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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Sister Act (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Sister Act
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 20th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Based on the 1992 hit film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act tells the tale of nightclub singer Deloris who witnesses her violent partner commit a murder. Forced to be a witness and then forced into hiding, she ends up staying a convent which is under threat of being closed down for not attracting enough people to it's Sunday services. The production is full of glitzy outfits and laugh out loud moments and despite falling slightly flat at times, it is full of great performances and leaves the audience feeling good.

Craig Revel-Horwood's choreography is exciting and full of funny moments. Namely a slow motion scene which worked wonderfully and was warmly received by the audience, as was the majority of the show. Craig's production captures the spirit of family and friendship wonderfully and ensures the audience has a fun night out but it's hard to miss the weakness of the plot. The story is just a little too silly and basic to be fully effective but for a lively girls night out that can be overlooked and enjoyed for the laugh that it is.

Overall there is a high standard of performance with Alexandra Burke's leading lady Doloris holding her own throughout. She is sassy, likeable, over the top and delivers her comic lines wonderfully. Personally I struggled to understand what she said a lot of the time due to under-annunciated consonants but her singing and comic performance was fabulous and she fits into the role perfectly.

Each of the nuns have their own personalities which shine through from beginning to end and each of the individual stand out moments really add to the production. It's wonderful to see such a strong cast with an ensemble that are tight and seem to genuinely be enjoying themselves.


Sister Act is full of solid performances, buckets full of laughs, fabulousness and a whole lot of joy. Even though the story is silly and simplistic, it works wonderfully as an exciting night out and I'm sure it will continue to thrill audiences around the country.

Sister Act continues to play at the New Victoria Theatre until March 25th before continuing on it's tour.

Photo by: Tristram Kenton

Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Bodyguard (UK & Ireland Tour), Grand Opera House, Belfast | Review


The Bodyguard (UK & Ireland Tour)
Grand Opera House
Reviewed on Wednesday 6th February 2019 by Damien Murray
★★★★

Literally starting with a bang… before Karen Bruce’s super-charged choreography ensured that its fiery opening number set the quality bar high for the remainder of the show, this latest touring production of the ever popular musical is another winner.

This romantic thriller, peppered with some of the best of Whitney Houston’s hits, is back in town for its third sell-out run in recent years … and it is easy to see why.

Offering the right balance of romance, suspense, dance, humour and music, this award-winning musical based on Lawrence Kasdan’s blockbuster film, which starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, gives audiences everything they want wrapped up in a quality-filled ‘night out’ to keep them coming back for more.

For those who are unfamiliar with the successful film, the story centres around singing superstar and budding film star, Rachel Marron, and her changing relationship with personal bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who has been hired by her manager to protect her after a series of threatening notes have been found.

Many people go to this show only to hear the music as the plot has been criticised for being too far-fetched, but, sadly, stars with stalkers of some degree or another are more common than one might think.


As someone who was once involved in protecting a performer from a stalker, I could really identify with the storyline here (although my experience was without the romantic elements of this piece!).

Played out on Tim Hatley’s clever and ever-changing sliding-door set, which not only aided the seamless flow of the show but also reinforced the ever-changing situation of the gripping story-line, this was a well-paced production, which made effective use of projections.

Yet again, the star of this show was former X-Factor winner, Alexandra Burke, in the role of the controlling diva-style star, Rachel Marron, and – having recently performed in such musicals as Sister Act, Chess and Chicago and having been so successful in television’s Strictly Come Dancing – it was an even more confident and experienced performer this time that filled both Marron’s shoes and the auditorium with great vocals in Houston’s many hits. 

Playing opposite Burke as her equally controlling, bodyguard, Frank Farmer, Benoit Marechal was a much calmer and more controlled character who took his job very seriously. So, the karaoke scene was nice in that it showed a different side of his character while providing a degree of humour to lighten the mood of the piece. 

Although I didn’t get any sense of fear from Phil Atkinson’s chilling character in his early appearances (maybe due to his direction), the sinister stares of the stalker became appropriately more threatening and unsettling as the show progressed and Atkinson developed into a truly menacing stalker, especially when he rose from the orchestra pit in his final scene.

Resentful of her life playing second-fiddle in the shadow of her successful sister, Micha Richardson was impressive as the talented, but jealous, sister, Nicki; her vocal talent getting a solo chance to shine in Saving All My Love For You.


Musical director, Michael Riley, and his eight-piece orchestra did wonders in supplying such a big and full sound for the varied score of power ballads and up-tempo dance numbers, while Mark Henderson’s versatile lighting designs complemented all aspects of the production, and both combined – especially Riley’s perfect incidental music and Henderson’s wonderful use of white light effects – to heighten tension and suspense at appropriate moments of the show.

Thea Sharrock’s direction was also spot-on throughout, but particularly in emphasising these elements of what is, after all, a thriller. A good example of this was the use of slow motion and freeze action in the club scene and at the awards ceremony. 

What surprises me is that, despite being one of the few who do not even like the music of Whitney Houston (really!), this is my third time seeing this show … and, thanks to high production values and talented performances, my third time enjoying the productions.

Musical highlights included: I’m Every Woman and How Will I Know?, while the defining moment in the story was captured during One Moment In Time and Burke’s perfectly staged finale song, the emotionally-charged rendition of I Will Always Love You, proved to be the undoubted show-stopper ahead of the full company mega mix encore. 

Overall, power ballads combined with powerhouse performances and strong choreography to make this a truly powerful production. 

The Bodyguard runs at the Grand Opera house until 16th February 2019

photo credit: Paul Coltas

Friday, 21 July 2017

In Conversation With... Tyrone Huntley | Jesus Christ Superstar | Interview


Tyrone Huntley has the voice of an angel and supreme acting skills. He's just finished starring as CC in Dreamgirls and is currently in rehearsals to reprise the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent's Park Open Air theatre later this summer. He's already a star but he deserves even more praise for his outstanding performances and I can't wait to see what more he does!


For anyone that doesn’t know, can you explain a little about your career and highlights so far?

I graduated from Mountview in 2011 and got my first job in the U.K. Tour of Sister Act. My West End debut came straight after that in The Book of Mormon and since then I've been fortunate enough to work on other incredible shows including the Original London Casts of Memphis and Dreamgirls.


I read that you studied law and completed a degree in it whilst you were starring in The Book of Mormon and Memphis, how was it juggling the two?

It was difficult and extremely time consuming but ever so rewarding. I learned a lot and when I graduated I felt such a sense of pride and achievement. 


Do you have any other hidden passions that you’d like to pursue?

I'd love to learn to play the piano proficiently and I really want to learn a language but a real aspiration of mine is to hone my writing skills. I write songs but I'm in awe of playwrights and novelists and those who have the imagination to create entire worlds out of nothing.


You’ve just finished playing CC in the epic, Dreamgirls. Is CC anything like you?

CC has some really enviable qualities that don't sit naturally with me. Where CC is optimistic and positive thinking, I generally think the worst and I'm not surprised when things don't necessarily go my way!! That said, I like to think I can relate to his ambitiousness, his caring nature and desire to make people happy.


Have you had any funny onstage or offstage mishaps whilst you’ve been in the show? Or any other shows?

I did Porgy and Bess at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre a couple of years ago which meant, like Jesus Christ Superstar, we were obviously performing outside. In the show I had a little featured singing bit - my big moment. One evening I was just about to sing my part but as I breathed in I inhaled a massive fly so instead of singing my one little solo song, I had a beautifully underscored coughing fit! 


It’s so exciting that you’ll be returning to play Judas again at the open air theatre. What are the hardest and most exciting parts about playing the iconic role?

I'm very excited. It's a great role in a great show and I get to perform at Regent's Park again! The music is amazing and I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth back into it. That said, it's very challenging vocally which means, more than usual, I have to look after myself and make sure I stay as fit and healthy as possible which means my already limited social life will have to take even more of a back seat!!


Besides yourself, who else would you like to see tackle the character of Judas?

I'd love to see my old mate Matt Cardle do it, he'd be perfect. Or thinking outside of the box maybe Eva Noblezada... she'd sound amazing. 


What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage?

I have to go through all of my lines for the next scene. I trust my short term memory way more than my long term memory and it puts me at ease just to check the lines are still there! 

Tyrone and the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar
You have a five minute break in rehearsals, what are you doing?

Eating. 


Is there a musical or play you’ve seen recently that you loved? 

I saw Hamlet at the Harold Pinter a few weeks ago with Andrew Scott and Juliet Stevenson. I was completely blown away by everything about the production! 


What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

It's certainly not very fun but it's extremely important to me. I HATE coriander. It's poison!


What’s your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?

Hard work doesn't always pay off but if you put in the work, no one can ever take that away from you and you can always rest in the knowledge that you did everything you could. Be open - every experience, whether negative or positive, is an opportunity to learn.



A huge thank you to Tyrone for taking the time to do this interview. Make sure you book to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre this summer.

Keep up with Tyrone via his twitter

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Friday, 25 February 2022

Millie O’Connell, Danielle Steers and Debbie Kurup to Play Cher in The Cher Show

“All of us invent ourselves.

Some of us just have more imagination than others.”CHER

The producers of the brand new production of The Cher Show are delighted to announce that the role of Cher will be played by Debbie KurupDanielle Steers and Millie O’Connell. The production features the actresses portraying Cher in three different ways throughout her iconic career, with Debbie as ‘Star’, Danielle as ‘Lady’ and Millie as ‘Babe’.  Further casting is to be announced.

 

With book by Tony and Olivier Award-winning Rick Elice (Jersey BoysThe Addams FamilyPeter and the Starcatcher), direction by Arlene Phillips (Saturday Night FeverStarlight ExpressGrease), choreography by Oti Mabuse (two-time Strictly Come Dancing champion) and costume design by Gabriella Slade (SixIn The HeightsSpice World 2019 Tour), the UK & Ireland Tour will open at Leicester’s Curve on 15 April 2022 and will continue through to 1 April 2023.

 

Debbie Kurup’s theatre credits include Bonnie & Clyde (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Queen Tuya in The Prince of Egypt (Dominion), Blues in the Night (Kiln), Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Mrs Neilsen in Girl From The North Country (Old Vic/ Noël Coward), The Threepenny Opera (NT), Anything Goes (Sheffield Crucible/UK Tour), Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi - Olivier Award nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Cambridge/Adelphi), Sister Act (London Palladium), East (Leicester Curve), West Side Story (Prince of Wales), Tonight’s The Night (Victoria Palace), Rent (Prince of Wales/UK Tour), Fame (UK Tour), Guys And Dolls (Sheffield Crucible), Pal Joey (Chichester) and Boogie Nights (Savoy).

 

Danielle Steers’s theatre credits include The Empress in Aladdin (Theatre Royal, Plymouth),  Catherine Parr in Six The Musical (London), Zahara in the original cast of Bat out of Hell: The Musical (Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum, Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto, Dominion Theatre, New York City Centre), Carmen in Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Lead Shirelle in the original London cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre), swing and cover Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi Theatre) and cover Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (International Arena Tour). Her debut album, The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, was released in 2021.

 

Millie O’Connell’s theatre credits include Maureen in Rent (Hope Mill Theatre - WOS Award Nomination), Jeanie in Hair (Turbine Theatre), Chloe Valentine in Be More Chill (Shaftesbury Theatre and The Other Palace), Anne Boleyn in SIXThe Musical (UK Tour and Arts Theatre, London - Olivier Award nominated), Ensemble/cover Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), Ensemble/Understudy Annie in 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Ensemble/Understudy Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (Theatre Du Chatelet).

 

From a young child with big dreams, the shy daughter of an Armenian American truck driver, to the dizzying heights of global stardom, The Cher Show tells the incredible story of Cher’s meteoric rise to fame.  Cher takes the audience by the hand and introduces them to the influential people in her life, from her mother and Sonny Bono, to fashion designer and costumier Bob Mackie.  It shows how she battled the men who underestimated her, fought the conventions and, above all, was a trailblazer for independence.  

 

The musical is packed with 35 of her biggest hits, including ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, ‘I Got You Babe’, ‘Strong Enough’, ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ and ‘Believe’.  

 

With over 100 million record sales, an Academy Award®, an Emmy®, a Grammy®, three Golden Globes® and an award from The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Cher has influenced popular culture more than most.  Her on-screen career started in 1971 with her weekly television show that attracted 30 million viewers a week, and went on to include starring roles in iconic films from Moonstruck, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress, to Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, which prompted the New York Magazine to realise “every single movie—no matter how flawless—would be infinitely better if it included Cher.”  Her ‘Farewell Tour’ became the highest grossing music tour in history – in true Cher fashion, she followed up her ‘Farewell Tour’ with two further sell-out, worldwide arena tours.  She is the only artist in history to have a number one hit in the Billboard chart for six consecutive decades; an achievement that caused Vogue to deem her “eternally relevant and the ruler of outré reinvention”.  She became known as the Queen of Reinvention. 

 

In the 1990s, she established The Cher Charitable Foundation to support causes around the world.  She has been a long-time donor and supporter of Habitat for Humanity, The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Keep A Child Alive, an organisation that helps to combat the AIDs epidemic.  Most recently, she co-founded Free the Wild to help rescue Kaavan the Asian elephant from Islamabad zoo.

 

Written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice, The Cher Show made its debut on Broadway in 2018 in a production that earned two Tony Awards and delighted fans from around the world.  This new production will be the European premiere.

 

The Cher Show UK & Ireland Tour will have set design by Tom Rogers, musical supervision by Rich Morris, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Dan Samson, music production by Gary Hickeson, wigs, hair and make-up design by Sam Cox, associate direction by James Cousins, associate choreography by James Bennett and casting by Will Burton CDG.

 

The Cher Show UK & Ireland Tour is produced by ROYO with Fiery Angel, Cuffe & Taylor/LIVE NATION and Playing Field in association with Tilted, Aria Entertainment and JONES Theatrical Group.

 

Website: www.cheronstage.com

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: @TheCherShowUK


photo credit: Matt Crockett


Friday, 2 July 2021

Wonderful Town, Opera Holland Park | Review


Wonderful Town
Opera Holland Park 
Reviewed on Thursday 1st July 2021 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

As the world returns to a new normal, there aren't many better ways to spend a Thursday evening than enjoying a glorious musical in the beautiful setting of Opera Holland Park. Quick Fantastic have returned to the space to present Wonderful Town, the half-forgotten 30s  musical which brims with exhilarating jazz and witty comedy.

Under Alex Parker's musical direction, Bernstein's score soars around the auditorium and reminds us just how brilliant the older Broadway musicals can be. The comedy on stage is matched perfectly with the music and the whole affair feels as rich and jubilant as can be. The musical  diversity is also a treat to hearr, with an Irish jig, a beatnik scat and some moving ballads, there's really something for everyone.

The book by Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields is basically the story who two sisters from Ohio who arrive in the New York with dreams of taking the town by storm. The source material for the show was taken from autobiographical short stories by Ruth, the sister who longed for a writing career and chronicled her and her sisters' lives in The New Yorker. There are a number of little adventures the duo go on whilst finding their careers (and romances) which make for a highly entertaining and all round wholesome story.

Ruth is played with grit and wit by West End superstar, Louise Dearman, who seems almost made for the role of the sassy, vulnerable, bookish author. Of course Louise is vocally effortless and provides some real highlights, but she also shines in the humourous moments which help make the whole production feel so jubilant.



Balancing Dearman out is the equally brilliant Siubhan Harrison as Eileen, the sister who knows how to get what she wants but in the end is unwaveringly committed to her sister. The double act are a dream to watch and have the audience wrapped around their little fingers, especially during their smooth as butter rendition of Ohio.

The male love interests are performed by Ako Mitchell who is vocally divine and very authentic as magazine editor Bob; Roger Dipper who is utterly wonderful and so humourous as the bumbling Walgreens worker Frank Lippencott; and Alex Lodge who is suitably sleazy as newspaper hack Chick Clark.

Billy Nevers is the washed up football player The Wreck, and Emma Harrold is his secret fiancé, Helen. Both do a great job of padding out their characters as well as providing super strong vocals and some light-hearted comedic moments.

The rest of the cast made up of: Jade Albertsen, Robson Broad, Ashley Daniels, Tamsin Dowsett, Gregory Haney, Jas[er Kajd and Natasha Leaver are super sleek throughout whilst bringing the vibes of 30s New York to life. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille's choreography is superb and a joy to watch.

From a conga to an incarceration there's a lot to enjoy and laugh at, and the cast do an outstanding job of making a semi-staged production feel full. Overall it's a wonderful night at Wonderful Town.

Photos by Danny Kaan

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Raunch, Spiegeltent | Review

Going into something with no idea what its about is both exhilarating and slightly terrifying. Whilst I wouldn't say I was terrified of what to expect when seeing The Raunch, I was slightly worried. I had absolutely no clue what the show was about except that it involved circus tricks and was sure to provide a  toe-tapping, exciting night. 

The Raunch is a show starring the Most Wanted of the international cabaret and circus scene and featuring a toe tapping, disco-hoedown soundtrack. 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lizzie, Greenwich Theatre | Review


Lizzie
Greenwich Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 24th February 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

I've been finding it very hard to write this review because I honestly don't know what I thought of Lizzie. There were parts I loved and parts I didn't but overall I was kind of confused. 

I suppose that could be seen as a good thing though. The show seems to get more disjointed as Lizzie's own mind gets more confused and crazy so it seems natural that after a well told story I, as an audience member, should leave feeling affected by the characters. So maybe confusion is a good thing?

Funny story, when I first saw this advertised quite a few months ago, I thought it was my wildest dreams coming true with Lizzie, meaning Lizzie McGuire... I was very wrong! The aforementioned Lizzie is in fact Elizabeth Andrew Borden who allegedly killed her father and stepmother with an axe in 1892. Whilst it's not the obvious choice of storyline, it works well with the rock music and insane lighting. 

The show has recently finished a run in Denmark and has now made the transition to the Greenwich Theatre in London where it feels more like an arena concert than a stage show. There are minimal props so we are really able to focus on the story and impeccable voices of the four leads. The show opens with an eerie music-box tune which sets the dark, suspense filled show up perfectly. The powerhouse vocals are out of this world, with the ladies belting higher and higher with perfect technique throughout. The lyrics by Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Tim Maner are cleverly tweaked and shaped depending on what's happening in the scene or in Lizzie's mind.

The cast are sublime with each woman holding her own and commanding the space. Bjorg Gamst as Lizzie Borden is impeccable, switching from innocence and sweetness to sheer and utter madness. Her eyes portray a thousand emotions and every movement she makes shows her transition to the manic killer who is truly revealed in act 2. Her sister, played by musical theatre royalty, Eden Espinosa, really comes into her own in act 2 and shows off her superb voice wonderfully. I previously saw Jodie Jacobs in 27: The Musical and was blown away by her killer voice. As Bridget Sullivan she gets to show off that voice again but also provides humour in this otherwise dark drama, often indirectly telling Lizzie to kill her parents in witty ways. Although it is unclear what her motivation for this is, she does it very well. Alice Russell, Lizzie's friend is played greatly by Bleu Woodward who again has a stunning voice and works very well with the other ladies. Her performance is tasteful and delicate and often provides a nice contrast to the loud, rage filled numbers in the show.

The lighting fit well with the erratic feeling but I felt at points it was too much with the lights and smoke covering up a lack of plot and coherence. My opinion is that with some developments and tweaks this could be a wonderful production. The cast are there, the songs are there and the basic ideas are there but it need to be refined to make it really flow. Again, the roughness does fit with with the story but to me it felt more like a piece of performance art than a show to come and just sit in your seat watching. If it's going to be performed like this then it would be good to somehow incorporate more audience interation, like at a rock concert.

However, Lizzie is a fun show and its wonderful to see a performance led solely by women. With a few tweaks this could be something incredible. I would still go and see it if you can because I guarantee it'll be like nothing you've ever seen before, and the vocals will blow you away!

Lizzie runs at the Greenwich theatre until March 12th 2017

photo credit: Soren Malmose

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

A Little Princess, Southbank Centre | Review


A Little Princess
Southbank Centre 
Reviewed on Monday 28th May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

After the recent success in the UK of Big Fish and The Addams Family, Andrew Lippa's lesser-known show A Little Princess was brought to the west end for it's UK Premiere at the Southbank Centre. Telling the story of Sara Crewe, a girl sent from Africa to a boarding school in London where she meets mean girls and a strict headmistress, this is a sweet story, with melodically beautiful songs and a heartwarming moral. 

As Miss Minchin, the headmistress who's a melange of Miss Trunchbull, Mrs Lovett, Mdme. Thenadier and others, Amanda Abbington was good. In her musical theatre debut she did well to convey the tiredness of the character but lacked menace. Vocally she was a little lacking and tended to speak-sing but still gave a pretty solid performance and I look forward to seeing her tackle future theatrical roles.

Danny Mac was dashing as ever as Captain Crewe, with wonderful vocals alongside a sweet connection with the children of the cast. The pacing of the show itself is funny and means that all the characters are a little under-developed. We got to see a lot of Captain Crewe at the start but as the show went on (especially in Act 2) everything felt rushed. With some rewrites this could be a lovely show and it would be great to see Danny having a bit more time to shine. Mention must go to his stellar performance in the pattersong-esque, Timbuktu.

Equally deserving of more time to shine was the stunning Rebecca Trehearn who always manages to steal her scenes. As Miss Amelia, the ditsy sister of Miss Minchin, Rebecca gave a wonderfully humourous performance and shone in her solo, Once Upon a Time.

Alexia Khadime and Adam J Bernard as Aljana and Pasko gave vocally stunning performances despite being a little overpowered by the orchestra at times. 

This was the first production which had actual children playing the children and it was them who stole the show. All the young cast did a great job of owning their roles, with Jasmine Nituan giving a heartfelt, funny performance as Sara's best friend and maid, Becky.

Jasmine Sakyiama is truly a star in the making. Her performance as Sara Crewe was 100 miles a minute from the start with her vocals and emotive facial expressions never failing. Of all the children, Jasmine also had the strongest diction which made her stand out even further. Keep an eye on this girl because she's going to go far!

Nic Farman's lighting added a mystical, magical vibe to the story which was lovely and took the show from a simple concert to an emotive production.

Despite enjoying this production, it does need some edits. I'm no one to say what these edits should be, but Act 2 felt extremely rushed and there were a number of moments that felt unnecessary/over-extended. However, the cast were great and I hope this isn't the last we see of this sweet show in the UK.