Once at the Phoenix Theatre – New cast, April 2014

8 Apr

I went to see Once last week to check out the new cast. My love story with this simple, but simply gorgeous show started two years ago when I first saw the show on Broadway. I had no idea what to expect but the story of Guy and Girl falling in love over their shared passion for music just hooked me straight away. And since the show has transfered to London, the Phoenix Theatre is a place I visit often.

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The star of the show for me is definitely its beautiful music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, closely followed by Zrinka Cvitesic’s Girl. Her feisty portrayal of the Czech immigrant single mum manages to keep just the right balance, using great comic timing but also showing vulnerability and emotions.

The new cast seems to be settling in well. Arthur Darvill’s Guy is completely different from his predecessor’s. His Guy is quite awkward and quirky and he uses a lot of comedy. He is a great musician and has a lovely voice, something that will probably come as a surprise to many people who will only know him from Dr Who, or as in my case, from Broadchurch.

He and Zrinka have already managed to build up a very strong chemistry, and the rest of the cast isn’t far behind.

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The thing I love about Once is that it allows a lot of individuality in terms of interpretations and like Arthur’s Guy, the almost entirely new ensemble couldn’t be more different from their predecessors if they tried, yet they still manage to find the essence of their characters.

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Standouts for me are Mathew Hamper’s Andre, who is quite young and very vulnerable, with him you feel like he really needs Barushka’s motherly care, Matthew Ganley’s Svec, who is absolutely hilarious and Daniel Healy’s Eamon, who sings my favourite pre-show song Chandler’s Wife brilliantly.

And of course there is Jez Unwin’s hilarious bank manager, who somehow manages to make Abandon in Bandon ever more ‘horrid’.

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Once is definitely not your show if you’re looking for a big spectacle, with huge sets and sparkly costumes, but if you’re willing to just sit back and watch a simple love story unfold in front of you, which is going to make you howl with laughter and tug at your heart strings, accompanied by absolutely gorgeous music, I dare you to find a better night out in London.

I really hope this beautiful show and its amazing leading lady are going to get the recognition they deserve at the Olivier’s this weekend.

Review by Sabrina Gombauld

For more info about the show visit http://www.oncemusical.co.uk, check out Facebook and follow @OnceMusicalLDN .

I can’t sing at the London Palladium

27 Mar

I admit I wasn’t the least bit excited the first time I heard there was going to be a musical based on the popular casting show The X Factor. The thing is, casting shows really don’t interest me. I have never watched any of them and I don’t plan to give them any attention in the future. That and the fact I am not British probably doesn’t make me the target audience for I can’t sing which has just opened at the London Palladium. However, the cast alone meant I simply had to go and see it.

I can’t sing tells the story of Chenice, a poor girl living in a caravan beneath a motorway who is persuaded by plumber max to audition for The X Factor. She gets in, her and Max both become finalists and it seems Chenice’s dream is coming true.

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There is no denying that the show has its flaws. The stereotyped jokes get a bit too much with time and mocking every casting show cliché imaginable alone doesn’t make a show funny or good. The story of I can’t sing is paper-thin and I won’t even start with the ending which left me completely stunned (in a “What the…?!” kind of way). Plus I found the Hunchback and his “back story” (get the joke??) nothing but embarrassing even though I do get the idea behind it.
But despite that I laughed a lot and I left the theatre with a smile on my face.

The sets are impressive and well designed, the show has a great original score and the costumes range from lovely to completely outrageous – in a good way. It is obvious that a lot of money had been spent on the outer appearance of I can’t sing. This show definitely puts form over content. And that’s OK because I can’t sing doesn’t pretend to be anything but a silly night out. It doesn’t want to be Shakespeare. It simply wants the audience to sit down and laugh at funny characters and silly jokes and enjoy catchy songs. And for me it succeeds in doing so with few exceptions.

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Simon Lipkin is wonderfully witty as Barlow (the dog) and Simon Bailey’s Liam O’Deary is quite simply hilarious. Then there is Cynthia Erivo who shines as Chenice and once again proves that she is one of the rising stars in London’s West End. Nigel Harman’s comic timing as Simon is spot on – I just wish his appearances were a little more balanced (two minor scenes in act one, almost never off stage in act 2). And despite having no idea who they were based on (this happens when you are a non X Factor watching German) I enjoyed Victoria Elliott’s Jordy and Ashley Knight’s Louis. Alan Morrissey does a great job as plumber / singer / songwriter Max and I have to give a special mention to Joseph Prouse whose Undertaker really made me chuckle.

I can’t sing is definitely a Marmite show. It is full of very silly jokes, stereotypes and some quite offensive clichés and it doesn’t really teach us anything beside the fact that casting shows are a platform for vanity and are lead by internal politics. So don’t watch this show expecting a clever and well-developed story and complex characters or you will most likely be disappointed. I can’t sing offers light entertainment and the opportunity to just stop thinking for 2 hours. And in our busy and often rather unfunny world maybe that is just what we need.

For more info go to http://www.icantsingthemusical.com, follow @icantsingUK on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page.

The Drowned Man – Temple Studios

25 Mar

It is very rare I find myself in the situation of being completely unable to review a show after watching it for the first time. Sometimes putting together a review can be a challenge because it is hard to remember details when I am watching a show I am completely unfamiliar with. But usually I have built up an opinion and know the reasons behind my views of the individual performances and the show as a whole.

And then I went to see The Drowned Man, the latest production by Punchdrunk. Actually the term “see” doesn’t do the show justice. You don’t go and see The Drowned Man. You experience it, you become a part of it, you dive into another world – and trust me, I am not exaggerating.

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Set in Temple Studios – a fictional film studio – The Drowned Man is a promenade performance that lets the audience (who are wearing white masks throughout the performance) find their own path and explore the set, follow the performers and experience the story they tell through dance and acting up close.
The sets within the building represent internal and external locations within Temple Studios and the outskirts of the town nearby which it is situated. The two main stories mirror each other, both telling the story of a couple – one within Temple Studios and one living on the outskirts of the town. The main characters play out a tragic love story while the various supporting characters embellish the details of that story but also have some independent side-stories of their own. Many aspects of the narrative are based on Georg Buchner’s unfinished play Woyzeck including the main themes.

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It is hard to describe what it feels like to enter the set and start making your way through the different rooms in the film studio, the trailer park, the desert and such. It’s overwhelming and a bit scary and I admit I felt a bit lost during my first visit. The performance lasts for up to 3 hours which sounds like a lot of time but once you are inside Temple Studios you realise there is so much to see and 3 hours won’t even give you the chance to explore 25% of what the show has to offer. If I had to say how much of The Drowned Man I saw on my first visit my answer would be 5-10%. I spent a while following one of the main characters, explored two floors a bit, ran into some other characters and I was lucky enough to see both murders that happen in the show. But that’s about it – I didn’t even reach the basement floor and spent most of my time in town, mainly because I was drawn to a certain character as soon as I stumbled upon him (or better: as soon as he almost ran into me on his drunken walk around town) and decided to stick with him. But then that is what The Drowned Man is all about. It’s not about seeing the whole thing – it’s about finding your own path and having a unique and personal experience. If that means following a drunk character who staggers around town muttering abuse (and occasionally offers you a shot in the Saloon if you are lucky enough) then that is perfectly fine.

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Since my first visit I have come back two times and each time I have been able to grasp more of the whole experience that is The Drowned Man. On my second visit I followed one character for his whole loop (each character’s story loop lasts an hour, then it starts all over again theoretically giving you the chance to follow three characters’ complete loop during one visit) and I was rewarded with both of his 1:1s. What is a 1:1 you will now ask? A lot of the characters have one or more scenes they act out with just one audience member, usually in a locked room. These 1:1s are a pretty intense experience. I won’t say what happened in my two 1:1s with Mr. Stanford – the character I followed first on my second visit or in my 1:1 with Badlands Jack – my favourite drunk town character (huge thumbs up to Sean Edwards who is so wonderfully physical in his portrayal of Badlands – I was completely in awe), as the show relies heavily on the mystery and secrecy surrounding it. Lets just say this much: If you have a problem with strangers heavily invading your personal space you might want to avoid the 1:1s. They are a nice opportunity to get rid of the mask for a while though as often the performers will take if off your face during the 1:1. Plus I have to say personally I loved being included in the character’s story for at least a few minutes no matter how creeped out I was – a 1:1 is a proper thrill, simple as that.

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So should you go and experience The Drowned Man? Absolutely! Just don’t expect a normal theatre experience and go in there with an open mind and a healthy amount of curiosity. Don’t try and research the show too much beforehand – find your own way in there. The show encourages you to explore on your own and I can only tell you to go along with this. Don’t stick to your companions – wander off and enjoy 3 hours in another world, then meet your friends in the bar afterwards and compare your experiences.

I cannot recommend The Drowned Man highly enough. It is disturbing, a little creepy and odd in parts but it is also fascinating and slightly mind-blowing - all in all, an experience you don’t want to miss out on. The show is currently booking until May but an extension is likely. However, don’t leave it until last-minute because chances are high one visit won’t be enough.

For info and to book tickets visit http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-drowned-man-a-hollywood-fable.

To find out more about Punchdrunk and their work go to http://punchdrunk.com.

 

I can’t sing – Social Media Call – 21st March 2014

24 Mar

Currently still in previews the highly anticipated X Factor musical I can’t sing invited bloggers and press photographers to a special Media Call at the London Palladium on 21st March 2014.

My review of the show is coming soon. Here’s a first glimpse of the cast in action and a few snaps of the arranged cast Q&A bloggers attended after the press photo call. I have to say Barlow really is one handsome fella!

More photos can be found on my Facebook Photo Page. Check them out please (page likes always welcome).

For more info and the latest news about I can’t sing please visit the show’s website, follow @icantsingUK on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page.

More photos…

Watch the trailer: http://youtu.be/8ZSdAL78ffg>

Once Social Media Call – 19th March 2014

20 Mar

Just like last year selected bloggers were invited to attend a special Social Media Call of Once at the Phoenix Theatre. On top of being treated to a couple of songs from the show there was also the chance to ask the cast questions in order to get more insight into what it is like to be a part of Once the musical.

Here are a few pictures and some very special clips of the brand new cast of Once, starring Arthur Darvill as Guy and Zrinka Cvitesic as Girl.
Thank you to my guest blogger for the day, Louise Marris.

To find out more about the show please visit http://www.oncemusical.co.uk/, follow @OnceMusicalLDN on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page.

And watch this space for the exclusive Q&A with the cast.

Say it  to me now – live

When your mind’s made up – live

If you want me – live

Falling slowly reprise – live 


Exclusive Photo Gallery

10 Questions with Robbie White

11 Mar

Robbie White trained at the Cardwell Theatre School and at Laine Theatre Arts college in Epsom. Since graduating he has been working around the world: Dreamworks – How to Train Your Dragon (Arena Spectacular World Tour), Chess (Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto), We Will Rock You (Original Stuttgart Cast), One Man’s Dreams (Disney Tokyo) and Flashdance (Original West End Cast). He reached the final of BBC1’s So You Think You Can Dance? but was unable to compete in the final show due to injury and therefore finished in 4th place.
Currently Robbie can be seen in Once at the Phoenix Theatre, London.

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What’s it like to be a part of Once in the West End?
It has been, and I hope will continue to be, an amazing experience. It’s a beautiful show to watch and I think an even more beautiful to be a part of. It treads a wonderful line between the realistic and the fantastic and combines humour with honesty in a way that is both enjoyable to watch and challenging to perform. Long story short, I love it!

You are covering different roles in the show. What is your favourite role to play and why?
My favourite role to cover is probably Svec, the drummer. He’s one of the most off the wall characters in the piece, with some great lines, funny moments and plenty of challenging music to play. I love all four of my cover roles for different reasons but Svec is the one I’m usually most excited about. I think because that character gives me the most freedom and choice in performance.

Which instruments do you play? Did you take lessons or did you teach yourself?
In the show I’m required to play piano, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, melodica, harmonica, and drums/cajon. I also play a little bit of cello, although not as well as I’d like to. I taught myself to play, starting with the piano, but in truth a lot of the instruments listed above are similar enough for the basic technique to stretch across a few, for example the piano technique crosses over to the melodica and the guitar technique is similar to that of the mandolin banjo and ukulele.

In 2010 you reached the final of BBC’s So you think you can dance. Do you miss dancing on stage now that you are in Once? Can you see yourself doing a show that focuses on dancing again someday?
I do miss dancing. I hope to be putting it back into practice in a video soon, and I still try to stay in shape. In truth my favourite thing about dancing was always performing my own choreography because I can tailor it to hide my technical flaws, so as much as I miss dancing I couldn’t imagine leaving Once to be a part of a dance ensemble. However if something exciting were to come up in the future I would jump at it!

Beside performing in Once you also write your own music. Tell me a bit about your latest song “Save what can be found” (which I think is fantastic by the way).
Thank you. “Save what can be found” is the first track I’ve ever released on my own and it was a real labour of love. I love songwriting, both for myself and for others, and I love performing my own music. I’ve decided to try to find interesting ways of playing my songs from now on, so for “Save what can be found” I play the drum part with my feet, which took a long time to figure out and nail down, but I love the idea of not only the music being interesting, but also the method of producing the music.

Can we expect more original songs from you soon? Maybe even an album?
You can expect lots more songs from me, and hopefully someday an album! I’d love to get my music out there but it seems to take me a long time to get anything I’m happy with!

You’ve just signed up for another year in Once. However, are there other shows you’d like to be part of in the future? What would be your dream role to play?
My dream role would be Mark in rent. I’ve loved the show ever since I saw it the first time when I was 8 and it’s been my dream role ever since. Either that or Galileo, based solely on my love of Queens music!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That’s a tricky one to answer as I never really have had a long-term plan but at the moment I would love to be writing, releasing and performing music for a living in ten years.

Is there anyone (performer, director, songwriter…) you’d love to work with at some point in your life?
I’m certain there are thousands I’d jump at the opportunity to work with, I love collaborating more than anything purely for the fact that there is always something new you can learn/steal. :) I’d love to have a song writing session with Ingrid Michaelson though. I’ve loved every single song she’s ever released and I think we could make something great.

Last question: Why should people come and see Once?
I think purely because it’s a beautiful piece of theatre, touching story, wonderful music, talented cast. It’s got everything you could want from a musical (minus a big showy dance number) and it’s a really honest method of story telling. You can really lose yourself in it, and that’s what the theatre is all about.

Thank you Robbie for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.

Follow Robbie on Twitter @robbiewhite, check him out on Youtube and make sure you watch and listen to “Save what can be found”.

And don’t forget to book your tickets for Once.

Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre 2008 – 2014

10 Mar

I still remember how it all started. In 2008 I stumbled upon a few clips of this new show which had just opened at the Prince Edward Theatre. This was the first time I heard that voice and I was hooked straight away. This guy named Ryan Molloy hit all those insane notes with such ease – I was amazed and I knew I had to go and see him and the show.

It’s actually almost funny that the main reason I booked tickets for Jersey Boys was indeed Ryan and on my first visit to the show the main man was off sick. Was I disappointed? Of course I was. At least until the show started. Because once I got over the fact that Ryan wasn’t on I realised I was watching one of the slickest and most entertaining shows I had seen in my life. The timing in Jersey Boys is incredible and doesn’t fail to amaze me even after almost 6 years of watching the show. That combined with the incredibly talented cast made me fall in love with Jersey Boys straight away. In case you are wondering, my first Frankie Valli was no other than the wonderful Jye Frasca who still has a place in my top 3 favourite Frankies.

I started out with the odd visit every 2 months which means I only got to see the original London cast a few times. It wasn’t until after the first cast change that I became a proper regular at the show. But once I started there was no going back for me and up to 4 visits a month became the norm pretty quickly.

And here I am, almost 6 years later. I have seen this show develop over the years, I have seen performers come and leave. Every cast has had something special. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the “Original Four” though: Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock. Those four guys had a special chemistry that no other Four Seasons combo has been able to match so far (at least in my opinion).

So many wonderful people have graced the stage at Jersey Boys since 2008 – it’s impossible to name them all. I feel extremely lucky to have met some of the most talented and nicest performer in the West End through this show, many of whom I have continued to support after they moved on to other shows.

This show has been a big part of my theatre life for the past 6 years. And now that its time at the Prince Edward Theatre has come to an end I feel a huge loss. Yes, I realise this is not the end of Jersey Boys. In less than a week a brand new cast (including some familiar faces) will open the show at its new home, the Piccadilly Theatre. However, this is the end of my time as a Jersey Boys regular. Unlike other fans I won’t be moving with the show. For me Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre was something special and no matter how good the new cast may be, I just feel that it’s time for me to close this chapter.

