Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Patrick Woodroffe. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Patrick Woodroffe. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Bat Out of Hell Returns to the West End


The producers of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell – The Musical, featuring Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits, are delighted to announce the musical’s return to London in 2023. The show, which is currently touring the UK and Ireland, will play a limited season at the Peacock Theatre with performances from 17 February, ending on 1 April 2023.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical will also have a residency at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino from 27 September 2022.

Casting for both productions to be announced.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 to 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre in 2019. The current UK and Ireland tour began performances at Manchester Opera House on 11 September 2021 and has been playing to sold out houses and great critical acclaim.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical. Bat Out of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 60 million copies worldwide. 16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which contained the massive hit I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

For the stage musical, the legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out of Hell albums, including You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Bat Out of Hell, I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

The electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The UK & Ireland Tour of Bat Out of Hell - The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, original wig designs by Linda McKnight, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell, original casting by David Grindrod CDG and UK Tour casting by Anne Vosser.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical is produced by David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl & Tony Smith, with executive producer Julian Stoneman.

This tour is dedicated to the memory of Jim Steinman, who sadly passed away on 19 April 2021, and Meat Loaf, who passed away on 20 January 2022.

Twitter, Facebook & Instagram: @BatTheMusical

photo credit: Chris Davis Studio

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Chess, London Coliseum | Review


Chess
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Tuesday 1st May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

Benny and Björn’s musical Chess is somewhat of a hidden gem in my mind. There are a number of ‘famous’ songs but other than that the show flies fairly under the radar in the grand scheme of musical theatre. Since seeing the 2008 concert version at the Albert Hall, I have been somewhat obsessively championing this musical so was thrilled to hear it was returning to the West End in the glorious London Coliseum. 

The production values of this show are outstanding. Matt Kinley's set design is minimalistic but striking, with simple set movements creating a whole change in mood and atmosphere. Patrick Woodroffe's lighting is suitably 80s-music-video-chic and Terry Scruby's video design and use of screens either side of the stage adds a unique element as well as a way for those further back in the massive Coliseum to feel a part of the action. However, the screens at times do feel overwhelming  and draw away from the drama rather than highlighting it. All technical aspects of the show work wonderfully though and tie the story and music together to create a cohesive mood. It's the cast which unfortunately lets the show down.

Michael Ball as the Russian, Anatoly, is vocally great but it feels as though he's coasting through and just singing the music note by note rather than bringing out the passion within it. Act 2 is certainly more convincing but there's a lack of compassion with the character and overall his performance is unfortunately underwhelming. 


Tim Howar growls his way through the show and at times is overly aggressive, even for the character. But his rendition of Pity the Child #2 is absolutely, breathtakingly brilliant and worth the ticket price alone. Cedric Neal as The Arbiter is shamefully underused as his smooth, riff-filled vocals are a highlight of the show. He's a sleek, expressive performer who deserves more stage time.

On the female side, the two leads work well together in their duet of I Know Him So Well and their love/resentment towards Anatoly is well acted but one is clearly better than the other. Alexandra Burke is strong at times but her varying accent and tendency to sing the songs as though she's performing in a pop concert take away from the heart-breaking story of Svetlana. Someone Else's Story falls flat for me but He is a Man, He is a Child was a look into what an emotive role this could be. I look forward to hopefully visiting the show again to see how Alexandra settles into the role and makes it her own. 

Cassidy Janson delivers a touching performance, especially during the finale and really works with what she's been given. Some moments seem as though Cassidy is toning down her vocals to fit with others which is a shame, but again something which will hopefully be remedied in future performances.

The ensemble are a tight knit, well-oiled machine who do a wonderful job of transporting us to various locations and do justice to the fantastically diverse score which includes operatic, rock, musical theatre styles and more. 


Despite the star names attached with Chess, it's really the music that steals the show. Benny and Björn's virtuosic score soars and stoops in the most stunning, moving way. The outstanding orchestra are faultless- you’d be hard pressed to hear the music played better than by the glorious musicians in the vast space of the Coliseum. 

