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: Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #2

Sneaking in in the nick of time, I catch the delights of the second edition of the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper

“A slither of hope…hmmm”

I do love what the Royal Court are doing with their Living Newspaper series, rapid-response pieces being created with a limited shelf-life creating a sense of urgency that isn’t always present with digital content, but spreading the week of availability over Christmas does feel a little tricky even if festive plans for so many of our plans were forced astray.

Nevertheless, I was able to get stuck into the second edition before the digital shredder cut in and I’m glad I did as it continues to be an entirely fascinating and engaging disruption of theatrical form. Adopting the various elements of a newspaper (horoscopes, dating columns, cartoons as well as news and opinion pieces) and delivering them from various nooks and crannies around the Royal Court building (the originally planned in-person experience would have been conducted in promenade), the result is fierce and fresh. Continue reading “Review: Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #2”

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: All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre

If you’re feeling festive and missing musical theatre, then All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre is the place to be

“But it’s not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here”

Thespie’s Reunited series has been a fun way of getting your musicals fix over the past few weeks and in a rather clever move, they’ve managed to put together a Christmas special featuring the companies already featured, plus some brand new special guests. So All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre so we get to see Team Schwartz and Team Girl Power again and my personal faves, Team Juliet as they tackle a range of festive classics.

For me though, it was the promise of concerts to come that proved most exciting. The tight harmonies of Heathers alumni Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams were a particular delight on both ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ and the women of Pretty Woman are in wonderfully high spirits on both ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ so consider my appetite whetted for their forthcoming gigs. Continue reading “Review: All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre”

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: Cast announced for Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #2

Moronkẹ Akinola, Hammed Animashaun, Ayesha Antoine, Alex Austin, Lisa Hammond, Mariam Haque, Zachary Hing, Siu-see Hung, Wendy Kweh, Tasha Lim, Ntonga Mwanza, Rochelle Rose and Liza Sadovy have been cast in Edition 2 of the Royal Court Theatre’s Living Newspaper: A Counter Narrative.

Living Newspaper is a weekly live newspaper running over six weeks. It is urgent, responsive and fast – with writers filing their pieces by Tuesday and actors performing from Thursday, script-in-hand, hot off the press. Continue reading “News: Cast announced for Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #2”

News: Cast announced for Royal Court’s Living Newspaper

Michele Austin, Natalie Dew, Georgie Fellows, Zainab Hasan, Camille Mallet de Chauny, Rebekah Murrell, Amaka Okafor, Kimberley Okoye, Alexzandra Sarmiento, Irfan Shamji, Sophie Stone, Ragevan Vasan and Danny Lee Wynter have been cast in Edition 1 of the Royal Court Theatre’s  Living Newspaper: A Counter Narrative.  Continue reading “News: Cast announced for Royal Court’s Living Newspaper”

Review: Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz

Check out Wicked alumni Nikki Bentley, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Alexia Khadime, Liam Tamne and more in Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz

“Out of our night of struggle
Can we see a ray of hope?”

From Godspell and Pippin to Wicked and The Prince of Egypt, Stephen Schwartz has been composing musicals for more four decades now and so has amassed quite the songbook. So it makes sense that it is to him that Thespie have turned to launch their Reunited Series, a set of four filmed concerts premiering throughout December and featuring some pretty amazing musical theatre talent.

First up is Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz, which gathers together nine alumni of the London production of Wicked, now in its 14th year, to cherry-pick their favourite songs and deliver them in socially-distanced concert style in the swanky Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel. Not only that, there’s a guest appearance from the man himself, Schwartz introducing the gig from his piano with a soaring snatch of Pippin. Continue reading “Review: Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz”