Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Hadley Fraser. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Hadley Fraser. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Young Frankenstein, Garrick Theatre | Review


Young Frankenstein 
Garrick Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 30th April by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

So far in 2018, Young Frankenstein is the show which has pleasantly surprised me the most. I must admit, all I knew of the show was the performance I'd seen at the Olivier Awards so I expected a cheesy, ridiculous story that I wouldn't enjoy. What I got was a cheesy, ridiculous story which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Young Frankenstein is a hilariously brilliant night at the theatre and certainly one of the funniest shows in the West End. Of course it's the work of comic genius Mel Brooks so you'd expect greatness, but the show had a less than stellar run on Broadway and despite it's huge budget, failed miserably. However, from what I've read and been told, this production is scaled down and swifter. The book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan is the most successful aspect of the show, with emphasis solidly on the comedy.


Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced "Fronkensteen") is an American professor of neurology who is drawn to Transylvania when his grandfather passes away and he is set to inherit his gothic home and all that's inside it. There, he meets a number of wacky characters and begins to toy with the idea of recreating his grandfather's famous experiment and reanimating a corpse.

Ben Cracknell's atmospheric lighting alongside, William Ivey Long's fabulous costumes and, Gareth Owen's effective and spooky sound design create a thrilling assault on the senses and add to the humour and drama of the show without becoming repetitive or sleazy. Any moments which could be cringy and cliched are cleverly avoided by onstage characters pointing out how ridiculous they are! Beowulf Borritt's set design cleverly intertwines aspects of the film and moves seamlessly from one location to another. Again, nothing is too over the top.

The cast are exceptional. Each giving spades and spades of energy whilst perfecting the comedic balance. Making it hysterical without being forced. Hadley Fraser is delightfully dynamic as Frederick and his glorious vocals ring out beautifully, especially in Frederick's Soliloquy.


Cory English scuttles round the stage humourously as the contorted, gormless Igor. He brings a warmth to the role as well as a somewhat eerie side. Lesley Joseph is gleefully devoted to the older, violent Frankenstein. Her rendition of He Vas My Boyfriend is wonderfully weird and enjoyable.

Young Frankenstein is definitely not an ode to feminism, but the political incorrectness makes it all the more funny. Summer Strallen and Emily Squibb bring their tongue-in-cheek characters to life with side-splitting humour and verve as well as giving wonderful vocal performances.

This show is funny beyond belief and a real joy to watch. If it's a feel good show you want, then Young Frankenstein is the one for you.

photo credit: Alistair Muir

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

2.22 A Ghost Story Announces 17 Week Transfer to Criterion Theatre


Producer Runaway Entertainment is delighted to announce that the critically acclaimed, smash hit, supernatural thriller 2:22 - A Ghost Story will transfer for a second time to The Criterion Theatre where it will play a 17.5 week season opening on 7 May 2022. The production began its life last summer at the Noel Coward Theatre starring Lily Allen, Julia Chan, Hadley Fraser and Jake Wood. It then transferred to the Gielgud Theatre for 10 weeks from 4 December 2021. The production there starring Stephanie Beatriz, James Buckley, Elliot Cowan and Giovanna Fletcher completed its run on 12 February 2022. The cast for the transfer to the Criterion Theatre will be announced soon. 
 
A great spine-tingling night out!” Evening Standard
 
The West End theatre event of the year will return this summer by popular demand.
 
“It’s happening again...”
 
Following two record-breaking seasons at the Noel Coward and Gielgud Theatre with a host of acclaimed star performances, this edge-of-your-seat, supernatural thriller returns once again for a brand-new limited engagement at the Criterion Theatre.
 
2:22 is written by award-winning writer Danny Robins, creator of the hit BBC podcast The Battersea Poltergeist, and is directed by Matthew Dunster. Look out for the clues to unlock the mystery in this brilliantly funny and intriguing play; it’s an adrenaline-filled night where secrets emerge and ghosts may or may not appear…
 
Danny Robins said: "I'm so damn thrilled that the 2:22 - A Ghost Story journey gets to continue. The response to the play so far has blown me away. Since I was a kid I've been obsessed by ghost stories, and I'm so glad that theatre audiences seem to feel the same way. My aim, writing the play, was to create a fun, spooky, thought-provoking night out, a show that leaves you buzzing, on the edge of your seat, questioning what you believe. If you haven't seen it yet, I hope you'll come down to the Criterion and see what you believe... if you dare!
 
Matthew Dunster said: "This feels like an extraordinary journey for a new play. It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but even in this crazy time we’re living through, people really seem to want to see this show. Sell out runs with two exciting and surprising casts at two West End theatres; and now a run to look forward to at The Criterion where there’ll be more more surprises and more excitement. I just feel terrifically proud of Danny and all the team. And really grateful to the Up For It audiences who have been coming along.”
 
What do you believe? And do you dare discover the truth?
 
“THERE’S SOMETHING IN OUR HOUSE. I HEAR IT EVERY NIGHT, AT THE SAME TIME"
 
Jenny believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben. Can the dead really walk again? Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is getting closer, so they’re going to stay up... until 2:22... and then they’ll know.
 
A slick, chilling, romp of a play” The Guardian
 
2:22 - A Ghost Story features set design by Anna Fleischle, costume design by Cindy Lin, lighting design by Lucy Carter, sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph Sound, casting by Jessica Ronane CDG and illusions by Chris Fisher, co-direction by Isabel Marr.
 
2:22 - A Ghost Story is produced by Tristan Baker and Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment, Isobel David and Kater Gordon. 
photo credit: Helen Murray

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Chess the Musical in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane | Review


Chess the Musical in Concert
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Reviewed on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After the success earlier in the year of Bonnie and Clyde in Concert, the bar has been set rather high for what concert productions at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane can provide, and this most recent one certainly hits the mark.

Chess, last seen in London in 2018 at the Coliseum, is set in the 1970s/80s amid the Cold War. Two chess masters meet in Bangkok to fight it out for the world championship title, but also end up in political and romantic competitions. 

By Tim Rice's own admission in the programme notes, the music is the heart of this show, with many finding fault with the book that is sometimes all over the place. Thankfully in this production everything is fairly sleek and issues with the book can be overlooked thanks to the sumptuous cast, choir and orchestra.

Director Nick Winston put on the show in a previous iteration in Japan and has superbly brought it to the London stage with a version that puts the focus strongly on storytelling, both through the music and the buoyant choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento and Tara Young

This is further helped in no small way by the outstanding LMTO Orchestra, directed expertly by Freddie Tapner. The sumptuous, melodically complex, beautifully syncopated score is showcased to the highest degree. There's a sensitivity given to the more pared back moments whilst the rousing, dramatic pieces of score are stretched to their full extent to provide real wow moments. The LMTO Chorus also bring add excellent power and oomph to the proceedings.

There were some songs which were cut from the show, namely the song Talking Chess between Anatoly and Freddie and Commie Newspapers which I think would have helped the plot be a bit clearer, especially for those seeing the show for the first time. But of course given the short turnaround and runtime for the concerts, I can certainly understand why some pieces had to be cut and shifted and what was still included was excellent. Any plot issues really fly under the radar when you have such a wonderful team on stage and offstage making everything else so enjoyable.

This onstage team is made up of some musical theatre heavyweights and there are standout performances throughout. Samantha Barks' rendition of Nobody's Side and the Anthem Reprise are definitely at the top. Joel Harper-Jackson's Pity The Child, Hadley Fraser's Anthem also bring the house down, and Frances Mayli McCann and Barks also compliment one another beautifully in the classic I Know Him So Well.

Having first seen Chess in concert version at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 and falling in love with it at age 10, seeing this production of equal strength was an absolute treat to witness. Here's hoping we see more of this outstanding adaptation and the stellar cast who brought it to life!

photo credit: Mark Senior