Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Thoroughly Modern Millie
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday May 8th 2017 by Valerie Field
★★
Thoroughly Modern Millie has had many reincarnations and is based on a 1967 movie musical that is itself based on a 1956 London stage musical that in turn became a 2002 Broadway show. This new tour mixes a bit of each in to create a very enjoyable and well constructed production.
Set in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of small-town girl Millie Dillmount who makes her way to New York with the sole intention of finding a husband, not out of love but for money. However, events take a sinister turn when she checks into the Hotel Priscilla for single women which just happens to be owned by Mrs Meers, the leader of a white slavery ring. Things get interesting for sure!
Joanne Clifton as Milly, the Kansas girl desperate to make it in New York, is superb and effervescent. Although she is probably best known for her dancing on Strictly she can certainly act and has a good singing voice. She's the perfect fit for the title character and she warmed to the audience immediately. 
A big mention must go to Graham McDuff as Mr Grayden, especially for his drunken scene which was hilarious and had the whole theatre laughing. Lucas Rush also deserves a mention as Mrs Meers, embodying the character well and showing off a great stage presence throughout.
The glamorous costumes,  all out dancing and typically Broadway music are exactly what you'd expect from a show like this and combined with the art deco set, it's easy for the audience to get drawn in and lost in the 1920s world. Each scene change is done effortlessly, especially the office scene which is simplistic but highly effective.

All in all, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a 'feel good show' of the highest decree. I would highly recommend going to see it for a few hours of escapism and entertainment. The whole cast are outstanding and really seem to be having a wonderful time on stage which comes across in making their performances lively and energetic. The standing ovation received at the end of the show was evident of how much the audience enjoyed it so it's well worth a visit to Thoroughly Enjoyable Modern Millie!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

In Conversation With... Damian Buhagiar | Thoroughly Modern Millie | Interview


Damian Buhagiar recently finished starring in In The Heights, is currently part of the UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie playing Ching Ho and will soon be starring in Mamma Mia  in the West End. Damian was lovely enough to do this interview for Rewrite This Story and I can't wait to see him in the show!

For those who don't know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?

I have always been attracted towards theatre and musicals from a young age of 3. Being a Maltese student at Stagecoach was a great introduction to this form of career. When you are young, you don't actually realise that this could be a future job so it all starts as a hobby and a recreation from other school work, or activities. 

As I grew older I started taking it even more seriously by taking private singing lessons, dance classes and acting classes. When I hit the age of 15, the time i had my GCSEs back home in Malta, my singing teacher adviced me to audition for Tring Park School For the Performing Arts, a brilliant boarding school. So I did and after  a couple of weeks I was accepted to persue my musical theatre training further as well as do my A levels for 2 years. Without the love, help and support from my parents this would have never happened especially being away from home. After those 2 years I was than chosen to attend the BA Hons musical theatre course for another 3 years which was such a incredible excperience. You learn new things everyday, you learn so much about yourself and the training and the teachers have been fantastic. 

Once my third year was coming to an end we started having people from the business coming to see our shows and showcases, people such as directors, choreographers, producers, agents and more.  To me that was one of the highlights as I got to introduce myself to the business and express what I love most, my passion for theatre which leads me to my second highlight which was being a massive part of Lin Manuel's hit  musical 'In the Heights' playing the role of Sonny at the Southwark Playhouse. The reason I say this was one of the highlights in my life is because it has enabled me to show my passion in my own style of dance and defined me and so it couldn'thave been a better show to enter the musical theatre business with. 

I then moved on to an 18 month UK Tour of Jersey Boys playing the role of Joe Pesci and 2nd cover Frankie Valli which was another highlight in my career as I got to explore England a bit more, see different cultures and make new friends outside of London as well as the insanely stunning theatre built around the country. I have than moved on to playing on stage swing in Bugsy Malone at the  Lyric Theatre, working with the choreographer  Drew McOnie and which then led me to reprising my role as Sonny in In the Heights, this time at the Kings Cross Theatre in London for 4 months. Of course the biggest highlight from this was the fact I got the chance to meet the legendary Lin Manuel Miranda in person. I am now currently on the UK Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie playing a completely different character to what I normally play called 'Ching Ho', a Chinese role which I am glad to say I am loving.


