Fourth Wall Live and The Hippodrome Casino London are thrilled to announce a series of over 40 shows at the Hippodrome Casino this winter. The season runs from 18 November every week for 5 weeks and will include two shows nightly at 7.00pm and 9.00pm.
This may or may not have been planned as a birthday surprise for me…but the Barn Theatre have announced a new virtual concert series showcasing the works of Britain’s musical theatre composers, beginning with The Barn Theatre Presents: The Music of Daniel and Laura Curtis.
The schedule has been announced for week 3 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.
All things being equal, I would have been reviewing new musical CASES at The Other Palace last night, but here’s some snippets of the show to give you a taster of what we can (eventually) look forward
“I’m frightened with the fear of not knowing”
Written by Dominic Powell and due to star Maiya Quansah-Breed, Sabrina Aloueche, Andrew Patrick-Walker and Adrian Hanse, CASES is a new musical “exploring the triumphs, heartbreaks and sacrifices involved in the pursuit of art, where the commercial world collides with the underground and fame becomes a high price to pay”. It premiered at the Phoenix Arts Club in 2017 but this new production, directed by Grace Taylor, features a new score and new songs and technology being what it is these days, we have a taste of two of them below, which should whet the appetite for when the show is able to resurface.
Nobody’s on nobody’s side – an all-star cast can’t save this game of Chess from itself, for me at least
“From square one I’ll be watching all sixty-four”
It’s taken over 30 years for Chess to return to the West End (though it was seen at the Union in 2013) and though it has a huge amount of resource thrown at it in Laurence Connor’s production for English National Opera, it doesn’t necessarily feel worth the wait. An 80’s mega-musical through and through with an intermittently cracking score from ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Richard Nelson’s book hasn’t aged particularly well and bears the hallmarks of the substantial tinkering it has had at every opportunity.
It’s not too hard to see why it has needed the tinkering. The mix of Cold War politics told through the prism of rival US and Soviet chess Grandmasters, love triangles and power ballads is a tricky one to get right and part of the problem seems to be just how seriously to take it all. On the one hand, the chess matches are backgrounded with montages of the real-life tensions of the 80s; on the other, scenes that take us through the various locations of the tournaments are a cringeworthy riot of cultural stereotyping that revel in their utter kitsch. Continue reading “Review: Chess, London Coliseum”
Clearly, it was their cumulative musical talent – between them, Scott Garnham, Simon Schofield, Craig Mather and Kieran Brown have racked up credits in pretty much every major musical from The Phantom of The Opera, Wicked and Billy Elliot to Jersey Boys, The Sound Of Music and Les Misérables. And now they’re bringing their cabaret show to The Other Palace’s Studio for a Christmas season which is enough to bring festive cheer to even the most Scrooge-like of hearts. Continue reading “The Barricade Boys announce a Christmas Cabaret season with an amazing guest cast”
“Its simple truth speaks volumes in a world where hatred rages”
Following on from the re-release of his self-titled album earlier this year, Leslie Odom Jr gives us another opportunity to sink into his world of soulful jazz with an album of reinterpreted holiday classics in Simply Christmason S-Curve Records. And I do mean sink into like the most comfortable sofa you can imagine, in front of a log fire and drinking a nice cup of Charbonnel and Walker, for this is rich and luxurious stuff – as evidenced halfway into opening track ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ when a softly funky breakdown envelops you in its warmth like a marshmallow on top of that hot chocolate.
Dangerously seductive in Hamilton, Odom Jr will lose precisely zero fans here with this lush yet restrained style. Arrangements are kept simple, allowing heartfelt vocals to imbue tracks like ‘The First Noel’ and ‘The Christmas Song’ with renewed life. Equally, the piano and vocal improvs in ‘My Favourite Things’ keep things utterly fresh without losing sight of the overall vision of the record. The gentle guitar accompaniment to The Carpenters’ ‘Merry Christmas Darling’ is a thing of loveliness and Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s new festive standard ‘Winter Song’ blooms gorgeously under the treatment. Continue reading “Festive review: Leslie Odom Jr / Megan Hilty / Eyles & Gould / All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride”
Album reviews – Simon Bailey – Looking Up, Louise Dearman – It’s Time and Bonnie Langford – Now
“You don’t have to stay forever I will understand”
Simon Bailey’s debut solo album Looking Up sees the actor stretch his singer-songwriter wings as well as picking personal choices from both the worlds of musical theatre and popular music. He reveals a rockier edge to his taste than would normally be my wheelhouse, but his intense reading of Evanescence’s ‘My Immortal’ is good enough to cross genres. A duet on Once’s ‘Falling Slowly’ with the talented Sabrina Aloueche is a highlight for me, and there’s nice work on Jason Robert Brown’s ‘I’d Give It All For You’ with Katie Hall. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Simon Bailey – Looking Up / Louise Dearman – It’s Time / Bonnie Langford – Now”
The less than salubrious surroundings of the North Florida trailer park Armadillo Acres (few armadillos and even fewer acres) might seem like the ideal location for a madcap musical and in some ways, you’d be right. And The Great American Trailer Park Musicalcertainly lives up to the madcap and the musical in this knowingly camp production by Kirk Jameson – it’s just the ‘great’ that feels somewhat in doubt.
There’s no questioning the quality of the production and its brilliant casting decisions. Tempting the likes of illustrious veteran Rosie Ashe to the fringe is no mean feat and the powerhouse pipes of the severely under-rated Sabrina Aloueche is all the more impressive in the intimate (if poorly raked) Waterloo East Theatre. In fact, the whole company sing very well, their assured vocals matched by James Taylor’s musical direction. Continue reading “Review: The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Waterloo East”