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: Pitlochry Festival Theatre announce Summer Ensemble for 70th anniversary season

Pitlochry Festival Theatre is delighted to announce the Summer Ensemble for its 70th anniversary season which will take place in the picturesque grounds of the Perthshire theatre from the end of this month.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s exciting 22-strong Summer Ensemble will feature BAFTA Scotland award-winning Jane McCarry (Isa Drennan in Still Game, BBC Scotland and Granny Murray in Me Too!, CBBC); Colin McCredie (Taggart, ITV and River City , BBC Scotland); Lauren Samuels (We Will Rock You, Bend it Like Beckham and Grease, all West End and Cinderella, Lyric Hammersmith); Daniel Boys (The Boys in the Band, The Park Theatre and West End, Avenue Q, Tommy and  Spamalot, all West End); playwright Jo Clifford;  Richard Colvin (Sunshine on Leith, UK tour and A Christmas Carol, Octagon Theatre Bolton); Brian Ferguson (Beats, Sixteen Films); Beth Frieden (Class Act, Traverse Theatre and Caiptean Cora, Theatre Gu Leòr); Connor Going (Footloose, UK tour and The Choir of Men , US and Australia tour); Katie Grosset (various productions with Scottish Opera)  Barrie Hunter (Smile and  All My Sons, Dundee Rep) and Nicholas Karimi (The Twilight Zone, Almeida and West End; Macbeth, National Theatre and James II, National Theatre of Scotland). Continue reading “News: Pitlochry Festival Theatre announce Summer Ensemble for 70th anniversary season”

News: Lauren Samuels & Sophie Evans announce new album

Lauren Samuels and Sophie Evans first found fame when they met on the hit BBC1 show Over the Rainbow. Both ladies made it to the final and were highly praised by Andrew Lloyd Webber and have gone on to have hugely successful stage careers. To celebrate a decade since the show first aired, Sophie and Lauren have reunited to record Chasing Rainbows, Finding Judy, a stunning album of songs made famous by Judy Garland, the original Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The first single from the album, ‘The Rainbow’s End’, is available now.

The idea for the album was born out of a desire Lauren & Sophie had not only to collaborate and to celebrate how they met, but also to bring Judy’s music to a new audience – hearing these classic songs performed by younger voices. The album has been beautifully produced by Grammy-nominated producer James McMillan. Continue reading “News: Lauren Samuels & Sophie Evans announce new album”

News: Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café announce the return of Leave A Light On

Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café have announced the return of popular online concert series Leave A Light On, with 70 performances being re-streamed via stream.theatre.

Shows from across the two series’ feature Zoe BirkettJordan Luke GageDavid HunterCassidy JansonLucie JonesBeverley Knight and Layton Williams many more famous West End faces.

Shows will be available to watch every day at 5pm and 8pm from 15 March to 24 April. Continue reading “News: Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café announce the return of Leave A Light On”

Album Reviews: Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again / Mascherato the Musical / Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1

This set of album reviews covers Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again, Mascherato the Musical (Original Studio Cast Recording) and Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1

“You thrill me, you delight me
You please me, you excite me”

If anyone gets to follow Cher in making an album of ABBA songs, then it is probably the West End’s Donna Sheridan, Mazz Murray.  Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again sees her interpret 10 of Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid’s best with an unexpectedness tenderness that you don’t necessarily always associate with the band. Handclaps guitar arpeggios adorn ‘Chiquitita’, a solo ‘My Love My Life’ feels packed with more yearning than ever, so too a delicately layered ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ which is making a late case to be one of my all-time favourite ABBA songs. A lovely way to revisit some of those oh-so-familiar songs. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again / Mascherato the Musical / Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1”

News: Crazy Coqs announces August and September programme

Crazy Coqs, Soho’s unique live entertainment venue within the Brasserie Zédel complex, announces a new limited August programme and a full September programme, offering both live shows and live-streamed shows.

Janie Dee, Maria Friedman, Lauren Samuels, Sophie Evans, Cedric Neal, Nerina Pallot and Jay Rayner all feature in the new season.

The live shows will be performed to a reduced capacity with a socially distanced seating plan, where the front row is at least 2.5m from the stage, and all table groupings are at least 1m apart. There will be a maximum of three performers on stage to maintain social distancing. Customers will be invited to purchase tables, rather than individual tickets, to comply with the ‘reduced social bubble’ government advice.

For more information on what Health and Safety measures Crazy Coqs are implementing to make your visit as safe as possible, please visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

Several live shows will also be live streamed in partnership with Fane Online, giving audiences the chance to watch broadcast quality Crazy Coqs shows from the comfort of their own home. 

The full programme can be found at Crazy Coqs’ new website: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/crazy-coqs/

Subject to government guidelines, the programme from October onwards will be announced in due course. Continue reading “News: Crazy Coqs announces August and September programme”

News: Stiles and Drewe Prize to host online concert

A host of West End stars have been enlisted to perform the shortlist of 15 compositions in the running for the 2020 Stiles + Drewe Best New Song Prize in a virtual concert to be streamed today (5th July 2020).

Recorded by each singer in isolation, the videos which have been produced by Bartek Podkowa and mix engineer Kevin Porée will be presented as a virtual concert with the winning song announced in the online ceremony. Continue reading “News: Stiles and Drewe Prize to host online concert”

News: line-up for week 4 of Leave A Light On

The schedule has been announced for week 4 of Leave A Light On, a series of live-streamed concerts.

The shows will be live streamed as part of the Leave A Light on series of concerts produced by Lambert Jackson and The Theatre Café, which aims not only to provide financial support for the performers involved, but also to provide entertainment for people in self-isolation.

Tickets to watch the live streams are a bargainous £7.50, just click on this link to book. Continue reading “News: line-up for week 4 of Leave A Light On”

Album Reviews: Sleeping Beauty the Musical / 9 to 5 the Musical / Girlfriends

This trio of musical theatre album reviews features Sleeping Beauty the Musical, 9 to 5 the Musical – West End Cast Recording and Girlfriends (London Musical Theatre Orchestra)

“When life seems uphill, remember you’re still ascending”

A bit of googling about Joel Harper-Jackson (what, you don’t do it too…?) came up with this studio cast recording of Sleeping Beauty the Musical. A musical adaptation of the fairytale with book and lyrics by Ian Curran and music by Simon Hanson and Peter Vint, it is a rather amiable treatment of the story and a perfectly serviceable set of tunes. Truth be told, this isn’t a score to really set the world alight but then not everything has to, especially when allied to as classic a tale as this. Harper-Jackson and Maria Coyne both impress as the central couple of Prince Perrault and Princess Aurora whose growing relationship is the cornerstone of the show and ultimately quite affecting here. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Sleeping Beauty the Musical / 9 to 5 the Musical / Girlfriends”