Showing posts sorted by relevance for query National Theatre. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query National Theatre. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 8 September 2017

Follies, National Theatre | Review


Follies
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 7th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

It's been 30 years since a fully staged production of Follies has been seen on a London stage so there's been a huge buzz surrounding the current production at the National Theatre, which boasts a stellar cast.  The production is largely sold out but don't fret if you didn't manage to snap up tickets as it is set to be broadcast to cinemas through NT Live on November 16th.

Mr Weismann's iconic theatre is closing so to commemorate he invites all his old Follies to dance and reminisce about their time in the company. Being back in the places of their youth, many characters start being pulled back to the past and we watch as the past and present become intwined. Childhood best friends with a past, Sally and Phyllis and their husbands Buddy and Ben reopen a chapter of their lives which they all thought closed.  Both couples are experiencing problems in their marriages and despite time having passed, they can't help but relive old feelings. 

Follies was originally written as a straight-through piece with no interval; whilst some productions have included intervals, the National Theatre's doesn't. Speaking to others about the show it seemed that people were wary of having to sit for that long without a break and whilst it is the same as watching a film, I suppose there's more freedom and less embarrassment to have a loo break during a film. This needn't be a worry at all though as the show flows wonderfully and really builds up momentum throughout, meaning that stepping out doesn't cross your mind as the show flies by.


The entire cast are absolutely stellar, keeping up the energy from the get go to the end. I particularly enjoy Di Botcher's rendition of 'Broadway Baby' which is completely hilarious and gorgeously sung and Tracie Bennett's 'I'm Still Here' which is gritty and powerful. Her nuanced performance is one of the best I've ever seen on stage. The younger selves of the two main ladies, played by Zizi Strallen and Alex Young are extremely well performed. The mirroring of the young and old girls is spectacular and extremely moving. Alex's transition from the giddy girl into the obsessed girl is striking.

This obsession continues with the adult Sally, played by the ever brilliant, Imelda Staunton. Sally has not really changed throughout the years and comes onto the stage just as giddy as a child when we first see her. Her fragility begins to show little by little, coming to a head in her stunning rendition of the classic, 'Losing My Mind'. Sally's partner in crime, Phyllis is played by the equally brilliant, Janie Dee who is strong and sassy from start to end. 

Dominic Cooke's direction creates a flow of movement and an ease throughout which is joyful to watch. Bill Dreamer's choreography works hand in hand with is and showcases the best of the Follies era. Along with the National's revolve, the choreography swims along and is faultless. A particular stand-out moment is the tap number 'Who's That Woman?'... I'm a sucker for tap and this was pulled off perfectly as the older Follies girls join their younger selves to create a thing of beauty.


Vicki Mortimer's set design cleverly shows hints of the former glory of the grand Weismann theatre as it crumbles in current day. The costumes are stunning not only with the gorgeous glitz and glam of the Follies but with how well they show off the character of each individual lady in the current day.

Overall this is an absolutely wonderful production which has everything you could wish for in a musical. There's glitz, glam, grit and emotion, which along with a perfect cast create an absolutely wonderful production of Sondheim's classic musical. 

Follies runs at the National Theatre until January 3rd. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club Announces New Emcee and Sally Bowles


The producers of CABARET at the KIT KAT CLUB in London’s West End are delighted to announce that Fra Fee will play ‘The Emcee’ and Amy Lennox will play ‘Sally Bowles’ from 21 March – 25 June 2022. This unique production opened in December last year to critical and audience acclaim, widely praised as the ultimate theatrical experience.

 

Adam Speers, Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, the producers of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club said today “We are thrilled to be welcoming the perfectly marvellous Fra Fee and Amy Lennox to our production of Cabaret. We wanted to recast these career defining roles with exceptional actors and so we’re just delighted that the stars have aligned with both Fra and Amy’s schedules.  We couldn’t have asked for a more exciting and thrilling duo to follow Eddie and Jessie.”

