Re-review: Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre

A cheeky return visit to the Victoria Palace Theatre sees Hamilton in rude health, with the 2021 cast in fine form 

“You’ll be back, soon you’ll see”

You know how it is, when a ticket to Hamilton falls into your lap, you can’t really say no to this… So a return to the Victoria Palace Theatre, my first since this behemoth of a show actually opened up and one which was surprisingly rewarding, over and above the pleasures of the show itself.

Karl Queensborough and Simon-Anthony Rhoden now occupy the key roles of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr and what I found really interesting was that my sympathies actually altered between them. I’ve always been team Burr (it must have been the Terera of it all) but Rhoden has introduced a brusquer, harsher characterisation, which combined with Queensborough’s hugely open charisma, had me swapping sides quicker than James Madison. Continue reading “Re-review: Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre”

News: musicals update

© Danny Kaan

The Distance You Have Come recorded live at The Apollo Theatre will be available to stream on stream.theatre from 5th to 11th August 2021. In a song cycle of his most acclaimed works, sung by some of the best voices in the west end, award winning composer and lyricist Scott Alan leads us through a year in the intertwined lives of six people facing the joy and heartache of the human experience, as they each search for their own version of happiness – which is, after all, what it’s all about.

This phenomenal cast features Andy Coxon (West Side Story, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical); Alice Fearn (Come From Away, Wicked); Adrian Hansel (Starlight Express, Hairspray); Emma Hatton (Evita, Wicked); Dean John-Wilson (The King and I, Aladdin) and Maiya Quansah- Breed (SIX, Rent).

Orchestrations are by Scott Hayes (Rent; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) who will also be the Musical Director, Kirk Jameson joins as Director (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Marry Me a Little; Madagascar) with Lighting Design by Andrew Ellis (Eugenius, Flashdance): Original Direction was by Scott Alan and original Production Design by Simon Daw. The production is produced by Sevans Productions and Krystal Lee.


New UK Musicals and Parkwood Theatres have announced the cast and creatives of the world premiere of new British musical Ordinary People. Supported by funding from the Farnham Maltings Our Town Project and written by Darren Clark, Ordinary People takes real life stories from the lives of the people of Maidstone in Kent and turns them into a truly British musical. At its heart the show explores the idea that there is nothing ordinary about ordinary people.

The cast features actor musicians Anne Marie Piazza (RSC’s The Day of the Living, These Trees Are Made of Blood), Jared Leathwood (Billionaire Boy), Tom Self (The Hired Man UK Tour) and Sorrel Jordan (The Juliet Letters). This new musical is directed by Jenny Longley with choreography by Lorna Thomas and musical direction by Tom Self. Ordinary People premieres at Maidstone’s Hazlitt Theatre for two performances on the 30th and 31st July.


The highly anticipated tour of the Edinburgh Fringe hit Tokyo Rose has announced their all-female cast, starring Kanako Nakano (Miss Saigon, West End; Priscilla Queen of the Desert, West End). The production, winner of the coveted Les Enfant Terribles Stepladder Award, will also feature Maya Britto (Tokyo Rose, New Diorama Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe; Arabian Nights, Hoxton Hall) in the titular role, Lucy Park (Tokyo Rose, New Diorama Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe; Game Face, Q Theatre/Tristan Bates Theatre), Yuki Sutton (Tokyo Rose, New Diorama Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe; Satanic Panic ’87, Channel 4), Amy Parker (Ride, Vault Festival; Dancing By Myself, King’s Head Theatre), and Cara Baldwin (The Marathon Project, online; The Half Moon Shania, Zoo Venues/Vault Festival).

Tokyo Rose is an electrifying new musical about one of America’s most controversial trials, examining a real-life story of scaremongering and scapegoating. New Diorama Theatre and Underbelly first commissioned this exciting project as part of the Untapped Award, and its potential was realised following a sold out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019. From September, the tour will visit MAST Mayflower Studios, Southwark Playhouse, Curve Theatre, Leicester, The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, Corn Exchange Newbury, and Birmingham Hippodrome.


Michael Harrison and David Ian have announced that Adam J BernardTarinn CallenderMatt Henry and Tosh Wanogho-Maud will play The Drifters in a brand new musical also starring Beverley Knight, which tells the remarkable story of one of the world’s greatest vocal groups and the woman who made them.

The Drifters Girl will begin performances in Newcastle on Saturday 9 October 2021, playing until Saturday 23 October. Performances at the Garrick Theatre in London start on Thursday 4 November 2021.


Hamilton returns to the Victoria Palace from 19th August and has revealed its new cast. Karl Queensborough will play the title role of Alexander Hamilton with Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Aaron Burr, Ava Brennan as Angelica Schuyler, Sharon Rose as Eliza Hamilton, Trevor Dion Nicholas as George Washington, Waylon Jacobs as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Emile Ruddock as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Khalid Daley as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton, Emilie Louise Israel as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds and Harry Hepple as King George. At certain performances the role of Alexander Hamilton will be played by Nuno Queimado.

The cast also comprises Jade Albertsen, Curtis Angus, Robson Broad, Matthew Caputo, Filippo Coffano, Ashley Daniels, Kelly Downing, Lydia Fraser, Jordan Frazier, Manaia Glassey-Ohlson, Jake Halsey-Jones, Olivia Kate Holding, Peter Houston, DeAngelo Jones, Nicolais-Andre Kerry, Travis Kerry, Ella Kora, Natasha Leaver, Aaron Lee Lambert, Phoebe Liberty Jones, Sinead Long, Louis Mackrodt, Jay Perry, Lindsey Tierney and Brandon Williams.

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”

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”

Film Review: Cats (2019)

Against a barrage of bad reviews, I tried to give Cats a fair hearing. There may have been wine involved…

“I remember the time I knew what happiness was”

I wanted to like Cats, honest. But…but…everytime you look at a detail in this unexpected horror film, there’s something ungainly or odd that distracts you inordinately:

  • the scale of the damn thing. The mind boggles as the cats change from being tiny compared to railway tracks to almost human-sized at Nelson’s Column, bringing almost any object into screen ends up pulling focus as you try and work out wtf is going on
  • why do some of them wear shoes (the ‘street’ cats in trainers, TSwift in heels…?) and of those who don’t, what’s with the toes
  • in fact the whole anthropomorphic thing. There’s cleavage and six packs but no genitals or anuses. You wouldn’t think it would bother you so much but there’s so many lingering shots of these places…! 
  • the dancing cockroaches in danger of being eaten. Whyyyyyyyy?!
  • it’s rather amusing that pretty much every reaction shot of Dench is her looking aghast, we know how you feel Judi

An unfortunate waste of talent all-round I’m afraid.

News: Cats trailer released

The only good thing to come out of the release of the trailer for the forthcoming movie adaptation of Cats is Twitter’s collective response

 

And if you must see the original for yourself…

 

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”

Review: Strictly Ballroom, West Yorkshire Playhouse

“I don’t know if you are illusion”

Hoping for a ten from Len and to avoid the dreaded dis-sah-ter from Craig, Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom arrives for its UK premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Best known in its 1992 film version, it actually began life as a play in the mid-1980s when it became big in Czechoslovakia as well as Luhrmann’s native Australia and perhaps appropriately, it is now Drew McOnie who takes the directorial chair, the choreographer-director’s rising star an ideal fit for a musical all about dance.

And what dance it is. We’re in the world of competitive ballroom dancing and we’re treated to a wide range of routines from rehearsals to all-out performances and much inventive work in-between, especially where mirrors are involved. And in all this freedom of expression, there’s a crystal-clear distillation of the story’s message in the sheer joy of dancing for fun and the power of following an individual path. But the show isn’t just dance, it’s words and music as well and there, it is less sure-footed.

Continue reading “Review: Strictly Ballroom, West Yorkshire Playhouse”