Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Olivia Mitchell. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Olivia Mitchell. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Vision of You: Live with Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton, The Space at Studio 88 | Review


Vision of You: Live 
The Space at Studio 88
Reviewed on Thursday 24th January 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After releasing their album Vision of You, back in December, Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton have taken their exploration of the backstories of Falco and Sloane (the pair's characters in Bat Out of Hell) to new levels with a series of concerts about how the duo came to be.

Featuring a mixture of the Vision of You album and additional songs, the evening is an entertaining and dramatic look at two well loved Bat characters and is certainly a fitting antidote for the fans still mourning the loss of the show at the Dominion Theatre. Starting from when Falco and Sloane meet with 'Falling Slowly' and ending with a bittersweet duet about the couple's life and romance, 'Always Remember Us This Way', Rob and Sharon do a brilliant job of storytelling and taking the audience on a journey. 

Of course, both Rob and Sharon are vocal powerhouses and they don't fail to deliver top notch performances that are gritty but controlled. Combined with Steve Corley's magical, musical skills and the intimate but booming Space at Studio 88, the couple are able to show various sides of their voices and complement each other remarkably. 


The ups and downs of the Falco Family relationship are brought to life further by Erin Ong's beautiful artwork which is projected between songs to fill in the story gaps. There are a number of aspects of the artwork, staging, lyrics and costumes that directly mirror Bat Out of Hell, and avid fans will have a great time picking out the subtle references to the show.  Fans will also hear some familiar people accompanying the artwork, with Georgia Carling, Katherine Hare, Jordan Luke Gage and Patrick Sullivan lending their voices to dramatic points in the plot and bringing their Bat characters to the screen. 

The love Sharon and Rob have for the characters they have created is evident through their album and live performances, and the work they have put into these concerts is so visible. It's clearly a labour of love for the duo and it's only right that all three performances at The Space have sold out. Bat fans will love this character development, but even if you're not a fan of the show, there's no way you'd be underwhelmed by the incredible talent and dedication the pair exude. 

If you want vocal gymnastics, raw performances, drama, angst and romance, then Vision of You, both live in concert and recorded is for you. 

Follow Sharon and Rob for updates on future performances during their #FindingTheFalcos journey

photo credit: Specular and Olivia Mitchell

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Ben Platt: Sing To Me Instead, Eventim Apollo | Review


Ben Platt: Sing To Me Instead
Eventim Apollo
Reviewed on Saturday 15th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

In his premiere London concert, Ben Platt performed his Sing To Me Instead tour to thunderous applause, and proved that sublime vocal skill and authentic connection are the perfect combination for a magical night. 

Opening the evening was James TW. A British singer-songwriter, James instantly got the audience on his side through his earnest songs and impressive vocals which set the tone for the intimate evening ahead. His stripped down version of Hey Ya! was particularly entertaining, especially as the audience sang back in a wonderful moment of synchronicity. Personally the most moving song was When You Love Someone which was performed with absolute candor, and highlighted why James is succeeding in his career so far.

After a brief interval, headliner Ben Platt took to the stage to almighty applause as he sung out his first instantly recognisable phrase. From the opening moment we were transferred to a vibrant jam session which was energetic and magnetic throughout. The opening song Bad Habit paved the way for the signature vibrato, laid back vibe and insanely well performed concert we were about to experience. With a set list almost exclusively featuring songs from Ben's debut album, this was a wonderful chance to see and hear Ben outside the restraints of playing a character. Whilst yet to perform in a West End musical, it was clear from the many people sporting Dear Evan Hansen merchandise, that a lot of his fans are from his theatre work. What was wonderful about this concert, is that despite not featuring any musical theatre numbers, it felt just as emotive and transformative as sitting through a plot filled musical and will entertain both stageys and non-stageys alike. If the album is not enough to assure you of Platt's vocal prowess, seeing him live will absolutely seal the deal.


Ben animatedly chatted between songs as he found ways to open himself up and connect to the audience. Short anecdotes about each piece added a depth which seemed to resonate with everyone there. In a night of perfectly performed songs it's hard to label standouts, but Honest Man and Share Your Address were particular favourites as they radiated energy thanks to Ben and his outstanding band and backup singers. Throughout the concert Platt used his smooth riffs and a soaring range to share the various life lessons he's learned and seemed to truly be loving every minute of it. 

