Hamilton – REVIEW

Hamilton

Victoria Palace Theatre, London

★★★★★

Hamilton

Victoria Palace Theatre, London

Seen December 7th, 2017

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★★

Five stars. And the rest. Indescribable. Get tickets (if you haven’t got them already, why?!) and see this show. The end.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – REVIEW

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Apollo Theatre, London 

★★★★

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Apollo Theatre, London

 

Seen November 8th, 2017

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★

To say that I am now obsessed with this show is an understatement! I haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack. It’s also provided me with a new feel good song ‘Don’t Even Know It‘.

This musical is the brand new creation inspired by the BBC3 documentary aired in 2011, ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16‘. Jamie has always been different and destine to be so. Year 11 is always tough for every teenager however a lot more is added to the equation when you channel your true self whilst fighting off prejudice peers and bullies. Jamie is most certainly a force to be reckoned with and proves to everyone that he was made for the spotlight.

I absolutely loved the show. It’s a modern take on ‘Billy Elliot’ but is in keeping with today’s issues.

Let’s jump into the script. It’s unlike anything I have heard in a long time! It’s original and 100% relevant. The school ‘lingo’ between the pupils transported me back to my secondary school years. There are so many witty parts. One of the things I really liked was that issues such as racism were touched upon during one scene and it was shut down by another pupil straight away. It showed that racism is no longer accepted however discrimination over gender is still an issue and tends to be over-looked. This is a changing matter!

I really loved the score. I could tell from the opening number that the music was going to be great. Each song is so catchy however there are some numbers which broke my heart. I was almost in tears, especially during “My Man, My Boy”. I just kept thinking of me and my mum. Two stand out performances were Josie Walker and Lucie Shorthouse. Firstly, Walker’s performance during “He’s My Boy” shattered my heart but she then also blew me away with those vocals. The emotion was raw and I just wanted to hug her. Shorthouse, well, I wasn’t quite expecting a voice like that from her (I have no idea why) but everyone needs to be looking out for this name because I feel she is going places. The rest of the cast were great. Such a good vibe on stage!

The set designers did a fabulous job (I had to throw fabulous in here somewhere, it just seemed fitting!). I loved the way the majority of it was kept feeling rather sterile. This worked so well during the school scenes hinting at the conformity they attempt to inforce. The square lights were a really nice touch in adding to the school atmosphere but they were not redundant. The seamless change between the school and the drag shop was beautiful! A great use of the fly-ins. It was also great to see a contrast between the school scenes and the kitchen showing that home is the place where Jamie could really be himself. It was goodt to see a pop of colour within the set. Those scene changes were also great. Seriously, the attention to detail in this show is everything.

I personally found some of the dialogue slowed down at certain points in the show especially if it was after an energetic number which made it a little difficult to engage with. But the story itself moved at a great pace.

Shout out to the choreographer! The choreography was mesmerising. The contemporary routines were a great pair with the larger numbers but the lyrical during “If I Met Myself Again” was stunning! (This is where I show myself up by making mistakes with the dance terminology. Dance Moms can only get you so far!)

I feel like this ‘review’ is more of me rambling along in comparison to my other reviews which are much more structured but there was so much fabulousness to take in! I am definitely going to have to see it again.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has only just begun its run at the Apollo Theatre so there is still plenty of time to get a ticket. Tickets and more information can be found: http://www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk/

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill – REVIEW

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Wyndham’s Theatre, London

★★★★★

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Wyndham’s Theatre, London

 

Seen on July 15th, 2017

Reviewed by Jade Prince

★★★★★

Be transported from the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square to Philadelphia’s Emerson’s Bar & Grill. The story follows the dramatic life of Billie Holiday (Audra McDonald) as she ventures back to Philadelphia, a state with much history for Holiday herself.

As well as an incredible stage presence throughout, McDonald is also accompanied by a three piece jazz band (Shelton Becton, Frankie Tontoh and Neville Malcolm) playing the mellow score featuring songs such as God Bless The Child, Crazy He Calls Me, Easy Livin’, Strange Fruit and What A Little Moonlight Can Do.

I was mesmerised from the onset by McDonald’s performance for a number of reasons. I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster. Initially I was concerned as she came staggering through the audience and up the stairs (I went into this show blind and had absolutely no idea what to expect!)It did not take too long before I started feeling empathy for her as you realise she is a tough woman who has had a lot of misfortune in her life but has repeatedly gotten up and continues walking, all be it with her own coping mechanisms. By the end of the show I just wanted to give her a huge hug.

This whole show was fabulous. I am actually struggling to find words. In the programme, Lanie Roberston wrote:

“The image of the world’s greatest jazz singer being so undervalued at the end of her life and career was an image that has always haunted me. Writing Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill was an attempt to rid myself of that.”

Well, I most certainly walked out of that theatre haunted by the stunning performance and story.

It is clear to see that Audra McDonald has a fair bit of experience. I had seen a few of her film and TV appearances however I had never seen her on stage and was very excited to witness this. I am just in complete awe. The ability to maintain that performance standard but be so comfortable with it to interact with the audience up close. A true chameleon of an actress!

The set by Christopher Oram was wonderful. I really felt like I was in a Philadelphia Bar & Grill. I was sat on one of the front tables in the stalls so I am not too sure whether this feeling was consistent throughout the theatre. I also loved the use of the audience on the stage. It just brought everything much closer and so much more intimate. Another great element which made the show feel more intimate was the fact that it was not restricted just to the stage. One of the front tables (my table for the night!) actually had props on and the main entrance and exit was through the side of the stalls to the front of the stage which was used a number of times during the show by McDonald herself and Jimmy Powers (Shelton Becton)

I feel a moment is needed to appreciate a key member of the show…Tilly! Tilly played Pepi (Billie’s Chihuahua) and was far too adorable. A little diva who did not seem the slightest bit fazed over the spotlight but made the whole audience weak when, as if on cue, placed a few kisses on McDonald’s face!

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is certainly one to see. It stands head and shoulders above anything in the West End currently. All the hype is definitely correct!!

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is currently booking until 9th September 2017. Tickets and more information can be found at https://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/lady-day/