Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Marcus Ayton. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Marcus Ayton. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review

West End Live Lounge: Woman
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Sunday September 24th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

If you're a frequent reader of Rewrite This Story (which I hope you are) then you will know that I have been to the previous two West End Live Lounges and raved about them to no end, so it's no surprise that last night's concert completely blew me away too. As always this will probably be a pretty long review because I want to praise as many people as I can, so go grab your drink of choice and get ready to relive an amazing night, or cry because you missed it!

Each West End Live Lounge raises money, with all proceeds from ticket sales and collections going to a specific charity, in last night's case, Women's Aid which helps women who are in/have been in abusive relationships; a cause which i'm sure we all agree is super important. So not only do you have an amazing night hearing some of the best the theatre world has to offer but you get to support a fantastic cause!

Last night's incredible line up was made up of: George Ure, Marcus Ayton, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Marisha Wallace, Liisi LaFontaine, Rob Houchen, Natalie Green, Matthew Harvey, Paul Wilkins, Rachel John, Kelly Agbowu, Sabrina Aloueche, Jodie Steele, Carolyn Maitland, Laura TebbuttMadalena Alberto, Emma Lindars, Lauren Ingram and Sapphire Soul.

Our compere for the evening was the ridiculously hilarious Samuel J Holmes who delivered gag after gag and was his own stand up act between performers.

Sapphire Soul were flawless as usual when they opened with a medley of classic Bond songs- the ladies, as their name suggests are full of soul and are just powerhouse vocalists which they proved again in act 2 with Bang Bang. From then on the energy was high and the first act flew by with some dazzling performances. Lauren Ingram's version of Crazy in Love was slowed down and sexy; Marcus Ayton's I Who Have Nothing was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as was Matthew Harvey's, Gravity.

Brady Isaacs Pearce was stunning as always with her emotive and heartfelt rendition of Jessie J's Big White Room; her clear, smooth voice is just so stunning to listen to and as I always say, she needs to be in a West End show NOW! Natalie Green as usual was fantastic, with her performance of If I Ain't Got You giving me chills!

The final trio of act one could not have been better; Rob Houchen had the whole audience in the palm of his hand with his insanely brilliant performance of I'd Rather Go Blind. I knew he could sing but man he's good! Kelly Agbowu then owned the belter One Moment in Time before Rachel John sent the whole audience to church with her Take My Hand/You've Got a Friend mash up. Needless to say, by the interval everyone was truly on a music induced high.

Act 2 was equally as good, if not better with banger and banger being delivered flawlessly by each and every person. Emma Lindars delivered Rolling in the Deep perfectly, with some added audience harmonies. Rachel John again wowed with My Kind of Love followed by Carolyn Maitland exquisitely performing Sia's Chandelier which could only have been made better if Maddie Ziegler was there to perform her iconic dance routine.

This act featured two impeccable duets; firstly Sabrina Aloueche and Matt Harvey with Girl Just Wanna Have Fun and secondly Paul Wilkins and Rob Houchen with Field of Gold. Both of which featured perfect harmonies and left me breathless. Kelly Agbowu's Chains was perfect and Jodie Steele's scarily relevant cover of Dear Mr President was beautifully, sincerely and emotively performed.

Liisi LaFontaine and Marisha Wallace are the definition of powerhouses, their vocals, stage presence and overall auras are just impeccable. Marisha along with her own back up singers brought the audience to their feet with her faultless Whitney Houston medley as she sang her heart out to the gods and slayed the entire audience. Liisi slayed equally with her stunning performance of Uninvited but it was their closing number, Listen which absolutely blew the roof off of The Other Palace Studio. Now I've heard Listen several times when I've seen Dreamgirls but this performance was just mind blowing and proved why these ladies are getting all the hype and praise they are at the moment. Absolutely sensational!

So yes, this was an incredible concert. Shaun McCourt is a saint for putting so much time and energy into this impeccable concert for a wonderful cause and I hope the West End Live Lounges continue for a long time to come. If you want a night of hilarity, fun and vocal perfection then get yourself along to the next one and help out some wonderful charities!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts:

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Friday, 1 June 2018

Shrek (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Shrek (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 31st May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Leaving the theatre after seeing Shrek, my nieces had beaming smiles on their faces and said "it was amaaaaaaaaazing", if that's not testament enough to the show then I don't know what is. This show is aimed at children, and they clearly love it.

If for some reason you've never heard of Shrek, it tells the story of an ogre whose swamp has been invaded by fairytale characters, banished there by leader of Duloc, Lord Farquaad. Shrek is sent on a mission to save a princess from a tower who is more than meets the eye. 

Steffan Harri bursts onto the stage with energy and a brilliant portrayal of the iconic Scottish ogre. Steffan is a joy to watch; he genuinely seems to enjoy his time on stage as well as providing some beautiful singing, especially during Who I'd Be. There is a depth to Shrek which is lovely to see played out on stage and he emotively puts the message across that being yourself is the best way to live.

As Shrek's companion, Marcus Ayton is hilarious as Donkey. Marcus is close enough to the original portrayal by Eddie Murphy that the character from the film isn't lost, but unique enough to still keep the role surprising. Marcus has sass and facial expressions for days and is truly joyous to watch on stage. Plus his voice is killer!

Laura Main is energetic and  eccentric in her portrayal of Princess Fiona. She puts a smile of your face whilst providing a humourous, vocally strong performance. Her chemistry with Steffan is also great and the pair bounce off one another well, especially during I Think I Got You Beat.

Samuel J Holmes is certainly the stand out of the show as Lord Farquaad. His quick humour and stage presence are outstanding. I'm sure everyone mentions how bruised his knees must be, but it's seriously impressive that he moves with such agility every night. Samuel knows how to work both the audience and his cast mates; particularly humourous last night was when he picked up a dropped cloth mid monologue and asked his guard to take it back to costume. This not only had the audience in stitches but also had his cast mates evidently hiding laughter. 

All the iconic fairytale characters also appear in the show, with Jemma Revell as Gingy and the Sugar Plum Fairy stealing her scenes with her insanely good vocals. Equally as brilliant is   Lucinda Shaw who plays the Dragon and the Fairy Godmother. Her voice is off the charts good and I can't wait to see what other roles she tackles in the future as she's surely destined for stardom.

This production is smooth and exciting, with great lighting and sparkle to make it a magical show for children and adults alike. One thing which fell flat personally, was I Know It's Today. As someone who's never seen the show before, I was only aware of this song, performed so brilliantly by Sutton Foster. In previous productions it's staged with a young Princess Fiona, a teenage Fiona and the current adult Fiona but in this production the two youths are replaced by puppets. This is most likely due to costs which is understandable but it was a little too cheesy for me.

This is a great family show that fans of the film series will love. Solid performances all round, clever songs and a whole load of musical theatre references thrown in, Shrek is certain to thrill anyone who sees it.

Shrek runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 10th, before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Helen Maybanks

Monday, 20 March 2017

West End Live Lounge, Union Theatre | Review

West End Live Lounge
Union Theatre
Reviewed Sunday 19th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

When I say last night was a perfect Sunday evening, I am not exaggerating at all. With the amount of talent that was in the room it was hard not to have a brilliant time! The West End Live Lounge at the Union Theatre was the first of what I hope become many concerts created by Shaun McCourt and Leigh Lothian. The premise of the concerts is that as many West End stars as possible are brought together to perform incredible music with all proceeds going to charity. There are no musical theatre songs to be heard so all performers are able to step out of their usual boxes and really explore and show off their musicality.

The star studded line up included: Marisha Wallace, Gabriela Garcia, Arun Blair, Tyrone Huntley, Phoebe Street, Kelly Agbowu, Natalie Green, Leigh Lothian, Matthew-Seadon Young, Sejal Keshwala, Laura Tebbutt, Nicola Avino, Iain Mattley, Paul Wilkins, Laura Mansell, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Jamal Andreas, Jonny Howe, Katie Brayben, Marcus Ayton, Gary Wood, Lauren Ingram, Adam Bailey, Oliver Savile and Andrew Bateup.

There were a number of lovely duets and trios as well as fabulous solos and the performers also got to show off their other musical abilities such as piano playing which was very impressive. The intimate atmosphere of the Union Theatre in Southwark was the perfect setting for the evening with the whole evening having a warm, laid back, friendly feeling. The stage, complete with sofas and a table added to this vibe and the overall mood was perfect for a relaxed Sunday.

The overall quality of performances was extremely high and every member of the cast and ensemble were flawless with wonderful song choices and joyous performances. There were a number of particular standouts for me. Firstly, Gabriela Garcia and Arun Blair who did a lovely, sweet, and harmonious medley of Rihanna and Sam Smith with a cheeky bit of Into The Woods mixed in! Their chemistry was evident and their voices just work so well together that it's a joy to see and hear them perform. Tyrone Huntley and Marisha Wallace were other standouts and were a theme of my weekend having seen Dreamgirls on Saturday (review coming soon!)

Tyrone's dulcet tones were perfect for the Michael Jackson hit 'Rock With You' and Marisha brought the house down and earned a well deserved standing ovation with her insanely good rendition of 'Natural Woman'. Natalie Green sang Sam Smith's classic, 'Lay Me Down' which was truly stunning.

The whole night was full of joy, friendliness and sweet, sweet harmonies. It was so lovely to see so many people come together to perform and raise money for UNICEF and I really hope there will be many more West End Live Lounges to come! Make sure to keep and eye out on Twitter to make sure you don't miss the next event which is sure to be as incredible and inspiring as this one!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter:

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, Union Theatre | Review

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens
Union Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 21st May 2019 by Shaun Dicks

An elegy by definition is ‘a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead’. An elegy is there to express feelings of something or someone you have lost. So, here we follow the elegies of those who have passed due to HIV/AIDS, all those Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.

The show, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood is fantastic. Russell’s speech is so poetic and lyrical. The colour within phrases and sentences is just magical. There is so much juicy dialogue to enjoy. And Hood’s music is just so beautiful, the amount of emotion within her score is tear jerking alone. The music, book and lyrics deliver stellar material about a very delicate subject.

However, in this production of Angels Punks and Raging Queens, the material is mismanaged. First, the cast is simply too large. With sixteen cast members, the stage was cluttered and honestly half of them didn’t make their mark and faded into the background. The show would’ve been effective with half the cast. There were some standouts like Marcus Ayton as Lamar/Miles, Calum Gulvin as Nick/Paul, Jackie Pulford as Rebecca/Joanne, Fraser Leigh Green as Ray/Joe and Rhys Taylor as Dwight/Roscoe. These five actors truly understood the lyrical essence of the material they we given and delivered it well.

Despite its potential to be great, what let this show down was Bryan Hodgson’s staging. It felt clunky and disjointed, almost like a bad drama school showcase. However, one saving grace for this show was the vocals. The harmonies were well rehearsed and well done, a credit to musical director Henry Brennan. The light design by Alex Musgrave was another positive.

What made up for all the bad within the show was the striking final image. The emotion that you feel and that I felt at the end of the show made sure that the show was better than disappointing. However, one moment doesn’t make a show. It’s a shame because this show had all the potential to be fantastic, but the material was, in my opinion, interpreted wrongly and overall missed the mark.

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens runs at the Union Theatre until 8th June 2019

photo credit: Mark Senior

Sunday, 18 June 2017

West End Live Lounge: Icons and Legends, Union Theatre | Review

West End Live Lounge
Union Theatre
Reviewed Sunday 11th June 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

When I went to the first West End Live Lounge back in March, I didn't think it could get any better. I was wrong! Every single performance was absolutely outstanding and I was in awe of each and every performer, it was honestly one of the best concerts I've ever seen, full of so much incredible talent and just a wonderful night for a wonderful cause.

I could honestly talk in depth about every single performer because they all deserve a huge amount of praise but I fear that it could be the longest review in the history of reviews so I won't talk about everyone in depth but I will talk quite a lot so you might want to settle down and grab a cuppa!

The concert opened with a lovely performance of the Amy Winehouse classic "Valerie"by Katie Paine, which started the night on an upbeat, joyous note. Leigh Lothian (who created the concert series along with Shaun McCourt) and George Jennings then took us through the history of James Bond with a glorious medley of the hit Bond songs. 

I have seen a lot of Sapphire Soul recently, both at the previous Live Lounge and as special guests and the Dreamgirls Unplugged concert and am a massive fan of their unique arrangements and brilliant voices and was very glad that they were a part of this concert. The glamourous girls sung a delightful version of "Over The Rainbow" and closed the show with a joyous Aretha Franklin medley which left everyone on a high. Ashford Campbell sung one of my favourite songs "Human Nature" and made me love it and his voice even more! 

Now if Brady Isaacs Pearce doesn't become a West End star, I will personally knock on Cameron Mackintosh's door and demand he puts her in a show. At only 17 years old, her voice is insanely good and her overall stage presence is of someone vastly experienced. Brady sung a mash up of songs by the queen of stage Barbra Streisand and filled her huge shoes perfectly, giving the audience chills.

Cleve September has such a likeable personality which came across when he stepped on stage and explained he had only decided what to perform on the morning of the concert; going out and purchasing a loop pedal and kind of winging his way through. However, if we hadn't known this, we wouldn't have noticed. Cleve's performance of "Feeling Good" was unique and so fun to watch and he certainly seemed like an experienced loop pedlar (??) to me!

The first act flew by with stellar performance after stellar performance. Hannah Ducharme superbly performed "Hallelujah", Alexis Gerred absolutely owned "Come Together" and Sejal Kashwala gave an astonishing performance of "How Comes You Don't Call Me" which had me in awe of her voice. To end the first act, Kelly Agbowu sung the hell out of "The Show Must Go On" and completely blew the roof off the intimate venue which her effortless and faultless performance.

Act two included a few duets where the performers got to have fun signing with one another. Andrew Bateup and Marcus Ayton sung the Stevie Wonder favourite, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", Matthew Seadon-Young and Leigh Lothian performed "Careless Whisper" and Carolyn Maitland and Lauren Ingram sung a Billie Jean mash up. All three duets were fantastic and it's just a joy to get double the talent per song!

Perhaps my favourite part of the night was when two Whitney Houston classics were performed back to back with Ruth Brown singing "I Will Always Love You" and Emma Lindars singing "I Have Nothing". Both performances were completely awe-inspiring and just breathtaking. The talent of these ladies is just unbelievable and it's crazy that they're not international stars!

Oliver Savile channel his inner Frank Sinatra with "Let's Face The Music" and I'm sure made many of the ladies in the room swoon with his suave performance. Laura Mansell's Celine Dion mash up was so sensational and it was glorious to hear my favourite Celine song "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" performed so well.

Liam Doyle gave an upbeat rendition of "I'm Still Standing" before Natalie Green gave the penultimate performance of the night with Prince's "Purple Rain". I'm a massive fan of Natalie's voice and adored her performance so much, as it seemed did the entire audience. 

Although an absolutely fantastic night of entertainment showing off some of the best the West End has to offer, the main reason for the concerts series is to raise money and awareness for charity. This concert was raising money for Mind which supports people suffering from mental health issues, a cause close to so many of our hearts and it's great to see so many people coming together for such a great cause.

If you couldn't tell from that very long review, I completely loved West End Live Lounge and know I will love all the future concerts. If you can get along to the next one then please do because you will definitely enjoy it. What's better that West End stars blessing your ears on a Sunday evening?!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts: