Bray Productions Ltd have announced principal and supporting cast members that will be joining Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman in A Journey to the Past, a West End celebration of the works of the Tony Award-winning and world-renowned musical theatre writing team Ahrens & Flaherty.
The musical celebration, directed by Maria Friedman, will feature a selection of music from the writing duo’s most beloved works, including Maria Friedman reprising her Olivier Award-winning performance of ‘Back to Before’ from Ragtime. Continue reading “News: cast announced for A Journey to the Past”
Kenneth Branagh returns to Poirot with Death on the Nile but for all its starry cast, it does feel rather hollow
“Mother doesn’t approve of anyone born outside of Mayfair
With Maggie Smith, Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury among the company in the 1978 film version, Kenneth Branagh was always going to be up against it in remounting Death on the Nile. But even as he assembles the compelling (Sophie Okonedo, Annette Bening), the curious (Dawn French AND Jennifer Saunders) and the controversial (Armie Hammer and Letitia Wright both having their own issues post-shoot), the end result is something quite trite.
I wasn’t much of a fan of his Murder on the Orient Express and there’s a number of the same issues that recur here. A heavy reliance on CGI is painfully conspicuous throughout which really flattens out so many scenes. And it is all very well gathering an all-star cast but if they’re not given the material to work with, then it is hard not to feel like it is a waste of their talents. Agatha Christie may bear a little responsibility in gathering such a disparate motley crew here but Branagh show no interest in helping to create more rounded characterisations. Continue reading “Film Review: Death on the Nile (2022)”
Since it is the season of goodwill to all men, I’m not going to belabour the point that it is a shame that ‘musicals’ have been lumped together as a category here, whereas the likes of Pinter and Kane got their own specials, whither Sondheim, Herman and Tesori. Still, it’s lovely as ever to stretch back over years of musical theatre productions to see some of Tristram Kenton’s most iconic shots for the Guardian:
Photos: Tristram Kenton
Kenneth Branagh releases a trailer for Death on the Nile, starring Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Letitia Wright, Annette Bening and bloody French and Saunders!
Me after watching Murder on the Orient Express: never again, Branagh, never again
Branagh: but what if I cast both French and Saunders in a film…
Continue reading “Film news: Death on the Nile trailer released”
The schedule has been announced for week 4 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.
Tickets to watch the live streams are a bargainous £7.50, just click on this link to book. Continue reading “News: line-up for week 4 of Leave A Light On”
Caught in a bad romance, a gayed-up take on Romance Romance does nothing for me at the Above the Stag theatre
“There are days he blows his fuse now
And there are nights he’s just not there”
Romance Romance was nominated for 5 Tonys in 1988 and performance nods aside, you have to wonder what the standard of the other nominees was (actually, they included The Phantom of the Opera and Into the Woods…!) as its charms really rather eluded me.
Steven Dexter’s production reframes Barry Harman’s book and lyrics into a gay context which certainly has interest. But the disparity of the two acts, based respectively on Arthur Schnitzler’s The Little Comedy and Jules Renard’s Le Pain de Ménage, means it is a curiously disengaging watch. Continue reading “Review: Romance Romance, Above the Stag”
Live At Zédel, Soho’s unique live entertainment concept at Crazy Coqs, announces their new 2018 summer season produced in partnership with Fane Productions
Continue reading “Summer 2018 season at Live At Zédel”
If gay jokes and boob jokes and dick jokes are your thing, then Young Frankenstein is for you. Not for me though, not at all.
“Though your genitalia
Has been known to fail ya
You can bet your ass on the brain”
It’s alive…barely. Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein staggers into the West End after some more time on the operating table since its 2007 Broadway opening (2 new songs are among the changes made) and a short run in Newcastle to tighten the bolts. But for a piece of new musical theatre, it is so desperately old-fashioned that you half expect Russ Abbot and Bella Emberg to pop up and do a turn.
Given that Brooks is now over 90 and that the film on which it is based dates from 1974, it is perhaps little surprise that it feels dated. But also given director/choreographer Susan Stroman’s close collaborative relationship with him, the opportunity to be necessarily brutal about what works and what doesn’t feels to have been lost, lightning really hasn’t struck twice for the creators of The Producers. Continue reading “Review: Young Frankenstein, Garrick”
“The world is hard, the world is mean
It’s hard to keep your conscience clean”
I hadn’t listened to Love Never Dies since seeing its very first preview (oh how we laughed when ALW ran furious from the stalls when the set broke down) and having popped on the concept album that was released in tandem, I was soon reminded why. The not-a-sequel to Phantom of the Opera too often feels like a lazy retread of familiar ground, demonstrating zero musical progression and revealing a stagnation where there once was innovation.
The Coney Island setting undercuts any attempt to get close to the gothic horror of the opera house, the ‘freak show’ elements are desperately tame there. The swerves into rock are ill-advised in the extreme. Lyrically, there’s no ingenuity here at all, the words play second fiddle to the music to their peril And above all, the interpolation of themes from Phantom serve as a constant reminder of what this is not, and also the ultimate folly of the enterprise. Continue reading “Album Review: Love Never Dies (2010 Concept Album)”