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Showing posts sorted by date for query Imelda Staunton. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Saturday 30 December 2017

Olivia's Top 10 Shows of 2017

This year I saw 105 shows so picking my top 10 was pretty tricky! I know everyone does these posts but it's always interesting to see what peaked everyones interests so without further ado, here are the shows I loved in 2017. Grab a mince pie and settle in!

PS. They're in reverse order as always to bring that extra bit of drama!

10. Yank | Charing Cross Theatre

I saw the West End premiere of this show and completely fell in love. The storyline was gripping, the acting was outstanding and it was a highlight of my summer. Scott Hunter was a particular stand out and I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for him.

9. Follies | National Theatre

This was one of my most anticipated shows of the year and it certainly wasn't a let down. The glorious staging was spectacular and I adored hearing Sondheim's music live as well as seeing queen Imelda Staunton on stage again.

8. Mack and Mabel (LMTO) | Hackney Empire

This was such a surprising show for me. Of course I expected good things from the LMTO but I was so blown away by every performance in Mack and Mabel. Natasha J Barnes singing 'Time Heals Everything' was definitely my stand out vocal moment of the year.

7. Funny Girl | New Victoria Theatre

Natasha also gave an amazing performance as Fanny Brice in the UK Tour of Funny Girl. To date this is the best touring production I have ever seen!

6. Hamlet | Alemida Theatre

Andrew Scott was just spectacular. That's all.

5. Fiddler on the Roof | Chichester Festival Theatre

I must admit, I don't travel outside of London for theatre very often but I am so glad I made the trip to Chichester to see this production which completely blew me away. This show needs a West End transfer and I'm praying its life isn't over.

4. Angels in the America | National Theatre

How could I not mention this?! A marathon show but packed with drama, talent and grit at every moment. Truly a theatrical masterpiece- Broadway get ready!

3. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill | National Theatre

Audra is just a queen. I was mesmerised by every single moment of this show. I first saw it on press night and then went back with my parents, both times were breathtaking and it was such an honour to see a Broadway superstar on stage.

2. Romantics Anonymous | Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

My lovely friend Hayley took me to see this for my birthday and for some reason I never got round to reviewing it (hopefully I'll do it soon!) But it was honestly just brilliant. Both literally and metaphorically sweet it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon. If you want a heartwarming tale, this is the one for you!

1. Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre

I know this is the most typical answer and so not a surprise but Hamilton just blew me away. I still can't believe that it exceeded my expectations and if you can get a ticket, you HAVE to see it!!

I also want to give a special mention to  a couple of other outstanding shows which I mentioned in last years wrap up: Rent and Dreamgirls, both of which amazed me again this year! I have a couple of concert shout outs too- Rachel Tucker, Kristin Chenoweth and Lea Michele. I saw Rachel perform 5 times and was completely astounded by her voice and stage presence every time. Kristin had me bawling from start to finish. Her concert was definitely the most memorable I've ever been too. Finally, Lea was a bucket list concert for me and I'm so honoured to have seen (and met) her this year!

So there we have my top shows of 2017! I can't wait to see what 2018 brings- let me know what your top shows of the year were.

Au revoir 2017! Stay Stagey, 2018!

Top 10 by editor, Olivia Mitchell

Friday 8 September 2017

Follies, National Theatre | Review

Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 7th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

It's been 30 years since a fully staged production of Follies has been seen on a London stage so there's been a huge buzz surrounding the current production at the National Theatre, which boasts a stellar cast.  The production is largely sold out but don't fret if you didn't manage to snap up tickets as it is set to be broadcast to cinemas through NT Live on November 16th.

Mr Weismann's iconic theatre is closing so to commemorate he invites all his old Follies to dance and reminisce about their time in the company. Being back in the places of their youth, many characters start being pulled back to the past and we watch as the past and present become intwined. Childhood best friends with a past, Sally and Phyllis and their husbands Buddy and Ben reopen a chapter of their lives which they all thought closed.  Both couples are experiencing problems in their marriages and despite time having passed, they can't help but relive old feelings. 

Follies was originally written as a straight-through piece with no interval; whilst some productions have included intervals, the National Theatre's doesn't. Speaking to others about the show it seemed that people were wary of having to sit for that long without a break and whilst it is the same as watching a film, I suppose there's more freedom and less embarrassment to have a loo break during a film. This needn't be a worry at all though as the show flows wonderfully and really builds up momentum throughout, meaning that stepping out doesn't cross your mind as the show flies by.

The entire cast are absolutely stellar, keeping up the energy from the get go to the end. I particularly enjoy Di Botcher's rendition of 'Broadway Baby' which is completely hilarious and gorgeously sung and Tracie Bennett's 'I'm Still Here' which is gritty and powerful. Her nuanced performance is one of the best I've ever seen on stage. The younger selves of the two main ladies, played by Zizi Strallen and Alex Young are extremely well performed. The mirroring of the young and old girls is spectacular and extremely moving. Alex's transition from the giddy girl into the obsessed girl is striking.

This obsession continues with the adult Sally, played by the ever brilliant, Imelda Staunton. Sally has not really changed throughout the years and comes onto the stage just as giddy as a child when we first see her. Her fragility begins to show little by little, coming to a head in her stunning rendition of the classic, 'Losing My Mind'. Sally's partner in crime, Phyllis is played by the equally brilliant, Janie Dee who is strong and sassy from start to end. 

Dominic Cooke's direction creates a flow of movement and an ease throughout which is joyful to watch. Bill Dreamer's choreography works hand in hand with is and showcases the best of the Follies era. Along with the National's revolve, the choreography swims along and is faultless. A particular stand-out moment is the tap number 'Who's That Woman?'... I'm a sucker for tap and this was pulled off perfectly as the older Follies girls join their younger selves to create a thing of beauty.

Vicki Mortimer's set design cleverly shows hints of the former glory of the grand Weismann theatre as it crumbles in current day. The costumes are stunning not only with the gorgeous glitz and glam of the Follies but with how well they show off the character of each individual lady in the current day.

Overall this is an absolutely wonderful production which has everything you could wish for in a musical. There's glitz, glam, grit and emotion, which along with a perfect cast create an absolutely wonderful production of Sondheim's classic musical. 

Follies runs at the National Theatre until January 3rd.