Showing posts sorted by relevance for query nicola louise. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query nicola louise. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Vincent River, Park Theatre | Review


Vincent River
Park Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 23rd March 2018 by Nicola Louise
★★★★

Hate crimes are unfortunately, still prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community; Vincent River portrays the aftermath of these horrific events.

Set in a flat in East London, the play centers around two characters, Anita and Davey. At first it’s quite hard to establish the connection the two share but that just adds to the emotions of both people on stage.

Anita (Louise Jameson), a grieving mother who lost her child, Vincent, in an awful way. He was found beaten and dead in a hot spot known for gay activities. Anita hides her hurt well, clearly in denial. She also attempts to hide the fact her child was gay, something she didn't want to face during or after his life.

Davey (Thomas Mahy) is the character who walks into Anita’s life- he was the one who found Vincent. When this comes into light Anita wants to know more. She want’s to know what he was doing there and how he came across her child’s body.

The show will take you on an emotional journey and I struggled to keep my tears in at various points.

Both actors portrayed the emotions of love and hate very well and by the end I found myself just wanting them to be friends and to bond over the loss they both endured. 

My only issue with this show is with the character Davey. I felt the director and the actor tried so hard to stereotype young men in East London, down from the way he spoke to the way he acted when Anita asked him questions. His anger is justified but there were a couple of lines where I was left wondering why he burst out into anger like that.

Vincent River, written by Phillip Ridley is a new and refreshing play focusing on the plight of hate crime on the LGBTQ+ community and it’s an eye opening, emotional piece of theatre. At only 80 minutes long you don’t find yourself looking at your watch, you’re hooked on every word the actor is saying, wanting to know more, wanting to see how the story unravels.

Vincent River is at the Park Theatre until the 14th April.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Champagne for Clementine, Live at Zedel | Review


Champagne for Clementine
Live at Zedel: The Crazy Coqs
Reviewed on Wednesday 4th July 2018 by Nicola Louise 
★★★★★

When I stepped into the theatre bar, I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I was guided to my seat and received table service straight away- so far so good. I am of course, talking about Live at Zedel where I was lucky enough to enjoy the Clementine Show... think Barbie on broadway.

The night consisted of Clementine the living doll, her dresser, Bobby Pin (Mark Esaias), Yvette the Usher, (Ruth Calkin) and a range of puppets. 

The cast worked well together, bringing comedy, puppetry and broadway together under one roof. There were special appearances from Ricky the Rooster, who, if sitting in the front row, gets a bit flirty! I should know, I was in the firing zone.

Clementine was great at the over dramatisation of songs she was ‘singing’ too, the over the top performance added to the charm of the whole thing.


During the show, Bobby and Yvette got the chance to show their thing as well. This show loves and thrives on audience participation that works wonderfully well.

The cast and crew for this show did an amazing job for such a small room, in a short space of time, it’s a perfect show to take in before a night out, it’s upbeat, fun and funny, I left the theatre singing and feeling uplifted. 

I highly recommend this show, grab some dinner first at Brasserie Zeldel then head on through the foyer into the bar for the Cabaret show you won’t regret seeing.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Grease, Bridewell Theatre | Review


Grease
Bridewell Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 13th November 2018 by Nicola Louise 
★★

With its cheesy jokes, feel good songs and an array of over enthusiastic teenagers from the 50’s with a rebellious edge, it’s not hard to see why Grease has been at the forefront of musical theatre for over 30 decades.

Songs like You’re the One That I Want and Look at me I’m Sandra Dee have been played countless times, and sung by some well-known names. So when Rewrite This Story got invited to review an Am Dram revival of this well-loved musical, we jumped at the chance to take our seat.

Unfortunately, I wish I hadn’t been so quick off the bat, apart from Yvette Stiel (Cha Cha) and Charlie Smith (Danny) dancing to Born to Hand Jive at the school dance, there’s very little right with this show.

Danielle Orlans (Rizzo) had countless face movements, almost like she had a tick and put on a very strange New York/Boston accent which carried on through her singing, making it very hard to hear the words and almost painful to the ears. I was unsure why Director Stuart James had Orlans sing There are Worst Things I Could Do to Sandy (Laura Ellis), who looked just as confused as myself and a couple of people sitting next to me.

Casting Smith as Danny, in my opinion was not the best move. He had no charm and nothing about him screamed leader; Jarrod Hawn, who played Kenickie would have been a much better choice as I found him to have more stage presence, charm and wit.

Ellis as Sandy was a decent choice although I felt like she was cast due her voice, her rendition of Hopelessly Devoted to You was pitch perfect and the whole audience was captured by her and her emotion during the song. As sweet and innocent Sandy, Ellis played the role ok at first but as the show went on it looked like she was more comfortable. In the grand scheme of things this is a positive as it mirrors Sandy and her character growth but at the start just felt unsteady.

The rest of the T-Birds and Pink ladies we’re nothing special, however, I was drawn to Ashlie Kenyon-Evason who portrayed Jan, the way she bounced around stage and belted out high notes made the show watchable, as well as Kate Winney (Marty) who carried her character well and had the 'younger girl wishing to be older' scenarios down to a T.

With direction from New Zealand born Stuart James, this show is, unfortunately a massive flop, the singing was mediocre, the acting was barely there and they shoved too many people on the stage at one time making the dance scenes look messy and uncoordinated which I would have thought the choreographers, Samantha Herriot and Vanessa Forte have noticed.

Overall, the show seemed clunky and unrehearsed and this is one showing of Grease I wish to never see again.

Grease is currently playing at the Bridewell Theatre with completely sold out performances.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Showtime from the Frontline by Mark Thomas, Theatre Royal Stratford East | Review


Showtime From The Frontline
Theatre Royal Stratford
Reviewed on Tuesday 10th April 2018 by Nicola Louise 
★★★★

Walking into the Theatre Royal Stratford East, you're greeted with a medium sized board with images projected on it with a no smoking poster written in Arabic and a no guns sign with tape around the wall, the three chairs sitting on the stage await the comedians. The set is basic and unchanging but there is still a wonderful atmosphere.

Mark Thomas walks on stage followed by Faisel Abu Alhayjaa and Alaa Shehada, the introductions begin and the comedic race begins.

Showtime from the Frontline is a story telling performance based on Thomas's experience in the Jenin refugee camp, Palestine. He tells the story of how he came to be in the camp and how the comedy workshop was set up to bring comedy and laughter to the Middle East. 


Setting up a comedy workshop in a Palestine refugee camp was never going to be easy, but with the help of Thomas's very funny and talented students, Alhayjaa and Shehada, it became a ride to remember. The audience are taken on a journey right into the heart of the workshop and are shown and told exactly how this was done.

The show never slows the pace, and from beginning to end you're captivated, wanting to know how the story transpires. With real life footage of other students within the camp and workshop, the show is both hilarious and thought provoking.

Showtime from the Frontline highlights the struggles facing Palestine with Israel in a way that's light-hearted but also shines a light on the real life issues going on.

Ending it's tour at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until the 21st of April I couldn't think of anywhere better for such a performance of it's kind.

photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

Friday, 16 March 2018

Female Parts: Shorts, Hoxton Hall | Review


Female Parts: Shorts
Hoxton Hall 
Reviewed on Thursday 15th March 2018 by Nicola Louise
★★★★

Female Parts: Shorts tells the story of three very different women through their three very different monologues. A Woman Alone, An Immigrant and A Mother, each one battling their own series of events and demons.

The show opens in a living room, clothes hanging on the wall and baby things over tables and floor; the Women Alone busts into the living room singing and dancing her heart out, it’s not until she notices that a new neighbour has moved in that she starts talking. The Women Alone, played by Gehane Strehler, starts to describe her life as this happy fairy tale, it isn’t until we get further into the story that we realise appearances are not all they’re cracked up to be.

Strehler delivers a fantastic performance as a hard done by woman having to live her life according to her husband. The emotions she displays in this hour monologue pull you into the story wondering what her next move is.

The next monologue is from The Mother played by Rebecca Saire, a woman who just found out her son’s a terrorist. She asks the audience, ‘what would you do?’ You could see the pain in her eyes, as she asked herself: ‘why me?’ ‘what did I do?’. Saire takes you on a journey of love, hatred, and disgust in this 40-minute monologue and I wager a bet that you don’t come out of there questioning the way you look at terrorists and their families.


Saire talks us through a dream she had, being the mother of a terrorist and takes us through her experience. She’s able to add in other characters, completely different to herself and give them lives of their own.

The last performance was The Immigrant portrayed by Clare Perkins, a west indies woman whose dream was always something bigger than what her family had for her back home. She came to London, got an engineering degree, came home and got a job at the UWI (University of West Indies), got married and had a child.

The conversation was aimed towards the Imperial College London graduating class of 2018 where her daughter sat. Perkins spoke about the injustice of her going up into space, how, if she were a man, no paper would ever dare question her role as a parent, papers up and down the country were labelling her as the mother who abandoned her child. Perkins delivers an emotional speech of truth and realisation when she starts to address her daughter and it was refreshing to see that she knew she was more than just a mother … she was an astronaut.

Female Parts: Shorts is a moving and outstanding look at the highs and lows women go through and deserves to be seen.

Female Parts: Shorts is playing at Hoxton Hall until the 31st March 2018.

photo credit: Sharron Wallace

Friday, 13 December 2019

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime), Richmond Theatre | Review


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Panto)
Richmond Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 12th December 2019 by Nicola Louise
★★★★

It seems like yesterday I was sent to review my first pantomime, but here we are again a year later. This time its Snow White at Richmond Theatre where the stars are big and -evident from the multitude of advertising and glitzy theatrical splendour- so is the budget!

We all know the story of Show White and how she was ordered to die at the hands of her evil stepmother; and this story is no different even if it does start a little unusually. Prince Harry arrives at the palace where Snow White is due to celebrate her 21st birthday, as childhood sweethearts they’re drawn to each other once again after having been apart for so long.

James Darch is great as the charming Prince Harry, with a pantomime hero look about him. Mia Starbuck is as sweet as Snow White can be, with her flowing black hair and porcelain skin she glows with beauty and shines when she sings. Panto’s by nature are a bit cheesy, especially with the panto prince, however, this isn't the case with Richmond’s production. Both Snow and Harry are not your typical panto hero’s, some may say this won’t do but as a lover of panto’s for many years, I felt this gives it an edge above the others.

Jason Sutton as the dame is as funny as ever, along with John Clegg  as played Muddles, the son. The pair are a great double act who bounce off each other with chemistry that sparks on stage.

Some may remember Clegg from Britain’s Got Talent where he wow’d audiences with his talent for impressions and it isn’t hard to see why. Clegg's rendition of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ where he portrays a range of different characters is something I did not expect, and is an excellent moment in the production.


Each year Richmond has a big name to draw people in to it's festive offering, this year its Jo Brand as the evil Queen Lucretia. As funny as she is, her incredibly dry humour often feel misplaced within the tone of this panto. However, Brand's ‘I don’t care’ attitude brings something new to the show and is certainly entertaining. The director and producers have clearly worked around Brand's lack of singing talent and focused more on her wit, a stellar choice on their part.

Like all Pantos, there's a mish mash of popular music, in this case Ed Sheeran amongst others. Some songs seem out of place and a bit cliché, as if the writers are trying to reach out to the teenagers in the crowd, so to say ‘look, we’re hip as well’.

With a talented bunch of actors and great performances from the 7 men who portrayed the Dwarfs, (this year Richmond opted for tall actors rather than go for actual Dwarfs), this show protrudes enough sweetness and glitter than you can shake a stick at.

Fun for all the family and even the little ones get involved at the end.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is running at Richmond Theatre until Sunday 5th January 2020

photo credit: Craig Sugden

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, The Other Palace | Review


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical 
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Thursday 31st January 2019 by Nicola Louise 
★★★★★

There’s a reason Showstopper! won an Oliver award; there’s a reason why this show (which on the tin has the potential to be messy) has been running for near enough 12 years without fail, and that reason is that it's pure brilliance.

Showstopper! is fun, new and refreshing and a different show every performance means you can go back and enjoy the comedy again and again without boredom setting in. There’s always something new and exciting to watch.

The basic premise of the show is this; Cameron Mackintosh wants a new musical, and he wants it written within the next two hours- as audience members we’re invited to help. Our job is to set the ball rolling and call out places for the setting as well as styles of musicals or composers, then vote which ones we think are the best. We also help with the title of the performance, ours was ‘Austria the Moosical’ (can you guess what that was about??)

We had a range of musical styles within out show, Fiddler on the Roof, Mamma Mia, Les Mis, Titanic, The Sound of Music and School of Rock.

There’s clearly a format which the actors follow but this doesn’t make the show less enjoyable. The story and songs are made up on the spot with the band doing very well to keep up with the styles of musicals being called out by the producer who’s sat on stage and helps move the story forward.

From scene to scene there seems to be a leader within the improv group, who the cast refer to for leads. The company work very well together and apart from a couple of actors speaking at the same time,  there’s nothing bad to say about this show.

Improv is always going to worry some theatre goers: "Are they going to be boring?", "Are they going to now know what to say next?". But personally I feel improv adds a whole other level to shows. Even scripted shows which include some improv always feel unique and special.

The cast on stage clearly love what they do and this comes through from the moment they step on stage and the first word is spoken. They enjoy the laughter their improv brings and you can see the hard work and dedication they put in to performing a new musical every night.

I wasn’t too sure what I’d make of this show when I first heard about it, but from the moment the show started, I realised that my worries were just that of how I’ve seen previous improv shows performed.

If you’re questioning whether to see this show or not ... STOP! This show defies theatre as we know it and will bring a smile to our face from beginning to end. I’ve already informed friends that they need to see this show, I suggest you run out now and buy the tickets, you won’t regret it.

Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical is currently playing at The Other Palace until the 16th March 2019. Tickets can be purchased via London Box Office here

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians, Wilton's Music Hall | Review


Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians 
Wilton's Music Hall 
Reviewed on Wednesday 25th April 2018 by Nicola Louise
★★★★★

Just when you think magic has died, in come Morgan and West the time travelling magicians armed with some spiffing looks, a couple of top hats and of course a trusty pack of cards. The two take on Wilton's Music Hall with flair and brilliance.

This is not just your average music show, Morgan and West have a theme. As the name suggests,  they time travel! The pair incorporate comedy, ad libbing, suspense and the  all things 1900s into a 90 minute show. With audience participation involved, this is a show that both adults and kids alike can get involved with and the magicians really they really know how to hold a crowd from the word go.


The tricks on stage are a mix of some I've seen before and some I haven't, but the child in me can't get enough and I could gladly watched them all night. They are skilled as well as witty and really capture the essence of magic.

Although the stage has quite a few props on it and is decorated in a way that implied they were going to be used more, they were used, and needed, very little.

I was lucky (or unlucky depending on how you see it!) to be called up on stage. Now, what I was part of is not one for the faint hearted but the outcome will amaze you... I won't say more to spoil the surprise...

If you've always questioned magicians I recommend you see this show. The comedy alone will leave you wanting more, and if you're like me, you'll want to back again and again to try and work out how everything is done! 

Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians is on at the Wilton's Music Hall until the 28th April, take your mum, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nan, grandad... bring everyone! You won't want to miss out.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Strictly Ballroom, Piccadilly Theatre | Review


Strictly Ballroom
Piccadilly Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 by Nicola Louise
★★★★

Every now and then a show fly's into theatres that involves more sequins and glitter that you can shake a stick at... this is DEFINITELY one of those shows!

Set in Australia, in the crazy world of ballroom dancing competition, the show focuses on Scott Hastings (Jonny Labey), a young boy wanting to break out of the norm. There's no denying Labey's skill on the dance floor but it's his ability to adapt to different to the various dance styles with ease and grace that make him really stand out. When joined by Fran (Zizi Strallen), you're blown away by the chemistry of the two. Strallen's character has the perfect edge of adorableness and elegance. When dancing, this elegance shines through and even as the dance and drama become more intense, she retains her somewhat geeky side.

Will Young stars as the host of the Ballroom competition and the shows narrator, Wally Strand. Young has the comedic timing down like the best of them, however, I felt his voice let him down. Although a great singer, it's clear that Young's voice still has more of a pop sound than a traditionally musical theatre one and at points I felt his voice was not as strong as needed.


Strictly Ballroom is very predictable but this doesn't take away from it. I was still awe struck by the amount of talent each dancer has on stage; "Watching this makes me want to learn how to Ballroom dance" said a friend of mine, and I was right behind her on that, you'll be mesmerised my the swift movements and sparkles.

I wasn't a huge fan of Anna Francolini, playing Scott's mother Shirley Hastings. Although clearly a very funny actress, I couldn't help cringe a little at her over the top interpretation which at times felt a bit panto. (Think Kath and Kim do Panto!)

Although this show focused on the dancing, it is classed as a musical and maybe I'm wrong but I would expect more than one person singing. Young sings the whole show with the main characters singing one or two lines at the very end. It would be nice to have more variety of voices, especially as I didn't feel Young's voice was strong enough to carry a whole show by himself.


This show is perfect for all the family and anyone who loves ballroom dancing, the comedy is perfectly timed and the direction by Drew McOnie is perfect. 

There was a full theatre standing at the end cheering and clapping, something which I assume happens every night after this up-beat, joyful musical.

Strictly Ballroom runs at the Piccadilly Theatre until October 20th 2018

photo credit: Johan Persson

Friday, 5 January 2018

Bananaman The Musical, Southwark Playhouse | Review


Bananaman The Musical
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Thursday 8th January 2018 by Nicola Louise
★★★
Since his first appearance in 1980 Bananaman has become somewhat of a cult classic and it’s not hard to see why. A relatively geeky young kid eats a banana and he turns into a superhero known as Bananaman, a super strong, super fast, spandex dressed muscle man with not many brain cells.
With the book, music and lyrics by Leon Parris and directed by Mark Perry, the legend of Bananaman comes alive in this comic musical. From the moment you walk into the theatre you’re transported into the world of comics: Acacia Road, Beano Town where Eric Wimp and his mother live.
The show opens with the bad guys; Dr Bloom played by Mark Pickering and General Blight played by Carl Mullaney, both of whom worked well together and it felt like they had walked straight out of a comic strip into the real world; bouncing off each other perfectly. Pickering is considerably smaller then Mullaney which just adds to their evil comedy duo.

Eric Wimp is the boy who can turn into Bananaman himself, but as his original self, he’s a small skinny boy who has trouble saying hi to the girl he likes. With a cast full of adults playing 15-year-olds you’re always worried how well it’s going to turn out, are you going to believe it? Will it start to get old real quick? Luckily this was not one of those times, Mark Newnham played a very convincing 15-year-old and a strangely convincing geek, he showed real emotion when he thought everyone hated Bananaman and it got you feeling sorry for him.
Bananaman himself was completely different to Wimp and Matthew Mckenna brought the cartoon hero to life, he was tall and handsome and worked well to bring comedy to those one-liners. Seeing this show with my 9 year old nephew really got me to see it from the shows intended audiences side and although he may not have gotten all of the jokes in the show he did say; "It’s the way he said them made them funny". Kids aren’t going to get everything, we know this, but if you can make something sound funny for them and have the adults laugh, you’ve done a good job
Now every hero needs a sidekick right? Bananaman did, although most sidekicks are not necessarily talking birds, or Crows, in this case. That’s right, Bananaman’s sidekick is a talking crow and it’s not until Eric is hit with lightning that makes him able to turn into the superhero is he able to talk to him. I love that they’ve used a puppet for this with Jodie Jacobs as the puppeteer. I thought she brought the Crow to the front of the show and she became my main focus... even if she wasn't really meant to be! This is the same when it came to Jacobs singing, a wonderful voice and she hit every note perfectly, but I feel toning it down just a little would have taken the focus off of herself and her character and allowed the audience to focus more on what was happening on stage around her.
Other main characters included Wimps love interest, Fiona Mullins, played by Emma Ralston who played the non-damsel in distress perfectly, Chief of Police: Chief O’Reilly played by TJ Lloyd, Lizzii Hills who plays Mrs Wimp & Brian Gilligan who played the Mad Magician. All of whom worked well together to make you feel like the Acacia Road was a real community of people who will always look out for each other no matter what.
I would recommend this show for children 8+ and adults alike, especially those adults who remember the cartoon, the music and lyrics of this show which fit in perfectly with the comic book feel whilst the fight scenes are a perfect ode to the old style comic books.
Bananaman runs at the Southwark Playhouse until January 20th 2018
photo credit: Pamela Raith

Friday, 8 December 2017

Rapunzel (Pantomime), Theatre Royal Stratford East | Review


Rapunzel (Pantomime) 
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Reviewed on Thursday 7th December 2017 by Nicola Louise
★★★★

It’s Christmas! Which can only mean one thing ... It’s Panto time!!
‘Oh no it isn’t’
 ‘Oh yes it is’
...you get the point! 
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to Theatre Royal Stratford East's performance of Rapunzel, not exactly a show you’d think would work as a pantomime, but it surprisingly did. Throw in Goldilocks and the Three Bears and apparently, you’ve got yourself a story.
I have nothing bad to say about the cast, they were brilliant from beginning to end. Our story starts with a little warm up to the panto from baby bear and Witch Maddy’s aid, Egor, a bird that has a heart of gold but has fallen into the wrong crowd.
Baby Bear, Harry as he wanted to be known, does a very good job of getting the crowd going and Gemma Slater (Harry), clearly knows how to work with children. When Egor (Gary Wood) joined Harry on stage, the two created pantomime magic before the show had officially begun.
Rapunzel, the girl locked in the tower with the long luscious locks was amazing, carrying the wig of long hair on her head, she managed to run around the stage with ease. My only concern was that during her first song, Joanne Sandi, (Rapunzel) seemed to struggle to have her voice heard over the music and seemed to be having to shout. However I think the conductor realised this as the music dropped a little and she was able to be heard.
Unlike most pantomimes, this one didn’t have a hero, instead, a heroine. Goldilocks played by Australian actress Julie Yammanee, a strong-willed young girl who only wanted an adventure and got more than she bargained for. Julie’s interpretation of this fairy tale character you either love or hate, was done in such a way that you couldn’t help but love her, her upbeat rock number stole the show.
Now, no panto is complete without the Dame, or the evil witch in this case, Witch Maddy, played by Rada trained Michael Bertenshaw, a different type of Dame. While they’re usually bigger guys dressed in over the top outfits and wigs, Witch Maddy was slim and slender… and old! The story goes that Witch Maddy needs Rapunzel’s hair to create a potion to make her young. Michael brings a lot of jokes for the adults, mostly women as she makes a lot of menopause jokes, but also manages to get the men in the audience to laugh as well.
Sidekicks … every villain needs them, every villain has them, Witch Maddy’s villains went by the names of Iggy, played by Raj Bajaj and Lizzy, Juliet Okotie, two humans under Maddy’s spell who were once Lizards. As side kicks I found them quite irritating, there’s over the top and then there’s Iggy and Lizzy, but as Baby Bear’s parents, I found them hilarious and they worked as a team much better; especially when Juliet, as Mrs Bear started singing how Baby Bear should have listened to her, it went on and on but got funnier every time, the parent’s in the audience related while Mr Bear stood to stage left, leaning and rolling his eyes.
I never want to see the bad in any show I see but there’s always going to be at least one or two points. When we first see Rapunzel and her little mouse friend played by the versatile Stephen Hoo, he makes a small Brexit joke, now I agree, it was quite funny but I feel this was a little unnecessary, it didn’t get too much of a laugh and it’s a little dated now.
A couple of the scenes went on a bit too long, for example, and without giving away any spoilers, the mum and dad scene was sweet, and it did choke me up a little, however, it did lose its magic by repeating the same line from the song over and over again. It worked for Mrs Bear yes, but I think this scene should be shortened to pack in a bit more punch. I also thought the end song was a bit too long, it was about togetherness and friendship and as sweet as it was, you do start to think to yourself ‘ok great, we get it! Next!’
I’ve not seen many pantos in London where they have songs written for the show which I love because it makes it that bit more personal. Witch Maddy sang snippets of chart songs but it worked with her character, I loved that the songs in it were original and the song Goldilocks sang, in my opinion, was the best.
Overall, I was sceptical about this show but it worked, and I was happy I got to see it. I think there are a few things that could be worked on but overall, as Panto’s go, it was up there with the greats.
Rapunzel runs at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until 13th January 2018.
Photo credit: Scott Rylander

Friday, 26 January 2018

Oranges and Elephants, Hoxton Hall | Review


Oranges and Elephants
Hoxton Hall 
Reviewed on Thursday 25th January 2017 by Nicola Louise
★★
Originally conceived in 2013 by Lil Warren, Oranges and Elephants tells the story of two female gangs in London in the Victorian Era. The 'Oranges', a girl gang in Brixton led by their boss, Flo played by Kate Adams, and the ‘Elephants’, an Irish girl gang bonded by the family code, based in Elephant and Castle’s Woolworth road.
Being shown in Hoxton Hall, London, the place brings some authenticity to the musical. The old music hall creates a great backdrop for the narrator, the Chair played by Susannah van den Berg and her piano player Doreen, played by one of the co-founders of the inclusive theatre pioneers of Chickenshed, Jo Collins.
Van den Berg had great energy and as soon as the show started she had the crowd laughing with her large personality, she had great chemistry with Collins and their witty banter was none stop.

The girls in the gang all played instruments and they were used throughout the show, the girls were either in the wings or on stage playing the violin, cello … there was even a flute involved, they used this very well and allowed the cast to be a part of the orchestra as well as the show.
As the show went on I thought Ada, second in command of the Oranges played by Rebecca Bainbridge tried a little to hard to bring her character to life. Ada is a psychopath and although that came across very well in Bainbridge’s performance, it became a bit uneasy to watch her bring manly ways to her character. Ada is still female, but every move Bainbridge took, I couldn’t figure out if Ada was meant to be in a girl gang or wanted to be apart of the male gangs that ran Soho and Piccadilly.
My other issue with the Oranges was their leader, Flo. Now Flo was mentioned in the show as the ‘worst female in London’, she was scary, people were frightened of her, unfortunately, Adams was neither. I wasn’t convinced of her leadership within the gang, she looked too soft and the delivery of her lines didn’t make me feel anything towards her.

The Elephants, led by Annie (Liz Kitchen) with second in command, Nellie (Christina Tedders) were great. Tedders was full of energy and made the role her own and diverse; playing the thief but also the lost little girl who just wanted to sing.
When Nellie meets Mary, a young girl from the black country played by Sinead Long who had been captured by the Oranges, you start to feel sorry for both girls, they want to sing in music halls but have somehow been caught up in a life of crime.
Both girls performances were very strong, Long, was very convincing as a scared girl, on her own for the first time in London.
This musical isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I can see why people enjoy it, there also an extra added bonus of the sing along, everyone got song sheets and Van der Berg got the audience singing with no hesitation.
Oranges and Elephants runs at Hoxton Hall until February 10th 2018