 

Director Rebecca Frecknall said today “It's always exciting to be able to keep a production live and evolving across its run, to be able to continue digging into the piece and making new discoveries. The fact that we will have new actors taking on the roles of Sally and the Emcee as Cabaret continues to run in the West End is thrilling, the original cast passing the baton to different actors who will bring their own perspectives to the work. I'm thrilled that Fra Fee and Amy Lennox will be the first new pair joining the production this Spring, two of our most exciting stage and screen actors. I know they will bring new creative energy to the production and will show me and our audiences new facets of the show.”

 

Fra Fee most recently starred as Kazi in the hit Disney+ series Hawkeye, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He created the role of Michael Carber in the award-winning play The Ferryman at the Royal Court, the Gielgud Theatre in the West End and the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on Broadway. His other theatre credits include Owen in Translations and Amiens in As You Like It, both at the National Theatre and the title role in Candide at the Menier Chocolate Factory. He played Courfeyac in the film of the musical Les Misérables and also appeared in the stage production at the Queen’s Theatre.

 

Amy Lennox received an Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her portrayal of Lauren in the West End production of Kinky Boots. Her other credits include Ellie in the London premiere of the David Bowie and Enda Walsh musical Lazarus. She was in the original West End cast of the musical Legally Blonde and created the role of Doralee in the original UK production of 9 to 5 The Musical.

 

Fra and Amy appeared together in the critically acclaimed production of The Last Five Years in Belfast.

 

Also joining the production on 21 March 2022 will be Omar Baroud as ‘Cliff Bradshaw’ and Vivien Parry as ‘Fraulein Schneider’. Continuing in their roles will be Elliot Levey as ‘Herr Schultz’, Stewart Clarke as ‘Ernst Ludwig’ and Anna-Jane Casey as ‘Fraulein Kost’.

The cast is completed by Josh Andrews, Emily Benjamin, Sally Frith, Matthew Gent, Emma Louise Jones, Ela Lisondra, Theo Maddix, Chris O’Mara, Daniel Perry, Andre Refig, Christopher Tendai, Bethany Terry, Lillie-Pearl Wildman and Sophie Maria Wojna.

  

Omar Baroud (Cliff Bradshaw) is soon to appear in the series Wedding Season for Disney+. His other TV credits include Baptiste for the BBC and The Innocents for Netflix. His theatre credits include You Bury Me for Paines Plough, As You Like It at the Watermill Theatre, A Song at Twilight at the Theatre Royal Bath and All Places That The Eye of Heaven Visits at Shakespeare’s Globe.

 

Vivien Parry (Fraulein Schneider) has appeared in many West End productions including Madge Hardwick in the original cast of Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre, Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Donna in Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre and Mrs Walshingham in Half A Sixpence at the Noel Coward Theatre. Vivien’s other credits include Twelfth Night and The Shoemaker’s Holiday, both for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Celia in The Girls at Leeds Grand Theatre.

 

Elliot Levey (Herr Schultz) most recently appeared in Nine Lessons and Carols at the Almeida where he also appeared in Three Sisters. His other theatre credits include the West End productions of Mary Stuart at the Duke of York’s Theatre, The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studios and Much Ado About Nothing at the Wyndham’s Theatre. His National Theatre credits include The Habit of Art and His Dark Materials.

 

Stewart Clarke (Ernst Ludwig) most recently appeared in Be More Chill at The Other Palace. His West End theatre credits include Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre and Loserville at the Garrick Theatre. He also appeared in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory and The Rink at the Southwark Playhouse.

 

Anna-Jane Casey (Fraulein Kost) was most recently seen in Girl from the North Country at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End. Her other West End credits include Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace and Lady of the Lake in Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre. She played Dot in Sunday in the Park with George at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Mabel in Mack and Mabel at the Watermill Theatre and the title roles in Piaf and Sweet Charity and Violet Butterfield in Flowers for Mrs Harris, all at the Sheffield Crucible.

 

In a time when the world is changing forever, there is one place where everyone can be free… Welcome to the Kit Kat Club, home to an intimate and electrifying new production of CABARET. This is Berlin. Relax. Loosen up. Be yourself. 

 

The Kit Kat Club has laid siege to the Playhouse Theatre. The performers have infiltrated the premises. The artists have staked their claim. Who knows for how long they’ll stay, but for now they are enjoying the party. The party at the end of the world.

