Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Lez Brotherston. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Lez Brotherston. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester Festival Theatre | Review


Fiddler on the Roof
Chichester Festival Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday August 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★


It's not often that I venture out of London for theatre but when I do it's usually to Chichester and so far I've never been disappointed with a production. Of the various shows I've seen there, Fiddler on the Roof is by far the best and I am completely in awe of its brilliance. If I Were A Rich Man, I would fund this productions transfer to the West End right this minute, but as I'm not I will have to settle with the fact that the show, directed by Daniel Evans is absolutely fantastic so is more than likely to make the move without me... I'll just have to wait a little while.



Set in rural Tsarist Russia in 1905 when the first hints of revolution are revealing themselves, we follow Tevye who is trying to preserve tradition in the face of a changing world by marrying off his daughters. They, however, want to marry not for money but for love. In a time when Russia's Jews are facing incredible hardships where tradition is one of the few things keeping them together, Tevye has to decide whether his daughters' happiness is more important than his adored traditions. 



Omid Djalili was born to play the poor dairyman, Tevye. His masterful comedic timing is pure excellence but he also manages to capture his internal torment and external hardships perfectly. Djalili is able to involve the audience with every thought that goes through his head and makes sure that every side of the Festival Theatre gets to feel and see the emotion. Tracy-Ann Oberman is great as his wife, Golde, with her caustic personality the ideal contrast to the bright, humorous Tevye. 


Emma Kingston (Hodel) and Louis Maskell (Perchik)


The rest of the family are equally strong with the daughters each having clear personalities and being performed to the fullest. Simbi Akande as Tzeitel is sweet but strong, begging her father to allow her to marry the impoverished tailor, Motel (Jos Slovic). The pair work wonderfully together. Emma Kingston shows off her stunning voice as Hodel who falls in love with the forward thinking, Perchik played by Louis Maskell who has an equally beautiful voice which soared over every note perfectly in 'Now I Have Everything'. Particularly touching with the two was during the first Sabbath dinner when they kept subtly making eye contact with one another and we could see the first inklings of their romance. Rose Shalloo as Chava and Luke Fetherston as Fyedka have fantastic chemistry, showing their struggles with honesty and strength.



Lez Brotherston's design is bare and simplistic as it should be but transitions and evolves wonderfully to create the various settings and is able to establish feelings of both warmth and stark cold at various times. Alistair David's choreography is spectacular, lively and powerful. It unapologetically shows off Jewish tradition and does so in a extremely striking way; popping and dazzling from start to end. 



The entire cast are incredibly strong and this is as much an ensemble piece as it is a lead-led piece. Each moment when the cast come together- either in choreography or in close a cappella harmony- is magical.



I'm truly wowed by this production. My only little niggle is the accents at times, with some attempting and falling somewhat short but this is my only fault in an overall impeccable production. May it transfer and run for a very long time!

Fiddler on the Roof runs at the Chichester Festival Theatre until September 2nd 2017



photo credit: Johan Persson


Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 16th April 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake premiered in 1995 and has since received critical and audience acclaim. Bourne's Swan Lake which replaces the female swans with an ensemble of skilled, menacing men, is one of the most groundbreaking ballet retellings and remains fresh and innovative today.

In typically Bourne fashion, the storyline is dark but with many injections of humour and fine attention to detail (the adorable Corgi which crosses the stage is just one example). The set is extravagant and luxurious enough to make you forget you're watching a touring production. Equally, Lez Brotherston has done an outstanding job with the delicately designed costumes which conjure up the atmosphere of each scene and setting wonderfully. Particularly impressive are the glamorous ballroom scenes where everything sparkles and shines; and the sinister hospital scene where masks bring a nightmarish world to life against stark white.

The entirety of this ballet is fantastically nuanced, with every emotion interpreted perfectly. The balance between dance, comedy and drama is exquisite and there are often so many brilliant things happening at once that you don't know where to look. This production is truly a feast for the eyes.

Tchaikovsky's score also provides a feast for the ears. The Swan Lake Orchestra's lush, virtuosic recording shines and soars exactly as one would wish. The recognisable music, accompanied by masculine dance has the audience transfixed from open to close. 


Max Westwell as The Swan is outstandingly multi-faceted. At times he is menacing as he rears up, but equally calm and regal as he defensively bows down. The contrast is amazing to watch as is the way the Price (Dominic North) complements him. The pair are both strong and delicate as they create a thrilling union on stage.

Nicole Kabera is suitably regal as the queen, with Freya Field a complete contrast, constantly stepping on toes and causing laughs as the Girlfriend. Both ladies are highlights of the production.

Swan Lake is a sumptuous production full of glorious moments which you'd be hard pressed not to revel in. A powerful, intricately choreographed and danced show, this is a must see for ballet regulars and newbies alike. 

Swan Lake runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until April 20th, before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Matthew Bourne's Cinderella (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th June 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Making a return to the stage after debuting 20 years ago, Matthew Bourne's Cinderella is a departure from the traditional setting we know and instead takes place in 1940's London against the backdrop of war, air raid sirens and the blitz. Sergei Prokofiev wrote the hauntingly desperate score during the Second World War so it's seems only fitting to set the ballet then.

Act One begins with the dancers appearing in grey, depressing London before transitioning to Cinderella's blacked out house. This initial darkness shows the desperation and loneliness that our lead character feels from the onset. In the house we are introduced to a number of creepy, bizarre characters who become more and more excited as they receive their invites to the ball.

Ashley Shaw's Cinderella is surprisingly comical and and exciting to watch. Her duet a dressmaking dummy was a personal stand out moment and highlighted Shaw's versatility as a dancer and an actress. As her romantic lead, Andrew Monaghan is tormented but powerful throughout. The two are wonderful together and create moments of theatrical brilliance.


The traditional 'Fairy-Godmother role is subverted in this production to be an Angel  played by a man,  Liam Mower. Mower does an outstanding job is his sharp white suit, of guiding Cinderella whilst also appearing to be an all seeing protector of London who at one point rushes off to seemingly intercept a bomb!

Lez Brotherston's set is a love letter to Wartime London. It is intricate but simplistic and highlights iconic London scenes such as Embankment and the Underground with flawless grace. The use of film and the train station are especially reminiscent of Brief Encounter and allow us to be transported to a painfully magical time. The Café de Paris is particularly moving as it becomes a smashed shell of war torn London.


This is a show with a modern twist that is full of enough heart and magic to make you want to watch it over and over. There is extravagance and simplicity in equal measure and this is a truly unmissable fairytale.

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 23rd

photo credit: Johan Persson