Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ian mcintosh. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query ian mcintosh. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 12 January 2023

The Commitments (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

The Commitments (Tour
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th January 2023 by Olivia Mitchell 

35 years after the publication of Roddy Doyle's popular novel The Commitments, the stage adaptation is making its way round the UK and Ireland to bring soul to the masses. Set in Dublin in the mid 1980s, it tells the story of a group of working class friends and acquaintances who are trying to start a soul band. Featuring classic songs from the 50s and 60s the musicals has got some real toe tapping moments but doesn't strike the right chord throughout.

The musical score is a mile a minute, with the likes of Tina Turner, The Beatles and Aretha Franklin filling it out, and whilst the performances are great, the structure and use of musical numbers leaves something to be desired. There's no variety; the songs are either performed as a rehearsal or performance and just fill a gap every so often. Instead of adding anything to the story, they are shoehorned in, therefore making the whole thing feel a bit clunky and surface level. The performances themselves are excellent and as a concert you'd be more than happy with what's on offer, but as a theatrical piece it doesn't flow in a particularly cohesive or captivating way. 

That being said, the highly talented cast do a great job of working with what they've been given. Namely, Ian McIntosh who's vocals are outstanding as Deco. He gives an arena worthy performance and is a joy to watch. The show especially excels in its ensemble moments, when the band come together to really show what they're made of.  Ciara Mackey showcases some lovely vocals as Imelda, Stuart Reid is fabulous as Joey, Connor Litten has some fantastic musical solos and Ronnie Yorke is hilariously over the top as Mickah.

Also impressive is Tim Blazdell's set, which reminiscent of Billy Elliot, uses various levels and moving elements to transform into multiple venues such as the bar and Jimmy's home, allowing some motion throughout and providing visual entertainment. Equally, Jason Taylor's lighting is extremely effective, especially towards the closing of the show.

Throughout the show there are moments that are really special but they are purely musical. Unfortunately the inconsistent and sort of abrupt script makes it very hard to connect to the characters and their plight in any way.  The stakes are never high enough and there's a distinct lack of fluidity throughout any of the plot line. There's some semi-romantic moments and some lowkey drama but nothing to really sink your teeth into and after an abrupt ending that seemingly comes out of nowhere, the show closes with a long encore that is one of the most enjoyable parts and makes a strong case for this to be purely a concert musical without bothering with a plot or script.

All in all, whilst it may not be everyones full cup of tea, there's absolutely an audience for this style of show and overall The Commitments is a feel-good celebration of soul that has you clapping along and feeling good. The strong performances make it worth a watch and whilst you won't be emotionally invested, it’s a harmless, musical way to wile away a few hours.

photo credit: Ellie Kurttz

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

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

We Will Rock You (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

We Will Rock You (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 30th May 2022

Back for its 2022 tour, We Will Rock You is set in a dystopian future where "real" music has been outlawed and replaced with manufactured pop. Society is lived online and it's up to a group of Bohemians to travel across the Seven Seas of Rye, declare themselves the champions and bring back rock and roll and freedom for all.

This truly is a show about the music so you can somewhat overlook book issues but in terms of pacing it's a little clunky. The first act is chockablock with world-building including long winded character and plot introductions; and act two is a game of musical tetris where all the popular tunes we haven't already heard, are fired one after the other. In this production the book also has some modern updates thrown in here and there (some of which fall flat), but the rest of the set and staging doesn't match up and it certainly feels like it missed a chance to be revamped for 2022. There's an element of the outdated screens that does feel fitting but coupled with the budget wigs and costumes, it lacks the sparkle you expect with a tour of this scale.

The heart of We Will Rock You is certainly the cast and the show would be equally as good if it was just a concert of Queen's greatest hits performed by the superstars on stage. As leading man and hero Galileo, Ian McIntosh is wonderful. His vocals soar with so much power behind them and he really embodies the spirit of Queen. Alongside him, Elena Skye as Scaramouche is a dream. Giving major Kerry Ellis vibes, albeit in a different role, Elena's voice is outstanding and she really works with the limited script to make it funny and engaging.

As Killer Queen, Jenny O'Leary is a vocal powerhouse. Her command of the stage is enthralling to watch and she rightfully earns some of the biggest applause of the show. Michael McKell, David Michael Johnson and Martina Ciabatti Mennell also give strong performances. The rest of the cast and ensemble are also very good vocally but there is at times a lack of tight synchronicity that detracts from the clone message which is being put across.

The performances are absolutely top notch but the production itself gives more 'high-school final show' as opposed to 'big-buck tour' and for a show with such bold songs and ideas, there's no continuity or backup given through the sets or costumes, and they feel lacklustre in comparison to the score. 

Faults aside, if you want face melting vocals and all your favourite Queen songs, absolutely take a trip, but for a show that feels luxe and finessed, you'll need to look elsewhere.

photo credit: Johan Persson

Saturday, 10 June 2023

We Will Rock You at the London Coliseum review: Still Has 'A Kind Of Magic'

We Will Rock You
London Coliseum

After a ten year absence from the West End, the ‘show must go on’ for We Will Rock You (WWRY) as it takes up its summer residency at the London Coliseum. Set on the iPlanet, a corporate cyberspace where live music is forbidden, this iconic musical follows a group of rebellious bohemians in their search to rediscover the legendary art of rock and roll.

Unfortunately, jukebox musicals have come a long way since WWRY last graced the West End. Unlike newer examples such as &Juliet which prioritise cohesive and earnest story-telling, Ben Elton’s book is inarguably weak. It’s tiring to watch several scenes cynically shoehorned in to allow for a fan-favourites to feature in the show. Musical numbers often feel bookended awkwardly between immature dialogue, rather than moving the narrative along through song. However, these criticisms have been levelled at the show since its first inception, so no surprises there!

This production is clunky and cringeworthy at times. Scenes at GlobalSoft, Gaga High and Gaga Mall are cheapened by dated, distracting graphics and garish costumes. While clearly a deliberate aesthetic, for a show set decades from now it presents a futuristic vision that is firmly rooted in past. Fortunately, the overall design improves greatly when we’re invited into the rebel stronghold at Heartbreak Hotel. The set, designed by Stufish Entertainment Architects, becomes warm and inviting, with miscellaneous scraps and festoon lights cluttering the stage.

If the world of GlobalSoft is silly and contrived, then sadly so is their leader. A WWRY veteran, Brenda Edwards is vocally strong but her Killer Queen is more pantomime villain than ruthless technocrat. Lee Mead is woefully underused. He brings gravitas to his role as sidekick Commander Khashoggi and his performance of the Seven Seas of Rye is a great fun to watch as he peacocks across the stage with an air of gleeful sadism.

The show finally finds its heart when we meet the Bohemians, the first act belonging entirely to Christine Allado as Meat and her spellbinding delivery of No One But You. She is joined by the brilliant Adrian Hansel as hopeful believer Brit, creating a truly dynamic duo.

Elena Skye shines as Scaramouche. She’s feisty and spunky, with cracking comic timing and stellar vocals. Ian McIntosh gives an outstanding performance as the unsuspecting messiah of rock Galileo. He is an absolute vocal powerhouse, having the audience eating out the palm of his hand on more than one occasion. Together their chemistry is palpable and their bickering rendition of Hammer To Fall is a real treat.

Special mention must go to Ben Elton as rebel leader Pop. A singer he is not but he remains a joy to watch as he lives his best life in a world of his own creation.

At risk of being a relic of jukebox musicals past, WWRY still holds up as a night of rousing entertainment and the payoff is immense when it finally reaches its electric and euphoric finale of Queen’s greatest hits. Overall, it’s safe to say it still has ‘a kind of magic’ that will bring audiences back time and time again.

Reviewed on Friday 9th June 2023 by Hope Priddle
photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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