Showing posts sorted by relevance for query victoria hamilton barritt. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query victoria hamilton barritt. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Murder Ballad, Arts Theatre | Review


Murder Ballad
The Arts Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 5th October 2016 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

Press nights are always exciting but the atmosphere on this particular one was more electric than normal. If you're at all in the loop with the theatre community you must have heard about Murder Ballad! It seems to have been everywhere and since little snippets were released and previews began I'd only heard good things so I was super excited to finally see the show myself. 

I'm one to encourage going into shows blind and this definitely one production to go into without looking up a synopsis. It's absolutely a show that you'll benefit from seeing with no preconceptions of the plot. All you need to know is that it follows three characters in a love triangle and a narrator who all merge into each others lives. Oh, and someone ends up dead! Intriguing right?!

The story is accompanied by a rock score which works well to give the story a sort of grounded realism. It really helps in the moments of anger and tension to build and crash and bring out every emotion on stage. This is a raw and gripping 90 minute fully-sung-through rock musical with love, darkness and death.

The cast of Murder Ballad are stellar and all give the outstanding performances you'd expect from these veterans of the stage. Kerry Ellis is a regular star of the West End and her portrayal of Sara really shows why. Her voice effortlessly glides into all the notes of this rock score. Her unique growl and rasp add a depth to the character and help to emphasise the emotions Sara feels, especially in the opening argument scene. The audience see the development of Sara's personality throughout and Kerry manages to capture all the little changes perfectly with an ease and innovativeness only seen in true stars. Her chemistry with Ramin Karimloo fills the whole room and they create a dark and believable pairing.

photo by Mark Brenner

I have been a huge fan of Victoria Hamilton-Barritt for a long while now so was super excited to see her take on the deep, dark role of the narrator. Victoria's voice is on another level in this production; her sultry, beautiful tone completely fit the mysterious narrator. Not only is Victoria's voice insane but her facial expressions told a whole story of their own. No spoken or sung words were needed for Victoria to convey exactly what she was feeling, her little knowing glances into the audience conveyed 1000 words; its truly a joy to see how this lady owns the stage at all times!

Now onto the men... Ramin Karimloo is a favourite of the West End and Broadway alike with a number of huge roles under his belt. Most of his famous roles such as the Phantom and Valjean are more operatic, typical musical theatre roles so it was refreshing to see him showcase the rocky, raspy side of his voice as the dark and handsome Tom. As with Sara, we get to see a lot of character development with Tom, he goes from a young-lovesick boy to a possessive man in a short space of time and Ramin carries this transformation out with dexterity and all the nuances of the in-depth character are very clear.

Norman Bowman for me has one of the most underrated voices on the West End. He's starred in a number of shows but I personally don't hear enough about him. His voice blew me away whilst he played the role of the agreeable Michael and left me with chills at points. His character is less in depth that Ellis' and Karimloo's but he still achieves a well performed character arc.

Richard Kent's set design is innovative and adds a dimension to the show, making it exciting to watch and making you feel somewhat part of the action. The revolve cleverly highlights key moments and adds a nice flow to the show. The lighting is also very clever; from the single lightbulb on stage to the green and orange tinted lights later on; David Plater's design backs up the transitions of all the characters and heightens the tensions at the crucial points.

photo by Mark Brenner

Sam Yates' direction has created a truly wonderful piece of contemporary theatre. Although I found the show to drag a little at the beginning, it soon picked up pace and I could physically feel my heart beating at points. The fantastic cast give faultless, lifelike performances which are so refreshing to see in these days of more fantastical productions. I truly enjoyed this show and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. Its a unique, lively and deadly production which ticks all the boxes for an enjoyable night out! The realistic storyline and killer soundtrack are a deadly combination, leaving you on the edge of your seat, anticipating whats to come until the very last moment in this arresting production. 

Check out Rewrite This Story's interviews with Kerry Ellis here and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt here

Murder Ballad is running at the Arts Theatre until December 3rd

Friday, 23 September 2016

In Conversation with... Victoria Hamilton-Barritt | Murder Ballad | Interview



Rewrite This Story recently caught up with the wonderfully talented Victoria Hamilton-Barritt whos had a fabulous career from Gypsy and Saturday Night Fever to In The Heights most recently. Victoria told us all about her upcoming musical Murder Ballad, her career so far and her advice for aspiring performers...

You've had a fantastic career that many performers would dream of. What have your highlights been?
Paul Kerryson cast me in Gypsy at Curve Theatre playing Louise/Gypsy and I had an absolute ball in that role. Finally I was playing a role that had so many layers with an epic journey. Paul gave me the greatest opportunity with that show and I absorbed every drop of that incredible production. Another highlight close to my heart is creating the role of Daniela for the London run of In The Heights, Southwark Playhouse and Kings Cross Theatre. I had the best time in that role and changing it up a for a London audience. 


Was being a performer what you always dreamt of or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?
I worked in London Zoo when I was younger and was told if I stayed on I would one day be made a zoo keeper. I absolutely love wildlife so I know that's where I would have ended up otherwise.


You went from A Chorus Line to In The Heights, both of which received amazing audience reactions. How was it to be a part of that? Both shows must have felt like a true family!
I've never felt family in a show to the degree of what In The Heights delivered. What a special place. We all shared an obsession for the show which was heartbreaking when I left.

A Chorus Line was tricky because there were no interval and we were on stage for a solid 3 hours. The cast were so lovely but because of this obstacle we never fully got to know each other in that 8 month period. Talented writing in the sense where it's an audition and keeping distance. Clever.


Both Diana and Daniela are kickass characters; how do you bring so much sass on stage? Do you have any diva inspirations?
I was always Inspired by Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. Ruby Wax and all women who make you laugh whether it be with an aggressive undertone or just damn right silly.


So last time you were performing you were heavily pregnant (how did you manage to still dance in heels!?) Since then you’ve had a beautiful baby (congratulations!) Has this changed the way you approach material?
Thank you! She is gorgeous and has made my life. I would have had a harder pregnancy had I not been in a show. It's better to just get on with things and do what makes you happy. Pregnancy was tough for me as I got so big where I looked full term at 4 months so come 8 months I looked like I was going to pop which caused discomfort for audience members who new I was pregnant for real. People really didn't believe I was pregnant though, where there were a lot of gasping at stage door. Some critics thought it a character choice... honestly.


You’ve gone from the Palladium to the Southwark Playhouse to the Kings Cross Theatre and now you’re going to perform at the Arts Theatre.  These venues couldn’t be more different. Do you prefer the bigger theatres or the more intimate settings? 
I love intimate spaces where you can see every expression and subtle choice. Small venues grant that, which always makes the connection with the audience more connected.


Can you explain a little about Murder Ballad and how your character fits into it?
I'm the narrator of the show which shares a story of a love triangle which gets complicated and things go wrong. Very wrong. That's all I will say for now. 😉


Can you describe it in 5 words?
love, lust, betrayal, sexy, oops.


Your talent and career make you an inspiration for many people hoping to get into musical theatre, whats your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?
Work hard but don't take yourself too seriously. If it doesn't make you happy find the right time to stop. If you'd like to pick it up again do so when it feels right for you. You're enough and they're lucky to have you in their room.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell,  Editor


Read an interview with Victoria's Murder Ballad co-star Kerry Ellis

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Flashdance (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Flashdance (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 19th February 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

If you want some ab-inspiration then Flashdance is the show for you. I saw the show in Wimbledon back in October and wasn't the biggest fan, however, knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone seems a lot more settled into their roles and there was much more of a flow throughout. 

Flashdance centres around the story of Alex, a welder who dreams of being a dancer and attending the distinguished Shipley Academy. On her journey she meets a dapper love interest who also happens to be the boss' son. Aside from this there are some other side plots such as Jimmy who wants to make it big as a comedian, his girlfriend Gloria being pulled into a seedy drug filled world at a rival club and the imminent job cuts for all the apprentices. With regards to these I feel the same as previously that they're not really explored enough to be of that much importance but I totally get that they have to be in there to pad out the show.

But Flashdance is all about the classic, big money numbers which are delivered with spades of energy and commitment. Hits such as 'Gloria', 'What A Feeling' and 'Manic' are instantly recognisable and work brilliantly to hype the audience up and draw them into the Flashdance world.


A lot of the other songs are a little unmemorable but they vigour they are performed with makes up for it. Joanne Clifton is exceptional as Alex. From Strictly fame she's of course known for her dance but seeing her on stage performing Matt Cole's choreography is extra special. She's magnetic and draws you in even when performing a group number. Her vocals are strong although at times I found her diction lacking but she is certainly cut out for the role and I can see why she has abs of steel from being that full out every night! As her rich-boy boyfriend, Ben Adams is equally as strong. Whilst his pop vocals are not commonplace in the musical theatre world, they are strong and fit with the character. The pair have a lovely chemistry and really draw you into the story.

I have to mention Colin Kiyani as Jimmy who again gave me Ben Platt vibrato vibes and Hollie-Ann Lowe who was versatile and vulnerable as his girlfriend, Gloria. Again, the two have a sweet chemistry. Sasha Latoya is vocally breathtaking and equally humourous whilst Sia Dauda and Demmileigh Foster (who is literally Victoria Hamilton-Barritt reincarnated) were full out in their high octane numbers as Kiki and Tess.


There were a few technical issues such as mics being too quiet and the irony wasn't missed when one of the girls' top wouldn't stay done up when singing about keeping her clothes on! Totally no ones fault though and a very small detail in a big production. I'm also not a big fan of megamixes at the end of shows but there's no denying that it got everyone up on their feet and in a good mood as they left the theatre. 

Flashdance isn't the most astounding piece of theatre but it's high energy from start to finish with some memorable songs that'll definitely get stuck in your head. For a fun night out that'll leave you smiling and in my case, dancing round the house, then be sure to pay a visit to this 80s classic on stage.

Flashdance runs at the New Victoria Theatre until February 24th before continuing it's UK Tour.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

In The Heights, King's Cross Theatre | Review


From the moment I stepped into the King's Cross theatre and was transported from the busyness of London rush hour to a bustling Subway station in New York, I knew this show was going to be something special. I'd heard the buzz since previews began and with all the hype around Hamilton I was expecting great things from the brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and oh boy, I was not let down at all!

In The Heights is set over the course of 3 days and centres on a small community living in Washington Heights in the Northern tip of Manhattan- a place where the doors are always open, the music is always flowing and theres always gossip to be heard. The community is full of the hopes and dreams of those trying to build a better life whilst keeping their traditions with them. In The Heights won four Tony awards in 2008, a Grammy Award and was also nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Miranda's mix of typical musical theatre melodies with a rap score perfectly creates an energy and story that you can't help but fall in love with. Combined with Drew McOnie's athletic, racy and hip-swivelling choreography the show has an urban salsa vibe which totally complements the West Side Story-esque plotline.

Each musical number is delivered impeccably by the stellar company and superb band. Sam MacKay's Usnavi tells the struggles of wanting to leave but needing to keeps his roots exquisitely; whilst Joe Aaron Reid's Benny combines both comedic and emotional scenes in a seemingly flawless way whilst interacting perfectly with the other characters namely Kevin (played by David Bedella) and Nina (played by Lily Frazer) both of whom's killer acting and vocals make every scene pop and flow. Jade Ewen's incredible belting skills are shown off in her portrayal of Vanessa and a special mention must go to Victoria Hamilton-Barritt who despite being heavily pregnant still manages to dance and sing like crazy! The whole company are harmonious and truly feel like the community they are portraying.

Luke Sheppard's production creates the perfect night out with an electrifying energy that will leave you wanting to salsa your way to the box office to book another night in Washington Heights.

***** 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The View Upstairs, Soho Theatre | Review


The View Upstairs 
Soho Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd July by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Whilst victories in the LGBTQ+ community are rising, and social attitudes and actions are, for the most part, much more positive, there's still much to fight for, as Max Vernon's musical highlights.

In its European premiere at the Soho Theatre, The View Upstairs cleverly creates a conversation between the past and present by visiting the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar which was the subject of an arson attack in 1973 which killed 32 people. The tragic story is one which has often been wiped out from history and was even minimised by news outlets at the time, so it's an honour to see it brought to life so thoughtfully. 

The story follows Wes, the 2019 "influencer" and fashion designer who is buying the dilapidated bar in the modern day. His estate agent leaves, and in a somewhat mystical, drug-filled flurry of curtains, he is transported back to the bar as it was on the day of the fire. Who we are then introduced to are the various people, decked out in bell bottoms, who find solace and friendship in the safe space the UpStairs provides. Wes' eyes are gradually opened to he struggles of being gay in the 70s and he questions how he leads his life in the modern day. 

Wes is a smartphone-addicted go-getter who often veers into a caricature of a Gen Y person, but is  still intensely entertaining and relatable. As a whole the book features a lot of stereotypes which are not always believable enough, but there are hilarious one-liners throughout, as well as many thought-provoking moments. 


What the script lacks is made up for in spades by the utterly phenomenal cast. Tyrone Huntley is effervescent in his performance and provides vocals which need to be heard; Huntley also manages to create a fantastic balance between impudence and vulnerability, which really makes the audience root for him. The chemistry between the entire cast is second to none, with Wes and Patrick (Andy Mientus) providing especially well thought out interactions. Mientus draws the eye thanks to his incredibly subtle but highly calculated movements which make him seem as though he isn't acting at all.

The uniformly thrilling cast bring vocals that will cause involuntary whoops and goosebumps in equal measure. Among a team of stars, Carly Mercedes Dyer and Cedric Neal stand out because of their powerhouse voices which ring out with sincerity as well as power. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is magnetic as the caring, religious mother Inez; whilst Garry Lee provides vocals and sass and her drag queen son Freddy. John Partridge and Declan Bennett are well rounded and striking in their performances and Joseph Prouse and Derek Hagen give memorable, if brief performances. This is a fantastic ensemble piece which has momentum and catchy tunes, but more importantly, heart.

Fabian Aloise and Ruthie Stevens's choreography is slick and feels part of the characters own movements. Lee Newby's set is basic but evocative as is Nic Farman's lighting which expertly matches the moods of the show, although at times felt just a bit too dark.

Jonathan O'Boyle has directed a moving production which feels like an homage to those fighting for gay rights in the past, those fighting now and those who are yet to realise they need to fight. 

photo credit: Darren Bell

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Wild Party, The Other Palace | Review


The Wild Party
 The Other Palace
 Reviewed on Tuesday 21st February 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
 ★★★★

Having only been familiar with the Lippa version of The Wild Party, I was not really sure what I was getting myself into with this one. I was ready for a crazy, wild, dramatic experience and that's certainly what I got!

The Other Palace, formerly the St James Theatre has certainly chosen the right piece to mark it's relaunch. This wild, wild party is sure to make anyone want to return! The Wild Party is based on Joseph Moncure March's racy 1928 poem and is so energetic and frenzied from the start that you can't help but love it and be drawn into the raving, crazy world LaChiusa has created.

 The show tells the story of Queenie, a Broadway wannabe who's instead become a pained woman with a huge hole in her life, and her comic lover, Burrs, who throw a berserk party to escape from the boredom of their everyday life. We meet their friends and enemies who each have a story to tell and get way too mixed up in the ever-growing craziness of the wild, wild party.

Frances Ruffelle is completely and utterly brilliant as Queenie. With rawness and vulnerability mixed in with sex and vivaciousness creating a fantastic, larger than life character. It's truly an honour seeing this legend of the stage perform.  Frances works alongside another legend: John Owen-Jones who shines and really shows off his incredible voice as the dark, scary Burrs.

 For me, it's Victoria Hamilton-Barritt who steals the show as Queenie's frenemy, Kate. Her sultry, soaring voice is stunning and so unique that she just steals every moment she's in. Not only that, but she never stops acting, every facial expression and movement is well thought out and perfect for her character- she's truly a star.


Ako Mitchell and Lizzy Connolly as Eddie and Mae are wonderful. Having recently seen them both in other shows, Ragtime and Vanities respectively, I knew their voices and performances would be special but they completely blew me away and were incredible.


 Other stand outs were Dex Lee  as Jackie and Melanie Bright as Sally. Dex's voice is stunning and he soars over every note so easily and his performance as the slimy character is fantastic to see. Melanie's beautiful soprano voice rings out and she creates magical moments on stage. Finally, Gloria Obiango and Genesis Lynea are outstanding as the brothers, seeming almost like a 20s Greek chorus! Their synchronicity is flawless and they're just great.

Drew McOnie's choreography and Richard Howell's lighting create the sinful, frenzied, drunken, 20s  mood perfectly and create something so magical that you can't bear to tear your eyes away! 

Overall this is a truly glistening production and if you want a raunchy, sexy, debaucherous night that is still full of glitz and glamour then this is the show for you!