Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Fabian Aloise. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Fabian Aloise. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Madagascar The Musical (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Madagascar The Musical (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 25th July 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

On a scorching summer night, the New Wimbledon Theatre played host to the opening of the high-energy, larger than life Madagascar The Musical. Based on the 2005 DreamWorks film of the same name, Madagascar follows a group of animals from the Central Park Zoo who find themselves in The Wild. 

Fabian Aloise's choreography is wonderfully modern whilst not being overly cheesy. The children accompanying me especially loved the flossing and it's evident that Fabian know's what the show's target audience want. The cast of humans and 'animals' fill the space brilliantly and create a sense of motion throughout. This movement works hand in hand with Tom Rodgers' sets which are simplistic but vibrant and transition us well from one location to another. Howard Hudson's lighting is warming and especially effective in the more high-intensity group numbers where it feels like a party in the theatre.


The cast are superb; even in the sweltering heat they don't falter and give us intensity and power from start to finish. Medically challenged giraffe, Melman is embodied perfectly by Jamie Lee-Morgan who wanders round the stage in a somber but truly lovable manner whilst Tammika Ramsay as Gloria is sassy and commanding. As the zebra who dreams of escaping the zoo, Antoine Murray-Straughan is humourous and eccentric and his many talents are showcased especially during his brief rap and dance sections. 

As the leader of the pack, Alex the lion, Matt Terry is impeccable. From his superb falsetto, riffs and generally beautiful tone, it's clear why he was voted the winner of X-Factor 2016. But, Matt's acting and dance performance is equally as strong as he owns the stage and draws the audience into the story. 


Watching the show you completely forget these are not the same characters from the film. The costumes and puppets are so cleverly done that you even forget there are real humans on stage! The ensemble do a stellar job of playing a number of characters and completely transform themselves right in front of our eyes. Mention must also go to Jo Parsons as King Julian who has the audience in the palm of his hand with his epic performance of Move It.

The music of Madagascar is genuinely catchy and it's a show that both adults and children will appreciate and enjoy. If you want some light-hearted fun with a host of crazy characters and stellar performances then Madagascar is the one for you. 

Madagascar runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until July 28th before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Scott Rylander

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The View Upstairs, Soho Theatre | Review


The View Upstairs 
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd July by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Whilst victories in the LGBTQ+ community are rising, and social attitudes and actions are, for the most part, much more positive, there's still much to fight for, as Max Vernon's musical highlights.

In its European premiere at the Soho Theatre, The View Upstairs cleverly creates a conversation between the past and present by visiting the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar which was the subject of an arson attack in 1973 which killed 32 people. The tragic story is one which has often been wiped out from history and was even minimised by news outlets at the time, so it's an honour to see it brought to life so thoughtfully. 

The story follows Wes, the 2019 "influencer" and fashion designer who is buying the dilapidated bar in the modern day. His estate agent leaves, and in a somewhat mystical, drug-filled flurry of curtains, he is transported back to the bar as it was on the day of the fire. Who we are then introduced to are the various people, decked out in bell bottoms, who find solace and friendship in the safe space the UpStairs provides. Wes' eyes are gradually opened to he struggles of being gay in the 70s and he questions how he leads his life in the modern day. 

Wes is a smartphone-addicted go-getter who often veers into a caricature of a Gen Y person, but is  still intensely entertaining and relatable. As a whole the book features a lot of stereotypes which are not always believable enough, but there are hilarious one-liners throughout, as well as many thought-provoking moments. 


What the script lacks is made up for in spades by the utterly phenomenal cast. Tyrone Huntley is effervescent in his performance and provides vocals which need to be heard; Huntley also manages to create a fantastic balance between impudence and vulnerability, which really makes the audience root for him. The chemistry between the entire cast is second to none, with Wes and Patrick (Andy Mientus) providing especially well thought out interactions. Mientus draws the eye thanks to his incredibly subtle but highly calculated movements which make him seem as though he isn't acting at all.

The uniformly thrilling cast bring vocals that will cause involuntary whoops and goosebumps in equal measure. Among a team of stars, Carly Mercedes Dyer and Cedric Neal stand out because of their powerhouse voices which ring out with sincerity as well as power. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is magnetic as the caring, religious mother Inez; whilst Garry Lee provides vocals and sass and her drag queen son Freddy. John Partridge and Declan Bennett are well rounded and striking in their performances and Joseph Prouse and Derek Hagen give memorable, if brief performances. This is a fantastic ensemble piece which has momentum and catchy tunes, but more importantly, heart.

Fabian Aloise and Ruthie Stevens's choreography is slick and feels part of the characters own movements. Lee Newby's set is basic but evocative as is Nic Farman's lighting which expertly matches the moods of the show, although at times felt just a bit too dark.