I have loved my 6 years at the Prince Edward Theatre – a place I could probably call my second home by now. I have met some dear friends through this show and I wouldn’t change a thing about my time spent at Jersey Boys.

So many people had a part in making those years a wonderful experience, from the cast to everyone working backstage, from the band to the lovely people at the box office and the front of house staff. This is my way of thanking each and every one of you. Without you Jersey Boys would not have been such a great place to spend an evening (exactly 182 of them in my case).

I have to take an extra moment to thank one person in particular because without him I might never have booked my first ticket for the show and I might not have stayed with it all those years. Ryan Molloy is not just an amazingly talented performer but also a wonderful person and I’m happy and proud to call myself a supporter of him and his work. I salute his 6 years commitment to Jersey Boys and even though I think leaving the show is the right decision I am terribly sad I will never get to see his Frankie again.

All things must come to an end and my Jersey Boys journey ended on 9th March 2014. This doesn’t mean I will never watch the show again. There is no way I am not going to jump at the chance of seeing Ben Wheeler’s Tommy DeVito or Mark Isherwood’s Nick Massi. But my days as a regular visitor are definitely over. It’s time to start a new chapter. Let’s see where it takes me.

Little trip down memory lane in pictures

 

Ryan Molloy live at The Hippodrome – January 18th 2014

23 Jan

Ryan Molloy recently set a world record for being the longest-ever lead in a West End show having done way over 2.000 shows as Frankie Valli in the hit musical Jersey Boys. With all that success in musical theatre one might forget that Ryan is also a talented songwriter who has been making music for more than 20 years. With his run in Jersey Boys approaching 6 years Ryan decided to remind people of this with a 2 hours set of his own music (and a few covers) at The Hippodrome in London.

Anyone who has been to one of Ryan’s gigs knows they tend to be funky and slightly crazy. This gig was no difference with stories about a girl with a moustache, sharing a flat with an “alcohol and drug addict who liked to party like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad” and playing Ted (“Could have been Bill, don’t remember”) in Bill and Ted’s Musical Adventure at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Beside entertaining the crowd with little tales about his career Ryan did what he does best: Amaze the audience with his wonderful voice. From almost ridiculously high notes in “Come back to me” to a simply beautiful “Power of love” and smooth vocals in “Every little thing” Ryan is without a doubt one of the most versatile singers in the West End.

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Obviously his version of “My eyes adored you” which flowed seamlessly into a slow version of “Turn on the night” was one of the audience’s favourites showing once again how well-loved Ryan’s portrayal of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys is. Uptempo numbers like “Nine and a half” and the introduction of “The Twist” had the audience tapping their feet along and the latter even got a bit of singing participation after some encouragement from the man himself.

All in all this was a highly entertaining evening full of fantastic music performed by one of the most talented singers I have had the pleasure of seeing on stage in my life. It was great to see Ryan performing his own songs – something we will hopefully get to experience more often in the future. I would like to give a special mention to Ryan’s band, first for accompanying him so brilliantly and furthermore for keeping up with him – it couldn’t have been easy (if you were there you will know what I mean).

Ryan is a fantastic singer, a wonderfully talented performer and one of the most entertaining people the West End has ever seen. And most importantly he is not Frankie Valli and not “The Trotter” – he is “still Ryan Molloy”.

To find out more about Ryan go to http://www.ryanmolloy.com/, find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @molloyofficial .

His new album “Turn on the night – the album” was on sale at the gig and will hopefully be available to buy online soon. Here’s a glimps at the track list.

1. Turn on the night… master mix
2. Make my day
3. Nine and a half
4. When the music stops
5. Watch Tower
6. Come back to me
7. Every little thing
8. One heart
9. Don’t break my heart slowly
10. Without you
11. You make my song rhyme
12. Turn on the night… The Bulcock rap mix
13 … there might be a “hidden” track, I won’t spoil the surprise

Picture by Hayley Thorpe (thank you!)

American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre – 11th January 2014

13 Jan

American Psycho is most likely one of the most controversial books of our generation. I admit I never got round to reading it (I’m on it at the moment though) but obviously I do know the story of Patrick Bateman, the rich Wall Street broker / psychotic serial killer. When I first heard about a musical adaption of the story I was curious but doubtful. However, first reports and a great casting (so it seemed) suggested this was a fresh and interesting take on the story.

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First of all, yes there is murder in the show but no, it’s not a complete bloodbath. In fact the actual murders only take up a very small part of the stage adaption which focuses more on the character of Patrick Bateman and his relationships with the people around him. We see episodes of Patrick’s life and get to hear his thoughts on things that are happening in his life. There’s humour and anger, confusion and fury – a whole package of emotions that is thrown at the audience throughout the show.
And while I do think it is an interesting approach I ended up feeling something was missing. Now, it’s not that I enjoy a bloodbath but the pure horror and cruelty of Patrick Bateman’s murders are a key symbol in American Psycho. Without them the story is a dark satire without the needed edge.

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My main problem with the show lies with Matt Smith’s Patrick Bateman. As much as I wanted to I wasn’t able to form any kind of emotional connection with the character. I didn’t like him, I didn’t sympathise with him, I didn’t loathe him – just nothing. That obviously made it next to impossible to be drawn into the story. If I don’t care for the main character, I simply don’t care what happens to him either.

Having said that, Matt Smith does a good job with the material he has been given. I admit I was expecting him to be more charismatic but judging from other reviews and word of mouth I’m definitely in the minority with this opinion. His singing isn’t great but it works for the part. He definitely shouldn’t start a second career as a dancer though.

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The stand out performance in this show is Cassandra Compton’s Jean, Patrick Bateman’s secretary who is secretly in love with him. Cassandra plays the character with such a sweet vulnerability you can’t help but feel for her.

I really enjoyed Ben Aldridge as Paul Owen and Susannah Fielding as Evelyn Williams. And a special mention for Eugene McCoy who does a great job as Patrick Bateman’s friend David van Patten and to Holly James who always manages to catch my eye.

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So, what do I make of American Psycho? I am still not completely sure I have to admit. I think it is a brave and interesting project. The 80s/Electro score is appealing and I really like the staging at the Almeida Theatre. However, I am missing something vital in this show: An emotional connection to the main character.

And one last thought: How did Patrick Bateman manage to get a fancy flat screen tv in the 80s??

American Psycho is running at the Almeida Theatre until February 1st 2014. The run is sold out but day seats are available. For more info go to: http://www.almeida.co.uk/event/americanpsycho

Theatrical highlights of 2013

25 Dec

It’s that time of year again where I want to take a moment and name my theatrical highlights of the past 12 months. I know a lot of theatre websites and blogs publish their personal “best and worst” but I’ve decided to concentrate on the good things and not name and shame shows and such that were not to my taste.

So here goes, in no particular order. Lets start with my show highlights of 2013.

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Once the musical (Phoenix Theatre)

I admit I had been listening to the soundtrack for months before I first saw the West End production of this show and I kind of knew I was in for a treat when I stepped inside the Phoenix Theatre on a Saturday evening in March. However, I couldn’t have imagined this show would have such a huge impact on my theatre life. Once is by far the most beautiful thing I have seen on a stage for a long time. It’s such a sweet and simple show that touches your heart and soul. I have become a regular at the Phoenix Theatre over the past months and I intend to keep watching and supporting this show. Everyone involved in this production deserves the biggest round of applause for bringing Once to life in London’s West End. Thank you for some of the finest moments I’ve spent in a theatre this year.

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Sweeney Todd (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester)

This production was everything I hoped it would be and more. A brilliant cast and fantastic staging. This is the way a show like this should be presented to the audience. I was thrilled from start to end.

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The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time (Apollo Theatre)

This play has been around for a while but it took me until this year to finally go and see it. Having read the book years ago I had no idea how it would be possible to transfer this story to the stage. To say I was amazed after my first visit would be an understatement. I left the theatre completely blown away by the staging, the set and the cast. I really hope this play has a future after the tragic events the other week (thoughts are with everyone affected).

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Bare (Greenwich Theatre)

I went to see this without knowing anything about the show except a few songs. It was one of those “So-and-so is in it so I’m going to see it” kind of visits. What can I say? I loved it. It made me laugh and it made me cry and I wish I could have seen it more than just once.

