Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Danny Mac. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Danny Mac. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

White Christmas the Musical, Dominion Theatre | Review

White Christmas the Musical
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 25th November 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Seen last Christmas at the Leicester Curve Theatre, Nikolai Foster's exceptionally staged and completely charismatic production of White Christmas has taken it's place in the West End for a Christmas of festivities and theatrical joy.

Based on the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, the musical follows the stories of two former World War II American soldiers who became a famous musical duo. The pair use their fame to join forces with Judy and Betty to save a holiday inn from financial ruin and spread cheer all around.

The embodiment of glamour from start to finish, this musical whisks you away and takes you to a wintery wonderland where lullabies and tap dances reign supreme. The audience are enthralled thanks to the intimate feeling which is somehow created in the vast cavern of the Dominion Theatre. 

The story is nothing special and there's really very little of it but there's a level of characterisation which runs deep throughout and makes the audience really care about the action and people on stage and brings a contemporary feel to an otherwise un-relatable musical. For example, Martha, Judy and Betty sing 'Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun' which highlights their desire to not being completely reliant on men. In another vein, the vulnerability of Bob (Danny Mac) is shown thoughtfully and delicately. Whilst at first he appears distant and uncaring, it soon becomes clear that he is struggling to rejoin civilian life. These human characteristics are realistically brought to stage with great effect. 

The cast of all round triple threats provide enough energetic festive cheer to power all the Christmas lights in London. Clare Halse is a theatrical treasure as she draws the eye every moment she's on stage and is the epitome of Hollywood glamour. Her performance is faultless as she glides around and radiates excellence. Halse also gives a dazzling tap performance of 'I Love a Piano' alongside Dan Burton and the ensemble. Burton as Phil is equal measures charm and sleaze as well as giving top top top notch vocals and choreographic quality. Danny Mac once again gives a faultless performance and has a great love/hate chemistry with Danielle Hope as Betty. Their blossoming romance is lovely to watch just another level of sweetness in this candy-cane-sugary musical.

Michael Brandon is commanding but vulnerable as General Henry Waverly, whilst, Brenda Edwards is a compelling force of comedic nature as Martha and provides a real show stopping moment with 'Let Me Sing and I'm Happy'. The ensemble are unanimously joyous and captivating throughout, with Aimée Hodnett and Kayleigh Thadani giving stand out performances as the ditzy, amorous Rhoda and Rita.

This is a visually exquisite musical which is the embodiment of production value. Diego Pitarch's sumptuous costumes not only look beautiful on their own, but float and flow divinely as part of Stephen Mear's choreography which is elegance and style wrapped up with a bow. The post-war era is brought to life glitteringly, as is the music of Irving Berlin which soars and fills the Dominion.

It's not about the story and of course there are faults as with many classic films but this is an utterly lavish production which will fill even the Grinch's heart with Christmas cheer. 

photo credit: Johan Persson

Friday, 24 May 2019

Amélie (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 23rd May 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

The cult French film Amélie has been on a long journey to get to the UK and it's finally set down here for a shortbread-box-sweet tour which captures the whimsy and delight of the film wonderfully. 

Audrey Brisson plays Amélie the girl who grew up unloved but came to have a heart of gold as she sweetens the lives of others among the Paris streets. A host of characters surround her as bar staff, neighbours, customers and strangers. They also double as bohemian musicians, an element which really brings the show to life and adds to the floaty feeling of it all. 

Elliot Griggs' sepia toned lighting drenches the stage fantastically to create an intimate feeling. Madeleine Girling's set featuring a metro station, a photo booth and two worn pianos, doesn't change but rearranges to create the various atmospheres of the show. Amélie's bedroom is a lampshade lift up and perfectly sums up the sweet life she leads. When Amélie spot Nino (Danny Mac) at the train station, he soon becomes a focal point of romantic attention and the set almost seems to move around him at times. The combination of set, costumes, puppets and lighting all work together in a seamless fashion to bring the surreal imaginative aspects of the show to life.

Daniel Messé's music is fluent and catchy as we are transported around Paris, with Times Are Hard For Dreamers and Stay, providing the most memorable moments. Craig Lucas' book is somewhat wacky with gnomes and figs that come to life, but the fantastical element of it all is very enticing. Whilst there is a good flow to most of the show, it does feel just a tad too long, some splicing here and there would add shine to the gem it is. 

Audrey Brisson's beguiling interpretation of the lead character is truly what makes this show special. Her sublime voice and outstanding characterisation make her an ideal lead who enchants from start to finish. Danny Mac is suitably enigmatic and provides some swooping vocal moments. The ensemble throughout are masterful at what they do and this team production really does warm the heart.

This effective musical uses nuance, silence and soaring sound in equal measure as it tells a heart warming tale. For a sweet, whimsical night out, Amélie is certainly one to catch. Follow the blue arrows and check it out for yourself.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

A Little Princess, Southbank Centre | Review

A Little Princess
Southbank Centre 
Reviewed on Monday 28th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell

After the recent success in the UK of Big Fish and The Addams Family, Andrew Lippa's lesser-known show A Little Princess was brought to the west end for it's UK Premiere at the Southbank Centre. Telling the story of Sara Crewe, a girl sent from Africa to a boarding school in London where she meets mean girls and a strict headmistress, this is a sweet story, with melodically beautiful songs and a heartwarming moral. 

As Miss Minchin, the headmistress who's a melange of Miss Trunchbull, Mrs Lovett, Mdme. Thenadier and others, Amanda Abbington was good. In her musical theatre debut she did well to convey the tiredness of the character but lacked menace. Vocally she was a little lacking and tended to speak-sing but still gave a pretty solid performance and I look forward to seeing her tackle future theatrical roles.

Danny Mac was dashing as ever as Captain Crewe, with wonderful vocals alongside a sweet connection with the children of the cast. The pacing of the show itself is funny and means that all the characters are a little under-developed. We got to see a lot of Captain Crewe at the start but as the show went on (especially in Act 2) everything felt rushed. With some rewrites this could be a lovely show and it would be great to see Danny having a bit more time to shine. Mention must go to his stellar performance in the pattersong-esque, Timbuktu.

Equally deserving of more time to shine was the stunning Rebecca Trehearn who always manages to steal her scenes. As Miss Amelia, the ditsy sister of Miss Minchin, Rebecca gave a wonderfully humourous performance and shone in her solo, Once Upon a Time.

Alexia Khadime and Adam J Bernard as Aljana and Pasko gave vocally stunning performances despite being a little overpowered by the orchestra at times. 

This was the first production which had actual children playing the children and it was them who stole the show. All the young cast did a great job of owning their roles, with Jasmine Nituan giving a heartfelt, funny performance as Sara's best friend and maid, Becky.

Jasmine Sakyiama is truly a star in the making. Her performance as Sara Crewe was 100 miles a minute from the start with her vocals and emotive facial expressions never failing. Of all the children, Jasmine also had the strongest diction which made her stand out even further. Keep an eye on this girl because she's going to go far!

Nic Farman's lighting added a mystical, magical vibe to the story which was lovely and took the show from a simple concert to an emotive production.

Despite enjoying this production, it does need some edits. I'm no one to say what these edits should be, but Act 2 felt extremely rushed and there were a number of moments that felt unnecessary/over-extended. However, the cast were great and I hope this isn't the last we see of this sweet show in the UK. 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Lucie Jones, Live at Zedel | Review

Lucie Jones (Concert) 
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Friday 12th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

One of my first ever reviews on Rewrite This Story, was of Lucie Jones' cabaret at Waterloo East where I completely fell in love with her insane voice and magnetic personality. In the two years since that concert, Lucie has  starred as Elle Woods in the UK tour of Legally Blonde, wowed as Maureen in Rent and was the UK's entry in the Eurovision contest... I guess you could say it's been a pretty quiet time for her?! I have been lucky enough to see Lucie in her various roles, but there's always something special about a solo concert.

The Zedel consistently provides the perfect atmosphere for a cosy, intimate night and allows the sole focus to be on the outstanding vocals of whoever is performing, so seeing such a talented vocalist take the stage there was a real treat. From the get-go Lucie commands the space and welcomes us into, what feels like, the inner circle. Her bouncy humour and infectious personality puts us completely in the palm of her hand and allows us to experience a carefree night of laughs and joy, whilst our attention never wavers. In my experience of musical theatre cabarets, there are only a number of performers who are able to capture a crowd so effortlessly and remain natural and unforced throughout, Lucie has truly mastered this and it's clear why she has so many loyal fans.

Despite only having about 24 hours to put this concert together, the entire thing felt sleek and polished. MD for the concert was the outstandingly wonderful, Sarah Travis who looked and sounded as if she was born to play the piano. The banter between the pair is hilarious and they work together so well, that even moments which go slightly wrong, almost feel as if they're scripted.

I would talk about each song on the set list, but every single one was a highlight. From the opening The Winner Takes it All to the closing Eurovision song, Never Give Up On You, Lucie showcased her incredibly well supported vocals  and ability to act through song. Particularly impressive, is the control in Lucie's voice; her well-honed technique is evident through her smooth mix of straight tone and vibrato, as well as her effortless mix and belt. A stand out moment for me was the mesmerising If I Loved You, where we got to see a more nuanced, gentler side to Lucie. She truly is a masterful performer and the hard work she puts into her craft is clear in every second she is on stage.

Although every song was outstanding, I will fangirl a bit more and mention a few of my other favourites... As a huge Anastasia fan, I adored the lyrical, Disney-esque rendition of Journey To The Past; the intensely beautiful, Nothing Stops Another Day pulled at my heart and That's Life is made for Lucie's voice. Alongside stellar vocals, Lucie provides some cracking anecdotes and ad libs which could be a comedy show of their own!

We were also treated to two special guests: Danny Mac and Rebecca Stenhouse. Rebecca Joined Lucie as they channeled Cady and Janis in the Mean Girls jam, Apex Predator, before Rebecca performed a fantastic version of Hopelessly Devoted To You, which she made feel contemporary with some added riffs and option ups. Danny took on the role of Dr. Pomatter in a sickly sweet performance of It Only Takes a Taste from Waitress and brought a beautiful stillness to the Zedel with his performance of It All Fades Away.

I could rave about Lucie's voice for approximately the next 400 hours but I'll wrap it up here and say that if you turn down the chance to see Lucie in any future performances, you are missing out big time. If you want to see a truthful artist who is so giving in her performance and able to magnetise a crowd toward her, then go and witness the star that is, Lucie Jones.

photo credit: Olivia Mitchell

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 10th April 2018 by Glenys Balchin

Sunset Boulevard is wonderful musical with great music, amazing performers, awesome staging and lighting and superb costumes and makeup. The atmosphere on opening night was electric and the New Wimbledon theatre provided an iconic setting for this fabulous musical. 

I had my trepidation’s about whether I was going to enjoy Sunset Boulevard. I had seen the film telling the dark tale of the fading Hollywood silent screen goddess trying to make a comeback who gets intwined in a dark world with her young screenwriter and lover; but I doubted how it would work as a musical. How wrong was I to doubt this wonderful operatic music of Andrew Lloyd Webber alongside the brilliant writing and lyrics of Christopher Hampton and Don BlackThe melodramatic film-framework is embellished to bring Sunset Boulevard up to the heights of a Grand Opera.

The entire cast must be congratulated on their performance but in particular Ria Jones who is sensational. Her character interpretation is phenomenal as she becomes Norma Desmond. She engages with the audience immediately as we're drawn into her world of despair and the larger than life dramatisation of sorrow grief of yesteryear. 

To go with that outstanding acting performance is Ria's fantastic voice- how does that voice come from such a diminutive frame!? I have to say I was wondering how Ria would compare with the voraciousness of Gloria Swanson in the 50’s movie, well she did! What’s more-she is every inch a frightening diva; as Norma tumbles into madness in the final scene - “Mr DeMille Lights Cameras” Ria Jones herself has reached the realms of a superstar and I can’t wait to see her in another production.

Moving on to Ria ‘s co-star, Danny Mac, the Strictly Come Dancing finalist really holds his  own against the formidable singing voices of Ria Jones and Adam Pearce. As Danny’s ex strictly judge would say “I didn’t like it I LOVED it” his performance is excellent, enjoyable, energetic, easy on the eye and his rendition of Sunset Boulevard is extraordinary.

Special mention of the fabulous Max, Norma's butler played by Adam Pearce who's voice is astounding and Molly Lynch who gives a mesmerising performance playing sweet Betty.

The scenery is particularly atmospheric. On the top it's fairly simplistic but once you look closer there's a level of complexity which is intrinsic to the whole plot developing. The use of lighting and old films gives you shivers down the spine, as if you are a prisoner in that oppressive mansion yourself.

The costumes capture the Hollywood era perfectly, bringing glitz and glamour. Norma’s flamboyant, elegant and surreal costumes, life and personality really make her one of the most iconic of characters.

Last but not least, praise must go to the orchestra who provide the heartbeat of the musical playing the opulent and lavish musical scores of Andrew Lloyd Webber, which are resounding in my head from last night. The songs provided magical moments bringing the whole show together as the cast performed them pitch perfectly.

I cannot praise this show enough, it was a wonderful experience to watch this truly brilliant cast transfer me to a world of “make believe”. The thing I love about theatre is it's escapism, the world of suspense from reality and when I see a show like this it makes me to want to go more and more. So, if there's one theatre trip you have to do this year, make it Sunset Boulevard!

Sunset Boulevard runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until April 14th before continuing it's UK Tour. 

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour), Edinburgh Playhouse | Review

Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour)
Edinburgh Playhouse
Reviewed on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 by Andrew Cowan 

Sunset Boulevard is a thrilling ride through the film industry of mid-century America, filled with the song, dance and cultural ephemera of the era. It’s an intoxicating spectacle that is both entrancing and, in parts, exhausting.

The production takes place in Hollywood on the cusp of the 1940s and 1950s. The show’s intermission pointedly falls at a New Year’s party in 1949 in a manner symbolic of the story’s main theme of the passing of one era to the next.

The time period and location is a particularly rich seam for the set design which, especially in the opening moments, is a flurry of transitions. The audience is taken from the gates of Paramount studio to production lots, writer’s rooms and soundstages in the space of a matter of minutes. Furthermore, artifacts of film production are woven intelligently into the set throughout. One driving scene in particular employed footage of busy Los Angeles streets projected behind the protagonist’s vehicle while shadowed cameramen revolved around him in a way that recalls the early special effects of the time. It could easily have been confusing, the fact that it wasn’t is testament to the care with which each aspect of the set had been considered.

As one might expect given the story, the music throughout the show was constantly evocative of the period and brilliantly performed by the band. One aspect to note is that your enjoyment of the show may in part depend on how you feel about Andrew Lloyd Webber, who supplies the music in the production and isn’t always for everyone.

Danny Mac as protagonist Joe Gillis was well cast and particularly excelled at both the breezy 50s dialog exchanged with members of the supporting cast and his rendition of the title song ‘Sunset Boulevard’. Predictably a cheer went up around the hall as the actor, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, danced a tango. His interaction with romantic interest Molly Lynch as Betty Schaefer was a touch lacking, but this relationship is not really the centrepiece of the story and as such both the songs and dialog were a little perfunctory. Special mention should be given to both the singing and acting of Adam Pearce as Max Von Meyerling, who deflty straddled the line between chilling and endearing and very nearly stole the show. However Ria Jones as the needy and demented Norma Desmond was superb throughout, delivering a deeply poignant performance.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Amelie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 27th August 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

This UK production of Amélie has the added pressures of comparing not only the classic, cult film, but also to the original Broadway run. However, this production has been vastly reworked from the version which premiered in the US and has brought back much of the typically French charm and nuance. The sweet tour (which is also heading to The Other Palace) is full of delight and provides a carefree way to spend an evening.

Young Amélie Poulain, initially portrayed by an adorable puppet, lives a sheltered life. Her mother and father, a neurotic and germaphobe respectively, mistake her heart full of love for one full of sickness, so they keep her inside, sheltered from any human interaction. When she leaves home, Amélie continues to live a quiet life on the outside but lives a loud one in her colourful mind. Inspired by the death of Princess Diana, Amélie tries to improve the lives of those around her through mysterious acts of kindness. However, when love comes her way she realises that she must risk her contentment and isolation if she's to reveal what's in her heart.

Craig Lucas' book is wacky and completely fantastical and allows us to see the world in a childlike way. This show is very different to much of the UK theatre scene right now and  it's lovely to see a story where almost all of the characters are motivated by kindness. Daniel Messé's gloriously French, folk score transports us to a world where positivity reigns, gnomes dance and cognac flows like water.

This flow is continued through Madeleine Girling's set which features two pianos, a photo booth and a metro station. The set morphs from one setting to another, often looking very similar but feeling completely different and evoking just the right atmosphere for each scene. Elliot Griggs' sepia, film lighting creates warmth and intimacy and feels completely natural. It should also be noted that Tom Marshall's sound design is excellent. The perfect amount of reverb makes the cast sound as though they are really wandering the streets of Paris as each line rings out clearly and cleanly.

Audrey Brisson is a complete marvel as the title character. With a sublime voice and a perfectly characterised performance, Brisson is enigmatic and beguiling from start to finish. Danny Mac is suitably aloof but charismatic as Nino and brings swooping vocals which fill the theatre with warmth. This is very much an ensemble piece, with them playing the various characters who impact Amélie's life, as well as bohemian musicians. The tight movement still manages to feel free as the cast whirl and flow around the stage in a very French and dreamy way. Mention must go to Caolan McCarthy as Elton John who gives a hilarious and vocally outstanding performance. Kate Robson-Stuart and Faoileann Cunningham also stand out in their fanciful performances. 

This quirky musical tells a heart-warming tale that's cinematic, intimate and bold all at once. For a wonderful, whimsical, wacky night, take yourself to Amélie Poulain's and see life through her marvellous eyes.

photo credit: Pamela Raith