Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Emma Williams. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Emma Williams. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 5 November 2021

Full Cast Announced for Love Story in Concert

Rebecca Caine
(Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, Preludes) will join the previously announced Emma Williams and Michael Xavier for Love Story: 10th Anniversary Concert, directed by Kirk Jameson (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Marry Me A Little).

Michael Matus (The Phantom of the Opera, La Cage Aux Folles) will replace Peter Polycarpou as Phil Cavilleri, who has had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts. Simon Green (Titanic, Mrs Henderson Presents, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) will play Oliver Barrett IV. Completing the cast is Jenna Boyd (Come from Away) as the Doctor. 

The Ensemble features Simbi Akande (The Prince of Egypt), Jordan Cunningham (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Alison Driver (What’s New Pussycat?), Charlie-Jade Jones (West Side Story), Maximillian Murphy (Parade), and Nikhil Singh Rai (Les Miserables, Mountview). 

Love Story celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Love Story’s premiere at Chichester Festival Theatre and subsequent transfer to the West End’s Duchess Theatre. 

Based on the 1970 New York Times #1 bestselling novel by Erich Segal - which was adapted into one of the highest grossing films of all time - Love Story follows Oliver Barrett IV, a Harvard jock, and Jenny Cavilleri, a gifted musician studying at Radcliffe. 

Love Story was Olivier-nominated for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Xavier) and Best Actress in a Musical (Williams). Since its West End run in 2010, the show has been performed in the USA, Russia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, South Korea, Italy, Germany and Bolton Octagon Theatre. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Half a Sixpence, Noel Coward Theatre | Review

Half A Sixpence is just what the West End needs

Half a Sixpence is an oh so British musical which really packs a punch. 

Half a Sixpence
Noel Coward Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 17th
 November 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Whilst this production, opening for the first time in 50 years, is technically described as a revival, I would say its more of a reinvention. With 80% new material including a new score by Stiles and Drewe and a new book by Julian Fellowes, the show is brought into the 21st century in a refreshing and exciting way.

We follow the story of Arthur Kipps who mysteriously inherits a large sum of money and suddenly finds himself flung into a world of garden parties and riches, a far cry from his childhood days in the countryside with his best girl Ann. Caught in between two worlds and two women, Arthur must decide whether he wants half a sixpence or a fortune.

The plot is somewhat simplistic and predictable which is beautiful but annoying at the same time. Of course simplicity is lovely because it makes it easy to follow and really puts the emphasis on the music and choreography but there were some moments which I would have liked to delve deeper into; such as the mysterious uncle, but overall its a sweet story full of joy and humour.

The set is very simple, with a revolving stage supplemented with decorative additions and projections throughout which work wonderfully to move seamlessly between the changing scenes of the show, from bar, to beach, to garden party and more! This simple staging allows Andrew Wright's choreography to be a focal point of the show. The energetic dances create absolute elation throughout and every fresh faced member of the 24 strong  cast put their all into every step, creating a truly mesmorising sight. Of course the show favourite "Flash, Bang, Wallop" was a standout, with a standing ovation and smattering of applause beginning as soon as the last note was sung.

The entire cast are sublime and completely faultless. Ian Bartholomew is hilarious as the larger than life Mr Chitterlow, bringing out some of the biggest laughs of the night, especially through "The Joy of the Theatre" which felt like a big wink to all us press members sat in the audience! Bethany Huckle is fabulous as the sweet but strong-minded Flo who has fabulous chemistry with each character she interacts with. Helen Walshingham is vulnerable, graceful and tiny bit malicious but Emma Williams manages to make us understand why she makes every decision through her clear and well thought out portrayal.

Obviously the ultimate stand out of the show is the exceptional Charlie Stemp who must have a Best Actor in a Musical award waiting for him in the near future. From the moment we witness his charming, boyish grin, we fall in love with Arthur Kipps. Charlie is a true triple threat star, and its a joy to see him shine on stage in moments of humour and love as well as more serious times. Charlie's voice is beautiful, his dancing is effortless and he is just charming. He makes each move quirky and charismatic and absolutely fantastic. Keep your eye on this man because he is going to be a star for a long time!

Half a Sixpence is exciting, infectious, joyful, glistening and a billion other things. Its most definitely a show you should go and see and a production worth far more than half a sixpence! Experience the joy of the theatre and book tickets for this show which is running at the Noel Coward theatre.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Zorro, Cadogan Hall | Review

Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell

Fiery, Latin, wacky, soulful and brilliant, Zorro made a triumphant return to London last night, 12 years after its West End premiere. The story of Diego De La Vega who becomes the illusive Fox aka Zorro, to save his town from the tyrannical reign of his childhood friend Ramon, is the classic good vs evil that can't help but invest you with its sincerity and heart of gold. Add to this a score by the Gipsy Kings and a fantastic cast and you've got a great night on your hands.

The plot is wafer thin but in this concert setting, we really had the chance to go beyond that to focus on the fantastic Spanish music and the wonderful characterisation from the whole cast. Even in a full setting, I would imagine that the self-awareness of this show, means you can pretty much overlook the plot faults and just enjoy it for what it is- a heap of fun! There are many 'deep' moments peppered throughout the production, but they're equally balanced with camp humour and wit which lighten the tone and allow us to go on a pretty much carefree journey.

Ricardo Afonso was incredibly convincing and powerful as Zorro/Diego, giving a completely marvellous vocal performance and enrapturing the audience of Cadogan Hall. Delightfully tongue in cheek, with a great balance of sincerity, swagger and playfulness, there's not much more you could ask for from the debonair hero. In great contrast, Robert Tripolino was truly evil as the rapacious ruler Ramon and completely commanded the stage in every moment. Zubin Varla and Jo Parsons, gave solid performances and it's just a shame we didn't get the chance to see and hear more from them.

The love interest Luisa was performed with tenderness by Emma Williams, who revived her West End role and showcased her vocal dexterity, namely in her touching rendition of The Man Behind the Mask.

Also reviving her (Olivier Award Winning) role, was Lesli Margherita who deservedly garnered much applause as the vivacious, smouldering gypsy Inez. Lesli's rendition of Bamboleo will be a memorable moment for everyone at Cadogan Hall and we can only hope she'll be back on London soil soon!

Under the baton of Freddie Tapner, the LMTO orchestra brought vibrant energy to the Hall, with exceptional guitar and percussion woven throughout the entire score. The foot stomping music was fully realised thanks to Paul Smith's sound design which was wonderfully balanced and showcased every single performer and musician brilliantly.

Entertaining and enthusiastic, Zorro was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Hopefully the rapturous reception is enough to bring this musical back to London very soon. Viva el Zorro!

photo credit: Darren Bell

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Half a Sixpence, Noel Coward Theatre: Behind The Scenes

Half a Sixpence got the number 9 spot in my Top 10 Shows of 2016 and a glowing 4 star review back when I saw it on press night so I was extremely excited when I was invited to a special bloggers event to see it again.

The event was held at the Noel Coward Theatre for a number of bloggers, vloggers and stagey people. I saw some familiar faces as well as meeting some new people and it was a really lovely opportunity to spread the theatre love. We started off by having a talk from the charming, witty, supremely talented and just generally lovely Charlie Stemp who told us all about his audition process for the role of Arthur Kipps, the transfer from Chichester to London, his journey learning to play his banjo Babs and all about his new rockery!

After that we were taken up onto the stage where we were taught a section of the "Flash Bang Wallop" dance by dance captain, Jaye Juliette Elster. The section we learnt was only ten seconds long but we all had an absolute laugh prancing around pretending we were in the show. I for one will be using the choreography as my party trick from now on!

Once our little boogie was over, we went for another Q&A/chat with some more of the cast: Charlie Stemp, Emma Williams, Bethany Huckle, Sam O'Rourke and Jaye Juliette Elster. They are all such lovely warm people and it's evident from hearing them speak, how much they love the show and being a part of it. Particularly funny were the anecdotes of onstage mishaps such as when the revolves broke in Chichester and when the bike got stuck on stage in the finale and the cast had to cleverly force it off whilst still smiling and waving as if nothing was wrong! The cast are so warm and genuine and it was just lovely seeing them laughing and loving what they do and it certainly shows on stage with spades of enjoyment and energy flying around from start to finish.

We then left the cast to warm up for the show and made our way to the bar for some pre-show drinks and Instagram selfies (here's my stagey insta!) The show was wonderfully joyous and uplifting and even better than I remembered it. My views are pretty the same as before so I won't bore you with another review where I repeat but you can see my original one here. To sum up the show I would say that it's full of life, heart and love and provides a perfect treat to leave you feeling content and warm inside.

When the show was finished and we were all on a stagey high, we were given a backstage tour which was wonderful and a very exciting opportunity to see the props and sets close up. I filmed some clips of the stage and dressing room which will all be in my vlog which will be posted on: It was incredibly interesting to see everything close up and see how much work goes in backstage to  create such a flawless performance for the audiences night after night.

We all parted ways feeling like we could jump for joy and sing all the way home!

If you haven't seen Half a Sixpence already I really implore you to hop down to the Noel Coward Theatre and see it in all its glory! It's currently booking until 2 September 2017 with tickets available at

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Lesli Margherita on Bringing Zorro Back to London for One Night Only | Interview

The musical version of Zorro premiered in the West End in 2008. With a score by the Gipsy Kings, it tells the good versus evil tale of the legendary hero Zorro. In it's first London performance since closing, the musical will be performed as a staged concert at Cadogan Hall this month.

Lesli Margherita, who starred in the original workshops and West End production, will be reprising her Olivier Award winning role as Inez at this concert. Lesli sat down with Rewrite This Story to discuss bringing the show back to London, her advice for performers and the lowdown on her other musical, Emojiland...

You are the Queen of self branding, do you have any advice for performers wanting to create their own space in the industry?
I didn’t try to brand, and I think that's probably the most important thing. This all came out my family calling me queen and being a kid writing ‘Lesli Rules’ on everything. So, the best thing for branding is just being yourself. I think I’m authentically myself and I share the good parts and the bad parts of me, and I think that’s maybe what people or kids have kind of gravitated to. Yeah, so the best thing is to just be yourself, people can tell fake branding from a mile away. This totally happened by accident!

You’ve returned to a few musicals with Mrs Wormwood and now Inez, what’s that like? Do you set out to change parts or just go with the process and see what happens?
I think naturally it’s gonna change, because I’ve changed. It’s inherent that it will change, especially with something like Zorro because I spent so many years on it before the West End, and then I changed it during the West End and then even after that I did a few versions of it. Even just listening to the recording now I’m like “why did I do that?!” so that’s gonna change. And with Matilda there were little things that I’d always wanted to change and I think it’s great to leave something alone for a little while and see what happens.

Do you think because this is a concert version, you’ll have more space to alter things and play around a bit?
Totally yeah. I would love to do a full version to see how it would be different but I think with this the focus is really on the music which is exciting!

You’ve got such an amazing cast to perform it as well!
I know! I’m so excited! I’m really excited to perform with Emma [Williams] again, it’s going to be so nice

The cast of Zorro in concert at Cadogan Hall 

Since you’ve found out you’ll be doing the show again, is there a particular song you’re excited to sing once more?
Every time I get to do Bamboleo I’m happy- it’s my favourite. I never get tired of it, even when the actual Gipsy Kings version comes on on my ipod I never skip it cause it’s just so good. 

Well hopefully we’ll get an updated recording soon, after this maybe it’s time for West End and Olivier number two!?
Oh I mean I would love that. I’d really really love it to come back- hopefully soon!

Can you sum up the show in five words?
Romantic, adventuresome, electric, uplifting and swashbuckling!

Aside from Zorro, you’re working on Emojiland, tell us a little about the show
It sounds crazy! It sounds like it’s gonna be a dumb show but it’s not! It’s about a bunch of emojis living in a phone and what  happens after an update is implemented and a bunch of different emojis come in. It’s really about not looking at things for face value and seeing what’s behind the face, and seeing that just because that’s how someone looks, it might not be how they’re feeling. It also gets a little political, it’s about not wanting change, not wanting different types of people or emojis going into their land; it’s really got so much heart. 

I did it first at a festival two years ago here in New York, kind of as a bare bones version and when I found out they were doing it off-Broadway as a full production I couldn’t wait to be a part of it, I love it so much.

It’ll be nice when people can hear the recording that comes out in a couple of weeks, because the songs are amazing and it really is so touching and funny, but also meaningful which people aren’t expecting cause it’s called Emojiland!

Lesli Margherita in "Emojiland." (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

Yeah, I mean when I first heard about it I was a bit on the fence but everyone says it’s amazing!
Exactly! That’s kind of what we’re counting on. We’re counting on getting people in there and then them changing their minds because that’s what always happens. People come and say it really wasn’t what they expected and they really enjoyed it!

So you’re obviously a very busy lady with all your shows and travelling, do you have any advice for looking after your voice when it’s under pressure?
Really it’s the same stuff that everybody tells you. It’s the steaming and the rest and all the things you can never do. I never have time to rest, I never have time to steam but they’re the things you’re supposed to do and I really think that they’re important. Also, overall general care of yourself at all times, so that even when you don’t have time, your body is in good condition. It’s just a constant sort of upkeep.

I also think that the foundations and training are so important. I rely on my training so much when my voice is tired. Especially when I was dong Matilda because that role is so difficult vocally and while you’re dancing and screaming, so I really relied on my training and on the vocal team there at Matilda to keep me in shape and healthy.

I think it’s a lot of common sense, don’t go out drinking late at night and try and get some rest!

Mrs Wormwood is a very shrieky role, it must’ve been hard!
Well we worked on it so it was really a mix, it sounded screechy but it was just a mix. My mix has never been stronger than when I was in Matilda! It was really interesting trying to find that place and it never hurt once. It’s really difficult to explain to somebody though, there are all these high schoolers and stuff doing it and losing their voices and I just say “don’t scream!”

I saw your panel at BroadwayCon a few years ago and you mentioned wanting to return to the role of Inez which is happening now, so I just wondered if you have any other dream roles you’d like to put out into the universe?
I’ve been really lucky with the shows I‘ve gotten to do around the country here, but every time I’ve played Adelaide in Guys and Dolls I’ve loved it so it would be great to be able to play her again.

I’d also love to do Evita, and I really want American audiences to get to see Zorro so I hope that’ll happen someday soon!

A huge, thank you to Lesli for taking the time to chat with us. Zorro plays at Cadogan Hall on 23 February for one night only!

Interview by Olivia Mitchell

Friday, 16 November 2018

Doctor Dolittle (UK Tour), Churchill Theatre | Review

Doctor Dolittle (UK Tour)
Churchill Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 15th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

He talks to the animals, sings with the animals, dances with the animals and is now in a musical with the animals. Doctor Dolittle follows the "impossible" man who understands animals better than people so with the help of his parrot Polynesia, learns their languages to help cure all their ailments. After a run-in with the local magistrate, Dolittle escapes prison to go on a mission to find the giant pink sea snail. There's also a budding romance between Dolittle's right hand man, Matthew Mugg and the magistrate's niece, Emma Fairfax.

This UK tour features book, music and lyrics by original Doctor Dolittle composer, Leslie Bricusse who, alongside Director, Christopher Renshaw, has reinvented the story to make it an entertaining show for the entire family. 

Mark Williams takes on the title role and does so fairly well. Whilst he speaks most of his songs, he does so with an energy that fits the character. It would be nice to have the role sung more seeing as this is a musical, but Williams' performance does fit the show well.

It's the Doctor's friend Matthew Mugg, played by Patrick Sullivan who steals the show with his magnetic charm and personality. Matthew is an instantly likeable character who holds the show on his shoulders with charisma. Sullivan also shines vocally with his beautiful tone- it's just a shame we don't get to hear a bit more. As Matthew's love interest, Mollie Melia-Redgrave is excellent and provides great support as Emma Fairfax. 

The other stars of the show have to be the intricate puppets designed by Nick Barnes and directed by Jimmy Grimes. A host of animals hop, slide and prowl around the stage, filling the space with liveliness and spirit. Especially memorable are the wonderful seal (Evonnee Bentley-Holder ) and dog, Jip (Jacob Fisher and Richard Vorster) who, like all the animals, are controlled masterfully by the ensemble. Vicky Entwistle also gives a lovely performance as Polynesia and cleverly disguises herself with the puppet to make us forget she's even there, which really brings a hint of magic. 

Tom Piper's set is very simplistic and at first comes across as amateurish but as the show continues it becomes fitting and works well to create the storybook like atmosphere. However, the sets being a little larger and more vibrant would add a lot to the show, as would some more inspired lighting. At times it feels like there is an inconsistency with the show. Whilst the basic sets and beige costumes are, I assume, supposed to leave space to highlight the puppets, they instead feel too rushed and cheap compared to the puppets which are so bright and detailed.

This isn't a masterpiece of a show but it is a whole lot of fun for families. Act two is certainly aimed at children but does have some magical moments of choreography (Josh Rhodes) as well as a star feature from the giant pink snail which fills the stage and seems to wow many of the younger audience. For a fun night out and a reminder of why we should protect and love animals, go see Doctor Dolittle but don't expect a monumental show. 

photo credit: Alistair Muir

Friday, 1 July 2022

Les Misérables Extends Booking in the West End Until March 2023

Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre is delighted to announce it has extended booking until Sunday 5 March 2023, and a new performance schedule from Wednesday 5 October 2022. Tickets for the new booking period are on sale from 11.00am today, Friday 1 July.
From Wednesday 5 October 2022 the new performance schedule will be:
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 2.30pm
Monday at 7.30pm
Les Misérables currently stars Jon Robyns as Jean Valjean, Bradley Jaden as Javert, Gerard Carey as ThénardierJosefina Gabrielle as Madame ThénardierChanice Alexander-Burnett as Fantine, Harry Apps as Marius, Sha Dessi as Éponine, Jordan Shaw as Enjolras and Charlie Burn as Cosette. They are joined by Kelly Agbowu, Joseph Anthony, Emma Barr, Richard Carson, Rodney Earl Clarke, Danny Colligan, Matthew Dale, Matt Dempsey, Natalie Green, Jessie Hart, Christopher Jacobsen, Connor Jones, Jessica Joslin, Michael Kholwadia, Sarah Lark, Georgie Lovatt, Ellie Ann Lowe, Luke McCall, Leo Miles, Claire O’Leary, Kathy Peacock, Mark Pearce, Sam Peggs, Sake Wijers, Mared Williams and Phoebe Williams.  
Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of 
Les Misérables in 2009, to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary, it has taken the world by storm. It will relaunch its record-breaking tour of North America in October this year, a new tour of The Netherlands is set for early 2023 with further productions to be announced. The UK and Ireland tour continues its acclaimed run.
Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent iconic score of 
Les Misérables includes the classic songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more. Several of its songs have become real life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, Les Misérables is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular and contemporary musicals.
Cameron Mackintosh’s production of 
Les Misérables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Orchestrations are by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron. The production is directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, projections realised by Finn Ross & Fifty Nine Productions, musical staging by Geoffrey Garratt, and music supervision by Stephen Brooker and Alfonso Casado Trigo.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Benidorm Live (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Benidorm (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome 

Reviewed on Monday 19th November 2018 by Emma Gradwell

After ten years on our television screens, the long running sitcom Benidorm has found a new home on stage as a national touring production. Written by Derren Litten, the result is a mix of familiar storylines and musical interludes which give us two hours of uncomplicated silliness. The show is largely driven by double entendres and the saucy seaside humour you will have come to expect. 

The show is led by six familiar actors from the television cast and the audience were very pleased to see them, with huge cheers to be heard as they appeared on stage for the first time. The storyline works for both fans of the original show and new audiences. 

Two middle class holidaymakers, Sophie and Ben (played by Tricia Adele-Turner and Bradley Clarkson), find themselves at the 3½ star all-inclusive hotel, The Solana, when their original hotel is overbooked – and they are not impressed. Bribery and seduction are the obvious answer when Hotel Manager Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson) decides they must be undercover hotel inspectors tasked with shutting them down. 

Jacqueline (Janine Duvitski), a member of the Swingers Association, and her very open-minded friend, ‘Gay Derek’ (Damian Williams), baffle the newcomers with their friendly charms. Duvitski is a master comedienne – and Jacqueline’s rendition of “Rubber Ball” at Karaoke Night is one of the shows highlights. There were even a few nods to Jacqueline’s late husband, Donald, and his penchant for their alternative lifestyle, which fortunately for us, Jacqueline is still thoroughly enjoying as a singleton. 

Adam Gillen’s Liam is as quirky and naïve as he is on screen, and his continued devotion to his absent father, Leslie, and his Solana family are charming. Tony Maudsley as Kenneth, owner of the on-site hair and beauty salon, ‘Blow and Go’, gives a slick comedic performance. His naughty slogan t-shirts are in full force, my favourite being ‘Mince, Wince, Repeat’. 

Stellar dance moves are provided by Jake Canuso (a former dancer) as barman and lothario, Mateo, and new staff member, Ricky (Will Jennings). Shelley Longworth as Travel Rep, Sam provides cabaret at Neptune’s Nightclub alongside Neptune’s own crooner, Asa Elliott, belting out some favourite holiday tunes. What was lacking was a live band, which for a production of this size was disappointing. 

The clever set design by Mark Walters took us from reception to poolside via the Salon and eventually to Neptune’s Nightclub for the second half. Director Ed Curtis pulls it all together seamlessly and at two hours, five minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome. 

Benidorm Live is cheesy, camp and refreshingly unpolitical, and I came away still chuckling about Jacqueline’s pink pussy and the sausage in cider.

Benidorm Live runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until  24th November, before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Paul Coltas