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Mojo (Harold Pinter Theatre)

I went to see this because I just couldn’t miss out on seeing this cast on stage together. It may not be the strongest play but it was one of my most memorable theatrical evenings of 2013 thanks to the wonderfully talented cast.

Obviously I have seen and enjoyed a lot more shows, some of which I’ve been watching again and again for years. But the five productions above are my stand outs of all new (at least for me) shows I’ve seen this year. Lets go on with my highlights when it comes to performers in 2013. Please note that I’m not only choosing from the list of performers I’ve seen for the first time in 2013. But I am only including performers I have seen on stage this year in one or more productions. Again, this list has no particular order.

Declan Bennett
He is currently playing Guy in Once the musical as well as doing gigs in London (and recently New York) now and then. I could seriously listen to Declan singing for hours. His voice makes my heart smile – as cliché as it may sound.

Heather Headley
For me this lady is a singing goddess, simple as that. I adore her voice and I loved seeing her on stage in The Bodyguard more times than I should possibly admit. I think she’s stunning through and through.

Ryan Molloy
I’ve been following Ryan’s career for the past 6 years and he still manages to amaze me. His voice is incredible and he is one of those people who were just born to be on stage. On top of that he is a wonderful person and I’m happy and proud to call myself a supporter.

Ben Wheeler
Ben has been a swing at Jersey Boys in London for the past six years. Not only is he by far my favourite Tommy DeVito, he has proven that he is one of the most talented and versatile performers this production has ever seen.

Jill Winternitz
I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Dirty Dancing the musical. However, I am a huge fan of this lovely lady. Jill is currently playing Baby in Dirty Dancing at the Piccadilly Theatre and she is one of the reason I find this production hugely enjoyable.

Stephen Ashfield
I haven’t listed The Book of Mormon in my show highlights of 2013 even though I did enjoy the show a lot. I am however a bit tired of the never-ending hype surrounding the production (good for them though, it’s always great to see a show selling well). And when I think about it the real highlight in this show is Stephen. In my eyes he is the star, he is what makes me want to go and see this show again at some point. I’ve been supporting Stephen for a few years now and I have loved him in every single show I’ve seen him in, from Jersey Boys to Legally Blonde, Boy meets Boy, Book of Mormon etc. Stephen is brilliant, full stop.

Ian McIntosh
He never really caught my eye in Rock of Ages. I remember seeing him on stage a few times but for me he didn’t stand out. Then I went and watched The Commitments and he happened to be playing Deco that evening. I was blown away! That voice is quite simply insane and I cannot praise his performance high enough. Ian is a future leading man, I’m absolutely sure of it.

Ben Whishaw
I’ve been dying to see Ben Whishaw on stage ever since I watched Perfume – Story of a Murderer ages ago. So as you can imagine this year has been a dream for me in that sense – Ben appearing in not just one but two plays in the West End. I loved him in Peter and Alice and I was completely stunned watching him in Mojo. It’s very rare to see such an incredibly talented actor on stage, someone who doesn’t just play his part but who seems to truly become the character he is playing.

Luke Treadaway
This man amazed me with his portrayal of Christopher Boone in Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time. His performance was so real and honest – I am still in awe just thinking about it.

And finally I’m adding a group of people to the list because I honestly can’t just name a few of them - these guys and girls are all stars:

once_cast

The cast of Once the musical
It’s very rare to see a cast that fits together so incredibly well. This group of people – all incredibly talented individuals – have come together and created something magical at the Phoenix Theatre. As much as I love Once as a show, I absolutely adore its cast and I cannot thank them enough for the music, the laughs and the tears. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And that’s it everyone. There have been a lot more performers who have made me smile, laugh and generally filled my theatre-loving heart with joy. I could try and name them all but we’d still be here next year and I’m sure you all have better things to do than going through a list of names.

All that’s left to do now is to thank all of you for being interested in my blog. Thanks for reading and commenting and thanks for keeping in touch on Twitter. I do hope I have managed to provide at least a few half interesting reviews, interviews and such. I’ll try my best to keep you interested in 2014. I’ve got a few new shows on the agenda soon so there should be new reviews up in the not to far away future.
Please continue to comment and tweet. It’s always lovely to hear from fellow theatregoers and all you people working in the industry.

I hope each and everyone of you is having a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy the last days of 2013 and here’s to a great 2014 full of theatrical fun.

xx

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