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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hair, The Vaults | Review


Hair
The Vaults
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

First premiering on Broadway in 1967, Hair is about hippies, the anti-war movement, LGBTQ+ rights, Black Lives Matter, women’s equality and so much more; themes which sadly still resonate with us 50 years later.

Although I’d never seen a production of Hair, many of the songs were familiar to me and I felt as if I’d almost been born knowing them! Whilst I wasn’t part of the ‘Hair Generation’ (I wasn’t born for another 30 years) I feel that this production has reinvented it and definitely made it perfect for my generation as well as those younger than me. The setting is historical but it’s been cleverly entwined with the modern world and the parallels to the youth of today to make it extremely pertinent.

The Vaults at Waterloo have been transformed into a colourful, relaxed, hippy den which provides the perfect vibe and atmosphere for the performance and certainly puts everyone in the right mind set for what they're about to experience. It feels immersive but not over the top.

Hair is musically brilliant, it's songs have been performed by some huge artists and it's become a source of inspiration for many composers. The rhythmic music pairs with the story wonderfully and manages to be funny, powerful and clever all at once. These feelings are of course exemplified by the outstanding performances from the cast, especially during the finale: 'Let The Sun Shine In' which becomes a sort of battle cry and is really very moving.

Leading the plot we have Robert Metson as Claude who's been enlisted into the army. His vocals are strong, he gives a heartfelt performance and shows his transition from the free life to the life he lives for his country extremely well. Fresh from his stint in Yank!, Andy Coxon takes on the role of the carefree, larger than life Berger with grace and ease and is especially funny during his moments of audience interaction. Laura Johnson brings an innocence to Sheila which is touching to see and really draws you into her character and her rendition of 'Easy To Be  Hard' was particularly memorable.

A special mention must go to Natalie Green (Cassie/Mom) who's solo and ensemble vocal moments are completely out of this world. Her clear, powerful voice both when belting and  singing in a more classical style is faultless, her natural performance draws the eye at various points and she's a joy to watch on stage. The entire cast are great and work seamlessly together to create the idyllic and harmonious feeling.

Hair is more than a show, its an experience. This production is fresh and striking and certain to be loved by audiences during its run. So let the sun shine into your life and go see this show for a night of youthful, uninhibited freedom, expression and love. After all, the world could do with a little more love these days!

Hair runs at The Vaults until 3rd December 2017

photo credit: Claire Bilyard

Friday, 5 November 2021

Bonnie and Clyde in Concert Full Cast and Company Announced



Fourth Wall Live is delighted to announce the full cast joining Broadway star Jeremy Jordan in the sell-out BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 January 2022. www.bonnieandclydeconcert.com
 
Joining the previously announced Jeremy Jordan as ‘Clyde’ will be Olivier-nominated performer Frances Mayli McCann as ‘Bonnie’. The previously announced Laura Osnes is no longer performing in Bonnie and Clyde in Concert.
 
The principal cast is completed by West End stars including Olivier Award winner George Maguire as ‘Buck’, Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche’, Trevor Dion Nicholas as ‘Preacher’ and Liam Tamne as ‘Ted’.
 
The cast is completed by Casey Al-Shaqsy (The Prince of Egypt, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) as ‘Stella’, Simon Anthony (The Wedding Singer, Ragtime) as ‘Cop/Bud/Archie/Deputy Johnson’ Gillian Bevan (Holby City, Into The Woods) as ‘Cummie Barrow/Eleanor’, Eloise Davies (Be More Chill, Grease) as ‘Trish’, Adrian Grove (Follies, Wonder.land) as ‘Henry Barrow’Olivier Award nominee Debbie Kurup (Girl From The North Country, The Bodyguard) as ‘Governor Miriam Ferguson’, Matthew Malthouse (Matilda, Mrs Henderson Presents) as ‘Bob Alcorn’, Jeremy Secomb (Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera) as ‘Judge/Sheriff Schmid’, Russell Wilcox (Billy Elliot, Annie) as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’ and Julie Yammanee (Lazarus, Spamilton) as ‘Emma Parker’.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Trevor Dion Nicholas’s West End credits include ‘George Washington’ in Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre and ‘Genie’ in Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. He also presents on Magic at the Musicals and appears as a panellist on ITV’s All Star Musicals.
 
Liam Tamne’s West End credits include playing ‘Ramses’ in The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre, The Light in the Piazza at the Royal Festival Hall, The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
 
BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT 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) and is directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow Morning, MAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with musical direction by Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys). The Assistant Director is Alexzandra Sarmiento (Hamilton, Message in a Bottle), Lighting Designer is Zoe Spurr (The Unreturning, Tiny Dynamite), Set and Costume Designer is Philip Whitcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, Mame), Sound Designer is Tom Marshall (The Drifters Girl, Nativity! The Musical), Production Manager is Phil McCandlish (Rock of Ages, Elf), Company Stage Manager is Graham Harrison (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Deputy Stage Manager is Anne Baxter (Singin’ in the Rain, Spamalot), Assistant Stage Manager is Tom Fisher (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Dialect Coach is Charmian Hoare (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, War Horse) and children’s casting is by Keston and Keston (Nativity! The Musical, A Christmas Carol).  BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT is produced by Fourth Wall Live and co-produced by DLAP Group, Jason Haigh-Ellery and David Treatman Creative.

The band is made up of Assistant Musical Director Chris Poon (Keys 2), Kate Ingram (Reed 1), Hannah Lawrance (Reed 2), Kobi Pham (Guitar 1), Jack Pennifold (Guitar 2), Zach Okonkwo (Drums), Elliot Lyte (Fiddle)and Annie Blake (Bass).

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.

Fourth Wall Live is a live entertainment company that produces concerts internationally. It regularly brings Broadway artists to the UK, previous concerts include Broadway and TV regulars Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Kelli O'Hara, Chita Rivera, Laura Michelle Kelly, Megan Hilty, Tituss Burgess, Jeremy Jordan, Matthew Morrison, Erich Bergen, Eden Espinosa, Julia Murney and Cynthia Erivo. Other concerts include West End Stars solo concerts including Michael Ball, Matt Cardle, Kerry Ellis, Oliver Tompsett, Hannah Waddingham, Sharon D Clarke and Bonnie Langford. Upcoming productions at Cadogan Hall include Jenna Russell, Shoshana Bean, Keala Settle and Jessica Vosk.

Tori Amos’s musical The Light Princess was presented to critical acclaim, as a special one-off concert in the summer of 2018. Next year Bonnie & Clyde the musical concert will run for two nights to a sold-out audience at Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Jeremy Jordan. 

Fourth Wall Live also regularly partners with the Hippodrome Casino, in November-December 2020 they produced 25 nights of socially distanced entertainment, proudly being the first live event post lockdown. The current season of Hippodrome concerts runs from September 2021 to December 2021 and features 20 nights of musical entertainment featuring Alice Fearn, Kerry Ellis, Hayley Tamaddon and David O’Reilly.Fourth Wall Live is committed to following all relevant UK Government Covid-19 guidelines, creating a safe working environment for our cast, musicians, creatives, crew and their families.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK Tour), Theatre Royal | Review


Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK Tour)
Theatre Royal, Brighton
Reviewed on Monday October 2nd 2017 by Melodie Hornett
★★★

Dreamboats and Petticoats at Brighton’s Theatre Royal was a joyful explosion of fun from the start. No long overtures, just a brief setting of the backstory before immediately coming to life with upbeat music from the whole cast. The set was vibrant and made excellent use of the space available on-stage whilst overcoming the lack of wing space seamlessly. The bumper cars used in several scenes worked brilliantly, operating smoothly, really indicative of the era and setting, and looked like the cast were really enjoying themselves. Carole Todd’s effective choreography worked very well, demonstrating skill whilst maintaining the authenticity of the setting.

Alistair Higgins and Elizabeth Carter were well matched in all areas as Bobby and Laura, vocally they blended well, they played an idyllic and convincing couple who looked great together. A particularly beautiful moment was their rendition of ‘Let It Be Me’. Alastair Hill could have done a little more with his representation of Norman, perhaps a little more arrogance was required to define him however he demonstrated a powerful voice that was well suited to the repertoire. Laura Darton’s Sue was superbly portrayed, with her strong vocals demonstrating a rich and powerful tone whilst her obvious dance ability and vibrant sex-appeal made her incredibly satisfying to behold. Vocally she shone out in ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and ‘Sweet Nothin’s’. Her sidekick Donna played by Gracie Johnson was a pleasing character with some delightful moments adding to the action of the leads. Again, she was well matched with on-stage partner Ray, played by David Luke, who presented some entertaining comic action with a solid voice which carried well over the band. Jimmy Johnston played a very likeable Phil, an ageing voice that still has some fantastic money notes, particularly in 'Shop Around’.



There was something truly exciting about the actor-musicians interchanging between their roles in the live, on-stage band and characters within the story. It was seamlessly done and great to see such an array of talent - these were a team of performers strong in a number of stage disciplines. Consistently solid performances from all cast. Chloe Edwards-Wood competently took the spotlight a number of times with her energetic saxophone playing. She and Lauren Chinery made a charismatic sax duo, but credit to all band members.

The main criticism of the show for me was audio balance; the instrumentalists sounded fantastic throughout, however at times some of the vocalists were lost in the audio mix due to having thinner-toned voices. Whilst being enjoyable to listen to in the more intimate moments, Higgins, Carter and Johnson were frequently difficult to make out when the band was in full swing. I felt that there could have been more vocal diversity amongst the cast, rather than what felt like a collection of similar sounding voices. 


This was a show that the audience clearly enjoyed from the start, with patrons singing along and tapping their feet to familiar tunes. It had a real feel-good factor and a pleasing plot conclusion. The energy from the cast in the finale sequence was at a peak and they interacted well with their audience at this point, getting everyone on their feet. A really great night out for all.