Was being a performer what you always wanted or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?



As mentioned earlier, I have always taken musical theatre, singing, dancing and acting as a hobby up until the age of fourteen. I was mainly aiming to invest time in my studies to eventually become a Mechanic Engineer (seeing I am pretty into mechanics and cars) or an architect.




You recently finished playing Sonny in In The Heights, did you know from the Southwark that you were a part of something special? How was it returning to the show?

In The Heights, has been one of the biggest adventures that has happened in my life. Playing the role of Sonny, literally has been my unexpected dream role straight after grauduating from college. It felt like it was just meant to happen and came at the right time. What made even more special was the company. Seeing how we all become one unit and one family creates something magical. Creates a spark that is unexplainable. As the Southward was a small intimate venue this proved how much of a unit we really were as we all shared our passion with the audiences which gave such a great response. 



Returning to the show after a year and a half this time at the Kings Cross Theatre, created that spark again in a different way. It was interesting to see that my heart was always there, my spirit enlightened and I was just 'Living' and recreating Sonny again, sharing the live with different members of the cast..(some of them from the Southwark).




How was the transition from the Southwark to Kings Cross theatre? What changed in the show?

I think moving to a different style of venue definitley created a change in space and motion however the one thing that made it feel like there was no difference at al was the spirit and the community we as a cast and a team all had.  As the Southwark Playhouse had much of a smaller theatre, there was a lot of intimacy and more of an interraction with auditiences which makes it even more appreciative being that close. Kings Cross had a wider stage being on Traverse stage, so that as a team made us work harder to use eachother to get the story accross morr and put our chatacters on a higher level that in the southwark for audiences to have the same feeling. 


The idea of heritage is very important in Heights, being from Malta, did you face any of the same struggles as Nina and Usnavi?

In The Heights couldn't possibly be a successfull show/production if there isnt any heart and love and care between not just the cast but even the company. Same with everything, if you are working in a lovely safe environment where you feel you can trust and open up your heart to your collegues without being scared, that same feeling will definitely show on stage. Especially for someone like myself being away from home away from my loved family, having a second family in a show like that has made me feel like home and it has always been a job travelling to work to express this love shared with the other talented cast members. Luckily I have never been in Usnavi's or Nina's position however I can relate to how difficult it really is to follow your dreams and what really genuinly makes you happy. Luckily I had ultimate support from my loved family where both my parents have enabled me to follow the dream career I have always wanted. A big sacrifice on their part that without them I woudn't be here doing what I love most...theatre/performing and hopefully being an inspiration to others.


You're currently starring in Thoroughly Modern Millie, can you explain the storyline a little and how your character fits into it?

The story is about this new naive girl in town called Millie, coming to new york for the first time when she sets her sights on marrying her whealthy boss. Problem arises when she checks into a hotel owned by the leader of a white slavery ring in China. Where my character "Ching Ho" along with his brother "Bun Foo", helping to kidnap pretty and suspecting orphan girls and shipping them to the Orient. Ching Ho however takes a shine to one of the 4 girls "Miss Dorothy'' and rescues her from Mrs. Meers, who at the end the truth is revealed and Mrs. Meers is captured.



What's the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

The biggest challenge in taking the role of 'Ching Ho', the Chinese part, is because of the obvious....its a Chinese role and I am Maltese. Performing this role everyday has enabled me to discover more aspects of him that allow me to invest and play around with on stage. I have been blessed to have my fellow cast memeber Andy who is actually from Hong Kong himself so has tought me the language patiently. It has been an interesting process however I always love a chalenge and at least I could say I have tested that language and might want to investtime it too in future. I've also learnt a lot about Chinese history and what makes the characters: Ching Ho and Bun Foo work as slaves in the show... their background stories.



How are you enjoying touring life? What do you miss most about being away from home?

I have always loved touring. I just love getting away from london and get to see different cultures in different places in the UK or abroad, make new friends in the digs I stay in as well as enjoy my own company and driving. Being away also makes you apreciate lot of things and miss a lot of things. Having a lot of free time on my hands make you think about your life in depth such as my parents and my lifestyle back home and the time I share with them.



What are your hobbies and passions outside of performing? 

Drawing has always been a massive part of my life that enables me to forget the real world and just zone out completely and focus on one things...cars. The passion I always had ever since I was 5 years old. 


Can you name a few of your dream roles?

Playing Sonny in the musical In The Heights has already been one of my dream roles. I would say playing Phantom in Phantom of the Opera and Clyde in Bonnie and Clyde would definitely be two of my dream roles in musical theatre however I like variety and a challenge so I love exoloring as opportunities come my way, what a dream role would be.



If you could go back to any era, when would it be and why?

If I had to go back to an era I would go back to 1950s. I love that all men were mostly gentleman with manner, respectful towards their women and also live a fashionable suit. Life back that would have been very classy.



What's the best piece of advice you've ever received and what advice would you give to aspiring performers?

Best advice I have ever recieved have been to just be yourself. If it makes you happy do it. Always follow your gut. If you ever come in doubt just ask yourself 'but why not?'. If you have a dream, fight for it however long it takes to achieve it.


A huge thank you to Damian for doing this interview. Make sure you book tickets to see Thoroughly Modern Millie on its UK tour!


Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Flashdance (UK Tour), Liverpool Empire Theatre | Review



Flashdance (UK Tour)
Liverpool Empire Theatre 
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Becca Cromwell
★★★★

Legwarmers primed (not really!) I headed to Liverpool for a night at the theatre. This time, it was to see Flashdance, the stage adaptation of the 1980s hit musical originally starring Jennifer Beale.

This production stars Joanne Clifton (best known for Strictly Come Dancing, Thoroughly Modern Millie and soon to star in Top Hat) as the energetic and ambitious Alex Owens and Ben Adams (A1) as the charming Nick Hurley.

With direction from Hannah Chissick and choreography by Matthew Cole, I had high hopes. From the moment the show started, I was gripped. I must admit, I had never seen Flashdance and all I knew of it was the water scene and a couple of 80s hits, and I was thoroughly impressed.

Joanne Clifton wowed as Alex, a welder with dreams of being a professional dancer. From the opening note, Clifton impressed with her vocals and astonished with her impeccable dance skills. She really is one to watch.


Ben Adams was spectacular as Nick Hurley, the latest of the Hurley family to own the factory Alex works in. His acting was believable, and his singing was, of course, perfect. Upon hearing that he was in a boyband, I was sceptical but he blew the sceptics away within minutes of stepping on the stage. The audience members around me had come not knowing who he was, and left impressed. As did I.

The show included many of everyone's 80s favourites, including 'What a Feeling', 'Maniac', 'I love Rock and Roll' and 'Gloria'. These were executed well, and pleased the crowd massively. The rest of the numbers worked nicely, with the number 'Here and Now' standing out amongst the rest.

This scene between Alex (Clifton) and Nick (Adams) is your classic musical theatre romantic duet between two characters realising they are in love and who are wanting to savour the moment forever. The vocals from both are almost flawless, and the crowd loved it. 'Here and Now' has just been released on iTunes, sung by Clifton and Adams, and I urge you all to buy it.


Alex's friends Gloria (Hollie-Ann Lowe), Kiki (Sia Dauda) and Tess (Demmileigh Foster). Their vocals were outstanding and the dancing incredible. The entire cast are extremely talented performers. Colin Kiyani played Jimmy and his performance was thoroughly enjoyable - I enjoyed the cheesy jokes! Carol Ball was fantastic as Hannah and Sasha Latoya played Louise, whose vocals shone in the finale.

There were unfortunately a few technical issues, with one of the two screens not working properly and appearing to be loading every minute or so and some lines being missed by microphones. However, these did not distract from the outstanding performances given by the cast, nor did they let that stop them. The atmosphere and energy were incredible from the start until the very end. The audience were up dancing along to the megamix during the curtain call, and left thoroughly entertained.

Flashdance continues its UK tour into 2018.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Millie O’Connell, Danielle Steers and Debbie Kurup to Play Cher in The Cher Show

“All of us invent ourselves.

Some of us just have more imagination than others.”CHER

The producers of the brand new production of The Cher Show are delighted to announce that the role of Cher will be played by Debbie KurupDanielle Steers and Millie O’Connell. The production features the actresses portraying Cher in three different ways throughout her iconic career, with Debbie as ‘Star’, Danielle as ‘Lady’ and Millie as ‘Babe’.  Further casting is to be announced.

 

With book by Tony and Olivier Award-winning Rick Elice (Jersey BoysThe Addams FamilyPeter and the Starcatcher), direction by Arlene Phillips (Saturday Night FeverStarlight ExpressGrease), choreography by Oti Mabuse (two-time Strictly Come Dancing champion) and costume design by Gabriella Slade (SixIn The HeightsSpice World 2019 Tour), the UK & Ireland Tour will open at Leicester’s Curve on 15 April 2022 and will continue through to 1 April 2023.

 

Debbie Kurup’s theatre credits include Bonnie & Clyde (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Queen Tuya in The Prince of Egypt (Dominion), Blues in the Night (Kiln), Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Mrs Neilsen in Girl From The North Country (Old Vic/ Noël Coward), The Threepenny Opera (NT), Anything Goes (Sheffield Crucible/UK Tour), Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi - Olivier Award nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Cambridge/Adelphi), Sister Act (London Palladium), East (Leicester Curve), West Side Story (Prince of Wales), Tonight’s The Night (Victoria Palace), Rent (Prince of Wales/UK Tour), Fame (UK Tour), Guys And Dolls (Sheffield Crucible), Pal Joey (Chichester) and Boogie Nights (Savoy).

 

Danielle Steers’s theatre credits include The Empress in Aladdin (Theatre Royal, Plymouth),  Catherine Parr in Six The Musical (London), Zahara in the original cast of Bat out of Hell: The Musical (Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum, Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto, Dominion Theatre, New York City Centre), Carmen in Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Lead Shirelle in the original London cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre), swing and cover Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi Theatre) and cover Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (International Arena Tour). Her debut album, The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, was released in 2021.

 

Millie O’Connell’s theatre credits include Maureen in Rent (Hope Mill Theatre - WOS Award Nomination), Jeanie in Hair (Turbine Theatre), Chloe Valentine in Be More Chill (Shaftesbury Theatre and The Other Palace), Anne Boleyn in SIXThe Musical (UK Tour and Arts Theatre, London - Olivier Award nominated), Ensemble/cover Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), Ensemble/Understudy Annie in 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Ensemble/Understudy Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (Theatre Du Chatelet).

 

From a young child with big dreams, the shy daughter of an Armenian American truck driver, to the dizzying heights of global stardom, The Cher Show tells the incredible story of Cher’s meteoric rise to fame.  Cher takes the audience by the hand and introduces them to the influential people in her life, from her mother and Sonny Bono, to fashion designer and costumier Bob Mackie.  It shows how she battled the men who underestimated her, fought the conventions and, above all, was a trailblazer for independence.  

 

The musical is packed with 35 of her biggest hits, including ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, ‘I Got You Babe’, ‘Strong Enough’, ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ and ‘Believe’.  

 

With over 100 million record sales, an Academy Award®, an Emmy®, a Grammy®, three Golden Globes® and an award from The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Cher has influenced popular culture more than most.  Her on-screen career started in 1971 with her weekly television show that attracted 30 million viewers a week, and went on to include starring roles in iconic films from Moonstruck, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress, to Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, which prompted the New York Magazine to realise “every single movie—no matter how flawless—would be infinitely better if it included Cher.”  Her ‘Farewell Tour’ became the highest grossing music tour in history – in true Cher fashion, she followed up her ‘Farewell Tour’ with two further sell-out, worldwide arena tours.  She is the only artist in history to have a number one hit in the Billboard chart for six consecutive decades; an achievement that caused Vogue to deem her “eternally relevant and the ruler of outré reinvention”.  She became known as the Queen of Reinvention. 

 

In the 1990s, she established The Cher Charitable Foundation to support causes around the world.  She has been a long-time donor and supporter of Habitat for Humanity, The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Keep A Child Alive, an organisation that helps to combat the AIDs epidemic.  Most recently, she co-founded Free the Wild to help rescue Kaavan the Asian elephant from Islamabad zoo.

 

Written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice, The Cher Show made its debut on Broadway in 2018 in a production that earned two Tony Awards and delighted fans from around the world.  This new production will be the European premiere.

 

The Cher Show UK & Ireland Tour will have set design by Tom Rogers, musical supervision by Rich Morris, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Dan Samson, music production by Gary Hickeson, wigs, hair and make-up design by Sam Cox, associate direction by James Cousins, associate choreography by James Bennett and casting by Will Burton CDG.

 

The Cher Show UK & Ireland Tour is produced by ROYO with Fiery Angel, Cuffe & Taylor/LIVE NATION and Playing Field in association with Tilted, Aria Entertainment and JONES Theatrical Group.

 

Website: www.cheronstage.com

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: @TheCherShowUK


photo credit: Matt Crockett


Friday, 5 January 2018

Top Hat, Upstairs at the Gatehouse | Review


Top Hat 
Upstairs at the Gatehouse 
Reviewed on Wednesday 3rd January 2018 by Becca Cromwell  
★★★★★

Based on the 1935 RKO Musical, Top Hat, starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and featuring music from Irving Berlin, this stage adaptation of the beloved musical brings sparkle to a tiny but beautiful fringe theatre in Highgate, London. Upstairs at the Gatehouse has built a reputation of being one of the leading fringe theatres in London, and you can see why.

The stage, or lack of it, really made this production work. You were inches away from the characters from beginning to end, which made it feel as if you were truly there with them. The show opens with Puttin’ on the Ritz and within seconds, the entire room was mesmerised. With direction from John Plews and choreography from Chris Whittaker, this adaptation of the musical was bound to be fantastic.

The set was very cleverly designed and hidden away under a raised platform at one end of the stage. With just the addition of a table or two, we were transported from London to Venice and from room to room. As the audience were seated on both sides of the stage, I was unsure as to how it would quite work, but it did. The cast very cleverly managed to play to both sides of the room at once, which takes some skill.


Jerry is a star, and he knows it. When he travels to London to open in a show in the West End, he meets Dale Tremont a model and fashion superstar, played by Joanne Clifton (Flashdance, Thoroughly Modern Millie). The two fall in love through a frustratingly good plot, in which mistaken identity, a camp Italian fashion designer, a butler turned spy and a well-known theatre producer play a big part.

Joanne Clifton wowed as Dale, tap dancing her way into the audience’s hearts. Joanne, of Strictly Come Dancing fame, put her well-known dance skills to good use and her acting and singing abilities astonished the audience, myself included. Having recently toured the UK with Flashdance, she moved quickly onto Top Hat over the Christmas period, and returns to Flashdance soon.

Joshua Lay starred as the ever-so-charming Broadway star Jerry Travers, and gave an impressive performance. His dancing was sublime, giving Fred Astaire a run for his money. Lay held his own amongst the superbly talented cast, which is to be admired.

Darren Benedict played Horace Hardwick, a popular theatre producer who enlists Jerry for his latest show. Darren provided comedic relief throughout, which was thoroughly entertaining.


Samuel Haughton played Bates, Horace’s butler. Haughton’s comedic timing was perfect and helped move the show along nicely, making us chuckle in between the more serious scenes.

Fashion designer Alberto was played by Australian born Matthew James Willis and much to the audience’s delight, gave a hilarious performance, bad jokes included.

Ellen Verenieks as the sharp-witted Madge gave a vocally impressive performance. Although only properly introduced to Madge in act 2, Ellen ensured that the character was memorable through her fantastic performance.


The ensemble consisted of Rhys Ashcroft, Marcus J Foreman, Leanne Groutage, Grant Jackson, Olivia Sinclair and Grace Usher. All of the ensemble gave outstanding performances, with each of them taking on three or four different roles.

Top Hat runs at Upstairs at the Gatehouse until Jan 28th. If you can get a ticket, I urge you to go.

photo credit: Darren Bell