Jonathan O'Boyle has directed a moving production which feels like an homage to those fighting for gay rights in the past, those fighting now and those who are yet to realise they need to fight. 

photo credit: Darren Bell

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Madagascar the Musical (UK Tour), New Theatre Oxford | Review


Madagascar the Musical
New Theatre Oxford
Reviewed on Tuesday 30th April 2019 by Emma Gradwell
★★★★

Spotlights spiral around the auditorium, a crate flies open and a monkey threatens to throw poop at us if we use our mobile phones – the tone is immediately set for Madagascar the Musical

Set designer, Tom Rogers does a magnificent job. The stage is surrounded by packing crates that may contain some surprises, and moving pieces that instantly transform the set into a zoo, Grand Central Station and the jungles of Madagascar. The human ‘animals’ are visually engaging, with clever costumes from Robert Alsopp that help to give them an uncanny resemblance to their animated counterparts. 

Matt Terry is a nimble and energetic Alex the lion, who along with Antoine Murray Straughan as Marty the zebra, relentlessly bound about the stage with fun-filled choreography provided by Fabian Aloise. Terry’s vocals are great and he is engaging and likeable. Timmika Ramsay shines as the sassy Hippo, Gloria and her vocals stand out among the leads. 


Jo Parsons shuffles onto the stage after the interval as the ridiculous King Julien, a lemur with a crazy, indeterminate accent. This is when the production really comes alive. Aside from the leads, all of the creatures are represented by puppets and are voiced by a talented team. The penguins waddle out and are hilarious and endearing. Led by Shane McDaid as Skipper they deliver some cherished lines from the film: “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave”. The team switch seamlessly between characters, their voices providing much visual joy to the proceedings. Jessica Niles as Mort the tiny lemur is unbearably cute. 

While the musical numbers are not going to set the world alight, Madagascar the Musical makes up for it with charm and spectacle. There is enough to entertain the adults (rectal thermometers and a couple of drug-fuelled dream sequences), but it remains at heart a children’s show. It’s a ninety minute escape from technology and provides the innocence needed for an uncomplicated and fun evening. The faces of the young audience as they flossed and sang along with King Julien were an absolute joy, and that surely has to be a job well done.

Madagascar runs at the New Theatre Oxford until May 4th before continuing its tour

photo credit: Scott Rylander

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Rink, Southwark Playhouse | Review


The Rink
Southwark Playhouse 
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

The Rink at the Southwark Playhouse is theatrical brilliance, made even greater by a spectacular cast, including Caroline O'Connor who understudied Diane Langton as Angel in the 1988 London production of the show. With a book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb, the show focusses on Anna, the owner of a roller skating rink on a fading seaside boardwalk, who has decided to sell it and move on. This goes smoothly until her prodigal daughter, Angel, returns on a mission to reconnect with her past. Through a series of beautiful songs and flashbacks, the pair try to deal with their past resentments and move on with their lives.

Adam Lenson's production is subtlety and sparkle perfectly combined, with the complexity and fragility of the mother-daughter relationship the firm focus. The small Southwark Playhouse is masterly transformed into the cast off roller-rink with Bec Chippendale's minimalistic set providing a back drop which will work equally as well on a bigger stage when this show hopefully takes it's place in the West End.


As well as the story, the cast are the core of this show. The leads are meaty roles so it's great that we have two brilliantly talented women heading the show. The extensive ovation after Caroline O'Connor's first solo, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, proved that she is the embodiment of star power. Caroline is raw, ugly, homourous and emotive, all combined to create a masterclass in musical theatre and a performance which leaves you wanting more and more. With equal measures of ferocity and warmth, it's Caroline who steals this show and makes it as special as it is.

Despite a few brief moments of vocal/accent faults, Gemma Sutton gives a stellar performance as daughter Angel and matches O'Connor in oomph and vigour. The pair are extremely well cast; pulling off the mother daughter relationship extremely realistically whilst supplying laugh out loud joy, as well as tear in your eye sentimentality.


Fabian Aloise's choreography is again simplistic perfection. Tap dancing on roller skates- what more could you want? The tight cast do an exceptional job of using the space without making it feel cramped. Each member is outstanding but mention must go to Stewart Clarke as Dino who suitably transitions from loved up to angry at the world; Ben Redfern who is sweet as Lenny but shines in What Happened To The Old Days? and Jason Winter who dances with such power and precision that you can't help but be drawn to him.

For a technically brilliant show with performances that will leave you wanting to return to the Coloured Lights again and again, go see The Rink. This is musical theatre at it's best- lets just hope that the rink keeps rolling in London.

The Rink runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 23rd June

photo credit: Darren Bell