Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Lucy O'Byrne. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Lucy O'Byrne. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Evita (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th July 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Classic musical, Evita has been thrilling audiences in the UK and around the world since it opened in 1978, winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Multiple re-incarnations have allowed various portrayals of the iconic characters and different takes on the tale of Eva Perón. Despite not having a huge amount to compare to, having only seen the 1996 movie and 2006 West End production, I don't hesitate saying that this current tour helmed by Lucy O'Byrne, Glenn Carter and Mike Sterling has created an almost perfect production and showcases the music and story of Evita wonderfully.

Not only was tonight Evita's opening night at the New Victoria Theatre but was also the opening night for the three leads who each do an outstanding job. Mike Sterling commands the role of Juan Perón with power and fight whilst also showing off a softer side with his wife. He is vocally wonderful and complements Lucy's voice well. As Che (in some productions based on Che Guevara, and others as working class Everyman base of Peronism) Glenn Carter is versatile. A strong voice and all-knowing-rock-god-vibe means he brings a unique but perfectly suitable strength to the role.

As the leading lady, Lucy O'Byrne grows and blazes as Eva Perón. Starting out as a 16 year old who knows what she wants to a dying politicians wife, O'Byrne's transition is breathtaking to watch. Stand out moments include Rainbow High and You Must Love Me which show the drastic differences between Eva's character. Lucy performs the role with passion and drive whilst maintaining brief innocent moments. Her vocals grow as the character does and her stellar diction means we don't miss a word of the fast-paced passages.


Bill Dreamer's choreography brings to life the world of Argentina and cleverly moves us from one moment of action to another, whilst, Matthew Wright's sets and costumes create a vibrant world which draws you in from the opening. The fairly simplistic sets echo the world of the Perón's and at times provide a stark contrast to the glamour of Eva. 

It's hard to pick fault with such a strong production but one thing in particular strikes me as odd: the decision to give the entire cast English accents. This doesn't take away from the performances at all but feels like a bit of a cop out, and makes us forget the show is set in Argentina at times. 

However, overall this production is well thought out and does a brilliant job of bringing Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and lyrics to life once more. This show is not glitz and glam happiness, but it is a raw and moving story which should certainly be seen. Stellar music is brought to life by a magnificent cast who make Evita a must see!

Evita runs at the New Victoria Theatre until July 21st before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith pattison

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Sound of Music, Palace Theatre | Review


The Sound of Music (UK Tour) 
Palace Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th March 2018 by Becca Cromwell
★★★


The Bill Kenwright production of The Sound of Music has embarked on another UK tour, but this time with Lucy O’Byrne and Neil McDermott at the helm. Based on the 1959 Rogers and Hammerstein musical of the same name, the film became one of the highest grossing films of all time. 

The well-loved story shows Maria Rainer, a young Postulant at the Nonnberg Abbey who is sent to be the Governess for the Von Trapp Family after not fitting in at the Abbey. It is there that she meets Captain Georg von Trapp and his seven children Liesl, Friedrich, Luisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretel. During her time as Governess, the Anschluss begins where the Germans invade Austria, and the second act of the show depicts the struggles and changing moods during this time.

Lucy O’Byrne is known for becoming runner up on ITV’s The Voice in 2015 and landed the role of Maria in the previous UK tour of this production. Since then, O’Byrne has gone on to play Fantine in Les Miserables in the West End, and has now thrown herself back into the iconic role of Maria von Trapp for the 2017/2018 UK Tour. Originally played by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film, she has big boots to fill. The vocals were impressive and her portrayal of Maria was fantastic. It was well acted and believable.

Neil McDermott plays the Naval Captain Georg von Trapp, who after the death of his wife lost touch with his children. McDermott is known for playing Ryan Malloy in BBC’s Eastenders, amongst many other theatre roles. With a strong voice, McDermott gave a fantastic performance.


A stand out however, was Megan Llewellyn as the Mother Abbess. Her voice was absolutely astounding. Even though she does not make too many appearances in the show as the Reverend Mother, you certainly knew about it when she did. 

The child cast were superb, providing incredible vocals for their ages. They were true professionals from the beginning through to the end and I hope to see them go far in their careers. The rest of the company all gave very good performances, leading to a fantastic performance of the show. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the production, and it deserved a bigger audience than the one it got. I would recommend seeing this when it comes to a theatre near you in the future, as it is a highly enjoyable family show.

The Sound of Music UK Tour unfortunately comes to an end this week; however I hope to see it tour the UK again in the next few years.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Evita (UK Tour), Grand Opera House, Belfast | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
Grand Opera House, Belfast 
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st August 2018 by Damien Murray 
★★★★

When the idea of a musical based on the life of Eva Peron was first suggested back in the 1970s, many people were dubious about its chances of success… fast forward to today and it has become a modern classic with major theatres like Belfast’s Grand Opera House playing host to an extended run of Bill Kenwright’s 40th Anniversary Touring production of the show. 

As last week marked the 66th anniversary of her untimely death from cancer at the age of 33, the show has not only been a success, but has already outlived the real Evita by quite a few years. 

A sung-through musical story of her short life, the show takes us from her humble beginnings through to a life of wealth and power, dubbed as the ‘spiritual chief of the nation’ by the Argentine people. 

From its dramatic opening with Eva’s funeral juxtaposed with Che’s angry and cynically mocking song, Oh What A Circus, and going full circle through her eventful life back to her lying in state, this must be one of Bill Kenwright’s best ever productions. 


Jointly directed by Kenwright and Bob Tomson, this excellent touring revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s relatively early musical about the former Argentine dictator’s wife – which, like Jesus Christ Superstar, originated as a concept album – may be slightly scaled down from the original… but, you would never realise it. 

For this was a classy staging boasting basic, practical, but opulent, settings in a well-dressed and extremely well-lit production, which also included some child performers for added realism. 

Strong tango rhythms encouraged fiery and passionate performances, especially in choreographed ensemble pieces like Buenos Aires as the hard-working ensemble brought the ideas of Choreographer, Bill Deamer – ranging from passion-filled tango to militaristic movement – to life. 

Thanks to Musical Director, Tim Whiting, and his 10-piece orchestra, Webber’s sung-through format threw up many memorable musical highlights, including: great vocal clarity from young Cristina Hoey as the teenage Mistress in Another Suitcase In Another Hall; and from Oscar Balmaseda as the nightclub tango singer, Magaldi, during On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, while the rousing chorus of A New Argentina also stood out, as did the young girl’s beautiful singing of Santa Evita; Che’s expressive interpretation of High Flying Adored and the ailing Eva’s heartfelt and moving rendition of You Must Love Me. 


Mike Sterling provided a commanding Peron, while Glenn Carter really impressed in the demanding role of the ever-present Che, the self-styled narrator of the story. 

Carter’s diction, clarity and, at times, almost patter-style of delivery were vital to this show, as – being sung-through – those new to the story or with any hearing difficulty needed such clarity to put everything in context, especially during songs like Oh What A Circus and High Flying Adored. 

In addition to her beautiful singing voice (particularly in the show-stopper, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina), The Voice finalist and musical theatre songstress, Lucy O’Byrne, turned in a very confident performance as the ambitious backstreet actress whose ascendancy was unstoppable, because she was so loved and adored by so many that she almost rose to the dizzy heights of sainthood. 

My only small criticism was that, as Eva Peron was enigmatic, manipulative and charismatic; I would have liked to have seen a little more charisma throughout, as it did take a little longer than usual to warm to the character of Eva. 


This may have been because O’Byrne was more operatic in style than some others I have come across in this role, although her display of humanity during You Must Love Me at a time of critical physical weakness was heart-breaking and probably the best and most moving ever, as was the touching death scene. 

All dressed and decorated in a rich tapestry of sumptuous sets, authentic costumes and wigs, and attractive, mood-inspiring lighting, this production was a visual treat with some beautiful theatrical pictures at the end of most songs. 

Forty years after its West-End premiere, this fast-moving production is a high standard revival of a passionate and powerful piece of musical theatre. 

Evita runs at the Grand Opera House, Belfast until 11th August before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith Pattison

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Little Miss Sunshine (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Little Miss Sunshine (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 25th June 2019 by Christine Jacobs 
★★★★

A feel good road trip with an unconventional, dysfunctional family.

The Hoover family set out at the last minute to travel from Albuquerque New Mexico to California to get Olive brilliantly played by Lily Mae Denman, to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. The pageant she so desperately wants to enter, encouraged tremendously by Grandpa.

This flawed family consists of: downhearted mother Sheryl (Lucy O’Byrne), dad, upbeat Richard (Gabriel Vick); brother Dwayne (Sev Keoshgerian) who can’t wait to become a pilot to get away from the family; gay Uncle Frank (Paul Keating) and wonderfully irreverent Grandpa played outstandingly by Mark Monaghan, they all take the trip to California in a yellow VW camper van.

Determined to overcome all obstacles including:

1. No clutch on the van, meaning they all have to get out and push after each stoppage.

2. Frank meeting up with his former lover (over whom he tried to commit suicide), and his new partner played brilliantly camp by Ian Carlyle

3. Maxing out their credit cards, causing strain on Sheryl and Richard’s relationship.

4. AND Shock, horror, despite Grandpa-dying they still continue to the beauty pageant to fulfil Olive’s dream which Grandpa so encouraged, NO MATTER WHAT.


The lighting is atmospheric, the lovely yellow hues make the VW van come to life and the wonderful addition of the Sat Nav route in the back of the stage and the Sat Nav directional voice giving directions are very realistic.

The hospital scene where Grandpa dies, one would assume to be tragically sad, but in this fantastically well-paced production it becomes humorous due to the determination of upbeat dad Richard. The ever present passion and desire to take Olive to her pageant is prevalent and a moving force for the characters and the show itself.

At the pageant, Buddy the host, yet again played magnificently by Ian Carlyle, and Miss California (Imelda Warren-Green) both work wonderfully together and really turn the audience against their conniving personalities. 

Tonight, the audience loved this show. Although (spoiler) Olive doesn't win her contest, if it was up to the audience reaction, she would have come first every night. The ending of this musical is especially sweet, and I can't help but wholly recommend this show to bring a smile to your face.

Little Miss Sunshine runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 29th before continuing its tour.

Photo credit: Richard H Smith