News: Keala Settle to make West End debut in & Juliet

Keala Settle – internationally renowned for her starring role in the global smash hit movie The Greatest Showman – is to make her West End debut in the award-winning & Juliet.

Keala – who shot to worldwide fame performing the iconic song “This Is Me” in the movie alongside Hugh Jackman, and is a Tony Award nominated star on Broadway – will play the role of Nurse in the joyous musical which won 3 Olivier Awards and 6 Whatsonstage Awards. Continue reading “News: Keala Settle to make West End debut in & Juliet”

10 top theatrical moments of 2021

As distinct from my favourite shows of the year, this list celebrates the fact that sometimes the good and the not-so-good co-exist right next to each – some of my favourite moments.

For reference, here’s my 2020 list, 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list2016 list2015 list and 2014 list.

Helen McCrory, in memoriam
I still don’t really have the words to talk about how sad the passing of Helen McCrory is, such a favourite actor of mine for so long. But what was joyful was hearing the absolute esteem in which seemingly every one of her colleagues held her, a testament to the person as well as the performer.

Being scared, by women
After having declared that scary theatre just didn’t work for me, the Terrifying Women made me eat my words in quite some style with their Halloween special. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2021”

Award-winning West End Musical & Juliet Celebrates Second Birthday

With a generous take on arithmetic, & JULIET is celebrates its second anniversary in London’s West End with the release of brand new production photographs by Johan Persson. The award-winning musical thrilled audiences since it opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 2 November 2019, though the intervention of the pandemic means I’m not quite sure we can call it 2 years old!

Fabulously fresh and riotously funny, & JULIET explodes with dozens of pop anthems by legendary songwriter Max Martin, including … Baby One More TimeSince U Been GoneRoarIt’s My Life, I Want It That Way, and Can’t Stop the Feeling! mThe show also includes the brand new song One More Try, written especially for the show by Max.

Continue reading “Award-winning West End Musical & Juliet Celebrates Second Birthday”

Review: Closer Than Ever, BroadwayHD

Starring Lee Mead, Kerry Ellis and more, this streaming production of revue Closer Than Ever makes a good impression on BroadwayHD

“I know something that people don’t know”

A revue is always tricky to review. As a random collection of songs by the same composer, unconnected by a book as in a conventional musical, they can be a bit scattershot, relying on directorial vision to provide some kind of thematic consistency that provides a satisfying cohesiveness. This new production of Maltby and Shire’s Closer Than Ever just about gets there, though it occasionally struggles to break through the digital form.

The promotional blurb promises to “delve into the trials and tribulations of modern love”, a rather bold claim given some of these songs date as far back as 1983. But to their credit, musically they freshen up well under Nick Barstow’s assured musical direction. And many matters of the heart are timeless, so there isn’t too much staleness around subject or lyrical content, sexy secretaries aside. Continue reading “Review: Closer Than Ever, BroadwayHD”

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: & Juliet sets re-opening date and reveals new cast members

The award-winning musical & Juliet – which had been thrilling audiences before the closure of theatres last March – will return to the Shaftesbury Theatre from Friday 24 September.

Miriam-Teak Lee – who was awarded the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2020 for her performance as Juliet – leads a cast including Cassidy Janson, who also won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anne Hathaway, Oliver Tompsett as William Shakespeare, David Bedella, who also won an Olivier Award for his performance in the show as Lance, Jordan Luke Gage as Romeo, Melanie La Barrie as Nurse, and Tim Mahendran as Francois. Alex Thomas-Smith will be joining the principal cast in the role of May. Continue reading “News: & Juliet sets re-opening date and reveals new cast members”

News: Scott Alan pretty much takes over Crazy Coqs with his friends

Celebrating 2 months since re-opening, Soho’s hottest cabaret space present their September & October season of live shows, which features a whole lotta Scott Alan!

7th Oct, 9.15pm:
Scott Alan and Stuart Matthew Price: New Dads

8th Oct, 7pm:
“The Past, The Present, The Future” Part I

Jo Eaton-Kent, Daniele Alan-Carter, Kayleigh Atherton, Bella Bowen, Jessica Brady, Natalie Hollingworth, Megan Jobling, Alyssa Leclair, Christopher Noade, Aoife O‘Dea, Camille Rieu, India Rose, Tanya Truman and Ella Young Continue reading “News: Scott Alan pretty much takes over Crazy Coqs with his friends”

Review: The Show Must Go On, Palace Theatre/online

Featuring 18 West End musicals, The Show Must Go On is a concert to remember, featuring a whole host of theatrical talent both on and off the stage

“Just like Dolly Levi, we are back where we belong”

Showcasing 18 West End musicals that are reopening soon or in some cases, have already reopened, The Show Must Go On is a celebratory concert, gathering together so much on- and off-stage theatrical talent in aid of Acting for Others and Fleabag Support Fund.

With Bonnie Langford and Trevor Dion Nicholas hosting and gamely working their way through a multitude of rapid-fire show descriptions, the real MVPs of the night were the orchestra, under Stuart Morley’s direction, and the choir, made up of recent graduates, who enthusiastically put their voices to any number of harmonised accompaniments. Continue reading “Review: The Show Must Go On, Palace Theatre/online”

Review: Disenchanted

Musical revue Disenchanted takes a deeper look at the lives of Disney princesses and whether happy ever after is all that

“One more once upon a time and I swear I’ll go insane”

Revisiting fairytale endings and reclaiming female historical narratives will be familiar to fans of Into the Woods and SIX but Dennis T Giacino’s Disenchanted attempts to tackle both in an ambitious if patchy musical comedy. Returning to some of the characters so familiar from our storybooks, the show gives them new voice to explain what life as a ‘princess’ is really and how the stories we’ve been told don’t necessarily reflect ‘reality’.

In some ways, this is powerfully effective. You can’t help but hear echoes of Thandiwe Newton’s recent decision in Badroulbadour’s story of how her name and ethnicity were changed in order to become a secondary character in Aladdin. Or nod at Mulan’s recognition that the reason she’s one of the only princesses not to end up with a partner is because she’s a lesbian. Throw in commentary on typical cup size and waist measurements and you see how much social conditioning has gone on through this mode of storytelling. Continue reading “Review: Disenchanted”

Musical news aplenty

Following its opening at the Watermill Theatre, a critically acclaimed sell-out tour in 2019, a highly successful Christmas season at The Other Palace in 2019, a Grammy nomination and 3 Olivier Award nominations, Amélie The Musical arrives in the heart of the West End this summer. Following the government roadmap announcement, tickets are on sale now for a socially distanced audience at the Criterion Theatre from Thursday 20 May. Olivier-nominee Audrey Brisson (The Elephantom, Pinocchio and Pericles (National Theatre), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), and The Grinning Man
(Bristol Old Vic)), will return to the role of ‘Amélie’.

The five–time Oscar®-nominated film will be brought to life once again by a cast of actor-musicians and set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, Amélie The Musical is directed by Michael Fentiman. The full cast includes Sioned Saunders as Gina, Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Georgette, Rachel Dawson as Amandine/Philomene, Oliver Grant as Lucien/Mysterious Man, Chris Jared as Nino Quincampoix, Caolan McCarthy as Hippolito/Elton John, Samuel Morgan-Grahame as Joseph/Fluffy, Kate Robson-Stuart as Suzanne, Jack Quarton as Blind Beggar, Jez Unwin as Raphael/Bretodeau and Johnson Willis as Collignon/Dufayel. Nuwan Hugh Perera, Miiya Alexandra, Robyn Sinclair and Matthew James Hinchliffe complete the ensemble. Continue reading “Musical news aplenty”