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: 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”

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”

Review: The Comeback, Noël Coward Theatre

The Comeback proves to be a piece of warmly inclusive comedy at the Noël Coward Theatre, perfect festive fare

“Who wants to see the Alex and Ben show?”

For someone who first became aware of comedy duo The Pin due to their impeccable Twitter content during the first lockdown, the idea of them doing a full length play seemed rather improbable given the strength of those sketches was their 70 second running time. But Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen’s credits stretch much further (you can tell I don’t listen to Radio 4…) and The Comeback actually began life at the 2018 Fringe before being pimped for this West End run at the Noël Coward Theatre.

And over and above the pleasure of being able to go to the theatre again, something sadly not true for everyone in the country and possibly not even for London for much longer, The Comeback offers the kind of warmly generous comedic thrill that feels perfect for the season. I found it to be ‘Christmas Day on the sofa’ -funny throughout, with some moments that are frankly hilarious and others that didn’t quite tickle my funnybone as much, though the beauty of comedy is that we all have different senses of humour and so you’ll just have to come and decide whether it is funny for yourselves. Continue reading “Review: The Comeback, Noël Coward Theatre”