Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Samuel J Holmes. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Samuel J Holmes. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace Studio | Review

West End Live Lounge: Woman
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Sunday September 24th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

If you're a frequent reader of Rewrite This Story (which I hope you are) then you will know that I have been to the previous two West End Live Lounges and raved about them to no end, so it's no surprise that last night's concert completely blew me away too. As always this will probably be a pretty long review because I want to praise as many people as I can, so go grab your drink of choice and get ready to relive an amazing night, or cry because you missed it!

Each West End Live Lounge raises money, with all proceeds from ticket sales and collections going to a specific charity, in last night's case, Women's Aid which helps women who are in/have been in abusive relationships; a cause which i'm sure we all agree is super important. So not only do you have an amazing night hearing some of the best the theatre world has to offer but you get to support a fantastic cause!

Last night's incredible line up was made up of: George Ure, Marcus Ayton, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Marisha Wallace, Liisi LaFontaine, Rob Houchen, Natalie Green, Matthew Harvey, Paul Wilkins, Rachel John, Kelly Agbowu, Sabrina Aloueche, Jodie Steele, Carolyn Maitland, Laura TebbuttMadalena Alberto, Emma Lindars, Lauren Ingram and Sapphire Soul.

Our compere for the evening was the ridiculously hilarious Samuel J Holmes who delivered gag after gag and was his own stand up act between performers.

Sapphire Soul were flawless as usual when they opened with a medley of classic Bond songs- the ladies, as their name suggests are full of soul and are just powerhouse vocalists which they proved again in act 2 with Bang Bang. From then on the energy was high and the first act flew by with some dazzling performances. Lauren Ingram's version of Crazy in Love was slowed down and sexy; Marcus Ayton's I Who Have Nothing was heart-wrenchingly beautiful as was Matthew Harvey's, Gravity.

Brady Isaacs Pearce was stunning as always with her emotive and heartfelt rendition of Jessie J's Big White Room; her clear, smooth voice is just so stunning to listen to and as I always say, she needs to be in a West End show NOW! Natalie Green as usual was fantastic, with her performance of If I Ain't Got You giving me chills!

The final trio of act one could not have been better; Rob Houchen had the whole audience in the palm of his hand with his insanely brilliant performance of I'd Rather Go Blind. I knew he could sing but man he's good! Kelly Agbowu then owned the belter One Moment in Time before Rachel John sent the whole audience to church with her Take My Hand/You've Got a Friend mash up. Needless to say, by the interval everyone was truly on a music induced high.

Act 2 was equally as good, if not better with banger and banger being delivered flawlessly by each and every person. Emma Lindars delivered Rolling in the Deep perfectly, with some added audience harmonies. Rachel John again wowed with My Kind of Love followed by Carolyn Maitland exquisitely performing Sia's Chandelier which could only have been made better if Maddie Ziegler was there to perform her iconic dance routine.

This act featured two impeccable duets; firstly Sabrina Aloueche and Matt Harvey with Girl Just Wanna Have Fun and secondly Paul Wilkins and Rob Houchen with Field of Gold. Both of which featured perfect harmonies and left me breathless. Kelly Agbowu's Chains was perfect and Jodie Steele's scarily relevant cover of Dear Mr President was beautifully, sincerely and emotively performed.

Liisi LaFontaine and Marisha Wallace are the definition of powerhouses, their vocals, stage presence and overall auras are just impeccable. Marisha along with her own back up singers brought the audience to their feet with her faultless Whitney Houston medley as she sang her heart out to the gods and slayed the entire audience. Liisi slayed equally with her stunning performance of Uninvited but it was their closing number, Listen which absolutely blew the roof off of The Other Palace Studio. Now I've heard Listen several times when I've seen Dreamgirls but this performance was just mind blowing and proved why these ladies are getting all the hype and praise they are at the moment. Absolutely sensational!

So yes, this was an incredible concert. Shaun McCourt is a saint for putting so much time and energy into this impeccable concert for a wonderful cause and I hope the West End Live Lounges continue for a long time to come. If you want a night of hilarity, fun and vocal perfection then get yourself along to the next one and help out some wonderful charities!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter for details of future concerts:

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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

West End Live Lounge: Woman, The Other Palace | Review

West End Live Lounge (Concert)
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

This is the second Woman themed West End Live Lounge, but this time, the team have graduated from The Other Palace Studio, to the main space as they become bigger and better. Featuring songs from some of the most influential women in music and raising money for Samaritans, West End Live Lounge is really about the heart and soul of everyone involved.

Host for the evening was Samuel J Holmes who wittily engaged the audience and provided innuendo after innuendo and a number of anecdotes about his new home in Southend. The atmosphere remained lighthearted throughout but we were all reminded of the crucial reason for the concert. As always, the proceeds from West End Live Lounge go to charity, this time we were raising funds for Samaritans who do crucial work helping those in dark mental places. The Samaritans answer a call for help every six seconds which is truly incredible and its imperative that we help where we can. Especially in an industry where mental health is often battered, it feels very special and close to everyone's hearts that we can support the charity in this way.

Whilst the evening did flow very well, it would have been nice to hear each performer introduce themselves and their songs a little as at times they felt a little removed from the audience. Perhaps this was due to nerves but I felt that some ice breaking could have helped.

To raise funds and of course provide entertainment, founder of West End Live Lounge, Shaun McCourt pulled together some of the best West End performers to sing their hearts (and larynx's) out.  Highlights were aplenty so I'll just name a few... First up, Jennifer Tierney's performance of All By Myself  which was note perfect and superbly performed. With her hauntingly beautiful rendition of With Woman in the Moon, Brady Isaacs Pearce brought calm to the venue, whilst Shekinah McFarlance showed off her extreme vocal prowess with Lose To Win. 

Blowing the roof off at the end of act two, Emma Lindars put her own spin on the Jessie J classic, Mama Knows Best and wowed the entire audience a second time with Stone Cold by Demi Lovato. Live Lounge regulars Divalution provided their signature riffs, belt and sass with All I Ask and Power, and Matthew Harvey put a new spin on Britney Spear's, Circus, complete with multi-coloured lighting.

Other stand outs included Kayleigh McKnight's rendition of Chandelier, Louise Dearman's take on the Celine classic, Taking Chances. And, after an understated start, Simon Gordon's performance of Shallow was utterly breathtaking and completely memorable. The 10 piece band led my MD Sam Coates did an outstanding job of backing up the performers as well as having their own chances to shine. The full band bring a real warmth to these concerts and its fantastic to, not only hear them playing brilliantly, but also see them looking like they're having a great time.

West End Live Lounge continues to provide a highly entertaining Sunday out, full of treats a surprises. There is always guaranteed to be something for everyone and you should definitely pop along, not only to hear fabulous singing, but also to support highly deserving charities.

photo credit: Nick Brittain (Brittain Photography)

Friday, 1 June 2018

Shrek (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Shrek (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 31st May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Leaving the theatre after seeing Shrek, my nieces had beaming smiles on their faces and said "it was amaaaaaaaaazing", if that's not testament enough to the show then I don't know what is. This show is aimed at children, and they clearly love it.

If for some reason you've never heard of Shrek, it tells the story of an ogre whose swamp has been invaded by fairytale characters, banished there by leader of Duloc, Lord Farquaad. Shrek is sent on a mission to save a princess from a tower who is more than meets the eye. 

Steffan Harri bursts onto the stage with energy and a brilliant portrayal of the iconic Scottish ogre. Steffan is a joy to watch; he genuinely seems to enjoy his time on stage as well as providing some beautiful singing, especially during Who I'd Be. There is a depth to Shrek which is lovely to see played out on stage and he emotively puts the message across that being yourself is the best way to live.

As Shrek's companion, Marcus Ayton is hilarious as Donkey. Marcus is close enough to the original portrayal by Eddie Murphy that the character from the film isn't lost, but unique enough to still keep the role surprising. Marcus has sass and facial expressions for days and is truly joyous to watch on stage. Plus his voice is killer!

Laura Main is energetic and  eccentric in her portrayal of Princess Fiona. She puts a smile of your face whilst providing a humourous, vocally strong performance. Her chemistry with Steffan is also great and the pair bounce off one another well, especially during I Think I Got You Beat.

Samuel J Holmes is certainly the stand out of the show as Lord Farquaad. His quick humour and stage presence are outstanding. I'm sure everyone mentions how bruised his knees must be, but it's seriously impressive that he moves with such agility every night. Samuel knows how to work both the audience and his cast mates; particularly humourous last night was when he picked up a dropped cloth mid monologue and asked his guard to take it back to costume. This not only had the audience in stitches but also had his cast mates evidently hiding laughter. 

All the iconic fairytale characters also appear in the show, with Jemma Revell as Gingy and the Sugar Plum Fairy stealing her scenes with her insanely good vocals. Equally as brilliant is   Lucinda Shaw who plays the Dragon and the Fairy Godmother. Her voice is off the charts good and I can't wait to see what other roles she tackles in the future as she's surely destined for stardom.

This production is smooth and exciting, with great lighting and sparkle to make it a magical show for children and adults alike. One thing which fell flat personally, was I Know It's Today. As someone who's never seen the show before, I was only aware of this song, performed so brilliantly by Sutton Foster. In previous productions it's staged with a young Princess Fiona, a teenage Fiona and the current adult Fiona but in this production the two youths are replaced by puppets. This is most likely due to costs which is understandable but it was a little too cheesy for me.

This is a great family show that fans of the film series will love. Solid performances all round, clever songs and a whole load of musical theatre references thrown in, Shrek is certain to thrill anyone who sees it.

Shrek runs at the New Victoria Theatre until June 10th, before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Helen Maybanks