Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jordan Luke Gage. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jordan Luke Gage. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Francis Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage to Star in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical


DLAP Group are thrilled to announce that Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage will star as the titular Bonnie and Clyde in the West End premiere of the cult-sensation Bonnie and Clyde The Musicalopening at the Arts Theatre from Saturday 9 April 2022


Following the extraordinary reaction to her performance as ‘Bonnie’ in Bonnie and Clyde In Concert in January 2022, Olivier-Award nominated Frances Mayli McCann reprises the role in this full production at The Arts Theatre, performing alongside West End star Jordan Luke Gage as ‘Clyde’. 

 

They join the previously announced Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche Barrow’ and George Maguire as ‘Buck Barrow’. The full company includes Cleve September as ‘Ted’ and Ako Mitchell as ‘Preacher’, Pippa Winslow as ‘Cumie Barrow/Governor Miriam Ferguson/Eleanore’, Gracie Lai as ‘Emma Parker/Stella’, Alistair So as ‘Sheriff Schmid’, Alexander Evans as ‘Henry Barrow/Deputy Johnson’, Ross Dawes as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’, Barney Wilkinson as ‘Bud/Archie’ and swings Charlie McCullagh and Annie Guy. Casting for the roles of ‘Trish’ and Young ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Clyde’ to be announced. 

 

Frances Mayli McCann is an Olivier Award nominated actress, who originated the role of ‘Kylah’ in “Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour”. Her other West End credits include ‘Heather McNamara’ in “Heathers” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ‘The Mistress’ in “Evita” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and ‘Eponine’ in the UK and International Tour of “Les Misérables”.

 

Jordan Luke Gage is best known for his portrayal of ‘Romeo’ in the Olivier Award winning “&Juliet” at The Shaftesbury Theatre. His other West End credits include ‘Strat’ in “Bat Out Of Hell” at The Dominion Theatre and ‘JD’ in “Heathers” at Theatre Royal Haymarket. His television credits include playing ‘Adrian Barber’ in ITV’s Cilla, and ‘Luc’ in Cucumber on Channel 4.

 

Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in “9 to 5 The Musical” at the Savoy Theatre, “Wicked” at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of “Wonderland”, “Murder Ballad” at the Arts Theatre and “Starlight Express” at The Other Palace. 

 

George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in “Sunny Afternoon”. His other theatre credits include “35mm: A Musical Exhibition” at The Other Palace Studio, “Oliver!” at the London Palladium and the European tour of “Rent”. 


Cleve September is perhaps best known for his Olivier Nominated performance as ‘Philip Hamilton/John Laurens’ in the original West End cast of “Hamilton” at the Victoria Palace Theatre. His other theatre credits include “Jesus Chris Superstar” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Crucible Theatre, “In The Heights” at Kings Cross Theatre and “The Last Days of Troy” at The Globe Theatre. 

 

Ako Mitchell is an actor and filmmaker whose recent theatre credits include playing ‘Larry’ in “Indecent Proposal” at the Southwark Playhouse, ‘Bob Baker’ in “Wonderful Town” at Opera Holland Park, ‘Mister’ in “The Color Purple” at Curve and the Birmingham Rep and ‘The Moon/The Bus’ in “Caroline, Or Change” at the Chichester Festival Theatre and The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End. 

 

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.

When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

 

Bonnie and Clyde The Musical has a book by Ivan Menchell(Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents). The production will be directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow MorningMAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with Set and Costume Design by Philip Witcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, MAME), Musical Supervision from Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys), Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr (Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, Hamlet at Theatre Royal Windsor), Sound Design by Tom Marshall (The Drifter’s Girl, Nativity The Musical, Curtains), Video Design by Nina Dunn (The Shark Is Broken, Lazuli Sky)Casting Director Jim Arnold CDG (Wicked, The Prince of Egypt)Musical Director Nick Barstow (The Last 5 Years, Zorro), Keys 2/ Assistant Musical Director Debbi Clarke Associate Director/Choreographer Megan Louch (The Bodyguard, Annie), Wigs Designer Darren Ware (The Rocky Horror Show, Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell)Fight Director Kate Waters (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Constellations), Production Manager Phil McCandlish (Curtains, Rock of Ages), Orchestra Fixer Rich Morris (American Idiot, Jesus Christ Superstar), Costumer Supervisor Jemima Penny (Machinal, Richard III), Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl for Propworks (2:22 A Ghost Story, Pretty Woman), Company Stage Manager Paul Deavin (Rock of Ages), Drums Zach Okonkwo, Violin Clodagh Kennedy, Bass Guitar Annie Blake. 


Further crew and band to be announced.  


photo credit: Darren Bell


Sunday, 22 July 2018

In Conversation With... Jordan Luke Gage and Christina Bennington | Bat Out of Hell | Interview

Hello Bat Out of Hell fans! You've may have thought the Bat content was over with Bat Month done and the leading ladies' Stagey Guide to Singing posted, but fear not because we have another interview with Christina Bennington aka Raven and Jordan Luke Gage aka alternate Strat! 




You’ve been in the show since the beginning, what’s something memorable from each city you’ve been to? 
Christina Bennington: I’ve been very lucky to have settled in different cities with the show. In Manchester, it was wonderful to experience Jon’s incredible set for the first time and really find our feet. Sometimes literally on that mountain. The Coliseum standing ovation on the last night and our crazy exit stunt was a ‘pinch me’ career moment. Our fans are incredible and it felt like a real party for us all together. In Canada we had a wonderful time with our audiences. We had been told they would be ‘more polite’ but I guess we had all the rockstars in the audience. We certainly felt welcomed with huge warmth there. 


What’s it like going back to your ensemble after playing Strat? Are you always wanting to sing the Strat track? 
Jordan Luke Gage: Being able to perform two parts each week is a blessing because it keeps the performances fresh for me. Every time I get to play Strat it feels like opening night again which is thrilling. My ensemble track dances more than Strat so it’s nice to have that difference in the shows - one day I get to sing these epic songs and play this larger than life rockstar and the next I get to sweat it out in the ensemble. 

Christina and Jordan as Raven and Strat | Photo Credit @EllieLoolaVlogs 

Which ensemble characters would you like to play? 
Christina: Denym and Spinotti. When I grow up, I want to be Isaac Edwards. The way he makes the choreography his own and embellishes and fills in between the steps is inspirational. He’s one of the characters I interact and connect with the most. I’d love to be able to express myself physically the way he does. I also absolutely love Spinotti. Natalie Chua has made her so feisty and interesting. She is an integral part of the Lost – especially as a fighter! 


What’s your favourite song to perform as Strat? 
Jordan: Ooo tricky question! Obviously I love performing Bat Out of Hell. The way the song builds allows you to feel like you’re on this crazy adventure which results in totally pouring your heart out on stage and squeezing out every ounce of energy in your body. You feel totally liberated and bare on stage and it’s a beautiful feeling! 

I also LOVE For Crying Out Loud. Jim Steinman’s lyrics exude passion and colour and Michael Reed’s arrangement takes you to another world. When I got the audition through for the show, this was the first song I listened to on the soundtrack and my heart rate went out the roof! I knew that I had to be in this show! 


Can you tell us about any fun cut scenes from the show? 
Christina: I really loved singing (and dancing) It Just Won’t Quit. That’s an absolute favourite of mine that’s been cut. It’s wonderful that the show is constantly evolving and growing. Maybe I’ll just have to sing it at a concert sometime… 


How do you maintain your vocal health singing the intense Steinman music every night? 
Jordan: It’s so important to rest! I can’t function without at least 8/9 hours sleep each night and lack of sleep really affects your voice so this is key! Also, hydrate! I drink water constantly throughout the day, at least 4 litres a day. Also I never sleep with the heating on in my room and always have the window open - this might just be a myth, but having natural air flow when you sleep stops you drying out! 


What’s your favourite Raven outfit? 
Christina: I love them all but I have a special place in my heart for the birthday party dress. It’s a beautiful handmade couture dress and I love that it’s playful and girly but with a harder edge. The net detail looks like feathers so it’s the biggest nod to a raven. I also wear a very cool raven ring with it. 

photo credit: Specular 

Raven’s wedding dress is gorgeous but is only seen briefly. Can you tell us a little about it? 
Christina: I’m so grateful that our creatives have taken our input seriously on this show. It’s a true collaboration. When Jon was creating the wedding dress he asked me what I needed from it. I knew I wanted it to still have a lot of movement. Raven always needs to be able to run and jump, no matter what she’s wearing. We started with a full length white dress and Jon pulled up parts of it and started pinning to create texture. We played with it and adjusted the bodice until it felt right. 


What do you think makes the show appeal you both old and new fans of Jim Steinman/Meatloaf? 
Christina: Jim’s music is epic and bombastic. It’s full of joy and sadness, energy and feeling. My mum tells me you can’t help but leave full of joy. I think people come back time and time again to feel that high. 

I certainly agree with that! If you're wondering what rocking, wild, exhilarating show to see this summer then Bat Out of Hell should definitely be your first choice! A huge thank you as always to Jordan and Christina for chatting to us and to everyone who sent in questions for them both.

Bat Out of Hell is currently at the Dominion Theatre until 27th October 2018

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Bat Out of Hell, Dominion Theatre | Review


Bat Out of Hell
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 4th October 2018 by Becca Cromwell
★★★★★

All Revved Up with somewhere to go, I was excited as I made my way to the Dominion Theatre to see one of my favourite musicals, Bat Out of Hell.

Bat Out of Hell is a jukebox musical based on the music made famous by the beloved Meatloaf, written by Jim Steinman. Featuring hits such as Two Out of Three Ain't Bad, Paradise by the Dashboard Light and its namesake Bat Out of Hell, it's a larger than life extravaganza, perfect for fans of Steinman/Meatloaf.

The electric Bat Out of Hell burst onto the theatre scene in early 2017 when it opened in Manchester. Since then it has been through a number of iterations, making its West End debut at the London Coliseum last summer, performing a run in Toronto and returning to London at its current home, the Dominion Theatre. The show is also set to take off on a US tour as well as other productions worldwide.

The story (or lack of) is set in Obsidian; a post-apocalyptic version of Manhattan, which has been ravaged by chemical wars. These caused a group of teens (the Lost) to become frozen at the age of 18. The main story focuses on Strat, the leader of the Lost and Raven, the daughter of Falco, the tyrannical leader of the city. The two fall in love a la Romeo and Juliet, and the rest is history. 

The plot is based on both Romeo and Juliet and Peter Pan, but the whole thing is very thin. If you go to this show wanting a proper story, you will be let down, but if you go into it for the spectacular aspects of amazing performances and unreal special effects then you'll love it.



Christina Bennington leads the stellar cast as the rebellious teen Raven, alongside Jordan Luke Gage who recently took over the role of the blond haired, blue eyed, black hearted, Strat. Both give wonderful performances and have great chemistry with one another. Like the entire company, Jordan and Christina both have exceptional vocal skill. On this particular performance, Zahara was played by Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky, who was astounding, and Ledoux was played by Sam Toland, who gave a fantastic performance. As Raven’s parents Falco and Sloane are Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton, who both give outstanding performances, and add comedic elements which are highly entertaining.

The ensemble really bring the show together with pitch perfect harmonies and notes to die for. My personal favourite part of the show is Objects In The Rearview Mirror, where the ensemble bring me to tears with their heartfelt performances.

During this performance there appeared to be some microphone issues but these were only minor and did not distract much from the fantastic performances.

From start to finish this show is a hit. The vocals are flawless and Emma Portner's choreography (as wacky as some of it is) is phenomenal. Each and every person in this show is a superstar. The lack of story is certainly made up for by the intensity and emotion with which the full cast perform.

With the show remaining in London until January 2019, and a major US tour about to begin, I thoroughly recommend Bat Out of Hell for an entertaining night out.

For tickets and information about the show, visit https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

photo credit: Specular


Thursday, 21 November 2019

&Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre | Review


&Juliet
Shaftesbury Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 20th November 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

What if Juliet didn't die? And what if the story of reclaiming her life was told through the music of Max Martin, aka the writer and producer of some of the most iconic pop music of the last two decades. Well that's &Juliet, a wild, sparkling, energetic piece of musical theatre which has burst onto the scene at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

When the cast come in with 'Larger Than Life' and 'I Want It That Way', there's certainly a moment of unsettled bafflement, but soon the numbers become part of the story and you forget Shakespeare wasn't really bopping along to 90s pop songs whilst writing his iconic tragedies. That being said, there are times where the songs feel added in for the sake of being added and don't flow particularly well but most of the time it doesn't matter because they are performed with a vigour that engages. 

David West Read's book is smartly self-aware and knows exactly when to hold back and acknowledge the pop-culture craziness that's occurring. The meta-theatrical plot works well, with us first meeting William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway as they bicker about the ending of Will's latest play, Romeo and Juliet.  Anne persuades her husband to let her do a rewrite and from here we are taken to Verona where Juliet begins her journey of self discovery and goes on an adventure to Paris with her besties. Full of puns, panto lines and pageantry, the show does teeter on the edge of being too childish at times but David's book and Max's songs marry up well with Luke Sheppard's direction to create a musical which doesn't take itself or its content too seriously. 

As the leading lady Miriam-Teak Lee brings sass in spades. Her vocals are mostly strong and she really does embody the confidence that this reimagined Juliet is full of; but whether due to the lack of character writing or limited acting in the pop-concert atmosphere, Juliet is just a bit distant. I personally didn't warm to her as a character and whilst I appreciate all this modern lady stands for, there is a distinct lack of sincerity in how she's written. However, this is not so true when Juliet and her best friend May are together. It's in these brief moments that compassion flies and we see a more realistic character in front of us. Arun Blair-Mangat is sweet and enticing as May, who discovers love and friendship. 


Oliver Tompsett is the boy-band Shakespeare of dreams, who hilariously bigs himself up and brings an instant charm to the stage. As his steely, compassionate and fizzy wife, Cassidy Janson gives a fantastic performance. Her stage presence is magnetic and I found myself wanting a spin-off purely focussed on (the only) Anne Hathaway. Jordan Luke Gage is suitably self-absorbed from the moment of his bombastic entrance and gives a great vocal performance as Romeo.

The ensemble of players are top notch, adding interest and motion throughout. Jocasta Almgill gives a stand out performance and Lady Capulet, with Dillon Scott-Lewis, Grace Mouat and Antoine Murray-Straughan really shining from the ensemble.

The whole show is exemplary of production value and there's no denying that the energy on stage could power all the theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue. Bill Sherman's lighting is concert goals; Soutra Gilmour's set is a dreamland and Andrzej Goulding's projections bring each scene to life creatively and effectively. The female empowerment, LGBT representation and romantic moments are all enjoyable and important to be seen on stage, but a significant lack of character development means you feel little empathy for the characters and at the end just don't really care. 

This is definitely a show which will be enjoyed after a prosecco or two and it doesn't try to be anything else than a fun night out. If you want theatrical integrity and a moving storyline then this isn't for you, but if you want an explicitly queer, feminist musical that's funny, entertaining and scored by songs that you grew up listening then go see it. If music be the food of love, &Juliet provides a feast that will satisfy anyone looking for a bit of fun.

Monday, 21 February 2022

New Cast Announced for & Juliet


Tom Francis is to play Romeo in & Juliet, as the award-winning show today announces new cast. Tom, who starred in the recent acclaimed production of Rent, will join the company next month, in the joyous musical which won 3 Olivier Awards and 6 Whatsonstage Awards.

Julius D’Silva will also join the cast as amorous Frenchman Lance, opposite Keala Settle as Nurse. Keala - internationally renowned for her starring role in the global smash hit movie The Greatest Showman in which she performed the iconic song “This Is Me” – will be making her West End debut.

They will all join the production from Tuesday 29 March 2022 at the Shaftesbury Theatre, where the show recently extended its booking period through until Saturday 24 September 2022.

Miriam-Teak Lee – who was awarded the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2020 for her performance as Juliet – leads a cast including Cassidy Janson, who also won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anne Hathaway, Oliver Tompsett as William Shakespeare, Tim Mahendran as Francois and Alex Thomas-Smith as May.

David Bedella continues his Olivier Award-winning performance as Lance until Saturday 26 March, as does Jordan Luke Gage as Romeo and Melanie La Barrie as Nurse.

The new ensemble includes Ebony Clarke, Bessy Ewa, Collette Guitart, Cassandra Lee, Nathan Louis-Fernand, Zara MacIntosh, Carl Man, Christian Maynard, Rachel Moran, Owen Saward, Aaron Shales, Benjamin Terry and Suki Wong, who join Ivan De Freitas, Rhian Duncan, Alex Tranter, Sophie Usher and Rhys Wilkinson who continue with the show.

Romeo who?! With her bags packed and ready to escape Verona, Juliet recovers from heartbreak in the best way possible… by dancing the night away with her best friends by her side! But when the sparkle fades, the confetti falls and reality catches up, it’s clear that Juliet needs to face her past in order to find her future. Can she reclaim a story that has been written in the stars? Is there really life after Romeo… or could he be worth one more try?

Come along for the ride as the original Anne Hathaway takes on her husband William Shakespeare to remix his legendary play. As comedy meets tragedy, will Juliet get the ending she truly deserves? And most importantly, can their love survive this battle of wills?

Fabulously fresh and riotously funny, & Juliet explodes with dozens of pop anthems by legendary songwriter Max Martin, including … Baby One More Time, Since U Been Gone, Roar, It’s My Life, I Want It That Way, and Can’t Stop the Feeling! The show also includes the brand new song One More Try, written especially for the show by Max.

Brought to life by an award-winning creative team, this vibrant, colourful and timely musical is directed by Luke Sheppard (In the Heights, Rent and What’s New Pussycat?) with a story by David West Read (Netflix’s Schitt’s Creek), electrifying choreography from Jennifer Weber and stunning set design from Soutra Gilmour.

Max Martin and Tim Headington present & Juliet, which is produced by Martin Dodd, Tim Headington, Max Martin, Jenny Petersson and Theresa Steele Page.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Bonnie and Clyde, Arts Theatre | Review


Bonnie and Clyde
Arts Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After over a decade of waiting, Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell's Bonnie and Clyde has finally entered the West End and has done so with a bang. Telling the story of the eponymous duo who became outlaws before being killed together, the romanticised musical is exciting and features some of the strongest performances seen in a long time.

Based on the semi-true story, we follow Bonnie and Clyde from their childhood dreams (her to be a movie star like Clara Bow, and he to be an outlaw like Billy the Kid) to their first flukey meeting, their following life of crime and eventually their downfall and death. Running in parallel to this story is an unrequited love plot as well as some glimpses into the economic depression of the time which highlight why turning to crime was in some ways, necessary, at least for the Barrow Brothers.

At times the book is a little jumbled and some things are over explained, whilst others lack a little development. However, it is equally brilliant in its comedy, especially in the snarky exchanges between Blanche and Bonnie. Aside from the few issues, this is a really wonderful production that is spirited and exudes intensity. As the leading characters, Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage completely own the stage. McCann is a certified star and she brings her clear as glass vocals to life in ballads such as Dyin' Ain't So Bad and she also gives a brilliantly dynamic portrayal as Bonnie. Gage is charming and terrifying in equal measure and vocally her fires on all cylinders. Raise A Little Hell is a complete roof raiser that is powerful, thrilling and aggressive. Together the pair balance one another well and are realistic in their juvenile, all encompassing love story. The sizzling chemistry grows from their first meeting and remains so until the very last second.


The entirety of the small cast are equally strong, with Natalie McQueen giving the most hilarious performance as God-fearing Blanche Barrow. You're Goin' Back To Jail is absolutely hilarious and she imbues every moment with wit, even down to her out of time clapping which is brief but wonderful. Alongside her comedy masterclass, she also brings a more mellow moment in the duet You Love Who You Love which is outstanding. As with much of the show, it's the tight harmonies which really bring the house down and have the audience enraptured. George Maguire is also strong as Buck Barrow and Cleve September nicely balances the hostility of Clyde with his smooth and calmer vocals. 

As well as the performances, the set by Philip Witcomb takes on a life of its own and makes the Arts feel so much bigger than it is. The set is ambitious and impressive and coupled with great projections bu Nina Dunn and sound design by Tom Marshall make the whole show a real spectacle.

Nick Winston has done an outstanding job with this production and it's so wonderful that it's finally getting the run it deserves. How bout' you dance your way to the Arts Theatre and grab yourself a ticket for this theatrical jewel.

photo credit: Richard Davenport

Monday, 10 September 2018

Proms in the Park, Hyde Park | Review and Five Reasons to Go


I have always loved the BBC Proms especially the last night which I have only ever seen on the TV. I was never really that aware of its alter ego The Proms in the Park, that is until last night. A friend and I were not only fortunate enough to attend this musical extravaganza but we were also given access to the VIP and Press arena. I can honestly say that it was one of the best evenings out I have ever had. 

Every year the line-up of performers changes, this year as in previous years the event was hosted by the multi-talented Michael Ball. He was absolutely perfect in this role, linking everything seamlessly whilst making everyone feel included and thoroughly enjoying himself, which was totally infectious. 


The afternoon kicked off at 3pm with the BBC DJ Tony Blackburn, who was then followed by the London based, Country, Folk, Pop quartet The Wandering Hearts. We were then treated to outstanding performances from The Rock Choir with the BBC orchestra followed by Lisa Stansfield, who performed some new material and wowed us all with her older hits. Matt Goss was next accompanied by the BBC Big Band, his set was not only excellent, but he also personally surprised and shocked a superfan. 



Another highlight was the hugely talented and energetic cast from Bat out of Hell, led by Jordan Luke Gage and Christina Bennington, who had everyone on their feet belting out the songs. Just a small plug, if you only go to one show in London this year go and see Bat out of Hell, you won’t be disappointed! Also, on the bill was the young saxophonist Jess Gillam and award-winning songwriter Albert Hammond who were both outstanding. 

The Maltese opera star Joseph Calleja was wonderful, and my personal favourite Josh Groban performed a truly beautiful version of Somewhere over the Rainbow, among other stunning songs. It was then time for the headline act which this year was Gladys Knight. What a fantastic performance she gave, she still has the most incredible voice and had all 40,000 of us dancing and singing along to all the hits we know and love. 



Then came the iconic flag waving finale, it was so amazing to be part of this experience which was being mirrored over at the Royal Albert Hall. We all played our part in the rousing renditions of Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem. A spectacular firework display was a very fitting end to a truly wonderful day. I hope to be fortunate enough to go again next year and as if the musical performances aren’t enough of a reason to go, here are 5 more: 

  • This event is in the most glorious setting of Hyde park in central London, arrive early and take a stroll around this magnificent space. Maybe take a boat out on the lake, marvel at the stunning plants, trees and statues or simply sit peacefully and watch the world go by for a while, before entering the arena. 
  • This is a wonderful iconic event to attend, whether with a group of friends, as a couple or a family but even if you went alone you wouldn’t be for long. The camaraderie amongst the attendees was like nothing I have ever experienced at a large event or concert. People of all nationalities and ages from tiny tots to shall I say a more mature contingent were sharing, stories, drinks, food and lots of laughter. 
  • Whatever your taste in music there is absolutely something for everyone, from musical theatre, to Opera, rock, pop and disco. This is a wonderful opportunity to see a multitude of fantastically talented artists at one venue. 


  • The organisation of such a huge event, 40,000.00 people attended, is mind boggling and needs to be seen to be believed. I have no idea how something like this is put together so slickly. From the fabulous selection of food and drink vendors, the security, the staging, lighting, superb sound and visuals to the properly plumbed in toilets. Certainly, a feat of engineering in themselves. 
  • This event is a wonderfully eclectic mix of music, food, fun and revelry mixed with the superb Pomp & Circumstance associated with the Proms. In the words of a fellow reveller “it made you proud to be British”. 
★★★★

Review by Melanie Mitchell

photo credit: Mark Allan

Friday, 23 November 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 18th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

We all know by now that West End Live Lounge concerts are in my top ways to spend a Sunday, and last weeks 90s extravaganza was no different! A host of the West End and theatre in generals finest, took to the stage at The Other Palace to perform some remixed and refreshed versions of 90s classic hits as well as some less remembered tunes.

Ever humourous and energetic, Vikki Stone and Paul Taylor Mills presented the night, which raises funds for a different charity each month, with banter and bounce. Opening the show, Matthew Harvey treated us to a laid back version of the secondary school music class classic, Wonderwall which perfectly set the tone for the night of nostalgia. 


A string of vocally flawless performances followed with Sam Coates' arrangements doing justice to the performers, venue, musicians and audience. As always he breathes fresh life into music and manages to balance warmth and energy in everything he touches. Particular stand outs included Lauren Drew's spine tingling rendition of I'm Your Baby Tonight, Sharon Sexton's All About Soul which had the entire audience bopping along, and Brady Isaacs Pearce's Hallelujah which brought Carrie Manolakos vibes and a whole lot of heart and power. 

The buzz was clear during the interval, from the beaming faces, to bopping heads and general chipper vibes, the anticipation for act two grew and we all knew we were in for another series of musical treats.


Vocal powerhouse and sultry queen Danielle Steers gave ballad realness with Don't Speak whilst Divalution brought their usual sass with their epic 90s mash up. All the ladies have not only voices for days, but for months. Some icy vibes were given to the evening by Jordan Luke Gage's dark and vocally incredible performance of You Oughta Know. 

Sophie Isaacs also performed a lovely mash up, whilst, accompanied by gasps from the audience, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton joined forces to perform the well loved song which was cut from Bat Out of Hell: It Just Won't Quit. Every single performance of the night had something special and it's really magical to experience such diversity come together to celebrate music and talent.

As always, if you weren't at this West End Live Lounge, you missed a whole lot of brilliance but don't fret because there will be future concerts and it's clear from the Union Theatre to now, that the only way is up for Shaun McCourt and West End Live Lounge!

Keep up to date with West End Live Lounge on twitter

photo credit: Leigh Lothian

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Vision of You: Live with Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton, The Space at Studio 88 | Review


Vision of You: Live 
The Space at Studio 88
Reviewed on Thursday 24th January 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After releasing their album Vision of You, back in December, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton have taken their exploration of the backstories of Falco and Sloane (the pair's characters in Bat Out of Hell) to new levels with a series of concerts about how the duo came to be.

Featuring a mixture of the Vision of You album and additional songs, the evening is an entertaining and dramatic look at two well loved Bat characters and is certainly a fitting antidote for the fans still mourning the loss of the show at the Dominion Theatre. Starting from when Falco and Sloane meet with 'Falling Slowly' and ending with a bittersweet duet about the couple's life and romance, 'Always Remember Us This Way', Rob and Sharon do a brilliant job of storytelling and taking the audience on a journey. 

Of course, both Rob and Sharon are vocal powerhouses and they don't fail to deliver top notch performances that are gritty but controlled. Combined with Steve Corley's magical, musical skills and the intimate but booming Space at Studio 88, the couple are able to show various sides of their voices and complement each other remarkably. 


The ups and downs of the Falco Family relationship are brought to life further by Erin Ong's beautiful artwork which is projected between songs to fill in the story gaps. There are a number of aspects of the artwork, staging, lyrics and costumes that directly mirror Bat Out of Hell, and avid fans will have a great time picking out the subtle references to the show.  Fans will also hear some familiar people accompanying the artwork, with Georgia Carling, Katherine Hare, Jordan Luke Gage and Patrick Sullivan lending their voices to dramatic points in the plot and bringing their Bat characters to the screen. 

The love Sharon and Rob have for the characters they have created is evident through their album and live performances, and the work they have put into these concerts is so visible. It's clearly a labour of love for the duo and it's only right that all three performances at The Space have sold out. Bat fans will love this character development, but even if you're not a fan of the show, there's no way you'd be underwhelmed by the incredible talent and dedication the pair exude. 

If you want vocal gymnastics, raw performances, drama, angst and romance, then Vision of You, both live in concert and recorded is for you. 

Follow Sharon and Rob for updates on future performances during their #FindingTheFalcos journey

photo credit: Specular and Olivia Mitchell

Monday, 23 November 2020

Thespie Present Streamed Concert Series with Dozens of UK Stage Stars


Theatre discovery platform Thespie today announces the Reunited Series, bringing together more than two dozen of the UK’s top musical theatre artists for a series of filmed concerts premiering throughout December. Developed by Aimie Atkinson, Thespie’s Creative Producer and the Olivier nominated star of Pretty Woman and SIX), each concert presents ensemble music performances (filmed in COVID-secure London venues), and ranges from musical theatre hits, to pop music, to favourite Christmas songs. The program of each concert has been developed by the artists involved and will also include intimate interview footage.

 

The concerts are designed to inspire global theatre audiences, by bringing the UK’s best musical theatre talent directly to their homes this holiday season. The artists collectively represent over two and a half centuries of experience on UK stages; their recent credits include The Prince of Egypt, Pretty Woman, SIX, & Juliet, Come From Away, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, and Kinky Boots.

 

Thespie Creative Producer Aimie Atkinson commented, “We’re thrilled to be bringing you our first shows—high-energy, joyful concerts with great production values and astonishing vocal performances. I am so in awe of the level of talent working with us to make these December shows incredibly special. You are in for a treat.”

 

The series begins with the premiere of Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz on 3 Dec at 8pm GMT, a celebration of the famed composer’s works including WickedPippinGodspellChildren of Eden, and The Prince of Egypt, Schwartz’s newest musical. The nine artists in the concert (Nikki Bentley, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Alexia Khadime, Melanie La Barrie, Carl Man, Dianne Pilkington, Liam Tamne, Oliver Tompsett) all starred in Wicked during its first 14 years in London, and two (Khadime, Tamne) are in the current cast of The Prince of Egypt. Schwartz himself will make a special appearance in the program, with further details to be announced.

 

Oops!... I Streamed It Again... premieres 10 Dec at 8pm GMT and is a high-energy concert of favourite classic pop, rock, and musical theatre songs. The concert is performed by five artists who met as part of the original company of the UK musical & Juliet: Jordan Luke Gage, Tim Mahendran, Grace Mouat, Oliver Tompsett, and 2020 Olivier Award Winner Cassidy Janson.

 

Next up is the return of the artists from The Reunion, with an empowering concert of songs by famous girl bands through the decades: Girl Power premieres 17 Dec at 8pm GMT. Expect the tight harmonies and true sisterhood vibes that these artists have come to be known for since they first met as the original West End queens of the musical SIXGirl Power stars Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Grace Mouat, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Jarneia Richard-Noel.

 

Finally, the fourth instalment of the Reunited Series arrives on the 21 Dec at 8pm GMT. All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre is a love letter to the tradition of seeing theatre with those you love during the holiday season. More than three dozen top UK theatre artists are lending their talents to this special concert, featuring classic Christmas songs of all styles. Performers from UnlimitedOops!... I Streamed It Again, and Girl Power will all be featured, alongside more than a dozen more, to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Streaming tickets for a single concert are £12.50 ($15) if booked early (by 30 Nov), or £15 ($18) if purchased in December. (10 other currencies available.) Purchasers of the first three concerts will have 72 hours to watch, and purchasers of All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre will have 7 days to watch with their households. An Extended-Access bundle (£37.50/$45 in Nov; £45/$54 in Dec) gives purchasers access to all four concerts from their premiere through 31 December, and provides a 25% discount over booking the concerts separately. All concerts and the bundle can also be purchased after their premiere, with the same window of access (72 hours, 7 days, or through 31 Dec.)

 

The Reunited Series and Thespie’s original content initiative support its work to foster the connection between artists and audiences on its theatre discovery platform. Thespie’s first original production, The Reunion, was one of the bestselling paid theatre streaming events in the UK, selling tickets to 3600 households across 65 countries; and employed 35 live entertainment workers who received over £30k in income from the event.

 

Thespie founder Tyler Stoops said, “Watching our first concert, The Reunion, revived my spirits, and hundreds of viewers told us how meaningful it was, how inspired they were, and how much fun they had. So I’m thrilled we can deliver four more concerts for audiences at home around the world, just in time for Christmas. I think all of us are ready for some joy and excitement.

 

Thespie offers listings for theatre streaming, theatre music & audio, theatre eBooks, educational resources, live London theatre, theatre news, and more. Audiences can use Thespie to stream the Reunited Series and more than 400 other shows, or to discover over 1000 more shows available on other popular platforms and services, such as Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Audible.