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.

Review: Disenchanted

Musical revue Disenchanted takes a deeper look at the lives of Disney princesses and whether happy ever after is all that

“One more once upon a time and I swear I’ll go insane”

Revisiting fairytale endings and reclaiming female historical narratives will be familiar to fans of Into the Woods and SIX but Dennis T Giacino’s Disenchanted attempts to tackle both in an ambitious if patchy musical comedy. Returning to some of the characters so familiar from our storybooks, the show gives them new voice to explain what life as a ‘princess’ is really and how the stories we’ve been told don’t necessarily reflect ‘reality’.

In some ways, this is powerfully effective. You can’t help but hear echoes of Thandiwe Newton’s recent decision in Badroulbadour’s story of how her name and ethnicity were changed in order to become a secondary character in Aladdin. Or nod at Mulan’s recognition that the reason she’s one of the only princesses not to end up with a partner is because she’s a lesbian. Throw in commentary on typical cup size and waist measurements and you see how much social conditioning has gone on through this mode of storytelling. Continue reading “Review: Disenchanted”

Musical news aplenty

Following its opening at the Watermill Theatre, a critically acclaimed sell-out tour in 2019, a highly successful Christmas season at The Other Palace in 2019, a Grammy nomination and 3 Olivier Award nominations, Amélie The Musical arrives in the heart of the West End this summer. Following the government roadmap announcement, tickets are on sale now for a socially distanced audience at the Criterion Theatre from Thursday 20 May. Olivier-nominee Audrey Brisson (The Elephantom, Pinocchio and Pericles (National Theatre), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), and The Grinning Man
(Bristol Old Vic)), will return to the role of ‘Amélie’.

The five–time Oscar®-nominated film will be brought to life once again by a cast of actor-musicians and set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, Amélie The Musical is directed by Michael Fentiman. The full cast includes Sioned Saunders as Gina, Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Georgette, Rachel Dawson as Amandine/Philomene, Oliver Grant as Lucien/Mysterious Man, Chris Jared as Nino Quincampoix, Caolan McCarthy as Hippolito/Elton John, Samuel Morgan-Grahame as Joseph/Fluffy, Kate Robson-Stuart as Suzanne, Jack Quarton as Blind Beggar, Jez Unwin as Raphael/Bretodeau and Johnson Willis as Collignon/Dufayel. Nuwan Hugh Perera, Miiya Alexandra, Robyn Sinclair and Matthew James Hinchliffe complete the ensemble. Continue reading “Musical news aplenty”

News: the 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards arrive on 14th March

The 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards are forging ahead, with a ceremony and concert recorded at the Turbine Theatre and streaming on Sunday 14th March. Tickets available here.

2020 being what it was means things will have to be different and the concert will be shining a light on a mixture of performances from shows that had their runs disrupted by the pandemic, those created during lockdown and those to look forward to in the future. Continue reading “News: the 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards arrive on 14th March”

Review: West End Musical Drive In, Episode 2

Featuring the many queens of SIX, Episode 2 of the West End Musical Drive In is a powerful collection of musical theatre performances

“I remember that night I just might”

The first instalment of the West End Musical Drive In impressed me with its raw urgency, a timely reminder of the power of 100% live vocals and the breadth of musical theatre talent that we have in this country. So it is great that the folks behind West End Musical Brunch are continuing to release more of the drive-in concerts that they hosted last summer.

This week’s episode brings together 11 of the performers from various casts of the musical Six and with such a greater number of singers, the programming is certainly eclectic and ultimately does feel a little bit scattershot in its choices, lacking a little of the thematic unity that marked out last week’s showcase. Continue reading “Review: West End Musical Drive In, Episode 2”

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”

News: West End Musical Drive In comes to Stream.Theatre

From the Drive-In to your home, relive the biggest musical concert series of 2020. With 10 hours of incredible live performances from over 25 of the greatest West End stars, including Layton Williams (Everyone’s Talking About Jamie), Lucie Jones (Waitress), and Alice Fearn (Come From Away), this exciting digital series will bring five fantastic West End Musical Drive In concerts directly to you. A different concert will be available to stream each week from Friday 19th February to Sunday 21st March via Stream.Theatre.

Additional casting includes, Trevor Dion Nicholas (Hamilton), Shanay Holmes (The Bodyguard), Emma Hatton (Wicked), Shan Ako (Les Misérables), Sophie Evans (Wicked), Maiya Quansah Breed (Rent), Laura Pick (Wicked), Matthew Croke (Aladdin), Jon Robyns (Les Misérables), Kelly Agbowu (Waitress), Hiba Elchikhe (Aladdin), Jodie Steele (Heathers) and 12 previous cast members of Six The Musical. Continue reading “News: West End Musical Drive In comes to Stream.Theatre”

Review: Together Again

Featuring the marvellous Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams, Together Again might Thespie’s best Reunited gig yet

“Good times we’ll share again”

For whatever reason, the musical adaptation of Heathers held no attraction for me so I never actually got around to going to see it. The quality and appeal of its cast was never in doubt though, so I was interested to what the title trio of Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams would get up to in Together Again, their concert for Thespie’s Reunited series.

There’s an easy informality about this trio, who clearly get on like a house on fire, that elevates this concert to the best kind of cabaret. Full of chat, in-jokes and genuine admiration inbetween songs, the three of them conjure up the type of atmosphere that fully engages you and keeps you hanging off every note they sing. Continue reading “Review: Together Again”

Review: All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre

If you’re feeling festive and missing musical theatre, then All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre is the place to be

“But it’s not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here”

Thespie’s Reunited series has been a fun way of getting your musicals fix over the past few weeks and in a rather clever move, they’ve managed to put together a Christmas special featuring the companies already featured, plus some brand new special guests. So All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre so we get to see Team Schwartz and Team Girl Power again and my personal faves, Team Juliet as they tackle a range of festive classics.

For me though, it was the promise of concerts to come that proved most exciting. The tight harmonies of Heathers alumni Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams were a particular delight on both ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ and the women of Pretty Woman are in wonderfully high spirits on both ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ so consider my appetite whetted for their forthcoming gigs. Continue reading “Review: All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre”