News: West End performers join fundraising gala #CheerUpCharlie – The Show

Charlie Kristensen, the 11 year old passionate anti-bullying campaigner and much-loved host of the online chat show Musical Chairs with #CheerUpCharlie, will be joined by an exciting line-up for his fundraising gala #CheerUpCharlie – The Show on Sunday 31 October 2021 at 7.30pm at The Actor’s Church in Covent Garden, London.
 
Produced by Mark Robert Petty and hosted by Ben Stock and Hilary O’Neil, with Musical Direction by Tom Knowles, the evening will feature a whole host of the West End’s much-loved top musical theatre performers: Lewis Asquith, Lizzie Bea, Nikki Bentley, Daniel Boys, Kieran Brown, Robin Cousins, Maria Coyne, Ferris & Milnes, Adrian Hansel, Jacqueline Hughes, Sophie Isaacs, Melissa Jacques, Alison Jiear, Gemma Knight Jones, Carolyn Maitland, Nadim Naaman, Sara Poyzer, Oliver Savile, Jon Tarcy, Shona White and Jacinta Whyte as well as Joseph Fletcher and Natasha Volley from DMD+ (Deaf Men Dancing+, founded by Mark Smith), country cross-over duo One Trick Pony, This One’s For You – A Tribute To Elton John (with Dougie Carter, Ben Barrow and Sam Ebenezer), the cast of Rumi: The Musical, mind-reader Matt Daniel-Baker and ventriloquist Max Fulham. They will be joined by students from ASA Theatre Arts, London School of Musical Theatre, MX Masterclass and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Charlie also has some special surprises up his sleeve.

Continue reading “News: West End performers join fundraising gala #CheerUpCharlie – The Show”

News: Ramin Karimloo and co-composer Nadim Naaman head the cast of ‘Rumi: The Musical’

Dana Al Fardan, one of the Middle East’s leading contemporary composers, and West End star Nadim Naaman today announce their second major stage musical, Rumi: The Musical. Rumi, based on a story about the 13th century philosopher and poet Rumi by Evren Sharma, follows Al Fardan and Naaman’s 2018 debut Broken Wings, which premiered in the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket before touring the Middle East.

Rumi: The Musical will launch first with a full-length concept album, with Ramin Karimloo and Nadim Naaman heading  a West End cast comprising entirely of performers of Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian heritage, and also featuring The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. Continue reading “News: Ramin Karimloo and co-composer Nadim Naaman head the cast of ‘Rumi: The Musical’”

Review: The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Some seriously big names – David Walliams and Robbie Williams – can’t save the RSC’s new musical The Boy in the Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

“Don’t eat my cheese”

There’s no lacking for big names behind the RSC’s big new musical The Boy in the Dress. Based on the novel by David Walliams and adapted by Mark Ravenhill, and with a score by Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers and Chris Heath, the pedigree is certainly there in this story about Dennis, a young football-crazy boy who decides, one day, that he’d quite like to go to school wearing a dress. But Gregory Doran’s production ends up hitting the crossbar – literally so… – and it is a little difficult to work out exactly why.

Is it in Walliams’ book, where absent mothers get entirely short shrift (as do most women, the character of Darvesh’s mum, who even gets a song, is called…Darvesh’s mum) and notions about celebrating difference only go so far – it’s OK for boys to wear dresses and win football matches, but if you buy a copy of Vogue, then you’re the target for homophobic jokes in the script. Or is it in the score which is full of strangely low-impact numbers, until an Indian man appears – cue the Bollywood song! Or someone puts on a dress – cue the disco number! It can feel that there’s not much sophistication at work here. Continue reading “Review: The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre”

Film Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

On the two viewings I’ve managed so far, I’m pretty sure Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is the epoch-defining film that we don’t deserve but which we sorely need

“When you’re gone
How can I even try to go on?”

I was lucky enough to see an early screening of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again last week and I thought it was fricking fantastic. But as the occasion fuelled by an afternoon tea that was heavy on the bubbles and the raucous atmosphere of a stagey audience and not quite bold enough to stick by the courage of my convictions, I opted to wait until seeing the film a second time before officially declaring my opinion.

And I have to say I really do think this is a superb film. The sequel that no-one really knew they wanted, whipped together in under 12 months once the green light had been given, that somehow manages to do everything you expect it to, and but better, and infinitely more moving than it has any right to be. I knew I’d shed a tear or three of joy but there was more than one moment where I was just sobbing, so rich is the emotion here. And that’s only fitting considering the bittersweet melancholy that is ABBA’s true calling card, rather than the cheesiness they are famed for. Continue reading “Film Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)”