Despite some careful thinking and some glorious singing, the Open Air Theatre’s reimagined Carousel can’t stop this problematic musical from being, well, problematic
“Walk on through the wind Walk on through the rain”
There’s a glorious moment early in the second half of the Open Air Theatre’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel when all its constituent concepts and parts coalesce together in perfect harmony. Joanna Riding delivering the haunting strains of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as the sparseness of Tom Scutt’s design reveals its haunting potential, cleverly contextualising Drew McOnie’s lyrical choreography with the bold brass of Tom Deering’s new orchestrations recasting this classic score with real vibrancy.
Around it though, the rest of this notoriously tricky musical doesn’t quite stick the landing in the same way, despite the work that director Timothy Sheader and his company have put in to try and address its intrinsic issues. A soft relocation to somewhere in’t’north allows the cast to use a range of British accents but it is a certain truth that no British person has ever said the word clambake, particularly as often as it is said in this show. It may seem like a small point but it is an incongruency that rings out every single time someone says it. Continue reading “Review: Carousel, Open Air Theatre”
The thought of outdoors theatre was fine earlier this week, not so much right now! For the brave, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre have confirmed full casting for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, which plays 31 July – 25 September. Joining the already announced Carly Bawden (Julie Jordan), Declan Bennett (Billy Bigelow), John Pfumojena (Enoch Snow), Joanna Riding (Nettie Fowler) and Natasha May Thomas (Louise Bigelow) are Brendan Charleson (Mr Bascombe), Jo Eaton-Kent (Mrs Mullin), Sam Mackay (Jigger Craigin), Ediz Mahmut (Young Enoch) and Christina Modestou (Carrie Pipperidge).
The ensemble includes: Chanelle Anthony, Craig Armstrong, William Atkinson, Shay Barclay, Sarah Benbelaid, Madeline Charlemagne, Freya Field, Sebastian Goffin, Amie Hibbert, Tim Hodges, Lukas Hunt,Tessa Kadler, Lindsay McAllister, Matthew McKenna, Jack Mitchell, Charlotte Riby, Lisa Ritchie and Daisy West. Continue reading “News: West End musical castings confirmed”
On Monday 14 June, SMC Productions brings West End Live Lounge to the stage at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. What started off as a one-off concert in 2017, has fast become one of the staple events in the theatrical calendar. This series of concerts showcases an array of talent from the world of theatre, all performing some of the most iconic songs from the world of popular music and beyond.
The past year has been a difficult time for the arts, and now is the time to come back and show just exactly what we do best. ‘The Greats’ will play host to a stellar line up of talent from shows including; Six, Come From Away, Hamilton, & Juliet, Wicked, Bat Out Of Hell and lots more, all celebrating songs from some of the most iconic and recognisable artists from the world of music. Performing alongside the Live Lounge band, under the musical direction of Sam Coates, this is set to be a night not to miss! Continue reading “News: West End Live Lounge – The Greats”
A trio of cast album announcements from the last couple of weeks offers a different way to help support theatres in these trying times
Nicholas Lloyd Webber and James D. Reid have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £200,000 for a special recording of The Little Prince musical album and provide over 70 people in the theatre industry with jobs during the current COVID-19 pandemic
Richard E. Grant,Kevin McKidd, Sierra Boggess,Tracie Bennett, Amara Okerekeand Lorna Want will all lend their support to the project by playing principal cast members. Emma Lindars, Emma Harris, Sarah Ryan, Alison Arnopp, Janet Mooney, T’Shan Williams, John Addison, Oliver Lidert, Michael Pickering, James Gant and David Durham will also be part of the cast.
Jenna Russell will join Christina Modestou as a live special guest for A Night at the Musicals on Sunday, 25 October 2020 at 7pm.
This performance will be live streamed while it plays to a socially distanced audience in The Large using a multi-camera set-up, broadcast globally with unlimited £10 tickets available up until 18 October 2020, increasing to £15 from 19 October 2020 during show week. There is only one chance to catch the performance; it will not be available to catch-up with afterwards. There are live socially distanced audience tickets available to purchase for £22 for those who can make it to the venue. Continue reading “News: Jenna Russell joins A Night at the Musicals”
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!)
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.
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”