Showing posts sorted by date for query Zoe Spurr. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query Zoe Spurr. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Friday 9 June 2023

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at the Southwark Playhouse review: A masterclass in storytelling


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Southwark Playhouse
★★★★★

If you're wanting to see arguably the most mesmerising production in London right now, then look no further than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the musical at Southwark Playhouse. From the stunning writing to the exceptional performances, this production is a moving celebration of life and the boundless capacity to find joy in unexpected places.

The writing (book and lyrics by Jethro Compton and music and lyrics by Darren Clark) is nothing short of extraordinary. It beautifully captures the essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald's timeless story, seamlessly translating it into a theatrical masterpiece which sweeps you up and takes your heart on an incredible journey. The script is both poignant and thought-provoking, delving deep into the profound themes of aging, love, and the significance of every moment we encounter. The fast paced lyrics are witty and woven together so well. The musical tenderly tugs at the heartstrings, leaving the audience reflecting on their own lives and the choices that shape our existence.

One cannot help but be enthralled by this show which really is the whole package. Every single moment feels well thought out and you can't help but notice how much care has gone into creating this show. A very strong aspect of this musical is the attention to the sound and lighting which accompanies the story. Zoe Spurr's lighting design has whimsical elements and the interplay between light and shadow creates a really magical visual tapestry, accentuating the emotional depth of the narrative. Each scene is carefully crafted to transport the audience through the passage of time, immersing us in the ever-changing world of Benjamin Button. Luke Swaffield's sound design further enhances the atmosphere, adding depth and texture to the production, as well as being perfectly balanced so that the music packs a punch and hits you in the gut but doesn't come across too loud or over the top.

Cast wise, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button features universally delightful performances. Each member delivers stellar vocals, acting and music (each person plays various instruments throughout), bringing the characters to life with authenticity and charisma. Their vocal prowess and impeccable timing are truly commendable, adding another layer of brilliance to an already captivating production. The chemistry among the cast members is palpable, creating an enchanting dynamic that draws the audience deeper into the story.

It's hard to mention specific people because the cast are a constellation of stars but mention must go to Jamie Parker who is astounding as Benjamin Button. His performance is incredibly layered and transformative. It really is a masterclass in how physicality and subtle changes can completely make a performance. As his love interest, Molly Osbourne is glorious and also shows excellent growth and character development. Across the board the vocals are divine so hopefully a cast recording is on the way!

This is a perfectly wrapped show that delivers on every base. 

To sum it up, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button the musical at Southwark Playhouse is an absolute triumph. With its stunning writing, this production is a must-see for anyone who loves good storytelling. It's the sort of show you want to bottle up and bring out when you're feeling down. I wish I could see it again for the first time but I know that any subsequent visits will be just as endearing and wonderful. Don't miss your chance to embark on this enchanting journey of love, loss, and the beauty found in every moment of life.

Reviewed on Wednesday 7th June by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Juan Coolio

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

Thursday 9 March 2023

Bonnie and Clyde, Garrick Theatre | Review


Bonnie and Clyde
Garrick Theatre
★★★★

First seen in the UK as a concert version and then subsequently a full production at the intimate Arts Theatre, Bonnie and Clyde has now upgraded to the larger Garrick Theatre as it continues its riotous reign.

After the show flopped on Broadway, it's nice to see that the creative team are taking risks and switching things up. In this new venue, there are clear changes and the larger space is used to create more drama and help the development of scenes. Paul Whitcomb's set has lots more going on, with everything feeling more developed and bolder than before. Zoe Spurr effectively lights the scenes,  creating some very effective moments during the various robberies and shoot outs. Nina Dunn's video design covers the set in historical photos as well as helping back up the on stage drama. These projections alongside the forceful tableau's created throughout, make the whole musical feel far more cinematic than its previous iteration.

In the titular roles as the West End's favourite felons, Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage excel. McCann really encapsulates the dreamer quality of Bonnie Parker as she is swept off her feet, whilst later on contrasting with a woman hardened by her life on the run. Vocally, her portrayal is dynamic and melancholy, with her rendition of Dyin' Ain't So Bad providing the perfect amount of emotional impact needed in the show. Gage is suitably menacing, whilst also bringing spades of charm to the role of Clyde Barrow and he performs the soaring score with seeming ease. The pair have excellent chemistry, often balancing one another well. This is a sultry, sexy show which leans heavily into the romance, and the duo do a really thrilling job at bringing their all encompassing passion to life; their fiery partnership ringing out until the very last shot.

In contrast to Clyde's intense hostility, Ted as a character is pretty underdeveloped but Cleve September performs the role with great intention and uses the material well; especially when he really lets his voice soar in act two. As Buck Barrow, George Maguire gives a very engaging performance and creates a dynamic partnership with newcomer to the cast, Jodie Steele, who's performance as Blanche is utterly brilliant. Full of humour and heart in equally wonderful measure, Steele's performance is a definite highlight. Dom Hartley Harris also joins the cast and gives a rousing performance as the Preacher; whilst Barney Wilkinson and Julie Yammanee have some real stand out moments in their tracks.

The story of Bonnie and Clyde's journey to being outlaws is a fascinating one, and Ivan Menchell's book begins to look deeper at their motives and aspirations and it's interesting to see how the pair took their desire for fame and turned it on its head. But perhaps more compelling is when their story is paralleled with the economic and emotional turmoil of America at the time. The Barrow brothers discuss how they've been profiled by police since they were young and there's some exploration on why people turned to crime, when their lives were torn apart by poverty. Made in America is one of the most striking numbers in the show and really brings another layer to proceedings but unfortunately it's not developed much further. Whilst the romance is the heart of the show, it would maybe be improved if there was more analysis of the socio-economic climate and its effects. This version of the show also cuts out a few of the scenes where the duo commit their crimes which hinders the development of Bonnie and Clyde as villains, meaning we don't see the full extent of their misdeeds and therefore the stakes never quite feel high enough.

The musical has its faults and the book could certainly use some editing but this still remains an incredibly enjoyable show that is feisty and thrilling. Don Black and Frank Wildhorn's pacy, engaging score is a treat to hear live. A law-breakingly good cast make Bonnie and Clyde a show that's well worth seeing and hearing.

Reviewed on Wednesday 8th March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: The Other Richard

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

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Francis Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage to Star in Bonnie and Clyde the Musical


DLAP Group are thrilled to announce that Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage will star as the titular Bonnie and Clyde in the West End premiere of the cult-sensation Bonnie and Clyde The Musicalopening at the Arts Theatre from Saturday 9 April 2022


Following the extraordinary reaction to her performance as ‘Bonnie’ in Bonnie and Clyde In Concert in January 2022, Olivier-Award nominated Frances Mayli McCann reprises the role in this full production at The Arts Theatre, performing alongside West End star Jordan Luke Gage as ‘Clyde’. 

 

They join the previously announced Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche Barrow’ and George Maguire as ‘Buck Barrow’. The full company includes Cleve September as ‘Ted’ and Ako Mitchell as ‘Preacher’, Pippa Winslow as ‘Cumie Barrow/Governor Miriam Ferguson/Eleanore’, Gracie Lai as ‘Emma Parker/Stella’, Alistair So as ‘Sheriff Schmid’, Alexander Evans as ‘Henry Barrow/Deputy Johnson’, Ross Dawes as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’, Barney Wilkinson as ‘Bud/Archie’ and swings Charlie McCullagh and Annie Guy. Casting for the roles of ‘Trish’ and Young ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Clyde’ to be announced. 

 

Frances Mayli McCann is an Olivier Award nominated actress, who originated the role of ‘Kylah’ in “Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour”. Her other West End credits include ‘Heather McNamara’ in “Heathers” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ‘The Mistress’ in “Evita” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and ‘Eponine’ in the UK and International Tour of “Les Misérables”.

 

Jordan Luke Gage is best known for his portrayal of ‘Romeo’ in the Olivier Award winning “&Juliet” at The Shaftesbury Theatre. His other West End credits include ‘Strat’ in “Bat Out Of Hell” at The Dominion Theatre and ‘JD’ in “Heathers” at Theatre Royal Haymarket. His television credits include playing ‘Adrian Barber’ in ITV’s Cilla, and ‘Luc’ in Cucumber on Channel 4.

 

Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in “9 to 5 The Musical” at the Savoy Theatre, “Wicked” at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of “Wonderland”, “Murder Ballad” at the Arts Theatre and “Starlight Express” at The Other Palace. 

 

George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in “Sunny Afternoon”. His other theatre credits include “35mm: A Musical Exhibition” at The Other Palace Studio, “Oliver!” at the London Palladium and the European tour of “Rent”. 


Cleve September is perhaps best known for his Olivier Nominated performance as ‘Philip Hamilton/John Laurens’ in the original West End cast of “Hamilton” at the Victoria Palace Theatre. His other theatre credits include “Jesus Chris Superstar” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Crucible Theatre, “In The Heights” at Kings Cross Theatre and “The Last Days of Troy” at The Globe Theatre. 

 

Ako Mitchell is an actor and filmmaker whose recent theatre credits include playing ‘Larry’ in “Indecent Proposal” at the Southwark Playhouse, ‘Bob Baker’ in “Wonderful Town” at Opera Holland Park, ‘Mister’ in “The Color Purple” at Curve and the Birmingham Rep and ‘The Moon/The Bus’ in “Caroline, Or Change” at the Chichester Festival Theatre and The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End. 

 

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.

When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

 

Bonnie and Clyde The Musical has a book by Ivan Menchell(Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents). The production will be directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow MorningMAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with Set and Costume Design by Philip Witcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, MAME), Musical Supervision from Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys), Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr (Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, Hamlet at Theatre Royal Windsor), Sound Design by Tom Marshall (The Drifter’s Girl, Nativity The Musical, Curtains), Video Design by Nina Dunn (The Shark Is Broken, Lazuli Sky)Casting Director Jim Arnold CDG (Wicked, The Prince of Egypt)Musical Director Nick Barstow (The Last 5 Years, Zorro), Keys 2/ Assistant Musical Director Debbi Clarke Associate Director/Choreographer Megan Louch (The Bodyguard, Annie), Wigs Designer Darren Ware (The Rocky Horror Show, Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell)Fight Director Kate Waters (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Constellations), Production Manager Phil McCandlish (Curtains, Rock of Ages), Orchestra Fixer Rich Morris (American Idiot, Jesus Christ Superstar), Costumer Supervisor Jemima Penny (Machinal, Richard III), Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl for Propworks (2:22 A Ghost Story, Pretty Woman), Company Stage Manager Paul Deavin (Rock of Ages), Drums Zach Okonkwo, Violin Clodagh Kennedy, Bass Guitar Annie Blake. 


Further crew and band to be announced.  


photo credit: Darren Bell


Friday 5 November 2021

Bonnie and Clyde in Concert Full Cast and Company Announced



Fourth Wall Live is delighted to announce the full cast joining Broadway star Jeremy Jordan in the sell-out BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 January 2022. www.bonnieandclydeconcert.com
 
Joining the previously announced Jeremy Jordan as ‘Clyde’ will be Olivier-nominated performer Frances Mayli McCann as ‘Bonnie’. The previously announced Laura Osnes is no longer performing in Bonnie and Clyde in Concert.
 
The principal cast is completed by West End stars including Olivier Award winner George Maguire as ‘Buck’, Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche’, Trevor Dion Nicholas as ‘Preacher’ and Liam Tamne as ‘Ted’.
 
The cast is completed by Casey Al-Shaqsy (The Prince of Egypt, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) as ‘Stella’, Simon Anthony (The Wedding Singer, Ragtime) as ‘Cop/Bud/Archie/Deputy Johnson’ Gillian Bevan (Holby City, Into The Woods) as ‘Cummie Barrow/Eleanor’, Eloise Davies (Be More Chill, Grease) as ‘Trish’, Adrian Grove (Follies, Wonder.land) as ‘Henry Barrow’Olivier Award nominee Debbie Kurup (Girl From The North Country, The Bodyguard) as ‘Governor Miriam Ferguson’, Matthew Malthouse (Matilda, Mrs Henderson Presents) as ‘Bob Alcorn’, Jeremy Secomb (Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera) as ‘Judge/Sheriff Schmid’, Russell Wilcox (Billy Elliot, Annie) as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’ and Julie Yammanee (Lazarus, Spamilton) as ‘Emma Parker’.
 
George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in Sunny Afternoon. His other theatre credits include 35mm: A Musical Exhibition at The Other Palace Studio, Oliver! at the London Palladium and the European tour of Rent.
 
Frances Mayli McCann is an Olivier Award nominated actress, who originated the role of Kylah in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Her other West End credits include ‘Heather McNamara’ in Heathers at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ‘The Mistress’ in Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Eponine’ in the UK and International Tour of Les Misérables.
 
Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in 9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of Wonderland, Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre and Starlight Express at The Other Palace.
 
Trevor Dion Nicholas’s West End credits include ‘George Washington’ in Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre and ‘Genie’ in Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. He also presents on Magic at the Musicals and appears as a panellist on ITV’s All Star Musicals.
 
Liam Tamne’s West End credits include playing ‘Ramses’ in The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre, The Light in the Piazza at the Royal Festival Hall, The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
 
BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT has a book by Ivan Menchell (Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents) and is directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow Morning, MAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with musical direction by Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys). The Assistant Director is Alexzandra Sarmiento (Hamilton, Message in a Bottle), Lighting Designer is Zoe Spurr (The Unreturning, Tiny Dynamite), Set and Costume Designer is Philip Whitcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, Mame), Sound Designer is Tom Marshall (The Drifters Girl, Nativity! The Musical), Production Manager is Phil McCandlish (Rock of Ages, Elf), Company Stage Manager is Graham Harrison (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Deputy Stage Manager is Anne Baxter (Singin’ in the Rain, Spamalot), Assistant Stage Manager is Tom Fisher (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Dialect Coach is Charmian Hoare (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, War Horse) and children’s casting is by Keston and Keston (Nativity! The Musical, A Christmas Carol).  BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT is produced by Fourth Wall Live and co-produced by DLAP Group, Jason Haigh-Ellery and David Treatman Creative.

The band is made up of Assistant Musical Director Chris Poon (Keys 2), Kate Ingram (Reed 1), Hannah Lawrance (Reed 2), Kobi Pham (Guitar 1), Jack Pennifold (Guitar 2), Zach Okonkwo (Drums), Elliot Lyte (Fiddle)and Annie Blake (Bass).

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.
When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

Fourth Wall Live is a live entertainment company that produces concerts internationally. It regularly brings Broadway artists to the UK, previous concerts include Broadway and TV regulars Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Kelli O'Hara, Chita Rivera, Laura Michelle Kelly, Megan Hilty, Tituss Burgess, Jeremy Jordan, Matthew Morrison, Erich Bergen, Eden Espinosa, Julia Murney and Cynthia Erivo. Other concerts include West End Stars solo concerts including Michael Ball, Matt Cardle, Kerry Ellis, Oliver Tompsett, Hannah Waddingham, Sharon D Clarke and Bonnie Langford. Upcoming productions at Cadogan Hall include Jenna Russell, Shoshana Bean, Keala Settle and Jessica Vosk.

Tori Amos’s musical The Light Princess was presented to critical acclaim, as a special one-off concert in the summer of 2018. Next year Bonnie & Clyde the musical concert will run for two nights to a sold-out audience at Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Jeremy Jordan. 

Fourth Wall Live also regularly partners with the Hippodrome Casino, in November-December 2020 they produced 25 nights of socially distanced entertainment, proudly being the first live event post lockdown. The current season of Hippodrome concerts runs from September 2021 to December 2021 and features 20 nights of musical entertainment featuring Alice Fearn, Kerry Ellis, Hayley Tamaddon and David O’Reilly.Fourth Wall Live is committed to following all relevant UK Government Covid-19 guidelines, creating a safe working environment for our cast, musicians, creatives, crew and their families.