Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Natasha J Barnes. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Natasha J Barnes. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Funny Girl (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Funny Girl (UK Tour)

New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday April 25th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Funny Girl is one of my absolute favourite musicals  and was one of the first reviews I ever wrote (which you can read here.) I saw the show when it was in previews at the Savoy Theatre and never had the chance to go back so I was very excited to see it again on it's UK tour to see if it still lived up to my initial praise. I am very pleased to say that it did and even exceeded it!

Funny Girl tells the story of the young Jewish girl, Fanny Brice who longs to be a star and is not going to take no for an answer. Whilst many people in the industry brand her as "not pretty enough", her comedic talent, natural stage presence, strong voice and sheer determination allow her her big break as she becomes a star with the Ziegfeld Follies. Along the way she meets the mysterious Nick Arnstein and we follow the ups and downs of their rollercoaster relationship. 

The simplistic but beautiful set and staging takes the audience to 1920s New York perfectly with the precise amount of extravagance and spectacle to add to the show and story without detracting from it at all. Most of the scenes take place on the created stage and backstage where Fanny is performing and the use of other theatrical elements is very cleverly used such as spotlights, curtains and mirrors. 

The entire cast are sublime with the versatile, energetic ensemble completely bringing the ornate dance scenes to life. Especially impressive was the dance which included pointe shoes with taps on them. The choreography is spectacularly sharp and show-stopping and executed faultlessly.

Natasha J Barnes as Fanny Brice is completely and utterly mesmerising. Her stage presence is outstanding and she absorbs the audience into the world of Miss Brice flawlessly. Her portrayal is warm and witty, with sensational vocals and sublime comedic timing. It's not only her high energy moments which are impeccable though but the quiet moments of vulnerability where we really see what a brilliant actress she is. Music That Makes Me Dance was a particular stand out moment for me as the entire audience was not only silent but seemed as if they were so enraptured in the moment that they were holding their breath. It was a truly magical theatrical moment. I was thoroughly blown away by Barnes and can't wait to see her continue to become a star of the stage and the blazing supernova she deserves to be. 

Fanny's charismatic love interest is played by Darius Campbell who takes on the role very well. He is engaging and his strong voice carries well and pairs flawlessly with Barnes' especially in Who Are You Now which is touching and emotive. He has just the right mix of charm, wit, mystery and darkness to fully show the multiple layers of the problematic Nick Arnstein.

I am so impressed by this entire production and it is absolutely the best touring production I have seen. The calibre of every moment is top notch and I was mesmerised throughout. Funny Girl has every element necessary and ticks all the boxes needed for a wonderful theatrical experience. Natasha Barnes steals the show with her astonishing performance; she is truly the greatest star and a complete inspiration.

Funny Girl runs at the New Victoria Theatre until April 29th 2017 before continuing on it's UK tour.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Mack and Mabel (LMTO), Hackney Empire | Review

Mack and Mabel
Hackney Empire
Reviewed on Saturday September 23rd 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) have done it again. Another fantastic celebration of a beautiful score performed by a beautiful orchestra and a beautiful cast. It was just a whole lot of beautiful, okay! This time we were treated to the delights of Jerry Herman’s, Mack and Mabel which chronicles the story a young deli girl who miraculously ends up a film actress and falls in love and into a tumultuous relationship with her director, Mack Sennett who is so obsessed with making his next picture that he doesn't see what's right in front of him.

Opening the concert, Freddie Tapner (founder of the LMTO) explained that the music was going to speak for itself and he was so right. Having seen the show previously at the Chichester Festival Theatre I thought I knew what I was in for but seeing it so stripped back, I developed a new love and appreciation for Jerry Herman's stunning virtuosic moments and really realised what a stunning piece of work this is. 

I was lucky enough to be part of an LMTO sing-through and completely fell in love with the way Freddie conducts; making the players and singers feel comfortable whilst giving tonnes and tonnes of energy. His love of music and conducting is evident and, from watching the orchestra play with beaming smiles, obviously infectious. It was truly joyous to see so much excitement from the orchestra as they played, especially in the epic Hit 'Em On The Head instrumental break which is a maelstrom of astonishing musical moments. With no action on stage it's clear just how wonderful the music is as you could picture each movement the keystone cops would have been making without having to see a thing. With many shows cutting back on orchestra size and some even having recorded music, it's an absolute joy to be able to relish in the decadence of hearing a full orchestra in all their glory. 

Tiffany Graves was fabulous as Lottie Ames with her beautiful and powerful voice ringing out wonderfully and her facial expressions cracking the audience up! Her tap number in act 2 was certainly a stand out moment. I fell in love with Liam Tamne's voice every time he had a solo moment; so clear and lovely- I just wish we'd heard more! Will Arundell and Matt Harvey were great as the businessmen Kessel and Baumann, suitably dorky and humourous, especially in Hit 'Em On The Head, as was Jack Edwards as Fatty Arbuckle.

Taking the titular roles of Mack and Mabel we had David Bedella and Natasha J Barnes who both pulled them off expertly. David played the regretful, extravagant Mack with sincerity and full of glorious vocal moments, especially during the finale, I Promise You A Happy Ending. However, it was Natasha who completely stole the show with her utterly magnificent masterclass performance as the excitable, loved-up, Mabel who falls into darkness. Her rendition of Time Heals Everything physically gave me heart palpitations. Natasha took the ending up the octave which completely took my breath away and gained an instant mid-show standing ovation from the entire audience. It was a truly magnificent moment of musical theatre that I won't be forgetting soon. There aren't even words to describe how spectacular Natasha is; she's truly a gift from the musical theatre gods!

The LMTO chorus and dancers just like everything else, were fantastic. The hundreds of girls moment was a spectacle choreographed by Anthony Whiteman and the cherry on top of an exceptional production. I honestly can't fault anything.

Overall this was just an impeccable night of musical theatre and despite only being a concert performance, was one of the best shows I've seen in a while. The LMTO are going from strength to strength and I can't wait to see everything they tackle in the future. This performance of Mack and Mabel was a truly glorious presentation of a spectacular score with a completely and utterly faultless cast and orchestra. Sensational. 

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Olivia's Top 10 Shows of 2017

This year I saw 105 shows so picking my top 10 was pretty tricky! I know everyone does these posts but it's always interesting to see what peaked everyones interests so without further ado, here are the shows I loved in 2017. Grab a mince pie and settle in!

PS. They're in reverse order as always to bring that extra bit of drama!

10. Yank | Charing Cross Theatre

I saw the West End premiere of this show and completely fell in love. The storyline was gripping, the acting was outstanding and it was a highlight of my summer. Scott Hunter was a particular stand out and I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for him.

9. Follies | National Theatre

This was one of my most anticipated shows of the year and it certainly wasn't a let down. The glorious staging was spectacular and I adored hearing Sondheim's music live as well as seeing queen Imelda Staunton on stage again.

8. Mack and Mabel (LMTO) | Hackney Empire

This was such a surprising show for me. Of course I expected good things from the LMTO but I was so blown away by every performance in Mack and Mabel. Natasha J Barnes singing 'Time Heals Everything' was definitely my stand out vocal moment of the year.

7. Funny Girl | New Victoria Theatre

Natasha also gave an amazing performance as Fanny Brice in the UK Tour of Funny Girl. To date this is the best touring production I have ever seen!

6. Hamlet | Alemida Theatre

Andrew Scott was just spectacular. That's all.

5. Fiddler on the Roof | Chichester Festival Theatre

I must admit, I don't travel outside of London for theatre very often but I am so glad I made the trip to Chichester to see this production which completely blew me away. This show needs a West End transfer and I'm praying its life isn't over.

4. Angels in the America | National Theatre

How could I not mention this?! A marathon show but packed with drama, talent and grit at every moment. Truly a theatrical masterpiece- Broadway get ready!

3. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill | National Theatre

Audra is just a queen. I was mesmerised by every single moment of this show. I first saw it on press night and then went back with my parents, both times were breathtaking and it was such an honour to see a Broadway superstar on stage.

2. Romantics Anonymous | Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

My lovely friend Hayley took me to see this for my birthday and for some reason I never got round to reviewing it (hopefully I'll do it soon!) But it was honestly just brilliant. Both literally and metaphorically sweet it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon. If you want a heartwarming tale, this is the one for you!

1. Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre

I know this is the most typical answer and so not a surprise but Hamilton just blew me away. I still can't believe that it exceeded my expectations and if you can get a ticket, you HAVE to see it!!

I also want to give a special mention to  a couple of other outstanding shows which I mentioned in last years wrap up: Rent and Dreamgirls, both of which amazed me again this year! I have a couple of concert shout outs too- Rachel Tucker, Kristin Chenoweth and Lea Michele. I saw Rachel perform 5 times and was completely astounded by her voice and stage presence every time. Kristin had me bawling from start to finish. Her concert was definitely the most memorable I've ever been too. Finally, Lea was a bucket list concert for me and I'm so honoured to have seen (and met) her this year!

So there we have my top shows of 2017! I can't wait to see what 2018 brings- let me know what your top shows of the year were.

Au revoir 2017! Stay Stagey, 2018!

Top 10 by editor, Olivia Mitchell