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Jan 6th

One Night of Queen @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Image result for one night of queen

There has never been a greater showman than the sorely missed Freddie Mercury.  He knew how to strut his stuff, totally owning the stage beaming his colossal personality out to tens of thousands of people.  He was unique with his extraordinary vocal range and incredible musical talents and no-one can compare to him.  Many have tried to emulate him, but he’s a one-off and we’re unlikely to see the like ever again.

Prior to the formation of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor played in a band called Smile. Freddie Mercury was a fan of theirs and suggested the name Queen when he joined them in 1970.  Prior to their first eponymous album release, in 1973, John Deacon joined the band and that was the beginning of the legendary band we all know and love.  With the release of the album A Night at the Opera, featuring Bohemian Rhapsody, in 1975 the band went stratospheric.   ‘Bo-ho Rap’ stayed at number one in the UK for 9 weeks and the music video helped to popularise their use to promote songs.

Hit after hit followed We Will Rock You, We are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust to name but a few.  Their performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert has been ranked among the greatest in rock history by various music publications, especially as Freddie captivated the world with his energy and exhibitionism.  Tragically, Freddie died in 1991 and we must wonder what other extraordinary music he may have created.  John Deacon retired in 1997, but May and Taylor continue to perform under the name Queen with guest lead vocalists Paul Rogers and Adam Lambert.

Gary Mullen, as a lifelong fan of Queen, decided to enter ITV’s Stars in Their Eyesfor a laugh’ and ended up winning the Live Grand Final!  That was in 2000 and Gary has been touring globally ever since creating his show, after forming a band called The Works.  

No-one can doubt Gary’s energy as he gives 110% from the moment he comes on stage.  He keeps himself fit and flexible by lifting weights and practicing yoga on tour and he wouldn’t be able to do his job without regular exercise.  He certainly has Freddie’s strut and moves off to a tee, as he is constantly moving around the stage.  Unfortunately that means that sometimes he puts too much energy into the movements and less into the vocals.  We found it hard to hear the lyrics on most of the songs and the tempo was so fast the band had problems catching up.  It was very much a ‘one-man’ show and most of the band weren’t even lit!  David Brockett (Brian May) had a few opportunities to shine with some iconic solo instrumentals, but overall the band weren’t as tight as they should have been.

Half-way through the first half, we overheard one lady saying ‘he’s beginning to grow on me’, which was very telling.  I felt that if he’d spent less time on the showmanship and more on working together as a band, the show would have been a lot better.  Not that most of the audience minded, as people stood up and sang along to all the timeless songs.  The theatre was nearly full and although the average age would seem to be people in their 60s, it was good to see new generations of fans being introduced to Queen’s music.

Freddie Mercury is inimitable, but this show is entertaining and Queen fans may enjoy a night of memories.

For further info: http://www.garymullenandtheworks.com/tour-dates

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

@yvonnedelahaye

 

05.01.18

Dec 15th

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

Walking gingerly along ice-covered pavements with snow stacked up on the side and seeing the glittering Christmas lights glowing certainly puts one in the festive mood!  Without the lights, December would be very bleak as we wait for the winter equinox on 21st, heralding the start of winter and longer days. Pantomime plays an important role in these dark days, bringing colour, fun, laughter and mayhem to brighten up our lives.

This year’s pantomime at The Waterside is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring the sublime Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen. Su is a real trooper, with her unique energy, humour and enthusiasm she captivates you and it’s hard to think of her as ‘the baddie’, as she’s so likeable. She also has a great singing voice and her opening number ‘One Way or Another’ sets the scene nicely.

Often the leading lady is someone who’s made their name on reality TV and not for having any specific talent, so they can be quite weak.  This year it was good to see Jenna Innes as Snow White, who can actually act, sing and dance, having recently graduated from the Musical Theatre Academy in London. Walking straight into a leading role, she nailed it and I can see a great career ahead for her.

Jon Moses really looks the part of the tall, handsome Prince who rocks a pair of tights and a sparkling tabard, charming Snow White and you could believe they would fall in love at first sight.  Best known as a finalist in ITV’s Superstar, Jon has a wonderfully rich singing voice and I imagine he would be the Prince kids would envision.

