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Jul 2nd

Against Time - Flawless & ENB @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Out of all the great shows I’ve been able to see at The Waterside Theatre this season, Against Time was the one that I’ve been most eager to see as the UK’s national ballet company English National Ballet (ENB)and World Dance Champions Flawless come together in a collaboration fusing streetdance, acrobatics and ballet. The ten Flawless dancers and ten ENB ballerinas showcase their skills and combine their talents to create an exciting and innovative show that is, quite simply, AWESOME!

The show is set in a school where the delicate ballerinas are dwarfed by the hunky Flawless men and I initially found myself wincing when the boys were lifting the girls lest they break their fragile bodies!  The premise of the show is a fantasy journey about a professor with a magical hat who can change time and the kids who try to prevent his evil plans. 

In the initial scenes there are some ‘dance offs’ as Flawless show off their incredible street dancing talents and the girls their classical ballet skills dancing on points with extended arms.  The contrast between the two styles is beautifully enhanced when the girls practice their barre work to Swan Lake and the boys then have a go too!  It’s funny and creative and the girls then have a go at street dancing too and give the boys a run for their money!  As they merge their styles and begin to collaborate together the story takes off and leads us into a magical garden. The costumes and routines of the Fireflies, Ladybirds and Damselflies were stunning and the dancing statues were scarily lifelike and produced one of the show’s highlights as they all danced to Maroon Five’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’.  It was a fantastic routine and one I’d really love to see again and again.03.jpg

Another highlight was seeing the fabulously colourful Spanish costumes and the dances with masks to Christina Aguilera’s ‘Ain’t No Other Man’.  Then it was tango time with an incredibly powerful routine of Argentina Tango danced to the seductive tunes of ‘Roxanne’ from Moulin Rouge, sung by Ewan McGregor.

The internationally acclaimed ballet Company and the stars of the UK number-one box office smash hit movie StreetDance 3D and StreetDance 2, first joined forces in 2011 for the Peace One Day concert at the O2.  This exciting new show Against Time has been created by Flawless artistic director and lead choreographer Marlon “Swoosh” Wallen and Jenna Lee, soloist and choreographer at English National Ballet working together to  fuse the opposing poles of dance to generate a groundbreaking dance experience . 

Jenna Lee joined ENB in 2002, and has performed major roles with the Company, she has created many of English National Ballet’s more adventurous small scale dance works. In 2006 Jenna choreographed Ballet Rocks to launch Sky HD. Other notable creations include The Beautiful Game, A Football Ballet and pieces for the main stage at Bestival. Jenna is also an expert in mass-participation choreography, having worked with over 200 school children for Swanning Around, a huge dance project which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall and for World Expo in Shanghai in 2010.

Marlon ‘Swoosh’ Wallen has received awards for Flawless including Best Street Dance Group and Best Choreographed Group. Under his leadership Flawless were named ‘UK Street Dance Champions’, ‘International Dance Champions’ and then crowned ‘World Dance Champions’ after taking on over 50 nations from around the
world in Germany. They were also the first and only group ever to get full marks from all the world judges in street dance history!

Last year Flawless completed a 110 date tour of their own award winning show Chase The Dream which also ran in the West End and attracted critical acclaim. Their inspirational and exciting choreography has helped to make street-dance more appealing to a mass audience. Flawless were finalists in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, where Simon Cowell said they were “one of the best things I have ever seen in my life”

Wayne Eagling, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said “Collaborations like this are vital for English National Ballet to keep the Company fresh and modern and for dancer development. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Jenna to showcase her skills which have been nurtured by the Company and to see a whole new audience introduced to the world of ballet.”

This show is imaginative, exciting and creative and is truly the best dance show I’ve ever seen  Every move is perfectly timed and executed sometimes at great speed and left me awestruck at the incredible skill and talent of all the cast.   The music is a great mix of contemporary and classical and really takes dance to a whole new level, with its fusion of styles. Any lover of dance and theatre will not want to miss this amazing show.

