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”

Review: Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Palladium

Now this is how you do stunt casting! Linzi Hateley returns in glorious style to Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat after 30 years

“May I return
To the beginning”

In a show already suffused with nostalgia for so many, the return of Linzi Hateley to Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a warm hug of perfect decision making. It is a production that has already indulged a little in bringing back Jason Donovan – who played Joseph 30 years ago lest we forget – in the role of Pharoah, but Hateley is returning as the Narrator, the part that she originated (and for which she was Olivier nominated) and immortalised in the cast recording, meaning that this is literally the sound of my childhood coming to life!

For all my misgivings with Lord Lloyd Webber’s voting record and inter-relationship with the theatre ecology as a whole, Joseph is a show for which I have a huge fondness. From family trips to see it way back when, to singing in primary school productions, accompanying secondary school productions on the piano, to adding percussion to local drama group productions, plus catching it when it has perenially re-emerged on stages, its familiarity is the kind of smile-inducing, toe-tapping comfort that has been biting my tongue not to sing along every time I go.  Continue reading “Review: Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Palladium”

Book Review: Dear Audience

Just a quickie for this as the book is almost sold out now, but Sophie Ross and Danny Kaan’s coffee-table book Dear Audience is such a beautiful book that I’d encourage you to go and purchase one of the few remaining copies. Striving to photographically celebrate the arts industry from a wide range of performers through producers, MDs and writers, it is a nicely high-quality publication that matches that aim. 

In the interest of fairness, I can’t pick favourites from the many many names featured here, just look at the tags to see the impressive roll-call. What really elevates the book though is the inclusion of heartfelt letters from some of the participants, adding a really personal note to the whole endeavour, reminding us of the personal cost of the pandemic alongside what it has done to the sector as a whole. Track down those last copies now.

News: 4 West End shows announce their casts

As a comedian, impressionist, game show host, reality TV star, soap, screen and stage actor, Les Dennis returns to the West End in the multi-award-winning smash hit musical Hairspray the Musical as Wilbur Turnblad having previously performed the role on tour. He stars alongside Michael Ball, who returns to his legendary, Olivier Awardwinning role of Edna Turnblad. Lizzie Bea will star in the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad. Acclaimed West End star Marisha Wallace will take the role of Motormouth. Rita Simons (Eastenders’ Roxy Mitchell) and Jonny Amies (Granchester on ITV; Sex Education on Netflix/Eleven Film) will also join the cast as Velma Von Tussle and Link Larkin respectively.

The full company includes Georgia Anderson, Kimani Arthur, Dermot Canavan, Lori Haley Fox, Mari McGinlay, Ashley Samuels, Michael Vinsen and Imogen Bailey, Pearce Barron, Jordan Benjamin, Joel Cooper, Luke George, Christopher Gopaul, Bradley Judge, Winny Herbert, Lily Laight, Madeleine Lawton, Holly Liburd, Will Luckett, Mireia Mambo, Kody Mortimer, Robyn Rose, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Amy West and Natalie Woods. Continue reading “News: 4 West End shows announce their casts”

Review: Tennis Elbow, Sound Stage

Audio-digital platform Sound Stage stumbles a little with John Byrne’s Tennis Elbow, a new play that feels terribly dated

“Park your bottie, let’s have some cheese and crackers”

After a powerfully evocative start with Mark Ravenhill’s Angela, the audio-digital platform Sound Stage stumbles a little with its second instalment Tennis Elbow. Written by Scottish arts titan John Byrne – his first play in 13 years – it acts as a follow up to his 1977 play Writer’s Cramp and thus tying its fortunes very closely with that original work.

Presented as a story-within-a-story and narrated by the fabulous Maureen Beattie, we’re treated to a succession of biographical snippets from the life of Pamela Crichton-Capers, ostensibly an undersung artist who just happens to be the wife of Francis Seneca McDade, also an undersung artist who was the subject of Writer’s Cramp. Continue reading “Review: Tennis Elbow, Sound Stage”

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’”

News: Dear Audience coffee table book announced

If you’re still writing your lists for Santa, then Dear Audience could be just what you’re looking for. A theatrical coffee table book filled with over 140 pages showcasing the Arts industry, with exclusive imagery, personalised letters to audiences and much more besides.

There’s a veritable who’s who of stage folk involved, from Sally Ann Triplett, Michael Xavier and Frances Rufelle to Oliver Tompsett, Linzi Hateley and Andy Coxon, and the book has been put together by Sophie Ross and Danny Kaan’s Digi Creative. Pre-orders can be made now and are guaranteed for Christmas delivery.

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”

August theatre round-up

I might have taken a break from reviewing for the last couple of months, but I didn’t stop going to the theatre. Here’s some brief thoughts on most of what I saw in August.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, aka the Sheridan Smith show
Queen of the Mist, aka the surprisingly affecting one
Appropriate, aka all hail Monica Dolan
Waitress, aka ZZZZZZZOMGGGGG STUNT CASTING oh wait, Joe Suggs hasn’t started yet
The Doctor, aka all hail Juliet Stevenson
A Very Expensive Poison, aka it was a preview so I shouldn’t say anything
Blues in the Night, aka all hail Broadway-bound Sharon D Clarke (and Debbie Kurup, and Clive Rowe too)
The Night of the Iguana, aka justice for Skyler Continue reading “August theatre round-up”