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

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

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, 17 February 2018

The York Realist, Donmar Warehouse | Review

The York Realist
Donmar Warehouse
Reviewed on Wednesday 14th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell

Peter Gill's 2001 play is a beautifully moving and genuinely funny look at same-sex love. This glorious revival by Robert Hastie is natural and manages to say more in 130 minutes than many plays say in 3 hours. Nothing is force fed or overdramatic but by the end we genuinely care for the characters and believe what they're going through.

The York Realist is about an assistant director who's putting on an amateur production of the mystery plays. Ben Batt plays George who's starring in the play but hasn't been attending rehearsals so John (Jonathan Bailey) the young, well-spoken London director visits George's Yorkshire farmhouse to persuade him to return to rehearsals. There he meets George's family and the two form a relationship. This is a show all about detail; it's explores a gay relationship of course but there's an equal amount of exploration about class, family, identity and grief. It looks at the feeling of identity in terms of where you live and were brought up, with Gill's writing having it's own identity with it's glorious portrayal of Yorkshire and the community there.

The family kitchen feels truly authentic as we meet George's mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew and family friend. The conversation flows and the intimacy of the Donmar Warehouse allows us to appreciate every moment and enjoy this understated piece of theatre.

Ben Batt is outstanding as the calm, buff Yorkshireman who struggles to leave his home and comforts behind; he manages to be strong but sensitive and gives a truly heart-warming performance. Jonathan Bailey is an extraordinary delight who perfectly gives off the big-city vibe without ever being over the top or annoying to watch. Both actors show off their vulnerabilities to devise an intricate, touching world.

The snug Donmar Warehouse transformed by Peter McKintosh's delightful cottage set provide a perfectly evocative setting. The detailed kitchen set is the perfect home for the cast of seven who seem as though they've spent their entire childhoods drinking tea in there.

This is a glorious show which creeps up on you slowly, naturally and beautifully. I couldn't think of a better way to spend 130 minutes.

photo credit: Johan Persson

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Striking 12, Union Theatre | Review

Striking 12
Union Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 3rd December 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Now we've entered December, the festive shows on offer are really stepping up, with the Union Theatre's Striking 12 providing a festive but not in-your-face-Christmas 90 minute story to warm hearts and have toes tapping. 

With an eclectic score by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda's this re-telling of Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Match Girl, switches between a contemporary New Year's Eve and the 1840s New Years Eve where the Anderson tale is set. 

Declan Bennett plays Brendan, a man who dislikes NYE as he's haunted by memories of his ex-fiancé; whilst home alone, he reads the Anderson tale and is reminded of the importance of giving and sharing. Bennett is vocally powerful and gives an admirable performance despite some sound issues, especially towards the start, which made him hard to hear. 

In the 1840s setting, Bronté Barbé plays the Little Match Girl with a sweetness and sincerity that the audience can't help but be drawn to, and in the modern setting, she plays an equally kind and appealing character  as a girl selling seasonal lightbulbs. Barbé's effortless vocal performance is utterly mesmerising to watch and, helped by Alex Lewer's lighting, really evokes the warm feeling we all desire at Christmas. 

The rest of the cast are made up by Andrew Linnie on piano, with Danielle Kassaraté, Kate Robson-Stuart and Leon Scott acting as narrators, secondary characters and musicians in a series of seamless turns and twists. The trio do an outstanding and humourous job of moving the story forward and work extremely well together in the small space of the Union.

Whilst the cast are very strong and the story is sweet, there are a few faults with this production, mainly that the overarching story, doesn't have much oomph as it lacks emotional depth. Our leading man spends the entirety of the show reading about the struggles of the Little Match Girl so that he eventually becomes a 'new man'. However, he wasn't bad to start with, at least, from what we see. Other than turning away the young girl selling light bulbs, there isn't a scrooge-like aspect to him so his transition doesn't feel overly effective. There's also a number of mentions of his ex-fiancé which aren't explored, so again,  have little impact.  

However, even with these issues, the story is super sweet and with a couple of tweaks could be a real hit. To combat those winter blues, and get a fuzzy feeling inside, be sure to take a trip to the Union Theatre and spend 90 minutes with Striking 12.

Striking 12 runs at the Union Theatre until 23rd December 2018

photo credit: Tom Grace

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Andrew Garfield and Denise Gough on Angels in America | Platform Review

Andrew Garfield and Denise Gough on Angels in America
Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre
Post by Olivia Mitchell

The National Theatre have begun a series of talks and events relating to their mammoth, hit play Angels in America, starting with Tony Kushner discussing his plays and work in conversation with Ola Animashawun and continuing with other members of the cast/ crew of the play.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a talk chaired by Kate Bassett, as Andrew Garfield, who plays Prior Walter, and Denise Gough, who plays Harper Pitt, discussed their experiences of performing in the epically relevant show. It is clear from the praise and awards both actors have been receiving that they are masters of their craft and at the top of their game but sometimes this level of 'celebrity' status can make people seem sort of mystical. So it was lovely to see them in an intimate, laid back setting to prove that although they're supremely talented, they're just like everyone else. Kate, Andrew and Denise sat on the stage in front of the angel set of part two: Perestroika whilst we filled the auditorium of the Lyttleton theatre.

The pair spent the majority of the time praising one another, their other cast members and the incredible writing of Tony Kushner. It's truly lovely to see how passionate they both are about the work they're doing with Andrew describing it as "the most fulfilling experience [he'll] ever hope to have." When asked why she initially took the role of Harper, Denise explained that after her Olivier award winning role in People, Places and Things she thought Angels would be a walk in the park. However, soon discovered she was wrong and didn't realise how much the role would take out of her. Despite having time off stage she said she is so mentally attached that time isn't a break, stating that "profound writing has a profound effect" with Andrew echoing the amount of work and energy that goes into playing Prior and that Kushner's writing "demands you to surrender".

This led into a particularly interesting discussion when an audience member asked how the cast take care of themselves to perform in such a demanding and long show. Andrew spoke candidly about how actors are expected to answer that it's a breeze but how it really is draining to give that much on stage all the time. He spoke about the effects on his mental health and how completing the play is his form of self care. Although it's long, especially on a two show day, he explained how getting to the end is somewhat of a therapeutic experience. Denise agreed with this, also laughing about the amount of self-care remedies she has, including massages, reflexology and air purifying!

A personal highlight of the talk was when the pair spoke about the need for connection and how this play provides that. "People flock to certain shows in the West End and I think that's all about connection." This is certainly true and in the dark times the country is going through at the minute I think it's really important to have an escape and a safe place where we can all unify over shared interests. Both actors said how they feel that the audience are really part of the play, especially on two show days and that the curtain call feels like an applause for both the cast and audience. Andrew described it as a "communion with the audience. Us all going through the same things together and how prevalent and necessary it is to tell this story right now."

Andrew and Denise are both hilarious, frequently taking the mickey out of themselves and again proving how normal they are. Especially funny moments were when Andrew exclaimed "Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister" and when he explained how although he doesn't identify as a gay man, he is basically living as one "just without the physical act" and how Ru Paul's Drag Race was an extensive and essential part of his research process: "every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru".

Overall this was a wonderful and enlightening talk on one of the theatrical highlights of the season. It's incredible to see such passionate performers talk so candidly and emotionally about the struggles of their roles as well as what goes into performing such a colossal play. The National is one of the most accessible in the West End and this series of talks is just another example of that. If you haven't seen Angels in America then you better get in that returns queue because you don't want to miss out!

Read my review of Angels in America here:

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Cilla (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Cilla (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 21st March 2018 by Melanie Mitchell 

Cilla The Musical, intertwines the story of the rise from teenage typist to number one singing star, with the evolving love story between her and her future husband Bobby Willis.

In the 1950’s Liverpool was becoming increasingly well known, worldwide, for its unique style of music known as the Mersey beat. It was in the clubs around Merseyside that the young Cilla White worked as a coat check girl, often performing on stage along side the likes of Gerry and the Pacemakers and most notably the Beatles. When Brian Epstein discovers the 20-year-old Cilla at the Blue Angel Jazz Club, her meteoric rise to fame begins. 

The set design is superb, cleverly changing from the tiny flat in which Cilla lives with her family to the Clubs and streets of Liverpool. You really get the feeling for the area at the time and that you are part of the audience in the now legendary Cavern club.

The lighting changes throughout, reflecting the mood of each scene, especially in the second half when Cilla is an international star with her own UK TV show. My only criticism was that from where I was sitting at times it was quite blindingly bright. 

Kara Lily Hayworth is simply superb as the young Cilla. She absolutely brings the character to life, showing not only Cilla’s humour and confidence but also her naivety of the industry at the time. Her Liverpudlian accent is excellent and if you closed your eyes you would of thought Cilla was in the room. Kara’s singing voice is absolutely faultless, perhaps a bit sweeter and dare I say more professional than our Cilla’s was. However, this is probably down to her classical training background.

Carl Au, plays Bobby Willis, Cilla’s long-time boyfriend who goes on to become her manager and Husband. Carl is totally believable in the part and has an extremely good singing voice.

The part of Brian Epstein is played by Andrew Lancel, an extremely talented performer who you may know from Coronation Street and The Bill. You may not know that he also has an excellent singing voice as well. He plays the tortured Epstein brilliantly, giving a sadness and poignancy to the role that I hadn’t expected.

The whole company give a sparkling, lively and energetic performance, especially when playing the various groups such as The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers. However, the standout group performance for me was the casts portrayal of the Momma’s and the Poppa’s rendition of California Dreaming.

Cilla The Musical is showing at the New Victoria Theatre until 24th March 2018. Get a ticket if you still can, not only will you see some fabulous performances and hear some wonderful singing, you are guaranteed to have a most enjoyable evening and a Lorra Lorra fun!

photo credit: Matt Martin

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Rock of Ages (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Rock of Ages (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome
Reviewed on Tuesday 16th April 2019 by Isobelle Desbrow

Rock of Ages is a jukebox music which lacks any storyline but makes up for it through the use of humour and performance. Featuring such songs such as ‘We Built this City’, ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, the music is really stand out. Without these well know songs, and the musicianship of the actors the show wouldn’t have been worth watching.

Jodie Steele leads the cast wonderfully as Sherrie, her voice perfectly in sync with the rock genre. Steele's command of the stage is fantastic, with highlights being when she ran over Lonny’s foot with a toy tractor and her vocals in song like ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and ‘High Enough’ along side Drew played by Luke Walsh. Both performers provide outstanding vocals which you can't fail to be impressed by. However, they are unfortunately plagued by a one dimensional love story. 

Lucas Rush plays the charismatic Lonny, who also also narrates the show. His shenanigans with the audience often breaking the forth wall, really keep the audience involved. His enthusiasm and characterisation, are well needed in this dry at times show. Overall his acting and singing utterly brings the house down in tears of laughter and he also keeps the pace of the show going. 

Regina played by Rhiannon Chesterman is a hilarious and spectacular singer, who often left me jaw dropped while singing such numbers like ‘We're Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’. Dennis is played by the rocking Kevin Kennedy who’s rockstar voice matches the music well. Zoe Birkett plays the sultry Justice who owns the Venus Gentlemen’s club, and is a mother like character for Sherrie during the second half. Her soulful singing is a well cast addition to the show.

While this musical lacks a notable storyline, the interaction with the audience and jokes make it worthwhile and the performances all round are fantastic.

Rock of Ages runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until 20th April before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Richard Davenport

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Vanities, Trafalgar Studios | Review

Vanities: The Musical
Trafalgar Studios
Reviewed on Wednesday 7th August 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Vanities is a musical adaptation of Jack Heifner's play with a script by Heifner himself and lyrics/music by David Kirshenbaum. Its London premiere at Trafalgar Studios is certainly a triumphant one, with radiant performances from all three ladies and extremely catchy and refreshing music. Set in the 70s one would assume the themes of the musical could be dated but in fact the plight for happiness, friendship and success are just as prevalent now.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse | Review

The Last Five Years
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Wednesday 4th March 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

Originally premiering in Chicago in 2001 and then transferring to off-Broadway, Jason Robert Brown's song cycle musical was last seen in London in 2016 at the St James theatre. Chronicling a couple's passionate but ultimately doomed relationship, it is a brilliant exploration of life and cleverly plays with time; having one partner starting at the end of their story and the other at the start. They only overlap during their proposal and marriage mid way through.

This Southwark Playhouse production is a completely transfixing showcase of a spectacular musical. Jonathan O'Boyle's production is wonderfully staged and feels completely fresh in it's approach to the score and story. 

Lee Newby's set provides a fantastic canvas for the emotional drama to evolve, with small props effectively emphasising moments but always leaving the focus on the characters and their story. At times these props do feel a little too literal but they are so briefly used that it's barely an issue. There's always a sense of momentum in this piece thanks to the varying styles of Jason Robert Brown's music which keep the pace up. Additionally in this production, there is the use of a revolve which physically adds drive as it often seems to move clockwise for Jamie's plot and anti-clockwise for Cathy's- a very clever touch.

Jamie Platt's lighting is an especially enjoyable element of this musical, with contrast and darkness being used extremely well. A particularly effective moment is when the sun rises and the space is gradually transformed from a blue tinge to a warm orange.

Oli Higginson brings a great sense of journey to the up and coming writer, Jamie. Genuinely loving Cathy at the start, his self-absorbed personality and wandering eye soon become his, and the relationship's downfall. There's often an argument as to who was really in the wrong in this pairing and of course, both are to blame, but in the end Jamie really is a jerk and Oli does a great job of showing it. The contrast between the whimsy and elation in The Schmuel Song and the downright aggression in If I Didn't Believe in You, is highly effective. Higginson's accent does falter at times and occasionally the theatrical facade is broken, but overall his performance is joyous and enraging to watch.

As Cathy, Molly Lynch is just radiant. Rewinding from the bitter breakup to the jubilant start, Molly is consistently magnificent to watch. Vocally her performance is as clear as glass and beautifully controlled in her strong mix, but it's her acting which really brings her character to life. A mixture of nuanced and grand moments showcase the skills Molly possesses, and completely wrap you up in her journey. 

Plus, both actors bring their musician skills to the table, deftly swapping places at the piano. Their incompatibility is even highlighted as they aggressively accompany one another and often give particular attention to the discordant parts of the music, or the melodies which are repeated throughout but are continually out of sync with each other.

With humourous sequences (Jamie on facetime during A Summer in Ohio) and devastating moments of relationship failure, this really is a roller coaster gem of a piece. Brown's music gives so much to work with and the team on this production have really done an excellent job. The two leads are esteemed in their performances as they give a masterclass in acting through song that will break you and build you at once.

The Last Five Years plays at the Southwark Playhouse until 28th March

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Jane Eyre, National Theatre | Review

Jane Eyre
Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th September 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

The National Theatre are outstanding at championing new, innovative work and thinking outside the box to bring audiences spectacular shows, something which they have once again succeeded at with this Sally Cookson's production of Jane Eyre. In Bristol, the tale was split into two parts but artistic director Rufus Norris has wisely squeezed the action into one performance.

I'm sure I'm not alone in having gruelling flashbacks to A-level English literature when I hear Brontë's novel mentioned, and what's lovely about this adaptation, thanks to the minimal sets, is that it allows the audience to create the world of Jane Eyre with their imagination as they would do when reading the book. The set is extremely modernistic in it's simplistic design with no grand structures to show the various momentous locations in Jane's life but instead using wooden platforms, metal structures and ladders as a framework for the action. The use of lighting is particularly impressive with white cloth backdrop that surrounds the stage being changed to different colours to show the various moods. The shocking red room is especially effective.

What struck me about this production is not only how modern it is in terms of aesthetics but how contemporary the character of Jane herself is. She's feisty with strong morals and a real feminist side. Although having seen her as ahead of her time when I read the novel, I'd never realised how truly relatable she is until watching this production. Her quest for freedom whilst not compromising her passions is joyous to watch.

The strong use of physical theatre added an intensity to the piece, as well as flow, especially in the running transitions during Jane's travels. The varying motion from smooth lyrical to frenzied, perfectly mirrored the changes in Jane's physical and metal health throughout. Another particularly interesting aspect was members of the ensemble speaking Jane's thought's aloud. This was humourous at times but also a very clever way of developing the character more without her having to tell the audience anything directly.

The trio of onstage musicians added a whole other layer with a number of musical styles accompanying crucial moments and transitions. Melanie Marshall was absolutely fantastic both physically and vocally; singing atmospheric pieces to fit with other characters or her own, Bertha. Her voice is strong and angelic whilst having a menacing and painful side. Her rendition of Crazy was notably unexpected but brilliant and perfectly woven into the story.

As Jane, Nadia Clifford exceptionally plays the fiery 10 year old girl who transitions into a headstrong but more rational woman. Clifford perfectly shows Jane's unyielding side but also her pain and love for Rochester. Tim Delap is suitably brooding as Rochester but adds a depth and awkwardness which makes him charming and attractive.

The entire ensemble are faultless but I must give a special mention firstly, to Paul Mundell who is hilarious as Pilot, adding some welcome humour. And secondly to Hannah Bristow who perfectly and distinctly plays Adele, Helen, Grace Poole and others.

This is a somewhat lengthy (3 hours and 15 minutes) play, but a striking production of a classic. The start is slightly slow but as we get into the action the momentum speeds up and we really get to see is the power of one of the first literary modern women.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A Judgement in Stone, New Victoria Theatre | Review

A Judgement in Stone
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed Monday 27th June 2017 by Melanie Mitchell


A Judgement in Stone is a classic thriller adapted from the novel by celebrated crime write, Ruth Rendell. The play is set in the 1970s and focuses on the barriers and social structures of the English class system.  The social obsessions and tensions this system brings are bought starkly to life.  

The play highlights the differences and positions between the middle/upper classes and the much less educated lower working class when the meek, mild mannered Eunice Parchman (played by Sophie Ward) becomes housekeeper for the Coverdales at their country house. Sophie is excellent as Miss Parchman, it took me a while to know is was her as she is so unrecognisable. She portrayed the character perfectly, suitably subservient, fragile, insecure, down trodden and ever so slightly simple treating her employers like royalty but with a hidden depth and secrecy to the character.

Mark Wynter and Rosie Thompson play the Coverdales extremely well; complete snobs, pretentious, exuberant social climbers who see themselves in the upper echelons of society but with his position as a factory owner could easily be described as upper working class- god forbid!

Jennifer Sims as Melinda Coverdale is the perfect spoilt brat, a daddy's girl without a worry in the world. Her step-brother, Giles, played by Joshua Price is a typical foppish, alternative rich boy. The detectives played by Andrew Lancel and Ben Nealon both give believable performances. I was pleasantly surprised by Anthony Costa (formally a member of boyband, Blue) who plays Rodger Meadows and I have to say: the boy can act!

Deborah Grant as the maniacal Joan Smith is perfect for this part, very watchable with the right amount of of madness and humour. Shirley Anne Field plays the Coverdales cleaning lady Eva Baalham, who's timing and overall performance are excellent however, I felt that the part was extremely small and somewhat insignificant for such a great actress.

The whole play centres around one set, the Coverdales dining/sitting room with various doors leading off of it. However, due to the clever production, staging and lighting, the backdrop does not become boring. 

All in all, A Judgement in Stone provides a great evening full of atmospheric suspension and tension.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

9 to 5 The Musical (UK Tour), Wales Millennium Centre | Review

9 to 5 (UK Tour)
Wales Millennium Centre
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th October 2019 by Elisha Harris

9 to 5 The Musical is a sensational representation of what women had to endure when it was believed to be a ‘man's world’. Something which still plagues the modern day but is fortunately diminishing.

There’s nothing like escaping from your 9 to 5 reality to witness a world-class musical, and this production is most definitely that! This show is so unpredictable from start to finish. and everything is perfection. 

Amber Davies is impeccable, her comedic timing and powerhouse voice make for a perfect Judy. Amber presents the the purest transition from a reserved, meek housewife to a fearless, self assured business woman who will not take no for an answer.

The other two leading ladies, Caroline Sheen, who's temporarily moved from the West End production to the UK tour, and Georgina Castle blow the roof off the Millennium Centre. Between Caroline’s quick wit and gorgeous voice, and Georgina’s mesmerising vocal range, they compliment each other perfectly. I could listen to them sing all day long! 

The standout performance of the evening is Sean Needham who plays the ballsy, know it all boss, Franklin Hart Jr. He portrays the dishonest, antagonistic boss excellently. Sean really brings the role to life, he is witty, insanely entertaining and his facial expressions are priceless. For a character you’re meant to hate, it's hard not to belly laugh at every line he says- a real comical genius!

Overall this production is not one to miss, the ensemble are brilliant, the sound design is excellent, you can hear every voice individually when needed yet the harmonies were perfect. If you want to spend 2 hours in side-splitting, ball crunching laughter, 9 to 5 is the show for you! 

9 to 5 The Musical plays at the Wales Millennium Centre until 2nd November before continuing its tour

Friday, 27 April 2018

In Conversation With... Lizzie Winkler | Quiz | Interview

Quiz is one of the hottest plays on in the West End right now. Transferred from Chichester Festival Theatre, it is an immersive experience which examines the conviction of 'the coughing Major', Charles Ingram, following his appearance on Who Wants to be a Milionaire? Lizzie Winkler plays a variety of roles in the show and sat down to talk about that experience as well as who'd she's share a million pounds with...

Hi! You've had a varied career so far. What have some of your highlights been?

Can you tell me a little about Quiz and your role in it?
I play the most characters, ranging from real people Claudia Rosencrantz (Head of light entertainment for ITV), Ruth Settle (Head of Marketing for the show) Alyn Morris (cough doctor) to characters whose names I've been allowed to make up, police officer (PC Jill Salmon) attractive assistants (Denise Body and Kirsty Sparkle) Pregnant Juror (Alison De Winter) Court Stenographer (Linda Bland) I really enjoy creating characters' back stories and histories even if they don't have lines. 

What do you think people will be saying as they leave the theatre after experiencing Quiz?
"What did you vote?". "Do you think they are innocent?" and hopefully "that was amazing "

Can you sum up the play in five words?
Entertaining, interactive, thought-provoking, political, human.

What has your favourite immersive/interactive theatrical experience been?
All the Punchdrunk shows. 

If you won Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? who would you share your money with?
Whoever asked the nicest. 

If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?
I write television comedy, with Emma Jerrold I would get one of our shows commissioned and be in it. 

Finally, what's your number one piece of advice for aspiring performers? 
Be yourself and work hard!

Thank you so much Lizzie for taking the time to do this interview. Quiz runs at the Noel Coward Theatre until 16th June.

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell