Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Tim Minchin. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Tim Minchin. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 3 May 2020

The Return of the Movie Musical


During the Golden Age of Hollywood, movie musicals were abundant and arguably the most popular genre. However, with the move towards pop culture in the 1960s, their popularity dwindled and gave way to a more rebellious style and tone, which meant the all-singing, all-dancing, wholesome stories fell to the side.

Since then, aside from animated films, there have been a handful of live action musicals, with a few big hits such as Hairspray, Chicago and Mamma Mia!, but these have been largely hard to come by and a rare feature at the cinema. However, it seems that things are changing and we are in the midst of musicals coming back into the mainstream!

In some ways, the huge success of La La Land in 2016, a film which combined Old Hollywood with contemporary vibes, marked the return of movie musicals, with A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman following in its footsteps and taking the box offices by storm. Disney's live action adaptations have also proved massive hits with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King making huge profits. Of course there's also been the occasional flop... Cats.... (which I actually enjoyed) but on the whole, each release has highlighted the demand and appreciation for musical theatre.  

It seems that Hollywood are finally taking note of the power of theatre people and are giving us the sweet, sweet, high quality films we deserve. There are a whole host of movie musicals in the works which are hugely exciting. Some that I'm most looking forward to are:

In The Heights: This is my all time favourite musical and I just can't wait for the summer vibes, incredible music and general wonder of Heights to be played out on the big screen. The film was originally set for release next month but thanks to Miss Rona it's been pushed back to June 2021.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie: This brilliantly British musical is set for release in October and is sure to thrill as it tells the real-life story of Jamie New, the 17 year old drag queen who wants to go against the norm and be true to himself. We'll also get the chance to see wonderful Max Harwood take on the lead role which will be a real treat.

West Side Story: In what's sure to be another 'Star is Born' performance, Rachel Zegler will be starring as Maria in this Stephen Spielberg adaptation. The production photos that have been released so far look amazing and I cannot wait to see this sumptuous film.

The Prom: I saw this show on Broadway so it'll be wonderful and interesting to see a film version. I think this will transfer brilliantly; plus, Meryl Streep is set to star in it so it's already a win in my eyes.

Matilda: The original Matilda film is a complete classic that will always be a heartwarming treat and the musical evokes the same magical and wondrous vibes. Tim Minchin's music is so clever and will no doubt get us all tapping our feet in the cinema!

Merrily We Roll Along: Ben Platt. Beanie Feldstein. Filmed over 20 years. Okay so this isn't going to be out in the near future but I just can't wait to eventually see this movie. The whole concept sounds so exciting and the cast are absolutely stellar.

As well as these there are more live action adaptations in the works as well as a number of current Broadway musicals being transferred from stage to screen. These include Dear Evan Hansen, Tick, Tick... Boom! and Come From Away. All in all, it seems that we can expect a whole lot more musicals in the mainstream and I cannot wait! What upcoming movie musical are you excited to see?

Post by Olivia Mitchell

Friday, 10 May 2019

Matilda (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review


Matilda (UK Tour) 
Bristol Hippodrome
Reviewed on Thursday 9th May 2019 by Roni Hughes 
★★★★

Whether you yourself were obsessed with books as a child, or if you were just more of a movie person, I can guarantee that you will know something of Matilda Wormwood. 

Originally a children’s book written by Roald Dahl and released in 1988, Matilda was later adapted into a blockbuster film starring Mara Wilson and Danny DeVito, becoming a firm favourite of young and old alike. Now the well known tale is back in a musical stage adaption by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics from Tim Minchin. Although currently on its first UK tour, the show has been a resident in London’s West End since 2011, and having had the pleasure of seeing it there multiple times, I was intrigued to see how seamlessly such a fast paced and well staged show would transfer to a smaller stage. For many parents unable to travel to London, this is their opportunity to take children to the show for the first time, and it’s impossible not to get swept up in the excitement upon arriving at the theatre.


Right from the off, it’s clear that the transfer has taken nothing away from the production value. Even on a smaller stage, the intricacies of the sets to include many books and building block letters are still mind blowing. There is so much to look at, yet none of it distracts from the main action. A special shout out must go to the cleverly written and performed School Song, in which the older children of Trunchem Hall teach the new starters their ABC’s through the menacing school gates. Hats off to Matt Towell and Ben Davies for continuing to make this as dynamic and tricky as it should be.



