West End Sings Whitney Houston supporting Women’s Aid – REVIEW

West End Sings Whitney Houston supporting Women’s Aid – REVIEW

★★★★★

West End Sings Whitney Houston supporting Women’s Aid

The London Cabaret Club, London

 

Seen May 20th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★★

(All photos included in this post are all my own. Hence the amatuer feel!)

This was possibly the very best charity cabaret event I have ever seen.

The talent was to die for, the charity deserved every penny and the whole event was executed perfectly!

West End Sings is a new charity concept with very specific themes. There are the odd one or two events similar by they don’t have this unique quality. This debut event had a rather spectacular theme. One that fit the chosen charity like a glove! It was songs from the one and only, Queen Whitney Houston!!! To sing Whitney songs, you need some smashing vocals and the performers did not disappoint!

Our host for the night was Norman Pace. Along with everything else, he was perfect! The right amount the comedy, the right amount of cheese but also kept the show moving at a good pace.

In total we were treated to 15 performers display the stunning work of Whitney.

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Above we have Damien Winchester (currently in Aladdin as swing/cover Genie) singing I’m Every Woman/Million Dollar Bill.

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Here we have a picture of Sabrina Aloueche (Chess) killing I Will Always Love You. I bit song to sing but. she. nailed. it.

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Nathaniel Morrison (Founder of West End Gospel Choir) singing Greatest Love of All. Damn. Did he slay! This performance gave me life and Nathaniel worked it! He worked that stay, he worked the floor, he worked every part of The London Cabaret Club!

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This was a beautiful rendition of How Will I Know sung by Charlotte Riby (Recently in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)

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The attention drifted during the interval but the moment that first note left Liam Tamne’s lips, the room was under his spell! Liam performed I’m Your Baby Tonight/So Emotional.

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I’ve always loved Lucie Shorthouse’s voice ever since I saw her last year in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and her performance of It’s Not Right But It’s Okay melted my heart!

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This has to be my favourite Whitney song. That is the stunning Run To You. I take my hat off to Summer Strallen (currently paying Inga in Young Frankenstein). It was truly mesmerising!

The event itself was organised and at no point was the charity out of focus. As soon as you walked into The London Cabaret Club, you know what you were there for. Projections were found on the walls in the main concert hall. I have been to many ‘charity’ events where the show starts and the charity is pushed into the background and forgotten. Not with this one and it made me so happy! It was also a charity I hold so close to my heart!

As I mentioned, this is a new venture for West End Sing but I know for sure I will be there 100% of the way! I am very excited to see the next one scheduled in for later this year. They may or may not have revealed the next theme…BRUNO MARS!!!

This is an event crafted with love and passion by all people involved! I am sure we will see you at the next one!

Follow West End Sings on twitter so you now exactly when the tickets go on sale for West End Sings Bruno Mars!

P.S. if Mr. Producer man happens to read this, we so need a Taylor Swift one. This mega swiftie would be in her element! Thanks.

 

 

 

Fat Jewels – REVIEW

Fat Jewels

The Hope Theatre, London

 

Seen July 6th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★

In the heart of a South Yorkshire council estate lies a lonely and dangerous newly evolving, manipulative friendship. Two repressed characters fighting their own demons. One night they start therapy. Therapy to help Pat (Hugh Train) as he is helplessly overcome by dark, violent thoughts. This therapy conveniently masks Danny’s (Robert Walters) own issues. This controlling piece will demand your attention.

The whole concept was great and it evoked many emotions. I started sympathising with the characters and then this feeling changed to disgust with something one of them said. This turned to laughter and then I found myself on the fence not knowing which side to take but in the end I was rooting for Pat whilst also feeling really sorry for Danny.

This is a very captivating show. I really enjoyed it. It was a rollercoaster but a very stable rollercoaster of emotions and intensity. It was spot on! I do love a dark comedy and some of the one liners were fab. A couple of the life analogies very nearly resulted in belly laughter! I did hope it would be funnier but I feel that was partly on the audience. There were not a lot of us there. When that happens, people get very worried about starting the laughter for fear of being the only person laughing. I’d love to see this with a full house. I image it’ll be a completely different show!

Robert Walter’s performance had me on the edge of my seat. From the onset, you could see the sexual predator in him. His glare towards Pat in those first scenes conveyed so many different aspects of his personality. My psychology brain was making an appearance and I could see the fatherly love towards Pat but also the sexual attraction and the controlling desire.

Hats off to Robert Walters and Hugh Train for delivering that performance. I saw it on a very quiet night with very few people in the audience but they kept the energy level consistent throughout and delivered an entrancing performance Both needing someone regardless of how they created the friendship.

For 70 minutes you are surrounded by the undeniable sense of loneliness and smell of battered sausage and chips. It is slightly overwhelming! You will be craving greasy sausage and chips on the way home.

I urge you to see this piece. Beautifully crafted with such a wonderful script. There is a lot more to be seen with this play. I would be really intrigued to to see other piece from the writer, Joseph Skelton.

Fat Jewels is at The Hope Theatre until July 21st. This isn’t one to miss. Tickets are £15 (£12 concession). More information and tickets can be found here.

Knights of the Rose – REVIEW

Knights of the Rose

The Arts Theatre, London

★★★

Knights of the Rose

The Arts Theatre, London

 

Seen July 5th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★

I was really rooting for this show to be much more. Having seen this talented cast perform on numerous occasions and sounds epic each time, I had high hopes. Unfortunately, the music and vocals couldn’t carry the show alone.

Knights of the Rose is meant to be an epic Shakespearean tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice but a lot of this seemed under developed. The rock score was what made the show unique and exciting with music from Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler to name a few.

I do want to take a moment to appreciate the cast. Wow! These guys were great! Their voices were incredible! Pretty much every number sounded brilliant!

This biggest let down for me was the fact the show didn’t know what it was. It was right in the middle of being a serious Shakespearean play and a cliche rock playlist put to a story. The songs were used very literally throughout the show and several had the audience laughing within the first bar. A reaction along the line of “Oh my God, are they really using this song!”. I mean, with the literal use, the songs worked very well.

I felt that a lot fo the characters were under developed. One moment the princesses were madly in love, the next, not interested. And then through a drastic change in circumstance, about to marry a man you had know idea they were interested in!

The staging was rather nice. Two levels and sections which moved in order to show the scene changes from the castle, to the bar, to the battle field. One scene that really sticks in my mind was the battle scene in act 2 with the horses. I want to say it was the number “The War To Win”. This was a pretty spectacular scene! The horse head puppets were beautiful and the use of the mesh screen down stage was stunning. You really felt like you were in the heart of the battle with the pouring rain.

I have to say the writing really made you root for certain characters. At one point you wanted the so call ‘villain’ to be killed by the man he betrayed and just when you think it could happen, your hopes were crushed! It was nice to see that aspect wasn’t predictable.

I really need to take a moment to point out a flaw which I couldn’t stop noticing. The shoes. Oh, the shoes. The male shoes were fine but the female shoes were a no, no. They were modern high street shoes. It was as if they were going to get off stage, rip their historical dresses off and hit the town! They were definitely not in-keeping with the time period.

I think if it was developed more into a lighthearted Shakespeare rock musical it could enjoy great success. Or maybe it is there already? It is just needing some way to convey this to the audience.

Overall, this was an enjoyable show. I would recommend it but don’t go in there expecting anything flash. The music and vocal performance was really what made the show for me.

Knights of the Rose is playing at The Arts Theatre until Sunday 26th August.

Information on the show and tickets can be found at: http://knightsoftherose.co.uk

Also don’t forget to follow Knights of the Rose of twitter.

If you are still intrigued, we got to still down briefly with Katie Birtill and Rebekah Lowings at the press call. Check out the short interview here.

The Lion King

The Lion King

Lyceum Theatre, London 

Written by Jade Prince 

The Lion King

Lyceum Theatre, London 

 

Seen May 19th, 2018

Written by Jade Prince 

This will only be a quick one about Lion King simply because I feel this show doesn’t need another review. I simply want to document my thoughts because all of mu previous beliefs were totally wrong!

I always said I’d never see Lion King as it was overrated, over-priced and dated. Boy, do I retract those statements!

I was in London on a Saturday and had no matinee show so I decided to pop in to the box office to see what the day seat situation looked like. I wasn’t;t expecting anything as ti was 10:30am. Lo and behold they had one lonely seat left. For £20, how could I refuse. So I was seeing the show I had always labelled as overrated.

I tell you what, as soon as the opening number started, “The Circle of Life”, I had chills everywhere! It didn’t take much more to make me cry like a baby. As soon as the giraffes came out I was gone!

Regardless of how long its been in the west end, it still works that Disney magic. Its classic Disney magic.

The puppetry was stunning, Not just the animals but also the scenery. Those grass costumes were so creative!

With the incredible feeling that show gave me, I could so easily get addicted to it!

It was nothing high tech but it worked so well. I never expected that stage and my mind was blown by the way if was used to create those iconic scenes we all know and love.

I could go on but I’ll stop it here. I love it and have never has that kind of reaction with a show!

I’m going again!!!!!!

Chit-Chat and Tea: Knights of the Rose

Chit-Chat and Tea: Knights of the Rose

In celebration on Knights of the Rose officially opening tonight, here is a little exclusive! 

I greet thee!

In celebration on Knights of the Rose officially opening tonight, here is a little exclusive!

Who got to have a quick chat with Rebekah Lowings (Isabel) and Katie Birtill (Hannah) at the press call a couple of weeks ago! The night was so much fun! It was at a medieval banquet! We had some great bellytimber! (<– its an actual medieval word!) I got some great footage which I am in the process of editing so that will be uploaded as soon as its finished!
To start with, we had to ask the basic – Why should be come and see the show?
Katie: It’s so passionate, we have got some fantastic rock songs. It’s a tale of love and betrayal and sacrifice and its really got a lot of heart and soul as well as being a wonderful night of rock entertainment.
Rebekah: It is just sheer passion. It is just so incredible to be on stage with so many people who feel passion and love for the rock music and for the scripture. I mean Jenny (Jennifer Marsden) is absolutely incredible, she’s written this beautiful piece.
Katie: Really luscious language.
Rebekah: The language is ‘Game of Thrones”, very sort of ‘A Knight’s Tale’, Bon Jovi. It’s just like any girls dream to be a princess…but we get to sing rock songs *laughter* It’s absolutely incredible!
You guys performed both days this year at West End LIVE, how was that crowd?
 
Katie: Uh-mazing!
Rebekah: Electric!
Katie: Electric! As soon as we came out, the crowd was absolutely on our side and it was so fantastic because we were showing something new and everyone was really supportive. It seemed it all went down really well which was really exciting. I mean, just going out there for our first ever performance of any of our work was in front of thousands of people!
And then the interview was cut short as a knight and jester approached! More on that aspect will be revealed in our upcoming video!
Gramercy m’ladies for taking the time to speak with Ginger in the Theatre and all the best for press night! See you there!
More information about the show and tickets can be found at http://knightsoftherose.co.uk
Farewell, peasants!

It’s Only Life – REVIEW

It’s Only Life – REVIEW

Union theatre, London 

★★★★

It’s Only Life

Union theatre, London 

 

Seen June 16th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince 

★★★★

It was a rather cute show and contains some great reminders for people wanting to live a fulfilling life. Although, putting these into practice isn’t always the easiest. ‘It’s Only Life’ covers every human need spanning the whole spectrum whilst delivering the message wisely.

The music is solely John Bucchino’s who, over the year, has wrote songs which have been  performed my theatre legends such as Audra McDonald, Liza Minnelli and Patti LuPone to name a few. He isn’t well know in the UK. In all honestly, I had never heard of him. I do have to say though, I love his writing style. All of his songs in this show are very heart warming and honest. He manages to capture true life in its rawest nature.

I can’t say I saw much of a story during this show (the story I did see was left till the end) which did detract from the enjoyment initially. I was very worried I was missing the point so I started really listening to the lyrics. And that is when the enjoyment came back.

You could not ask for a more talented bunch of performers! Including the MD, Nick Barstow. I do love seeing a show and every person on stage is at the same level. No weak link in this cast! The songs were just so well suited to their voices and each of them got to demonstrate their range at various points during the show.

This was a very basic production with no microphones and just one pianist. It was such a beautiful touch only having a piano accompanying the performance. It worked so well with the lyrics being sing. Where the venue was of an intimate size there was no need for the microphones but I do wish that certain cast members had a microphone. At certain points I was really struggling to hear and I was sat front row.

The set was so cute! The use of different levels was perfect! It was very minimalistic, colour-wise. All white washed with the odd burst of colour here and there. All pastel colours and I am a sucker of pastels! I really enjoyed looking around and seeing all of the everyday items (the majority painted white) hung on the walls in the various rooms of the house. I did spy a pastel blue Buzz Lightyear!

‘It’s Only Life’ is currently playing at the Union Theatre until July 7th. If you are looking for a cute, heartwarming, enjoyable show, this is the one!

Tickets and information can be found at: http://www.uniontheatre.biz/its-only-life.html

Great British Mysteries? – REVIEW

Great British Mysteries?

Soho theatre, London 

★★★★ (so close to 5!)

Great British Mysteries?

Soho theatre, London 

 

Seen May 18th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince 

★★★★ (so close to 5!)

Where do I start with this one.

The best place is probably stating that I loved it!

I went in and the only thing I knew about the show was that it was a mockumentary. Now that could go either way.

The first 10 minutes, I found myself in the uncomfortable unknown. Olive Bacon (Rose Robinson) and Dr. Teddy Tyrell (Will Close) were setting the scene leaving the whole audience in limbo. A lot wanted to laugh at these early jokes but were still plucking up the courage. This probably wasn’t helped by the intimate venue (but this was actually the ideal setting)

It really didn’t take that long before Olive and Teddy had the audience in the palm of their hand. I have to admit, I can be a very tough nut to crack when it comes to shows like this and for me to sit there front row crying with laughter is a rarity!

I loved the whole set up with this being the final episode of their televised series, looking back at all the highlights which were voted for by fans. You get to see the pair’s less than serious approach to uncovering the truths about the greatest British mysteries known to man.

The chemistry between Rose and Will is really what kept the show going. They were able to bounce off each other so effortlessly. Their comedic timing was on point. This is something, as a performer you either have it or you don’t. If the script wasn’t funny enough the sudden corpsing  on stage really had the audience howling. But like true professional they were able to pick right up where they left off.

Joseph Hancock directed the show and although it was very basic and clearly on a budget, the use of the screen and the projector worked really well. It really helped break the scenes up and gave Rose and Will a bit of a breather. As an audience member I do find it nice to be able to draw my attention to something else and then go back to the laughter. It was all done in such a way that you didn’t miss anything.

Nothing about this show is serious which is why it was such a delight to watch. Harmless, silly comedy. Something I haven’t seen for a while. It is clear to see why it had a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017.

If you claim to need evidence to believe this show is good before you purchase tickets, I have one thing to say….”evidence?!…..Shmevidence!”

Just get your tickets and know you’ll be guaranteed a great night.

Great British Mysteries is currently touring a select number of venues in its preview stage. More information on the venues and dates can be found on their twitter page.

West End Bake Off 2018

“Each year it helps to raise money for the outstanding charity ‘Acting For Others’. This year alone, £9,500 was raised in those short hours. Isn’t that mad?!”

May 19th, 2018

This year I was delighted when I found out I was in London the weekend of West End Bake off. But to make it even better…I was free between 11am-1pm!!! Winning!

You all know I went.

West End Bake off has been a successful charity event which is held each year in the cosy grounds of The Actor’s Church in Covent Garden. Each year it helps to raise money for the outstanding charity ‘Acting For Others’. This year alone, £9,500 was raised in those short hours. Isn’t that mad?!

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The sun came out in all its glory to support the event. There was a real buzz as you entered with everyone eager to see the stagey creations. Roughly 20 west end shows turned up to displayed their baking skills and support. So much talent!

To say everything was rammed in there was an understatement. It won’t be long until they will need a bigger venue, it’s that popular!

Not only are there loads of cakes on sale for £1 but they also have a poster stand. Some are signed by the current west end cast which have a higher price tag. Others are slightly older. I noticed a single Kinky Boots poster signed by the one and only Cyndi Lauper. They range in prices but lets face it, us theatre lovers don’t care and we know the money is going to a fabulous cause. I made a bee-line for that and managed (by some miracle) to land my hands on the very last signed Hamilton poster. I died!

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Some of the shows also sell merchandise on their cake stands which is another wonderful element. Hamilton did great by holding several auctions for signed t-shirts. From what I was hearing, each one went for about £60! In between all of these auctions I just HAD to make a donation and have a photo with the cast whilst showing of my beautiful poster! I’m trash! But, hey! It started a trend and they started taking photos with people for a small donation. All for the cause!

It wouldn’t be a bake off without having the cakes judged by some guest judges. Previous winners include 42nd Street, The Secret Garden and The Mousetrap. This year, the trio of judges were made up of Ruthie Henshall, Christopher Biggins and Wendi Peters. They had so many cakes to judge. After a difficult decision they crowned ‘Young Frankenstein’ the winner of 2018. They are now the proud owners of ‘Cuppy’! It’s such a cute trophy!

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Trophy photo credit: West End Bake Off 

It was such a great start to the weekend and I cannot wait until the next one!

Head over to West End Bake Off’s website and twitter for the latest information on this one of a kind event.

See you next year!

Sarah Kendall: One-Seventeen (UK tour) – REVIEW

Sarah Kendall – One-Seventeen (UK tour)

Soho theatre, London 

★★★★

Sarah Kendall – One-Seventeen 

Soho theatre, London 

 

Seen May 16th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince 

★★★★

Sarah Kendall spent a few nights of her UK tour down in the basement of Soho theatre, the perfect venue for a comedy act. The tour, one-seventeen, takes you on a turbulent retelling of Sarah’s life from the early years up to the present day. It tackles everything; the brilliant highs, some painful lows and everything called life in between. Luck, being a key theme, is able to connect everything at various points during the show. 

I have to say this wasn’t the best comedy act I have seen but it most certainly wasn’t the worst. It was a nice, acceptable middle level. 

I warmed to her straight away when she called the audience c*nts in under a minute of being on stage. It definitely got the laughs! A real ice breaker. I did appreciate how the word flowed so freely from her mouth. One thing I cannot stand is when comedians scripts that word in as an attempt to get more laughs and it does normally fails miserably. For Sarah, it just slipped out as if she was having a conversation with some friends. 

I have to hand it to her for the originality in her jokes. It was real life. Not necessarily real life that everyone could relate to. A few of these stories kind of left me feeling slightly awkward. Not that they were inappropriate just not relatable. I started getting that vibe from other audience members too. It was a rollercoaster of a show. Some highs which were so funny but then there were other parts where I didn’t know whether to laugh or not. It just seemed weird having such serious matters in a comedy show especially presented in that way. The subject matters were obviously life stories, I just felt they went on a little too long and started to bring a bit of a downer on the show. This feeling, however, was immediately removed when Sarah whipped out the next joke! 

Something I like about a good comedy show is when the comedian is able to link all the stories together and Sarah certainly did this. I loved the referencing of previous things she spoke about and doubling up the jokes. 

Despite the rollercoaster of funny to serious, it had such a great pace. There was never a point where I was urging it to end. Sarah is definitely a great story teller and had the audience in the palm of her hand. Something in comedians which is few and far between specially with the serious matters. 

There was another point which made me feel a bit ‘meh’ and that was the ending of the show. It had a rather abrupt ending which left you wanting more. I think it would have been great to see Sarah leave the stage on a real high with the audience roaring with laughter like they did during so much of the show. 

Overall, it was a very enjoyable show. One I would recommend. I’d be interested in seeing her again when she comes to my home town later in the tour.

Sarah is currently touring the UK with One-Seventeen. Click here for more information on her upcoming dates and tickets. 

Also be sure to follow Sarah on twitter for the latest updates in her travels. 

Chit-chat and Tea with Jeff Parry at the JukeBox Hero – The Musical press call

We got to sit down with producer Jeff Parry to discuss his upcoming project and gain a further insight into this new rock musical

May 16th, 2018.

Ginger in the Theatre were very honoured to be invited along to the press call for the new Musical ‘Jukebox Hero’. Out first ever event like this and it was such an exciting experience!

When I tell you what the show is based on, I am pretty sure that most of you will draw a blank (especially those my age) BUT you will know the vast majority of the songs! This musical is based on the hits from Foreigner which span the past 40 years. They are on par with Journey, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles yet Foreigner isn’t recognised on their name alone. The creative team have the mission of changing this.

This launch coincides with Foreigners’ 40th anniversary tour and what better in celebrating such a mile stone than with a show to keep this legacy going. 

Jukebox Hero has already seen unprecedented success in ticket sales well before the show even had a cast or went into rehearsals. 

It has been revealed that the story in place to accompany the music will be a a coming of age story. When I heard this I was a little hesitant as this is something we see very often. I actually sat down with producer, Jeff Parry, to discuss this concern, I will include that part later on and some of the other questions I got to ask him! 

I must admit when I saw that the writers were Dick Clement and Ian La Fanais, some of these concerns faded. This pair have been the greats behind the successes Porridge, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, The Bank Job and a rockumentary entitled ‘To Russia with Elton’. So many of their creations have received a wide array of awards. From their successful career, I feel this story will be different to the other run of the mill coming of age pieces. I’m also really hoping the comedy timings from Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen Pet will transpire on stage! 

Jukebox Hero – The Musical is set in a fictional, one industry town in Pennsylvania where suddenly this industry closes and everyone is out of work. Prior to this, Ryan left to become a star. The town’s one hope is getting Ryan back to hold a concert to not only raise money but to also lift the spirits of the town.

The show starts its rehearsal process in July and is set to open in Calgary in August. 

After the brief conference panel which provided us with more understanding of the show and some unique insights in the initial birth, we got to sit down and chat to Jeff Parry. It was such a great opportunity. Here’s a couple of points we chatted about:

With Jukebox Hero – the musical, I was wondering how you feel it would be received by the younger audience in London when it eventually arrives over here? 

That’s a really good question. We were told that this music might not work here at all, which is why we started in North America. Now we are finding out from Royal Albert Hall etc, that it actually means a lot and a younger audience, I mean, at least at home they’ll listen to classic rock all the time. I think great songs permeate through. We were involved with a lot of classic rock type things like The Beatles, if you can call that classic rock, but great songs are great songs. I think kids listen to what they wanna listen to. I listened to Beethoven and Mozart. Great music will always stand up. Initially, it probably won’t be their thing but I think this is the kind of show where a 12-year-old can go with their mother or grandmother and everyone is going to get something out of it. There’s enough hard rock songs as well as ballads that I think it is something that everyone can enjoy, quite frankly. And the music is great music.

There has been a lot of these types of musicals around recently and the biggest criticism is the storyline. How do you think this storyline is different to the others and will actually work well with the music?

Well, you know, it’s not Shakespeare or whatever. We are not reinventing the wheel here but its a fun story. I think that people want to go for escapism so to speak. The story is a fun story like a lot of them and it will probably get criticised for just being that, it’s not Les Mis. It’s a condiment for the music and I think that it will hold up. But once again it is a fun story. The neat thing about it is, ironically, is that it’s a town going through trouble and is saved by rock ’n’ roll in a sense. The irony is that Alberta in Canada, is oil country and we are going through depressions right now. There’s 30% vacancy rate down town. There is a certain irony to what we are doing and how we are doing it. Once of the thing is Alberta is that they are trying to diversify the economy and starting up a musical in Alberta kinda goes along with that. I like the resemblance of the storyline and how it kinda fits with where we are starting it. It’s ironic because it was never an intention. 

It’s incredible. Like you said during the conference panel, when you mention Foreigner, not a lot of people say they’ve heard of them. But everyone knows the songs. My reaction to the vast majority of the songs that I’ve listened to was, “Hey, I know that! My mum’s played that in the car”. My real question is, how do you think you will be able to win the UK audience over to buy tickets? 

Well thats the irony. We have already sold tickets to something that we haven’t even produced. We have over $300,000 worth of tickets sold in Canada for a show that hasn’t even been created yet so that tells you something because they are already buying tickets for something which they don’t really now what it is yet. There’s a certain brand to Foreigner which seems to sell. But actually I think you have just stated the magic which is that people go to the theatre when people want familiarity, right? They don’t want to sit through songs that they don’t know. So, I think, like you just said, that people will go there and discover Foreigner even though they already know it. There will be a familiarity there that when you put it all together in one context, I think it’s really got a shot because we’re not introducing new songs. But like you said there will also be surprise, ‘Oh, that’s them?’. I’ve heard people saying ‘I thought that was Journey’, ‘I thought that was Styx’ or something like that. They know the songs but they don’t know it is their song. That will be the magic. I always use the example of Mamma Mia. I’m not an ABBA fan. I went to that show kicking and screaming but I went and I loved it. It was fun and I knew every song, whether I wanted to admit it or not. It made you feel comfortable. 

You’ve mentioned fun a lot, obviously the writers have worked with a lot of comedy scripts previously. Is there fun in the show?

Oh, yeah. They won’t do it unless there is. It’s just the way they do things. It’s gonna be fun. It will definitely be fun. 

I honestly look forward to seeing where this show goes and how it will be received once opened to the audience in August. All the best, guys! 

For more information of JukeBox Hero – The Musical check out their website: http://jukeboxheromusical.com You can even sign up to their mailing list on there so you never miss the latest updates on the show. 

And if any of this has sparked interest (or you need a little more persuading) here’s a link for the initial trailer. I do highly recommend you watch it as it’ll help you link the songs you most certainly know to the band! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRiVjOu-WHw

West End Live Lounge – REVIEW

West End Live Lounge – REVIEW

The Other Palace, London

★★★★★ for the overall concept 

★★★ for the show itself 

West End Live Lounge

The Other Palace, London

 

Seen May 13th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★★ for the overall concept

★★★ for the show itself

Boy, did I really want to love this. Ever since the idea came about people have been raving about it and it has outgrown so many of its previous venues. The shows don’t happen very often and when they do they sell out fast. This time I thought I would see what all the hype is about. I have to say, in complete honestly, I left feeling incredibly let down.

The only points during the show where my eyes lit up and I found myself awestruck were when Jodie Jacobs, Liisi LaFontaine and Moya Angela performed their solos. Those ladies knocked my socks off! Jodie shook the theatre with her performance of ‘Great Balls of Fire‘. Oh my word! That woman’s voice. I am never prepared for that. Liisi did a stunning performance of ‘Grenade’. I hate her, her voice is so effortless. Can I please be blessed with a voice like hers. Okay, maybe only in my dreams. I don’t think anyone was prepared for Moya’s performance and I was very thankful it closed act 1 because I most certainly needed time to recover. She came out and SH-MASHED ‘I will always love you‘. I don’t know why I bothered shaving my legs that morning because I had goosebumps everywhere and then my legs were all prickly. It was a spiritual awakening.

The rest of the show was pretty meh. (It really hurts me to say that because I was hoping for so much more.)

The concepts of ‘West End Live Lounge’ is fabulous. Each one raising money for a different charity. All the money goes to charity and everyone who hosts and performs does it for zilch! Pretty remarkable. They donate so much of their time.

The chosen charity this time was Centrepoint who put all of their energy into helping those young and homeless through rehabilitation courses. I couldn’t help but feel this charity and the efforts of the show got undermined by an elaborate scheme to promote Divalution’s upcoming show. The charity was mentioned twice and those two times were incredibly brief. I feel for an event like this the focus should not be on self promotion but actually gathering people to help make a difference. Now, this is nothing against Divalution before people start saying that. Their vocals and harmonies were great! It wasn’t just Divalution who made me think this but they were the most predominant throughout the show.

I really found myself drifting off during a lot of the performances. I completely understand it is a chance for those performing to sing songs that they wouldn’t normally sing but some of the song choices were not great.

I have to give credit to Paul Taylor-Mills and Vikki Stone for hosting. At least they brought some life to it. Although I did start to think the red coats were going to make an appearance. I got that holiday club feel many times.

On a positive note, I really did appreciate hearing every single piece of the band. That is something I always look out for.

At the end of the show I had completely forgot it was for charity due to the lack of mentioning. It was only when I was startled by an usher violently shaking a charity bucket in my face that I remembered. It would have been nice for them to mention that they would be collection buckets on the way out before the show officially finished.

The majority of the show was enjoyable and it was nice hearing different renditions of songs from people you would never normally get the opportunity to hear sing, unless at one of these events.

I love to give everything a fair chance but I can’t say that I will be running to the next West End Live Lounge. It could have just been an off night. I guess the line up for the next one will determine whether I go or not.

Stay up to date with the latest news on West End Live Lounge by following them on twitter.

SeatPlan

If you are part of the theatre community I am pretty certain that you will have come across ‘SeatPlan’ at some point. If you haven’t, you will soon enough. This will change your whole seat buying experience. 

If you are a regular reader you will remember that I mentioned this site during my ‘getting the better seats without breaking the bank’ post. 

“A website I use before I make any ticket transactions is SeatPlan. This is a fabulous website especially if you are not familiar with the theatre or seating plan. SeatPlan offers an interactive seat map for the majority of the big theatres in the west end and a handful nationwide. They rely on their members to upload seat reviews and many of them include photos of the view of the stage from that particular seat. These are completely honest reviews which are monitored. So far it has never failed me. They also provide an incentive for their members to review seats with credit which can add up to theatre tokens. Another great way to save money! Currently, you will receive 40p for each photo you upload once your review has been approved. You can start doing this now if you haven’t already! Just head to their website and sign up for free. They also offer great ticket deals through their website so that is also worth checking out.”   A extract from said post but it sums the website up nicely.

SeatPlan was created in 2011 and has grown so much. A little birdy tells me they are looking to develop the site further so I thought I would make my opinions known! Ha! 

I have been an active member on this site since the summer of 2015 (if I remember correctly. It’s been a fair few years for sure) and I have to say this is my go to website when I am buying tickets regardless of which site I use to purchase them. It is and always has been so easy to navigate. It is such a clean set up which allows you to do everything you need straight away. My only nag about the navigation of the page is that I do struggle bringing the list of London theatres up. There has been a few occasions where I’ve wanted a trusted list of the main London theatres so I have turned to SeatPlan. I know the list is on there but it would be nice having it at the top of the page instead of having to scroll down to the bottom. What would be even better is having a side menu where you could select just that. Typing this, it has just come to mind how useful a map of ‘theatre land’ would be! You literally could find everything on one site. I know that when I book shows I like to fit as much in as possible and seeing how close the theatres are is key. It is such a hassle switching from websites to google maps. I have a fairly good knowledge of ‘theatre land’ but still need help on occasion. 

When I found out a while back you could purchase tickets for shows in London via SeatPlan I had to have a little peek. I was actually really impressed. This isn’t a feature that I have used loads but when I have they have always had great seats at great prices. I can’t say that it is the same for every show but they haven’t disappointed yet. I really need to make a habit of checking there first before booking anything. I have a feeling I could save lots of money. 

To upload reviews you do have to create a profile which I, personally, really love. It is such a great way to keep track of the shows I have seen and various theatre trips. The timeline at the bottom of your profile is a great touch. It saves me having to dig out my hefty ticket scrapbooks to see if I have been to that venue before, actually sat in the same seat or in a similar area, etc. You can just scroll through the timeline, click on the relevant show tab and it will show you the date you saw the show, where you sat and the review you left on the site. Obviously you are restricted as you can only add reviews to the theatres they have listed on the website. There have been times where I have been looking for certain seat plans but they didn’t cover it. I think it would be nice to have a section dedicated to seat plan for theatre all over London. There are a lot I have come across that aren’t on there. Not so much for members to write reviews (and gain credits) but to get an accurate seat plan. A lot of the seat plans online are not accurate. This would be a nice touch, completely separate to the main aspect of the site where you add reviews. Maybe just keep the reviews to the main theatres currently listed on the site? 

The profile aspect could really be used to gain a community feel on the site. At the moment you can see a percentage of the user profiles on the leaderboards but apart from that you can’t really do anything else. This is the same with the monthly competitions held. We never hear much about the winner unless you actively search for it via the tab at the bottom of the site page. Members all receive the emails reminding them of the competitions (actually mine are on occasion, not every month) but that is all we really hear. 

Rewarding reviewers is a great incentive. I loved earning rewards that add up to theatre tokens that arrive in the post. I’m not gonna lie, these tokens helped to fund my Dreamgirls addiction! It has been sad watching the individual credit amount decrease over the years. When I first started it was £1 per photo from your seat and then it went to 50p per photo (ticket and seat) but now it is 40p per photo. I understand it is a business and needs to make money but it just takes forever now to gain those theatre tokens. The hand written notes that come with the theatre tokens are really cute. You’ve got to love Susannah for doing that. That is one thing I admire. Even though there are thousands upon thousands of members they still keep that personal touch. 

I do wish that it was compulsory to add photos to the reviews. There is nothing worse than seeing someone has reviewed a seat (especially in a part of a theatre which is less reviewed) to find that it is really vague with no photo. You then have to take a stab in the dark and hope for the best when booking seats. 

I have often asked myself the question – why don’t the have guest bloggers or takeovers on their social media. I most certainly would love to read a guest post, say once a month and get an awesome insight into the theatre world. This could be another aspect which could completely explode and be great for SeatPlan! 

Just to be really picky I shall comment on the overall appearance of the site – it does look rather bland. As I have already mentioned the navigation is easy but Seatplan almost loses its identity as you scroll down the page. 

The next step for SeatPlan is definitely an app.  I believe it would open so many doors. I personally would then add reviews as soon as I have them instead of waiting to upload several at once. This could also really help them which the selling of theatre tickets. I’m all about having that immediate access on my phone. My bank account isn’t, but I am! 

I’m opinionated so there are some of my thoughts. It has been great watching the site develop and grow over the years and I really look forward to seeing where it goes in the near future. And on that note, I need to add all the seat reviews I have been allowing to accumulate. BYE!! 

The Secret Letters of Gertie and Hen – REVIEW

The Secret Letters of Gertie and Hen – REVIEW

New Wimbledon Studios, London

★★★

The Secret Letters of Gertie and Hen

New Wimbledon Studios, London

 

Seen April 7th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★

A very sweet yet harrowing tale of two ten year old girls. Two ten year old girls , very similar but worlds apart. All due to their country of origin. After years of friendship and hundreds of letters back and forth they are soon to learn this must cease. They are now considered enemies but association. World War 2 has broken out.

‘The Secret Letters of Gertie and Hen’ has finished workshopping and held two private previews ahead of their launch and short run in November 2018 at the New Wimbledon Studios.

If I am completely honest, the first act was enjoyable. I wouldn’t say that it completely wowed me but I do believe there is definitely potential. It is a rather unique story. A story which I actually really like. It is not one we hear very often. We finally get to hear from the female’s point of view. Those who were left behind. So frequently we only get to hear the male take on events. With the character list being rather extensive you do get to see a lot of other view points too.

It is also nice having such a range of topics covered in one play. It covers love, politics, loss and friendship to name a few. Yet despite the amount of topics covered it doesn’t feel crowded. There were a few scene which I felt didn’t add or detract from the story and actually dragged out the first act a little. Apart from this the other scenes were still really engaging. I was not expecting the drastic turn of events at the end of act 1. That is definitely something which I feel will bring the audience back after the interval. I personally was gutted I couldn’t stay to see act 2 and now have to wait until November to see the full thing! Once the ‘drastic change’ started it was easy to predict what would happen next. I just hope the rest of the show isn’t like that.

Script wise, it was very strong. I felt a few of the intense scenes seemed to escalate very quickly with no between group. One minute the character are just talking and the next an argument is taking place. There was no development on that showing the lead up to the that. I think in a few cases the script wasn’t the issue, it was more the direction given.

Seeing as the show will continue at the same venue in November, I feel that it is important to comment of the set up and direction. I really liked the fact that levels were used. It was nice to have each family in their own performance space. Very rarely they overlapped. It was a rather small cast considering the amount of characters and it was handled well. In November it would be nice to see a slightly larger cast so that the roles aren’t doubled up. But I can’t fault how it was handled in these previews.

It was a nice touch not having a restricted performance space and various routes were used to enter and exit the stage.

I personally felt that the scene changes were very brief. At some points it didn’t feel like there was any pause. It just went from one scene straight into the other. As an audience  member I don’t feel like in those moments I had a chance to process the previous scene.

I honestly do look forward to seeing this in full come November. It definitely does have potential. A unique take on events which I believe will draw the audience in. With a little tweaking and polishing, this could be great!

Be sure to follow The Key Theatre Company on twitter for more information on their upcoming dates.