trouble of crossing the road. 

Aletta Collins' choreography fits exactly, adding not only dimension but humour to the show. Especially so with the tap dancing horse!

Of course I have to mention Mr Toad played by Rufus Hound who is great in the role. He is over the top and dramatic but actually very good. I was surprised at how good his voice is and really do think he's the perfect choice for the role.

The Wind in the Willows is good family fun which is certain to leave a smile on your face and at least one song in your head. It's simple, charming and exactly what it says on the tin, what more could you ask for for a family theatre trip? 

The Wind in the Willows runs at the London Palladium until September 9th