Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Nick Winston. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Nick Winston. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 13 September 2019

Fame The Musical, Peacock Theatre | Review


Fame the Musical
Peacock Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 12th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Back in the West End after 12 years, Fame makes a triumphant return with Nick Winston's production. This 30th Anniversary edition has been touring since 2018 but is having a prolonged five-week stop at the Peacock Theatre. Featuring the classic songs such as There She Goes, Fame and Bring on Tomorrow, those who grew up with the musical will be taken back to their youths. However, whilst many original aspects are still part of the show, the stage version is less leg warmers and dancing on cars, and more grit, hard work and struggle.

Despite being set in the 80s, most aspects feel fresh, relevant and grounded in truth. Nick Winston's choreography helps the entire production fizzle and buzz like a well oiled New York subway, and the young cast perform each second with conviction and power.
 
As Iris, Jorgie Porter gives a great showcase of her sleek dance skills and has a great chemistry with love interest Tyrone (Jamal Crawford) who gives an equally strong dance performance and gains rapturous applause after his uber-octane performance of Dancing on the Sidewalk. In the storyline with his teacher Miss Sherman (Mica Paris) Crawford gives a truthful performance as he struggles to read but doesn't want to appear stupid or weak. The battle of wills between the pair is exciting to watch and really comes to a head with Mica Paris' vocally impeccable rendition of These Are My Children.
 
 
As the quirky actress Serena, Molly McGuire is warm and instantly likeable. Her relationship with Nick (Keith Jack), a tv actor, wanting to break into the more serious world of acting, is sweet and the pair compliment each other well. With Jacques Levy and Steve Margoshes' music and lyrics, there are some lovely moments, especially Lets Play a Love Scene.
 
The ensemble are tight from start to finish, performing the sharp choreography extremely well and providing moments of interest away from the main action throughout. Serina Matthews and Tom Mussell particularly catch the eye throughout. This cast is also comprised of various quadruple-threats. The host of amazing actor-musos who are present on stage throughout,  really transport us to a performing arts school, and help keep up the frenzied energy of working on your craft. Louisa Beadel is feisty as Lambchops and gives a brief but beautiful vocal performance in the closing number; Alexander Zane is light relief and a wonderful energy on stage. Simon Anthony is outstanding in his instrumental, vocal, acting and dance skills. Giving a very heartfelt and highly energetic performance, he is a stand out performer and works wonderfully with his love interest, Carmen.
 
As Carmen, it's Stephanie Rojas who is really the crown jewel of this production. Opening with a fiery, sassy performance, her decline and struggle is incredibly moving to watch. Rojas' sublime vocals, gritty acting and sharp movement really should put her Name in Lights across the West End. In a show which sometimes lacks character development, Rojas makes Carmen a truly 3D character and gives the performance all audience members will remember.
 
 
Prema Mehta's subtle but atmospheric lighting does a fantastic jobs of quite literally highlighting the crucial moments and moods of the piece. Perhaps most striking is the contrast between Carmen's opening number and closing number. In There She Goes/Fame there is a vibrancy which bathes the stage, whilst In LA is stark and simplistic. Morgan Large's set of yearbook photos, lockers and desks keeps the school vibes alive and allows most of the focus to be on the performers.
 
For a no gimmick show about the tenacity needed to succeed, Fame is a wonderful way to spend an evening and will certainly leave you dancing along the road (or wishing you had the skill to dance along the road)!
 
Fame runs at the Peacock Theatre until 19th October 2019 before continuing its tour.
 
photo credit: Alessia Chinazzo

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Fame the Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Fame (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 1st October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Fame is the original high school musical drama. The story about a group of wannabe New York performers became an instant success with audiences after the 1980 film, and various incarnations including tv series and musical performances were spawned. Fame the Musical, developed by David De Silva, is currently touring again to celebrate it's 30th anniversary before a stint in the West End next year.

Fame the Musical follows the lives and struggles of students attending the New York High School of Performing Arts.  It is a real-life, non-sugar-coated version of being a young adult and facing issues, including substance abuse, sexuality and self worth.

From the opening number to the very last moment of toe-tapping brilliance, Nick Winston's production screams energy and vibrance. The entire show is a well choreographed, lively machine that, although being set in the 80s, feel fresh, relevant and energetic.

The energy comes from the outstanding young cast who deliver every moment with enthusiasm and precision. Molly McGuire is loveable and quirky as she falls in love with Nick (Keith Jack) the TV actor, wanting to move to more serious roles. Both performers provide beautiful vocals, especially during Let's Play a Love Scene in which Molly shines. The pair compliment each other wonderfully and present a sweet romantic arc. 

Hayley Johnston brings humour and heart to the show, with bubbly Mabel earning laughs throughout and showing off her killer, powerful vocals in Mabel's Prayer.  



Jorgie Porter shows off her well-honed dance skills as Iris who falls for Tyrone (Jamal Crawford), an equally exquisite dancer who gave a standout performance with Dancing on the Sidewalk. Tyrone also has a storyline with teacher Miss Sherman (Mica Paris) as she realises he is illiterate and tries to inspire him to work on himself. The pair are realistically at odds with one another as their heightened tensions come to a boil with Mica Paris' effortlessly stunning rendition of These Are My Children.

Mention must also go to the fantastic actor-musicians who are present on stage throughout and bring a natural, realistic feel to the show and transport us to a frenetic performing arts school- Alexander Zane is a standout of the group. 

The real star of the show is undoubtedly, Stephanie Rojas who gives a fiery performance as Carmen, the Latina who longs for fame. Stephanie is everything Carmen should be with her transition from a larger than life girl in There She Goes/Fame, to a broken woman in the devastating In LA supplying a supremely moving storyline. Stellar vocals and superb acting make Stephanie's performance a must see and should be required viewing for any budding performers.



On top of the impressive performances, Prema Mehta's lighting is extremely atmospheric from the opening scene which dazzles the audience to attention and sets the tone for an exhilarating show. Particularly clever is the use of light tones, for example in Carmen's emotional climax during act 2, she is bathed in cool, stark light whilst her counterpart Schlomo (played touchingly by Simon Anthony) is lit in a warm tone. These subtle details are part of what makes this production of Fame superior.

Whilst there are a number of stereotypes and other than a couple of the main characters, not much character development, this show is raw and pure storytelling, told by a supremely talented cast. Helped by Morgan Large's set, the focus of this production is purely on no gimmick talent, so, if you want to see skilled performers and hear highly catchy songs then Nick Winston's production of Fame is the show for you- don't miss it!

Fame runs at the New Victoria Theatre until October 5th before continuing it's tour and heading to the Peacock Theatre next year.

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Friday, 26 April 2019

Club Tropicana (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Club Tropicana (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 25th April 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

A whirlwind of big hair, 80s hits, innuendos and humour, Nick Winston's Club Tropicana isn't a musical masterpiece but it is a whole lot of fun and a harmless piece of entertainment. 

The storyline is minimal but follows Lorraine who jilts her fiancé at the alter and goes on a friend holiday to drink and dance away her blues. Her fiancé also goes on a friend holiday... to the same Spanish hotel....

Said hotel is in the running to be awarded a prestigious award so they're doing their best to impress the hotel inspector. Featuring a host of humourous characters and larger than life performances, the gaps in the book are made up for with verve and energy.


Diego Pitarch's set doesn't have much depth to it, but does its job exactly and brings the colour of the show to life well. Making clever use of the space, as well as using the more basic elements for comedic effect, Pitarch has done a great job. Equally, his costumes are very 80s and effective. 

The cast are the life of this show, performing the 20 well-known 80s bops wonderfully. As entertainment manager Joe McElderry shines. A great voice, fab comic timing and well done audience interaction, McElderry makes a stellar addition to the cast. Neil McDermott is entertaining, if a little underused as Robert, but his performances alongside the hilarious Emily Tierney as double-crossing hotelier Christine, and lovestruck Amelle Barrabah as Serena are great. The extremely well characterised Consuela, is a sure stand out thanks to Kate Robbins' completely hilarious portrayal, which provides laugh out loud moments every time she's on stage.

As leading man and lady Cellen Chugg Jones and Karina Hind are marvellous. Their strong vocals are well showcased and the pair work well together. 


Mention must also go to Rebecca Mendoza, Tara Verloop and Kane Verrall who give fabulous performances. The entire cast are superbly invested throughout and with Nick Winston's choreography and Charles Ingles' musical direction, do a stellar job of keeping the energy alive throughout.

Club Tropicana has the feel-good factor and is sure to bring a bounce to your step. For a self-aware, super cheesy but well done production, take a trip to Hotel Tropicana and laugh the night away.

Club Tropicana runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 27th April before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Darren Bell

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Bonnie and Clyde to Open at the Arts Theatre April 9th



DLAP Group are delighted to announce that the West End premiere of the cult-favourite BONNIE AND CLYDE THE MUSICAL will open at the Arts Theatre on Saturday 9 April 2022. This brand-new production will be directed by Nick Winston with set and costume design by Philip Whitcomb. Full casting to be announced in due course.

 

Priority sign-up is open now with priority on-sale from Monday 24 January and general on-sale from Friday 28 Januarywww.bonnieandclydemusical.com


Following the phenomenal response to Bonnie and Clyde In Concert at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, having sold out in just six minutes, DLAP Group are thrilled to be bringing a brand new full production of the Tony Award nominated show to the West End for the first time.

 

Emmy Award nominated writer of the book, Ivan Menchell said today, “There is a tremendous love for this show now, and it’s fantastic that it is getting a West End run. The only thing the British love more than Americans on stage, is America's behaving badly on stage!”

 

Tony-Award nominated composer Frank Wildhorn added, “The show has built such a wonderful cult following, especially with younger audiences and I’m so excited to see Bonnie and Clyde find its audience here in London!”

 

Lyricist, Tony and Olivier Award winner, Don Black said, “The show has become so loved by people in the ten years since it was on Broadway. In fact, in one year we had something ridiculous like 60 productions going all over America, so we knew that people liked it – and now our time has come for London.”


At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

 

BONNIE AND CLYDE THE MUSICAL has a book by Ivan Menchell (Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents). The production will be directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow Morning, MAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with Set and Costume Design by Philip Whitcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, MAME).


Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Fame The Musical (UK Tour) | Press Launch


1980 musical theatre favourite, Fame opens in a new reincarnation which Keith Jack (Nick) says "feels like the iconic film and series which made Fame great" tomorrow (26th July) at the Manchester Palace Theatre, before continuing it's tour. Featuring memorable songs such as Think of Meryl Streep, There She Goes, I Want To Make Magic and of course the title song Fame, the musical tells the real-life version of breaking into the performing arts and confronts many of the struggles young adults face, "we're not here to sugar coat it" says Mica Paris

I was lucky enough to see the amazing cast in their penultimate day of rehearsals as they gave us a sneak peek into the show and whet out appetites for what's sure to be an energetic, thrilling show. 

Choreographer and director, Nick Winston introduced the show and set us up to hear and see a few numbers. First up a full-out rendition of There She Goes performed by Stephanie Rojas (Carmen) and the cast. From the first moment they began, the energy was infectious and it's genuinely thrilling to see such talent on stage, Rojas is feisty as the Latina who dreams of being famous and I already anticipate her performance as being outstanding. Also notable is the fact that there are a number of actor musicians featured throughout which add to the real life feel and really transports us to a vivacious theatre school. Jorgie Porter exclaimed how excited she is to be performing in her first musical and how "it's constant all the time", Keith added that Nick's aim with the show is to make it fast paced and to feel like New York in terms of being ever moving and full of verve.


Keith Jack gave a truthful rendition of I Want To Make Magic whilst Molly McGuire was hilarious as and lovable as Serena, it will be lovely to see their relationship play out on stage. When asked about the show Keith told us that it's so special because "the cast and director and the entire team have made this electric, buzzy show" and hopes audiences will "be able to relate to a certain character and latch onto to something in the story." 

Jamal Kane Crawford's performance of Dancing on the Sidewalk tired me out just watching! Full of energy he completely commanded the space. Alongside Mica Paris the pair create a realistic, but heightened portrayal of a student and teacher who are at odds. Paris' performance of These Are My Children left us all in awe at her effortless vocals. A lovely thing is how supportive the cast are of one another, all cheering each other on and embodying the family feel of being in school together, something which I think will definitely translate to the whole production. When chatting to Mica, Keith and Jorgie after the performance, this was even more evident and they all echoed that the team feel and talent of everyone is what makes the show so special for them. 


