Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Luke Bayer. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Luke Bayer. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Millennials, The Other Palace | Review


Millennials
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Thursday 14th July 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

With the recent announcements of many West End shows closing, it certainly feels like the perfect time to inject something new onto the scene and Elliot Clay's Millennials certainly does just that. Entering the completely transformed studio space at The Other Palace you are greeted by pink cellophane walls, slinkies suspended from the ceiling, inflatable flamingos, ball pits and so much more. Andrew Exeter's design makes it a feast for the eyes from the moment you enter and at just over an hour, the song cycle continues to provide a brilliant way to spend an evening.

The six strong cast who make up the show are all forces to be reckoned with, as they bring individuality to the piece whilst also being a gloriously well-blended ensemble. Opening the show, Luke Bayer starts contemplative and later brings energy in spades; always providing  super strong vocals. Hiba Elchikhe is star power embodied as she belts and riffs for her life in 21st Century Girl before showing her versatility with an emotionally intense performance near the show's closing.

Rob Madge is everything you could with for in a comedic role. Their performance makes the most of every second of the music and imbues perfect humour alongside great vocals- a real stand out! Luke Latchman's rendition of Priceless is also wonderfully humourous. Taking on one of the most beautiful songs in the show, Hannah Lowther is lovely. Her vocal talent really shines as does her acting as she really welcomes the audience to feel the song and experience it alongside her. Completing the cast is Georgina Onuorah who's voice is heavenly in her solo number Remember the Feeling. It would be hard to find such a strong cast elsewhere and the entire six are are a credit to musical theatre.

Millennials is everything you could want in a fun show but there are some elements that don't quite work. Mainly the fact that it isn't really millennial, instead it's a look at growing up. Which is fine and entertaining but with the insistence of the millennial theme, it just feels like it's missing something. The show would do well with being slightly more specific in its lyrics to really fit the millennial theme, however there's certainly something to be said for how universally relatable the lyrics and feelings are, no matter the generation. Of course this is a song-cycle not a fully fledged musical but it would also be good to have a bit more of a through line between the songs.

There may be a little final sprinkle of fairy dust missing but Millennials is one of the funnest shows about and it'll be brilliant to see where it progresses. Hurray for new British writing and hurray for Millennials!

photo credit: Mark Senior

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Soho Cinders, Charing Cross Theatre | Review


Soho Cinders
Charing Cross Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 28th October by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

It's in the colourful carnival of Old Compton Street that we meet Robbie, our Cinderella in this re-telling of the classic tale. He's a young man trying to find his place in the bustling city as he works in a laundrette once owned by his mother, and struggles with his step-sisters who are trying to take what little he has. Things get even more stressful when Robbie begins seeing mayoral candidate James Prince and having a questionable relationship with a sleazy Lord. He ends up at the heart of a media scandal and faces losing everything... But this is a fairy tale so you can guess how it ends!

Anthony Drewe and Elliot Davis' book has some witty moments and certainly turns the classic tale on its head, as well as featuring more heartfelt moments. The LGBT representation for the most part is strong and the team have done well to modernise the show. However, there are aspects which seem to have been glossed over. The characters discuss knowing a man is straight because he's wearing a wedding ring which just screams dated, as does the implication that these modern online relationships take place over Skype. They're little details for sure, but do detract from a piece that really has the potential to feel relevant and of the time. Similarly, the variety of musical genres and the story itself is certainly representative of Soho but it would be nice to see some of that diversity reflected in the cast.

As Robbie, Luke Bayer is the standout. His charming personality and smooth vocals make him a protagonist the audience roots for and he really is the heart of the story and all it stands for. Bayer's performance of They Don't Make Glass Slippers is especially enrapturing. As Velcro, his best friend and partner in crime, Millie O'Connell gives a strong performance. Despite being underused in act one, O'Connell really comes into her own in the second half and provides some of the most touching and realistic moments. Her quick wit and sarcastic nature are entertaining to watch and the playful banter and easy chemistry between the pair can surely remind us of our own friendships. Two friends supporting each other is wonderful to see and really grounds the often over-the top-piece.

George Stiles music and Anthony Drewe's lyrics are a combination of upbeat laugh-a-minute numbers, forgettable babbles and fairy tale sweet duets. The Stepsisters' duet Fifteen Minutes is especially energetic and well performed. Natalie Harman and Michaela Stern do a great job of bringing the characters to life and only occasionally teeter on the edge of overacting. O'Connell's duet with Tori Hargreaves is another touching moment and a real highlight of the second act.

Thematically, this seems to be a piece which will remain ever relevant but it needs an extra touch of magic to keep audiences coming back. The political and sexual harassment aspects permeate the musical but it's the importance of love and friendship which reigns strong at the end. Soho Cinders isn't life-changing but it allows us to experience tongue-in-cheek, energetic performances which will entertain for the duration of the show.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Monday, 4 February 2019

MT Fest UK, The Other Palace | Press Launch


Brainchild of Paul Taylor-Mills, MT Fest, opens at The Other Palace in one week's time and is set to provide a host of new and exciting theatrical events. Last week saw the launch of the festival in The Other Palace Studio and featured special performances from Luke Bayer, Evelyn Hoskins and Sooz Kempner

When introducing the festival, Paul explained how he's always wanted to put an event like this on because of the large amount of work he gets sent that doesn't get the chance to be showcased. He told us how many pieces don't lack quality, but can't be developed because there is a "lack of resource and audience appetite"; and how this festival is his way of showcasing hidden gems in musical theatre and allowing composers, writers etc... to be seen by not only a paying audience, but industry professionals who can help them develop their work in the future.

He also reminded us that no one knows what makes a successful musical (and if they say they do, they're lying.) So this whole showcase of musicals is an exploration and adventure to see what works in front of an audience and what doesn't.


The two week event is structured so there's something to see at all times of day, including:

  • The Taster Menu: the main event for showcasing new musicals. Eight semi-staged shows lasting 45 minutes each. Information about the shows and tickets can be found here
  • BEAM Brunches: Shining a light on some of the most talented up and coming musical theatre songwriters. Full listings can be found here
  • Tea for Two: Frank and inspirational afternoon chats with some of the most celebrated people in musical theatre. Including chats about choreographing a musical, the do's and don'ts for auditions and how theatre criticism is changing. Full listings can be found here
  • Night Caps: Informal late night concerts with some of the top musical theatre performers. Paul told us he's also asked the performers to add in a song or two which hints at their next career move which is exciting. To see the performers and book tickets, click here
Evelyn Hoskins described the festival as a "pick n mix of new work" and it certainly seems like there's going to be something for everyone to discover so why not immerse yourself in theatre and attend this event!

MT Fest UK runs from 11th-23rd February 2019. Tickets are available online or from the box office at The Other Palace.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Fiver, Southwark Playhouse | Review


Fiver
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Friday 5th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

New British musical by Alex James Ellison and Tom Lees, Fiver follows a humble five pound note as it passes through the hands and pockets of various people in London. Rarely noticed by the person, we see that the fiver is often present in significant life moments. The show is constructed through a series of diverse musical vignettes which explore relationships, struggles, life, love and money.

Watching Fiver is like watching a rom-com, drama, thriller, romance unfurl live in front of your eyes. The intricately woven story is cinematic but intimate at once and really enthrals from start to finish and shows just how the value of a fiver can considerably change under the circumstances it's either given or received in. 

Alex James Ellison and Tom Lees have constructed a musically lush score which is not only highly entertaining, but superbly detailed and sophisticated. Featuring a variety of musical influences, each piece is utterly entertaining and engaging. The diverse characters are explored through the twenty-four assorted musical numbers. Each and every song is fantastically composed and the lyrical and musical mastery of Alex and Tom is clear throughout.

This pure delight of a musical is made all the more wonderful by its top notch cast. All playing a number of characters, the five (!) strong cast give masterclasses in characterisation and versatility. Luke Bayer gives poignant and vocally strong performances throughout. Whilst, Dan Buckley shines in both quieter and more booming moments, giving a particularly touching performance during the sweet proposal scene. 


Aoife Clesham gives a star is born performance as she leads a number of songs and is especially brilliant during the "surprise" party scene where she brings a whole host of characters to life, and also in Press Hash To Rerecord which is a hugely humourous situation that I'm sure many audience members can relate to (though perhaps not quite to Aoife's level). Multi-talented Alex James Ellison acts as a somewhat omnipresent narrator who oversees proceedings as the busker who puts the fiver into circulation. His fast diction, cheeky personality and dynamic stage presence bring the show to life and put a smile on your face.

Hiba Elchikhe's beautifully toned voice soars in her electric performance and her adaptability is ever clear through her many characters and emotions. Through their solo moments, duets, trios, quartets and quintets, this cast bring every second of Fiver to life and create a truthful, resonant and truly admirable show.

With Justin Williams' simple but effective set which features a magical cupboard that adapts for each scene, Alex Musgrave's homely, atmospheric lighting and the fantastic band led by Tom Lees, Fiver really provides everything you could wish for in a new, British, contemporary, relevant musical.

A two hour delight, I predict that this Fiver’s Destiny is huge success and an incredible future of magnificent story telling. Go see this show, tell all your friends to see it and make Fiver the hit it deserves to be!

Fiver runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 20th July 2019

photo credit: Danny Kaan