Wednesday 8 March 2023

Five Reasons to see Heathers the Musical on Tour

Since making its London debut in 2018, Heathers the Musical has gained a massive cult following and has gone on to do a number of London runs and touring productions. This current version takes the iconic show around the UK and features a fantastic cast who absolutely nail the roles. If you're still debating whether you should catch the show on tour, here are five reasons why we think you should...

The Soundtrack is Super Catchy
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s book, music and lyrics have so many witty moments where you'll be laughing out loud and there are also some genuinely touching moments. The music is engaging and camp with so much 80s realness woven throughout. If you're remotely stagey, you've probably heard some of the songs, most likely Candy Store which is a definite stand out of the show. Aside from the humourous songs there are some very heartfelt moments like Kindergarten Boyfriend, a beautiful soliloquy performed by Martha aka Kingsley Morton, and some definite earworms such as Seventeen and Shine a Light.

The Cast are SO Talented
This touring cast are one of the strongest I've seen in Heathers with a number of standout performances and some great ensemble work. As Veronica Sawyer, Jenna Innes gives a really well developed performance and feels vocally strong throughout. Her chemistry with the brooding serial killer JD (Jacob Fowler) is pretty strong and the duo really shine in their moments together, especially when the drama really gets going. The Heathers themselves bring all the farce and sass you'd expect. Elise Zavou is enjoyable as Duke, Verity Thompson is hilarious and vocally dreamy as Chandler and Billie Bowman really highlights the reluctance of McNamara to go along with her 'friends' and gives a surprisingly nuanced and emotive performance, not always seen in Heathers.

The Production Value is Really Strong
This is a show which transfers so effectively to touring, David Shields' 80s design is bright and engaging whilst Ben Cracknell's lighting is super effective, especially when highlighting the cast in their signature colours. The fairly simple set is elevated by a number of special effects and costume quick changes, all of which really feel at home on a touring stage. The slow mo fight scene and clever sound effects (Dan Samson) for the croquet game work really well too, and the ensemble do so much to really embellish all the scenes, with individual characteristics and storylines shining through and adding a lot of interest.

It's Melodrama at its Finest
Whilst Heathers touches on some really sensitive topics, it does so in a way that is hilariously over the top. It's camp and angsty at the same time. With deep moments suddenly balanced with a gag; the more times I see this show, the more effective I think it is. Kurt Kelly (Alex Woodward) and Ram Sweeney (Morgan Jackson) are peak hilarity in their portrayals and really lean into the teen humour of the piece. The whole shebang, with the ott choreography and character entrances make the whole thing so dramatic you cant help but enjoy it. Once you get over the slight cringe of it all, it's a really fun night out!

The Audience Atmosphere Needs to be Experienced
Heathers is an absolute crowd pleaser that has made and retained so many fans over its time and the way these fans love and support the show is truly lovely to experience. Cheering and whooping as if their family members are on stage, the audience appreciation is so real and makes for a really warm feeling theatrical experience.

Heathers The Musical plays at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking until 11th March 2023 and then continues its tour

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Tuesday 7 March 2023

The Bodyguard the Musical (Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

The Bodyguard the Musical (Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre

Literally opening with a bang, The Bodyguard the Musical takes you on an exciting and exhilarating journey of glorious music and a sweet romance, which will have you engaged throughout.

Based on the 1992 movie of the same name, the show tells the story of a Secret Service bodyguard hired to protect a world famous singer/actress from a threatening stalker. When released the movie became one of the highest grossing of all time and this stage adaptation includes all the memorable moments as well as retaining the original 90s vibes which so many love.

The leading role of Rachel Marron was made famous by Whitney Houston and is a huge role to fill. Taking the cup and stepping into the glitzy boots for this production is Melody Thornton of The Pussycat Dolls. Melody absolutely nails the role and provides some killer vocals throughout, really coming into her own and becoming the star in act two. Thornton performs the iconic songs incredibly well, keeping close enough to the originals that the audience are satisfied but also putting her own small twist on them. 

As her love interest and bodyguard Frank Farmer, Ayden Callaghan is an imposing but charming character, easily gaining empathy from the audience through his serious and stern but sensitive portrayal. The chemistry between the pair is pretty strong with some touching moments, especially when the drama really amps up. They're sure to become even more comfortable with each other throughout the tour!

A stand out performance comes from Emily-Mae as Rachel's sister, Nicki. Not only does she portray her unrequited love and upset at constantly being overshadowed extremely well. But her vocal moments are some of the most memorable in the show.

Reneo Kusi-Appauh is equally delightful as Rachel's son Fletcher, especially during act two and the bows when he shows off some killer vocals. Definitely a performer to keep an eye on!

The second act is where things really get going, including the audience getting to see more of the ensemble who are absolutely fantastic. They don't get a massive amount of stage time but when they do, they are outstanding; full of energy they really elevate the show.

The set and costume design by Tim Hatley fit the vibe of the musical well and for a touring production are very effective but at times the space does feel underused and there could certainly be some more wow factor added throughout.

The overly dramatic sound effects and scene transformations are very telenovela/soap opera-esque and the intense thriller aspect doesn't quite transfer, but mostly the show is effective and is a faithful screen to stage adaptation.

The story is well paced and you can't help but revel in the brilliance of Whitney Houston's music from start to finish. The Bodyguard is a well performed show that works well on tour. Run To You-r closest touring venue to see this sparkling production for yourself.

Reviewed on Monday 6th March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Paul Coltas

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

The Great British Bake Off Musical, Noel Coward Theatre | Review

The Great British Bake Off Musical
Noel Coward Theatre

A British institution, Bake Off may not seem like the most likely source for a musical but thankfully, it's musical adaptation works incredibly well and is an easily digestible, heart-warming show and a love letter to the series so many love.

Surprisingly sincere, the musical with book and lyrics by Jake Brunger and music and lyrics by Pippa Cleary is legitimately earnest in its portrayal of the characters and their stories but also includes excellent humour and always manages to stay on the right side of being a parody or caricature of itself. Moments that could be overplayed are often reigned in and you're always laughing with the show rather than at it. That's not to say there aren't some cringe moments and the odd line that doesn't quite hit correctly but none of them take away from the pure joy and sweetness of this musical and it really is a delight of a show.

Pacing wise, it's pretty perfect. It never feels like it drags and really you could do with a second helping of the brilliance on stage because it's just so lovely. It's quite surprisingly just how well everything works. From colour coded bowl choreography (Georgina Lamb) to the incredibly effective set by Alice Power there's not much to fault. Of course you could nitpick, but for the sheer sentimentality and wholesomeness, this musical is a showstopper.

The cast are incredibly strong and there's so much connection between them that shines on stage. As the presenters Zoe Birkett (Kim) and Scott Paige (Jim) are wondrously witty and have excellent chemistry, as if they've been genuine presenters for years. Taking on the job of the judges, Haydn Gwynne and John Owen-Jones are dynamic and somehow retain their individuality whilst bringing the iconic double act to life (in the show Prue Leith becomes Pam Lee and Phil Hollywood becomes Phil Hollinghurst). All of the contestants have stand out moments and are so solid in their portrayals. Charlotte Wakefield especially has some touching scenes and provides some of the top vocals of the show. Grace Mouat's character is also incredibly engaging and is a great contrast to the rest of the bakers. Michael Cahill, Claire Moore, Damian Humbley, Aharon Rayner, Jay Saighal, Aanya Shah and Cat Sandison all bring such humanity to their roles and are so wonderful to watch.

Every aspect of Bake Off makes the cut to the musical, from the challenges to the general structure and joke format. Like the tv show, there are innuendos galore and more baking puns than you could fit in the oven, but above that, it really encapsulates the warmth and community feeling that The Great British Bake Off provides. The contestants each get a bit of development and there's even a romance and some social commentary; all elements feel well thought out and it's really just a well structured, well oiled (greased?) musical. You couldn't really ask for a more genuinely touching show. It truly has all the ingredients to be a hit and is so worth seeing!

Reviewed on Friday 3rd March 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Manuel Harlan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Monday 6 March 2023

London Theatre Week Extends! | ad

If you haven't snapped up a stagey bargain yet, what are you waiting for?! The good news is that you've got a bit of extra time because London Theatre Week has been extended. You've now got until 12th March to book your favourite show. It's the perfect time to treat yourself or someone you know to a show.

There's so much on offer, but our favourites would include:
Back To The Future
Bonnie and Clyde

London Box Office aim to include all West End shows as well as off-West End and fringe theatre so there's certain to be something for you!

The shows available include: 
Back to the Future: The Musical, Wicked, Disney's The Lion King, Disney's Frozen the Musical, TINA - The Tina Turner Musical, Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman: The Musical, Newsies, OKLAHOMA!, Mamma Mia!, Crazy For You, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Mousetrap, Matilda the Musical, Grease The Musical, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Book of Mormon, The Great British Bake Off, Groundhog Day, Peaky Blinders: The Rise, Only Fools and Horses The Musical, Sylvia, Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You, Bat Out of Hell, Witness for the Prosecution, The SpongeBob Musical, George Takei's Allegiance, The Choir of Man, Bonnie & Clyde, Heathers The Musical, Cinderella in-the-round, 42nd Street, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs - English National Opera, The Dead City - English National Opera, The Rocky Horror Show, The Walworth Farce, Windfall, Titus Andronicus, Brilliant Jerks and more...

Let us know what you decide to see!