In his seventh year of panto at the Waterside, Andy Collins makes his entrance on an inflatable ‘My Little Pony, introducing his character ‘Muddles’ to start the merriment. We have the usual setting up of whether or not he’d be doing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, without any doubt that he would of course as we all love to join in.  Be prepared for a good water dousing though and you could do (as I did) and take an umbrella! 

To complete the comedy double act with Muddles, La Voix returns for the second year to play the Nurse.  She has a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and is a strong singer and performer.  The only thing that I was concerned about was that a few of the lines were verging on being cruel.  Insulting the audience is par for the course in panto, but one or two of the lines felt a bit too personal.

A buzz of excitement permeated through the theatre, as the real-life dwarfs arrived to cheers and claps.  Some theatres use children dressed up and that really isn’t right, as there are plenty of actors who can play the roles.  With Kieran Dumont as Pop, Andy Herd as Sneezer, Kyle Herd as Soppy, Darren Horan as Kip, Emma Jones as Smiler, Trevor Jones as Grouchy and Kevin O’Leary as Twicher, we were a bit confused as to why the names had been changed, perhaps it’s something to do with copyright?

It’s all good fun and the elaborate opening up of the dwarfs’ house was very clever.  The finale costumes were gorgeous pinks and silver and the sheer energy, cornucopia of dazzlingly colourful costumes, impressive sets, mischief and hilarity is the perfect way to get us into the mood for Christmas and forget about the weather!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury until Sunday December 31 with morning, afternoon and evening performances. Tickets cost from £11.75. Box office 0844 871 7607 or book online at ww.atgtickets.com/aylesbury

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Nov 21st

Flashdance @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Click for more details and to book Flashdance tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

It’s interesting to see how things have changed since 1980 when the film Fame (which spawned the popular TV show set in a performing arts academy), showed aspiring actors/dancers/singers that to succeed you’d have to go to an academy to train. Nowadays today’s reality TV talent shows offer people a fast route to fame and fortune without necessarily having the training to support them.

Following on from the success of Fame, came the 1983 American romantic drama film Flashdance directed by Adrian Lyne.  Although it opened to negative reviews from the professional critics, it became a surprise box office success, becoming the third highest-grossing film that year in the US. Worldwide it grossed more than $100 million and its soundtrack created hit songs, including the Academy Award winning song ‘Flashdance – What a Feeling’ sung by Irene Cara.

The story is a familiar one of how someone can triumph over adversity, despite the obstacles thrown in the way.  Alex Owens (Joanne Clifton) is a factory welder, who dances at a cabaret club in the evening, but dreams of becoming a professional dancer and aspires to win a place at the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy.  Along the way she falls in love with factory boss Nick Hurley (Ben Adams), but the course of true love never did run smoothly and with friends whose dreams of stardom also turn sour, will they all find what they’re searching for?

The opening number in a show really needs to grab your attention and set the scene, but this one didn’t do it for me.  The band seemed to be drowning out the vocals throughout the show and the tune and lyrics to the opening number failed to set the stage alight.   There are some great tracks in the show though, which were hits in their own right, ‘Maniac’, ‘Gloria’, ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ and the title track ‘Flashdance...What a Feeling’, which also won the Golden Globe as well as the Oscar for best original song.

The 80s was the time of big hair, Jane Fonda work-out videos, lycra and leg warmers and the show captures all of these.  For a show about dance though, I felt the dancers were a bit short-changed as there was potential for using more of the stage space on different levels with more acrobatic moves.  It was a shame we didn’t see enough of their talents until the encore.  Some of the routines before were so frenetic to the fast beats of the music, there wasn’t time to appreciate them.        

Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton works incredibly hard throughout the show and by the end you almost feel you’ve been watching an aerobics workout. A1 pop singer Ben Adams has a lovely voice and the chemistry worked really well between them.

The show runs at The Waterside, Aylesbury until Saturday 25th November.  For further dates, visit: http://www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk/tour-schedule

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

@yvonnedelahaye

 

20/11/17

Nov 7th

Hairspray @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Hairspray tickets

Based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray, this American musical was written by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman who co-wrote the lyrics with Scott Wittman. In 2003 it won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of 13 nominations and ran for 2,642 performances closing on 4th January 2009. The London production was nominated for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards and won four, including Best New Musical.