Outside of the staging, there are a few standout members of the cast without whom the show would fall flat. Our Matilda for the night, Olivia Juno Cleverley, has the little girl’s feisty nature down to a T. She has to ability to have us laughing along with her karate chopping one minute, and the next be tugging on our heart strings in softer moments where we’re confronted with just how awfully the adults in her life treat Matilda. At her young age, this is no mean feat, and I’m sure there are bright things to come for her. Special mention also to Charlie Garton who played cake loving Bruce Bogtrotter. His fabulous dance moves in Revolting Children have the audience rolling in the aisles, and he has energy and stage presence in spades.


This is not forgetting the adult cast members, who do well in being the literal embodiment of their characters. Carly Thoms’ Miss Honey is perfectly meek and mild, and her rendition of My House is suitably gut-wrenching. It’s a refreshing change to have one adult in Matilda’s story for whom you root just as much as title character, and Thoms allows us to sympathise completely with this teacher with a heart of gold. 

We also cannot overlook Elliot Harper, who plays the formidable Agatha Trunchbull. Harper succeeds brilliantly in providing us with the laughs throughout the entire show, right down to one final cry of ‘Maggots!’ during the last reprise. He is the fourth Trunchbull I’ve been able to watch, and he certainly does not disappoint.



One thing I must mention that took away slightly from the overall production was the sound mixing. I’m unsure on whether it was simply down to the mics or the theatre layout, but the music seemed to overpower the actors, and particularly in chorus songs, the clarity needed to hear all the lyrics was missing. The show in general was not quite as polished as you would expect for a show that’s been on tour for 14 months already, which was most obvious in some of the dance sequences. However, despite this the show was still more than enjoyable, and this may just be down to adjusting to the recent move to the Hippodrome.


This show is wonderful for children from ages 4-104 and would certainly make for a fantastic family night out. There are plenty of age appropriate gags for all generations, and there’s a great balance of poignant moments mixed with fun and hilarity. I would definitely recommend being a little bit ‘naughty’ and treating yourself to a ticket!

Matilda runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until 8th June before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Friday, 20 September 2019

Matilda the Musical, Cambridge Theatre | Review




Matilda
Cambridge Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

On the week of Roald Dahl's birthday, it seems only right that I made a return visit to Matilda to experience the magical story on stage, helmed by a new cast who are bringing it to life with as much energy and wonder as when it opened eight years ago in the West End.

The RSC's production takes aspects of the much-loved original book and film and combines them with theatrical magic to create a show which delights adults and maggots alike. Laughter and beaming smiles fill the Cambridge Theatre as this delightful musical inspires and wows.

Matilda is written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by the wonderfully wacky Australian, Tim Minchin and direction from Matthew Warchus. The score features intensely catchy melodies and lyrics which are fast, witty and beautiful as well as a book which is filled with humour for adults and children. This combination makes it the perfect treat for the whole family, who will be reminded of the magic and darkness ingrained in Dahl's writing.

The lyrical ingenuity is brought to life through Peter Darling's incredibly precise choreography, which makes use of the entire set and highlights what a well oiled machine this production is. In particular, School Song is a showcase of faultless timing, a stellar cast and innovative lyrics combining in a way which is overwhelmingly wonderful. The entirety of this production is choreographed to the second but each moment still manages to feel fresh and it's clear that the incredibly high standards maintained are what make this show a continual success in London.


Adorned with various alphabet pieces, Rob Howell's set is a star of it's own. Like the characters on stage, each individual piece comes together to create a marvellous wall of colour and interest. Hugh Vanstone's lighting complements the whole production, creating drama and joy and highlighting the contrast between the sweet Matilda, the loud, raucous Wormwood's and terrifying Miss Trunchbull. Extravagance and nuance are used in equal measure to create a pitch perfect piece of theatre.

The cast of this show bring to light just how much talent there is in the West End. Throughout there is not a weak link, and each performance is a stand out in itself. Our young (and tiny) leading lady, Tilly-Raye Bayer is luminous as she rattles through the bold show. Her energy and charisma shine from the outset but she also manages to create intimate moments of peace and sadness. As a character, Matilda is the perfect example of how to get through life. Tenacious, kind and clever, she uses all she has within her to inspire change and bring positivity to those around her. From the young cast, mention must also go to Louie Gray who is astounding as Bruce Bogtrotter.

Sebastian Torkia and Marianne Benedict as Mr and Mrs Wormwood are suitably garish and LOUD. With the pair's fantastic comedic timing they have the audience in hysterics as they show off just how few brain cells they have. Both make their characters bold and slapstick but are tame enough to stop them becoming panto-esque. This is again thanks to the brilliant writing which knows just when to give and take.


As ferocious Miss Trunchbull, Elliot Harper gives his all and his all is certainly enough. There isn't a moment which feels out of character, from repulsive scenes to grossly hilarious comments, Harper brings the headmistress to life exceptionally. With amazing attention to detail and stirring delivery of his dreams of a childless world, Harper is divinely awful.

In contrast Gina Beck is wonderfully understated and, as her name suggests, sweet. The relationship between Matilda and her teacher is touching and the audience really root for the pair. As the Doctor and various other characters Kane Oliver Parry shines vocally. Every single adult performer gives a super sleek performance as they bring multiple characters to life and perform the choreography with pin-stripe precision. Extremely well characterised, they create a real body of sound and action and imbue the show with magic. It should also be noted that Matt Krzan is fantastically flamboyant as Rudolpho; Gemma Scholes is the definition of grace as the Acrobat; and Georgia Carling, Connor Lewis and Ben Kerr really shine in their ensemble tracks. 

In fact, the whole Matilda cast really are Miracles and this is a production you must see at once. Teaching us to be ourselves, stand together, use our imaginations and fight for what we believe in, this is the perfect anecdote to the troubles and worries we face during the current social climate. Take a trip to Crunchem Hall and experience the chocolate box of joy that Matilda provides.

Matilda is currently booking at the Cambridge Theatre, tickets are available at www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Jayde Adams is Jayded, Soho Theatre | Review



Jayde Adams is Jayded

Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 11th December 2017 by Shaun Dicks
★★★★★

Open on the West End, Soho Theatre. A hotbed of theatre and comedic excellence. We find ourselves in the Downstairs space, the set up is of a comedy club. The bar, a scattering of tables and chairs, and an elevated stage that’s dressed with a park bench and a piano. We are welcomed with music from Musical Theatre and Pop Culture. As I wrote before the show, we are in for a hell of a night.

A hell of a night was had by all. Jayde Adams is a beautifully voluptuous woman who takes us on a journey full of laughs. She takes us through a wonderfully crafted set all about popularity and success. Through various devices like mime, song, best friend tests and audience interaction Adams made me cry laughing. Her timing was so perfect, so on point that despite a few word stumbles, everything landed. 

One of the highlights of the show was Adams use of song, her original songs were Tim Minchin esque and her not so original songs were executed perfectly. The musical aspect of the show was truly satisfying. Another highlight was Adams’ use of the best friend test. This involved using a member of the audience, which by nature is a tricky thing, but Adams navigated it perfectly. This writer was buying what she was selling when Adams broke out the wigs and fan, giving the audience a BeyoncĂ© moment that we will never forget. She was willing to improvise and play with the audience as the show went along. She had the audience in the palm of her hands. 

As Adams said during the show, she smashed it. Adams reminded me of my Aunt, with her warm Bristolian accent shewas crass, boisterous and unapologetic in the best way. It is a show that deserves to be seen, it’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made. You will cry with laughter. A sprinkle of happiness in the holiday season.

Friday, 4 August 2017

In Conversation With... Rufus Hound | Interview | The Wind in the Willows

Rufus Hound started out his career as a comedian but over the last few years has been a frequent star of the stage and is currently making audiences laugh starring as Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium. He was lovely enough to do an interview with me where he talks about his transition from comedy to theatre and much more...



For anyone that doesn't know, could you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?


Sure. I started off as a stand-up comedian having grown up as a kid always wanting to be a stage actor and when the opportunity to do actual stage acting arose, I couldn't quite believe it. Jumped at it with both hands and that's really what I've concentrated on doing even since. It's been how I've earns a living I think for the last sort or four years, five years. Starting with Utopia at the Soho theatre, then One Man, Two Guvnors, then Neville's Island for Chichester and then Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at The Savoy, then War of the Roses and the Kingston Rose and Don Quixote for the RSC and I'm currently in The Wind in the Willows. So there are my career and highlights so far.


I read that it was during a summer job with a PR agency that you decided to go into comedy. Had you always wanted to perform or did you have other career paths in mind when you were younger?


I guess I've sort of already answered this but from about the age of three I watched The Muppet Show and thought "that's what I wanna do, I wanna do theatre". And the lovely thing about theatre, well one of the lovely things about being a kid is that your opportunities to show off are largely limited to school plays and the like. So yeah, from about three to seventeen I was like "that's all I wanna do". Then as eighteen dawned on me and nineteen dawned on me I realised that that was something that was going to cost a lot of money to train to do and the likelihood was that I wouldn't you know, succeed in trying to do it. So, I put that dream in a drawer.


I decided to go into comedy because I always liked standing up, I liked showing off, I like making people laugh. So I started going out with a woman who was a judge at a lot of new act competitions, saw what people were doing and thought: "I could do that". But as I say, once the opportunity to do more acting came up, that was what I did!


Was the transition from comedy to presenting to tv and eventually theatre a difficult one or was it a natural transition?



It wasn't really natural, it's just that in life you get somebody saying "do you wanna give that a go?" and then if you're smart you can kind of have a look round, work out what other people are doing and how you could best do it, and hopefully don't muck it up so badly that that you never get another chance. Each job you learn on and you grow in each way. But yeah, I've never learnt how to do comedy or presenting or radio or theatre. No one's ever taught me how to do those things, you just give them a go, keep your ears pinned back, keep your eyes open and try and work out how the best people people bring about their best.




What keeps you motivated to keep working even when you get knock backs?

I have a mortgage and I have two children!


Do you have any hidden passions that you'd like to pursue?


Yes. They're not really so hidden but I really enjoy woodwork and currently where I live there's no space to have a kind of workshop or anything like that in order to do woodwork. But yeah maybe in the next couple of years we'll move somewhere with a bit more space and yeah, you'll largely find me under a pile of wood shavings.



The Wind in the Willows is a wonderful family show. What attracted you to the show in the first place?


When I was working on One Man, Two Guvnors, Pete Caulfied out of the blue, said to me "If you ever get the chance to play Toad, take it you'd be brilliant." A couple of years later, out of the blue, Matt  Kingsley in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels says to me "you know, if you ever get the chance to play Toad, you should take it" and I went: "you're the second person to say that to me". And because both of these were really out of the blue, it just totally stuck in my mind that I was, in the esteem of people that I respected, a good person to take on this role. So when the opportunity to play it came up, I jumped at it with both hands!



What do you think people will be saying on the train on their way home from the show?


Poop poop probably! We now live in the age of social media where people tweet you what they're talking about on the way home from the show. By and large it seems to be that anyone with kids is having to deal with and overexcited young person who is shouting to them about the flying, the sets, the mice, the weasels are very popular, the weasels and stoats! So yeah, people just come away from it knowing it was a big, warm hug of a show really.



Besides yourself, who else would you like to see play Mr Toad?


Crumbs. That's literally the last thing in the world I've thought about! I've been so focussed on doing it myself that I would never really deign to think of how somebody else might do it. Who would I like to see play it? Er...... I really don't know, I'm really struggling on that!





Can you sum up The Wind in he Willows in five words?


Yes! Big, warm, family, massive... hug!



What are some of your dream roles in theatre?


I'd really like to play Thenadier in Les Mis for a short run just because nothing would make my mum happier. I'd also really like to be in anything Tim Minchin has ever done.



What's a fun fact people might not know about you?


Ahhhh, I dunno. I think in this day and age everyone knows everything about everyone pretty much! But.... I was a Klansman in the first production of Jerry Springer: The Opera. There were some photographs taken and the protagonist is there surrounded by Klansmen and I was one of those. I was also a hillbilly having the tar knocked out of him on the floor. So if anyone has got any connection to Jerry Springer: The Opera then I was in it at about the age of twenty, in a very minor way.



Whats your number one piece for can aspiring performer?


Don't give up. The only thing that stops you from being a performer is stopping!



A huge thank you to Rufus for taking the time to do this interview. The Wind in the Willows is at the London Palladium until September 9th.


Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor