Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Louise Bailey. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Louise Bailey. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 17 August 2018

Gangsta Granny, Harold Pinter Theatre | Review


Gangsta Granny
Harold Pinter Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 16th August 2018 2017 by Emma Gradwell
★★★★

Old people are boring, smell like cabbage and are prone to knitting us unfashionable jumpers for Christmas. Or so we are led to believe at the start of this story. Birmingham Stage Company have brought David Walliams’ modern classic to the stage for a two-hour romp that all ages can enjoy – and they have rightfully been nominated for Best Entertainment and Best Family Olivier Awards. 

Ben (played by Tom Cawte) not only has to live with shallow and celebrity-obsessed parents (played by Jenny Gayner and Jason Furnival), he also has to endure Friday evenings playing scrabble and eating cabbage soup with his Granny (played by Louise Bailey) – who happily acts a free babysitter, while Mum and Dad live out their dreams at a local Ballroom Dancing class. When Granny overhears Ben begging his parents to let him come home because of his boredom, this visibly upset old lady hatches a plan to lead Ben to believe she’s not as dull as he thinks she is. 


When Ben discovers a stash of jewels in Granny’s Queen’s Jubilee biscuit tin, he learns that Granny once led another life as notorious jewel thief, The Black Cat, who liked to steal “for the buzz”. What ensues is a plot to steal The Crown Jewels from the Tower of London via the sewerage network, using Ben’s expert knowledge of plumbing. 

This production is very much a family comedy: it’s a little bit rude, with lots of fart and bum jokes, but also relies on a more subtle and gentle humour at times, with some of the funniest moments involving Granny and Ben flying round the stage on her mobility scooter, complete with buggy board. Dance sequences transition scenes, as the ensemble cast move the large revolving cube boxes of the set to reveal different scenes to good effect. 


Louise Bailey as Granny performs well as the frail old lady who finds her energy through her love for her grandson – and delivers the role with a twinkle. Emma Matthews plays her characters for laughs, with Matron being a clear favourite with the audience. Aosaf Afzal is fantastic as both the ridiculous Flavio – and shop owner Raj, who also engaged the audience during the interval with his special offers. 

Unexpected bear dances, daring escapes, Gangsta raps and naked yoga all helped to engage the younger audience, whilst managing to deliver a poignant message at the heart of the story – a delightful realisation that behind the caravan club magazines, there may be exciting secrets. Excellent acting, slick scene changes and a very charming story of a boy and his Granny managed to captivate all ages, while reminding us to appreciate our older relatives while we still can. 

Wholly enjoyable and a great way to spend some time with our families this summer! 

Gangsta Granny runs at the Harold Pinter theatre until 26th August 2018

Friday, 21 January 2022

Beauty and the Beast to Play at the London Palladium


Disney’s beloved Olivier Award-winning stage musical Beauty and the Beast - re-imagined and re-designed in a completely new production staged by members of the original award-winning creative team - will come to London in Summer 2022, as part of its UK & Ireland Tour.

Performances will begin at the London Palladium from Friday 24 June 2022, for a strictly limited season until Saturday 17 September.

Tickets will go on-sale for London at 10am on Friday 28 January. Customers can sign up to be amongst the first to access tickets and can find all tour dates and information at BeautyAndTheBeastMusical.co.uk

The UK tour opened at Bristol Hippodrome on 25 August 2021 and is currently playing at the Sunderland Empire.  

Spectacular new designs and state-of-the-art technology fuse with the classic story, as the timeless romantic tale is brought to life on stage like never before, with all the charm and elegance audiences expect from Belle and her Beast.

Courtney Stapleton and Shaq Taylor will play the iconic lead roles. Courtney’s credits include Dear Evan HansenSixLes Misérables and Bat Out of Hell, and Shaq is best known for performing in Girl from the North CountryHadestown and Hex.

Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical, Les Misérables) plays Lumiere and Tom Senior (The Pirates of Penzance, Eugenius!) is Gaston.

Sam Bailey (The X-Factor winner 2013, Blood Brothers) plays the legendary role of Mrs Potts, with Nigel Richards (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Cogsworth.

Martin Ball (Les Misérables, Wicked, Top Hat) takes the role of Maurice, Samantha Bingley (Martha In The Secret Garden) is Wardrobe, Emma Caffrey (Curtains, 42nd Street, Funny Girl) is Babette and Louis Stockil (Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!) plays Le Fou.

The full company is completed with Richard Astbury, Sarah Benbelaid, Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Matthew Dawkins, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, Thomas-Lee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton and Rhys West.

Beauty and the Beast is reimagined in startling new designs which use the latest theatrical innovations. Among the many new features is an exuberant tap dance within the legendary production number Be Our Guest, created expressly for Gavin Lee, recognised as one of the great tappers on either side of the Atlantic.

Olivier Award nominee Matt West directs and choreographs this new production, leading a team that includes composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, bookwriter Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and lighting designer Natasha Katz. The team collectively received five Tony® nominations and a win for Hould-Ward’s costume design, when Disney first debuted Beauty and the Beast on Broadway 28 years ago.

The structure and tone of the story and score – as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history. Only once before – in Menken and Ashman’s previous film musical The Little Mermaid – had a Disney film been structured like a stage musical where the songs are integral to plot and characterisation rather than only ornamental or digressions. This Menken/Ashman innovation is credited with the 1990’s Disney animation renaissance that went on to create such film classics as Aladdin, The Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame and helped re-introduce the book musical form to popular culture.

This new Beauty, while retaining the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony®-nominated score - which brought classics including Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Change in Me, added to the musical production in 1998 and retained thereafter - has new dance arrangements by David Chase, allowing original choreographer Matt West to re-visit his work. Longtime Menken collaborators Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator, respectively.

Completing the design team, Tony®-winner John Shivers is sound designer, Darryl Maloney is the video and projections designer, and David H. Lawrence is hair designer. Jim Steinmeyer is the illusions designer, as he was on the original 1994 production. Casting for the production is by Pippa Ailion Casting.

The original West End production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Dominion Theatre in April 1997, playing over 1100 performances to more than two million people. It won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Musical and enjoyed a hugely successful UK & Ireland tour in 2001.

Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years on Broadway, closing in 2007. It remains to this day – 28 years after it opened – among the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history. The 2017 live-action retelling of the animated classic quickly became the highest grossing live action film musical of all time, a record only beaten by The Lion King live-action release in 2019.

Beauty and the Beast is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher.

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

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Olivia's Top 10 Shows of 2016

Without repeats, I saw 59 different shows this year so compiling this list has been difficult to say the least! This has been a brilliant year for theatre and through this website I really feel that I've become a part of the theatre community. 2016 has seen some brilliant big budget shows as well as smaller fringe ones, many of which have thrilled me. This list is of the shows that stuck with me long after I'd seen them and that I feel are very resonant in our 2016 world. This will probably be a bit of a long post, I have a whole year to fit in after all, so grab yourself a cuppa and some biscuits and enjoy!



This list is in reverse order, cause we all need that extra bit of excitement in our lives.


One of Paul Taylor-Mills' incredible productions of 2016. The music was performed beautifully and the touching and heartbreaking story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet was told sincerely and gracefully by Laura Pitt-Pulford and Louise Dearman.




Did anyone not like this show? All I heard were incredible reviews and rightly so. An exciting and refreshing revival of a much loved Classic which ticked all the boxes of a hit musical. Charlie Stemp is talent on another level. I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more good things about the show and cast in 2017!




This was my first visit to The Union Theatre and wow was it a good first. I absolutely adored this show. I was completely unfamiliar with the music and was just blown away by it. The cast were sublime and the story telling was impeccable. I'm sure this would be a huge hit if more people got to see it. 




27 must have been one of the most hyped musicals of 2016 and I could certainly see why when I saw it. It's a musical like I've never seen before, so fresh and different to what's currently on the West End stages. The plot twist at the end had me physically breathless, a stunning piece of artistry.




This was another small show but it definitely packed more than a small punch. It was sweet, pink, sassy and sumptuous. One of those shows which really made you think and reflect on your life. Lauren Samuels gave a standout performance!




I saw this show alone so the minute I stepped out of the theatre I called my friend to fangirl about it like a mad woman. I was completely awestruck by the whole performance. It was moving, funny, relevant and thought-provoking. The use of songs was done smoothly and effectively and it was overall just an A* worthy production.




This was the perfect treat to see just before Christmas. Although the story is slightly dated and everything is a little over the top, it's a fantastic production full of sweetness, heartbreak and love. Scarlett Strallen's performance was absolutely impeccable and nothing short of perfection. With the amount of people I've told to see this, I wouldn't be surprised if it gets a West End transfer in the near future. 




I've grown up with Rent so finally seeing it on stage was a very special experience for me. Each cast member is fully immersed into their roles and the whole production is raw, gritty and believable. Philippa Stefani gives the performance of a superstar and had me in floods of tears. The production will continue to tour next year and I'll certainly be seeing it again so don't be surprised if it features in my top 10 of 2017 too!




The St James theatre was on fire this year! The Last Five Years is another one which I've wanted to see on stage for years. Jason Robert Brown's story is heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. It's always a joy to see Samantha Barks on stage and seeing her shine as Cathy was even more wonderful because of how incredibly she showed off her effortless belt and sincere acting. The wonderful mix of simplistic staging, the stellar duo of Barks and Bailey and Jason's beautiful music, rightfully earn The Last Five Years my number two spot!



1. Dreamgirls: Savoy Theatre

If you haven't heard about Dreamgirls' triumphant return to the West End then you must have been living in a cave. This was the 2nd to last show I saw and I couldn't be happier that I could end the year on such a fantastic note. This has got to be the theatrical spectacle of the year, the sets, costumes, choreography and cast are all exquisite and I cried a bucket load of happy tears, which I never do! Go see Dreamgirls in 2017, I guarantee you'll leave singing it's praises!



So there's my top 10 shows, of course there's other brilliant ones and I'm sure your list varies but this has been a brilliant year for theatre and I can't wait to see what 2017 brings *cough* Hamilton *cough* 

But wait, where's that other show that I've been posting and tweeting about like crazy and have seen 32 times!? I haven't forgotten it, I just wanted to give it a special mention because its such a special show. So my "The Show Which Changed My Life: 2016" award goes to IN THE HEIGHTS at the Kings Cross Theatre! I've done a billion posts on it (just search it on the homepage) so I don't need to write any more soppy words but this show has seriously been my everything this year. I've met incredible people from it, both fans and cast members and I'm so incredibly grateful for that. Unfortunately I won't be at the last show as I'm in Australia (boo hoo, woe is me, right?) but I'm so sad its closing, and I'm sending all my thoughts and positive vibes to the theatre gods that they will bring it back because I will never be ready for the lights to go down on Washington Heights! Thank you In The Heights for being there and helping me and I'm sure many others, through tough times and making us feel at home in the theatre. Even if you had no idea how you were helping, I guarantee you made some tough days just that much easier. No pare sigue sigue!



I hope you had a brilliantly theatrical year too and I'd love to hear your favourites so drop me a comment on here or tweet me @OliviaMitche or @RewriteThisWeb 

Au Revoir 2016! Stay Stagey, 2017!