It’s Baltimore in 1962 and Tracy Turnblad, the big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance programme. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, whilst trying to win the heart of local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way!

Sadly the themes of bullying and racial segregation are still as relevant today as in the early 60s when the show is set.  The 2007 film starring Nikki Blonsky as Tracy and featuring John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer, became a cult and has ensured the continued success of the stage musical.

Personally, I can’t say that I enjoyed the film, but I was interested to see how it translated onto the stage.  There were some brilliant dance routines, lots of energy, gorgeous costumes and some powerful singing....but something just wasn’t there for me.  As my actress friend said ‘I just don’t care about anyone and the script seems quite thin.’ OK that doesn’t  stop any of the fans enjoying the show and there are some really great performances.  Whenever Gina Murray was on stage, playing unscrupulous TV producer Velma Von Tussle, the show lifted to a higher level. Gina really knows how to work the audience and her belting voice was sublime.

Another powerful performance came from Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle and boy how appropriate is that name...what a tremendous voice she has and again she’s someone who knows how to command the stage.

Some lovely comedy moments were provided by Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad and Matt Rixon as his wife Edna Turnblad.  They certainly made ‘You’re Timeless to Me’ their own and eked out every bit of comedy.

Layton Williams as Seaweed acrobatics and dancing were mesmerising.

Showbusiness is a very fickle world and some people get incredibly lucky early on, whereas 95% of people work hard for years and years before getting a break.  So Rebecca Mendoza should count her blessings as she walked straight out of stage school into playing the lead.  She has an awful lot to learn as the stage swallowed her up and she doesn’t have the presence yet to carry the role.  I found the high-pitched little girl voice and nasal singing very irritating all the way through.  It’s a shame for her that she didn’t have a few years learning her craft before being thrust into the starring role, so she’s very lucky to be able to learn on the job and with such strong adult cast members around I’m sure she will!

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

6.10.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Sep 20th

Deathtrap @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Image result for deathtrap tour poster

If you’re of a nervous disposition, then be prepared for some loud noises that will make you jump out of your skin!  With so many plot twists and turns, Deathtrap is a play within a play with one set and five characters written in 1978 by Ira Levin.  It holds the record for the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway and was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.  It has been revived many times and was adapted into a film in 1992 starring Christopher Reeve, Michael Caine and Dyan Cannon.

Sidney Bruhl, a once-successful writer of stage thrillers is in the grip of chronic writer’s block, when young playwright Clifford Anderson sends Bruhl his brilliant new whodunit, Deathtrap.  Desperate to set Broadway alight once more, should Bruhl kill the newcomer and pass the play off as his own?

Playing the central role of Sidney, is Paul Bradley who is best known for his ten year role playing Professor Elliot Hope in BBC’s Holby City, as well as playing Nigel Bates in Eastenders.  Rarely off the stage, it’s a huge role and Paul gives a commanding performance as the complex, ruthless Sidney.

Playing Sidney’s wife, Myra Bruhl, is Eastender’s actress Jessie Wallace.  It was good to see that she could master an American accent, but at times she looked quite uncomfortable as the first scenes were a little stilted leaving her standing for long periods of time.  A bit more movement and chances to sit would have made all the difference I think!

Disrupting the proceedings is the arrival of Clifford Anderson (Sam Phillips), changing the course of their lives forever.  Beverley Klein relishes playing psychic Helga Ten Dorp and gets lots of laughs as she hams it up in spectacular style.  Julien Ball completes the cast as lawyer Porter Milgrim.

The play runs till Saturday 23rd at The Waterside Theatre, then continues to Birmingham and Richmond.

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

19.9.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Jul 10th

Totally Tina @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Totally Tina

As the most successful Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner has received eleven Grammy Awards, including eight competitive awards and three Grammy Hall of Fame awards. With combined album and single sales of approximately 180 million copies worldwide, she’s sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer, reached No 17 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of greatest singers of all time and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  She’s currently working on a new musical based on her life called ‘Tina’.

Worldwide Event Productions have created a faithful representation of Tina Turner’s iconic shows as Totally Tina features a fantastic live band, authentic dance routines and lots of gorgeous costume changes throughout.  Voted the UK’s Official No 1 Tribute to Tina Turner by the Agents Association of Great Britain at the 2016 National Tribute Music Awards, Justine Riddoch morphs into Tina with incredible vocals, mannerisms, gestures and dancing.

Being a singer myself, I always admire tribute acts as I know just how hard they have to work to get the vocals right and you have to be a very accomplished singer to achieve success.  Justine has been in the business for over 26 years and in 2002 won ‘Stars in their Eyes’ as Anastacia and her  subsequent, ‘Justine is Anastacia’ show was in great demand.  As Anastacia’s sales waned, Justine realised it was time to reinvent herself again and set about transforming herself into Tina Turner.

The show that we now see has been honed to perfection and Justine is the ultimate entertainer, engaging the audience quickly, bantering with them and the band and owning the stage with her energy, presence and dynamic vocals.  All the biggest hits are covered from River Deep, Mountain High, Private Dancer, Steamy Windows, Nutbush City Limits, Proud Mary through to Simply the Best.  Justine looks absolutely stunning in a series of glorious sequinned dresses and impossibly high heels, that I haven’t a clue how she moved around the stage in, but I had serious shoe envy!  What a pair of pins she has too and lead guitarist Jimmy singing ‘Hot Legs’ was a perfect song choice, as Justine looks exactly like Tina in her mini dresses.

This really is a fantastic evening and you’d swear that you were watching the real Tina in action.  For further details of the show, with video clips and tour dates visit www.totallytina.co.uk

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

8.7.17

@yvonnedelahaye

 

 

 

May 31st

A Judgement in Stone @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

A Judgement in Stone Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

As a jobbing actor I know only too well that to be able to keep working in the business is extremely tough, particularly for middle-aged women when the unemployment rate is 95%!  The balance of male to female roles is about 3 to 1, so to find a play with several good roles for women is rare. Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, Bill Kenwright’s new  company The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, seeks to redress the balance with a new production adapted from one of the most celebrated works of the writer often hailed as the successor to Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone.

Rendell was first published in 1964 and was awarded a CBE in 1996. Her prolific output included film and TV as well as 80 novels and one of the genre’s most famous characters, Chief Inspector Wexford. Widely considered to be one of Rendell’s greatest works, A Judgement in Stone is loved for its brilliant rendering of character, plot and motive, and is undoubtedly Rendell at her thrilling best.

Featuring an all star cast, Sophie Ward (Young Sherlock Holmes; Heartbeat) stars as Eunice Parchman who struggles to fit in. When she joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper the very reason for her awkwardness, long hidden and deeply buried, leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood - on Valentine’s Day. Ruth Rendell’s brilliant plot unravels a lifetime of deceit, despair and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as ghastly as murder itself.

Attempting to solve the crime is Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street; The Bill), as Detective Superintendent Vetch, ably accompanied by Ben Nealon as Detective Sergeant Challoner, who gives a convincing performance as the observant side-kick.  Former 60s pop idol Mark Wynter plays the pompous George Coverdale, married to his second wife, Jacqueline (Rosie Thomson), who, with the two youngsters Giles (Joshua Price) and Melinda (Jennifer Sims), all meet a gruesome end.

The play opens with the arrival of the detectives, then features flashbacks as we meet all the characters in the days leading up to the crime.  There are lots of cross-over entrances and exits, which can be hard to follow at times, but generally it works.  Suspects Deborah Grant (Not Going Out; Bergarac) is very energetic as the bible-bashing Joan Smith, with Blue band-mate Antony Costa ‘givin’ it large’ as the ex-criminal gardener and Shirley Anne Field (The Entertainer; Saturday Night Sunday Morning) as the elderly cleaner usurped by the arrival of the new housekeeper.

The production is directed by Roy Marsden who is best known as an actor, particularly in his role as Commander Adam Dalgliesh in Anglia TV's P.D. James series, which he played for 15 years. His recent work for Bill Kenwright includes directing a UK tour of Susan Hill’s The Small Hand and the debut production for The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, Rehearsal For Murder.

