I have a number of traditions at Christmas which make the season special. These include putting a green man bought at Canterbury Cathedral on the top of the Christmas tree while listening to Michael Buble, watching Muppet Christmas Carol, and cooking enough red onion chutney to feed an army.
Another essential is pantomime, but not just any old pantomime. Canterbury Marlowe’s panto is, for me, one of the great joys of the Christmas season and despite moving away from the city, there was no way I was going to miss it. I can categorically say that I was right to make the trip as it, once again, was absolutely brilliant.
Everyone knows the The Bodyguard – the 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Cosner about the Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect Rachel Marron from a stalker. As this is a romantic thriller, the inevitable happens and they fall in love.
I was expecting a lot from Alexander Burke and she did not disappoint. I know she has a fabulous voice and she has also shown her acting prowess recently in Sister Act and Chicago and she certainly delivered. Her voice was raspy and smooth to a point I was concerned that she may not hit the notes, but it was all part of the plan; she belted every number perfectly even when adding in energetic dance moves.
Benoît Maréchal takes on the role of Frank Farmer. Marécha has previously been in the French production and, while he has good chemistry with Burke and the rest of the cast, the American accent slipped regularly, giving a slight “Arnie” twang which was at times a bit distracting.
Micha Richardson as Nikki Marron, Rachel’s jealous sister also had the chance to show off some stunning vocals. Aside from Burke’ and Richardson’s impressive voices, the person that stole the show Rachel’s 10-year-old son Fletcher played by Caelan Edie, who was truly brilliant in the role. He has oodles of confidence and dances along with the cast like a pro. He is one of six playing the role during the tour.
#Tweetingit – 2** a troubling storyline which should be updated for a modern audience and choreography that could be far more impressive particularly since the cast doesn’t sing. 5***** for the “Bee Gees” performing the classic songs. Full review to follow.
Saturday Night Fever is possibly the first of the Jukebox musicals; a show jam-packed with Bee Gees hits coupled with a dark and gritty story.
For those who haven’t seen the film, it stars John Travolta as Tony Manero, a working-class young man who spends his weekends dancing and drinking at a local Brooklyn disco. While there, Tony is the champion dancer. His circle of friends, weekend dancing and the fact he is adored by the ladies, help him to cope with the harsh realities of his life: a dead-end job, clashes with his unsupportive and squabbling parents and racial tensions in the local community. Meanwhile, everyone around him are battling with problems of their own. Stephanie, his dance partner, trying to fit into the big city, Annette, his previous dance partner and would be girlfriend, dealing with rejection, and all his male buddies coping with what it means to grow up.
Ok, so let’s begin with clearing something up straight away; THIS IS NOT A MUSICAL. I have seen it before and was aware it wasn’t a musical but I did hear a few people at the interval saying that they were upset/confused/disappointed that it wasn’t a traditional musical with the cast singing, and rather it is a play with a soundtrack. To be perfectly honest, the idea of this show being a musical doesn’t really do it for me and so I am far happier that it isn’t a musical, but I just wanted to clear that up from the start.
Now, on to the show itself. Based on the smash hit film starring Robert Carlisle, this cult film was adapted by Simon Beaufoy into a heartwarming, funny and very revealing stage show about a group of guys left unemployed, depressed and desperate after losing their jobs. Unsure how they will manage to get by, support their children, or keep up with the Joneses, what else is there to do after 6 months of unemployment than, for one night only, “waggle your willy” on stage to make a few bob? Once this idea is cemented in their minds, the task of gathering together a suitable selection of men, learning to dance, and selling out tickets are all just small obstacles which they need to overcome.
I had one or two concerns entering the theatre on this September night. No, not a single one about what I knew to be a fabulous musical (having seen it once before) but more that I had been bigging it up to the rest of the press crew for months and I was worried that either I had gone overboard and it wasn’t as sad as I remember, or that I had spoilt it in advance, that perhaps by saying how much I had sobbed and how amazing it is, no one would cry, and at the interval I would be ribbed one way or another. Despite these concerns, I did some further warnings to those I knew to be of a more sensitive nature, telling them that they would need a tissue or 20. Big, strong men that they are, they brushed off my comments. Sure enough within 3 songs I was in (uncontrollable) tears and those big strong men – no names mentioned, they know who they are – were wiping away more than a handful of tears by the time the interval came around
And so now, dear reader, I am telling you too – Calendar Girls the musical is a show not to be missed but one which you will need an entire box of tissues to get you through. Heed my warning!
Now, before I begin, this is the time I need to tell you, I have never seen Officer and a Gentleman the film. I know, I don’t know how this has happened either, so if you want to choose right now to stop reading and disregard everything I have to say, I will understand.
But if you are still here, I can tell you that, in my film ignorant opinion, An Officer and a Gentleman the musical is most definitely worth going to see. It is, however, possible that those who have seen the film 100 times and love it, may not be able to get behind a stage musical version of it, just as I struggled with the stage version of Dirty Dancing. Sadly I don’t know anyone who has seen both stage and screen versions of Officer so I cannot judge. I might watch the film soon and compare them and report in.
I, however, LOVED this show. Spot on vocals from the entire cast, a very impressive set, a feel-good 80s soundtrack and a timeless love story make this a great night out.
This show is a great example of how subjective productions are, and therefore, how interesting reviewing is. I had a reviewer see Shrek at Norwich. I also bought tickets for my mum and her partner. My reviewer gave it 4 stars (4*shrek-review) and my mum loved it. My partner and I, however, had a slightly different experience and view of it, and that is what you will read here.
David Walliams’ Awful Auntie is the story of unfortunate Lady Stella Saxby (Georgina Leonidas) and the unravelling of her mean Aunt Alberta (Timothy Speyer).
Recently orphaned Stella is left to be ‘cared’ for by her Aunt Alberta when her parents meet their untimely death. Inspired by Roald Dahl, Walliams has written a murder mystery for children and due to a superb set and great acting, it really works on stage. Speyer plays the awful Aunt Alberta almost too well and the children thoroughly enjoy his performance.
Just how much are we willing to invest in the pursuit of the truth and justice and can one ever win against the establishment? The Winslow family are tested in every way in their journey to prove Ronnie’s (Misha Butler) innocence.
Expelled from Naval College, aged 13, for Monetary Theft, Ronnie returns to the family home in trepidation. Scared to tell his Father, Ronnie confides in his Sister Kate (Dorothea Myer-Bennett) about his recent expulsion.
All the while protesting his innocence, Kate has no choice but to inform their Father. A long legal battle ensues, a Fathers fight to clear his son’s name. Many sacrifices are made by the Winslow family, a family used to certain privileges but it’s not just the monetary sacrifices that take their toll.
It’s here!!! – Mothersole and Biscuit’s “MAIN CROSSOVER HIT”!!
Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit steer away from their normal influences of modern-day social issues and instead embark on a quirky exploration of their love of all things Dolly…and not just Parton.
Through a combination of acapella, interesting set/costume design, and a bottle of Rose (or two) the duo takes the audience on a bizarre whistle-stop tour of their Dolly obsession.