Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jake Sharp. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jake Sharp. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Jake Sharp on Bringing Rock to Wimbledon | School of Rock | Interview

All that was taken away from us during the pandemic is celebrated in the show by some genius young superstars. 

School of Rock is a cult classic film which celebrates music and how it brings people together. Post- pandemic it provides the perfect, lighthearted, high energy, night out. Currently starring in the show as leading man Dewey Finn, Jake Sharp tells us about his experience in the show and what it's like stepping into Jack Black's shoes...

Firstly, for anyone that doesn’t know could you explain a little bit about School of Rock?

School of Rock is about a wannabe rockstar Dewey Finn, who, needing some money, intercepts a phone call and poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious school. When he hears the straight-A students playing classical music he transforms them into mini rockstars in order to compete at the Battle of the Bands.

Jack Black made Dewey such an iconic character, what’s it been like creating your own version?
Obviously Jack Black is a genius so they are quite big shoes to fill. But the blueprints that his performance has given means there is so much room to play. Dewey Finn is basically a big kid so it’s so much fun seeing how he reacts in the world of Horace Green School.

What’s been your favourite part of starring in School of Rock?
Playing ‘Teachers Pet’ to audiences all round the country. In that moment everything the audience hears is just us playing live on stage. It never fails to give me goosebumps and the reaction from the crowds is next level. The fact that people from all over have the opportunity to see the show is amazing, but the knowledge that we are inspiring the next generation of musical protégées is super cool.

It’s a very high energy show, how do you keep your voice and body strong doing the show every night whilst touring the country?
A lot of water, a lot of sleep and a lot of pasta. It’s been a real personal undertaking to get myself to a fitness level vocally, physically and mentally to be able to keep producing the energy levels that the show requires. But it’s absolutely worth it! Plus pasta is delicious. 

Dewey inspires his students in many ways, did you have an influential teacher growing up?
I did but when it comes to Dewey I always think more about the other adults that have been influential. I grew up playing sports and a lot of the time as a kid I would be around or apart of the adult teams. The way that they treated me as an equal in that environment is how I think Dewey treats the kids. They are all level pegging in the band - it doesn’t matter how old or how ‘cool’ they might seem in ‘normal’ life.

Why do you think people should come and see the show?
I hate it when people say this but it’s completely true for this show. It’s absolutely fun for all the ages. Whether on a date, a solo trip, with kids, with a school - everyone will enjoy School of Rock. It’s high energy, face melting rock and roll and champions live music and being creative. All that was taken away from us during the pandemic is celebrated in the show by some genius young superstars.

Thank you so much Jake for taking the time to chat to me. School of Rock plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 26th March and then continues its tour.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

photo credit: Paul Coltas

Monday, 21 March 2022

School of Rock (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

School of Rock (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 21st March 2022

Many people know and love the hit 2003 film School of Rock. With Jack Black’s iconic comedy, incredibly catchy tunes and a true rock soul it became an instant classic. Fortunately, all of this translates brilliantly to the stage and to the current UK tour which is getting audiences up on their feet and releasing their inner rock god’s.

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock provides a throughly entertaining night out.  The show follows Dewey Finn, a man who’s only goal is to live a life of music. One thing leads to another and he ends up taking the place of his best friend and pretending to be a supply teacher for the elite Horace Green school. There he discovers that he’s not the only one with music in his soul; he finds a classroom full of wonderful musicians who just want to be heard. Thus begins his mission to form a band and win the Battle of the Bands. The entire story is a comedic dream, with a cast of amazing talents and so many great songs.

There’s also astute observations on growing up and the pressures young people are under, as well as many witty and topical comments on the world as a whole.

Of course this show would not be half of what it is without the young performers who make up the class. There’s not a weak link, with utterly superb musicianship being displayed throughout. They all have enough energy to raise the roof off of the New Wimbledon Theatre and also do particularly well in the more moving moments of the show. Special mention must go to Souparnika Nair who shone supremely bright with her spectacularly controlled vocals as Tamika and Emerson Sutton who is a marvel on the drums. All the children are a joy to watch and there's also some exceptional hairography going on throughout!

As Dewey Finn, Jake Sharp carries the musical outstandingly. Not wavering a single moment he’s on stage (and that’s pretty much throughout). He’s hilarious, vocally virtuosic and brings enough of the iconic Jack Black attitude and swagger that we know and love but also adds his own flair and makes the role his own. 

Rebecca Lock as Rosalie Mullins the uptight headmistress who also longs to break free is utterly charming. Her vocals are spectacular with her operatic range shining in the Queen of the Night aria and her astounding belt providing a real highlight in Where Did The Rock Go.

You can’t have School of Rock without the music and aside from the formidable onstage musicians, the pit band are stellar. Natasha Katz's lighting is also especially effective and Anna Louizos’ set design works faultlessly to transport us from scene to scene.

This is an incredibly cohesive production that never falters in sleekness but still retains its spontaneous, high octane feel. Become part of the band and go see School of Rock on tour.

photo credit: Paul Coltas

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Benidorm Live (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Benidorm Live (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 11th March 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Camp, crude and cheesy, Benidorm Live has brought the popular TV programme to life in a fantastic way. Derren Litten's stage adaptation completely captures the feel-good essence of the programme and has the audience laughing out loud throughout.

Almost taking the form of an episode from the TV, Benidorm Live follows the staff and holidaymakers at the tattered and tacky beyond belief, Solana Resort in Benidorm. Famous faces from the series Liam (Adam Gillen), Mateo (Jake Canuso), Joyce (Sherrie Hewson), Kenneth (Tony Maudsley), Jacqueline (Janine Duvitski) and Sam (Shelley Longworth), fight to reveal and impress the undercover hotel inspectors who could lead to the shut down of the resort. The story is basic but extremely well put across; what the narrative lacks, is made up for with performance and wit.

Mark Walters' cleverly designed set, brings the hotel to life with cheer and brightness, featuring a pool side, Neptune's Bar, the hotel reception and the Blow'N'Go salon. The transitions from scene to scene are well done, especially when mini dance interludes draw the audience away from the set changes completely. By the end of the show, you almost forget you're not watching the TV, or even that you're not sitting on a Benidorm beach yourself. 

Whilst the hugely enjoyable design of the show is great, it's the utterly hilarious cast who really bring it to life. Sherrie Hewson prances about barking orders to no avail. As the sleazy but adored Mateo,  Jake Canuso is outstanding and he tries (and fails) to seduce the hotel's guests. Particularly impressive is the link to Canuso's past, where he shows off some of his sharp, supported dance.  Janine Duvitski gives one of the wittiest, most innuendo rife performances ever. Her play on words and general larger than life persona, makes her a definite audience favourite, gaining laugh after laugh. Adam Gillen's Liam is endearing and wonderful, as is his partner in crime, Kenneth, played as camply as possible by Tony MaudsleyAsa Elliot as himself, provides some great vocals.  As the middle-class holidaymakers who find themselves at the Solana when their dream hotel is overbooked, Tricia Adele-Turner and Bradley Clarkson give buoyant performances as Sophie and Ben.

Derren Litten's stage debut should be applauded as he creates a rowdy night out that is easy to follow but still highly entertaining. A saucy, seaside postcard of a show, Benidorm Live is sure to delight fans of the series and newbies alike as they take a carefree, innuendo-filled trip to sunny Spain. 

Benidorm Live is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until March 16th before continuing its tour.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

The Cher Show (Tour), Leicester Curve | Review

The Cher Show (Tour)
Leicester Curve
Reviewed on Friday 15th April 2022 by Hope Priddle

After a brief run on Broadway, the beat goes on for The Cher Show as a new reimagined version, directed by Arlene Phillips, opened at the Leicester Curve this week. Spanning an astounding six decades and featuring iconic hits such as Believe and Strong Enough, The Cher Show charts the early life of Cherilyn Sarkissian and her spectacular rise to fame. In this uplifting girl-powered production, join Cher as she fights to take charge of her career in a man’s world, leaving a legacy as a trailblazing feminist icon.

This is not an ordinary jukebox bio-musical – there is not just one Cher, but three; Baby, Lady and Star. Though the book (Rick Elice) relies heavily on exposition and is not always successful in divorcing itself entirely from a tired format, it is sharp and quick-witted. By introducing us to three protagonists who interrupt each other with sassy asides and sage advice, an otherwise linear narrative suddenly feels reactive and full of endless possibilities. The Chers reclaim, retell and revise their own story.

The cast is led by a powerhouse trio of women in the role of Cher. Millie O’Connell (Baby) Danielle Steers (Lady) and Debbie Kurup (Star) give natural and nuanced performances as the legendary diva. Cher has become so mythologised into the annals of pop history, it is easy to forget she is a real person. Not once however do our leading ladies stray into the territory of camp or hammy caricature.

As the eldest Cher, Debbie Kurup grounds the trio with her wisdom and worldliness. Kurup’s vocals are truly outstanding, but it is in her ability to reveal the vulnerability, resilience and tenderness behind the icon, that her true power lies. Danielle Steers plays Lady, tasked with negotiating Cher’s fraught personal and professional relationship with husband Sonny Bono. Steers is infamous for her rich contralto vocals and as such, unapologetically devours the score. Steers’ commanding rendition of Bang Bang is a total showstopper, proving that Cher was a role she was born to play. Millie O’Connell is a delight as lovestruck dreamer Baby and is a comedic genius to boot – her repartee with Lucas Rush (Sonny) during The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour is a complete joy to watch.

It would be easy to assume that Baby and Lady take a secondary role to Star, that they perhaps function as her warm-up act. However, they shine brightly on their own. Baby and Lady are no less accomplished, no less complete than Star. What is so wonderful about The Cher Show is that although their shared story is a linear one, the Chers exist in parallel timelines, supporting rather than replacing one another along their journey.

Lucas Rush gives a tremendous performance as Cher’s first husband and lifelong artistic partner, Sonny Bono. Not only does Rush masterfully imitate Sonny’s nasally vocal inflections, they skilfully embrace his smarmy unlikability and genuine charisma. Though Sonny exhibits exploitative and explosive behaviour at the height of their career, he remains an enduring confidante and champion. We are also introduced to a host of influential characters – Cher’s Mother (Tori Scott), Bob Mackie (Jake Mitchell), and her subsequent husbands Gregg Allman (Sam Ferriday) and Robert Camilleti (Ferriday) - all of whom are treated with affection and goodwill. The ensemble are strong and deliver Oti Mabuse’s dynamic choreography with pizazz.

Tom Roger’s set design is simple yet highly effective, transporting the audience backstage by flanking the wings with monochrome rails and wig-laden shelves. The costumes retain all the glamour of Bob Mackie’s original wardrobe, but his departure from the creative team has clearly allowed designer Gabriella Slade the freedom to take a more inspired approach. Slade’s gladiatorial designs fully embody the fierce spirit of Cher and transform our leading ladies into goddess warrior queens.

The Cher Show is a universally uplifting story of a woman’s fight for independence in an industry driven by men. While it unashamedly embraces all the flair and flamboyance that fans will most certainly expect, as a respectful homage to a much-loved icon, it retains real heart. If I could turn back time, I would watch it all over again.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Sex/Crime, Soho Theatre | Review

Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 by Jake C Macpherson

The show opens to a simplistic set draped in plastic sheets and not much else but a single sofa – so many questions were initially made as an audience member as to what was going to happen throughout the next 60 minutes. This added to the complete suspense that was felt from the get go.

The production opens with the sudden entrance of ‘A’ and ‘B’. ‘A’ offers a service to recreate the killings of famous serial killers for the pleasure of random men. Enter ‘B’ who has booked himself in for an ‘authentic experience’ this doesn’t quite turn out to be what he has paid for…

Alexis Gregory, who plays ‘B’ in the production also wrote the show. Combined with the direction of Robert Chevara they have created this dark, new piece of theatre, which at moments is so relatable and humorous for a London audience. Names of well-known London locations are scattered liberally throughout the piece, giving the audience a real sense of place and time. This generally gives an immersive feeling. Gregory has a very unique style of writing and is very straight to the point in what he wants the audience to hear. The cut-throat reality of what is being said is jarring, but at moments feels almost poetic.

Multiple themes are explored throughout the show: the age of social media, violence, sexual fantasies and queerness to name a few. I don’t particularly feel as though all of the themes are easily translated and it is left to the audience to make personal conclusions throughout. But I do feel as though this adds to the performance. The sharp-witted humour often carries the piece and is well received by the entire audience.

Jonny Woo (‘A’), and Alexis Gregory (‘B’) play the two polar opposite characters in acting style and personality. During the show it's clear their relationship grows closer together and finds a balance between their emotional states. Both Woo and Gregory work well to hold an entire audiences’ engagement and towards the end, the audience do begin to connect with both characters. The chemistry between them was clear from the moment they entered the stage, and they both remain strong throughout.

It's hard to imagine this show re-staged in a bigger venue, as the Soho Theatre really offers a sense of intimacy and the tension of the piece really translates well in a black box studio Theatre. In essence Sex/Crime is a vulnerable and intimate piece of theatre which tackles the fetish of sexual violence in a modern society.

SEX/CRIME runs at the SOHO Theatre until 1st February 2020

photo credit: Matt Spike