Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Tara Young. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Tara Young. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Jersey Boys (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Jersey Boys (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 17th October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Jersey Boys is one of those musicals that pretty much everyone has heard of, it needs little marketing and has a bit of a cult status after is various runs around the world. For that reason and the fact that the music of the Four Seasons is so well known, the packed New Victoria Theatre is a hub of excitement as people bop in their seats and enjoy this lively, moving musical.

The cast are led by Dayle Hodge (Frankie Valli), Simon Bailey (Tommy DeVito), Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) and Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio). Each performer is vocally fabulous individually, but when they come together, they create absolute vocal magic and create a harmonious, chemistry filled team. Hodge is absolutely brilliant as Valli as he performs the classic falsetto sounds with vocal ease and evidently strong technique. Mention must also go to Tara Young who is fiery and vulnerable as Mary Delgado and Mark Heenehan who is extremely versatile and strong in the various roles he plays.

The musical tells the story of how four friends from Jersey united to form one of the most unique and successful music groups of their time. The series of ups and downs, including grief, time in prison and romantic failures, make a great storyline which show the rollercoaster of life in a natural and well constructed way. Alongside the popular music and continuous humour, a strong and enjoyable show has been formed which is sure to continue thrilling audiences.

Musically this production is outstanding. The fast pace of the show means we are dragged through a maelstrom of music which is performed well not only by the leads but supported brilliantly by the ensemble and band led by Francis Goodhand. Alongside smooth set design from Klara Zieglerova and sound design from Steve Canyon Kennedy we are transported not only on the journey of the group, but feel as though we really are at a concert, which brings a lovely energy to the theatre. Jeff Goldstein's costume also bring an authentic touch to the show.

Overall this is a superbly slick production that long time fans and newbies are sure to enjoy. For a night of carefree fun, join the Four Seasons and experience the happiness their music brings.

Jersey Boys runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 27th October before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Jersey Boys (UK Tour), New Theatre Oxford | Review

Jersey Boys (UK Tour)
New Theatre Oxford 
Reviewed on Wednesday 19th December 2018 by Donna Meredith

I was very excited to see Jersey Boys at The New Theatre in Oxford, having missed it in the West End. Having been lucky enough to see a short set by the Jersey Boys at our company conference a few years ago I was keen to enjoy the full production. 

This is essentially a rags to riches story of true New Jersey Boys who all had somewhat dubious existences, peppered with criminal activity, gambling and incarceration. Far from being the clean-cut boys next door, these were lads who really did make it, against all the odds. Four friends from New Jersey who united together to create one of the most successful groups of their time. 

The cast are led by Michael Watson (Frankie Valli), Simon Bailey (Tommy DeVito), Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi) and Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio). Each performer is fabulous individually but together they have a chemistry that is simply brilliant. 

The sound of the Four Seasons is of course unique but is emulated superbly by these exceptional vocalists, who manage effortlessly to recreate the sound which made The Four Seasons’ sound so distinctive. 

The show is jam-packed with the group’s hits – Beggin’, Oh What A Night, Earth Angel, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Sherry and Bye Bye Baby, to name just a few. My personal highlight was the performance of My Eyes Adored You by Valli and Mary Delgado (played exceptionally by Tara Young); in a show that is full of humour and upbeat songs, it makes for a beautiful, touching interlude. 

Of course, Frankie Valli knew personal tragedy as well as fame and fortune and Michael Watson’s wonderful rendition of Fallen Angel, a song remembering his deceased daughter, was heart-wrenching but beautifully delivered. 

This show both surprised and delighted me with the rollercoaster of real life emotions, experienced through a story of not only musical history, but also warmed the soul with the message of the enduring loyalty of friendship. 

I must also mention that for a touring show, the cast, creative team and orchestra all come together to produce something quite spectacular – bravo ! 

Jersey Boys is a perfect night’s entertainment performed by a superbly talented cast which will leave you wanting more and I am sure, see you leaving the theatre, as I did thinking …“Oh What a Night”. I am sure I will be humming those tunes for days to come!

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Chess the Musical in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane | Review

Chess the Musical in Concert
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Reviewed on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 

After the success earlier in the year of Bonnie and Clyde in Concert, the bar has been set rather high for what concert productions at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane can provide, and this most recent one certainly hits the mark.

Chess, last seen in London in 2018 at the Coliseum, is set in the 1970s/80s amid the Cold War. Two chess masters meet in Bangkok to fight it out for the world championship title, but also end up in political and romantic competitions. 

By Tim Rice's own admission in the programme notes, the music is the heart of this show, with many finding fault with the book that is sometimes all over the place. Thankfully in this production everything is fairly sleek and issues with the book can be overlooked thanks to the sumptuous cast, choir and orchestra.

Director Nick Winston put on the show in a previous iteration in Japan and has superbly brought it to the London stage with a version that puts the focus strongly on storytelling, both through the music and the buoyant choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento and Tara Young

This is further helped in no small way by the outstanding LMTO Orchestra, directed expertly by Freddie Tapner. The sumptuous, melodically complex, beautifully syncopated score is showcased to the highest degree. There's a sensitivity given to the more pared back moments whilst the rousing, dramatic pieces of score are stretched to their full extent to provide real wow moments. The LMTO Chorus also bring add excellent power and oomph to the proceedings.

There were some songs which were cut from the show, namely the song Talking Chess between Anatoly and Freddie and Commie Newspapers which I think would have helped the plot be a bit clearer, especially for those seeing the show for the first time. But of course given the short turnaround and runtime for the concerts, I can certainly understand why some pieces had to be cut and shifted and what was still included was excellent. Any plot issues really fly under the radar when you have such a wonderful team on stage and offstage making everything else so enjoyable.

This onstage team is made up of some musical theatre heavyweights and there are standout performances throughout. Samantha Barks' rendition of Nobody's Side and the Anthem Reprise are definitely at the top. Joel Harper-Jackson's Pity The Child, Hadley Fraser's Anthem also bring the house down, and Frances Mayli McCann and Barks also compliment one another beautifully in the classic I Know Him So Well.

Having first seen Chess in concert version at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 and falling in love with it at age 10, seeing this production of equal strength was an absolute treat to witness. Here's hoping we see more of this outstanding adaptation and the stellar cast who brought it to life!

photo credit: Mark Senior

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