Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Sergio Trujillo. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Sergio Trujillo. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday 25 February 2020

On Your Feet! (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

On Your Feet (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 24th February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

Currently embarking on a UK tour after a summer stint at the London Coliseum, On Your Feet! is a celebration of Gloria Estefan continually thriving in the face of adversity. The musical has a flawed book, but there's heart in spades, glorious music and a real life story of endurance that is enough to warm your heart.

Transporting us from Gloria's childhood in Cuba, to her recording career and near fatal accident, it's truly inspiring to see how she rebuilt herself after physical trauma as well as always remaining true to what she believes in, even under the pressures of the music industry. The fairly small cast do an excellent job of filling every inch of the stage and perform with the energy and enthusiasm you could expect to see on the streets of Cuba. Consistently full out and precise in their movements, the cast are very impressive in their performance of Sergio Trujillo's intense choreography. 

It's the pacing of this musical that is the biggest downfall. Of course it's based on real life events, but Alexander Dinelaris' book often lacks development and therefore depth. The main focus is on the lighthearted moments, meaning the more intense scenes are sometimes glossed over quickly. Act two packs much more of a punch in terms of emotional impact, with Gloria's scenes with her mother proving particularly moving. Again, this is a musical which reminds up to stick up for our values and beliefs. This idea is woven throughout but is especially effective in the scenes where the Estefans are at odds with their record producer (played excellently and humourously by Robert Oliver).

As the Miami diva herself, Philippa Stefani excels, bringing Gloria to life with a truthful performance. She engages the audience and never falters in energy or performance. Stefani's transition from shy teenager to commanding performer is masterful to watch and really showcases her as an actress. More so than anyone, Stefani uses the limited book hugely to her advantage and performs as though she really is on a huge, sell-out headline tour.

Stefani's chemistry with George Ioannides as Emilio Estefan is believable and romantic. Since seeing the show at the Coliseum, it seems George has really grown into the role as he gives a suave, vocally assured performance. Vocal powerhouse and legend of the stage, Madalena Alberto gives an exceptionally strong performance as she simmers ready to bubble over in anger or despair at any time. Vocally she is fantastic and her interactions which every character, especially her daughter, are truly enjoyable to watch. 

The set design by David Rockwell is effective as it allows the action to transition from Cuba, to the USA and from kitchen to tourbus in a very simplistic but effective way. Quite a lot is left up to the imagination which, alongside having the band visible on stage, allows the true focus to be on the music. Like the ensemble, the band are full of an energy which fills the theatre and transmits amongst the audience. Kenneth Posner's bold lighting and Emilio Soso's bright costumes bring a carnival feel to the whole production which engages and entertains.

There are flaws to this musical for sure, but it's an uplifting piece of theatre which brings a little bit of Cuban sunshine to the streets of Wimbledon. For fans of Gloria Estefan this is a must-see, and for everyone else, it's a chance to tap your feet and imagine you're basking in the Miami sun. For a celebration of music, life and heritage, get On Your Feet and conga your way to see this tour.

On Your Feet! plays at the New Wimbledon theatre until 29 February and then continues its tour

Saturday 29 June 2019

On Your Feet!, London Coliseum | Review

On Your Feet
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Thursday 27th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell

The long summer nights are here and it's the perfect time for a fun, high energy musical that will have you tapping your toes and feeling good. Thankfully On Your Feet! is here to provide just that. Despite a flimsy plot, there's fun to be had, lights to dazzle and latin sounds to ensure you leave the theatre smiling.

Taking us from her childhood in Cuba, through her recording career and her near fatal accident, On Your Feet! is a real celebration of Gloria Estefan's career and determination, and is a real reminder to always stand up for what we believe in. The cast are as enthusiastic and sharp as you would hope, and provide some highly exciting moments, especially when dancing Sergio Trujillo's fiery choreography. Particularly impressive is the sandal tap dance which really wows and creates a rousing wall of sound that is fantastic to see and hear.

The main downfall of the musical is certainly Alexander Dinelaris' book which lacks much depth or emotional drama. Many of the more intense emotional scenes are quickly brushed over and it's not until act two that we really become absorbed in the story. Of course this is real life and it's the music of Gloria Estefan that we are celebrating, but there are several moments where the pacing feels too slow and too little happens. However, the scenes where Gloria and her mother are at odds with one another and when there is conflict between the Estefans and their record producer, are great at highlighting Gloria and Emilio's grit and the limited book is all performed well.

The direction by Jerry Mitchell does feel basic at times and sometimes highlights the flaws in the book, but he rightly places the wonderful music of Gloria and Miami Sound Machine at the heart of the musical. The high energy songs, including the Conga and On Your Feet make the audience feel uplifted and energised. It's hard not to feel swept up by the glorious Latin rhythms that make you want to grab a cocktail and swirl around.

Leading lady Christie Prades is confident and engaging in her performance. She delivers a performance which never waivers in energy or commitment; and vocals which wow and engage. Prades' chemistry with George Ioannides as Emilio Estefan is wonderfully nuanced and believable. George also provides strong vocals, which falter at times but mostly maintain the suave Latin feel. Karen Mann as Conseulo is delightfully entertaining as she pushes Gloria to achieve her dreams in any way she can, even if that includes bribing a club owner with Empanadas! Meanwhile, Madalena Alberto is sharp (and a vocal powerhouse) as she portrays Gloria's mother who begrudges her daughter, but of course, loves her regardless. Ensemble standouts include Dawnita Smith and Francesca Lara Gordon who catch the eye as they perform each moment with power and perfection. Little Gloria Emily Perra is also fantastic, with a magnetic stage presence and beautiful vocals.

The onstage band bring every song to life with an enthusiasm which radiates off the stage. Emilio Soso's floaty, colourful costumes just add to the party feel of the piece, as does Kenneth Posner's bold, bright lighting. Both aspects are equally strong when they dim themselves to fit the more emotive, atmospheric moments.

Overall On Your Feet! is an entertaining delight of a show. The book is hugely lacking but for fans of Gloria Estefan it's a perfect portrayal of her life and music. Transport yourself to the Miami sun and take a journey through the lives of Gloria and Emilio.

On Your Feet! is booking at the London Coliseum until August 31st

photo credit: Johan Persson

Thursday 27 June 2019

On Your Feet!, London Coliseum | Review

On Your Feet
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Wednesday 26th July 2019 by Lucy Jardine

Last night at the Coliseum, on a glorious evening, On You Feet, brought some Cuba/Miami sound and spectacle to London.

Mostly, it was a triumph. Christie Prades was a delight as Gloria. It was a treat to hear the authentic American and Latino accents without them being massacred. Her voice, whilst not quite on Gloria's epic scale, carried us along with her. Madalena Alberto was probably the star of the show though - such a strong voice and utterly convincing as the mother who had been forced to give up her dreams and therefore resented her daughter wanting to follow hers. And Karen Mann as Consuela, Gloria's grandmother, although some of her dialogue and mannerisms were a little cliched, brought many a chuckle to the audience.

The ensemble treated us to some fast-paced, foot-tapping, booty-shimmying sets and at the end, yes, we were all on our feet, clapping and dancing along with the excellent band that transported us to the hot steamy nights of Miami. Sergio Trujillo's choreography was solid; the staging, through the use of large moving cloth panels and the projection of images, from clubs in Miami to original photos of the terrible traffic accident that Gloria was in, was well crafted.

The one significant disappointment was George Ioannides in the role of Emilio Estefan. Again, his accent was authentic and his acting good but, unfortunately, his voice could not carry the songs and a couple of the duets with Christie were, frankly, a little uncomfortable. This didn't seem to matter to the audience though. After a rousing encore, we all left with our hearts a little lighter and our smiles a little brighter. Not a bad thing in today's world.

Tickets for On Your Feet are available at

photo credit: Johan Persson

Thursday 20 April 2023

Ain't Too Proud at the Prince Edward Theatre review: A tumultuous tale told through stellar performances

Ain't Too Proud
Prince Edward Theatre

A hit on Broadway, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, has finally opened in the West End and is a thoroughly entertaining, charismatic and soulful journey. The musical, with a book by Dominique Morisseau is a breathtaking celebration of the legendary Motown group, The Temptations, and their iconic music. Taking you on a journey through the highs and lows of stardom, it showcases how some of the most famous music was created and provides a really really fun night out.

The heart and soul of this musical are the performances which are unanimously nothing short of spectacular. The cast deliver powerhouse vocals that charm and mesmerise throughout and there are so many standout moments. The whole cast are spectacularly strong but mention must go to Cameron Bernard Jones, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, Ryan Carter and Michael James Stewart who really shine in their solo and ensemble moments. Each member who becomes part of The Temptations, does so with a real sense of nuance and the varying personalities and talents are showcased throughout; really capturing the essence and ethos of the original group.

Above all this is an ensemble piece, with some of the strongest moments coming when the cast unite both vocally and choreographically. Sergio Trujillo's choreography is some of the best in the West End right now, the sheer slickness and precision is a wonder to behold and the energy created on stage is supremely infectious. Featuring iconic hits like My Girl, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, and Ain't Too Proud to Beg, the show is a top-tapping fest of gusto and spirit.

The storytelling is mostly compelling, and the narrative (led by Sifiso Mazibuko) is engaging from the start. Spanning the long and tumultuous history of The Temptations, from their humble beginnings to their rise to stardom the show has a lot to fit in, and especially in the first act it feels a bit too much. Whilst every performance is engaging, it does feel a little too long and seems to keep going even when there's a natural break point. However, the story is a poignant and emotional one that delves into the personal struggles, triumphs, and dynamics of the group and includes some powerful messages. Alongside the musical elements, the show touches on themes of friendship and brotherhood, as well as shedding light on the social and political challenges faced by The Temptations and African American artists during that era. A poignant reminder of their impact on American music history and the enduring legacy they left behind, Ain't Too Proud is a strong celebration of The Temptations.

Ain't Too Proud is a wonderful addition to the West End that features dazzling production value, and timeless music. A celebration of The Temptations and their impact on Motown, it will leave you humming their hits long after the curtain falls. 

Reviewed on Wednesday 19th April 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Johan Persson

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}