News: new dates announced for Monday Night at the Apollo

Revised dates have now been confirmed for Monday Night at the Apollo – a brand-new concert series for 2021, to be performed in front of socially distanced audiences at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, and simultaneously livestreamed to viewers at home via the theatre discovery platform Thespie, which is dedicated to bringing the best live and recorded theatre to audiences around the world

Originally scheduled for January and February, the concerts have been postponed because of the national government restrictions and venue closures. Tickets are on sale now for Monday 12 April, Monday 26 April and Monday 10 May. In light of the current restrictions, the producers will still review each date as it approaches and react accordingly according to government guidelines at the time. Continue reading “News: new dates announced for Monday Night at the Apollo”

News: Leave A Light On returns

With lockdown back in full swing, Lambert Jackson are bringing back their hit series Leave a Light On with a wide range of musical theatre stars performing online concerts. Performers announced today are Lauren Byrne, Lauren Drew, Chelsea Halfpenny, David Hunter, Rachel John, Lucie Jones, Rob Madge, Tim Mahendran, Nicholas McLean and Billy Nevers.

Eliza Jackson and Jamie Lambert of Lambert Jackson said, “This series is designed to provide entertainment for people who are currently going through their third UK wide lockdown and are missing the magic of West End performances. We are super excited to be bringing Leave a Light On back, although we didn’t expect we would ever need to, and we would like to thank all of the performers involved for jumping on board so quickly.” Continue reading “News: Leave A Light On returns”

Review: Together Again

Featuring the marvellous Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams, Together Again might Thespie’s best Reunited gig yet

“Good times we’ll share again”

For whatever reason, the musical adaptation of Heathers held no attraction for me so I never actually got around to going to see it. The quality and appeal of its cast was never in doubt though, so I was interested to what the title trio of Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams would get up to in Together Again, their concert for Thespie’s Reunited series.

There’s an easy informality about this trio, who clearly get on like a house on fire, that elevates this concert to the best kind of cabaret. Full of chat, in-jokes and genuine admiration inbetween songs, the three of them conjure up the type of atmosphere that fully engages you and keeps you hanging off every note they sing. Continue reading “Review: Together Again”

The finalists of The Offies 2021

The finalists for the 2021 Offies (for productions in 2020) have been announced and congratulations to the 47 finalists across 16 of the 28 Offies categories. The winners will be announced at the Offies Awards Ceremony, being held online on 21 February 2021.

The following categories are not going forward for 2021 awards as there were insufficient nominations due to theatre closures arising from Covid-19 lockdowns:

  • Design: Costume
  • Design: Video
  • Choreography
  • Company Ensemble
  • Musicals: New Musical
  • Opera
  • Panto
  • Plays: Most Promising New Playwright
  • Plays: Production
  • Theatre for Young People: Production (0-7)
  • Theatre for Young People: Production (13+)
  • Theatre for Young People: Production (8+)

Continue reading “The finalists of The Offies 2021”

Review: Never Give Up On A Dream

Some of the cast of Pretty Woman reunite for this Thespie Reunited concert Never Give Up On A Dream

“It’s a hard winter’s day
I dream away”

With Aimie Atkinson as their creative producer, it is perhaps little surprise that Thespie’s Reunited series has a Pretty Woman the Musical special leading its programming into the new year. But no-one should begrudge them that and Never Give Up On A Dream has much to commend it. 

I can’t lie, Pretty Woman the Musical did not do it for me but this show opens up the pop songbook far and wide to take in the likes of Roxette (‘It Must Have Been Love’, natch), Queen (a fiery group ‘Somebody to Love’) and Tony Bennett (Bob Harms in spine-tingling form on ‘Who Can I Turn To’). Continue reading “Review: Never Give Up On A Dream”

Review: The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special

Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme tackle Christmas the only way they know how in the highly entertainting The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special

“Jinkx please, not in front of the baby Jesus”

Clearly knowing they’re onto a good thing, Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme have reunited for their third holiday special The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special, a show which sees DeLa producing and directing for the first time as well as co-creating and co-writing with DeLa. And though much of the special electricity that characterises the best drag comes from a live environment, the take-off of a TV holiday special here means streaming feels like the show’s ideal home.

The plot, insofar as it matters, sees DeLa trying to convince Jinkx of the merits of a traditional Christmas but finding her convictions shaken as the spirit of her grandma speaks to her from a glass of eggnog. But even as you may scoff at how OTT the whole thing seems, there’s the kernel of something genuine underscoring the messaging that builds to something more substantial than candy canes and colourful costumes, a hard-won emotional truths that many LGBT+ folk will recognise all too well at this time of year. Continue reading “Review: The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special”

Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Four The Holiday Special

Nipping in just before Santa arrives, The Theatre Channel’s fourth episode delivers festive treats aplenty in The Holiday Special

“If you’re burdened down with trouble
If your nerves are wearing thin…”

With all the uncertainty that has haunted the world of theatre since the pandemic began, there’s something unalterably pleasing about seeing a theatrical enterprise grow from strength to strength at this time. Born out of the explosion in streaming content that emerged in the first lockdown, The Theatre Channel has taken that concept and elevated it to something rather special, so mince pies and buckets of mulled wine all round for everyone at Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café.

In its half-hourly episodes, it has found focus in its themes (Hallowe’en, rock musicals) and shown generosity in its casting. Starrier names may be the headliners but the decision to introduce the Café Four (comprised of Alyn Hawke, Emily Langham, Sadie-Jean Shirley and Alex Woodward) as a regular ensemble has proven a masterstroke. providing continuity across a diverse range of performances and from episode to episode, but also showcasing their own talents alongside a raft of Olivier winners and nominees. Continue reading “Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Four The Holiday Special”

Review: Girl Power

Alumni of SIX continue their enduring relationship to each other and to music with a sparkling new concert

“I will try and guide you
To better times and brighter days”

Regardless of how you feel about SIX ihe Musical, it is impossible to ignore the fire it has lit in so many people. From the devoted audiences it has inspired to ensure the show’s inordinate successes to the casts of ferociously talented women it has showcased (and whom have been particularly hard done by as the show has tried and tried to restart). Seven of those women have reunited here as part of Thespie’s Reunited season to give us Girl Power, a concert that slides effortlessly through girl bands from across the decades.

And it is as playful and punchy as you’d expect as Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Grace Mouat, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Jarnéia Richard-Noel show off their considerable singing (and rapping) talents but more crucially, combine beautifully into a group that truly understands the power in coming together. There’s no sense of anyone needlessly trying to grab the spotlight or the lion’s share of the lead vocals in the tradition of so many girl groups, rather a democratic split that seems to reflect the genuine affection they hold for each other. Continue reading “Review: Girl Power”

News: NT Public Acts reveal We Begin Again

Written by the Olivier award winner James Graham and produced by the Guardian in partnership with the National Theatre, this short musical film is a unifying song for the country to take stock of the extraordinary year gone by and reset for the year ahead.

 

A multi-generational cast reflects on their lives and the impact 2020 has had on them, while a supporting company of 100 community members from the National Theatre’s Public Acts programme in Doncaster and London sings a hopeful chorus encouraging everyone to ‘begin again’. Filmed on location and remotely, this online musical is a clear product of these unique times

Review: Oops!… I Streamed It Again

Alumni of & Juliet reunites for Oops!… I Streamed It Again, a wide-ranging and effective mix of pop, rock and musical theatre

“Maybe I’m brainless
Maybe I’m wise”

The second of Thespie’s Reunited Series concerts reassembles some of the core cast of & Juliet and sets them loose on a wide-ranging songbook that encompasses pop, rock, musical theatre and a bit of Disney too.  Whereas the first gig had its focus firmly on Stephen Schwartz and revelled in its evening dress and swanky hotel setting, the looser feel of Oops!… I Streamed It Again makes it feel more like a genuine cabaret rather than a statelier theatrical show. 

The easy informality between the five performers is evident from the start, as inter-song banter reveals bromances and full-on fangirling when it comes to a particularly Wicked reunion. And because the vibe is just that much more chilled, an eclectic setlist that leaps from David Bowie to Anastasia, Hadestown to REO Speedwagon feels entirely organic and will have most people reaching for the Crazy Coqs cocktails list to complete the mood. Continue reading “Review: Oops!… I Streamed It Again”