There have been a number of cuts and changes to the show, most of which are welcome, however I particularly missed Commie Newspapers which sets up the political conflict between Anatoly and Freddie and provides a clear plot line for those unfamiliar with the show to follow. The character of Walter DeCourcey of Global Television is also noticeably absent which leads to the final confrontation between him and Florence never happening. The dialogue between the two where it’s revealed Florence’s father may not be alive after all and she decides she’s done with Chess, and games in life is particularly moving and just proves that truly Nobody is on Nobody’s Side. It’s a shame to see this cut and for me the new ending falls short. 

Some of the lyric changes also feel a little unnecessary. The change from “haven’t you noticed we are a protagonist short?” to “haven’t you noticed we are a lead short?” for example seems as though those adapting felt the audiences would be too silly to understand the original text. Of course this is a small thing and those unfamiliar with the show wouldn't even notice but as a fan of Chess, it feels like there have been needless changes just for the sake of it. 

Despite this review being somewhat negative, I genuinely did enjoy Chess. Perhaps it's because the first and only other production I've seen was of such a high standard that this current reincarnation falls flat. If you've never seen Chess before then I think you'll love it. I urge you to see the show regardless of its faults as it's got a beautiful score and a moving story that you can't help but fall in love with. 

Chess runs at the London Coliseum until June 2nd.

photo credit: Brinkhoff Mögenberg

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Mamma Mia! The Party Extends Booking to October 2022



Mamma Mia! The Party, London’s premier dining experience, has extended its booking period due to extraordinary demand and is now playing to Sunday 2 October 2022. Tickets for the new booking period at The O2 London are now on sale.

Created by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! The Party is a unique and magical experience in a class of its own, bringing all your favourite hits to life more vividly than ever before: over the course of four glittering hours, guests can immerse themselves in a spectacular musical extravaganza, a four-course Greek feast and an ABBA disco, all in one unforgettable evening of dancing, dining and singing!

Food is at the heart of the experience and a new menu has been created that collects the finest Greece has to offer, made from the best, freshest ingredients. Our guests will be served with a traditional meze followed by the iconic Greek salad of fresh cherry tomatoes, cucumber and feta. For the main course, confit lamb shoulder and slow-cooked beef are served with roasted garlic potatoes, courgettes peperonata, romesco and aromatic jus. For our vegetarian and vegan guests, we present roasted cauliflower with a lemon-herb dressing and stuffed tomato with lentil ragout. A sumptuous Greek lemon cake served with confit orange skin and citrus yoghurt is the perfect end to this delicious meal. For our vegan guests, we are serving traditional loukoumades, delicious dough balls accompanied by a sweet fig jam.

Guests can get the ultimate Mamma Mia! The Party experience with one of our packages. The Platinum Package gives you a Tier A ticket in a prime location, a meet & greet and photo opportunity with members of the cast, champagne on arrival, half a bottle of wine and a Mamma Mia! The Party merchandise party pack. Guests can also upgrade their existing booking by adding the VIP upgrade package taking their experience to the next level with champagne on arrival, half a bottle of wine and a Mamma Mia! The Party merchandise party pack.

The London cast includes Fed Zanni as Nikos, Steph Parry as Kate, Linda John Pierre as Debbie, AJ Bentley as Adam, Julia Imbach as Kostantina, Allie Ho Chee as Bella, Kimberly Powell as Nina, Dawn Spence as Grandma and Gregor Stewart as Fernando. Also in the cast are Oscar Balmaseda, Jonathon Bentley, Molly Cleere and Jessica Spalis. The musicians are John Donovan, Luke Higgins, Kathryn Tindall, Steve Rushton and Mark Pusey.

Mamma Mia! The Party is set in a taverna on the beautiful Greek island of Skopelos, where most exteriors of the first Mamma Mia! film were shot. Nikos and his wife Kate run this exotic and wonderful restaurant together with their family and friends. Told through dialogue and timeless ABBA songs, a warm, romantic and funny story evolves and unfolds during the evening, taking place around the guests as they sit at their tables enjoying a gourmet Greek meal. The evening ends with a 1970s disco, where audience members are welcome to stay to sing and dance to ABBA recordings.