 

Transforming one of London’s most famous theatres with an in-the-round auditorium and reimagined spaces, before the show guests are invited to enjoy and explore the Kit Kat Club with pre-show entertainment, drinks and dining all on offer. When booking, guests receive a 'club entry time' to allow enough time to take in the world of the Kit Kat Club before the show starts. But of course, the show really starts when you first join us in the club…

 

One of the most successful musicals of all time CABARET features the songs Wilkommen, Don’t Tell Mama, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, Money and the title number. It has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood.

 

CABARET is directed by Rebecca Frecknall (the Almeida’s Olivier Award winning Summer and Smoke, The Duchess of Malfi, Three Sisters), set and costume design is by Tom Scutt (A Very Expensive Poison, Constellations, King Charles III, Jesus Christ Superstar, collaborations with Sam Smith, Christine and the Queens) with choreography by Julia Cheng (founder of the House of Absolute, Philharmonia Orchestra Artist in Residence, recipient of the runner-up prize for Hip Hop Dance futures, Resident Choreographer for the Royal Academy of Dance, Judge and mentor for BBC Young Dancer and Breakin’ Convention – the UK’s biggest Hip Hop Festival, collaborations with London Fashion Week, Google and Dr Martens). Musical supervision and direction is by Jennifer Whyte (Les Misérables film, Caroline Or Change, Parade). Lighting design is by Isabella Byrd (Heroes of the Fourth Turning and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire – both in New York, Daddy – A Melodrama at the Almeida and The Flick at the National theatre) with sound design by Nick Lidster (City of Angels, Passion, Pacific Overtures and Parade at the Donmar Warehouse, Sweeney Todd and On The Town for English National Opera, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables and Miss Saigon). The casting director is Stuart Burt (& Juliet, The Drifters Girl and 2021 CDG Award for Best Casting in Theatre for Cyrano De Bergerac) and the associate director is Jordan Fein.

 

Tickets for CABARET at the KIT KAT CLUB are currently on sale until October 2022. kitkat.club

CABARET at the KIT KAT CLUB is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions and Underbelly.

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

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Macbeth, National Theatre | Review


Macbeth
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 6th March 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

I've seen and studied a fair few Shakespeare plays but I wouldn't say I'm an expert in any form. I do however, know what I like when going to the theatre and recognise brilliant acting when I see it. The National Theatre's current production of Macbeth does have brilliant acting but overall it just didn't do it for me.

Walking into the wonderful Olivier theatre we are greeted with an almost bare stage, there are four poles with ragged, witchy fabric attached to the top; in the centre there is a sloped wooden platform decorated with severed limbs from plastic baby toys. Rae Smith's minimalistic set works well with the sparse life of the characters within the show; with them all (including Duncan and Macbeth) looking as though they're on the poverty line in muddy, battered clothes.

Rory Kinnear is thoughtful and suitably plagued as Macbeth; his small comedic moments are particularly enjoyable and he proves why he's such an esteemed actor.  


The choice to make Alana Ramsey's Murderer a fishnet tights-clad alcoholic is a great one and she works very well to show the extents which people will go to when they feel they have nothing, just to get their fix or some quick cash.

Trevor Fox's alcoholic Porter is like a ghost moving around, silently hearing all the secrets he shouldn't know. It's refreshing to see him as a more serious, important character rather than mainly being onstage for comedic relief. This darker side emphasises him as the metaphor for the gates of hell, something which I feel is often missed in productions of Macbeth.

It's Anne-Marie Duff who steals the show as Lady Macbeth. Every movement is clearly well thought out and her transition from the headstrong wife who lacks humanity to the crumbling woman plagued by ghosts is striking. 


I didn't find anything specifically wrong with this production, I just didn't really feel, well, anything. It's not scary, it's not particularly gory, it's not emotional and it's not funny, it's just a bit uninspiring. There are elements which have brought Shakespeare's play into the modern world but the emotions didn't translate for a modern audience... at least for me.

If you're a Shakespeare fan then there's no reason why you shouldn't go and judge Rufus Norris' Macbeth for yourself but if not then I wouldn't rush along, as I don't think this is the production to make you a fan.

Macbeth runs at the National Theatre until June 23rd and will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on May 10th as part of NT Live.

photo credit: Brinkhoff Mögenburg

Friday, 18 March 2022

Full Casting Announced for 101 Dalmatians at Regent's Park


Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre have today announced full casting for their forthcoming production of 101 Dalmatians (12 Jul – 28 Aug), a newly commissioned musical written by Douglas Hodge (music and lyrics) and Johnny McKnight (book), from a stage adaptation by Zinnie Harris. Based on the book by Dodie Smith, leading the cast as the iconic villain Cruella de Vil is Olivier and Tony Award nominee Kate Fleetwood.

Dalmatians Pongo and Perdi are puppeteered by Danny Collins (Pongo Voice), Emma Lucia (Perdi Voice), Yana Penrose (Perdi Head) and Ben Thompson (Pongo Head).

Also joining the cast are: Jamil Abbasi (Ensemble), Stuart Angell (Captain Head), George Bukhari (Jasper), Sonya Cullingford (Ensemble), Jade Davies (Swing), Karen Fishwick (Danielle), Joseph Fletcher (Ensemble), Taofique Folarin (Swing), Courtney George (Ensemble), Tash Holway (Swing and Dance Captain), CJ Johnson (Ensemble), Kody Mortimer (Ensemble), Simon Oskarsson (Swing), Tom Peters (Captain Voice), Eric Stroud (Dominic), Jonny Weldon (Casper), and Grace Wylde (Madam Doué).

Director Timothy Sheader said:
“We are incredibly excited to finally bring 101 Dalmatians to our stage after postponing the production twice due to the pandemic. I think audiences are going to love reconnecting with this favourite story outside in Regent’s Park; the original home of Pongo and Perdi. The brand new script and music are both packed with fun and joy and I am delighted that Kate Fleetwood’s filming schedule for The Wheel of Time allows us the opportunity to work with her on creating that all time baddie, Cruella de Vil.”

101 Dalmatians is created by: Shanaé Chisholm (Casting Assistant), Josie Daxter (Associate Director),   Jill Green CDG (Casting Director), Tash Holway (Associate Choreographer), Barbara Houseman (Voice and Text & Season Associate Director), Howard Hudson (Lighting Designer), Maia Kirkman-Richards (Assistant Puppet Director), Nick Lidster for Autograph (Sound Designer), Katrina Lindsay (Costume Designer), Ingrid Mackinnon (Season Associate: Intimacy Support), Tarek Merchant (Musical Director), Verity Naughton and Nick Hockaday for Verity Naughton Casting (Children’s Casting Directors), Toby Olié (Puppetry Designer and Director), Colin Richmond (Set Designer), Timothy Sheader (Director), Liam Steel (Choreographer) and Sarah Travis (Musical Supervisor and Orchestrator).
 
The Open Air Theatre is working with Mousetrap Theatre Projects to create a relaxed performance of 101 Dalmatians on Sunday 14 August (2.15pm). Relaxed performances are designed to provide those with learning disabilities, those who are on the autism spectrum or have other sensory and communication needs who would benefit from a more relaxed environment, the opportunity to experience the production.
 
Kate Fleetwood currently plays the leading role of Liandrin Guirale in Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. Her previous stage roles include: Lady Macbeth (Chichester Festival/Gielgud/ BAM/Broadway) for which she was nominated for a Tony Award, Medea (Almeida) and Goneril in King Lear (National Theatre). She also appeared in Absolute Hell and Ugly Lies the Bone (National Theatre), Bug (Found111) and Life is a Dream (Donmar Warehouse), for which she received a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Kate received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for London Road (National Theatre), and she also played Tracy Lord in High Society (Old Vic).

Kate’s television credits include: VictoriaWar and PeaceThe People Next DoorThe WidowerBrave New World and Fate: The Winx Club Saga. Her film credits include: Star Wars: The Force AwakensThe NegotiatorLondon RoadPhilomenaLes Misérables and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 90th Anniversary season also includes the musical Legally Blonde     (13 May – 2 July) directed by Lucy Moss, co-writer and co-director of Six the Musical, and - in a second commission from the theatre in 2022 - Antigone (3 – 24 September) by Barber Shop Chronicles writer Inua Ellams after Sophocles, directed by Max Webster and co-directed by Jo Tyabji.