Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (UK Tour)

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (UK Tour)
New Theatre, Oxford

Seen Tuesday 24th August 2021
★★★★

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (UK Tour)

New Theatre, Oxford

–Gifted–

Reviewed by Jade Prince

Tuesday 24th August 2021

★★★★

Theatre is back! I am late saying those words because I haven’t had the chance to get to the theatre since everything started opening back up and it feels marvellous. 

What was even more marvellous was having Priscilla Queen of the Desert being the show to come back to! It was such a great show filled with everything camp, bright, colourful, sparkly and accompanied with complete bops (yes, I have just said bops!)

Based on the 1994 movie with the same name, Priscilla Queen of the Desert drops you in the heart of the Australian outback where Priscilla carries Tick, Adam and Bernadette in style to Alice Springs where they are set to perform. The journey is filled with several surprises, new relationships, and small towns where the flamboyant drag lifestyle isn’t welcomed with open arms. 

I have to say the script was my favourite part. It was so quick-witted that I found myself still laughing at the joke just delivered and missed the next one being fired! I always appreciate intelligent humour. So often can shows pack in crude joke after crude joke causing the audience to think ‘here we go again’ but this script was very different. There were the crude jokes and many innuendos but there was also a large number of really clever one liners that caught me off guard. Obviously with humour the delivery is paramount and this cast definitely delivers the humour. 

The choreography began to get a little repetitive but this was forgiven with the amount of energy the cast put into it. There were a couple of costumes that caught my eye but not always in the good way. I love drag and all of the glitz and glamour associated with the wardrobe so my eyes were very much analysing every piece on stage. There were a few numbers where, to me, the costumes detracted from the choreography and looked bulky not allowing for fluid movements. Within the cast there was a great diversity of body types which in my opinion you don’t get to see as often on stage especially for female cast members so that was incredibly refreshing. With this I feel as if the wardrobe department neglected some of the costumes with focus on the trench coats that made appearances several times during the show. It didn’t appear they were all tailored to the individual bodies leaving some cast members looking a little drowned in the coats. 

However, apart from that little nag there literally wasn’t anything else to fault. It was such a fabulous night out and one that I would highly recommend for people who have missed the theatre and are a little apprehensive about going back. The whole auditorium was filled with such energy that it was very easy to forget what this past year and a half has entailed. There is no way you can sit there and not feel happy with the songs that flood the theatre. The story does take some dark turns but I loved the fact that as soon as the opening bars of the next number were heard, a subtle murmur through the auditorium started with the realisation that although the scene was sad, the music irony wasn’t going to let it stay there. 

I think at the moment this is something we all need as well as delivering the message that every show is echoing: I will survive. If that isn’t the message we all need at the moment then I have no idea what we need. 

Priscilla Queen of the Desert will be at New Theatre Oxford until 28th August 2021 before continuing with its UK Tour. 

Information and tickets for New Theatre Oxford can be found here.

Information, venue and tickets for the rest of the tour can be found here

Stay safe, wear a mask and enjoy the theatre! 

Lorna Dallas: Stages – REVIEW

Lorna Dallas: Stages

The Crazy Coqs, Live at Zédel, London

★★★★

Lorna Dallas: Stages

The Crazy Coqs, Live at Zédel, London

Reviewed by Mark Sykes

Seen March 6th, 2019

★★★★

Lorna Dallas has had an illustrious career spanning many decades, but has only recently returned to the stage after a 20-year hiatus. From Broadway to the West End (and many locations in between); from Show Boat to Hello Dolly! (and countless others), Lorna Dallas has ‘been there, done that’  – and then some! The journey from being a small town girl in Illinois, to a world-renowned stage performer is what provides the setting in Lorna’s latest one-woman show called Stages.

The show sees Lorna on stage alongside her Musical Director on piano, Chris Denny. Stages begins its journey in Lorna’s childhood years in Illinois and her parent’s initial disapproval of her having any thoughts of a singing career. Her opening number of “There’s No Business Like Show Business / A Glamourous Night” instantly proved that age hasn’t dampened those soaring soprano vocals and Lorna immediately had the audience (sprinkled with some familiar showbiz faces) enthralled.

The show, directed by Barry Kleinbort, was littered with songs written by some of the most famous names in music, such as Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Kurt Weill, Kander & Ebb, etc. What stood out for me though was many of the songs were not the usual fare that you would usually hear in this type of show. Each song had been perfectly curated to fit Lorna’s life story, both on-stage and off, with each having a specific personal meaning to her. 

The singing career of Lorna Dallas really began when she won a singing contest whilst still in high school. With 20,000 contestants participating, that first showed the pedigree that she had and which would provide the initial foundation for the lengthy career that was to follow. 

Songs such as “Blues In The Night” (by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer) and Cole Porter’s “Never Give Anything Away” (with additional lyrics by show director Barry Kleinbort) continued Lorna’s journey. Songs were interjected by fascinating stories and anecdotes, many amusing but with some striking a more personal note. “Poor Little Hollywood Star / At The Crossroads” was another song for Lorna to display her vocal skills, and it was here that she impressively proved that she could still hold a note.

There is certainly an eclectic mix of song choices in Stages, but it was obvious that much thought had gone into their selection. I suppose none more so that Jerome Kern and P.G. Wodehouse’s song “London, Dear Old London” from their 1922 musical comedy The Cabaret Girl. This fitted well with Lorna’s 2-year stint in Show Boat starring alongside Cleo Laine, and a time that she fell in love with this great city.

The highlight of the evening for me had to be Lorna’s performance of Larry Grossman & Hal Hackaday’s “Empty”. It was a stunning rendition of such a beautiful song; unbelievably, the song was cut prior to the opening of the 1970 Broadway show Minnie’s Boys. Lorna also sang one of my personal favourites, “Teach Me Tonight”, written by Gene de Paul and Sammy Cahn. Whilst the song was written in 1953 (well before I was born!), Lorna’s interpretation still feels fresh – and it also provided the opportunity to shine the light on Chris Denny’s keyboard skills with a lovely solo spot. 

The raw emotions of the evening came to the fore with Ivor Novello & Christopher Hassall’s “My Dearest Dear”. The song has a deep personal meaning for Lorna and it left a deep imprint on the hearts of the audience as well. It was a special moment of the evening.

The evening ended with Anthony Newley & Herbert Kkretzmer’s “If All The World’s A Stage”. It was a perfect way to round off a wonderful journey through time. From a small town in Illinois, to shows such as The King And I and even a Royal Variety Performance in front of Her Majesty, the Queen Mother, Lorna Dallas has come a long way. For me it was as much about the personal tales used to segue the song choices as it was the actual songs being performed; but putting them together lead to perfect combination of music and chat.

The fact that Lorna can continue to deliver shows like Stages to sell out audiences, and importantly provide a fresh interpretation on songs that go back to the early decades of the 20th century, is proof of her pedigree and staying power – the likes of which is such a rare commodity in the 21st century.

GUY! A New Musical – REVIEW

GUY! A New Musical – REVIEW

King’s Head Theatre, London

★★★★

GUY! A New Musical

King’s Head Theatre, London

 

Seen August 31st, 2018

Reviewed by Mark Sykes

★★★★

This musical is about Guy, an overweight millennial gay man and his search for true love. Played by Brendan Matthew, Guy thinks he doesn’t fit into the gay community and his struggles to find the right partner provides the focus for this story. He shares an apartment with Tyler (Steve Banks) and the relationship goes through a number of ups and downs; friendship troubles emanating from Guy setting up a fake profile on the dating app Grindr using Tyler’s picture. Tyler’s distant partner (Adam Braidley) sees the picture, assumes Tyler is on the latter’s ongoing conquest to find love.

Meanwhile, Guy has decided to lose a few pounds in the hope that a fitter body will make him more attractive and therefore easier to find a suitable partner. It is this storyline where Guy meets Aziz (Seann Miley-Moore), a young, fit, good-looking man of whom Guy thinks someone like that would never fall in love with him. In a way, they are a bit of an ‘odd-couple’, but actually have much more in common than each of them initially realise. Their friendship blossoms, but Guy is afraid to take it to the next level for fear of scaring Aziz away. This causes its own problems when Aziz reaches forward for that first kiss; Guy’s self-doubt and insecurities come crashing down on their relationship and it’s then a question of whether or not things can be retrieved or are their irreconcilable differences?

There only four actors in this show and Brendan Matthew shows admirable qualities as he remains on stage for pretty much the whole of the two hour show, portraying Guy’s qualities and inner demons well. Special mention though goes to Seann Miley-Moore who gave a captivating performance and was seriously impressive.

This was my first visit to the King’s Head Theatre. It’s a very small venue, albeit with a surprisingly wide stage. The intimate setting actually worked well for this show, and with only four actors there was plenty of space for them to express themselves. The staging was simple; no scenery as such, just a few props on stage; but this didn’t detract from the storyline. More so, it puts more emphasis on the dialogue and the acting, with no peripheral frills to be concerned with.

There was a sharpness to the script and lyrics, with some cutting one-liners expertly delivered by the cast. Being slightly critical though, I did feel that parts of the dialogue were a bit contrived and some of the scenes in between the 14 songs could perhaps do with a bit of trimming so as to maintain the momentum of the overall show. My only other criticism is that there were a couple of scenes where it wasn’t clear (to me at least!) whether the dialogue taking place was a virtual conversation or a physical one.

Overall, this modern love story serves as a reminder of the dangers of social media. A reliance on a virtual world of the Internet and dating apps to build relationships and to find ‘the one’, is not necessarily a path to success – especially when all may not be as it seems. For anyone though, gay or otherwise, Guy’s tale can serve as a reminder to us all to look in the mirror, accept yourself for who you are, and don’t try to become something you can never be. Embrace your own qualities, focus on the positives and be proud of YOU!

The Beautiful Game performed by the National Youth Music Theatre – REVIEW

The Beautiful Game performed by the National Youth Music Theatre – REVIEW

The Other Palace, London

★★★★

The Beautiful Game

The Other Palace, London

 

Seen August 16th, 2018

Reviewed by Mark Sykes

★★★★

NYMT was established in 1976 and has had some illustrious alumni and patrons over the years, including Kerry Ellis, Sheridan Smith, Jude Law and Idris Elba, to name but a few. NYMT provides young people with training and mentoring in musical theatre, both those wanting to tread the boards as well as those wanting a career in the creative and technical aspects of theatre.

NYMT’s 2018 summer season features four musicals, three being performed at The Other Palace as part of a 3-week residency. I had never been to a NYMT performance before, but my interest was piqued when I saw that they were doing a production of The Beautiful Game, having seen the original West End production of this back in 2000 (lead by Hannah Waddingham).

The Beautiful Game has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber with book & lyrics by Ben Elton and is set in Belfast between 1969 and 1972.  Whilst it has football at its core, the focus is on a group of youngsters dealing with the troubles of the day in Northern Ireland.

One of the perennial issues when putting on a show at The Other Palace is the size of the stage. It’s much smaller than its larger West End cousins, so much credit should be given to choreographer Matt Cole for both the opening football match sequence and the cup final that happens later on. Having so many people on stage at the same time and interpreting a football match in dance could be fraught with issues, but the energy and coordination on display was an impressive feat.

If you listen to the soundtrack, one of the highlights is God’s Own Country. Led by the central character Mary, it provides NYMT’s Aliza Vakil one of numerous occasions during the show where her stage presence and performance belies her youth, as is excellent throughout. Mary’s relationship with John is one of the centre pieces of the story as they fall in love, get married and have a child; but John gets drawn into the troubles of the time and gets incarcerated for having helped his best friend escape from the police. On his release from prison, John has some unfinished business to deal with much to the consternation of Mary; but finally the two are re-united as John seeks some level of redemption for past mistakes. Rueben Browne plays John, and at just 19 years old, gives an impressive performance in conveying the emotions of being torn between family and helping wayward friends.

The character Thomas is one of the main protagonists involved in trouble-making activities, and is commendably performed here by Ned Costello. The scene which leads to someone being ‘knee-capped’ is fraught with tension and provides a jolt to the heart when the gun goes off. The experienced Jasper Britton plays Father O’Donnell, and provides much of the light relief in what at times can seem like a  very dark musical; but even with the subject matter at hand, Ben Elton’s lyrics continue to throw in the laughs throughout, helping to lighten the mood.

Director Hannah Crissick has done a sterling job bringing The Beautiful Game back to the stage. All of the NYMT casts members deserve credit in their performance, including Paul French, Edd Conroy, Rory Jeffers, Lucy Carter, TiernaMcNally and all of the ensemble members. Given their age and experience, they all dealt with the subject matter superbly. I only learned after the show that Andrew Lloyd Webber was in the audience the same evening as me; he must have left a very proud man.

The Beautiful Game may deal with issues seen as no longer relevant given the troubles of Northern Ireland belong largely to a bygone era. But the issues at the heart of this story still exist, not only across the Irish Sea but with parallels across the world as religion and violence seem ever intertwined. It’s a story that continues needing to be told. The original cast album is available to listen on Spotify. If you have an account, click here to listen.

The Beautiful Game was staged by NYMT at The Other Palace, 15-18 August 2018.

Broken wings – REVIEW

Broken wings – REVIEW

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London 

★★★★★

Broken Wings

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London

 

Seen August 1st, 2018

Reviewed by Mark Sykes

★★★★★

Having followed the development of the new musical Broken Wings for quite a while on social media, then obtained the concept album back in May and watched the YouTube recordings in awe of the talent on display, it was with much excitement that I visited the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Wednesday 1stAugust 2018 for its world premiere performance.  It was a stunning portrayal of a story about love, heartbreak and tragedy, and which leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

I’ll admit that until Broken Wings surfaced as a new musical in development, I had never heard of the poet Kahlil Gibran, the third best-selling poet of all time.  But having worked in Saudi Arabia for 6 months (in part wanting to learn more about their culture), Broken Wings once more sparked my interest in the Middle East and has provided an opportunity to learn a bit more about the culture of this region.

The show has a simple stage setting – the rear half has the orchestra sat either side of a raised element.  In the first act, the older Gibran (supremely played by co-writer Nadim Naaman) is positioned here with his writing table as he narrates his story and watches on as his younger self (played by Rob Houchen) enacts his early life in the front half of the stage.  The first act introduces all of the main characters and provides the setting for Gibran and Selma to meet and form a relationship that ultimately can never be consummated.  I have seen Rob Houchen a number of times this year and he always impresses with his dynamite vocals.  He has great chemistry with Selma, portrayed by the wonderful Nikita Johal.  Nikita deserves special praise as she stepped-up from the ensemble at short notice to take on the lead role, and she performed it with a great sense of assurance and poise.

Selma’s father, Farris (Adam Linstead) and the Bishop (Irvine Iqbal) also provide focal elements of the story.  Whilst Farris can see the blossoming relationship between his daughter and Gibran, he is persuaded by the Bishop to give her hand in marriage to another – and sets in motion a sequence of events that will lead to heartbreak and tragedy.  Whilst Selma is married off to a philandering man she doesn’t love, her friendship with Gibran is rekindled via a series of illicit meetings.  Ultimately though, Selma’s pregnancy and subsequent events (no spoilers here!) provide a devastating conclusion to this love story.

The second act has the staging partly reversed, with the older Gibran at the front of the stage providing narration for some of the scenes playing out on the raised element.  I found this actually worked quite well; the lack of endless scenery transitions kept the story front and centre and continued to flow seamlessly.  Having the orchestra on the stage was nice to see (and neatly dressed in appropriate attire) and was a positive enhancement.  The only negative of the staging was the use of smoke/dry ice.  I felt it didn’t add anything to the story or atmosphere; indeed there were occasions when events taking place in Farris’s garden were almost overwhelmed by the smoke (albeit this was less obtrusive in act 2).

The music, lyrics and orchestrations are really excellent and I would heartily recommend people buy the concept album if you don’t already have a copy.  The stand-out songs are Selma and Spirit Of The Earth.  This latter song (and it’s reprise as part of the Finale) is probably the highlight of the entire show.  It brings the entire cast front and centre in an electric-charged performance that brings a lump in the throat; it compares equally to any of the big numbers in the likes of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, etc.  Here though, I have to single out Soophia Foroughi who provides the lead vocals for this song and also plays Gibran’s mother.  I am in love with this voice!  If you watch the YouTube video of Spirit Of The Earth you’ll understand, but Soophia is one of those artists that sound even better live.  A simply supreme vocal performance.

The entire cast, including ensemble members, were excellent; there wasn’t a single weak link.  Joe Davison (Conductor) and the orchestra were also faultless; and again it was so nice to be able to see them in a West End show.

As for Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan, they have created something special.  I so much hope that the four days at the Theatre Royal Haymarket is just the beginning for the stage show.  It deserves an opportunity to grow and mature, and to perhaps come back bigger and better.  Yes, I learned a bit more about Middle Eastern life, but people shouldn’t let it’s Lebanese origins put them off wanting to see this.  Miss Saigon has a love story at its heart, with Vietnam as its setting; Broken Wings has similar parallels (as do many other successful musicals).  Put any prejudices to one side and watch and listen to a genuine love story; you will be rewarded well.

Click here to see Hiba Elchikhe (Selma) and Rob Houchen (Younger Gibran) perform I know Now from the Broken Wings original concept album.

If you don’t already have the concept album, you can order it here.

Flashdance (UK tour) – REVIEW

Flashdance (UK tour) – REVIEW

★★

Flashdance (UK tour)

Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol

 

Seen June 26th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★

My advice: If you want a fun night out with your girlfriends, a couple of drink, see a show with good music and some well known songs, this is the show for you. However, if you are like me; see theatre on a regular basis, know what you are looking for and want to see a perfectly executed show…then…this isn’t for you. At all.

We all know the film Flashdance. Yes, Fame’s nearly forgotten sister.

I hate to say this however I can’t help but feel this product is straying towards this same path.

I can see it has potential but what it really lacks is commitment.

The standard was not there. Everything was messy. The choreography was the biggest let down. For a show with such a heavy bulk of dance involved, I was expecting so much more. Instead we go horrendous spacing on stage and 20 different energy levels. From the audience I could feel no connection between the cast on stage. This was even more prominent in the dance numbers that required partner work and group work. A few cast members were going all out! High kicks so high, precise and extended there might be a chance of a hip dislocation. Whereas others gave minimal effort or even found themselves several beats behind racing to catch up. Unfortunately, being off beat was a regular occurrence.

This isn’t me saying the choreography was bad. It was simply the delivery. I can’t fault Matt Cole’s work. Matt has definitely created high energy movement on stage…when executed well.

The staging was nice. I did enjoy the set and its movement through the different scenes. The two levels worked well. It really came into play when there were two different locations in the same scene. I just wish some of the actors remained in character when walking from upstage centre, having exited from the back stairs of the raised platform, to the wings. Some were evidently out of character and this whole walk section was exposed. Wait until you’re in the wings!

Performance-wise the show was rather bland. The script and delivery was mediocre. The vocals were good. Some stand out performers included Joanne Clifton (Alex Owens) and Emily Kenwright (on as cover Gloria for this particular performance). For the majority of the show I found myself focusing on Emily. She has a great stage presence. Although there was one scene where I did not want her to demand my focus but she still continued doing so. I didn’t want to focus on her not because of her performance but because of the costume. The opening number of act two had these lovely gold, shimmery halter neck dressed. The back is exposed therefore you either wear no bra, a strapless flesh colour bra or a regular flesh colour bra. These are forgivable. But not a regular white bra. Straps on show and everything. Glaring out into the audience like a little gremlin! I had to demonstrate some breathing exercises during this number. How did this get through costume?!

In short, I felt like I was watching a high school production. The vocals were the best part. This show could be something incredible with the right budget and time to nurture it further. It fell into the stereotype that touring shows are trying to shake; limited budget, time, resources which was very sad to see.

It’s meant to be a feel good show about chasing your dreams except this feeling was lost as it traveled off stage into the audience.

Flashdance is still touring the UK if you have a girls night out planned!

Information on the show, tour stops and tickets can be found at http://www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk

 

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

Francesco De Carlo: Comfort zone – REVIEW

Francesco De Carlo: Comfort Zone

Soho theatre, London 

★★★★

Francesco De Carlo: Comfort Zone

Soho theatre, London 

 

Seen May 19th, 2018

Reviewed by Jade Prince 

★★★★

With a title like ‘comfort zone’ I was expecting to be thrown out of my own comfort zone however I was pleasantly surprised I wasn’t.

Instead, you learn about Francesco’s own experience in leaving his own comfort zone, Italy, his home country. He brought to the stage his move from Italy to Britain and the challenges/cultural differences he faced along the way but now he is facing his biggest challenge yet…Brexit.

Francesco started the show off by focusing on Brexit and his take on the situation. I have to say, his theory on why Brexit is happening was hilarious! But, yet, simple enough. He came into the country. He hadn’t been here long and then BOOM, England are going. I mean, I didn’t question it too much. Francesco even admitted himself that he has a track record of causing government upheaval. Ha!

It was a really enjoyable show. The audience, including myself, loved it and we were all howling with laughter.

Something I really did notice was that there was no awkwardness at the start of the show. I’ve seen a few comedians now and it is so typical for the audience to be reserved at the start. Gauging the other audience members, the performer and what a safe reaction level would be. However, in this scenarios, Francesco walked out and you knew exactly what you were going to get.

I wouldn’t say that his material was out of this world and 100% original but his delivery was what made it. He focused an awful lot on the stereotypes associated with Italians and the British which was perfectly fine. Once again, a lot of those points you were very much expecting but there were a few in there that caught everyone off guard. But it was so brutally honest.

Overall, I really enjoyed the night. It was easy laughter in response to light hearted humour. There was nothing too offensive or too outrageous thrown into the mix. I would definitely love to revisit Francesco on his next tour!

Follow Francesco on twitter!

He’s also got himself all fancy with a website and everything! It’s one with a mailing list. Just saying. For you to keep up to date with upcoming shows if you fancied it!

Editor’s note: I’m so sorry with that very last section. I’ve been watching far too much RuPaul’s Drag Race. I have no shame!