The next date available is:
Fri 06 - Sun 08
Jul 2012
Palace Theatre Manchester

To book tickets go to:

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye

Jun 30th

Roy Orbison and Friends @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
Whenever I hear of a Roy Orbison tribute I can’t help but think of that hysterically funny episode of Only Fools and Horses.  In case anyone has never seen it (catch it on YouTube) Del Boy organises the cabaret for the local hoodlum.  His girlfriend Raquel  ends up singing with a Roy Orbison tribute and all goes well until he sings ‘Crying’ when they discover that he can’t pronounce his ‘Rs’.  It’s a classic episode and I’m sure I’m not the only one who now smirks whenever I hear that song?

Barry Steele has been performing as Roy Orbison for 10 years and is the top Roy tribute act in the business. He sounds just like him and has toured all over the UK, New Zealand and Europe.  This Roy Orbison and Friends show is produced by his wife Lynne and has been touring since 2009.

Taking centre stage, Roy stands and sings some of his most popular hits starting with Only the Lonely, Up Town, Love Hurts and Walk-on.  Barry stands quite stiffly and barely moves, but somehow you get drawn into the song lyrics and the wonderful timbre of his voice.

The first ‘friend’ to be introduced was the Johnny Cash tribute, performed by Peter John Jackson.  Peter gave an energetic performance of Down the Line, Orange Blossom Special and I Got Stripes.  Personally, I don’t enjoy country music nor Johnny Cash’s voice or songs and found it a bit out of place in a rock and pop show, but the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Next up was the Elvis tribute Paul Malloy singing That’s All Right, Blue Suede Shows, Teddy Bear and Don’t be Cruel.  Paul has a great voice and sounds like Elvis, but doesn’t quite have the hip wiggles or charisma to carry it off completely.

‘Roy’ returns with another selection of great hits Running Scared, Blue Bayou, It’s Over and then showed a clip of newspaper cuttings headlining the tragic death of Roy’s first wife, Claudette.  She was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966 aged just 25 and when he then sang It’s too soon to Know I confess I had tears in my eyes!  Finishing off the first act (minus the fake tan and chest wig) Barry sang the version of Crying that Roy recorded with KD Lang.

After the interval came Claudette and, from the film Blue Velvet, In Dreams followed by Sweet Dreams and a song by The Platters, The Great Pretender.
Barry’s very talented band of musicians were then given some performance time, as they gave a terrific performance of The Shadows' Apache, with Carl Windsor on lead guitar.  Barney Williams was amazing as Jerry Lee Lewis on vocals and keys for Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shaking and I’d have loved to have seen some more of him.

Pete returned as Johnny singing God’s Gonna Cut You Down, Boy Named Sue, Sunday Morning Comin’ Down and Ring of Fire.    Then Elvis was back in the building in a GI uniform to sing GI Blues, Stuck on You and, his most popular song, It’s Now or Never.

The final set from Barry included Down the Line and Penny Arcade before covering some of the Travelling Wilburys' songs firstly End of the Line and with Steve Hill on vocals, Handle with CareYou Got It was used in a TV ad campaign in 2003 and the last song, Drove All Night was recorded by Roy in 1987, but not released until 1992, several years after Roy’s untimely death at just 52 in 1988.

There could only be one song to play for the encore and to get the audience on its feet singing along and it had to be Pretty Woman!  The song of course is now linked to the 1990 film of the same title starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

The artists were a bit before my era, but it’s a very good night’s entertainment and a lot of the songs appear in films and TV ads, so are quite familiar.  The show does run nearly 3 hours though and I actually feel that the show would have been complete without the addition of the ‘friends’ Johnny Cash and Elvis.  The band are all so accomplished that it would have been good to have a few more tracks just featuring them.  They are Carl Windsor on lead and acoustic guitar, Barney Williams on keyboards and vocals, Richard Young on drums, Alan Whittam on base and Steve Hill on lead guitar and vocals.

The tour continues to

Sat 30th Jun
  Gladstone Theatre
Port Sunlight
Fri 6th Jul
 Exmouth Pavilion
Sat 7th Jul
  Brewhouse Theatre
Thu 12th Jul
  Palace Theatre
Fri 13th Jul
 Leas Cliff Hall
Sat 14th Jul
  Kings Hall
Herne Bay
Sat 11th Aug
Southport Theatre & Floral Hall Complex
Fri 17th Aug
  Pavilion Theatre
Sat 18th Aug
  Buy Now
Princess Theatre
Sun 19th Aug
  Buy Now
Princess Pavilion
Fri 24th Aug
  Shanklin Theatre
Mon 27th Aug
  Pavilion Theatre & Cromer Pier
And for further dates visit

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
Jun 25th

The Bolshoi Ballet Raymonda - Live Screening @ The Second Space, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
If you’re an avid ballet fan, I’d imagine that seeing the Bolshoi Ballet performing live in Moscow would be a lifetime ambition?  Thankfully you no longer need to travel to Russia to achieve this, as owing to the marvels of technology you can now see a live ballet in a theatre near you!

Raymonda is a full-length ballet in three acts, created in 1898 at the Marlinsky Theatre by Marius Petipa and Alexander Glazunov.  It became an overnight success in Russia and has previously been revived by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1984 and 2003.  Famous for its Pas de Deux, Pas de Quatre, Variations and its Grand Pas Classique Hongrois (or Raymonda Pas de Dix), the full-length ballet is only danced by a handful of companies worldwide.

Raymonda, niece of Countess Sybil de Daurice, French noblewoman, is betrothed to Jean de Brienne.  De Brienne arrives at the castle to bid farewell to Raymonda before leaving for the crusade led by the King of Hungary.  In a dream, Raymonda is reunited with her finance, but as he disappears a Saracen Knight, Abderakhman,  appears and declares his passionate love for her.  The following day the Saracen Knight appears at the palace, but is rejected by the terrified Raymonda.  His attempts to abduct her fail and Jean de Brienne returns and defeats Abderakhman.  Naturally the final act is the wedding ceremony with dancers entertaining the happy couple, but the focus is very much on the bride and groom.

Not being an expert on ballet, this was one I’d never heard of before, but it was certainly good to be able to see one of the world’s top companies performing.  The backdrops were huge and set the scenes of the lavish palace and the enchanted garden superbly.  The medieval costumes were perfectly designed with muted colours and elegant lines.  During the dream sequence, the Corps de Ballet performed some beautiful dances in exquisite midnight blue and silver costumes, which enhanced the dream-like feeling.  The vivid orange, gold and brown costumes of the Spanish costumes in the second act were also stunning.  The Arabian scene with the Moroccan-style costumes, complete with fez, and the dance with sticks, was the highlight of the show for me.

Raymonda was beautifully danced by Maria Alexandrova, with the handsome Ruslan Skvortsov dancing the role of Jean de Brienne.  For me though it was Pavel Dmitrichenko, dancing Abderakhman, who stole the show.  His energy, charisma and sheer physical skills made him memerising to watch, with his dance moves being a mixture of ballet and Cossack dance.

Libretto by Yuri Grigorovich after scenario by Lidia Pashkova
With the Orchestra of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia
Choreography: Maestro Yuri Grigorovich
Music Director: Pavel Sorokin
Set Designer: Simon Virsaladze
Lighting Designer: Mikhail Sokolov
Assistant Choreographer: Natalia Bessmertnova

It was a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon, though be warned that in Russia the intervals last for 25 minutes so the show runs to three hours!

Watch out for further live screenings at your local theatre.
To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:
Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
Jun 16th

Frankenstein Live Screening @ Second Space, The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

The National Theatre has always produced exceptional theatre, with top rated actors and now with the tours and live screenings, it really has become not only national, but global.  With the technical capabilities now available, people around the world are able to see screenings of plays performed live from the South Bank.  I’ve always loved going to the National, as no matter where you sit you can be guaranteed of a good view and the acoustics are outstanding, so you can also hear everything. 

I was fortunate enough to see a recording of the live screening of Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role and Jonny Lee Miller playing The Creature.  These screenings have proven so popular that even though the play is no longer running, theatres have requested screenings, so the National have been able to show the recorded screenings.  What you see in the recording are views that you wouldn’t see sitting in the audience, as in shots taken from overhead and close-ups of the actors from different angles, as you would on TV or film.  However, you still get the excitement and thrill of watching live theatre and get drawn into the show as if you’re sitting in the theatre.

The story of Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelly when she was in her late teens.  It’s a classic story of someone being shunned by society because of the way they look and the lack of compassion and love they experience, leading them into taking horrific revenge.

This production, a new play by Nick Dear, gives the creature a voice and the story is told from his perspective.  Jonny Lee Miller gives an extraordinary performance from hatching out of the egg like structure with twitching physical movements as he discovers his body and how it works.  This initial scene was so touching, you could feel his pain in each move and emphathised with this strange creature.  When he meets his maker, Frankenstein, he is so horror-struck at what he has created he rejects ‘The Creature’ and abandons him to the world.

The play takes us through The Creature's journey as he is beaten and rejected by everyone, until he meets the blind man de Lacey (beautifully played by Karl Johnson) who treats him respectfully and educates him.  The Creature has an amazing mind, but after being rejected again by de Lacey’s family, sets out on a quest to wreak revenge on the uncaring master who created him.  His one desire in life was to find love where he could live in peace away from the judgements and fear of the outside world.  All he is given in the end is lies and betrayal and he learns that hatred and humiliation are intrinsic facets of human behaviour.

Jonny Lee Miller’s performance is completely mesmerising and you cannot but help to feel sympathy for him and understand why he is driven to commit such horrors. 
Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant as the cold-hearted, pompous, self-righteous inventor who has no understanding of love and compassion.  
In the production, the two actors swap roles and I would be fascinated to see the alternate screening.  This must have helped to seal the bond between the two actors and it’s very tangible in the strength of their performances.  The actors recently jointly won the Olivier Award and deservedly so for these most physically challenging and demanding roles.

There were also a few notable comedy moments from Ella Smith as Clarice and Mark Armstrong as Rab with John Stahl as his uncle Ewan.

 During the initial days Jonny Lee Miller  was best known for his roles in the  films Trainspotting and Hackers (1995), co-starring Angelina Jolie, whom he married in 1996. They separated eighteen months later and were divorced on 9 February 1999. Miller worked steadily in film and theatre with less public notice until 2008, when he starred in two seasons of American TV series Eli Stone followed by lead roles in the Broadway play After Miss Julie and the BBC production of Emma. In 2010 he had a featured role on the Showtime series Dexter as the fifth season's chief antagonist Jordan Chase. Miller played Roger Collins in Tim Burton's film Dark Shadows, which opened 11 May 2012.

Benedict  Cumberbatch's most acclaimed roles include Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama Hawking (2004); William Pitt in the historical film Amazing Grace (2006); the protagonist Stephen Ezard in the miniseries thriller The Last Enemy (2008); Paul Marshall in Atonement (2007); Bernard in Small Island (2009); Sherlock Holmes in the modern BBC adaptation series Sherlock (2010-2012); and Peter Guillam in the spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). In late 2011, he played Major Stewart in Steven Spielberg's BAFTA and Academy Award nominated War Horse (2011).
The play is directed by Oscar winning (Slumdog Millionaire) Director Danny Boyle. He is best known for his work on films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Shallow Grave, 127 Hours, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Trainspotting. Boyle was presented with the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award at the 2008 Austin Film Festival, where he also introduced that year's AFF Audience Award Winner Slumdog Millionaire. On 17 June 2010, it was announced that he will be the Artistic Director for the 2012 Olympic games opening ceremony

The second screening of Frankenstein with Jonny Lee Miller playing Frankenstein and benedict Cumberbatch playing The Creature, is on Thursday 19th July at the Second Space, Waterside Theatre. 

To book tickets click on:

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye

Jun 14th

Russell Grant to star in Peter Pan @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 8th-30th December 2012

By Yvonne Delahaye

Russsell Grant Studio Shot.jpg

We predict Aylesbury can look forward to a fantastic panto this year as the Waterside Theatre announces  everyone’s favourite cannon- popping  ‘Strictly’ star Russell Grant is to appear in Peter Pan this Christmas 08 – 30 Dec.    A cast of world class performers will join the national treasure in an all-singing all-dancing, swashbuckling adventure that will get you well and truly hooked.

Russell Grant has enjoyed a very successful career in theatre, TV and film. Russell’s many theatre performances include Ivor Novello’s  King’s Rhapsody, The King and I, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Camille, Hans Andersen, Me And My Gal, The Rocky Horror Show and Under Milk Wood to name but a few.  On TV he appeared in comedy classics such as On The Buses, Please Sir!, The Fenn Street Gang, Doctor in the House and straight drama The Canterbury Tales and Roads to Freedom, and in the ‘80s he was one of the first ever breakfast TV presenters for the BBC before joining This Morning and winning a BAFTA.  Recently Russell returned to live performance in the award-winning Probably Wanstead and Soap at Alan Ayckbourne’s Stephen Joseph Theatre  to rave reviews, and for Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine directed and played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 He is also Senior Creative Director at his own Academy for Showbusiness at Coleg Harlech.  Russell’s no stranger to panto last year guest-starring in Aladdin.  Russell hit our TV screens again last year in what he describes as a professional dream come true: learning how to dance on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing with world-champion Latin dancer, Flavia Cacace and has just completed a season starring in London’s West End as the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.

Russell says “I love panto.  And I can’t wait to get back on stage this Christmas at the Waterside.  Peter Pan is a fantastic and magical story for all of the family and I know you are going to really enjoy it.  We are sure to have an absolute blast... but maybe I’ll leave the cannon at home this time, you’ll just have come along to find out!  I can’t wait to see you there”

Brewer, HollyIMG_5598.JPG

The lovable Russell will be flying onto the stage as Roger the Cabin Boy with upcoming local singer and actress Holly Brewer. Holly hails from Buckinghamshire. 2years ago she won a part in Milton Keynes Pantomime Cinderella following tough competition in a talent contest and  is very excited to be working again with First Family Entertainment  playing the role of Wendy. Although just 17 years old, Holly has also worked as a soloist alongside the West End cast of The Rat Pack , That’s Amore, The Swings Dudes and Diva show and a 15 piece live Big Band. Over the last 12 months she’s been involved in a number of live performances including Charity Events for Sky TV, Jury’s Inn, The MK Dons, Best of Bucks and The Great Room at The Grosvenor House Hotel, London .  Holly was recently selected to work for Sennheiser as a session vocalist and is now writing and developing her own material. 

Get ready to fly away on a spectacular journey of wonder and excitement into the magical world of Neverland. Join Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys in their thrilling adventure to save Tinkerbell from the villainous Captain Hook and his crew of dastardly pirates. With stunning special effects , amazing flying,, sumptuous costumes, superb sets and a good helping of fairydust, Peter Pan will be the perfect treat for the whole family!

Performances:   Sat 8 – Sun 30 Dec 2012
(Times vary. Contact the Box Office or visit the website for further details)
Tickets:   £10 - £26  
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)

Tickets can be booked
for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury at:

Jun 13th

Girls Night @ The Waterside Theatre,Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
The Clue’s in the title, ‘Girls Night’, and you get exactly what it says on the tin. If you are a woman, want a laugh and a good night out this could be exactly the show you are looking for. I shall put my man cards on the table and tell you I am neither girl nor woman and was probably one of only a dozen men in the packed theatre.

We join four girls, Anita, Liz and sisters Carol and Kate on a girls night out. We learn about their lifelong friendship from a fifth friend Sharon who is now an immortal angel since falling off a moped and dying. The story they tell is punctuated with a series of classic and instantly recognisable songs. The angelic narrator introduces a series of flashbacks from school years and early adulthood revealing a series of romantic adventures, pregnancies, betrayals and insecurities. 

The girls get drunk together gossiping and laughing about the failings of husbands and all things sexual drawing a lot of empathetic recognition from the audience. Each scene segues into an appropriate song.  Rebecca Wheatley (Anita) has some nice moments of physical comedy and shows a good strong voice when she sings, ‘The Love of My Man’. Kerry Enright, whose character Liza spends the show agonising over her possible pregnancy, gives a nice vocal performance in ‘It’s Raining Men’ which closes the first act.

The show has an interesting dynamic with its fictional sisters being played by the Taylforth sisters. The more famous sister, Gillian perhaps has the least demanding role in the show while for me Kim is the star of the show. She maintains the most believable performance and gives an excellent account of her solo numbers from her dorky performance of a karaoke song to a powerful vocal rendition of ‘Cry Me a River whilst hobbling around the stage in a most absurd state which I shall not spoil by revealing its details. During the interval I learned an interesting piece of trivia about Kim. By coincidence I had been sitting next to a woman who had served in the police force alongside her, talk about contrasting careers.

Considering the deliberately superficial nature of the script I thought the writer Louise Roche made a surprising artistic decision in the final scene of the show that left me not liking narrator Sharon’s character very much, totally overturning my expectation of a nice comfortable conclusion.

Girls Night is not trying to be worthy or deep and should not be judged as such. For me it is a part of a new genre, a kind of a modern female version of the working men’s club cabaret circuit but without the vitriol. To quote Kate, ‘I just need to have a bit of fun’, I think that sums up the show.

Future Dates
18 June - Princess Theatre, Torquay
25 June - City Varieties, Leeds

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:

Reviewed By:
Pete Benson


Jun 11th

Oxford Philomusica @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
Whenever I hear Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. Op 16, I immediately think of that wonderful sketch featuring Eric & Ern, conducted by ‘Andrew Preview’.  The joys of YouTube mean that I’ve just been able to watch it again and it still makes me roar with laughter.  Thankfully Benjamin Grosvenor played all the rights notes in the right order and I soon forgot about Eric’s piano playing.

Incredibly Benjamin is still a teenager (born 8 July 1992) and started to learn to play piano when he was six, under the tutelage of his mother. He won the piano section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 competition. In 2010 he joined BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists scheme, which he completes in 2012 and he is still studying at The Royal Academy of Music. Since then he has given many high profile recitals in Europe and the United States. Some of the concerts he has played in were at the Royal Albert Hall, St George's, Bristol, Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre, Usher Hall, Carnegie Hall and Symphony Hall.

Benjamin’s performance was superb, both in his solo piece and with the faultless support of the orchestra and the beautiful Steinway grand piano.
He has performed with many other orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish String Ensemble, New York Youth Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra playing works by Mozart, Grieg, Ravel, Britten and Chopin.

In little more than a decade Oxford Philomusica's professional symphony orchestra has become one of the leading orchestras in the UK. Praised as ‘excellent’ by Gramophone Magazine and ‘thoroughly impressive’ by BBC Music Magazine, Oxford Philomusica’s reputation is based on the uncompromising artistic standards of its Founder and Music Director, Marios Papadopoulos, and maintained by some of the very best orchestral musicians in London, Oxford and the Thames Valley. In October 2002 the Philomusica was appointed the first-ever Orchestra In Residence at the University of Oxford, and its year-round programme of concerts at the Sheldonian Theatre has attracted consistent critical praise and loyal public support.

The second act saw the stage crammed with around 200 people, as the orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus filled the stage to perform Carl Orff's composition from his 1937 oratorio Carmina Burana.  Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi - which has also featured in scary movie The Omen and in the Old Spice aftershave ads - topped a list of the most-played classical recordings of the past 75 years.  In recent years we’ve seen the X-Factor judges enter to this most dramatic of all pieces.

To hear Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi played by Oxford Philomusica and sung by the London Symphony Chorus was spine-tingling and mesmerising.  Words cannot describe just how powerful and uplifting it was to hear and see this extraordinary piece performed live. If you closed your eyes you could almost imagine the sopranos were angels singing. There was also incredible support by the Overstone Combined School Junior Choir, singing their little hearts out in Latin.

The magnificent soloists were Soprano Elena Xanthoudakis, Baritone Robert Davies and Countertenor Tom Verney.

The concert was conducted with precision and gusto by Oxford Philomusica’s Music Director, Marios Papadopoulos.  It was a joy to see him again with his wonderful head of silver hair that bounces in time to the music.  I’m surprised we haven’t seen him on a hair commercial yet, as I’m sure he could sell a lot of hair products!

If anyone thinks that classical music isn’t for them, I’d urge you to get a ticket as this could really transform your life.  For further details visit  Tour dates:
Tue 12th Jun
 Benjamin Grosvenor and Oxford Philomusica:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Barbican Centre
Thu 14th Jun
 Benjamin Grosvenor and Oxford Philomusica:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Sheldonian Theatre
Sat 23rd Jun
 Oxford Philomusica Festival Concert:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Christ Church Cathedral
Thu 28th Jun
 Oxford Philomusica Chamber Series: Debussy, Roussel & Ravel:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Maison Francaise D’Oxford

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
May 29th

Derren Brown Svengail @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye


With an intriguing set that could belong to a mad scientist (you half expect to see Frankenstein wandering around) and some thumping music, the stage is set for a night of mystery, magic and wonderment.

Dubbed a 'psychological illusionist' by the Press, Derren Brown is a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship in order to seemingly predict and control human behaviour, as well as performing mind-bending feats of mentalism.

For the past ten years Derren has created TV and stage performances that have stunned audiences, debunked the paranormal and encouraged many to improve and enhance their own mental abilities. His first show appeared in 2000, Derren Brown: Mind Control, and followed with Trick of the Mind, Trick or Treat and a series of Specials including the controversial Russian Roulette and the hugely popular Events.

The audience were asked not to divulge the content of the show, so I can’t reveal what actually happened last night.  I can tell you though that it was an incredible night’s entertainment, with Derren as an expert showman keeping us all captivated and trying to guess - just how does he do it?!!!

Following his sell-out performances across the UK, Derren is at The Waterside Theatre until Saturday 2nd June.  To book tickets go to:

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye

May 19th

Nicholas Parsons: A Laugh a Minute @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Whether you know Nicholas Parsons from radio’s ‘Just a Minute’ or as the irrepressible host of ‘Sale of The Century’, it cannot be denied that he is an icon.  How many other artists would still be performing a one-man show at the grand age of 88 and be able to keep us all fully entertained for 2 hours?  I can’t think of many current stand-up comedians who could achieve that, but Nicholas’s ‘Laugh a Minute’ really does deliver and there’s not a swear word for the whole time!  He is the consummate professional with an ability to mimic and portray the myriad of characters who have crossed his path during a long and varied career.

Nicholas was born in Grantham and went to the same primary school as one former lady Prime Minster!  She was obviously very bossy even then, but Nicholas saved her from some school bullies and is still waiting to be rewarded for his chivalry!

Starting from the disadvantage of dyslexia, he went on to become top of his class and a good sportsman.  He learnt early on how to make others laugh and knew that he wanted to become an actor, but his parents were set against it and he was sent to Glasgow to become an engineering apprentice.  Some of his funniest anecdotes were about his time there and the oddball people and situations he found himself in.

Thankfully for us all, he broke free and became an actor learning his craft in the weekly rep system, which sadly no longer exists.  He then went on to work in cabaret and revue, eventually at the world-famous Windmill Theatre, before getting his first big TV break.  He became the stooge for Arthur Haines and the shows were a huge success, resulting in summer seasons together and even an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in the States! 

Nicholas went on to star in the West End in ‘Boeing Boeing’ for 15 months and then in 1967 became the Chairman for a new radio show called ‘Just a Minute’.  The pilot show wasn’t going to be picked up, but fortunately David Hatch saw its potential and the rest, as they say, is history!

Another show that wasn’t going to be picked up until Anglia TV decided to run it was ‘Sale of the Century’.  It’s the show that really made Nicholas a national icon and household name and it became the most successful quiz show of all time.  At its peak the audience figures reached 20 million!

After TV hosting though it was difficult to be taken seriously again as an actor, but when Nicholas was offered the role of Narrator in 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', he was able to re-invent himself again.  It was his idea to have the Narrator make a final entrance wearing his jacket on top, but with stockings, suspenders and high heels!  This has now become a tradition for most, if not all, of the actors who now play the role.

Nicholas really is the most wonderfully entertaining raconteur.  He has enormous warmth and kindness and is very generous to other entertainers.  For anyone considering a career as an actor or comedian, you’d do well to go along and watch a master perform his craft, but for everyone it’s a hilarious and uplifting night out.  He’ll be taking his shows to Edinburgh again this year and for more details of further tour dates visit:

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye

May 16th

South Pacific @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury from 15th-26th May 2012

By Yvonne Delahaye
After a period of long, cold and wet weather we are all in need of the warmth of the South Pacific and a night at the Waterside is probably the nearest most of us will come to tropical climes!  This revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical is teeming with memorable songs we all know and love from Some Enchanted Evening, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Bali Ha’I, Happy Talk, Younger Than Springtime and, my personal favourite, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair!

With the number of upbeat songs you might think that the show is just a fun-filled fantasy, but it deals with the very serious topic of war and racial prejudice set on a South Pacific island during World War II. The 1949 musical delves into the roots of American prejudice through the story of a Navy nurse, Nellie Forbush,  from Little Rock, Arkansa, who falls in love with a suave French plantation owner with a dark past who doesn't tell her about his two mixed-race children from a previous marriage to a Polynesian woman. With a colourful mix of characters from marines and officers to Bloody Mary, the story leads up to a massive mobilization of forces against the mighty Empire of Japan.

Bartlett Sher’s production, which opened in 2008 at The Lincoln Centre Theatre in New York and won 7 Tony Awards, was the first revival on Broadway since the show’s premiere in 1949 and the reason, surely, is its contentious subject matter.   The show features 40 cast and a live orchestra of 18 and the entire creative team from the Lincoln Centre, including director Bartlett Sher, brought the show to the UK.  This production was recently nominated for 3 Oliver Awards including Best Musical Revival and Best Costume Design (Catherine Zuber). Sher directed this production, which opened for a short season at the Barbican in August 2011 and has been touring since November 2011.

Eastenders actress Samantha Womack plays naive and innocent Nellie Forbush, which is a particularly challenging role as she is on stage virtually the whole time.   Sam works hard in the role and had the southern drawl down to a tee, though perhaps could have toned it down a bit for the songs as it occasionally made them sound a little harsh.  Sam is no stranger to musical theatre and played Adelaide in Guys and Dolls opposite the lovely Patrick Swayze.

Matthew Cammelle plays the French plantation owner Emile de Becque.  With an exceptionally strong baritone voice, he sings the wonderful Some Enchanted Evening to express his feelings to Nellie, though I didn’t feel there was much genuine chemistry between them. 

Australian actor Danny Koek plays Lt Joe Cable and described his role as ‘a bit screwed up! Cable has come from the frontline in battle and seen awful stuff.'  This dark side startlingly manifests itself when he deflowers the beautiful young Liat, who is the daughter of Bloody Mary and then rejects her as Mary tries to get him to marry Liat.

For me, Jodi Kimura as Bloody Mary stole the show as she portrayed the wheeling-dealing, mercenary, grotesque who is prepared to pimp out her own daughter.  Alex Ferns adds some comic light relief as Luther Billis, along with Cameron Jack as Stewpot.

This production is co-produced by The Lincoln Centre Theatre, The Ambassador Theatre Group, Genesius and Promenade Productions, Bill Kenwright Productions and Rupert Gavin for Incidental Colman UK.  The atmospheric lighting is designed by Donald Holder and the set cleverly designed by Michael Yeargan.  Dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittmann.

There’s still time to warm up with a cocktail or two for an enchanted evening in the South Pacific and the show runs until Saturday 26th May, so book your tickets now on:

After which the tour continues to:
29 May, 2012 – 9 June, 2012

12 June, 2012 – 23 June, 2012

26 June, 2012 – 7 July, 2012

10 July, 2012 – 21 July, 2012

24 July, 2012 – 4 August, 2012

7 August, 2012 – 18 August, 2012

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye