Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rebecca Mendoza. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rebecca Mendoza. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Hairspray (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Hairspray (UK Tour) 
Bristol Hippodrome 
Reviewed on Monday 5th March 2018 by Calvin Welsford  

Hairspray has always been a show I’ve been dying to see live. I fell in love with the 2007 movie and then most recently with NBC’s tv special, Hairspray Live!  starring Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson and Dove Cameron, to name a few!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have high expectations of the show, because I did. Thankfully the show lived up to these; it was so amazing and a lot funnier than I’d anticipated.

I think my expectations were so high as previous cast members have been very strong and unique, such as Ariana Grande, Matthew Morrison, Harvey Fierstein and Queen Latifah. But the UK tour cast did a phenomenal job of bringing the characters to the stage and evoked the same emotions I’d previously felt and hoped for. 

Max Rixton & Norman Price completely stole the show with their version of ‘You’re Timeless To Me’. A unscripted innuendo ‘I can feel your bells’ managed to have the audience and the cast laughing for several minutes. It was clear that the two actors on stage had a good connection as there were non stop innuendos and comebacks during the whole scene. 

Rebecca Mendoza made an impressive professional debut as the larger-than-life, Tracy whilst Layton Williams and Edward Chitticks were fabulous as Seaweed and Link.

Although the show overall was incredible, the only thing which I personally think could be improved would be the set. During certain scenes the background is projected on a screen rather than being an actual set piece. This felt a little lacking and made the show feel slightly amateur.

However, I can’t knock the performances of the cast or the direction- everything else was 10/10. Mention must go to Drew McOnie’s choreography which perfectly fits the vibe of the show and is energetic throughout.

If you like musical theatre and especially Hairspray, I’d 100% recommend seeing the current UK Tour!

Hairspray is at the Bristol Hippodrome until 10th March, before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Darren Bell

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, 3 April 2019

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

Club Tropicana
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 1st April 2019 by Glenys Balchin

Apprehension was in the air when I entered Woking New Victoria theatre, I knew that I would know the songs but I was not sure it would take me back to those fun fuelled Disco electric days of the 80’s... well it did sort of! 

I'm not quite sure why the musical is called Club Tropicana, as apart from the name and a mention of “free cocktails”, there was not a sniff of the fabulous George and Andrew songs of the incredible WHAM. However, I am a lady of a certain age and remember those days whilst a millennium baby would not, so, does that matter? 

The musical has been said to parallel hit TV show Love Island, which it does not! In the 80’s it was all about the music and dancing, not about drinking, talking about relationships and texting, (which would have proved difficult with a mobile brick!) 

The story line is simplistic. Girl jilts her beaux on their wedding day, and they each go on a friend holiday to Spain to get over what has happened. They all stay at “The Club Tropicana Hotel”. Hotel Proprietors are waiting for an hotel inspection in order to a win hotelier prize but are sabotaged by a rival hotel owner. During the course of the story line, Boy and Girl participate in a Blind Date competition  where they choose each other and realise they may have made a mistake...

The cast do an admirable job of taking me almost back to the electric 80s but it is not quite the 80’s as I remember, but again does that really matter? 

I think that the script dictated the songs that were chosen, that’s why there is no Wham, Duran Duran, New Order, Tears for Fear, Human league, Whitney Houston, Madonna etc... because their songs did not tie into the story line. However, the musical depicts so many other things from the 80’s, the costumes for one: Ra Ra skirts, leggings, shorts, dungarees, “statement tee shirts” are a plenty on stage! The hair is big and huge mobile phones make a few appearances.

Club Tropicana is a feel-good night of entertainment, delivered by a vibrant, fun, high-energy cast who sing and dance as if their lives depend on it. I was not keen on some of the jokes which are  not particularly PC nor the insulting references which border on sexist and homophobic, but I suppose that sums up the 80’s in a way.

Once Joe McElderry comes onto the stage the show comes along and takes the cast and audience into a flurry of singalong & dance routines– if only I could have got on stage for 'Oops Upside your Head'. Joe has to be applauded for an energetic exuberant performance and for not waning once. He really leads the show and uplifts the rest of the cast. 

The same can be said, for the formidable and extremely talented Kate Robbins playing Consuela, who magically plays the part. Her comic timing and characterisation are hilarious and her great voice brings a real belly laugh and applause from the audience. Emily Tierney must be complimented for delivering a strong comic performance with a great voice, as the double-crossing hotelier Christine. The voices of Cellen Chugg Jones and Karina Hind the young couple, singing to 'I Could Be So Good For You' are a highlight. There must be mention of Tara Verloop, Rebecca Mendoza and Kane Verrall who all performwonderfully; with Kane working especially well with McElderry as his love interest.

Club Tropicana will bring a big smile to your face, give you the feel-good-factor and make you feel young once again. Its not an award worthy musical but is certainly good fun and like a summer pantomime for adults.

photo credit: Darren Bell

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Hairspray (UK Tour), Bord Gais Energy Theatre | Review

Hairspray (Tour)
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin
Reviewed on Monday 11th September 2017 by Damien Murray 

Despite highlighting serious issues such as prejudice and intolerance, this show remains a popular, light-hearted and fun night of musical theatre and this latest touring production – courtesy of Mark Goucher, Matthew Gale and Laurence Myers – certainly kept it in this now famous ‘feel-good’ vibe.

Set in Baltimore in 1962, against a backdrop of racial segregation, the simple scenario of wanting teenagers of all colours to be able to dance together on a local TV dance programme with a campaign for integration on the show reflects the wider problem of racial segregation and to a welcomed social change at that time.

Opening with a look down at teenage Tracy in bed before hitting hard with one of the show’s most popular songs, 'Good Morning Baltimore', this production got off to a bright up-tempo start in a busy street scene with the dancers quickly establishing the two main communities of the piece, and – under Paul Kerryson’s direction – this theme was reinforced throughout (e.g. there was the telling line that “the TV is black and white” and the costumes in the jail scene were all black and white for the protesters as opposed to the colourful costumes that were used in the rest of the show).

Staged with a practical and realistic brick house set at either side, this production used mobile trucks and effective projected scenery throughout to keep its fast-moving pace in place, while Philip Gladwell’s bright and colourful lighting plot brought a lot to the show and I loved, at the start of each Act, how the audience was flooded in moving coloured lights to create a fun atmosphere.

As a dance-orientated show, Drew McOnie’s choreography and movement was always slick, lively, entertaining and of its time and it was a brave decision to do a routine at one stage with several basketballs being thrown about on a crowded stage.

While the costumes were overly bright (probably for staging purposes to increase the fun and escapism elements of the production), they – like the hairstyles – were authentic for the era.

The mostly up-tempo score was varied with 60s Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Doo-Wop and Gospel influences, and Musical Director, Ben Atkinson, and his 7-piece on-stage band did well in keeping things moving at a lively pace and with such a full-on sound, despite this show being written for a much larger instrumentation line-up.

While the comic duet, 'You’re Timeless To Me', proved popular with audiences, songs like 'Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now' and 'I Can Hear The Bells' were well staged; the latter having a particular magical feel to it.

However, the big production numbers that really stood out were: 'Welcome To The 60s', complete with the female vocal trio’s sparkling dresses and the floor gobos and wallpaper displaying a popular pattern of the era; the glorious piece of Gospel, 'I Know Where I’ve Been', which almost lifted the roof; and the all-singing, all-dancing finale, 'You Can’t Stop The Beat', with its totally infectious feel-good factor.

Sometimes there is something about the way a particular show is written, or cast, that is simply annoying and, for me, it is why there is a tradition of playing Tracy’s mother, Edna, as a ‘drag-role (i.e. always played by a man), as the character is not a drag queen, but was first played by one).
I feel it adds nothing to the show and is unnecessary … maybe it is just me and I am missing something obvious, but I just don’t get it.

However, that said, this is certainly no reflection on the talents of Matt Rixon, who played the role of the large, kind and shy Edna superbly in what could best be described as a towering performance, especially against the physically smaller, Norman Pace, as her ever-joking but loving husband, Wilbur (maybe that is the reason for the ‘drag-role’?).

Brenda Edwards’ super soulful vocals made her perfect for the part of the sassy and determined Motormouth Maybelle, while the experienced performance by Gina Murray, as the producer and controlling mother, Velma, was a show-stealer here and this scheming villainess must surely be the most glamorous ‘baddie’ of them all.

If Velma was the baddie, then young Rebecca Mendoza was a real ‘goodie’ here, making an impressive professional debut as the big-hearted and teenage Tracy.

All were well supported by the lively ensemble and others like Jon Tsouras’ self-loving Corney, Layton Williams’ energetic and popular, Seaweed, Edward Chitticks’ heart-throb pop star, Link, Aimee Moore’s not so talented and selfish wannabe, Amber, and Annalise Liard-Bailey – another recent theatre graduate – as the dim but beautiful, Penny.

Hairspray is at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre until September 16th before continuing on its tour.

Photo Credit: Darren Bell