Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Kayleigh McKnight. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Kayleigh McKnight. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Lift, Southwark Playhouse | Review


Lift 
Southwark Playhouse 
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th May 2022
★★★

Produced by Gartland Productions, Lift has returned to London after premiering in 2013. Set in a Covent Garden lift (if you've attempted the steps, you know how crucial this particular lift is) it looks at eight of the characters on the same under a minute journey. 

Played by Luke Friend, the busker (like many of us do while laying by the pool on holiday) imagines what his fellow lift-mates' stories and connections may be and the plot goes from there. Opening the musical alone on stage with a guitar, he is good at leading the show and seems at ease throughout. Sometimes his words get lost but his super strong vocals are great and he especially shines in the more angsty moments.

The rest of the cast share the names Sarah, Kate and Gabriel and you never quite know whether their stories are really happening or whether they're in the buskers head. Due to this the plot is somewhat confusing and hard to follow, and in fact it may have been better just to focus on one or two individual characters. Each character's story is interesting and intriguing but due to the structure you never truly get to delve into them so are left feeling a little short changed.

However, it's the first-rate performances that really bring this show to life. Hiba Elchikhe is a certified star in her role as the secretary; giving dreamy vocals and making the absolute most of all she's given to work with. Alongside her, Marco Titus gives a nice performance and the pair bounce off of one another very well. Kayleigh McKnight completely wows with her rendition of Lost in Translations which is a vocal marathon and Cameron Collins shows versatility in his various personas. Tamara Morgan is endearing and witty in her performance as well as working with Collins and McKnight well. Jordan Broatch and Chrissie Bhima are excellent together, bringing their virtual avatar characters together so impressively and entertainingly. 

As a whole, the cast are incredibly strong and it's in the ensemble, deeply harmonic moments where the musical really comes to life. It's also when the narratives intersect that things become interesting. The audience start to spot connections and are  forced to work out what's really true and linked. As well, the plot provides an interesting study on grief that has moments of revelation which are well approached.

Andrew Exeter's steel rig set is good at emphasising certain parts of the story and is a solid way of transforming the space to the various locations. The bright lighting is engaging and adds to Lift's fantastical, dreamlike setting. There's not a huge amount of diversity between Craig Adams' songs but each one does well to bring some story to each character, even if it is fairly surface level. 

Overall, Lift is a well-paced show which lacks real depth and cohesion but is carried exceptionally well by the eight person cast. As a cult favourite, it's worth catching it just for the powerhouse voices and strong visuals.

photo credit: Mark Senior

Sunday, 25 February 2018

West End Live Lounge, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge (Concert) 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Sunday 11th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

If you're a regular reader of this site, you'll know that I am a huge West End Live Lounge fan, I've been going since they started and feel so proud watching them get bigger and better. The most recent concert was the biggest to date, taking over the main stage at The Other Palace; hosting a number of uber talented performers and providing a wonderful, chilled out, musical night. For anyone that doesn't know, West End Live Lounge is a concert every few months featuring some of the best the West End has to offer who perform a variety of non-musical theatre songs to entertain and raise money for a specific charity. This time, the musical theatre performers united to raise money for the charity Barnardo's. Our compère for the night was the fantastic Ian Stroughair (who wowed me before Christmas with his Velma Celli show) who opened the show with a bang and set the tone for the talent and joy to come.

As always every performance was top notch so I'm just going to mention a few stand outs instead of turning this into an essay! Firstly, the stunning Jodie Steele, fresh off her stint on BBC One's All Together Now,  performed 'Castle on the Hill' with ease and smooth riffs which left us all wanting more. Equally riff-tastic was Emma Kingston who joined the West End Live Lounge family during her brief break from touring with Evita, to wow us all with her performance of Lady Gaga's 'Edge of Glory'. The always hilarious Natalie McQueen brilliantly put her own twist on the classic 'Hot N Cold'.  All three ladies continually blow me away with their vocal performances.


Kayleigh McKnight was definitely an audience favourite with her breathtaking performance of 'Creep' which showed off her vocals perfectly and Cleve September brought back his signature loop pedal to create an eerie but stunning vocal performance of 'Spirits'.

Superstar Natalie Green gave a beautiful rendition of Adele's 'When We Were Young' whilst Brady Isaacs Pearce channeled Demi Lovato gloriously with her effortless performance of 'Skyscraper'. My final mention goes to Joel Harper-Jackson who's ridiculously long note in 'Wicked Game' should be put into the World Record books- glorious!


The West End Live Lounge concerts are truly joyous to be a part of because they not only celebrate the fantastic talent the West End has to offer but raise money for fantastic causes. I cannot wait to see what's in store for the next concert; my only hope is that the intimate feel can somehow be brought back. With the previous concerts there has been a very informal vibe but bringing the performance into a theatre did distance it somewhat and the audience stuck to the 'normal' theatre etiquette rules more. Obviously it's amazing to be able to fill a bigger space and allow more people to see and hear these outstanding performances but it's hard to strike a balance between having more space whilst still maintaining an intimate feel.

Regardless, this was a wonderful concert and I know the upcoming ones will be to so do yourself a favour and follow @WELiveLounge on twitter so you can snap up tickets as soon as they go on sale!


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace | Review


West End Live Lounge (Concert)
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★½

This is the second Woman themed West End Live Lounge, but this time, the team have graduated from The Other Palace Studio, to the main space as they become bigger and better. Featuring songs from some of the most influential women in music and raising money for Samaritans, West End Live Lounge is really about the heart and soul of everyone involved.

Host for the evening was Samuel J Holmes who wittily engaged the audience and provided innuendo after innuendo and a number of anecdotes about his new home in Southend. The atmosphere remained lighthearted throughout but we were all reminded of the crucial reason for the concert. As always, the proceeds from West End Live Lounge go to charity, this time we were raising funds for Samaritans who do crucial work helping those in dark mental places. The Samaritans answer a call for help every six seconds which is truly incredible and its imperative that we help where we can. Especially in an industry where mental health is often battered, it feels very special and close to everyone's hearts that we can support the charity in this way.

Whilst the evening did flow very well, it would have been nice to hear each performer introduce themselves and their songs a little as at times they felt a little removed from the audience. Perhaps this was due to nerves but I felt that some ice breaking could have helped.

To raise funds and of course provide entertainment, founder of West End Live Lounge, Shaun McCourt pulled together some of the best West End performers to sing their hearts (and larynx's) out.  Highlights were aplenty so I'll just name a few... First up, Jennifer Tierney's performance of All By Myself  which was note perfect and superbly performed. With her hauntingly beautiful rendition of With Woman in the Moon, Brady Isaacs Pearce brought calm to the venue, whilst Shekinah McFarlance showed off her extreme vocal prowess with Lose To Win. 


Blowing the roof off at the end of act two, Emma Lindars put her own spin on the Jessie J classic, Mama Knows Best and wowed the entire audience a second time with Stone Cold by Demi Lovato. Live Lounge regulars Divalution provided their signature riffs, belt and sass with All I Ask and Power, and Matthew Harvey put a new spin on Britney Spear's, Circus, complete with multi-coloured lighting.

Other stand outs included Kayleigh McKnight's rendition of Chandelier, Louise Dearman's take on the Celine classic, Taking Chances. And, after an understated start, Simon Gordon's performance of Shallow was utterly breathtaking and completely memorable. The 10 piece band led my MD Sam Coates did an outstanding job of backing up the performers as well as having their own chances to shine. The full band bring a real warmth to these concerts and its fantastic to, not only hear them playing brilliantly, but also see them looking like they're having a great time.

West End Live Lounge continues to provide a highly entertaining Sunday out, full of treats a surprises. There is always guaranteed to be something for everyone and you should definitely pop along, not only to hear fabulous singing, but also to support highly deserving charities.

photo credit: Nick Brittain (Brittain Photography)

Thursday, 21 February 2019

In Conversation With... Shaun McCourt | West End Live Lounge | Interview

West End Live Lounge is back at The Other Palace on March 10th for a celebration of WOMEN. The stellar line up of performers will sings songs from powerful ladies, all whilst raising money for Samaritans. I spoke to founder, Shaun McCourt about all things West End Live Lounge...



Can you tell us a bit about the creation of West End Live Lounge?
West End Live Lounge started in 2017 as an idea for a series of concerts to raise money for charity and has since grown to where it is today. I wanted to create an event which would allow West End performers the platform to sing material which was not from the world of musical theatre with a live band. There was a gap in the gig/concert circuit for such an event and I simply decided to go for it-and what an exciting journey it has been.


You’ve gone from the Union Theatre to the Other Palace Studio to the main house and each concert is getting bigger and better. What’s the next thing you’d like to achieve with your concerts?
I am always overwhelmed by the support that West End Live Lounge receives. It is great to see so many people enjoying the concerts. Without this support, its reputation would not be where it is now. The show continues to grow and there are certainly exciting plans in place for its future. However, I am going to keep the secrets for now I am afraid. Watch this space!

In terms of what I would like to achieve, my aim is to continue to produce concerts that not only entertain our audiences, but also raise as much money for charity as possible.


What’s your favourite part of putting the Live Lounge concerts together?
Though I may look slightly stressed on the day of a Live Lounge concert, I have to say that I enjoy the whole process of putting it together- from picking the theme, to casting the line-up, liaising with The Other Palace, to the day of the concert itself. However, if I had to pick a favourite moment, it would be the rehearsals and soundcheck on the day of each event. The Live Lounge band are all incredible musicians and our musical director, Sam Coates, is a genius. That moment when we are all set up and I hear the band play for the first time is really special. It is always a reminder of just how much hard work people put into making these events a success. 

West End Live Lounge has become a bit of a family. The central team is made up of Sam Coates (musical director), Will Miney (technical manager) and myself. However, all performers and musicians that have been involved become part of this family. Getting to work alongside so many talented individuals always makes this such a rewarding process.


What can people expect when they come and experience a West End Live Lounge?
People can expect a great night at the theatre. If this doesn't happen, then I am doing something wrong! A West End Live Lounge event promises a fantastic line up of incredible singers and musicians. Each concert has an exciting theme and gives the audience the chance to see their favourite West End performers step out of the world of musical theatre. 


Each concert you raise money for a different charity, how do you choose the charities to support and what do they mean to you?
Choosing the charity for each concert is always a tricky job. There are so many important charities, so rather than continue to raise money for just one, I decided that it was really important to me that each concert raised money for a different cause. For some concerts, the theme and charity often go hand in hand. There have also been times where a major event has happened in the world around the time of the concert and it makes total sense to donate the proceeds to this cause. 


If you could have any performer dead or alive to perform at a Live Lounge, who would you choose and why?
This is a tricky question! I am incredibly grateful to every single performer who has given up their time to be part of a West End Live Lounge event. They each bring an amazing talent and such a great energy to the stage. It is important to me that I continue to introduce new faces to the Live Lounge stage and that each concert offers a diverse and exciting line up.

But if I had to pick one person... 

Well...If I could get Jennifer Hudson along to sing a number, would I be excited? Absolutely!


Can you sum up in 5 words why people should come to the next West End Live Lounge?
Belting for a good cause.


West End Live Lounge tickets go on sale March 25th.

Full cast (subject to availability): Adam Bailey, Christina Bennington, Louise Dearman, Lauren Drew, Simon Gordon, Jennifer Harding, Matthew Harvey, Emma Hatton, Lisa Marie Holmes, Claudia Kariuki, Sejal Keshwala, Emma Lindars, Shekinah Mcfarlane, Kayleigh McKnight, Christina Modestou, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Lauren James Ray, Danielle Steers, Laura Tebbutt, Jennifer Tierney, Rodney Vubya.

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell