Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jodie Jacobs. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jodie Jacobs. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Full Cast Announced For But I'm a Cheerleader

Full cast has been announced for the world premiere of But I'm A Cheerleader: The Musical, running at the Turbine Theatre from mid February.

Alice Croft (Soapdish at MTFest, she/her) will take on the role of Megan, the cheerleader who is sent by her parents to a rehabilitation camp.

Also in the cast are Oliver Brooks (he/him) as Dad/Larry, Edward Chitticks (he/him) as Jared/Rock, Damon Gould (he/him) as André, Tiffany Graves (she/her) as Mary Brown, Jodie Jacobs (she/they) as Mom/Lloyd, Lemuel Knights (he/him) as Mike, Evie Rose Lane (she/her) as Graham, Harry Singh (he/him) as Jalal, Jodie Steele (she/her) as Kimberly/Hilary, Aaron Teoh (he/him) as Dolph and Kia-Paris Walcott (she/her) as Sinead.

The musical is based on the cult classic Lionsgate motion picture, directed and story by Jamie Babbit and screenplay by Brian Wayne Peterson.

This stage version, seen at the Turbine as part of the venue's MTFestUK in 2019, has book and lyrics by Bill Augustin (he/him), music by Andrew Abrams (he/him) and direction by Tania Azevedo (she/her).

Musical direction and orchestration by Josh Sood (he/him) with choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento (she/her) and set and costume design by David Shields (he/him). Lighting by Martha Godfrey (they/them) and sound design by Christ Whybrow (he/him).

photo credit: Mark Senior

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Unexpected Joy, Southwark Playhouse | Review

Unexpected Joy 

Southwark Playhouse 
Reviewed on Friday 7th September 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Unexpected Joy, more like an unexpected delight of a show. The latest of Aria Entertainment’s shows to hit London, Unexpected Joy follows three generations as a grandmother, mother and daughter come together after not seeing each other for a long time. There are secrets, past tensions and varying viewpoints which have the potential to break the family apart. This is a heartfelt show that just like real life, features moments of humour, sadness, joy, angst and above all, love. 

The show opens with Joy (Janet Fullerlove) welcoming us to her concert which is celebrating the life and music of her late husband, Jump. From the onset we see that Joy is a larger than life character who has always been a free spirit and is the opposite of her daughter.

Jodie Jacobs gives a moving performance as Rachel/Rainbow, the mother who is struggling to balance her beliefs with change and is losing her relationship with her daughter. Jacobs shows her internal struggle with a perfect subtlety and moments of pure vocal perfection. 

In her professional debut, Kelly Sweeney gives a mesmerising performance as the youngest family member, Tamara, who longs to break free of the constraints her mother has so carefully put on her in an attempt to not expose her to too much. Kelly brings an innocence and energy to Tamara that you can't help being drawn to and her impeccable vocals are to die for.

As Lou, Melanie Marshall brings humour and truth in equal measure and gives a fantastically vibrant performance. As the only person not in the family by blood, it's interesting to see how Lou becomes the mediator and is able to more easily see each side of the story. 

Bill Russell and Janet Hood's musical is a wonderfully nuanced show which brings light to a number of ever relevant issues without being overwhelmingly preachy. Amy Anders Corcoran's direction means that issues with race, social acceptability, and attitudes towards change are approached and discussed in a natural way. The fact that there is not a solid resolution at the end of the show just makes it that bit more truthful.

Unexpected Joy not only shows us the importance of family but also the importance of music to heal; with a number of catchy songs and tight and beautiful harmonies, it really showcases how music can transport us. 

The message throughout, that we should always take each others view points into consideration, even if we don't agree with them is needed now as ever. There will always be some common ground between people, you just have to be willing to look for it.

Unexpected Joy is a beautiful piece of theatre which allows us to see viewpoints of everyone and understand that although families argue, at the end of the day, everything they do for one another is for love. A female led production with wonderful songs, a heartfelt message and a whole lot of love, there's no reason not to see Unexpected Joy.

Unexpected Joy runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 29th September

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Friday, 5 January 2018

Bananaman The Musical, Southwark Playhouse | Review

Bananaman The Musical
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Thursday 8th January 2018 by Nicola Louise
Since his first appearance in 1980 Bananaman has become somewhat of a cult classic and it’s not hard to see why. A relatively geeky young kid eats a banana and he turns into a superhero known as Bananaman, a super strong, super fast, spandex dressed muscle man with not many brain cells.
With the book, music and lyrics by Leon Parris and directed by Mark Perry, the legend of Bananaman comes alive in this comic musical. From the moment you walk into the theatre you’re transported into the world of comics: Acacia Road, Beano Town where Eric Wimp and his mother live.
The show opens with the bad guys; Dr Bloom played by Mark Pickering and General Blight played by Carl Mullaney, both of whom worked well together and it felt like they had walked straight out of a comic strip into the real world; bouncing off each other perfectly. Pickering is considerably smaller then Mullaney which just adds to their evil comedy duo.

Eric Wimp is the boy who can turn into Bananaman himself, but as his original self, he’s a small skinny boy who has trouble saying hi to the girl he likes. With a cast full of adults playing 15-year-olds you’re always worried how well it’s going to turn out, are you going to believe it? Will it start to get old real quick? Luckily this was not one of those times, Mark Newnham played a very convincing 15-year-old and a strangely convincing geek, he showed real emotion when he thought everyone hated Bananaman and it got you feeling sorry for him.
Bananaman himself was completely different to Wimp and Matthew Mckenna brought the cartoon hero to life, he was tall and handsome and worked well to bring comedy to those one-liners. Seeing this show with my 9 year old nephew really got me to see it from the shows intended audiences side and although he may not have gotten all of the jokes in the show he did say; "It’s the way he said them made them funny". Kids aren’t going to get everything, we know this, but if you can make something sound funny for them and have the adults laugh, you’ve done a good job
Now every hero needs a sidekick right? Bananaman did, although most sidekicks are not necessarily talking birds, or Crows, in this case. That’s right, Bananaman’s sidekick is a talking crow and it’s not until Eric is hit with lightning that makes him able to turn into the superhero is he able to talk to him. I love that they’ve used a puppet for this with Jodie Jacobs as the puppeteer. I thought she brought the Crow to the front of the show and she became my main focus... even if she wasn't really meant to be! This is the same when it came to Jacobs singing, a wonderful voice and she hit every note perfectly, but I feel toning it down just a little would have taken the focus off of herself and her character and allowed the audience to focus more on what was happening on stage around her.
Other main characters included Wimps love interest, Fiona Mullins, played by Emma Ralston who played the non-damsel in distress perfectly, Chief of Police: Chief O’Reilly played by TJ Lloyd, Lizzii Hills who plays Mrs Wimp & Brian Gilligan who played the Mad Magician. All of whom worked well together to make you feel like the Acacia Road was a real community of people who will always look out for each other no matter what.
I would recommend this show for children 8+ and adults alike, especially those adults who remember the cartoon, the music and lyrics of this show which fit in perfectly with the comic book feel whilst the fight scenes are a perfect ode to the old style comic books.
Bananaman runs at the Southwark Playhouse until January 20th 2018
photo credit: Pamela Raith

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lizzie, Greenwich Theatre | Review

Greenwich Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 24th February 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

I've been finding it very hard to write this review because I honestly don't know what I thought of Lizzie. There were parts I loved and parts I didn't but overall I was kind of confused. 

I suppose that could be seen as a good thing though. The show seems to get more disjointed as Lizzie's own mind gets more confused and crazy so it seems natural that after a well told story I, as an audience member, should leave feeling affected by the characters. So maybe confusion is a good thing?

