Film Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)

This cinematic adaptation of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is fabulously enjoyable, led by a fine performance by Max Harwood

“Sometimes, you gotta grab life by the balls, and you take those balls and you tuck ‘em between your legs”

The movie musical seems to be having a bit of a moment again. We’ve been treated to In The Heights and Cinderella, tick, tick…BOOM!, Dear Evan Hansen and a new West Side Story are soon on their way and who could forget Diana: A New Musical… Joining that illustrious company is Sheffield’s own Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, making the leap from the Crucible to the West End to the big* screen. (*It’s available on Amazon Prime so screen size may vary ;-))

And as it has maintained a large proportion of its original key creative team, it carries over so much of its proudly fabulous heart and soul. Based on the true story of Jamie Campbell, we follow Jamie’s last few months at high school as he dreams of becoming a drag queen. And in true Britflick fashion, there are heartwarming ups and heartbreaking downs, plus an expanded range of toe-tapping tunes from Dan Gillespie- Sells. What is fascinating as someone who has seen the stage show a fair few times now, is how well Tom MacRae’s adaptation of his own book works. Continue reading “Film Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)”

Book Review: Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal – Giles Terera

Taking us so far behind the scenes you can smell the greasepaint, Giles Terera’s Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal is a brilliant new book 

“My intention is…to try and show you the how”

I’m not saying I made Giles Terera’s career but I named him Best Actor in a Musical in 2015 for his spell-binding turn in Pure Imagination 🙂 Regardless of that though, there’s no doubting that dude was catapulted into the limelight by Hamilton, adding an Olivier to his fosterIAN award, and deservedly cementing his place in the British theatrical establishment. Throughout his time with the show, he kept a journal which has now been published as Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal.

The relative informality of the journal structure works perfectly in cultivating an immediate sense of intimacy as we slip from audition process to rehearsal rooms to the Victoria Palace Theatre itself. But don’t mistake these for casual observations, the book is jam-packed full of hard-won insights and all kinds of practical advice which works whether you’re a budding thespian or just a bastard, orphan, son of a… Continue reading “Book Review: Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal – Giles Terera”

Review: Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe

Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe rips the piss out of Eurovision with great affection and some seriously good tunes

“Clap and cheer like crazy people”

Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe rises like a phoenix once again, now being hosted by Liechtenstein as Craig Christie’s musical enters the streaming market with a filmed performance from the Clapham Grand. Directed with a knowing wryness by Max Bex Roberts, the shows brings together 9 European nations and the UK to work through any number of Eurovision stereotypes in highly amusing style.

The show actually does a great job of ripping the piss out of so many of the Eurovision staples around the songs as well. The show-stealingly good hosting (David O’Reilly’s Orla Aboard nailing it as Marlene Cabana), dry Eurocrats reading out the rules (Andy Coxon being adorkable), the local colour (Sooz Kempner and Scott Paige in brilliant form), the little clips before each song. And a final number by Marlene hits a surprisingly authentic emotional note which lifts the spirits just before the voting begins.

But enough, here’s the brief notes from my scorecard, from douze points to nul! Continue reading “Review: Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe”

News: New version of Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe to stream

Fourth Wall Live have announced the world premiere of a new online version of the cult West End Musical Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe. This irreverent, hilarious homage and celebration of the world’s best-loved song contest will be filmed at The Clapham Grand and streamed globally from 30 April – 10 May 2021 on Stream.Theatre. Viewers will be asked to vote online after watching the show (Your vote really counts!) and The Results Show will be streamed from 14 – 18 May 2021. 

Eurobeat will be hosted by David O’Reilly’s “Orla Board” as Marlene Cabana the glamorous mistress of ceremonies, with a cast led by Joanne Clifton (BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, The Rocky Horror Show, Flashdance), Tia Kofi (BBC Three’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 2), Harriet Thorpe (BBC’s The Brittas Empire, Cabaret) and Tom Read Wilson (C4’s Celebs Go Dating, BBC’s Celebrity Best Home Cook), the show will also star West End and musical theatre stars Christine Allado (Hamilton, The Prince of Egypt), Matt Croke (ITV’s The Voice, Disney’s Aladdin), Scott Garnham (Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, The Barricade Boys), Aisha Jawando (Tina in Tina, The Tina Turner Musical), Scott Paige (Cinderella, Nativity!), Claudia Kariuki, (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, School of Rock), David Ribi (Milkshake, Channel 5), comedian Sooz Kempner, Annell Odartey (WhatsonStage Awards), George Olney (Saturday Night Fever, Fiddler on the Roof), Alexzandra Sarmiento (Hamilton, Strictly Ballroom) and Jaime Tait (Motown, Beautiful). Continue reading “News: New version of Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe to stream”

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”

News: You Will Be Found by #CheerUpCharlie & West End Friends to be released on 15th November

Auburn Jam Music are delighted to be releasing ‘You Will Be Found’ by #CheerUpCharlie & West End Friends, a fundraising charity single in aid of youth charity The Diana Award, on Sunday 15 November to tie in with the start of National Anti-Bullying Week (16-20 November).  

The star-studded single is led by ten-year-old Charlie Kristensen from Wokingham, whose experience of being bullied started the viral #CheerUpCharlie campaign. Charlie is joined on the song by numerous stage and screen stars including Wendi Peters, Layton Williams and Michael Xavier, with Iain Armitage, Michael Ball, Rufus Hound, and Faye Tozer amongst many famous faces reading their supportive messages on the song’s video. The single is available to pre-save now on iTunes, Deezer, Spotify and Tidal at https://ditto.fm/you-will-be-found. Continue reading “News: You Will Be Found by #CheerUpCharlie & West End Friends to be released on 15th November”

10 of my top moments of the decade

Ever behind the curve, I present 10 of my top moments in a theatre over the last ten years (plus a few bonus extra ones because whittling down this list was hard, and it will probably be different tomorrow anyway!)

© James Bellorini

Extraordinary Public Acts for a National Theatre

The establishment of the Public Acts programme at the National Theatre offered up something sensational in Pericles, an initiative designed to connect grassroot community organisations with major theatres, resulting in a production that swept over 200 non-professional performers onto the stage of the Olivier to create something that moved me more than 99% of professional productions.  A truly joyous and momentous occasion. 

Honourable mention: this year’s musical take on As You Like It proved just as heart-swellingly beautiful over at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. Continue reading “10 of my top moments of the decade”

The winners of the 7th annual Mousetrap Awards

Best Feel Good Show
Kinky Boots

Show You Came Out Dancing To
Five Guys Named Moe

Best Female Performer
Rachel John for Hamilton

Most Heart Stopping Show
The Ferryman

Soundtrack of My Soul
Hamilton

Best Male Performer
Layton Williams for Rent

Best Finale
Kinky Boots

Aesthetic On Point
The Grinning Man

Performer Who Saved The Day
Adam Bayjou for Les Mis

Couldn’t Wait For It To Open
Five Guys Named Moe

Best Ensemble
Hamilton

Friendliest Venue
The Old Vic

Not-a-re-review: Hamilton, Victoria Palace

“The plan is to fan this spark into a flame”

It’s not been a hot minute since I last saw Hamilton so just take a look at my original review for the deets.

Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes (with interval)
Booking note – keep your eyes open for returns, of which there have been quite a few.  And check your browsers, the Ticketmaster site is most temperamental with the likes of Opera, Firefox and Chrome in my experience, Microsoft’s Edge has been most reliable for me

 

Review: Hamilton, Victoria Palace

It’s here! Hamilton finally arrives in the West End and lights up the newly refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre for the ages

“A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists, 

Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is”

Change doesn’t just happen, it has to be ushered in by visionaries determined to shake up the status quo to allow the rest of us to shuffle in in their wake. This is true of many things but particularly when it comes to diversity in our theatres, which makes it pleasing that this first production of Hamilton outside of the US has maintained its commitment to multiracial casting in its depiction of the travails of ill-fated Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

Sure, shows such as Motown the Musical and Dreamgirls offer much-welcomed opportunities for performers of colour. But its the vision of the likes of Michael Buffong and Talawa casting an all-black Guys and Dolls and Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail making this decision that allows those performers to get the kind of credits on their CV that would otherwise never be gained. Continue reading “Review: Hamilton, Victoria Palace”