The title song of Fame features the iconic lyric "remember by name". When asked what they would like to be remembered for I was met with semi-silence as it's a pretty deep question but each person had a lovely, heartfelt answer. Jorgie would love to be remembered for "making a fun situation out of anything", Mica would like to be remembered for "showing anyone that no matter what people tell you, you can be what you want to be and you should do what you feel". Finally, Keith told us a lovely story about his grandad who consistently made people happy and how it inspired him to do workshops for people to try and make them happy; so he would like to be remembered for "bringing light to people... although I'll probably be remembered for being Scottish!"

Keith rounded off  with: "I think people will come to the show and get what they expect, plus even more" so if you want all the energy, excitement, romance and pure storytelling from Fame, plus even more then book your tickets for the 2018 UK tour.

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Francis Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage to Star in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical


DLAP Group are thrilled to announce that Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage will star as the titular Bonnie and Clyde in the West End premiere of the cult-sensation Bonnie and Clyde The Musicalopening at the Arts Theatre from Saturday 9 April 2022


Following the extraordinary reaction to her performance as ‘Bonnie’ in Bonnie and Clyde In Concert in January 2022, Olivier-Award nominated Frances Mayli McCann reprises the role in this full production at The Arts Theatre, performing alongside West End star Jordan Luke Gage as ‘Clyde’. 

 

They join the previously announced Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche Barrow’ and George Maguire as ‘Buck Barrow’. The full company includes Cleve September as ‘Ted’ and Ako Mitchell as ‘Preacher’, Pippa Winslow as ‘Cumie Barrow/Governor Miriam Ferguson/Eleanore’, Gracie Lai as ‘Emma Parker/Stella’, Alistair So as ‘Sheriff Schmid’, Alexander Evans as ‘Henry Barrow/Deputy Johnson’, Ross Dawes as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’, Barney Wilkinson as ‘Bud/Archie’ and swings Charlie McCullagh and Annie Guy. Casting for the roles of ‘Trish’ and Young ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Clyde’ to be announced. 

 

Frances Mayli McCann is an Olivier Award nominated actress, who originated the role of ‘Kylah’ in “Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour”. Her other West End credits include ‘Heather McNamara’ in “Heathers” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ‘The Mistress’ in “Evita” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and ‘Eponine’ in the UK and International Tour of “Les Misérables”.

 

Jordan Luke Gage is best known for his portrayal of ‘Romeo’ in the Olivier Award winning “&Juliet” at The Shaftesbury Theatre. His other West End credits include ‘Strat’ in “Bat Out Of Hell” at The Dominion Theatre and ‘JD’ in “Heathers” at Theatre Royal Haymarket. His television credits include playing ‘Adrian Barber’ in ITV’s Cilla, and ‘Luc’ in Cucumber on Channel 4.

 

Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in “9 to 5 The Musical” at the Savoy Theatre, “Wicked” at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of “Wonderland”, “Murder Ballad” at the Arts Theatre and “Starlight Express” at The Other Palace. 

 

George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in “Sunny Afternoon”. His other theatre credits include “35mm: A Musical Exhibition” at The Other Palace Studio, “Oliver!” at the London Palladium and the European tour of “Rent”. 


Cleve September is perhaps best known for his Olivier Nominated performance as ‘Philip Hamilton/John Laurens’ in the original West End cast of “Hamilton” at the Victoria Palace Theatre. His other theatre credits include “Jesus Chris Superstar” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Crucible Theatre, “In The Heights” at Kings Cross Theatre and “The Last Days of Troy” at The Globe Theatre. 

 

Ako Mitchell is an actor and filmmaker whose recent theatre credits include playing ‘Larry’ in “Indecent Proposal” at the Southwark Playhouse, ‘Bob Baker’ in “Wonderful Town” at Opera Holland Park, ‘Mister’ in “The Color Purple” at Curve and the Birmingham Rep and ‘The Moon/The Bus’ in “Caroline, Or Change” at the Chichester Festival Theatre and The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End. 

 

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.

When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

 

Bonnie and Clyde The Musical has a book by Ivan Menchell(Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents). The production will be directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow MorningMAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with Set and Costume Design by Philip Witcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, MAME), Musical Supervision from Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys), Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr (Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, Hamlet at Theatre Royal Windsor), Sound Design by Tom Marshall (The Drifter’s Girl, Nativity The Musical, Curtains), Video Design by Nina Dunn (The Shark Is Broken, Lazuli Sky)Casting Director Jim Arnold CDG (Wicked, The Prince of Egypt)Musical Director Nick Barstow (The Last 5 Years, Zorro), Keys 2/ Assistant Musical Director Debbi Clarke Associate Director/Choreographer Megan Louch (The Bodyguard, Annie), Wigs Designer Darren Ware (The Rocky Horror Show, Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell)Fight Director Kate Waters (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Constellations), Production Manager Phil McCandlish (Curtains, Rock of Ages), Orchestra Fixer Rich Morris (American Idiot, Jesus Christ Superstar), Costumer Supervisor Jemima Penny (Machinal, Richard III), Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl for Propworks (2:22 A Ghost Story, Pretty Woman), Company Stage Manager Paul Deavin (Rock of Ages), Drums Zach Okonkwo, Violin Clodagh Kennedy, Bass Guitar Annie Blake. 


Further crew and band to be announced.  


photo credit: Darren Bell


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Annie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Annie (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 10th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

Annie is an absolute cult classic show, from it's various film incarnations and tours around the world, there's something wonderful about the story of a young orphan who overcomes adversity and finds the love she's always desired.

Nikolai Foster's current UK touring production of the show features a wonderful set, some thrilling choreography and a whole lot of foot stamping energy from both the children and the adults. Colin Richmond's set is reminiscent of Matilda, with fragments (in this case puzzle pieces) framing the stage and creating a backdrop which leaves a lot to the imagination but also seems to flow and transition. Richmond's costumes are perfect for the setting but also manage to put a refreshing spin on the styes which have become synonymous with the show such as Annie's red coat and Lily St Regis' flowing dress. 

Nick Winston once again provides the goods with his sharp choreography that incorporates a number of dance styles and never waivers. Particularly impressive are the tap numbers and rousing NYC sequences. The cast are precise and clean as they bring Winston's vision to life in an entertaining and stylistic way.

The young cast do a great job of bringing the various personalities of the orphans to life, with stand outs at this performance including Chancé Quaye, Aliya Bashir and Francesca Robinson. Leading the way as Annie herself, Freya Yates gives a good, assured performance and is sure to grow and develop into a wonderful musical theatre performer.


Among the adult cast it's Carolyn Maitland who stands out as the caring Grace, who takes Annie under her wing and becomes the perfect mother figure. Maitland's voice is superb and she really does radiate warmth. Richard Meek is entertaining as the bad boy schmoozer Rooster, who cons his way through life but remains annoyingly charming. Alongside the talented Jenny Gayner as Lily, the pair give fiery performances, especially in the kick-line inducing Easy Street. Craig Revel Horwood is a clear audience favourite and does give a rounded performance. Whilst there are moments which lack in energy, others fizzle and excite. Overall there are times when the audience could have benefitted from Horwood having stronger diction within his strong New York accent but he does, mostly, do the iconic role justice.  

Although the sun might not be coming out in Surrey tomorrow, there's no doubt that this show will bring light and joy to many children. The beaming faces and exclamations of "I want to see it again" prove how magical theatre can be; and whilst this show is not everyone's cup of tea, it certainly has the heart to inspire. 

Friday, 1 March 2019

Rock of Ages (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Rock of Ages (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 28th February 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Lets start by saying that this is not a musical masterpiece by any means, but it is a super self-aware, high intensity, fun and crazily well performed show, that'll definitely have your toes tapping to some of the most well-loved rock classics.

The story, which is highly basic, follows small town girl, Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the sunset strip whilst trying to achieve their Hollywood dreams. When German developers sweep into town, they threaten to ruin the rock n roll fairytales of everyone and the gang have to fight (and sing) for the the strip.

Rock of Ages absolutely doesn't take itself seriously, and instead revels in the cliches and nostalgia of the 80s with power ballads, rockers, shoulder pads and skimpy costumes. The minimal storyline is made up for with epic performances and a whole lot of fun. You can expect cheesy backdrops and props, tongue in cheek choreography, a rocking score and sexy rock chicks peppering the stage.


The flimsy script is brought to life by animated and intense performances from the cast. As  Sherrie, Jodie Steele belts out power ballads with vocal skill and ease, whilst her love interest Drew, is played incredibly well by Luke Walsh who has an outstanding voice. Zoe Birkett delivers completely stellar vocals in her small role as Justice and Kevin Kennedy brings vibrance and humour to Dennis who could easily command the stage as a bigger role. Kevin Clifton brings a surprisingly well rounded performance as the embodiment of sex and drugs and rock n roll, Stacee Jaxx. 

Also keeping up the humour and energy is Rhiannon Chesterman  as Regina who's voice is criminally underused but she does a great job with the script she's given. As German duo, Vas Constanti and Andrew Carthy are caricature's to the extreme but completely know how to work to the audience. 

The ensemble of skimpily clad men and women add moments of interest away from the main action and make the simplistic stage feel full and vibrant. It's Lucas Rush as Lonny who really steals the show with his charismatic performance and natural audience banter. He breaks the fourth wall with ease and seems to constantly be thinking of ways to entertain, and these pay off!


Nick Winston's direction and choreography is pretty strong throughout, although at time it feels like too much is happening at once, and what little story there is, becomes even more shadowed by other movement or action spread across the stage. At the same time, that does kind of sum up the show which is essentially a wacky showcase of some hit songs that have you not sure where to look or what to think.

Rock of Ages is thick with cliches, crudeness and semi-nudity but it's certainly fun. If you want a moving, dramatic narrative and a PG show, this is absolutely not for you. But, if you want great performances and a pretty electric atmosphere and some raucous, rocking fun, then pop along and have a fun night!

Rock of Ages runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until March 2nd before continuing it's UK Tour.

photo credit: Richard Davenport

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Pippin, Garden Theatre | Review


Pippin
Garden Theatre, Vauxhall
Reviewed on Friday 18th September 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After six months of a world with no in person theatre, it feels almost foreign to see a stage in front of you with real life performers, performing real life music, but ever so slowly it's becoming the norm again. Well, the new, socially distanced norm.

The Garden Theatre in Vauxhall are paving the way for the reopening and reconfiguring of venues as one of the first to put on productions in this post-lockdown world. The latest in their programme being Stephen Schwartz's Pippin; the tale of a boy trying to prove he's extraordinary as he finds his place in the world. A show which often excels by involving the audience could be a strange option given the regulations, but the cast do an outstanding job of making you feels as though you're getting a personal performance and that you're part of the story, without being too close. The team of "players" who are often shown as circus performers, are in this production, a hippie tribe who are telling the tale of young Pippin. Together they weave a story of drama and excitement which feels truly uplifting and joyous during these unpredictable times. 

Thanks to Steven Dexter's Direction, this is a production which highlights all the wonderful parts of fringe theatre and Nick Winston's choreography is overwhelming in all the best ways. Bursting from all nooks and crannies every movement feels both precise and free and it's amazing how much power has been fit into such a small space. Plus, the way so many dance styles (including wonderful homages to Bob Fosse) flow into one another, is truly sensational to experience.

The title role is taken on expertly by Ryan Anderson who relentlessly showcases his brilliant vocals and outstanding dance ability, whilst making Pippin a multi-faceted, endearing, earnest and infuriating character. His renditions of Corner of The Sky and the motif versions which are consequently peppered throughout are beautiful and controlled oh so well.

Pippin's glamourous, manipulative "normal" step-mother is played excellently by Joanne Clifton who also takes on the role of the sweet and sassy Grandmother, Berthe. Each moment of Clifton's stage time is completely electrifying. Whether she's ad-libbing hilariously or leading the audience in a singalong she finds a way to completely draw the audience in.


It would be shameful to not mention the rest of the cast who bubble with energy throughout. Harry Francis is playfully enjoyable as the self-obsessed bother Lewis and sweet Theo who longs for a father figure and also provides vocals which stand out due to their exceptional power and mastery. As Charlemagne Dan Krikler is dominant and impressive and his Gilbert and Sullivan-esque solo is a right treat; he leaves you wanting more from him once his individual moments end . Tsemaye-Bob Egbeis takes on the role of the Leading Player with ease and freedom. Her vocals soaring above the sounds of passing busses and her movement around the stage oozing authority. Completing the cast, Tanisha-Mae Brown thrives in the intimate moments of the show and is in beautiful contrast to the more high-octane, over the top moments of the story.

The only downside to this production is the sometimes questionable approach to social distancing. While the staff are brilliant and it appears lots of measures have been put in place such as temperature checks, table service, copious amounts of hand sanitizer and social distancing before the show, the actual auditorium is somewhat cramped. Seats are very close together which it does feel strange when everything else is so organised. Whilst the audience does only seat 50, it would perhaps be better to have even fewer seats for the moment.

Despite this, the terrific cast of triple threats make this bittersweet, upbeat and consistently enjoyable musical a must see (covid permitting, of course). There's magic to do and the Garden Theatre are certainly doing the most they can in these crazy circumstances to do it.

Photos by Bonnie Britain Photography

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Natalie McQueen and George Maguire to Star in West End Transfer of Bonnie and Clyde



DLAP Group are delighted to announce that George Maguire and Natalie McQueen will star as Buck and Blanche Barrow in the West End premiere of the cult-favourite BONNIE AND CLYDE THE MUSICAL at the Arts Theatre from Saturday 9 April 2022. Further casting to be announced in due course. www.bonnieandclydemusical.com

Olivier Award winner George Maguire and West End star Natalie McQueen reunite to reprise their roles as Buck and Blanche Barrow following the phenomenal response to their performances as part of Bonnie and Clyde In Concert at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in January 2022.  

George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in Sunny Afternoon. His other theatre credits include 35mm: A Musical Exhibition at The Other Palace Studio, Oliver! at the London Palladium and the European tour of Rent

Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in 9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of Wonderland, Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre and Starlight Express at The Other Palace. 

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.

When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.
 
Bonnie and Clyde The Musical has a book by Ivan Menchell (Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents). The production will be directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow MorningMAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with Set and Costume Design by Philip Whitcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, MAME) and Musical Supervision from Katy Richardson(SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys).

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Bonnie and Clyde, Arts Theatre | Review


Bonnie and Clyde
Arts Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After over a decade of waiting, Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell's Bonnie and Clyde has finally entered the West End and has done so with a bang. Telling the story of the eponymous duo who became outlaws before being killed together, the romanticised musical is exciting and features some of the strongest performances seen in a long time.

Based on the semi-true story, we follow Bonnie and Clyde from their childhood dreams (her to be a movie star like Clara Bow, and he to be an outlaw like Billy the Kid) to their first flukey meeting, their following life of crime and eventually their downfall and death. Running in parallel to this story is an unrequited love plot as well as some glimpses into the economic depression of the time which highlight why turning to crime was in some ways, necessary, at least for the Barrow Brothers.

At times the book is a little jumbled and some things are over explained, whilst others lack a little development. However, it is equally brilliant in its comedy, especially in the snarky exchanges between Blanche and Bonnie. Aside from the few issues, this is a really wonderful production that is spirited and exudes intensity. As the leading characters, Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage completely own the stage. McCann is a certified star and she brings her clear as glass vocals to life in ballads such as Dyin' Ain't So Bad and she also gives a brilliantly dynamic portrayal as Bonnie. Gage is charming and terrifying in equal measure and vocally her fires on all cylinders. Raise A Little Hell is a complete roof raiser that is powerful, thrilling and aggressive. Together the pair balance one another well and are realistic in their juvenile, all encompassing love story. The sizzling chemistry grows from their first meeting and remains so until the very last second.


The entirety of the small cast are equally strong, with Natalie McQueen giving the most hilarious performance as God-fearing Blanche Barrow. You're Goin' Back To Jail is absolutely hilarious and she imbues every moment with wit, even down to her out of time clapping which is brief but wonderful. Alongside her comedy masterclass, she also brings a more mellow moment in the duet You Love Who You Love which is outstanding. As with much of the show, it's the tight harmonies which really bring the house down and have the audience enraptured. George Maguire is also strong as Buck Barrow and Cleve September nicely balances the hostility of Clyde with his smooth and calmer vocals. 

As well as the performances, the set by Philip Witcomb takes on a life of its own and makes the Arts feel so much bigger than it is. The set is ambitious and impressive and coupled with great projections bu Nina Dunn and sound design by Tom Marshall make the whole show a real spectacle.

Nick Winston has done an outstanding job with this production and it's so wonderful that it's finally getting the run it deserves. How bout' you dance your way to the Arts Theatre and grab yourself a ticket for this theatrical jewel.

photo credit: Richard Davenport