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”

My 10 favourite shows of 2019

I barely saw 250 shows this year, quiet by my standards! And as is the way of these things, here’s a rundown of some of the productions that moved me most…

1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Southwark Playhouse
I haven’t lost it in a theatre as much as this in a good long while. I cry at all sorts but this superlative musical had me trying, and failing, to choke back huge, hacking sobs. And I can still sing some of the songs – it has to come back, surely. “It’s all just a matter of time…”

2. Call Me Fury, Hope Theatre
“This is the history we should be teaching, these are the stories we should be sharing”, this striking and soulful piece gave voice to so many whom history have ignored, and was bloody entertaining with it. 

3. West Side Story, Curve Leicester
A musical I love, in a production that I simply adored. Getting to see two WSSs in one year was a privilege and for me, it was the emotional heart of Nikolai Foster’s production that won out.

4. As You Like It, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
The second year of the Public Acts programme comes up trumps once again with this gorgeous musical version of the Shakespeare classic, community theatre at its finest.

5. Islander, Southwark Playhouse
The magic of musical theatre distilled into two voices and a loop pedal – a marvellously inventive and endlessly moving. 

6. Amélie the Musical, Watermill Theatre/UK Tour/The Other Palace
As sweet-sharp as a diabolo grenadine, something truly gorgeous emerges from this film adaptation that simply demands you come up with better words than quirky to describe it.

7. & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Tell me why… About as much fun as you can have in the West End right now, this is a particularly fine example of the jukebox model and I want it that way.

8. Sexy Lamp, VAULT
A standout piece in a standout festival, Katie Arnstein’s brutally honest monologue about navigating the patriarchy may be lightened with songs and sweets but is no less effective for it.

9. Karaoke Play, Bunker Theatre
Deeply confessional and subtly magical, Annie Jenkins’ inter-connected monologues combined to become so much more than the sum of their parts.

10. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, National Theatre
A magical family tale, perfect for kids of all ages. Not even reading the exit poll as I left could ruin the feeling! 

Shows 11-25 under the cut

Continue reading “My 10 favourite shows of 2019”

Review: The View UpStairs, Soho Theatre

A vital piece of gay history is unearthed in LGBT+ musical The View UpStairs at the Soho Theatre

“In this kingdom we’ve found
Where the queens and clones collide
And though it reeks of cheap cologne
It’s my favorite escape from the world outside”

There’s something so powerful about the power of theatre to educate as well as ilustrate. The 1973 arson attack that took the lives of 32 people in a New Orleans gay bar was actually the most tragic hate crime until Orlando but it remains comparatively little known. So Max Vernon’s choice to use it as inspiration for his musical The View UpStairs is freighted with significance from the off.

And at its best, it is hugely powerful. A cross between a kind of oral history and musical theatre, it fleshes out the lives of gay people in 1970s USA in all its multi-faceted nature through its collection of what might at first be mistaken as stock characters. The aspiring drag queen, the sharp-edged hustler, the dreamy twink, the closeted musician, the lesbian ‘mother’, all are present and correct. Continue reading “Review: The View UpStairs, Soho Theatre”

Winners of 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
WINNER – Cost of Living  Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival Written by Martyna Majok

Miles for Mary Produced by Playwrights Horizons. Written by Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto, Lila Neugebauer, and Stephanie Wright Thompson
Pipeline Produced by Lincoln Center Theater. Written by Dominique Morisseau
WINNER – School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play Produced by MCC Theater. Written by Jocelyn Bioh
The Treasurer Produced by Playwrights Horizons. Written by Max Posner

Outstanding Musical
Bella: An American Tall Tale Produced by Playwrights Horizons. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Kirsten Childs
Desperate Measures  Produced by The York Theatre Company in association with Cecilia Lin and Hu Guo. Book and Lyrics by Peter Kellogg, Music by David Friedman
Hundred Days Produced by New York Theatre Workshop. By The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher
Jerry Springer – The Opera Produced by The New Group. Music and Lyrics by Richard Thomas. Book and Additional Lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas
WINNER – KPOP  Produced by Ars Nova in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective. Conceived by Woodshed Collective and Jason Kim. Book by Jason Kim, Music and Lyrics by Helen Park and Max Vernon, Immersive Design by Woodshed Collective Continue reading “Winners of 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards”

Nominations for 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
Cost of Living  Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival Written by Martyna Majok
Miles for Mary Produced by Playwrights Horizons. Written by Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto, Lila Neugebauer, and Stephanie Wright Thompson
Pipeline Produced by Lincoln Center Theater. Written by Dominique Morisseau
School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play Produced by MCC Theater. Written by Jocelyn Bioh
The Treasurer Produced by Playwrights Horizons. Written by Max Posner

Outstanding Musical
Bella: An American Tall Tale Produced by Playwrights Horizons. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Kirsten Childs
Desperate Measures  Produced by The York Theatre Company in association with Cecilia Lin and Hu Guo. Book and Lyrics by Peter Kellogg, Music by David Friedman
Hundred Days Produced by New York Theatre Workshop. By The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher
Jerry Springer – The Opera Produced by The New Group. Music and Lyrics by Richard Thomas. Book and Additional Lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas
KPOP  Produced by Ars Nova in association with Ma-Yi Theater Company and Woodshed Collective. Conceived by Woodshed Collective and Jason Kim. Book by Jason Kim, Music and Lyrics by Helen Park and Max Vernon, Immersive Design by Woodshed Collective Continue reading “Nominations for 2018 Lucille Lortel Awards”