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

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson’s Epic Musical From Here To Eternity Returns to London


Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson’s epic musical From Here To Eternity is to get its first London revival in a newly revised production at Charing Cross Theatre.

‘From Here To Eternity’ will run from 29 October - 17 December.

Set in the two weeks leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, ‘From Here To Eternity’ is a compelling portrait of humanity, love, duty and redemption set against the backdrop of a beautiful and conflicted paradise.

Adapted from the classic novel by James Jones this breathtaking musical unites the writing talents of Tim Rice (lyrics), Stuart Brayson (music) and Donald Rice and Bill Oakes (book), and is directed by Brett Smock (Producing Artistic Director / The Rev Theatre Company).

From Here To Eternity marked Tim Rice’s first new stage musical for over 10 years. His extraordinary career includes winning 12 Ivor Novello awards, 4 Tonys and 3 Oscars, with smash-hit musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Chess and The Lion King.

Director Brett Smock said: “After extensive development work on ‘From Here To Eternity’ in the US at The REV Theatre Company in New York and The Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, we are thrilled to join forces with UK producer Katy Lipson/Aria Entertainment to present a powerful new production designed specifically for the intimacy of Charing Cross Theatre. Framed by a world on the brink of war, at a time when we are losing the last of the ‘Greatest Generation’, and with the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor just last year, it feels timely to revisit this fascinating series of events.”

 

Lyricist Tim Rice said: “It’s wonderful to have ‘From Here To Eternity back in London. Since its world premiere in the West End in 2013, there have been two excellent productions in North America, both directed by Brett Smock, and I’m delighted he’s bringing the latest iteration of the show back across The Pond. Katy Lipson and her team are the perfect partners: young, dynamic and energetic - like the fighting men of G Company. It’s been a treat to get back to the writing desk with Stuart, too.If you like your musicals soft and fluffy, this show is not for you. We have nothing to offer but danger, betrayal, heart-break, hope, blood, sweat and tears!”

 

Composer Stuart Brayson said: “Since my tiny acorn of an idea that the classic James Jones novel would make a good musical - and everyone thought I was mad - I’ve been fortunate to experience its remarkable journey from early workshops at the Bridewell Theatre to a West End run, a wonderful film of the production, a successful cast album and two terrific American productions. That’s not too shabby for a self-taught musician and working class lad from Gateshead!”

 

“Gentlemen rankers out on a spree
Damned from here to Eternity”
(Rudyard Kipling)

Cast to be announced.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Evita (UK Tour), Grand Opera House, Belfast | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
Grand Opera House, Belfast 
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st August 2018 by Damien Murray 
★★★★

When the idea of a musical based on the life of Eva Peron was first suggested back in the 1970s, many people were dubious about its chances of success… fast forward to today and it has become a modern classic with major theatres like Belfast’s Grand Opera House playing host to an extended run of Bill Kenwright’s 40th Anniversary Touring production of the show. 

As last week marked the 66th anniversary of her untimely death from cancer at the age of 33, the show has not only been a success, but has already outlived the real Evita by quite a few years. 

A sung-through musical story of her short life, the show takes us from her humble beginnings through to a life of wealth and power, dubbed as the ‘spiritual chief of the nation’ by the Argentine people. 

From its dramatic opening with Eva’s funeral juxtaposed with Che’s angry and cynically mocking song, Oh What A Circus, and going full circle through her eventful life back to her lying in state, this must be one of Bill Kenwright’s best ever productions. 


Jointly directed by Kenwright and Bob Tomson, this excellent touring revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s relatively early musical about the former Argentine dictator’s wife – which, like Jesus Christ Superstar, originated as a concept album – may be slightly scaled down from the original… but, you would never realise it. 

For this was a classy staging boasting basic, practical, but opulent, settings in a well-dressed and extremely well-lit production, which also included some child performers for added realism. 

Strong tango rhythms encouraged fiery and passionate performances, especially in choreographed ensemble pieces like Buenos Aires as the hard-working ensemble brought the ideas of Choreographer, Bill Deamer – ranging from passion-filled tango to militaristic movement – to life. 

Thanks to Musical Director, Tim Whiting, and his 10-piece orchestra, Webber’s sung-through format threw up many memorable musical highlights, including: great vocal clarity from young Cristina Hoey as the teenage Mistress in Another Suitcase In Another Hall; and from Oscar Balmaseda as the nightclub tango singer, Magaldi, during On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, while the rousing chorus of A New Argentina also stood out, as did the young girl’s beautiful singing of Santa Evita; Che’s expressive interpretation of High Flying Adored and the ailing Eva’s heartfelt and moving rendition of You Must Love Me. 


Mike Sterling provided a commanding Peron, while Glenn Carter really impressed in the demanding role of the ever-present Che, the self-styled narrator of the story. 

Carter’s diction, clarity and, at times, almost patter-style of delivery were vital to this show, as – being sung-through – those new to the story or with any hearing difficulty needed such clarity to put everything in context, especially during songs like Oh What A Circus and High Flying Adored. 

In addition to her beautiful singing voice (particularly in the show-stopper, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina), The Voice finalist and musical theatre songstress, Lucy O’Byrne, turned in a very confident performance as the ambitious backstreet actress whose ascendancy was unstoppable, because she was so loved and adored by so many that she almost rose to the dizzy heights of sainthood. 

My only small criticism was that, as Eva Peron was enigmatic, manipulative and charismatic; I would have liked to have seen a little more charisma throughout, as it did take a little longer than usual to warm to the character of Eva. 


This may have been because O’Byrne was more operatic in style than some others I have come across in this role, although her display of humanity during You Must Love Me at a time of critical physical weakness was heart-breaking and probably the best and most moving ever, as was the touching death scene. 

All dressed and decorated in a rich tapestry of sumptuous sets, authentic costumes and wigs, and attractive, mood-inspiring lighting, this production was a visual treat with some beautiful theatrical pictures at the end of most songs. 

Forty years after its West-End premiere, this fast-moving production is a high standard revival of a passionate and powerful piece of musical theatre. 

Evita runs at the Grand Opera House, Belfast until 11th August before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith Pattison

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre to present Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert


Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is the first London theatre to welcome back audiences with 70 live performances in August and September, with venue capacity reduced to 390 seats, 30% of its usual capacity, together with new safety protocols

From 14 August, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre will produce a special concert staging of their production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

William Village, Executive Director said: “Following the government’s announcement last week that outdoor theatres may re-open, we have been working around the clock to find a way to open in August and September this year. With social distancing, seating capacity has been dramatically reduced to 390 seats (down from 1,256). This makes producing any large-scale show economically extremely challenging, particularly as we are an unfunded organisation. Nevertheless, both for us as a venue, and the industry as a whole, we believe it is incumbent upon us to do everything possible to re-open this year, and we’re delighted to announce this special concert staging of our award-winning production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Of course, the safety of our audience, performers and staff remains of paramount importance to us. We will follow government guidance meticulously; measures to be introduced at the entirely open air venue include: reduced capacity, distanced performers, enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, paperless and cashless systems and multiple hand sanitiser stations. All information will be set out clearly on our website and communicated with audiences in advance of their arrival.”

Running for six weeks from Friday 14 August until Sunday 27 September 2020, the concert will run for 90 minutes with no interval.

The creative team is: Will Burton CDG and David Grindrod CDG (casting); Lee Curran (lighting design); Tom Deering (musical supervisor); Barbara Houseman (associate director, voice and text); Drew McOnie (choreography); Nick Lidster for Autograph (sound design); Tom Scutt (design); Timothy Sheader (director); Kate Waters (fight director) and Denzel Westley-Sanderson (co-director). Full casting information will be announced in due course.


A series of one-off MOREoutdoor Mondays will also play throughout the run with comedy from Rob Beckett, Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr, Kerry Godliman, Judi Love and Russell Kane. 

Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director said: “It has been, and continues to be, an incredibly challenging time for everyone working in the theatre industry. Whilst the arts sector awaits details of how the government’s support package will be disseminated, I’m heartened that we have been able to start work again with a number of our colleagues and to employ over 140 people including 70 performers and freelancers, at least for a brief period this summer.

However, a clear and specific timeframe for the re-opening of the rest of our industry, together with the complete and safe removal of social distancing measures in all venues, remains critical to secure the future of the arts in the UK.”

Public Booking for Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert, opens 11am, Tuesday 21 July 2020; Public booking for MOREoutdoor Mondays opens 11am, Thursday 23 July 2020

Friday, 21 January 2022

Beauty and the Beast to Play at the London Palladium


Disney’s beloved Olivier Award-winning stage musical Beauty and the Beast - re-imagined and re-designed in a completely new production staged by members of the original award-winning creative team - will come to London in Summer 2022, as part of its UK & Ireland Tour.

Performances will begin at the London Palladium from Friday 24 June 2022, for a strictly limited season until Saturday 17 September.

Tickets will go on-sale for London at 10am on Friday 28 January. Customers can sign up to be amongst the first to access tickets and can find all tour dates and information at BeautyAndTheBeastMusical.co.uk

The UK tour opened at Bristol Hippodrome on 25 August 2021 and is currently playing at the Sunderland Empire.  

Spectacular new designs and state-of-the-art technology fuse with the classic story, as the timeless romantic tale is brought to life on stage like never before, with all the charm and elegance audiences expect from Belle and her Beast.

Courtney Stapleton and Shaq Taylor will play the iconic lead roles. Courtney’s credits include Dear Evan HansenSixLes Misérables and Bat Out of Hell, and Shaq is best known for performing in Girl from the North CountryHadestown and Hex.

Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical, Les Misérables) plays Lumiere and Tom Senior (The Pirates of Penzance, Eugenius!) is Gaston.

Sam Bailey (The X-Factor winner 2013, Blood Brothers) plays the legendary role of Mrs Potts, with Nigel Richards (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Cogsworth.

Martin Ball (Les Misérables, Wicked, Top Hat) takes the role of Maurice, Samantha Bingley (Martha In The Secret Garden) is Wardrobe, Emma Caffrey (Curtains, 42nd Street, Funny Girl) is Babette and Louis Stockil (Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!) plays Le Fou.

The full company is completed with Richard Astbury, Sarah Benbelaid, Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Matthew Dawkins, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, Thomas-Lee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton and Rhys West.

Beauty and the Beast is reimagined in startling new designs which use the latest theatrical innovations. Among the many new features is an exuberant tap dance within the legendary production number Be Our Guest, created expressly for Gavin Lee, recognised as one of the great tappers on either side of the Atlantic.

Olivier Award nominee Matt West directs and choreographs this new production, leading a team that includes composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, bookwriter Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and lighting designer Natasha Katz. The team collectively received five Tony® nominations and a win for Hould-Ward’s costume design, when Disney first debuted Beauty and the Beast on Broadway 28 years ago.

The structure and tone of the story and score – as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history. Only once before – in Menken and Ashman’s previous film musical The Little Mermaid – had a Disney film been structured like a stage musical where the songs are integral to plot and characterisation rather than only ornamental or digressions. This Menken/Ashman innovation is credited with the 1990’s Disney animation renaissance that went on to create such film classics as Aladdin, The Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame and helped re-introduce the book musical form to popular culture.

This new Beauty, while retaining the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony®-nominated score - which brought classics including Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Change in Me, added to the musical production in 1998 and retained thereafter - has new dance arrangements by David Chase, allowing original choreographer Matt West to re-visit his work. Longtime Menken collaborators Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator, respectively.

Completing the design team, Tony®-winner John Shivers is sound designer, Darryl Maloney is the video and projections designer, and David H. Lawrence is hair designer. Jim Steinmeyer is the illusions designer, as he was on the original 1994 production. Casting for the production is by Pippa Ailion Casting.

The original West End production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Dominion Theatre in April 1997, playing over 1100 performances to more than two million people. It won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Musical and enjoyed a hugely successful UK & Ireland tour in 2001.

Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years on Broadway, closing in 2007. It remains to this day – 28 years after it opened – among the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history. The 2017 live-action retelling of the animated classic quickly became the highest grossing live action film musical of all time, a record only beaten by The Lion King live-action release in 2019.

Beauty and the Beast is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Evita (UK Tour), Palace Theatre Manchester | Review


Evita (UK Tour) 
Palace Theatre, Manchester 
Reviewed on Thursday 7th December 2017 by Jeni Skirrow 
★★★★


Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber have written some truly captivating, catchy musicals and Evita is of course iconic and no exception to this. An ever popular rags-to-riches type of story based on the life and demise of Eva Peron, wife of Argentine president, Juan Peron. The plot follows her rise to iconic status heralding her as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’, heroine of the Argentine people, and of course her untimely premature demise.

Straight from the West End, Manchester was privileged to be the first stop in the new twelve month tour of Bill Kenwright’s production. Eva Peron’s role is a demanding performance and Madalena Alberto is mesmerisingly magnificent, with not just unfalteringly consistent vocals, but how beautifully she captures the fledgling radio star’s glamour, seduction, hope and steely desperation. 'Don’t Cry For Me Argentina' is undoubtedly the most highly anticipated song in the show and Madalena’s performance did not fail to give me goose bumps- exquisite. “As for fortune and for fame, I never invited them in”... until the final curtain there’s something very dubious about this statement.

The narrator Che deserves a mention, heroic Gian Marco Schiaretti’s presence (and biceps) were suitably foreshadowing- he is perfect for the role. His strong and versatile performance was a joy to watch.

Each scene was beautifully realised through expert choreography, cleverly slick staging and continual costume changes for Eva, telling a story within itself. This production was everything I hoped it would be and more. Emotional, beautiful and inspiring it was an ideal theatrical experience.

Evita is a moving story, with a mixture of up-beat, high intensity numbers as well as slower, more emotionally moving pieces. This balance and contrast makes it flow smoothly and provides a wonderful night out at the theatre. With beautiful music, great staging and fabulous performances all round, I implore you to get along to this show if you can.

Photo credit: Keith Pattison

Thursday, 10 November 2022

From Here To Eternity, Charing Cross Theatre | Review


From Here To Eternity
Charing Cross Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 9th November 2022
★★★

Based on the novel by James Jones and the classic film adaptation, From Here to Eternity follows the soldiers of G Company in the days leading up to the Pearl Harbour attack. There are dramas, romance and social commentary galore, and this production at the Charing Cross Theatre showcases it all with stunning performances, but a mishmashmed plot. 

There have been a number of musical changes from the previous London production with songs being cut and some new additions made; the first act is very plot heavy and almost feels like a play with songs as opposed to a full blown musical. However, the score (lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Stuart Brayson) definitely has some stand out moments and the consistently strong cast give their all and provide absolutely divine harmonic moments throughout.

As Prewitt the leading man, Jonathon Bentley is astounding. In a vocally and physically demanding role, he completely excels and exudes star power. As Maggio, Jonny Aimes is incredibly enjoyable to watch, showcasing his versatility, beginning as the cheeky comedian before becoming beaten down by army life and what it entails. The entire male cast are strong and this is certainly a show which thrives in its ensemble moments where everything comes together in harmony and synchronicity. The female cast is small but mighty. Desmonda Cathabel as Lorene, Eve Polycarpou as Mrs Kipfer and Carley Stenson as Karen are uniformly formidable and give some great solo and trio moments. However, as with most of the characters there's limited development to their storylines so it's difficult to really root for them. Also, most of their action is just in reaction to the men and they aren't given much agency of their own which is a shame.

This is a show which pack a lot in but it's not all successful. With such a vast number of stories going on throughout and not enough time for their background exposition, there's a distinct lack of connection which means the drama never fully hits. That being said, this is a real powerhouse of a show vocally and is worth seeing for the sheer talent on display.

Another great aspect is the combination of Adam King's lighting and Stewart J Charlesworth's set design which work in unison to create  a very cinematic feeling production. There are some visually striking moments and the small space of the theatre is used to its full potential. Cressida Carré's choreography also fits well and is perfectly sharp and clean.

From Here to Eternity has some faults but is ultimately a show which delivers oomph thanks to its completely committed cast. The story is a bit all over the place but the moments which hit, really do so well and it's great to see a much loved British musical back on stage.

photo credit: Mark Senior

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Evita (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th July 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Classic musical, Evita has been thrilling audiences in the UK and around the world since it opened in 1978, winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Multiple re-incarnations have allowed various portrayals of the iconic characters and different takes on the tale of Eva Perón. Despite not having a huge amount to compare to, having only seen the 1996 movie and 2006 West End production, I don't hesitate saying that this current tour helmed by Lucy O'Byrne, Glenn Carter and Mike Sterling has created an almost perfect production and showcases the music and story of Evita wonderfully.

Not only was tonight Evita's opening night at the New Victoria Theatre but was also the opening night for the three leads who each do an outstanding job. Mike Sterling commands the role of Juan Perón with power and fight whilst also showing off a softer side with his wife. He is vocally wonderful and complements Lucy's voice well. As Che (in some productions based on Che Guevara, and others as working class Everyman base of Peronism) Glenn Carter is versatile. A strong voice and all-knowing-rock-god-vibe means he brings a unique but perfectly suitable strength to the role.

As the leading lady, Lucy O'Byrne grows and blazes as Eva Perón. Starting out as a 16 year old who knows what she wants to a dying politicians wife, O'Byrne's transition is breathtaking to watch. Stand out moments include Rainbow High and You Must Love Me which show the drastic differences between Eva's character. Lucy performs the role with passion and drive whilst maintaining brief innocent moments. Her vocals grow as the character does and her stellar diction means we don't miss a word of the fast-paced passages.


Bill Dreamer's choreography brings to life the world of Argentina and cleverly moves us from one moment of action to another, whilst, Matthew Wright's sets and costumes create a vibrant world which draws you in from the opening. The fairly simplistic sets echo the world of the Perón's and at times provide a stark contrast to the glamour of Eva. 

It's hard to pick fault with such a strong production but one thing in particular strikes me as odd: the decision to give the entire cast English accents. This doesn't take away from the performances at all but feels like a bit of a cop out, and makes us forget the show is set in Argentina at times. 

However, overall this production is well thought out and does a brilliant job of bringing Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and lyrics to life once more. This show is not glitz and glam happiness, but it is a raw and moving story which should certainly be seen. Stellar music is brought to life by a magnificent cast who make Evita a must see!

Evita runs at the New Victoria Theatre until July 21st before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith pattison

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

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Olivia's Top Shows of 2019



This year I saw 150 shows, from glitzy West End productions to smaller fringe pieces and many UK tours. Before we step into the new decade, I want to feature some of my favourite pieces of the year and those which have stuck with me in some way.



Dolly Parton has been a family favourite growing up so this musical ticks all the boxes for me. 9 to 5 is a catchy, colourful celebration of girl power. With another tour planned for next year, this show is sure to delight audiences in 2020 and beyond.



Six featured in last year's Top 10 list, but having seen it a few times this year, I thought it warranted a place once again. The fantastically, feminist musical is pure joy on stage and a complete treat. Enthralling audiences around the world with its pop/musical theatre crossover sound and the heart which is retained in all its incarnations, Six's world domination is only just beginning. 



I mentioned the Broadway production of Come From Away last year, but 2019 saw the triumphant West End transfer of this show which is completely spectacular and special beyond compare. Telling the heartfelt story of the unity formed in a small village in Canada during the traumas of 9/11, the Celtic sounds and complete ensemble feel of the piece make it effective and oh so powerful.



Performed by members of the British Theatre Academy (BTA), the young cast transported audiences on a mystical journey of love and magic. Lee Proud and Harrison Clark created a production worthy of much acclaim and showcased some of the future stars of UK theatre.



Having missed the Open Air production of Jesus Christ Superstar, I was thrilled to get the chance to see it at the Barbican and it did not disappoint. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's score soared thanks to the ingenious staging which made the space feel as though it was outside, and Lee Curran's lighting which made the atmosphere both electric and intimate. Amazing performances all round made this a production not to be forgotten.



Not only was it a treat to see this enchanting song cycle by Dave Malloy brought to life by such talented actor-musos, but getting to experience the new space of the Boulevard Theatre was a delight in itself. The whole space feels fresh, welcoming, modern and all in all a wonderful addition to the London theatre scene. Ghost Quartet was a wacky mish-mash, but there's something about it that was truly enchanting.


The Cher Show | Neil Simon Theatre

If you'd told me at the beginning of the year that The Cher Show would be in my top shows, not just of 2019 but ever, I doubt I would've believed you. The cast were amazing but as someone unfamiliar with Cher's music and kind of bewildered by the whole idea, I didn't expect to come out beaming after one of the best night's ever at the theatre. The biopic musical tells the story of the superstar's rise to fame via three Cher's representing different times in her life. The performances are other worldly and the humour hits all the right spots. This is the embodiment of a grand musical and I can only hope it comes to the West End sometime soon!


The Jungle | St Ann's Warehouse

This is another show I missed in London but was lucky enough to catch in New York at the incredible setting of St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn. This is the most striking piece of theatre I have ever witnessed, and I can't even explain how spectacular the entire production was. The community feel that was created within moments of entering the theatre is like nothing I've ever experienced and every element of theatricality was so perfectly used to highlight the stories of those on stage.



The Adam Guettal musical was on my 'To See' bucket list, so it was a complete joy to experience the sumptuous score performed by such a stellar cast this year. The story about young Clara falling in love with Fabrizio on a trip to Italy is beautiful and made me want to go to and have my own romantic holiday accompanied by a beautiful classical soundtrack.



Fiver played a brief run at the Southwark Playhouse and earned itself much praise and many fans. With a fantastic score by Alex James Ellison, the musical follows the story of a £5 note and how it's value changes in the hands of various people. This was a completely unexpected treat of a show which completely enraptured me and left me feeling joyous, thanks to the wonderful mix of musical styles and fantastic array of stories involved. The superb cast of five gave everything and made it a real gem of a piece. A delightful musical, lets hope we see more of Fiver in the future.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Jesus Christ Superstar, Barbican Theatre | Review


Jesus Christ Superstar
Barbican Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 4th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Back for its third triumphant year, the Regent's Park Open Air production of Jesus Christ Superstar is exciting, vibrant fresh and thrilling. Originally released as a concept album, Timothy Sheader's production strips Superstar back and puts on a glittering and compelling performance which lets every aspect of the show shine. 

Of course Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock score is the heart of this production, with huge belters from the two Js: Jesus and Judas, and more soothing, lighter numbers from Mary Magdalene. However, it's Drew McOnie's choreography that really elevates everything about this version of Superstar. Each riveting moment is sharp but free and grungy at once. The frenetic energy flits between excitement, fury, trance and sadness and creates a pulse which sizzles and entertains throughout. 

What's particularly striking about this show is the mob mentality of the followers and apostles of Jesus. Turning on a dime to support and then attack Jesus, there are very few loyalties when peer pressure gets overwhelming. Emphasised even further through Lee Curran's lighting, it's equal measures devastating and thrilling. 


Robert Tripolino's Jesus is charismatic and obviously troubled as he pours everything he has into his preaching, but is exhausted and alone as he privately questions his destiny on earth. His storming vocals are the perfect balance of sincere and shocking and his hugely dramatic death, manages, in a strange way, to resonate; and his heartbreakingly truthful performance of Gethsemane in act two enthrals the audience. Ricardo Afonso is a complete superstar as Judas, played with a ferocity which is electrifying. Again he shows off the versatility of his voice but is most vibrant in his bold, angry moments. A real masterclass performance. 