Funny story, when I first saw this advertised quite a few months ago, I thought it was my wildest dreams coming true with Lizzie, meaning Lizzie McGuire... I was very wrong! The aforementioned Lizzie is in fact Elizabeth Andrew Borden who allegedly killed her father and stepmother with an axe in 1892. Whilst it's not the obvious choice of storyline, it works well with the rock music and insane lighting. 

The show has recently finished a run in Denmark and has now made the transition to the Greenwich Theatre in London where it feels more like an arena concert than a stage show. There are minimal props so we are really able to focus on the story and impeccable voices of the four leads. The show opens with an eerie music-box tune which sets the dark, suspense filled show up perfectly. The powerhouse vocals are out of this world, with the ladies belting higher and higher with perfect technique throughout. The lyrics by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Tim Maner are cleverly tweaked and shaped depending on what's happening in the scene or in Lizzie's mind.

The cast are sublime with each woman holding her own and commanding the space. Bjorg Gamst as Lizzie Borden is impeccable, switching from innocence and sweetness to sheer and utter madness. Her eyes portray a thousand emotions and every movement she makes shows her transition to the manic killer who is truly revealed in act 2. Her sister, played by musical theatre royalty, Eden Espinosa, really comes into her own in act 2 and shows off her superb voice wonderfully. I previously saw Jodie Jacobs in 27: The Musical and was blown away by her killer voice. As Bridget Sullivan she gets to show off that voice again but also provides humour in this otherwise dark drama, often indirectly telling Lizzie to kill her parents in witty ways. Although it is unclear what her motivation for this is, she does it very well. Alice Russell, Lizzie's friend is played greatly by Bleu Woodward who again has a stunning voice and works very well with the other ladies. Her performance is tasteful and delicate and often provides a nice contrast to the loud, rage filled numbers in the show.

The lighting fit well with the erratic feeling but I felt at points it was too much with the lights and smoke covering up a lack of plot and coherence. My opinion is that with some developments and tweaks this could be a wonderful production. The cast are there, the songs are there and the basic ideas are there but it need to be refined to make it really flow. Again, the roughness does fit with with the story but to me it felt more like a piece of performance art than a show to come and just sit in your seat watching. If it's going to be performed like this then it would be good to somehow incorporate more audience interation, like at a rock concert.

However, Lizzie is a fun show and its wonderful to see a performance led solely by women. With a few tweaks this could be something incredible. I would still go and see it if you can because I guarantee it'll be like nothing you've ever seen before, and the vocals will blow you away!

Lizzie runs at the Greenwich theatre until March 12th 2017

photo credit: Soren Malmose

Monday, 14 May 2018

West End Live Lounge: Number 1, The Other Palace | Review

West End Live Lounge: One
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday 13th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell

The email telling me about an upcoming West End Live Lounge concert is one I look forward to with excitement and anticipation as the night always proves to be a joyous, talent-filled one. Last night's concert was exactly that, a celebration of Number 1 music, performed by a stellar line up, in aid of Centrepoint, a charity which supports homeless young people.

Opening the show with a gloriously haunting version of Sia's Titanium, were the ever stunning Kelly Agbowu and Natalie Green. Both performers have beautifully smooth vocals and they complement one another perfectly. 

From here on, act one of the concert raced by with vocal brilliance after vocal brilliance. Lisa Marie Holmes and Zoe Birkett gave heartfelt performances whilst, Jodie Jacobs gave an energetic performance of Jerry Lee Lewis' rock classic Great Balls of Fire. Rock numbers proved to be an audience favourite with Andrew Polec earning rapturous applause and cheers after his performance of Living on a Prayer.

Adam Bailey's haunting interpretation of Run was a sure stand out and Moya Angela closed act one with a spine-tingling, note perfect performance of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You.

Hosting the night were the hilarious Vikki Stone and The Other Palace producer, Paul Taylor-Mills. The pair bounced off each other naturally with their wit and banter providing fantastic transitions between songs.

Vikki took a break from hosting to open act two with her comical, stripped back performance of Cotton Eyed Joe. The great thing about West End Live Lounge is that although it's for a serious cause and a celebration of immense talent, at it's heart it's about love and humour. The whole night is set out to be a joyous night of fun and that's exactly what it is. You can feel the love in the room and it's truly heartwarming to be a part of.

Act two was a maelstrom of talent with 1/3 of Divalution: Sejal Keshwala involving the audience in her spirited version of Aretha Franklin's Think. Joel Harper Jackson and Andrew Bateup both brought chills with their performances of Lay Me Down and Georgia on my Mind. Their voices are smooth as butter and they are mesmerising performers to watch.

Natalie and Kelly returned with the wonderful Impossible and Liisi LaFontaine, on her fleeting visit to London, treated us to a seamless performance of Grenade. The song selection of this concert was top notch, with song after song fulfilling my emotive ballad craving. Christina Modestou's performance of If I Were a Boy was vocally flawless as was Liam Tamne's rendition of Diamonds.

Musical director extraordinaire Sam Coates and his incredible band did an outstanding job of accompanying the performers and creating their own musical magic. American singer Stacey Francis brought gospel to The Other Palace, whilst Divalution (formerly Sapphire Soul) brought their usual sass and killer belt with an epic 23 song mash up.

Bat Out of Hell stars Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington concluded the night with an acrobatic, dynamic performance of Evanescence's hit, Bring Me To Life. The pair have enough sparks to power all the lights in The Other Palace and it's clear why audience's are loving them over at the Dominion theatre.

Although the performers were amazing, the real star of West End Live Lounge is Shaun McCourt who set up the concerts. Shaun puts so much work into them and it's clear that his passion and drive are infectious throughout the entire West End Live Lounge family. There's so much joy evident and each concert provides a perfect, musical night out. Don't miss the next one... you'll regret it!

photo credit: Nick Brittain

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Scott Alan, Hippodrome Casino | Review

Scott Alan (Concert)
The Hippodrome Casino
Reviewed on Sunday June 25th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

The Hippodrome Casino is fast becoming one of my favourite venues as I see more and more brilliant performances. Scott Alan's concert was no exception, with gorgeous music, brilliant singers and a hilarious commentary throughout, it was a perfect night. After spending the weekend covering West End Live for Stage Faves then heading to The Theatre Cafe to see Rachel Tucker and Marisha Wallace, I hot-footed it over to the casino for a night of music from one of my favourite musical theatre composers.

I have adored Scott's music for as long as I can remember, I don't recall exactly how I found it but it's been with me for most of my childhood and I've been scouring youtube for every version of each song for a long time and have fallen in love with every single one. Although Scott has performed in London a number of times, I have never been able to attend so when I reached out to Scott on twitter and he was kind enough to offer me a ticket, my stagey heart was ready to burst and I was ecstatic that I would finally hear his songs performed live by a host of incredible performers.

Both acts were a celebration of Scott's career with the stars taking the stage to perform theirs and Scott's favourite compositions.  Scott joked how each song he writes is depressing, even his happy songs are emotive ballads which is extremely true and for me, someone who thrives on emotional, depressing music (I have playlist just for it) it was all I couldv'e asked for.

My personal favourites of the night were the stunning Lucie Jones, who dashed straight from West End Live to perform 'Never Neverland' and 'Home' both of which were devastatingly gorgeous. Jodie Jacobs who I've been lucky enough to see in 27 and Lizzie performed 'Stay' which showed off her epic voice and Kieran Brown gave a heart-wrenching, powerful performance of one of my favourites, 'Again'. 

Another favourite section of the concert was when Scott introduced three competition winners who were each going to perform. He encouraged the audience to be extremely supportive of them both in the concert and generally in the performing industry and explained how he loves showcasing new talent. Erin Caldwell was the first of the three winners, performing 'Always' so beautifully. Her tone, clarity and control was just incredible and you could've heard a pin drop. A masterclass in graceful performance. Secondly we had Sabrina Basile with 'And There It Is', Sabrina's acting throughout the song was impeccable, her voice is effortless and beautiful but her overall interpretation of the song really made it something special. The final of the three, Bill Harvey was introduced with a candid chat from Scott about depression and how it affected him, saying that he'd felt like he was the "only person to wake up heavy" and how dark things got for him but that we can all make our way out of the darkness and heaviness. Bill performed the beautiful and emotional 'Anything Worth Holding Onto' with a sincerity which shone through and drew the audience in. 

Scott's personality is just infectious and he carries the whole concert with his own unique brand of crass inappropriateness and self-deprecating humour. There were laugh out loud moments from start to finish and the entire concert, which of course overran it's anticipated hour and a half run time by almost an hour, flew by. Scott is candid and honest and whilst he is humorous and shocking, he quickly slips into his own world when performing himself and you can see how much music means to him. I especially loved 'Simpler' which was heartfelt and touching.

As I said before, each and every performance was absolutely brilliant and I could say fabulous things about all of them but that would mean we'd be here all day! Scott's music is touching and truthful and it's crazy that the whole world don't know about it and him. If you get the chance to see Scott or any of the performers in concert then take the opportunity up and you're guaranteed a fantastic night!

Monday, 21 October 2019

Cinderella, Cadogan Hall | Review

Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Sunday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

Yesterday, Cadogan Hall played host for a one-night-only staged concert of the much loved musical, Cinderella. Written in the 50s by Rodgers and Hammerstein for television, the musical has since been adapted for various stage productions but until now, hasn't been seen in London. Thanks to the exceptional London Musical Theatre Orchestra and stellar cast, that changed last night and those in attendance were treated to a sparkling night of magic.

Upon entering the auditorium bathed in purple light, the mystical scene was set and as the cast stepped out we were transported to a kingdom where kindness wins and anything is possible. Directed by Jonathan O'Boyle, this really was a stunning production which hopefully paves the way for future Cinderella-filled magic in the West End.

Thanks to the LMTO under the baton of Freddie Tapner, the sumptuous score was really the star of the night. Evoking fairytale vibes, causing laughter and creating a romantic atmosphere even before the stellar performers joined in, the performance just reminded us how excellently sumptuous Rodgers and Hammerstein's work is.

The semi-staged concert was brought to life by George Reeve's projections which fit the space exceptionally and looked as though they were drawn straight from a long lost storybook. They transported us from setting to setting and breathed life into moments which would be grand spectacles in a fully staged production.

With a group of some of the biggest names in the West End, it was expected that the performers would be top notch and boy they did not disappoint. The stunning cast took us on a romantic journey filled with socially relevant comments and a boat load of whimsy. Mazz Murray was fantastically malicious and biting as the evil stepmother, whilst Dianne Pilkington was her contrast and the crazy but magical and airy fairy godmother. Zoe Rainey gave a sweet performance as Ella's "kind" stepsister Gabrielle, and Jodie Jacobs completely blew everyone away with her killer vocals and fantastically characterised portrayal of Ella's other sister Charlotte. 

As our leading lady for the night, Christine Allado gave a beautifully strong performance. With a grace and elegance any Princess would be proud of, Allado was a joy to watch on stage and her pristinely clear vocals filled Cadogan Hall with ease, power and wonder. In the role of the royal suitor Jack Yarrow was perfection. With an absolutely astounding voice, it's clear why he has begun taking the West End by storm.

This production of Cinderella is very much for a modern audience as it showcases the need for kindness alongside social reform. Ella's alertness to injustices outside those she faces in her family home is moving to see and works well alongside the romantic plot that is not all roses and chocolates. The political slant feels highly relevant, as well as allowing for extra comedic moments and I don't doubt this show would have a welcome place in the West End.

photo credit: Darren Bell