Aside from Ben's own music, he also put his spin on some other artists. Brandi Carlile's The Joke was goosebump inducing, whilst Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed transported us to a bopping bar and the melody of Elton Jonh's Take Me To The Pilot was emphasised and enthusiastically performed. 

The intimate feel of the Sing To Me Instead album was perfectly reflected in the stage layout which was dotted with cushions and family photos. Every beat of each song was matched faultlessly through the lighting design of the tour. Superbly theatrical, warm and awe-inspiring, it was truly the most well lit concert I've ever experienced and made the night not only aurally pleasing, but visually stunning.


Ben closed the night with Older and Run Away; two beautifully controlled pieces which solidified him as performer in his own right, outside of playing a character. As audience members, we were welcomed into Ben's world and he did not shy away from letting us in on his triumphs and flaws. This connection was truly magical and I have absolutely no doubt that Ben will continue to beguile and inspire audiences around the world. 

photo credit: Olivia Mitchell

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Lucie Jones, Live at Zedel | Review


Lucie Jones (Concert) 
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Friday 12th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

One of my first ever reviews on Rewrite This Story, was of Lucie Jones' cabaret at Waterloo East where I completely fell in love with her insane voice and magnetic personality. In the two years since that concert, Lucie has  starred as Elle Woods in the UK tour of Legally Blonde, wowed as Maureen in Rent and was the UK's entry in the Eurovision contest... I guess you could say it's been a pretty quiet time for her?! I have been lucky enough to see Lucie in her various roles, but there's always something special about a solo concert.

The Zedel consistently provides the perfect atmosphere for a cosy, intimate night and allows the sole focus to be on the outstanding vocals of whoever is performing, so seeing such a talented vocalist take the stage there was a real treat. From the get-go Lucie commands the space and welcomes us into, what feels like, the inner circle. Her bouncy humour and infectious personality puts us completely in the palm of her hand and allows us to experience a carefree night of laughs and joy, whilst our attention never wavers. In my experience of musical theatre cabarets, there are only a number of performers who are able to capture a crowd so effortlessly and remain natural and unforced throughout, Lucie has truly mastered this and it's clear why she has so many loyal fans.

Despite only having about 24 hours to put this concert together, the entire thing felt sleek and polished. MD for the concert was the outstandingly wonderful, Sarah Travis who looked and sounded as if she was born to play the piano. The banter between the pair is hilarious and they work together so well, that even moments which go slightly wrong, almost feel as if they're scripted.


I would talk about each song on the set list, but every single one was a highlight. From the opening The Winner Takes it All to the closing Eurovision song, Never Give Up On You, Lucie showcased her incredibly well supported vocals  and ability to act through song. Particularly impressive, is the control in Lucie's voice; her well-honed technique is evident through her smooth mix of straight tone and vibrato, as well as her effortless mix and belt. A stand out moment for me was the mesmerising If I Loved You, where we got to see a more nuanced, gentler side to Lucie. She truly is a masterful performer and the hard work she puts into her craft is clear in every second she is on stage.

Although every song was outstanding, I will fangirl a bit more and mention a few of my other favourites... As a huge Anastasia fan, I adored the lyrical, Disney-esque rendition of Journey To The Past; the intensely beautiful, Nothing Stops Another Day pulled at my heart and That's Life is made for Lucie's voice. Alongside stellar vocals, Lucie provides some cracking anecdotes and ad libs which could be a comedy show of their own!

We were also treated to two special guests: Danny Mac and Rebecca Stenhouse. Rebecca Joined Lucie as they channeled Cady and Janis in the Mean Girls jam, Apex Predator, before Rebecca performed a fantastic version of Hopelessly Devoted To You, which she made feel contemporary with some added riffs and option ups. Danny took on the role of Dr. Pomatter in a sickly sweet performance of It Only Takes a Taste from Waitress and brought a beautiful stillness to the Zedel with his performance of It All Fades Away.

