New musical theatre gets haunted by the intriguing charms and waspish humour of The Fabulist Fox Sister
“Tonight is going to be different”
There’s something just a little bit perverse about the scheduling of new musical The Fabulist Fox Sister, seeing its third and final performance up against Strictly Come Dancing’s much-heralded Musicals Week. Of course, any spotlight on the world of musical theatre is to be welcomed in these trying times and it was nice to see the likes of fresher shows Waitress and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie alongside the all-too-predictable Phantom. But the continued focus on big West End shows does make it trickier for small shows to break through, to reach those audiences who’ve been conditioned to expect crashing chandeliers at every turn.
With music by Luke Bateman and book and lyrics by Michael Conley The Fabulist Fox Sister ably demonstrates that a reduction in scale doesn’t necessarily equate a loss in impact. Indeed, the particular intimacy gained in a live-streamed environment like that far outweighs the experience of straining to see from the balcony of any number of West End venues. Taking the true story of Kate Fox – who with her sisters pioneered the movement of spiritualism – as a starting point and fashioning from it an entertaining monologue with songs, this is a thrilling taste of what musicals can also be. Continue reading “Review: The Fabulist Fox Sister”
Southwark Playhouse continue to knock it out of the park with their programming with new musicals livestreaming and a revival of one of the best new plays of the last 10 years – Nick Payne’s Constellations
Written by Nick Payne. Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle. Lighting design by Jamie Platt. Sound design by Alexandra Faye Braithwaite. Set and costume design by Lee Newby.
Cast: Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo and Oliver Johnstone.
Dates: Thursday 26 November – Saturday 19 December 2020
One relationship. Infinite possibilities.
Nick Payne’s Constellations explores how even the smallest change in our lives can dramatically alter the course we take. It is a spellbinding exploration of love, science, heartbreak and hope.
Premiering at the Royal Court in 2012, Constellations went on to receive critical acclaim in the West End and on Broadway. It returns to London this Christmas, starring Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo (Three Sisters – NT, Been So Long) and Oliver Johnstone (All My Sons – Old Vic, On Chesil Beach), directed by Jonathan O’Boyle (The Last Five Years, The View Upstairs).
Winner of the 2012 Evening Standard Award for Best New Play, Constellations speaks to the power of human connection against all odds. Continue reading “News: winter 2020 season at Southwark Playhouse”
As new digital sheet music store New UK Musicals launches, I talk with multi-award winning composer & lyricist Darren Clark about the site and his career
Darren Clark has been responsible for two of my favourite shows of recent years in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Wicker Husband so I was interested to discover that he has been keeping very busy during lockdown, creating New UK Musicals.
New UK Musicals is an online platform where you will be able to purchase sheet music from some of the best new musical theatre writers working in the UK today. It’s a digital store where performers and fans can listen to online samples, purchase fresh, new songs and also connect with the writers who create them.
Designed and built during lockdown, the site launches with a competition for performers who will be able to buy and download selected songs from the site and upload videos of themselves performing to New UK Musicals. First prize includes a number of free downloads from the site as well as the opportunity to perform alongside West End stars in a special edition of Adam Lenson’s SIGNAL Online Concert Series celebrating the work of these writers on the 16th June.
Writers represented on the site include: Finn Anderson (Islander), Rebecca Applin (Jabberwocky), Bateman & Conley (The Sorrows of Satan), Ed Bell (My 80 Year Old Boyfriend), Darren Clark (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Elliot Davis (Loserville), Gus Gowland (Pieces of String), Teresa Howard (I Capture the Castle), Richy Hughes (Superhero), Carl Miller (Wasted), Noisemaker (My Left Right Foot), Eamonn O’Dwyer (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Susannah Pearse (Jabberwocky), Victoria Saxton (Marriage a la Mode), Amir Shoenfeld (Benny in Beta), Emily Rose Simons (Confessions of a Rabbi’s Daughter), Tim Sutton (The Secret Garden), Stiles & Drewe (The Wind in the Willows), Webborn & Finn (The Clockmaker’s Daughter) and Wigmore and Green (Van Winkle). Continue reading “Interview: founder of New UK Musicals and composer extraordinaire Darren Clark”
This trio of album reviews covers Singing You Home: Children’s Songs for Family Reunification, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018 Film Soundtrack) and Vanara the Musical
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores”
Regardless of your politics, Singing You Home: Children’s Songs for Family Reunification is a really rather lovely album of bilingual children’s songs. But in this day and age nothing is not political and the current US administration’s policy of child separation is a genuine atrocity that it is hard to know how to respond. Laura Benanti had the nous to conceive this project though and produced it with Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Lynn Pinto, and a whole host of the great and good of the American musical theatre. Thus this is more than just your usual set of lullabies – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mandy Gonzalez crooning on the Mexican song ‘Cielito Lindo’, Audra McDonald shining on Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Singing You Home’, Kristin Chenoweth’s ‘Beautiful Dreamer’, well worth the investment for this uniquely exceptional cause. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Singing You Home / Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again / Vanara the Musical”
“Whatever you do, don’t tell the judge you love your daughter”
The solo musical is a rather under-used genre, perhaps a sign of how difficult it is to construct a musical monologue. But between them, lyricist Richy Hughes, composer Joseph Finlay and book writer Michael Conley have done a fine job in showing just how revelatory a form it can be with their new musical Superhero, receiving its world premiere in the ever-welcoming arms of the Southwark Playhouse.
Our Clark Kent is Colin Bradley, a stay-at-home father to daughter Emily and a doting husband to Christine. Apart from one drunken night which (rather hilariously) is all the fault of the musical Carousel and it is a night with consequences which prove to be beyond the rescue of mere men, as infidelity leads to separation and worse as Christine decides to move to the USA and Colin realises that only a superhero can save his relationship with his daughter now. Continue reading “Review: Superhero, Southwark Playhouse”