Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Kayla Carter. Sort by date Show all posts
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Wednesday 14 August 2019

Refresh (Concert), Spiegeltent | Review

Refresh (Concert)
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Refresh is a fantastically exciting cabaret series created by Ryan Carter. The idea is that a cast of talented, fresh west end performers, bring a set list to life that features re-worked versions of many well know musical songs.The concerts are designed to celebrate musical theatre and entertain fans of the genre, but also to provide a gateway experience for those less knowledgable or invested in it. After a selection of concerts, Refresh is taking a short residency at the Underbelly festival to captivate audiences in the intimate Spiegeltent setting.

The set features an eclectic and wholly enjoyable series of songs. From the beautifully haunting Kiss The Air by Scott Alan, to the Hamilton classic You'll Be Back, there's certainly something for everyone. The joy of Refresh is that even if a song is not your favourite originally, the inventive re-imaginings will have you seeing and hearing it in a new way. Highlights of Jo Noel-Hartley and Ryan Carter's arranging, include It Won't Be Long Now, My Favourite Things and the thrilling Rewind mash-up of the history of musical theatre.

The cast is made up of vocal powerhouses: Sam Carlyle, Kayla Carter, Linnéa Didrick, Ben Farrall, Adam Gillian, Abbi Hodgson, Charlotte Miranda Smith, Baker Mukasa and William Lloyd. Each performer brings something beautiful to the stage and even more magic is created when the team come together for their group pieces. The rapport between the cast is highly entertaining and it's clear that everyone's hearts are really into making Refresh as sleek and absorbing as it is. Stand out performances include the quartet rendition of Kiss The Air, Abbi Hodgson's There Once Was a Man, and the rousing opening Do You Hear The People Sing? The musicality and versatility of each performer is evident and it's fantastic to hear vocalists in a raw but professional and high quality performance. 

Mention must go to the brilliant lighting design which continually adds to the varying moods of the songs, as well as providing visual treats on its own, and making the experience more visceral. Ryan Carter's design of the graphics and videos which accompany must equally be applauded as they are lively, vibrant and entertaining, and also embody the ethos of Refresh as a whole.

For a night of musical theatre that is different to what you'd expect, pay a visit to see the Refresh gang. Not only are the performers fantastic, but the whole philosophy of the group is something which should be applauded and championed. It should also be noted that following Papa Can You Hear Me? my mum whispered "Babs would be proud" which is high praise indeed and a definite reason to experience these outstanding revitalised performances.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

I Should Be So Lucky on tour at the New Victoria Theatre REVIEW: A Misguided Melange of 80s Madness

I Should Be So Lucky (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre

In the sun-drenched world of I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical, there's a flicker of potential, but sadly, it fades quicker than the sparkle of a disco ball. The show, buoyed by a strong cast and glitzy staging, is fun but struggles to hit the high notes it aims for.

Let's start with the positives: the cast. They're the shining stars of this production, injecting life and energy into every scene. With their talent and charisma, they manage to elevate even the most lacklustre moments. Each member deserves applause for their efforts in salvaging what they can from the material. To name a few, Scott Paige brings hilarity to every moment of his stage time, Kayla Carter as Bonnie provides some wonderful vocals and her blossoming relationship with Ash played by Giovanni Spanò is one of the highlights of the show. Giovanni is laugh out loud funny and get to briefly show off his killer vocals. It's a bit of theme in the show that the amazing vocal talents of the cast don't get to really be shown off, due to the hundred other things that are happening throughout. This is definitely the case with Melissa Jacques as Shelley who is wonderful, but having seen her in Everybody's Talking About Jamie, I would've loved some more chances for her to sing and soar.

As I mentioned, there's a LOT going on. There are a heap of side plots and vague character references and development which never have enough time to really mean anything. It sort of feels like every idea made it into the show and there was no development or streamlining to make it work. Another issue is that the show borders between being super sincere and not taking itself too seriously, so at times you're unsure whether you're laughing with or at the show. There's certainly potential, but in it's current form, it feels like a strange fever dream.

Now, onto the staging. It's undeniably flashy, dripping with sequins and neon lights reminiscent of a Kylie concert. The set (Tom Rogers) is really good, and there's a certain thrill in watching the glitzy spectacle unfold. However, as the show progresses, the excitement begins to wane, revealing a repetitive pattern that feels more like a recycling of ideas than a deliberate artistic choice. The 80s music video vibes are real, but there's only so many times you can get joy from the heart shaped bed rolling onto the stage. 

Despite these glimmers of promise, I Should Be So Lucky: The Musical ultimately falls flat. While it may provide a momentary escape into a world of pop music and glamour, it lacks the substance needed to sustain interest beyond the surface. Thankfully the cast do wonder with what they're given, but even the most talented performers can't fully save this misguided show. Much like an 80s tune, it's enjoyable in the moment but quickly fades from memory.

Reviewed on Monday 18th march 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

I Should Be So Lucky plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 23rd March and then continues its tour

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