Mamma Mia! The Party has music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (some songs with Stig Anderson), and a story by Calle Norlén, Roine Söderlundh and Björn Ulvaeus, with the English book by writer, comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig.

The London version of Mamma Mia! The Party, which originally opened in Stockholm in January 2016, is co-directed and choreographed by Stacey Haynes and Roine Söderlundh, with set designed by Bengt Fröderberg, lighting designed by Patrick Woodroffe, sound designed by Gareth Owen, costumes designed by Annsofi Nyberg, music supervision by Robin Svensson and casting by David Grindrod for Grindrod Burton Associates.

Mamma Mia! The Party is executively produced by Björn Ulvaeus and produced by Sally Davies for U-Live.

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Band (UK Tour), Grand Opera House, Belfast | Review


The Band (UK Tour)
Grand Opera House, Belfast
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th November 2018 by Damien Murray
★★★★

Take the story of 5 teenage boyband fans from 1993 

Take the women they turn out to be some 25 years later 

Take the boyband they adore 

… oh, and Take That – or at least a selection of their greatest hits – and you are getting close to some of the magical ingredients of this most enjoyable evening of musical theatre. 

Superbly directed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder, aided by a strong team of equally imaginative creatives (particularly Jon Bausor’s Design and Patrick Woodroffe’s Lighting Design), there is so much more to the success of this intriguing musical than one would imagine. 

Of course, it is not the first time that the music of one of the world’s most popular boybands has been brought to the theatrical stage, but this production demonstrates how it should be done. 

Cleverly written by Our House writer, Tim Firth, who again captures the mood and nuances of a particular community (this time, working class Northerners) in the same way that the great Willy Russell highlighted the highs and lows of a Liverpool family as they grew up in the classic musical, Blood Brothers, this show also uses comedy and tragedy to bring life’s dark and shade to us in an evening of emotional ups and downs. 


Rather than opting for the easier and more commonly used concert-format to give a platform for the popular music, this production is unique in that it is not a traditional jukebox musical, nor is it a tribute act to Take That, but rather an engaging and believable story-based show with many surprises about a group of female fans who grow older and grow apart, before reuniting, like their beloved boyband, many years later. 

Apart from some impressive production numbers of the type Take That are famous for and the perfect vocals and harmonies of ‘The Band’ themselves –AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Jones, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon– in re-workings of the well-loved hits, the key to the success here lies in the fact that the songs are all so cleverly integrated within the story without sounding overtly contrived. 

Musical director, John Donovan, and his, mostly hidden, on-stage 5-piece band of musicians is always sympathetic to the story, while providing solid support to the spot-on vocals of The Band and to its enthusiastic dancing as Kim Gavin’s energetic take on Take That’s choreography is brought to life, complete with iconic positioning and poses. 

As if the boys in The Band don’t work hard enough performing all 18 songs and their associated dance moves, they also have to deal with numerous quick changes and the playing of many extras throughout. 

Having always been known for respecting their fans, it is not surprising that this show is not about Take That (they are not even mentioned in the show), but – like a present to their loyal fans – they opted to make the show about a group of fans and the fun and friendship that ensued through the shared experience of fandom. 


We follow them from their hormone-filled teenage years (when they are played by Faye Christall, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs) to an unexpected reunion when they are all forty-something (and played by Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce and Jayne McKenna). 

Providing universally great performances throughout, the members of this precious sisterhood reveal many stories, secrets and surprises … not least the fact that life did not turn out as expected for any of them. 

This is a clever plot as many Take That fans in the audience can readily identify with some of the circumstances, characters, problems and stories being portrayed on stage. 

In contrast to the complicated lives of the ladies, Martin Miller gives a nice understated performance of the simple life led by Jeff, while Andy Williams is outstanding in a series of comic cameos. 

While musical highlights include the moving rendition of A Million Love Songs, the production number, Greatest Day, and the poignant Back For Good, other songs like Could It Be Magic, Patience, Relight My Fire and Rule The World all stand out. 


This fast-paced production also provides some memorable moments like the Roman Chariot scene, the breakable statues in Prague, the aeroplane that becomes a giant glitter ball, the use of a large time-related teletext projection at the start, which progressed to a large digital billboard for the start of Act 2, and the Act 1 finale scene when the aeroplane takes-off over the audience with believable noise and wind effects for those in the front stalls. 

Overall, it is easy to see why this is such a great girlie night out for fans of Take That, but it is so much more for, even if you are neither female nor a fan, you will still enjoy this as it is essentially a great night out for anyone. 

This engaging, endearing and entertaining production may provide a night of harmonies, hormones and hilarity… but, more than anything, it has heart! 

The Band runs at the Grand Opera House until Sat 24 Nov, 2018

Photo credit: Matt Crockett

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Bat Out of Hell (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Bat Out Of Hell (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 18th January 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

There aren’t many touring shows where fire, confetti and belts that melt your faces off are the key selling points, but that’s what makes Bat Out of Hell such a unique and refreshing addition to the touring circuit.

The jukebox musical, with book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman has had various incarnations since it originally opened in Manchester in 2017. From London to Germany to New York, it’s now entertaining audiences across the country with its larger than life performances.

This certainly isn’t a show that relies on its book which is sometimes hard to follow and all in all is very bare and ridiculous. Instead it is helmed by the stellar effects and outstanding solo and ensemble performances that make it such a high octane and enjoyable show.

Choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart is snappy and incredibly tight as well as being very fitting for the apocalyptic-place-like-no-other Obsidian where the musical is set. This is further helped and developed by Jon Bausor’s grungy set and Patrick Woodroffe‘s lighting which both shocks the audience into watching as well as literally highlighting more tender moments on stage.

Of course over the various productions there have been a number of changes. Perhaps most noticeable with this current iteration, is the smaller cast and cut down set. Despite being somewhat noticeable if you’ve seen the show before, these cuts don’t mean there’s any less oomph or energy and in fact, a Tuesday night performance in Wimbledon, felt like a Saturday show (complete with some audience members who wanted their own solos!) In many ways, it’s a show which thrives off of its audience, with many loyal fans supporting it in every possible way. And despite it sometimes detracting from the performers on stage, it’s quite nice to see and hear people so engaged and uplifted by a performance after so long not having live theatre. It's really a show which encourages community and enjoyment, two things we could all use a little more of.



Bat Out of Hell is very much cast led and excels due to its incomparably talented performers who are full out in every moment. As the caged daughter Raven, Martha Kirby is excellent, showing both a tempestuous side and a softer, head over heels in love side. Alongside this her vocals are extraordinary, with a number of stand out moments including Heaven Can Wait and All Coming Back to Me Now. Matha's stage presence is magnetic and it's just a 10/10 performance all round. Alongside her as the male lead is Glenn Adamson who is bold and boisterous with his performance. He brings a kind of frenzied side to Strat and is utterly engaging, as well as giving vocals that soar and shine.

Another change from past London productions is the reworked  placement and character of Valkyrie who becomes one of the main trio of The Lost. As Valkyrie, Kellie Gnauck is a complete powerhouse who steals the show several times and adds a lovely new dimension to many songs thanks to her fine tuned harmonies. Bat Out of Hell veterans Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton continue to triumph and delight as Raven's parents, Falco and Sloane. Their comedic timing is marvellous, as are their vocals and ability to switch moods on a dime. It's a joy to watch them perform together and with the other cast members. What Part of My Body Hurts The Most is a real high point of the show.

Everything is brought together by the ensemble who are electric and so in sync with one another. What's also great about this show is how you can watch various mini plot lines unfurl throughout and the ensemble especially do a great job of highlighting anxieties, relationships etc... within the group. 

If it's a sophisticated narrative you're after, this categorically isn't the show for you, but if you want to escape reality, hear top notch vocals and have an evening that's truly like no other, then fly down to see Bat Out of Hell on tour.

Bat Out Of Hell plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 29th January before continuing its tour

photo credit: Chris Davis Studio