I could rave about Lucie's voice for approximately the next 400 hours but I'll wrap it up here and say that if you turn down the chance to see Lucie in any future performances, you are missing out big time. If you want to see a truthful artist who is so giving in her performance and able to magnetise a crowd toward her, then go and witness the star that is, Lucie Jones.

photo credit: Olivia Mitchell

Monday, 21 May 2018

Divalution: The Re-Launch, The Other Palace | Review


Divalution: The Re-Launch (Concert) 
The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Sunday 20th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

What a night. Divalution took over The Other Palace for a Sunday night of flawless vocals, spades of personality and a whole load of fun. I was made aware of Divalution (previously Sapphire Soul) when I saw them perform at West End Live Lounge. From the first time I heard their killer voices I was obsessed. These ladies are class, sass, fire and vocal prowess combined to create a perfect group who deserve to been seen and heard everywhere.

Made up of friends Laura Tebbutt, Sejal Keshwala and Lisa-Marie Holmes, Divalution come together to belt out new songs and classics which are beautifully arranged and showcase the ladies' brilliant technique. It's clear from their polished performance that many hours of hard work have gone into creating a perfectly oiled machine and their passion, determination, dedication and love really shine through.

The ladies opened the show as they meant to go on, with a fiery rendition of Survivor by Destiny's Child and the song of the moment, This is Me from The Greatest Showman. We were then introduced to their fab personalities, with each including jokes and anecdotes throughout. Every song was wonderful but standouts included Over The Rainbow, their 23 song 90's Medley, Defying Gravity and All I Ask/When We Were Young.


As well as hearing the delightful group sound of Divalution, we were also treated to solo performances. Laura Tebbutt put her own spin on Elbow's One Day Like This which included to my delight, some audience participation. Laura, known as the belter of the group has vocals and facial expressions for days and I fully want to be her when I grow up (still fooling myself that 21 isn't grown up.) Laura's vocals are honestly some of the best I've ever heard; just when you think she can't belt any higher she takes it up a billion octaves and sounds impeccable doing it. I don't understand how she hasn't been Elphaba yet, or why she's not in every single show in the West End. Honestly outstanding.

Lisa Marie-Holmes' solo was a haunting version of Snow Patrol/Leona Lewis' Run which showed off her powerful voice, stellar belt and lyrical soprano range. Again, this lady needs more recognition in the world because she is AMAZING!

Completing the trio is Sejal Keshwala who's performance of Dangerous Woman blew the roof of The Other Palace off and had most of the audience on their feet- truly mesmerising.

As well as Divalution themselves, we also got to hear special guests Rob Houchen who perfectly sung I'm Not the Only One and Marisha Wallace who blessed the audience with her Whitney Houston medley. Marisha has taken the West End by storm since appearing as Effie White in Dreamgirls and by god does this lady know how to work a crowd. The audience were putty in her hand as they stood up, sung along and absorbed themselves in her insanely good vocals and stage presence.


Due to the fact that the ladies of Divalution also have solo careers, they have a couple of stand ins who replace them if all three can't make a gig. We were introduced to Nicola and Katie when the five ladies joined together for the rousing act one closing number, Power. West Finchley is very lucky to have so many talented vocalists residing there!

Mention must also go to the outstanding band, led by Robert Eckland and made up of Doug Harper on drums, Richard Coughlan on bass, Jeff Leach on keys and Adam Goldsmith on guitar. They kept the night going and provided fantastic accompaniments throughout with Adam completely wowing me with his insane playing. My only negative of the night was that the mics were a little too loud at the start but this was quickly remedied and didn't diminish my enjoyment of the evening at all.

Every song was so full out that my larynx hurt for Divalution when leaving the theatre and as a  classical soprano who can't belt to save her life, I can only dream of being able to hit the notes they do. It's concerts like this that get me riled up because these ladies are so so SO talented but don't get half the recognition they deserve. With so many 'famous' artists nowadays being auto-tuned beyond belief, it sucks that naturally talented people such as Divalution are not at the stratospheric levels of fame they deserve to be at. Of course it's not about fame and it's clear from the three ladies that they do what they do for a love of singing and music but tell all your friends, families, acquaintances and people you meet on the street to listen to Divalution so they can keep wowing people. Spread the Divalution word and be inspired not only by their vocals but their strength and conviction as women.

Keep up to date with Divalution via their twitter and instagram.

photo credit: West End Video & Olivia Mitchell

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Hadestown, National Theatre | Review


Hadestown
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 14th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Folky, emotive, excellently performed and ever relevant, the National Theatre's production of Hadestown is a grand triumph. The folk opera by Anaïs Mitchell started life in 2006 as a small concert which then became an album and gained a cult following. A fully formed, off-Broadway production came from the genius team of Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin who have continued their partnership for this new production which they are taking to Broadway after its run at the National.

Despite a number of iterations, the story has always remained the same and the music, scarily relevant. We follow the story of Orpheus who could charm anyone with his music and Eurydice, the woman who falls in love with him, but he loses as he tries to lead her out of the underworld. 

This show is wonderfully smart and sharp in the way it twists the original stories to feel current whilst still maintaining their mythic feel. Orpheus and Eurydice aren't magical spirits but a young boy and girl facing famine and the trials of life in a failing world. Hades, ruler of the underworld also rules the mines and offers his people "freedom" by giving them jobs but also imprisoning them behind a wall. Why We Build The Wall must be one of the most topical numbers of the show and it's hard to believe it wasn't written more recently. The parallels with the state of the USA are undeniable.


The sleek but intricate set of Rachel Hauck, takes the tale to a Depression-era bar, where André De Shields as Hermes, narrates the show and introduces us to the meaning's behind what's to come whilst accompanied by a life, bluesy band who are dotted around the stage. His rich voice transports the audience to another world.

The operatic nature comes from the recitatives which pepper the show and provide lyrical pauses from the sometimes repetitive songs. The cast do an absolutely outstanding job of performing the beautiful music, providing spades of emotion. The pureness of the show and performances within it moved me to tears several times and the man next to me must have exclaimed "wow" after at least 90% of songs. 

Reeve Carney has a soft-rock vibe to his Orpheus, with his spiked hair and calming voice showing Eurydice would have been drawn to him. Eva Noblezada is on another vocal level with her performance; her voice is supremely clear and the effortless way she delivers every line is truly magical to behold. Every word that leaves her mouth is infused with feeling and the way she idly carries herself round the stage makes her the perfect counterpart to the equally cool, Orpheus. Their sweet duet, All I've Ever Known is a magical moment.


Reminiscent of The Huger Games' President Snow and the USA's President Trump, Hades is played menacingly by Patrick Page. The weight of his words and performance cut close to home and his growling bass voice enchants everyone who hears it. What's most scary is the way he also reveals a tender side which is mesmerising and terrifying at once. Hey Little Songbird is an example of the way he can wrap someone around his finger; he seduces Eurydice before telling his wife later that the girl means nothing to him. As his half-drunk, half-lonely wife Persephone, Amber Gray gives a masterclass performance. Her high energy moments are contrasted perfectly with moments of sadness which seep out of her and cover the audience in waves.

Chavkin has worked with every performer, set piece, musician and lighting moment to create a show which has us lingering between despair and hope. The sharp choreography from David Neumann works fantastically with the revolves of the Oliver stage and bring an equally frenetic and still mood to the piece.

This is a production all about balance and the entire cast, crew and creative team have done an astounding job of highlighting the pain and beauty which inhabits our world. Mention goes to the Fates (Rosie Fletcher, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Gloria Onitiri) and Jordan Shaw who all caught the eye throughout with their supremely grounded performances.

Hadestown is painfully relevant and beautifully moving. It's a production which will surely be remembered by all who see it, and should be seen by all.

Hadestown runs at the National Theatre until January 26th 2019

photo credit: Helen Maybanks

Friday, 14 September 2018

Heathers, Theatre Royal Haymarket | Review


Heathers
Theatre Royal Haymarket
Reviewed on Monday 10th September 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Every so often a show comes around which receives an exceptional amount of hype and has the West End buzzing. Heathers is currently that show and the good news is that it truly lives up to it. Based on the 1989 film starring Winona Ryder, this musical adaptation is full of energy and humour as it balances the line between political correctness and incorrectness. We find ourselves drawn towards the darkness but also cringing at the atrocities that go on.

Laurence O'Keefe had huge success with his adaptation of Legally Blonde and has applied his winning formula once again to bring this show to life with a camp, sassy and at times melancholic score. The plot follows Veronica Sawyer, a girl who is 'different' to the others at her school and longs for unity between all cliques and social standings. However, in order to make it through High School, she befriends the rulers of the school, the "lipstick gustapo" made up of three girls named Heather. Our protagonist then meets a brooding new boy, Jason J.D Dean who turns out to be a kill happy psychopath. From there on there are deaths, parties, funerals and a whole lot of destruction.

When the movie came out in 1989 it became an instant hit and then received a cultish following when it opened off-Broadway in 2014. The show's transition to the West End has been no different as teens and young adults flood to the theatre with scrunchies in hair and  pleated skirts on to see this wildly fun but disturbing musical brought to life.



The entire cast bring this show to life with vivacious passion and immense talent. Leading the gang, Carrie Hope Fletcher is a powerhouse as she battles between what's right and wrong and what she wants to do to boost her social standing/love life. Carrie steps  on stage to well deserved cheers and blows the roof of with her entire performance, especially her new song 'I Say No' which gives her a backbone and the rough 'Dead Girl Walking Reprise'. Veronica's moments of strength are certainly where Carrie shines but she is also humourous and likeable as she swoons over JD.

Under Andy Fickman's direction, Jamie Muscato plays the mysteriously murderous JD with an intensity that you can't help but be drawn to. Whilst it's not wise to partner up with a murderer, we all love a bad boy and the combination of JD's smooth talking and Jamie's perfectly rough voice make us feel for him a little bit, even though he becomes a monster before our eyes. Muscato's frenetic energy in 'Meant To Be Yours' is certainly a theatrical highlight of the year.

The three Heathers waltz around the stage as one but have quirky personality traits which are owned and embodied by each. As leader of the pack, Heather Chandler who "floats above it all", Jodie Steele is brilliant. Her permanent scowl, sharp movements, sublime vocals and stellar comedic timing make her perfect for the role. Sophie Isaacs brings an innocence to Heather McNamara which is interesting to play out. Whilst she is part of the mean girl group, it's clear from the outset that she is merely following the pack and wishes to break away. Isaacs' rendition of Lifeboat is a pin-drop silence moment which stands out in the show. As the final Heather, Duke, T'Shan Williams is feisty and aggressive, with her solo Never Shut Up Again earning her laughs and cheers from the audience. 



Stand outs of the cast also include Jenny O'Leary who gives a moving performance of Kindergarten Boyfriend, Rebecca Lock who brings the entire theatre to life with her fiery, belt-tastic Shine a Light and Christopher Chung and Dominic Andersen who are humour embodied as the jocks who combine to create Kram. Ensemble members Lauren Drew and Olivia Moore also catch the eye throughout.

Gary Lloyd's choreography is especially effective with the Heathers, namely during the iconic Candy Store which sees them sashaying round the stage but in true Heathers style, being in complete control the entire time and never stepping out of sync with one another.

Mention must go to Ben Cracknell's lighting, which like the music, intensifies every emotion on stage. Particularly effective are the varying tones of light between the characters. The Heathers are of course lit in their iconic colours (brought to life vibrantly through David Shields' costumes) but whats most striking are the moments when Veronica is lit in warm spotlights whilst JD is basked in stark, almost grey tones. This highlights the contrast between the true evil and the kind-of-forced-into-evil in a clever way.



Most of the subject matter of this show is uncomfortable but sadly ever present: bullying, suicide, murder, depression. Heathers does a good job of satirising the sensationalism of them and shines a light (pun intended) on the fact that unity and kindness are always the way forward.

Whilst this isn't a light hearted show in content, the songs are crazily catchy, the talent level is ridiculously high and it's just a really good night out. For Big Fun, get down to the Theatre Royal Haymarket!

Heathers runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 24th November

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Monday, 4 June 2018

When The Curtain Falls (Book), Carrie Hope Fletcher | Review


The latest edition in Carrie Hope Fletcher's book empire, When The Curtain Falls (the same title as her debut album) is all about theatre and romance, aka, my dream. The book follows two young lovers, Oscar Bright and Olive Green as they meet backstage whilst performing in a revival of a show in which tragedy struck 50 years earlier. Through a series of flashbacks and memories, we discover what happened to the original lovers, Fawn Burrows and Walter Brown, and whether tragedy is set to strike again. With heartache, tragedy, theatre and a little bit of magic, When The Curtain Falls is the perfect read to wrap you up and transport you to the glittering lights of the West End.

Carrie's writing is lyrical but easy to read. Reading her books feel as though you're listening to a friend talk; When The Curtain Falls especially, has a relaxed feel about it. 

In a previous review of All That She Can See I wrote that Carrie's writing has a theatrical feel, this is obviously even more evident in this story which is all about the stage, performing and backstage antics. There are a whole host of stagey references which any avid theatre fan will love spotting. I especially loved the fact that the first musical Olive saw was Beauty and the Beast, which was my first too and that she lives in Turnham Green- West London represent! 


The section at the start where Olive is talking about being in the 'theatre world' and the 'real world' is just one very interesting and relatable moment. When you go to shows a lot and are part of the theatre scene it feels like it's the only thing that exists and that everyone knows everyone, but once you go back to the 'real world' very few people have the same connections. It’s the same with theatre stars, at their theatre they are famous, signing autographs and standing for photos but once they turn the corner they blend into the crowd and normal people wouldn't bat an eyelid seeing them. This ramble has very little relevance to this review, other than saying that it's very clever how Carrie has worked tidbits of the musical theatre world into the story without making it overbearing or factual. The entire story flows with the ease of watching a really good show.

The romance between the lead couple is extremely sweet, if at times cringey. You can almost see the way the pair look at one another and at times it feels like we're invading a private moment whilst we read. The mirrors between the 1952 relationship and the current one are well written and interesting to see. All the characters are well developed and I couldn't help but wonder if anyone, especially Tamara, is based on anyone Carrie has come across in her career! With Moulin Rouge vibes, I can so see this story as a swooping romance film.


When The Curtain Falls is a theatre fans dream. With stagy references, a beautiful romance and some unexpected plot twists, there's not much more you could ask for in a book. This is certainly my favourite of Carrie's novels and I hope she continues to include theatre in her work. I also hope that the magic of this book will welcome new people to the theatre so they can experience whatbthe stars of the story do (perhaps with less drama though!) 

It's clear how much passion and love Carrie has for the stage and it really comes across in her heartfelt writing. I urge you to pick up When The Curtain Falls and to escape into a beautiful world for a few hours.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When The Curtain Falls is released July 12th by Little Brown

If you enjoyed this book review, be sure to check out Olivia's other book reviews at www.TheOliviaEdition.com

Review by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Grease The Musical, Dominion Theatre | Review


Grease The Musical
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

It’s a cult classic that’s got the word, got the groove, it’s got meaning, and in its current West End run at the Dominion Theatre, Grease provides a high energy, fun night out that’ll have you feeling good and tapping your toes.

The production which previously toured the UK features all the iconic moments and songs from the film, but shuffles them around and combines them with their original stage versions. For example The T Birds are now back to their og name of the Burger Palace Boys. These small tweaks allow the audience to be more engaged as they don’t quite know what’s coming. However, other attempts to somewhat modernise the book fall a little flat. You would assume that ending the show with the punchline of the girl changing herself so the boy likes her, could’ve been switched up a little but it remains the same as the movie and certainly feels dated. This version of Grease does give Sandy's character more of a backbone but it would be nice to see just a bit of dialogue added to give her a bit more autonomy at the end.

The West End cast is chockablock with strong performers who bring the array of characters to life incredibly well. As the leading lady, Olivia Moore is a delight as Sandy. Her powerhouse voice soars every time she opens her mouth and she gives a dynamic and endearing performance. Leader of the Burger Palace Boys, Danny Zuko is played well by Dan Partridge who really comes into his own in the angsty number How Big I'm Gonna Be and also provides great humour and vocals in Stranded at the Drive In.

Other standout performers include Jocasta Almgill, who’s rendition of There Are Worse Things I Could Do, is heart-wrenching and transforms the song to be heard in a new light. Mary Moore is also a gem as Jan and Eloise Davies is wonderfully witty and whimsical as the Beauty School Dropout, Frenchie. Paul French’s Kenickie is rough and brooding but sometimes lets his softer side show and is a delight to watch. 

If you’ve seen the adverts for this show, you’ll have probably seen Peter Andre who is starring as Vince Fontaine and Teen Idol. Whilst only appearing briefly in act one, in act two he comes to life and is highly entertaining and will certainly please audience members who are fans!

There are a few moments in the show where the energy lulls or jokes fall a bit flat but it’s the full ensemble sections that really bring it back up and make it soar. The Hand Jive and We Go Together are especially good moments that ooze energy and almost create electricity in the auditorium. This is in a big way thanks to Arlene Phillips' outstanding choreography that is fresh and exciting but completely in keeping with what we know and love as typically Grease

As a whole the cast are top notch and work really well together. It's great to see how much characterisation work has gone into each role, so that no matter who you're looking at one stage, you can always see a story or relationship developing with them.

Despite a few shortcomings, the musical is a real laugh and a nice, hand jiving escape from reality. It's not groundbreaking but Grease The Musical does what it says on the tin and delivers iconic scenes and songs that fans of the film will love. So, all you crazy cats better get booking!

Friday, 7 December 2018

In Conversation With... Sophie Isaacs | Cinderella | Interview

Fresh from starring in the hit musical, Heathers, Sophie Isaac's is getting festive and tackling Panto with Cinderella which opens tonight in Woking  at the New Victoria Theatre. Olivia sat down with Sophie for a festive chat...


You've just finished playing Heather McNamara in Heathers, tell us a bit about that...

It was possibly the best experience I've ever had. Seeing a job from workshops, then to a sold out run at The Other Palace and then transferring to the West End; to see a show develop from the start like that has been incredible and also, it's such a special show that I just adore it. 


Heathers has obviously already been on, but you basically created this version of Heather Mc yourself, so what was the hardest part?

Probably just getting to grips with the character and her journey because she starts off being a Heather, with the not nice aspect of that but her journey means her character changes throughout the show and her interactions with different people affect her. Especially with Veronica (Carrie Hope Fletcher) and that friendship, which really develops. So getting that journey is the most important in terms of making sure she had heart at the beginning, even though it was a little hidden, and gradually bringing that out. 


Did you get a lot of say in the changes in your production of Heathers?
Yeah, we were really lucky. The creative team were unbelievable; so gracious and open to us saying "it doesn't feel natural" but honestly, generally they knew what was right and what was best. They've been with the show for ten years but they were absolutely open to discussion and seeing what works and what doesn't.


Heathers audiences were very different in terms of their live reactions compared to other musical audiences, what was that experience like and do you think it prepped you for the interactive aspect of Panto?
Yes, Heathers was like a rock concert and it's nice because I now won't be put off by people suddenly shouting at me or cheering or being very very involved. We always said that the Heather's audience was the fifth Beatle and pantomime has the fifth Beatle as well, so it was very good prep. 

We didn't know how Heathers would land going from 300 seats at The Other Palace to the much bigger, Haymarket but it was bigger and better which was amazing.


So, Cinderella the Panto- are you excited?
Yes! I put the dress on today and I just cannot wait. The shoes are just stunning, jewelled everywhere, with a monster jewel on the front. I am possibly the biggest Christmas fan on the planet so any opportunity to get festive, I love!


What are your favourite parts of Christmas, do you have any traditions?
Of course the whole, advent calendar and chocolate for breakfast everyday thing. My favourite things are generally food related! Mulled wine, piggies in blankets, I love a buffet.... oh and love a mince pie! Just all of it! 

I was out of the country last year for Christmas and it was awful, I was just so sad cause I wanted to be here with my family so I thought to myself, "what's the most Christmassy thing I can do next year?" and here we are... Panto!


Are you a big Panto fan?
Yeah I love it, absolutely love it. I haven't been in one for years and years and years but the last one I saw was Cinderella. It was in Swindon and my friend was playing Cinderella so it's nice to be doing this now.


So why should people come and see Cinderella in Woking?
You should come to the Panto because it's an amazing night out, it's a time to have a lot of fun with your family; it's festive; there are jokes that mums and dads will get, and jokes that the children will get, so it's fun for all and I think it's going to be incredible!

Cinderella runs at the New Victoria Theatre until January 6th 2019

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Grahame Larter

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