Matt Cardle comes to life in act two whilst Nathan Amzi and Cavin Cornwall provide entertaining vocals throughout. Samuel Buttery brings a comic relief which suddenly turns brutish in his excellent portrayal of King Herod. The ensemble are a body of their own as they pulse across the stage with an energy and intensity that jumps off the stage. Without a weak link, the performances are consistently full-out and electrifying. This team work as one throughout and give a continually flowing show.

This is a thrillingly furious, highly millennial production, in which miraculous performances are given and striking images resonate long after the curtain falls. 

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 3rd August 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a staple and rite of passage for many musical theatre fans so when a production is mounted there's always a ready and willing audience to view it. Thankfully for current audiences, the Palladium production which is touring the country is absolutely top notch and a dream night out.

Laurence Connor's version of Joseph is a reinvigorated, large scale, glitzy production that feels like it's been plucked straight from the West End and dropped into Woking. The excellent sets by Morgan Large look luxurious but there's also a lovely element of simplicity which is reminiscent of the hugely popular film version. The entire set design is sleek and perfectly embodies the joy and energy which this show provides.

If you're looking for a killer cast, you need to look no further than Joseph. Every single cast member fires on all cylinders and the power and joy which pours out from the stage is just a treat to experience. In the lead role Jac Yarrow is star quality embodied. His Close Every Door To Me is absolutely excellent and he brings a lovely cheeky quality which draws you to Joseph and makes you root for him even more.

Yarrow is joined by Linzi Hately who is wonderfully witty as The Narrator as well as Bobby Windebank who gives a brilliant portrayal of the Elvis-esque Pharaoh. Mention must also go to Matt Gibson as Rueben and Will Hawsworth as Simeon, both of whom are real standouts vocally in their solo moments. The child performers are a joy to watch as they take on various roles and exude happiness.

This is also a choreography heavy production which further elevates it. There are tap numbers alongside a string of high intensity ensemble moments. Joann M. Hunter has done an outstanding job of providing an array of styles and making every number engaging.

For a show which could easily become pantomimic, there is a real level of intensity which upgrades it and makes it a two hour treat that you'd have to be a scrooge not to enjoy.  The outstanding band led by the joyous musical director John Rigby, alongside the super strong ensemble and superbly adapted show, mean and you can't help but leave the theatre smiling from ear to ear. 

photo credit: Tritram Kenton

Monday, 4 May 2020

Theatre You Can Stream For FREE

With no end in sight to this lockdown, the boredom may be setting in for a lot of people so I thought I'd make a little round up of some FREE theatre you can watch from your home. Now some of these do rely on you having a Netflix, Disney+ and/or Amazon Prime account but I assume most people do! There are also some no subscription shows at the end. If you have a show you'd like to be included in this list, feel free to email rewritethisstory@outlook.com


Netflix has a whole host of binge-worthy films and series, with a great selection of musicals including:

The Wizard of Oz: A young farm girl Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog Toto are whisked away from their Kansas home in a tornado to the magical land of Oz. A complete classic, with whimsy to take you away and a load of tunes to sing along to.

Burlesque: Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a singer who moves to LA in hopes of achieving her dreams. After getting a job at a burlesque lounge, Ali performs there nightly and helps the lounge's owner (Cher) restore the club to its original glory. It's a film of absolute boppage with two musical queens.

La La Land: While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an actress (Emma Stone) fall in love. As they start to experience professional success, they struggle in their relationship and have to decide between love and doing what they love.

Opening Night: A failed Broadway singer who now works as a production manager must save opening night on his new production by wrangling his eccentric cast and crew. Starring Lesli Margherita and Taye Diggs.


West Side StoryRomeo and Juliet told through the street gangs of New York City — The Sharks and The Jets. When Tony (Richard Beymer), a Jet, falls in love with Maria (Natalie Wood), a Shark, drama ensues as the gangs fight one another and Tony and Maria fight for their love.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend: Rebecca Bunch, a New York City real-estate lawyer abandons her job and her life in an attempt to find happiness in the unlikely locale of West Covina, California. It's hilarious and heart-warming and the music (by Rachel Bloom) is completely genius.


Disney+ there are of course all the live action movies on here as well as the classic Disney films such as Annie, The Sound of Music, Frozen etc... but here are a few other things you may have missed/not gotten round to yet:

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: If you haven't watched this, you'll probably think it's rubbish but it's actually really entertaining and has some great songs. The main plot point is that the school where the HSM  movie was filmed are putting on their own production of the musical, but amongst that there's teen romance, rivalries and over the top musical numbers.

Newsies: Based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, this musical tells the story of Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan), a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist away from the big city. After publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices at the newsboys' expense, Kelly and his fellow newsies take action. The dancing, the choreo, the cast- it's all exceptional and worth a watch purely just for Jezza singing Santa Fe!

Encore!: Hosted by Kristen Bell, this series takes adults back to high school to revive the musicals they were a part of in their youth. There's a great selection of musicals included from Godspell to The Sound of Music and it's lovely to see theatre kids who have all taken different directions in life reunite through a shared love.


Amazon Prime has a few more rogue theatrical selections as well as some great documentaries; some of my favourites are:

Once The story of Girl meeting Guy. He, is a Dublin busker on the brink of walking away from music after having his heart broken and feeling unheard in a bustling world; whilst, she is a force for change who exudes positivity from the moment their worlds collide. In the space of a few days, their lives become beautifully connected and changed forever.

The Last Five Years: This show chronicles the lives of a struggling actress (Anna Kendrick) and a successful writer (Jeremy Jordan) as they journey through their ultimately doomed relationship. Told from two perspectives, this is just a beautiful piece of theatre.



Wild Rose: Fresh out of prison, a Scottish woman  (Jessie Buckley) juggles her job and two children while pursuing her dream of becoming a country music star. She soon gets her chance when she travels to Nashville, on a life-changing journey to discover her true voice. Featuring both original music and covers, this is a lovely, lovely film.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice's musical, JCS recounts the last days of Jesus Christ (Ted Neeley) from the perspective of Judas Iscariot (Carl Anderson), his betrayer.

Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway: If you're a Hamilton fan this is a must watch. It looks at how the hit musical came to be and features snippets of the show as well as interviews and archive footage.


Aside from what's available on these regular streaming platforms, the brilliant creatives from the world of theatre have put together some amazing online resources:

National Theatre at Home: Each week the National Theatre are streaming plays from their archives on YouTube. Each show stays up for 7 days and there's a whole variety of genres. This week's stream is Frankenstein with Anthony and Cleopatra going live on Thursday and more to be announced. Check out the channel here

Ghost Quartet: If you missed the recent revival of Dave Malloy's show at the Boulevard Theatre, you can now watch the original production here

Signal: A series that presents new artist driven musical theatre has released a complete playlist of songs presented over the past two years. Available here

The Show Must Go Online: Each Friday Andrew Lloyd Webber is sharing one of his musicals, available here

21 Chump Street: Lin Manuel Miranda's lovely 15 minute musical is available to stream now. Telling the true story of an agent who went undercover in a school to reveal students who were dealing drugs. For a short musical, this fits so much in and the performances from Anthony Ramos and Lindsay Mendez are outstanding.


Cirque Du Soleil 60-Minute Specials: The iconic troupe are releasing regular hour long special's of their spectacular shows which can be viewed here

Southwark Playhouse have introduced the Southwark Stayhouse with three of their previous productions, including the tale of the Bronte sisters, Wasted. Find them all here

The Royal Opera House #FromOurHouseToYourHouse: The Royal Opera House are releasing lots of their archive shows, including La Traviata. Find them all here

The Shows Must Go On!: Weekly readings of Shakespeare's plays, performed by stellar actors take place on YouTube

Only The Brave: Telling the story of a group of soldiers in the run up to the D-Day landings, the hit musical starring Caroline Sheen and David Thaxton is available to view here



Myth: The Rise and Fall of Orpheus: Filmed live at The Other Palace in March 2018, this belt-fest of a musical is available to watch here

Eugenius! Towards the start of lockdown, team Eugenius! released their show which was filmed during its run at The Other Palace and the show is still available to stream now.