Review: 3*** Love Never Dies – via the Shows Must Go On YouTube @OfficialALW #cultureduringquarantine #stayathome #musicals

Tweetingit: 3*** Andrew Lloyd Webber’s magic touch just about sees this sequel to Phantom through any rough patches. But it’s sometimes difficult to see the join with plainly familiar melodies.

The sequel is generally confined to the big screen where we’re accustomed to roman numerals in the title and resigned to the money printing potential of a follow-up tale. However, in the theatre it’s rarely if ever tried with any degree of success. 

Who else but Andrew Lloyd Webber would have the nerve and financial muscle to pull it off? Despite ALW’s protestations Love Never Dies is a sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Negative previews in 2010 forced a re-write before it opened for a year-long run in the West End. However, a planned Broadway transfer was shelved after more mixed reviews.  The show decamped to Australia in 2011 where it generally found a warmer reception.  This film is a recording of the show staged at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.

Continue reading “Review: 3*** Love Never Dies – via the Shows Must Go On YouTube @OfficialALW #cultureduringquarantine #stayathome #musicals”

Review: 5**** Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert – The 02 Arena, London via @SkyArts #CultureinQuarantine @AlfieBoe @MsLeaSalonga @realmattlucas

Tweetingit: 5* Victor Hugo’s sprawling epic seamlessly transfers from stage to the stadium rock atmosphere of London’s 02 Arena. A perfect production showcasing rare genius.

Once upon a time I acquired the hardback version of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Needless to say 1,232 pages stayed in pristine condition as I contrived excuses not to read it. Hugo’s masterpiece had so many alternative uses – mine was primarily a doorstop before its convenient loss during a house move. Any literary guilt was assuaged by the brilliant stage version that first graced the London stage in 1985. My own twisted logic dictated that I no longer needed to read the book. It is after all a brilliantly distilled version of the novel that marries narrative with beautifully constructed songs.

This film made in 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the show’s first production at the Barbican. The transfer from theatre to the stadium like 02 Arena might at first present a challenge. However, Les Mis easily fills the 20,000 capacity venue as the songs grow bigger and better. Two giant screens flank a full orchestra and huge choir stretching across the stage.  Sets are stripped away as cast members take the stage in authentic 19th Century costume. The unique atmosphere was obvious even on the small screen and one could sense the film captured a very special night.

Continue reading “Review: 5**** Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert – The 02 Arena, London via @SkyArts #CultureinQuarantine @AlfieBoe @MsLeaSalonga @realmattlucas”

More places to stream shows this Easter Sunday (and beyond) #CultureInQuarantine #staycreative

And the shows available for you to stream just keep rolling in.

One of the only positives I can see about this whole thing right now is that people who might not usually get the opportunity to go to the theatre (too far away, too expensive) have the chance to see some of the best shows around.

So here are the next batch for your enjoyment. 

We will of course get reviewing as many as we can. 

Continue reading “More places to stream shows this Easter Sunday (and beyond) #CultureInQuarantine #staycreative”

Review: 4**** Funny Girl – The Palace Theatre, Manchester @digitaltheatre and @SkyArts @Sheridansmith1 #staycreative #CultureInQuarantine

Tweetingit: 4* A hugely entertaining production of a Broadway classic based on the life of performer Fanny Brice.

Funny Girl is synonymous with Barbra Streisand and her portrayal of Fanny Brice both on stage and film; the latter won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role. It turned Streisand into a global superstar and set the bar for all performers who contemplated filling her shoes. It seems barely credible the musical disappeared from the West End stage for nearly 50 years. It wasn’t until 2016 that it returned to London at the Savoy Theatre before embarking on a highly successful national tour.

The story begins with Fanny (Sheridan Smith) wistfully looking back on her life. The ever trusty flashback clicks into action, and we are back in Vaudeville with a teenage Fanny trying to prove herself. Her mother (Rachel Izen) and friend Mrs Strakosh (Myra Sands) wonder if Fanny is too plain to make it as a stage performer. However, Fanny is undaunted and succeeds with the help of dancer Eddie Ryan (Joshua Lay). She makes a name for herself as a performer and meets handsome entrepreneur Nick Arnstein (Darius Campbell). They inevitably fall in love as the trials and tribulations of their relationship are carefully plotted.

Continue reading “Review: 4**** Funny Girl – The Palace Theatre, Manchester @digitaltheatre and @SkyArts @Sheridansmith1 #staycreative #CultureInQuarantine”

Review 5***** Amelie the Musical The Other Palace @TheOtherPalace @AmelieMusicalUK

Witty, winsome and whimsical. Amélie The Musical is based on the 2001 film, where one little girl with a big imagination carries out remarkable acts of kindness to bring happiness to those around her. Until one day, Amélie meets arty Nino, her heart begins to pound and everything changes… 

Audrey Brisson is phenomenal as quirky Amélie, her playful personality and sprinkles of mischievous magic brighten a world where everything and everyone goes around and around and around over and over again and again…Amélie slices through the monotony with delightful charm, although Brisson always cuts in with a hilariously blunt quip just in time to avoid over sweetening the performance. 

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News: What more can you need to know on a cold Friday morning to cheer you up than the news that JASON DONAVAN IS BACK IN JOSEPH @JDonOfficial @LondonPalladium @JosephMusical @jacyarrow

Following his critically acclaimed professional debut this summer Jac Yarrow is to wear the Dreamcoat again while Jason Donovan returns to the role of Pharaoh from 2 July 2020!!!

Michael Harrison and the Really Useful Group are delighted to announce that Jason Donovan and Jac Yarrow will be back at the London Palladium in 2020, as the new, smash hit production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat returns following its triumphant season this year.

Jason Donovan will return in the role of Pharaoh. He was originally in the show when he made his defining stage performance as the title character of Joseph in the 1990s, in a sold-out 18-month run which produced a No.1 single and best-selling soundtrack album. Jason raised the roof of the London Palladium this year as Pharaoh, who rocks ‘Song of the King’ in the iconic musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Continue reading “News: What more can you need to know on a cold Friday morning to cheer you up than the news that JASON DONAVAN IS BACK IN JOSEPH @JDonOfficial @LondonPalladium @JosephMusical @jacyarrow”

Review: 3*** Reputation The Musical – The Other Palace @TheOtherPalace @ReputationLdn

A fresh out of the box musical drawing inspiration from the golden age of Hollywood. Pleasant songs compensate for a lightweight script.

The cosy studio of the Other Palace is now home to the newest off West End musical. Reputation throws the audience back to 1935 with the Hollywood studio system in full effect. Our story begins when an advert appears in Variety magazine asking for original film scripts. Michelle Grant (Maddy Banks) is an aspiring young writer attending language and deportment college in Paris; a finishing school that teaches everything but how to further her ambitions.

Michelle is persuaded by friends to submit her film script. However, Michelle is duped by small time crook Freddy Larceny (Jeremy Secomb), who has cultivated a reputation in Hollywood passing off other people’s work as his own. Back in Paris the penny drops and Michelle hires lawyer Archie Bright (Ed Wade) to reclaim her script. Both sides go court where Judge Stevens (Corey Peterson) now has to rule on the script’s origin. Can Michelle prove her case or will Freddy outgun her with his own hotshot lawyer?

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Local theatre – trying out my new home town’s theatre for the first time and we are going big with @7oaksPlayers ‘ Jesus Christ Superstar!

Things to make sure you have access to when moving to a new place :

  1. A decent coffee shop which does a proper flat white and offers a variety of milk (yes I am a spoiled middle class Londoner)
  2. Some good cosy pubs with big chairs and tasty pub grub
  3. Some good spots for sitting and reading in the park
  4. A shop where you can get all your nerd requirements – dice, board games and other accessories
  5. A theatre which puts on a variety of great shows throughout the year.

I have lived in Sevenoaks for the last 3 months and have managed to find the first four but now, I am excited to say, I get the opportunity to take the theatre for a test run too when I go to see the Sevenoaks Players putting on Jesus Christ Superstar

The Sevenoaks Players are an amateur dramatics society local to Sevenoaks and have been performing in the area since 1922. In their time, they have performed a huge array of musicals, plays and variety shows and perform up to 4 shows a year!

Continue reading “Local theatre – trying out my new home town’s theatre for the first time and we are going big with @7oaksPlayers ‘ Jesus Christ Superstar!”

Review: 5***** Calendar Girls The Regent Theatre Ipswich @thegirlsmusical @IpswichRegent

We at Playhouse Pickings have seen Calendar Girls a few times and, once again, it has not failed to make us laugh, make us cry, and be quite simply one of the best shows we have seen.

A story of loss, love and hope all stemmed from a tragic story back in 1998, when Angela Baker lost her husband to non-Hodgkins’s Lymphoma, and sought comfort in making something good out of something so heart-breaking – with the aim of providing the local hospital with a new sofa through sales of their nude calendar, and to prove John wrong (he thought they’d never do it!). Ladies of the WI banded together to create a never-seen-before Calendar that gained a place in the national newspapers, international press attention, and sold out in the first week. All proceeds were used to fund lymphoma and leukaemia research (now known as Bloodwise) and have so far raised over £5 million. Until the 26 th October, Tim Firth and Gary Barlow are bringing this story to life, once again, with just as much humility, love and affection as it has always deserved.

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News: Moulin Rouge! The Musical coming to Piccadilly Theatre in March 2021!! @MoulinRougeBway @moulinmusicaluk #PiccadillyTheatre #Voulez-vousCoucherAvecMoiCeSoir

If this doesn’t make your Friday, I don’t know what will…..

The Moulin Rouge. A night club, a dance hall and a bordello. Ruled over by Harold Zidler. A kingdom of night time pleasures. Where the rich and powerful came to play with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld. AND NOW IT IS COMING TO LONDON

Global Creatures, the producers of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, are thrilled to announce today that the first UK production of the acclaimed show will open at the Piccadilly Theatre in London in March 2021.

“After ten years in development, and following the fantastic response to Moulin Rouge! The Musical in New York, we are thrilled to be sharing this musical with audiences in the UK. We can’t wait to bring the show to London!,” said producer Carmen Pavlovic, Global Creatures.

Enter a world of splendour and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur and glory! A world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment. Pop the champagne and prepare for the spectacular spectacular…Welcome to Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

Watch the trailer here

Continue reading “News: Moulin Rouge! The Musical coming to Piccadilly Theatre in March 2021!! @MoulinRougeBway @moulinmusicaluk #PiccadillyTheatre #Voulez-vousCoucherAvecMoiCeSoir”