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

Sunday 21 May 2017

Samantha Barks, Mayflower Theatre | Review

Samantha Barks with Kerry Ellis
Mayflower Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday May 20th 2017 by Mary Schofield

The Mayflower is a fantastic venue located in the heart of Southampton, I have visited it frequently over the past two years that I have been at University and it's brilliant that such a wonderful theatre is on my doorstep. The venue is often visited by West End shows on their UK tours and seats a capacity of 2,300 people.

Despite the large capacity of the theatre the performance itself felt intimate as Samantha Barks (first discovered on I'd Do Anything and known for her recent appearances in: Les Miserables, The Last Five Years, Oliver and most recently her films Bitter Harvest and Interlude in Prague) took us on a nostalgic journey down memory lane. She sung a collection of songs from her new album including: “When He Loved Me” and “If I Die Young” as well as a gorgeous cover of "Blackbird" by The Beatles. Sam also shared with us a spectacular performance from The Last Five Years, “I Can Do Better Than That” which she wrapped in the St James Theatre (now The Other Palace) last December. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to see this in the theatre but the film version will have to help ease my new musical obsession!

Samantha's special guest for this one off concert event was the wonderful Kerry Ellis (known for her appearances in Wicked and currently on tour with the production Wonderland). Her set consisted of performances from both Wonderland and We Will Rock You. Ellis really showed off her unique, rocky voice and was a perfect complement to Barks.

The highlight of the evening was definitely when both ladies joined together for a wonderful duet of "For Good" from Wicked. Samantha went on to explain that this performance was one that she previously had on her bucket list, making the occasion even more special. You truly missed a magical moment if you weren't there! The evening was rounded up with a throwback to Les Mis with “On My Own”, bringing tears to every member of the audience and showing the power of Samantha's stage presence.

The only thing that upset me about the event was the timings; I would have been more than happy to listen to Barks sing for another 3 hours! This was a fantastic concert with two powerhouses of musical theatre joining together for a fabulous evening of entertainment. Hopefully this isn't the last of the pairing we see and I can't wait to see Samantha perform again- fingers crossed for another stint on a West End stage! 

Sunday 3 April 2016

Samantha Barks, St. James Studio | Review

It has been 20 hours since Samantha Barks stepped on the St. James Studio stage and I am still buzzing. I have been a fan of Sam since she was first on 'I'd Do Anything' and since then I have followed her career and been lucky enough to see her perform several times but this was a very different experience to anything else I've watched Samantha in previously.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Samantha Barks Tour, Churchill Theatre | Review

If you read this blog regularly or follow me on social media, you'll know that I am a huge Samantha Barks fan. Samantha is a singer and actress most well known for her role as Eponine in Les Miserables' West End cast, 25th anniversary concert cast and film cast. 

She has also starred in a number of shows such as City of Angels, Chicago, Cabaret and Oliver and has been working on a number of  films recently which are set to be released soon and has just released her self titled album under United Music. 

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Honeymoon in Vegas (LMTO), London Palladium | Review

Honeymoon in Vegas
London Palladium
Reviewed on Sunday 12th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Founded in June 2015, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) prides itself on giving beautiful music a place to be heard and showcasing lesser known talent and works. On March 12th 2016 the orchestra accompanied a stellar cast who performed Jason Robert Brown's short lived 2015 Broadway musical, Honeymoon in Vegas

Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill led the cast as the engaged Betsy and Jack who are on their way to finally getting married. They've been a couple for five years but Jack is afraid to commit to marriage as he believes he's under a curse from his dead mother. Her dying wish was for him never to marry and he's taking any measure he can to ensure this is kept, despite this, he suggests an elopement to Vegas. Once again he gets cold feet and makes his way to a poker game organised by Tommy Korman. Unbeknownst to him, Korman wants Betsy (a dead ringer for his late wife) for himself and is ready to offer Jack an ultimatum.

The story is bizarre but that's what makes it exciting. The absurdity allows all kinds of craziness to take place on stage and makes the production truly hilarious and impressive. The LMTO's musical director, Freddie Tapner introduced the performance, stating that the music and score would be telling the story and that it was up to the audience to imagine dances, costumes, set changes and a herd of parachuting Elvis'! This worked wonderfully and it was surprising how little was lost by this being a concert rather than a full blown glitz and glam production.  

BWW Review: HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, London Palladium
Each member of the cast, chorus and orchestra worked harmoniously together to pull of an effortless performance. Simon Lipkin is a brilliant performer and he stole the show each time he appeared on stage, leaving us all laughing and feeling thoroughly entertained. Maisey Bawden was hilarious as the Hawaiian Mahi and had the audience in the palm or her hand as she caused everyone to laugh out loud.

Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill's chemistry was evident throughout and they seemed to really enjoy performing together, bringing the loved-up couple to life charmingly. Barks' voice seems to get better and better and after her success in The Last Five Years it was an absolute joy to see her perform another of Jason's scores which suit her voice so perfectly.  She gave a truly stellar performance. Darvill's voice was a surprise to me, it's effortlessly smooth and fits the easy swing feel of Honeymoon in Vegas to a tee, he gave a brilliant heartfelt and comedic performance.

If the outstanding performances weren't enough, this production was made even better by the fact that it was conducted by Jason Robert Brown himself as the LMTO's first ever guest conductor. Brown is funny, witty and animated and brought a wonderful sense of style to the whole performance. He even stepped down from his podium and played the ukulele at one point which was a real treat.  

The various standing ovations were a sign of how well done this production was and how much the audience loved this rarely performed piece. I don't think anyone would be complaining if it made a return to the West End stage and I hope we can keep Brown and his brilliant writing on this side of the pond!

Thursday 3 November 2016

The Last Five Years, St James Theatre | Review

The Last Five Years is a heartbreakingly beautiful story of a failed marriage set to song

The Last Five Years
St James Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Jason Robert Brown's musical tells the story of Cathy and Jamie with her story running backwards from heartbreak to giddiness and his running forwards from the first moments of meeting to the disillusion at the end. Somehow this concept which could have been very confusing manages to work exquisitely and is carried out with professional style and ease by Samantha Barks and Jonathan Bailey.

The show runs for 90 minutes straight through and includes a number of musical styles which help to maintain the pace and make the whole relationship feel very realistic. Personal highlights were "See I'm Smiling", "The Schmuel Song" and "Moving Too Fast" all of which were total lessons in storytelling from Samantha and Jonathan. The simple staging works well to show scene changes without distracting from the intimacy of the show.

Jason Robert Brown's songs seem to get more beautiful every time I hear them and believe me I've heard them a lot! From watching the film version of The Last Five Years to listening to various youtube versions I have pretty high standards for it and this production smashed them all out of the park. This seems to be the musical exactly how it should be. Each moment seems so well thought out with each acting choice complementing the beautiful music and vice versa.

Jonathan Bailey brings humour and wit to the character of the up and coming writer Jamie who in his heart is really just a jerk; despite his love for Cathy at the start, his wandering eye and his self-absorbed personality become his downfall and the relationship fails. Jonathan's acting choices are dramatic whilst still being understated at points and he truly relates to the audience, especially when he picks out audience members to be his Cathy in certain songs.

Samantha Barks shows off her acting and singing chops once again in the role of Cathy. From the opening number of the iconic "I'm Still Hurting" Samantha embodies the character and gracefully rewinds from the bitter end of the relationship to the extreme joy she felt at the start. Samantha's star power glistens like a diamond as she commands the stage in this role and shows her versatility in moments of happiness, sadness and humour.

This is a positively admirable production which ticks every box on what makes a great musical. Its truly a lesson in acting through song and the two stars are faultless in their performances. The Last Five Years is a beautiful, bold and poignant depiction of a relationship, impeccably brought to life on stage by two wonderfully esteemed performers.

The Last Five Years is on at the St James theatre until December 3rd. You can book tickets on the website here.

photos by Scott Rylander

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Rachel Tucker, Live at Zedel | Review

Rachel Tucker (concert)
Crazy Coqs, Zedel
Reviewed on Tuesday June 6th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Rachel Tucker is a superstar of the stage and is currently on a long awaited tour around the UK before heading to New York for a stint at the iconic, 54 Below. Now I knew Rachel's voice was good from the I'd Do Anything days, videos online and of course from seeing her in Wicked but I was completely blown away when I saw her solo performance last night. Rachel's voice is powerful, emotive, beautiful and her overall stage presence is that of a true star.

Rachel's set consisted of a number of upbeat songs to more balladic slow pieces with the flow from jubilation to tears completely smooth and seamless. The whole concert seemed so well put together and like a huge amount of thought had gone into each song and placement, it was really a night of everything. Opening the show with "Miss Otis Regrets", Rachel immediately created a bond with the audience and won over the room with her huge presence and personality.

Moving wonderfully into a rendition of "Candyman", Rachel kept the atmosphere bright and warm and set the stage for an evening of glorious entertainment. The segway into each song was done flawlessly, a sign of Rachel's stage training from a young age. The transition from "Waving Through a Window" (beautiful) to "Climbing Uphill" was particularly entertaining with Rachel reenacting a bad audition before giving a hilarious performance of the Jason Robert Brown classic.

As her special guest for the night, Rachel introduced Samantha Barks (who we all know I love) at the end of act one for a rendition of "Nowadays/All That Jazz" from Chicago. This was a particular treat for us Londoners who didn't get to see Samantha as Velma Kelly in Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl and it was a marvellous end to the first half.

The second half of the concert was just as seamless and brilliant as the first, with little anecdotes sprinkled throughout and an absolutely hilarious tribute to Tina Turner which Rachel explained was her unique selling point when she used to perform with her dad.  Needless to say, the audience loved the ridiculously fantastic and energetic performance of "Proud Mary/River Deep Mountain High".

Samantha and Rachel joined forces again with a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of Wicked's "For Good" which was lovely to hear and joyous to see the two friends performing such a beautiful song in the intimate setting of the Crazy Coqs, Zedel.

Not only is Rachel's singing top notch, but her acting and interpretation of music is outstanding. Able to go from elation to heartbreaking sincerity in a matter of bars. Act two saw Rachel perform "The Man That Got Away" which was just phenomenal and left the audience in pin-drop silent awe. Rachel closed the show with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and the Ed Sheeran favourite, "Castle on a Hill" which really summed up the evening and gave the audience the whole spectrum of emotions once again and gave Rachel her third and final standing ovation of the evening.

Rachel is just a sensational performer and last nights concert was completely faultless. I honestly couldn't have asked for anything more from Rachel or Samantha except for them to sing more and serenade me for the rest of my life! Rachel is truly remarkable, a joy to watch and a brilliant inspiration for anyone wanting to perform. If you get the chance to see Rachel in concert, or in any other show then 100000% take the opportunity as you do not want to miss the chance to be blessed be her performance of dreams and pipes from heaven!

Read my interview with Rachel here:

Monday 1 February 2016

Lucie Jones, Waterloo East | Review

The Waterloo East theatre was host to an incredible one night only cabaret from Lucie Jones last night and I'm sorry to rub it in your faces but you missed an epic night if you weren't there!

Lucie entered the stage in a sparkling silver dress and immediately belted out the Annie classic, Tomorrow, wowing the crowd from the get go.

After a number of hilarious anecdotes, we got to the X Factor days when Lucie introduced Anton Stephans who belted out a beautiful song and Lucie (along with some audience participation) performed Sweet Child of Mine.

As the night continued, Lucie sung songs that had been prominent throughout her amazing career such as Somebody To Love, Bring Him Home and an acoustic version of Poker Face (complete with unexpected harmonies!!)

Samantha Barks was another guest who joined Lucie on stage to sing an acoustic version of Justin Bieber's Sorry, which I NEED to be released as a single!! Samantha then sung a soulful jazz number, which was, of course, absolutely stunning! Danyl Johnson was the final guest, who, with a belt-tastic duet of Bridge Over Troubled Water made me fall a little bit in love!

A personal favourite of the evening was the hilarious Musical Theatre Boys song which had me in extremely ugly hysterics! Lucie's bubbly personality had the whole audience laughing throughout and by the end of the night it really felt as if we had all bonded during this intimate performance. The closing number With You left everybody speechless and was a fantastic end to a fantastic night.

Lucie is truly a force to be reckoned with, she's not only got the pipes to sing anything and everything, but her magnetic personality and natural personality, along with stunning sparkly dresses, make her a performer you just can't help but love.

If you want to witness the hurricane of amazingness that is Lucie Jones, you can watch her in the upcoming performances of Legally Blonde at the Leicester Curve!

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Bitter Harvest (Film) | Review

Bitter Harvest tells the harrowing tale of  the Holodomor, a man-made famine which occurred in Ukraine in 1932-33, killing an estimated 2.5-7 million people. I, like many people had never even heard of this catastrophe and feel ashamed of that fact, so it was truly shocking to see the atrocities play out on screen.

Bitter Harvest sheds light on this widely overlooked tragedy in such a way that it is both provoking and shocking but at the same time brings warmth through the love story of Yuri (Max Irons) and Natalka (Samantha Barks). The whole story is told through the eyes of these young lovers as they struggle through imprisonment, famine and torture; battling to reunite with one another and to fight for a free country.

The film is visually stunning and quite literally sheds light on this devastating chapter of modern history. Douglas Milsome has added a whole layer to the story just through the lighting and has created a truly cinematic experience. We first see the warm lights and sky which quickly become dark and bleak. Particularly effective was the contrast of the bright Kiev when Yuri first got there to the muted grey of Yuri and Natalka's village. Truly striking.

The authenticity is so clear in this film, through not only the fact that it was filmed in true to life locations, but through the way the stellar cast play their roles so truthfully. Both Barks and Irons show the deep and dark complexities of their characters incredibly well, with their chemistry shining through to emphasise the reality of pain and loss throughout. Each moment is heart-wrenching and the whole film is beautifully shocking. The cast also includes Tamer Hassan, Barry Pepper and Terence Stamp, all of whom play their roles honestly and perfectly.

George Mendeluk has directed a visually striking film which is sure to educate people and get discussions going. There are parallels happening right now in Ukraine so this film has come at the perfect time to get people talking and to educate people so that nothing like this ever happens again. Although the love story is somewhat cliched, it works well in this film to provide a root for the story rather than being overpowering at every moment. The script is well written to make the actual event of the Holodomor the main focal point with the romance more of a reference point. The love story is beautiful and played out so well but it doesn't detract at all from the pain and suffering that was really happening. 

The story of this devastating famine is hard to watch but knowing and seeing the truth is necessary and Bitter Harvest is rightfully bringing this overlooked Ukrainian tragedy to the forefront of media in a way it never was at the time. I already am and will continue to recommend this film to everyone I see because it's honestly incredible. Truthful, painful, beautiful and powerful. The cinematography, story, acting and honesty make Bitter Harvest a must see. ★★★★

Watch my vlog of the premiere:

Bitter Harvest is released in the UK on February 24th.

Part of this review was used on the cover of the UK DVD so keep an eye out for it!

Review by Olivia Mitchell

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Chess the Musical in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane | Review

Chess the Musical in Concert
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Reviewed on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 

After the success earlier in the year of Bonnie and Clyde in Concert, the bar has been set rather high for what concert productions at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane can provide, and this most recent one certainly hits the mark.

Chess, last seen in London in 2018 at the Coliseum, is set in the 1970s/80s amid the Cold War. Two chess masters meet in Bangkok to fight it out for the world championship title, but also end up in political and romantic competitions. 

By Tim Rice's own admission in the programme notes, the music is the heart of this show, with many finding fault with the book that is sometimes all over the place. Thankfully in this production everything is fairly sleek and issues with the book can be overlooked thanks to the sumptuous cast, choir and orchestra.

Director Nick Winston put on the show in a previous iteration in Japan and has superbly brought it to the London stage with a version that puts the focus strongly on storytelling, both through the music and the buoyant choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento and Tara Young

This is further helped in no small way by the outstanding LMTO Orchestra, directed expertly by Freddie Tapner. The sumptuous, melodically complex, beautifully syncopated score is showcased to the highest degree. There's a sensitivity given to the more pared back moments whilst the rousing, dramatic pieces of score are stretched to their full extent to provide real wow moments. The LMTO Chorus also bring add excellent power and oomph to the proceedings.

There were some songs which were cut from the show, namely the song Talking Chess between Anatoly and Freddie and Commie Newspapers which I think would have helped the plot be a bit clearer, especially for those seeing the show for the first time. But of course given the short turnaround and runtime for the concerts, I can certainly understand why some pieces had to be cut and shifted and what was still included was excellent. Any plot issues really fly under the radar when you have such a wonderful team on stage and offstage making everything else so enjoyable.

This onstage team is made up of some musical theatre heavyweights and there are standout performances throughout. Samantha Barks' rendition of Nobody's Side and the Anthem Reprise are definitely at the top. Joel Harper-Jackson's Pity The Child, Hadley Fraser's Anthem also bring the house down, and Frances Mayli McCann and Barks also compliment one another beautifully in the classic I Know Him So Well.

Having first seen Chess in concert version at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 and falling in love with it at age 10, seeing this production of equal strength was an absolute treat to witness. Here's hoping we see more of this outstanding adaptation and the stellar cast who brought it to life!

photo credit: Mark Senior

Monday 1 October 2018

Pretty Woman, Nedelander Theatre | Review

Pretty Woman
Nederlander Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 19th September 2018 by Olivia Mitchell

The stage adaptation of the 1990 film, Pretty Woman, follows rich businessman Edward who hires Hollywood Boulevard sex worker, Vivian for his six days in Los Angeles and, well, things go from there...

The storyline is problematic in a number of ways, mainly because it centres on a man being able to buy and control a woman whilst she can escape all her issues by using sex. However, in the musical's book by Gary Marshall and JF Lawson, Vivian is self-reliant and assertive. In this show, it's Edward who has more of a journey,  struggling to face the world and relationships that come with it. 

The musical takes almost every element of the film and transfers them to stage with pep and heart. All the famous one liners are there and we are given an extra boost with the musical theatre-rock songs of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. The cast give a sleek performance as well as providing spades of chemistry throughout.

As the leading lady in her Broadway debut, Samantha Barks is both fierce and vulnerable, supplying humour and spot on vocals throughout, with I Can't Go Back being a real memorable moment of the show. As her partner in crime, Andy Karl is sympathetic as Edward and the pair have incredible chemistry. Also stealing scenes are Orfeh who belts as if her life depends on it as best friend Kit; Eric Anderson as Happy Man/Mr Thompson who acts as the ever present storyteller and Tommy Bracco who is completely hilarious as Giulio.

Mention must also go to Brian Calì and Allison Blackwell who give spine tingling performances during the La Traviata scene and truly transport us to a grand opera.

Set wise, it's fairly simple but the design does a great job of bringing the iconic Los Angeles settings to life and alongside the costumes, showcase a piece which feels very of it's time, but with somewhat of an updated slant. All the well-loved costumes can be seen and it's a very faithful, engaging adaptation.

Jerry Mitchell is following his winning screen to stage formula with this production and has provided a show which fans of the film will adore. The outstanding leads and tight ensemble make this a high-octane, fun for all show. It's not perfect but it's certainly a fun night out and perfect for lovers of the original film.

Friday 17 July 2020

Frozen West End cast and company announced

The leading cast members and company of the West End premiere of Frozen have been revealed, as the show moves its premiere date to spring 2021.
Joining the previously announced Samantha Barks (Elsa) and Stephanie McKeon (Anna) are Obioma Ugoala (Kristoff), Craig Gallivan (Olaf), Oliver Ormson (Hans), Richard Frame (Weselton), and alternating the role of Sven, Mikayla Jade and Ashley Birchall; with Jeremy Batt, Cameron Burt, Lauren Chia, Laura Emmitt, Emily-Mae Walker (Bulda), Danielle Fiamanya (first cover Elsa), Hannah Fairclough, Matt Gillett, Joe Griffiths- Brown, Emily Lane, Justin-Lee Jones, Jason Leigh Winter, Jacob Maynard, Leisha Mollyneaux, Gabriel Mokake (King Agnarr), Sarah O'Connor (first cover Anna), Jemma Revell, Jacqui Sanchez (Queen Iduna), Jak Skelly (Oaken/Bishop), Jake Small, Isabel Snaas, Joshua St. Clair (Pabbie), Monica Swayne, and Anna Woodside. Further casting is to be confirmed.
Frozen, which has music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and book by Jennifer Lee, opened on Broadway in March 2018 and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical. It follows Elsa, who is gifted with ice-manipulating powers, and her relationship with her sister Anna as they try to run a nation.
The show is based on the highest-grossing animated film of all time, which was released in 2013 and won two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. The sequel – Frozen 2 – was released last autumn.
The production, which will be presented at a refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane will be directed by Michael Grandage with choreography by Rob Ashford, set and costume design by Christopher Oram, lighting design by Neil Austin, sound design by Peter Hylenski, video design by Finn Ross, puppet design by Michael Curry and musical supervision and arrangements by Stephen Oremus.
Michael Grandage said today: "We're thrilled to announce the company for Frozen – an incredibly talented group of people who will be creating the London premiere at the newly refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane next spring. As theatres start to open their doors again, we look forward to celebrating the spectacle of this beloved story with audiences everywhere."

Saturday 31 December 2016

Olivia's Top 10 Shows of 2016

Without repeats, I saw 59 different shows this year so compiling this list has been difficult to say the least! This has been a brilliant year for theatre and through this website I really feel that I've become a part of the theatre community. 2016 has seen some brilliant big budget shows as well as smaller fringe ones, many of which have thrilled me. This list is of the shows that stuck with me long after I'd seen them and that I feel are very resonant in our 2016 world. This will probably be a bit of a long post, I have a whole year to fit in after all, so grab yourself a cuppa and some biscuits and enjoy!

This list is in reverse order, cause we all need that extra bit of excitement in our lives.

One of Paul Taylor-Mills' incredible productions of 2016. The music was performed beautifully and the touching and heartbreaking story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet was told sincerely and gracefully by Laura Pitt-Pulford and Louise Dearman.

Did anyone not like this show? All I heard were incredible reviews and rightly so. An exciting and refreshing revival of a much loved Classic which ticked all the boxes of a hit musical. Charlie Stemp is talent on another level. I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more good things about the show and cast in 2017!

This was my first visit to The Union Theatre and wow was it a good first. I absolutely adored this show. I was completely unfamiliar with the music and was just blown away by it. The cast were sublime and the story telling was impeccable. I'm sure this would be a huge hit if more people got to see it. 

27 must have been one of the most hyped musicals of 2016 and I could certainly see why when I saw it. It's a musical like I've never seen before, so fresh and different to what's currently on the West End stages. The plot twist at the end had me physically breathless, a stunning piece of artistry.

This was another small show but it definitely packed more than a small punch. It was sweet, pink, sassy and sumptuous. One of those shows which really made you think and reflect on your life. Lauren Samuels gave a standout performance!

I saw this show alone so the minute I stepped out of the theatre I called my friend to fangirl about it like a mad woman. I was completely awestruck by the whole performance. It was moving, funny, relevant and thought-provoking. The use of songs was done smoothly and effectively and it was overall just an A* worthy production.

This was the perfect treat to see just before Christmas. Although the story is slightly dated and everything is a little over the top, it's a fantastic production full of sweetness, heartbreak and love. Scarlett Strallen's performance was absolutely impeccable and nothing short of perfection. With the amount of people I've told to see this, I wouldn't be surprised if it gets a West End transfer in the near future. 

I've grown up with Rent so finally seeing it on stage was a very special experience for me. Each cast member is fully immersed into their roles and the whole production is raw, gritty and believable. Philippa Stefani gives the performance of a superstar and had me in floods of tears. The production will continue to tour next year and I'll certainly be seeing it again so don't be surprised if it features in my top 10 of 2017 too!

The St James theatre was on fire this year! The Last Five Years is another one which I've wanted to see on stage for years. Jason Robert Brown's story is heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. It's always a joy to see Samantha Barks on stage and seeing her shine as Cathy was even more wonderful because of how incredibly she showed off her effortless belt and sincere acting. The wonderful mix of simplistic staging, the stellar duo of Barks and Bailey and Jason's beautiful music, rightfully earn The Last Five Years my number two spot!

1. Dreamgirls: Savoy Theatre

If you haven't heard about Dreamgirls' triumphant return to the West End then you must have been living in a cave. This was the 2nd to last show I saw and I couldn't be happier that I could end the year on such a fantastic note. This has got to be the theatrical spectacle of the year, the sets, costumes, choreography and cast are all exquisite and I cried a bucket load of happy tears, which I never do! Go see Dreamgirls in 2017, I guarantee you'll leave singing it's praises!

So there's my top 10 shows, of course there's other brilliant ones and I'm sure your list varies but this has been a brilliant year for theatre and I can't wait to see what 2017 brings *cough* Hamilton *cough* 

But wait, where's that other show that I've been posting and tweeting about like crazy and have seen 32 times!? I haven't forgotten it, I just wanted to give it a special mention because its such a special show. So my "The Show Which Changed My Life: 2016" award goes to IN THE HEIGHTS at the Kings Cross Theatre! I've done a billion posts on it (just search it on the homepage) so I don't need to write any more soppy words but this show has seriously been my everything this year. I've met incredible people from it, both fans and cast members and I'm so incredibly grateful for that. Unfortunately I won't be at the last show as I'm in Australia (boo hoo, woe is me, right?) but I'm so sad its closing, and I'm sending all my thoughts and positive vibes to the theatre gods that they will bring it back because I will never be ready for the lights to go down on Washington Heights! Thank you In The Heights for being there and helping me and I'm sure many others, through tough times and making us feel at home in the theatre. Even if you had no idea how you were helping, I guarantee you made some tough days just that much easier. No pare sigue sigue!

I hope you had a brilliantly theatrical year too and I'd love to hear your favourites so drop me a comment on here or tweet me @OliviaMitche or @RewriteThisWeb 

Au Revoir 2016! Stay Stagey, 2017!