Review: Now or Never, Barn Theatre online

There are some good performance in Matthew Harvey’s Now or Never, the latest online show from the Barn Theatre but I’m not sure the song cycle format entirely works

“We could still make it to Paris”

What would you do if there was only a week left to live? That’s the question facing the seven people in Now or Never, a new song cycle written by Matthew Harvey. Continuing the Barn Theatre’s inventive forays online, with a non-stop, one-shot, one-night-only production that is over and done with in a scant 30 minutes.

Get a dog? Connect with loved ones? Go to Paris? Reach out to those long estranged? Harvey’s writing covers the emotional gamut and fits his self-identified brief of writing about responses to global adversity without writing specifically about the pandemic. And with it being just half an hour, it has that feeling of shining bright like a star. Continue reading “Review: Now or Never, Barn Theatre online”

News: Cast announced for Barn Theatre’s Now or Never

The Barn Theatre have today announced the full casting and creative team for upcoming livestream Now or Never. 

Now or Never is a British song cycle with an exciting and ambitious digital twist. Now or Never is a song cycle written by associate artist Matthew Harvey, which follows 7 people as they each take a defiant act of positivity in their last week on Earth.  Continue reading “News: Cast announced for Barn Theatre’s Now or Never”

News: Songwriters Anderson & Petty announce A Christmas Wish

Songwriters Anderson & Petty have announced A Christmas Wish, a virtual concert with West End stars from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, SIX: The Musical, Wicked and more, available to stream at select times from 17 December – 20 December 2020. The concert is hosted by Ben Stock and Hilary O’Neil and is in aid of theatrical charity Acting For Others who provide emotional and financial support to theatre workers in times of need through 14 member charities.

Sign up and buy tickets here: www.stream.theatre/home Continue reading “News: Songwriters Anderson & Petty announce A Christmas Wish”

#StandByMeChallenge Instagram edition

Just doing my best to try and amplify some of these amazing black voices. I stand with you.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.” – Rosa Parks ⁣✊? #Standbymechallenge #Wearetired #Saytheirnames

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✊? #standbymechallenge #wearetired #saytheirnames

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Continue reading “#StandByMeChallenge Instagram edition”

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

“Tale as old as time”

It’s taken me a little time to get round to writing this review, which is rarely a good sign, as I was struggling for anything entirely constructive to say about this film. The 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast was Disney close to its best but these days, nothing is left alone if it has even the merest hint of cash cow about it. So it has previously hit the stage as a musical and following the success of Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, it now has a cinematic live-action remake.

Which is all fine and good but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And at no point does Bill Condon’s film ever convince us that the world needed this version of Beauty and the Beast, there’s rarely any sense of it bringing something new and insightful to the story. Plus the contortions it (and star Emma Watson) has had to make to try and convince of its feminist credentials scarcely seem worth it in the final analysis. Continue reading “Film Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)”

Festive news #3 – West End Sings for Childline

And because things come in threes, here’s the news about West End Sings’ Christmas single ‘If We Only Have Love’ by Jacques Brel. Released to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Childline and all proceeds will go to the charity. The track can be pre-ordered from Friday 2nd December and will be released on Friday 9th December.

The song features stars from several West End Musicals plus the Sylvia Young Choir, with music by the producers of two out of the last three Christmas number 1s. Just some of the people singing are Dean John-Wilson, Cassidy Janson, Lucy St Louis, Davina Perera, Dylan Turner, Daniel Boys, Ben Forster, Rachelle Ann Go, Caroline Sheen, and Claire Sweeneymore details can be found on their website.

Review: Motown the Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre

“I don’t write race music, it’s music for everyone”

You may think that there’s no-one better to tell your own life story than yourself but if Motown the Musical teaches us anything, it’s that an outside ear benefits us all. Founder of the renowned Motown record label, Berry Gordy carried on regardless though and as the author of the self-serving book for this show, based on his autobiography, detracts a little from what is otherwise a fun jukebox musical stuffed with some stonking music from the likes of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5, and rather brilliantly performed by a cracking cast. Read my 3 star review for Official Theatre here

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 17th February

Review: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre

“Everything seems to be
Some kind of wonderful”

Where Broadway leads, the West End will surely follow and so it is little surprise that Tony-winning Beautiful – The Carole King Musical found its way over here to the Aldwych Theatre. And I’m pleased to report that the transatlantic passage has gone most smoothly indeed to deliver an absolute treat of a show. When three of its four leading personnel are still very much alive and kicking, it is perhaps no surprise that Douglas McGrath’s book treads a rather respectable path through the first ten years of King’s career. But then she would be the first to say, with typical self-deprecating charm, that her life is hardly the most exciting, her dreams never the loftiest – it just so happens that beneath this veneer of ordinariness lay an absolute treasure trove of extraordinary music. 

And as musical gem follows musical gem – both from the collaborations of King and sometime partner Gerry Goffin, and also from their friends and writing rivals Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann – this feels utterly the point. Life isn’t always chock-a-block with drama, motivations don’t always have to spring from some momentous event, the cult of the tortured artistic soul is far from the be all and end all (Billington seems to suggest being “a shy, well-adjusted woman struggling to reconcile a career with a failing marriage” is something of a crime!) and I’d say that Beautiful is no weaker a biopic for not having such narrative peaks and troughs, reinventing personal history in the name of drama.  Continue reading “Review: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre”