Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jason Manford. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jason Manford. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday 10 November 2016

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a heartwarming, beautiful and triumphant tour full of joy.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 9th
 November 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of those musicals you feel like you've always known about. You could ask anyone and they'll be able to rattle off the title song without a moments thought. There's just something magical about it that can transport to back to your childhood in a moment. James Brining's production adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams is delightful, enjoyable and exciting to watch. Based on the film of the same name Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tells the story of the struggling inventor Caractacus Potts who is carried away on a magical adventure with his children Jemima and Jeremy.

The production is a very beautiful one indeed, with very clever use of video designed by Simon Wainwright which alongside Simon Higlett's well constructed set design creates a melancholy sort of atmosphere whilst easily transition from scene to scene.
Jason Manford is charming and sweet as Caractacus Potts, bringing his own twist to Dick Van Dyke's iconic character. His voice shines throughout, especially in his heartfelt performance of 'Hushabye Mountain'. Charlotte Wakefield works alongside Mansfield as the beautiful Truly Scrumptious. Their chemistry is extremely natural and Charlotte's performance is sincere and heartfelt all the way through.

Jos Vantyler's childcatcher is suitably chilling, adding moments of darkness to the otherwise upbeat musical. Boris and Goran played by Sam Harrison and Scott Paige are absolutely fabulous, adding humour and lots of fun throughout- especially through their rendition of 'Act English'. They really hold the show together, interjecting with just the right amount of exaggeration and innuendo for the duration of the show.

This is a charming production which evokes childhood memories and joy whilst having you tapping your feet and singing the songs all the way home. It's Truly Scrumptious indeed and a must see for a sugary sweet night out!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is on at the New Victoria Theatre until November 19th, after which it will continue on its tour round the county. To book tickets visit ATG tickets.

Photographs by Alastair Muir

Monday 17 July 2023

The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium review: A Delightfully Nostalgic Experience

a visual spectacle that fits so well with the whimsical and well-loved world of Oz"

The Wizard of Oz
London Palladium

Magic, wonder, and unforgettable melodies reign supreme as you step into the mesmerising world of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. This enchanting production, a transfer from the Leicester Curve, weaves a delightful experience that is sure to captivate audiences of all ages.

Thanks to Nikolai Foster’s direction, once the curtain rises you will find yourself immersed in a world of imagination and fantasy. The detailed costumes, effective sets and strong video effects seamlessly blend together to create a visual spectacle that fits so well with the whimsical and well-loved world of Oz. The semi-modern, steampunk aesthetic lends a unique twist to the classic tale, infusing it with a fresh and vibrant energy.

The cast of The Wizard of Oz delivers exceptional performances, breathing life into the beloved characters with charm and charisma. Dorothy, portrayed by the stunning Georgina Onuorah with innocence and determination, effortlessly captures our hearts as she embarks on her journey to find her way back home. Joining Dorothy on yellow brick road are three iconic friends she makes. Searching for courage, the Cowardly Lion is played superbly well by Jason Manford, who is perfectly evocative of Lahr in the film but with a spin of his own that really works. Looking for a heart the Tin Man is oiled by well by Ashley Banjo who creates some really brilliant moments; the vocals aren’t as stellar as they could be but his dance skills and charisma more than make up for it. Completing the quad is Louis Gaunt as the Scarecrow searching for a heart, who is utterly charming and a real triple threat. The chemistry between the group is well portrayed, however on stage you don’t feel as a strong of a connection to their journey and never root for them quite enough; their story is enjoyable but not as emotionally intense as it could be.

The other supporting cast members shine in their respective roles, each bringing their own unique flair and personality to the story. Christina Bianco’s Glinda and Dianne Pilkington’s Wicked Witch of the West are throughly entertaining, if a little underdeveloped but both provide some of the stand solos of the show. The musical numbers in The Wizard of Oz combine Andrew Lloyd Webber's new compositions with the beloved songs from the classic film and while Webber's additions may not steal the spotlight, they seamlessly blend with the original score, enriching the overall experience. The familiar melodies of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ undoubtedly take centre stage, evoking a wave of nostalgia and bringing smiles to the faces of the audience.

This musical really does exactly what you’d expect it to in telling the story which so many love. All the classic moments are featured and there are also some fun things to spot such as Ozified show names (West Witch Story, Margaret Hamilton etc…) a hidden Olaf and some swanky costumes which are truly Ozian. However, act two is a little bit lacking as a whole, with the video aspect which is so effective in act one, becoming gimmicky and a little basic, especially when showing the wicked witch’s army and the flying monkeys. Moments which could have been really awe-inspiring are instead brushed over and there’s never a true wow moment.

A way the production does soar is in how it pays heartfelt homage to the original book by Frank L. Baum, incorporating references that will surely delight fans. The inclusion of Dorothy's return to Kansas in her Oz dress adds a touch of nostalgia, serving as a loving nod to the source material. These thoughtful gestures elevate the production, reminding us of the timeless charm that made the story a classic in the first place.

It’s not a faultless show but The Wizard of Oz offers a delightful escape into a world of fantasy and adventure. With its talented cast, striking visuals, and heartfelt nods to the original, this production is well worth seeing. Whether you are reliving cherished childhood memories or experiencing the magic for the very first time, this show will transport you to a place where dreams come true and a trip to Oz should definitely be part of your summer plans.

Reviewed on Wednesday 12th July 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}