Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rachel Tucker. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rachel Tucker. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Olivia's Top 10 Shows of 2017



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


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


10. Yank | Charing Cross Theatre

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




9. Follies | National Theatre

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



8. Mack and Mabel (LMTO) | Hackney Empire

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




7. Funny Girl | New Victoria Theatre


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


6. Hamlet | Alemida Theatre

Andrew Scott was just spectacular. That's all.



5. Fiddler on the Roof | Chichester Festival Theatre

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



4. Angels in the America | National Theatre

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



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

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



2. Romantics Anonymous | Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

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



1. Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre

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


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

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

Au revoir 2017! Stay Stagey, 2018!

Top 10 by editor, Olivia Mitchell

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Scott Alan, Hippodrome Casino | Review


Scott Alan (Concert)
The Hippodrome Casino
Reviewed on Sunday June 25th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

The Hippodrome Casino is fast becoming one of my favourite venues as I see more and more brilliant performances. Scott Alan's concert was no exception, with gorgeous music, brilliant singers and a hilarious commentary throughout, it was a perfect night. After spending the weekend covering West End Live for Stage Faves then heading to The Theatre Cafe to see Rachel Tucker and Marisha Wallace, I hot-footed it over to the casino for a night of music from one of my favourite musical theatre composers.

I have adored Scott's music for as long as I can remember, I don't recall exactly how I found it but it's been with me for most of my childhood and I've been scouring youtube for every version of each song for a long time and have fallen in love with every single one. Although Scott has performed in London a number of times, I have never been able to attend so when I reached out to Scott on twitter and he was kind enough to offer me a ticket, my stagey heart was ready to burst and I was ecstatic that I would finally hear his songs performed live by a host of incredible performers.

Both acts were a celebration of Scott's career with the stars taking the stage to perform theirs and Scott's favourite compositions.  Scott joked how each song he writes is depressing, even his happy songs are emotive ballads which is extremely true and for me, someone who thrives on emotional, depressing music (I have playlist just for it) it was all I couldv'e asked for.

My personal favourites of the night were the stunning Lucie Jones, who dashed straight from West End Live to perform 'Never Neverland' and 'Home' both of which were devastatingly gorgeous. Jodie Jacobs who I've been lucky enough to see in 27 and Lizzie performed 'Stay' which showed off her epic voice and Kieran Brown gave a heart-wrenching, powerful performance of one of my favourites, 'Again'. 

Another favourite section of the concert was when Scott introduced three competition winners who were each going to perform. He encouraged the audience to be extremely supportive of them both in the concert and generally in the performing industry and explained how he loves showcasing new talent. Erin Caldwell was the first of the three winners, performing 'Always' so beautifully. Her tone, clarity and control was just incredible and you could've heard a pin drop. A masterclass in graceful performance. Secondly we had Sabrina Basile with 'And There It Is', Sabrina's acting throughout the song was impeccable, her voice is effortless and beautiful but her overall interpretation of the song really made it something special. The final of the three, Bill Harvey was introduced with a candid chat from Scott about depression and how it affected him, saying that he'd felt like he was the "only person to wake up heavy" and how dark things got for him but that we can all make our way out of the darkness and heaviness. Bill performed the beautiful and emotional 'Anything Worth Holding Onto' with a sincerity which shone through and drew the audience in. 

Scott's personality is just infectious and he carries the whole concert with his own unique brand of crass inappropriateness and self-deprecating humour. There were laugh out loud moments from start to finish and the entire concert, which of course overran it's anticipated hour and a half run time by almost an hour, flew by. Scott is candid and honest and whilst he is humorous and shocking, he quickly slips into his own world when performing himself and you can see how much music means to him. I especially loved 'Simpler' which was heartfelt and touching.

As I said before, each and every performance was absolutely brilliant and I could say fabulous things about all of them but that would mean we'd be here all day! Scott's music is touching and truthful and it's crazy that the whole world don't know about it and him. If you get the chance to see Scott or any of the performers in concert then take the opportunity up and you're guaranteed a fantastic night!

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Hannah Waddingham on Bringing a Queen to Life in The Pirate Queen | Interview


Based on the real-life story of history’s Grace O’Malley – an Irish Chieftain and notorious pirate, The Pirate Queen is an adventure chronicling the compelling, inspiring heroine who led an extraordinary life as a rogue, lover and mother in 16th-century Ireland. To protect her people and save her one true love, O’Malley must confront the one woman more powerful than her— her fierce rival, Queen Elizabeth I of England.

From the writers of Les MisĂ©rables and Miss Saigon, the show combines classic storytelling and a sweeping score, with the powerful, vibrant traditions of Irish dance and song, to create a modern musical event that is both historic romance and a timeless epic.

Playing Queen Elizabeth I in this one night only extravaganza is Hannah Waddingham, who told us what we can expect from the musical, what other historical figure she'd like to play and what her favourite moment of the musical is...



Tell us about The Pirate Queen, what can we expect?
Audiences can definitely expect an absolutely glorious wall of sound to hit them from the get go. Just sitting in on rehearsals the last few days I can’t quite believe what the ensemble have already achieved, quite irritatingly quickly really! It’s the most beautiful, expansive, atmospheric  piece and I can’t wait for us to unleash it on the London Coliseum. 


You're playing Queen Elizabeth, what's it like brining a royal to life?
What’s struck me most about trying to mould myself into Queen Elizabeth I is the sense of responsibility and how information received by her from her court must be firstly processed as Queen, not as a woman. 


What's your current favourite moment of the show?
My current favourite moment of the show is when she and Grace (Rachel Tucker) are in their own heads ruminating about the “other woman” in the duet She Who Has All. 

It’s that beautiful construct of the audience seeing and hearing their insecurities in life and about the other person before they see it in each other in the flesh. 


If you could star in a musical about any other historical figure, who would you choose?
If I were to take on the role of any other historical figure it would have to be a biblical one! Nothing touches Judas Iscariot for me. Both vocally and emotionally there could be no more satisfying a role for me than that. 


Why should people come and see The Pirate Queen?
People should come and see The Pirate Queen because it deserves to be heard in the beautiful, epic setting of The London Coliseum. They are such fitting bed fellows. 


The score is Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg at their atmospheric best, and what greater cause could there be than for the Leukaemia Uk charity. The evening will be a great privilege for everyone to be part of, both on stage and off. 


The Pirate Queen plays at the London Coliseum on 23 February, 7pm

photo credit: Danny Kaan

Monday, 23 November 2020

The Digi Creative release Theatrical Coffee Table Book


The Digi Creative release Dear Audience, a theatrical coffee table book filled with over 140 pages showcasing the Arts industry. With exclusive imagery, personalised letters to the Audiences, and more, this book is a celebration of Theatre and everyone who works in it.  

Featuring Lucie Jones, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cedric Neal, Lambert Jackson Productions,  Layton Williams, Alice Fearn, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Rachel Tucker, Carl Man, Paul Taylor-Mills, Sejal Keshwala, Frances Ruffelle and so many more. 

15% of profits will be donated to Applause For Thought a triple award-winning organisation that facilitates lower-cost Mental Health; support, talks, accredited courses, and bespoke Mental Health and Well-being Consultancy for all those working within the Arts and Entertainment Industry.


Digi Creative co-founder, Sophie Ross says: “We hope that this coffee table book will bring joy in a time when the Arts industry needs to be celebrated the most. Theatre is made up of so many people, (this being just a small percentage) and it’s important to showcase that at every given opportunity. I’m so proud of Danny and I for creating something that is an homage to this year and something we can look back on in years to come. Super grateful for everyone who gave up their time to be involved and can’t wait to share the book with everyone.”

 

Digi Creative co-founder, Danny Kaan says: I’ve always wanted to make a coffee table book but making it in 2020 feels even more special. The number of people that were willing to be involved was overwhelming and shows how supportive this industry is and how passionate we all are for the Arts. Combining Photography and my love for this industry has been a joy and I’ve honestly had the best time. Seeing so many faces in a time where human contact has been so limited has been heartwarming and wonderful”.

 

Pre-order the book here: www.dearaudiencebook.com (Christmas guarantee)

General on-sale Wednesday 25th November 10am (second batch delivery)

Pricing £35 with worldwide shipping available

Monday, 4 December 2017

Marisha Wallace: Soul Holiday, Charing Cross Theatre | Review


Marisha Wallace: Soul Holiday (Concert) 
Charing Cross Theatre 
Reviewed on Sunday 3rd December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

There's no denying that Marisha Wallace is a powerhouse; in the short time she's been in London she's really made herself a feature of the West End and a must see star. Continuing her conquest of the West End theatre scene, Marisha recently released a Christmas album, Soul Holiday, full of festive treats to get us all in the Christmas spirit and yesterday performed these musical gems for us at the Charing Cross Theatre.

The concert included her jazzy Christmas re-imaginations, gospel songs and some musical theatre classics as well as her hilarious/motivational/all round brilliant interludes between songs. Her warm personality, outstanding vocals and ability to work a crowd had the audience in the palm of her hand within a matter of moments.

Personal highlights included 'O Come All Ye Faithful', the brilliantly upbeat 'Joyful, Joyful', and her heartfelt performance of 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' which she explained was particularly meaningful as she's been away from her family and friends for so long. 'He Chose Me' was vocally faultless and especially moving. Her stunning rendition of 'I'm Here' from The Colour Purple (she played Celie in the production at Cadogan Hall) was incredible and a testament to her vocal and acting skills.

Two fantastic guests joined the festive bliss with Tyrone Huntley showing off his smooth, glorious voice in 'Last Christmas' and 'What's Going On' and Rachel Tucker in the Christmas favourite, 'Winter Wonderland' and the hilarious, belt-tastic 'Take Me or Leave Me' from Rent. Both were great, their friendship with Marisha really shone through and contributed to the warm and cosy, festive feeling.

Marisha spoke candidly about a number of topics including her grandmother who inspired her to continue singing, food (a festive staple) and Jesus. Whilst she spoke a lot about her religion, it was not in a forceful way and she explained that "it doesn't matter who or what you believe in, just believe in you and that you can do anything". It was refreshing to hear such honesty and motivation.

Whilst the 5pm audience were not the most enthusiastic, everyone still seemed to enjoy the concert as they basked in the glory of Marisha's voice and talent.  The intimate setting with the four fantastic band members, three backup singers, two gorgeous gowns and one Marisha was all there needed to be to create an evening of festive magic. 

Marisha is charmismatic, charming, vocally outstanding and just a born performer. I have no doubt that Marisha's career will keep going up and up as she reaches wider audiences and shows people what a first-rate performer she is and I can't wait to see what's to come. To feel the festive vibes, be sure to grab your copy of Soul Holiday and get along to see Marisha whenever you can! 

Monday, 9 April 2018

In Conversation With... Jason Robert Brown | An Evening with Jason Robert Brown | Interview

Last week I posted my interview with Rachel Tucker all about her participation in the upcoming concert, An Evening with Jason Robert Brown at the London Palladium starring Betsy Wolfe and Norm Lewis. I was also lucky enough to do a brief interview with the main man himself, Jason Robert Brown, to get you even more excited for the concert!


You're finally coming back to London! I know people are very excited already but what can they expect from this concert?
A little bit of everything! I’m doing songs from most of my shows, two new suites with the orchestra, and lots of stuff from my new album, How We React and How We Recover, which will be out on Ghostlight Records in June.



If you could bring any of your shows over here as a full production in the West End, which would you choose?
Can’t we do them all? In repertory, or something?




Why do you love musical theatre so much?
I probably don’t love it as much as the people reading this article, but I love music and I love theatre, so I can’t really resist the combination. I love it when I can go on an adventure with a piece of music and it helps to illuminate character and story. I really don’t know any other medium that would let me do that.




If you could collaborate with any composer or performer, who would you choose?
I’m still waiting for my moment with Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’ll happen.




What's your number one piece of advice for aspiring composers?
If it doesn’t sound good, fix it. If it doesn’t make sense, fix it. Just because people applaud doesn’t mean it’s good. Make sure it’s always good.

Thanks so much to Jason for taking the time to do this interview. Wednesday's concert is certainly not one to be missed! An Evening with Jason Robert Brown takes place on April 11th

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Erika Kapin

Monday, 18 February 2019

Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre | Review


Come From Away
Phoenix Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 12th February 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Come From Away is a giant hug in a musical which even the most icy of people will be moved by, as it portrays a time of amazing and heroic hospitality under immense pain and pressure.

Discussed as a 9/12 musical, Come From Away is set on and after the horrific events of September 11th 2001, but instead of leaving you downtrodden, it will leave you inspired and probably feeling a little sentimental. Written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, it is an incredibly well rounded and fluent piece of theatre which provides catharsis whist becoming a celebration of goodness.

The show is set in the small town of Gander in ,Newfoundland Canada, which homes just over 11,000 people. On September 11th 2001, 38 planes were diverted to Gander airport, with 7,000 passengers and crew plus several pets and a pair of chimpanzees who were headed for a zoo. The people of Gander came together to provide shelter, food and friendship to the 'plane people'; and all who were there have incredible stories, bonds and live changing experiences from their time. They may have left Gander, but Gander never left them.


After interviewing many Plane People and Ganderites, David and Irene condensed these stories into a 100 minute show that features sleek role-swapping, musical theatre numbers and catchy Celtic tunes. Christopher Ashley's direction is crisp and to the point but also leaves room for us to study the story further, and of course allows us to look at ourselves and wonder what we would do in the same situation. This is further helped by Tara Overfield-Wilkinson's relentless and sharp choreography and Howell Binkley's striking and mood-evoking lighting. These aspects married with Beowulf Borritt's well thought out space, keep up momentum and evolve the story as simply but effectively as possible.

The heart of this show is community, and like the stories themselves, it is built around ensemble and teamwork.  The typically Newfoundland scenes such as the 'Screech In', feel like we've stepped into a pub and are really experiencing a group of people enjoying life. In such a group led piece, with smooth character changes, amazing use of simple props/set, it is unfair to name standout performances. The cast as a whole bring these people and stories to life and it's truly moving to witness such a wonderful and transformative piece of theatre. 

The cast is comprised of Jenna Boyd, Nathanael Campbell, Clive Carter, Mary Doherty, Robert Hands, Helen Hobson, Jonathan Andrew Hume, Harry Morrison, Emma Salvo, David Shannon, Cat Simmons and Rachel Tucker with Chiara Baronti, Mark Dugdale, Bob Harms, Kirsty Malpass, Tania Mathurin, Alexander McMorran, Brandon Lee Sears and Jennifer Tierney. All of whom, alongside the distinguished on stage band  (led by Alan Berry) and all the crew, who are unseen during the 100 minutes, should be equally applauded for their work on the must-see show in the West End. 

Concise and well-rounded, Come From Away is a stunning and poignant reminder of human kindness, which will surely leave you standing a little taller and smiling a little more.

Come From Away runs at the Phoenix Theatre and is currently booking until September 2019

photo credit: Matthew Murphy

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium | Review


Kristin Chenoweth (Concert)
London Palladium
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

When this post goes live it will officially be my 21st birthday which is crazy, but what’s even crazier is how incredible my birthday eve was. I spent the night at the London Palladium seeing the amazing, pint-sized superstar Kristin Chenoweth in concert. Before I continue on this review I must say that it’ll be pretty different to my usual ones as it’s going to be way more informal and personal, purely because I’ve had such a long history with Kristin so it was a pretty momentous night and I’m finding it hard to put into cohesive words.

So let’s start with the history... like many UK Kristin fans, I saw Wicked when it opened back in 2006, subsequently listened to the Broadway recording and fell in love with the cast. I then entered an obsessive phase where I watched all Kristin videos, listened to every song she'd ever sung, read every interview she'd done and was generally that annoying fan that could talk about nothing else. Since then I have become less over the top with my obsession but my love for Kristin has definitely not diminished and I was dying with excitement when I knew I was finally going to see her live.

The concert was marketed as an "Intimate Evening" with Kristin which I was dubious about seeing as it was taking place in the vast London Palladium; and whilst the venue certainly isn't intimate in any way, shape or form, Kristin somehow managed to pull me in and make me feel as if I was watching her sing in her living room.


Whilst I could go in depth about each song, there isn't really much point as I'll just be praising every one to no end, so what I will say is that each piece was vocally beautiful and Kristin gave honest, heartfelt performances from start to end. Of course she sang a number of her most famous songs including 'Popular' and 'Taylor The Latte Boy' (my grade 8 musical theatre piece!) but she also sang some lesser known tracks such as 'Upon This Rock' and 'I Was Here'. A particularly stunning moment was Kristin's rendition of the Les Miserables classic: 'Bring Him Home'- I was in floods of tears... as I was for the entire concert! We were also treated to a spine tingling duet of 'For Good' with one of my favourite performers ever: Rachel Tucker... truly epic!

I must be honest and admit that I was a little wary about watching Kirstin perform. Obviously I am a huge fan but I was worried that seeing such a big idol of mine live would be a bit of a let down. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This was honestly the best concert I have ever experienced and I have never had such a strong emotional reaction to seeing someone live. Sure I cry at emotional parts of shows but this was another level, my mum and I were blubbering messes throughout... especially when Kristin finished the show with a NO MIC rendition of 'Smile'... tears upon tears! 

I just want to touch upon my personal connection to Kristin so you can really understand how much this concert meant to me. Firstly, as a Classical singer in training, Kristin is just everything I aspire to be. Her stage presence and vocal technique are things I can only dream of mastering on her level and her unapologetic performances inspire me to no end. I don't want to go too in depth with the second reason but several years ago I had a series of extended hospital stays and 20 operations on my knee (ouch, right?) due to an illness and during that time I remember reading Kristin's book 'A Little Bit Wicked' and being motivated and positive to get better. It wasn't something I had thought about until watching her perform but Kristin's influence on my life has truly been vast and way more involved than I'm going to explain but basically this was a magical and emotional night.



I'm still struggling to really put into words what made this concert so special but it was truly the most incredible theatrical experience I've ever had. Kristin is a master of her craft as well as a hilarious woman who completely commands the stage. Her outfits were the glitziest things I've ever seen but honestly, she could've worn a paper bag and I still would have been blown away. I couldn't have asked for a better entrance to being 21 and I will continue to strive to reach the levels Kristin is continually climbing. I pray to all the theatre gods that we can get Ms Chenoweth over on our turf for a bit. But in the mean time I will continue to relish in the delight and emotion that this devastatingly brilliant concert provided and I hope to one day meet Kristin and tell her in person how amazing I think she is!


Watch my vlog of the concert: https://youtu.be/5-Bsh6_UKJk