If you enjoy a good ‘Whodunnit’ featuring actors you know, then this may appeal to you.  Personally, I found the play a bit too melodramatic at times, but to give Bill Kenwright his due he really does keep a lot of actors employed and continues to give audiences choices.

Performances at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury:       

Tue 30 May – Sat 3 Jun

                                        Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed, Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm

Box Office:                         0844 871 7607 (Bkg fee. Calls 7p per min plus phone company’s access charge)

Groups Hotline:               0844 871 7614

Access Booking:               0844 871 7677 (Bkg fee)

Online Booking:               www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (Bkg fee)

 

A JUDGEMENT IN STONE - UK TOUR DATES 2017

Mon 5 – Sat 10 June                                                                          

Palace Theatre, Southend                                                                 

 

Mon 12 – Sat 17 June                                                                        

Derby Theatre, Derby                                                                       


Mon 19 – Sat 24 June                                                                        

Theatre Royal, Glasgow      

                                                               

Mon 26 June – Sat 1 July                                                                   

New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                                          


Mon 3 – Sat 8 July                                                                               

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

                                                    

Mon 10 – Sat 15 July                                                                          

Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate                                                          


Mon 17 – Sat 22 July                                                         
               

Regent Theatre, Stoke                                                                       

 

Mon 24 – Sat 29 July                                                                         

Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes                                           


Mon 31 July – Sat 5 August                                                               

Theatre Royal, Newcastle                                                                  

 

Tues 19 – Sat 23 September                                                             

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                                                              

 

Mon 25 – Sat 30 September                                                             

Orchard Theatre, Dartford                                                                

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

30.5.17

@yvonnedelahaye

May 11th

King of Pop - The Legend Continues

By Yvonne Delahaye

King of Pop - The Legend Continues Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

It’s an astonishing 8 years since the ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson died tragically from a drugs overdose, administered by his physician Conrad Murray who was subsequently charged with ‘involuntary manslaughter.’  The worldwide outpouring of grief at the loss of such an icon hadn’t been seen since Princess Diana’s death in 1997.  MJ was a singer, songwriter, dancer, producer and philanthropist whose contribution to music, dance and fashion made him a global superstar for over 40 years.  His album Thriller is still the best selling album of all time, selling over 65 million copies worldwide.

Tribute acts have to work incredibly hard to sound like the artist they’re portraying, but to also get the facial looks of MJ, Navi must have gone to extraordinary lengths to look like his idol.  MJ actually used Navi to promote albums/concerts or act as a decoy for him to avoid the relentless pursuit of press and fans.  MJ hired Navi to sing at two of his birthday parties and gave him a standing ovation, describing his performance as ‘incredible’, so that personal endorsement gives him the credibility fans crave to ensure MJ will never be forgotten.  Navi is regarded as the ‘World’s No 1 MJ Tribute’ and has been touring his MJ show for 28 years.

This tour features MJ’s incredible guitarist, Jennifer Batten, who toured with MJ on three sell-out world tours.  Initially hand-picked to play on the Bad tour, MJ was so impressed that she joined him on the road for the next 10 years, playing on his Dangerous and History tours to more than 4.5 million fans worldwide.

It was good to see families in the auditorium, with very small children who weren’t even born when MJ was alive.  The ages in the theatre looked as though they spanned eight decades, which is testament to the enduring, all encompassing appeal of his music.

Navi’s a good entertainer and engages the audience chatting to us throughout the show and making jokes.  There were clearly a few problems with his mic and ear piece in the first half, which meant he was a bit drowned out by the band, but thankfully those issues were all resolved in the second half.  Then we were able to really appreciate his vocals and feel we were actually watching a real MJ concert, as he sang some of my favourites Bad, Thriller, Black and White, Billie Jean, Man in the Mirror and the lovely You Are Not Alone with everyone on their feet clapping, singing and dancing along.

Opening the show could perhaps have been a bit more spectacular, to build some excitement and anticipation of Navi’s arrival rather than him just coming on from the side maybe some smoke, lights arriving from the back centre stage would be more effective. It would also have been good to see more of MJ’s iconic ‘Moondance’, but it didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment  and a good time was had by all!

For tour details and bookings go to. www.atgtickets.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

10.5.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Apr 27th

Jane Eyre @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Jane Eyre

Written by Charlotte Bronte and published in 1847, this tale of the eponymous heroine Jane Eyre, has frequently been adapted for film, radio, television and theatre, and has inspired a number of rewritings and reinterpretations.

Four years ago, Director Sally Cookson got the green light from Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, to devise a two-part version of this classic novel.  Sally says ‘the film’s portrayal of Jane has missed the point.  This is a clarion cry for equal opportunities for women, not a story about a passive female who will do anything for her hunky boss. I was struck by how modern Jane seemed – her spirit and strong will, her peculiar and brilliant mind striving for personal freedom to be who she is, lashing out against any constraint that prevents her from being herself.  She was exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.’

With the help of Mike Akers (dramaturg), Sally began the process of devising a new piece of theatre, focusing not only on the Jane/Rochester relationship, but Jane’s early years living with her spiteful aunt, being sent to a Christian school and her coming of age.  It took 8 weeks of collaboration with a group of actors to devise the two shows, enabling them to get to the heart of the story and characters in a theatrical way. 

Following the run of the two shows, the Artistic Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris invited them to take their version of the show to the NT.  They agreed to distil it into a single show, retaining its epic quality, but honing and tightening to make a more intense experience, which runs to around three and half hours with interval.  

Nadia Clifford, gives a powerful performance of emotional depth and insight in the title role.  The ensemble cast work their socks off to play a variety of roles, including a rather lovable dog who made me smile whenever I saw him.

The wooden set with a series of levels and ladders worked very well to represent the various locations throughout the show.  It’s certainly an exciting and innovative piece of theatre that captures your imagination, even if some of the devices appeared rather stagey.  The only few things I found jarred were Mr Rochester’s swearing when he first met Jane (not sure if that was in the book?!) and the decision to include Noel Coward’s song ‘Mad About the Boy’ and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, which both seemed out of place.

Jane Eyre runs at The Waterside until Saturday 29th, with further tour dates and booking details on:

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/jane-eyre-2017/

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

26/4/17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Mar 30th

Thoroughly Modern Millie @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Thoroughly Modern Millie tickets

What a joy it is to see a good old fashioned musical, with sumptuous costumes, an incredible set, brilliant choreography, dancing, singing and acting.  This musical has them all in abundance and you cannot fail but to be captivated by its warmth, energy and humour.

Strictly come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton, proves that she’s a very talented ‘triple threat’ and gives a delightful performance as Millie.

It’s New York in 1922 and naive Millie Dillmount arrives from the small town of Kansas, immediately getting mugged and losing all her money.  She bumps into Jimmy Smith (Sam Barrett), who gives her the number of a hotel to stay in, where he says the landlady will be understanding of her predicament until she finds work.  All is not quite as it seems though, as the wicked landlady, Mrs Meers (brilliantly played by Lucas Rush) is actually selling her tenants into the white slavery trade, with great acrobatic support from Damian Buhagiar and Andy Yau as the Chinese boys charged with carrying out her evil deeds.

Being ‘thoroughly modern’ in the 1920s, meant that Millie was in search of a rich husband and sets her sights on her new boss, Mr Trevor Graydon (Graham MacDuff), who is oblivious to her charms.   Graham has a chance to shine in the second half, shamelessly over-playing being extremely drunk and getting a lot of laughs in the process.

Jenny Fitzpatrick, as Muzzy Van Hossmere, has the most amazing voice, as does Lotty Somers who stepped in to play Miss Dorothy and seized the chance to make her mark. 

Based on the 1967 film which was written as a vehicle for Julie Andrews and co-starred Mary Tyler Moore, the stage musical opened on Broadway on 2002 and went on to win 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  The West End version opened in 2003 and starred Amanda Holden, with Maureen Lipman and Marti Webb sharing the role of the devilish Mrs Meers. 

It’s glamorous, glitzy and glorious fun, and puts the ‘E’ back into ‘Entertainment!’

For tour dates and tickets please visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/thoroughly-modern-millie-2017

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

28.3.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye