Share |
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
STRICTLYSTAR RUSSELL GRANT SETS SAIL FOR THE WATERSIDE’S PETER PAN

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:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Jun 13th

Girls Night @ The Waterside Theatre,Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
19236161.jpg
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.
GN-1.jpg


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:

http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed By:
Pete Benson
12.6.12

 

Jun 11th

Oxford Philomusica @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
521991_10150708383777451_1027755603_n[1].jpg
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.

imagesCAI707H9.jpg
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 www.oxfordphil.com.  Tour dates:
Tue 12th Jun
 Benjamin Grosvenor and Oxford Philomusica:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Barbican Centre
London
Thu 14th Jun
 Benjamin Grosvenor and Oxford Philomusica:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Sheldonian Theatre
Oxford
Sat 23rd Jun
 Oxford Philomusica Festival Concert:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Christ Church Cathedral
Oxford
Thu 28th Jun
 Oxford Philomusica Chamber Series: Debussy, Roussel & Ravel:
The Oxford Philomusica Orchestra
Maison Francaise D’Oxford
Oxford

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
10.6.12
May 29th

Derren Brown Svengail @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

3006_full[1].png

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:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
28.5.2012

May 19th

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

By Yvonne Delahaye

4824_full[1].png
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:
http://www.allelectricproductions.co.uk/comedy/nicholas_parsons_laugh_a_minute.htm

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury click on:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
18.5.12

May 16th

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

By Yvonne Delahaye
737_full[1].png
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:

http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

After which the tour continues to:
NOTTINGHAM THEATRE ROYAL CONCERT HALL
29 May, 2012 – 9 June, 2012

THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH
12 June, 2012 – 23 June, 2012

LEEDS GRAND THEATRE AND OPERA HOUSE
26 June, 2012 – 7 July, 2012

NEW VICTORIA THEATRE WOKING
10 July, 2012 – 21 July, 2012

SHEFFIELD LYCEUM THEATRE
24 July, 2012 – 4 August, 2012

BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE
7 August, 2012 – 18 August, 2012

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
15.5.12

May 9th

Cirque du Ciel’s ShangHi @ The Waterside Theatre Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Cirque du Ciel.jpg
As a reviewer, I was faced with a dilemma last night, at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre. I wanted to make a note of each incredible feat I was witnessing during Cirque du Ciel’s ShangHi and yet I could not risk missing a moment by averting my gaze! This fast-paced dazzling display of skills by over 30 young performers, acrobats and gymnasts from China, had the audience on their feet calling for more – yet there was genuinely no ‘more’ they could have given! One can only sit in the comfort of the auditorium and imagine how much dedication and hard work it must take to develop their craft.

The director, Zhang Wan, worked closely with Guy Caron of Cirque De Soleil on the forerunner to this show, Magical Music Box. He has kept the magical Cirque formula that keeps the pace high and the atmosphere exciting. With recorded soundtrack but using an on-stage Chinese drummer, the live rhythmic element compliments every move the artists make and draws you inextricably into their world. And what a world that is! 

Opening with vibrant footage of Chinese street scenes, we home in on a young girl struggling to sleep through the noise of Shanghai. We join her on a dream journey and, watching each act, it is hard to believe that they are not figments of our imagination!

Hand balancing of remarkable agility and strength - one girl on one hand for the duration of her ten minute act; a team of acrobatic gymnasts tumbling through hoops at a dizzying speed; men standing on the soles of other men’s feet whilst juggling hats in the splits position; hip-hop style male dancers foot-juggling each other; girls simultaneously foot-juggling and playing the drums; dynamic Diabolo tricks; and the Cirque du Ciel lives up to its name – Circus of the Sky – with phenomenal aerial displays using ropes and silks. It all builds to an explosive finale featuring the Chinese monkey poles during which men fly through the air from pole to pole in a manner which defies both gravity and human physiology.

This is a show that shines as brightly as its costumes and is a treat for the whole family to enjoy. There is no need to keep the children quiet during this one as each member of the audience gasps and grins and gushes every step of the way. So come along and share the spectacle and enjoy a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
           
ShangHi is currently on tour until the end of September 2012

May dates 2012 
8th - 9th May EDINBURGH, Playhouse
11th - 12th May DG1, Dumfries
14th - 16th May GLASGOW, Theatre Royal
18th - 20th May GLENROTHES, Rothes Hall
24th May WORTHING, Pavilion Theatre
25th - 26th May BUXTON, Opera House
27th May - 29th May RICHMOND, Richmond Theatre
31st May - 2nd June DARLINGTON, Civic Theatre


For Waterside Theatre’s Spring/Summer programme information contact:
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury   (bkg fee)

Reviewed by:
Shirley Moon and Harrison

Apr 25th

The Lady in The Van @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

2393_full[1].png
When I saw The Lady in the Van in the West End in 2001, the inimitable Dame Maggie Smith played the role of Miss Shepherd. No actress can deliver a line with such razor sharp precision and she totally inhabited the character, so much so that you could almost smell her. Her performance is vividly etched in my memory and for Nicola McAuliffe it must have been a challenge to make the role her own, but that’s exactly what she does do. It’s a difficult role to make believable, as Miss Shepherd was clearly a very eccentric and deluded lady who regularly had visitations from the Virgin Mary and believed herself to be a celebrity. It could so easily become a caricature, but Nicola keeps her very real and gradually we begin to like and understand this strange woman.

Nicholamca1[1].jpg

Nicola McAuliffe is best known for playing Sheila Sabatini in seven series of ITV1’s Surgical Spirit, but she has also appeared in Coronation Street and Doctor Who. With an extensive list of theatre credits, she played Queen Victoria at the RSC and won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for playing Kate in Kiss Me, Kate.

alanbennett[1].jpg

The play is written by Alan Bennett and is based on the real life story of how Miss Shepherd moved her van into his street in Camden Town in the late 60s. As she was constantly being moved on and hounded by thugs, Alan offered her the use of his garden ‘for three months’ in 1971 and there she stayed until her death in 1989! This act of extreme generosity was never acknowledged by Miss Shepherd, but he seemed to accept this with good grace.

With not one but two Alan Bennetts in the play, we see two sides of his character. Alan Bennett 1 (played superbly by Sean McKenzie) is the social conscience part who interacts with Miss Shepherd and helps her, even to the extent of picking up her ‘turds’! Alan Bennett 2 (the excellent Paul Kemp) is narrator and playwright, who expresses his occasional resentment and disbelief at finding himself stuck with such a difficult woman.

The 7-strong cast also includes Fenella Norman (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Sheffield Crucible), Dale Rapely (The Merchant of Venice, Globe Theatre), Karen Traynor (Tracey Beaker Returns, BBC), Ged McKenna (Faith Healer, Library Theatre Manchester), Sophie Robinson (Juno and Paycock, National Theatre).

This Hull Truck production drew critical acclaim when it toured the nation in 2011, playing to sell-out audiences, from Liverpool to Oxford. Nichola McAuliffe is reunited with director Sarah Esdaile, whose recent successes include The Deep Blue Sea with Maxine Peake for West Yorkshire Playhouse and Christmas hit The Sleeping Beauty for Birmingham Rep.

Hull Truck Theatre was first established in 1972, by legendary director Mike Bradwell, after he placed an advert in Time Out which read “Half formed theatre company seeks other half”. The company lived and rehearsed in a 3-storey house, their office was the phone box on the street outside, and soon their work was regularly transferring from Hull to the Bush Theatre and the Royal Court. Writers and directors such as John Godber, Alan Plater and Anthony Minghella have all helped Hull Truck Theatre to remain a national theatre company, touring the nation, based in Hull. With a new £16 million home in the heart of Hull, the company retains a commitment to the work of living playwrights and new plays – and to discovering and developing the next generation of writers and theatre makers. For more information visit: www.hulltruck.co.uk

The play is a very heart-warming and funny account of an extraordinary character and is a delightful insight into the workings of the mind of one of our best loved playwrights. The humanity, compassion and generosity shown by ‘Mr Bennett’ is as relevant today as ever, as it raises issues of how we treat people less fortunate than ourselves. Who among us would actually want a smelly, clapped out old van parked outside our homes and an odorous, ungrateful woman occupying it? Great respect to you Mr Bennett, great respect!

Tickets are available now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee) Performances: Tue 24 – Sat 28 Mar
 Tickets: £10 – 19.50
 Box Office: 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
 Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)

 Tour Dates: Tue 1 – Sat 5 May Cambridge Arts Theatre 01223 503 333
Tue 15 – Sat 19 May Grand Theatre, Blackpool 01253 290190
Tue 22 – Sat 26 May Curve, Leicester 0116 242 3595
Tue 29 May – Sat 2 June Festival Theatre, Malvern 01684 892277
Wed 6 – Sat 9 June Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield 0114 249 6000
Tue 12 – Sat 16 June New Theatre, Cardiff 029 2087 8889
Tue 19 – Sat 23 June Richmond Theatre 0844 871 7651
Mon 25 – Sat 30 June Theatre Royal, Bath 01225 448844

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
 24.4.12

 

 

 

 

Apr 21st

The Dreamboys - Full Frontal Tour 2012 @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Dreamboys_FullFrontal_B2Poster_v15[1].jpg
The great thing about being a reviewer for the Waterside is the chance to watch some classical theatre shows, such as the National Theatre’s recent production of Travelling Light with Sir Anthony Sher, An Inspector Calls and The Russian State Ballet of Siberia.  So, purely in the interest of checking out the artistic merit you understand, I went along to see The Dreamboys with my friend Tricia.  I’d warned her that she may need to take some smelling salts along, lest the sight of semi-naked men proved too much!

As expected, the auditorium was filled with groups of girls out for a good night to celebrate birthdays or hen parties.  The atmosphere was filled with energy and anticipation and the buzz of excitement was audible.  The show was 20 minutes late starting as girls were still filtering in, but it did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

The compere (who didn’t introduce himself) opened the show singing Mysterious Girl and proceeded to do a 25 minute warm-up act, which at times felt a bit like panto dividing the audience to see who could scream the loudest.  Really this could have been cut down to about 10 minutes as it did feel as though the show was being padded out. 

Women have been stripping and tantalising men for centuries of course and in 1979, The Chippendales became the first all-male stripping troupe to make a business performing for mostly female audiences. Through the quality of its staging and choreography, The Chippendales also helped legitimize stripping as a form of popular entertainment.

This is all about having fun and The Dreamboys aim to help the girls live out some of their fantasies with a range of stereotypical characters taking their clothes off.  There’s the fireman, of course, the guys in leather, the Matrix look, a 70s outfit with afro wig (though whose fantasy that would be I’m not quite sure?) and a group of soldiers in combat gear.

A little confusingly the compere asked the audience to think of a film with an iconic uniform and we immediately shouted out ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’.  However, he then talked about Tom Cruise and some of his films, including Cocktail, which led us to think we’d be seeing pilot uniforms from Top Gun.  Out walked the guys in naval uniforms, replicating Richard Gere’s uniform from An Officer and a Gentleman.  I wondered whether he’d confused the two actors, but it didn’t detract too much from the eye candy.

The compere had promised this would be a ‘naughty show’ and the second half involved some audience participation that would have had Mary Whitehouse turning in her grave!  If I say that water, oil, cream, handcuffs, eye masks and towels were all involved then I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!

The show calls itself ‘The Dreamboys – Full Frontal’ and we were expecting to be teased throughout the show until there would be a final quick flash and blackout at the end, as per The Full Monty.  That didn’t happen, but a Dreamboy called ‘Stallion’ provided some amusing entertainment with cream and what appeared to be a rubber appendage, shall we say?

The Dreamboys are certainly all very muscular and well toned and Tricia, as a masseuse, said ‘it’s an interesting study of the human anatomy, particularly with the v-shaped muscles around the tops of the thighs’.

On a theatrical note, I would say that the show wasn’t as slick as it should have been with time lapses between entrances and exits and people mooching off rather than existing snappily.  The comedy could have been a lot more defined and I felt the show really needed a good director to tighten up in these areas and make it more professional. The choreography was good though, especially the fire dance and some of the boys were very athletic and good movers.

The show is what it is though, an opportunity for girls to get out, ogle some hunky muscular oiled up men and have a good laugh.  It certainly made a change and put a smile on our faces and with all the bad news and weather, then why not?

For more info visit www.dreamboystour.co.uk
Tour dates:
Thursday 3rd May 2012
The New Wimbledon Theatre - Wimbledon
Box Office: 0844 871 7607
Friday 4th May 2012
The Regent Theatre - Stoke-On-Trent
Box Office: 0844 871 7649
Friday 11th May 2012
The Octagon Theatre - Yeovil
Box Office: 01935 422884
Friday 3rd August 2012
The Beck Theatre - Hayes - Middlesex
Box Office: 0208 561 8371
Friday 7th September 2012
The Cresset Theatre - Peterborough
Box Office: 01733 265705
Friday 14th September 2012
St Georges Concert Hall - Bradford
Box Office: 01274 432000
Friday 21st September 2012
The Wyvern Theatre - Swindon
Box Office: 01793 524481
Friday 28th September 2012
The Embassy Theatre - Skegness
Box Office: 0845 674 0505
Friday 5th October 2012
The Royal Spa Centre - Leamington Spa
Box Office: 0845 218 3540 Or 01926 334418
Friday 12th October 2012
The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre - Southend-On-Sea
Box Office: 01702 351135
For details of the current and new programmes at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury:
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury   (bkg fee)

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
20.4.2012

Mar 28th

Travelling Light @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

5332_full[1].png
Sir Anthony Sher is undoubtedly one of our greatest classical actors, with a string of awards from around the Globe, he received a Knighthood for services to acting and writing in 2000.  He has also been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Letters from Warwick, Exeter, Liverpool and Cape Town Universities.  I will always remember seeing him playing Tamburlaine at The Barbican, hanging upside down on a rope, bare chested, but still projecting right up into the ‘Gods’.  It was incredible to see his diaphragm working so hard and the spittle shooting across the stage, but his performance was mesmerising.  The opportunity to see him perform live again was one I was relishing and it was a joy to discover some 18 years on, that he still had as much energy and charisma as ever!

Set in a Russian ‘Shtetl’, the story takes place in the home of Tsippa (a lovely comedy performance by Sue Kelvin), whose brother had recently died leaving his cameras and studio to his only son Motl Mendl (Damien Molony), who hadn’t been home for 7 years.  Motl sees the potential future of moving pictures and sets about making some movies of the villagers, funded by Jacob Bindel (Anthony Sher)  When the beautiful Anna Mazowiecka (Lauren O’Neil) becomes his assistant, they become close, but ultimately his ambitions to work in the US creates a dilemma for the couple.  Seeing the potential to make movies around a story and sell them for people to see, Motl creates a film, once again funded by Jacob whose interference creates conflict between the two!

It’s a great insight into the origins of movie making and is very humourous with some well defined characters, who are brought to life not only on the stage, but on the screen behind them.  The story is interspersed with narration by Paul Jesson, who plays Maurice Montgomery, the American name Motl adopted when he moved to the States.

Any production by the National Theatre is going to be outstanding and this is no exception.  The play is directed by Nicholas Hytner who is Director of The National Theatre.  The realistic set of the village and Tsippa’s home/studio is designed by Bob Crowley.  Costume Designer is Vicki Mortimer and Lighting Designer is Bruno Poet.
images[7].jpg

Watching Anthony Sher perform is like seeing a master class on acting and I was very envious of the cast working with him.  He relishes the role of Jacob bringing out every nuance, gesture, bit of humour and, of course, the accent is perfect.  Damien Molony as Motl is really the central character and is very good, as is Lauren o’Neil as Anna.  She has a lovely rich, husky voice and certainly does have the ‘luminescence’ required in the movie shots.  The other gifted cast members are: Jonathan Woolf, Karl Theobald, Colin Haigh, Darren Swift, Mark Extance, Alexis Zergerman, Nell McCann/Alexander Semple, Tom Peters, Jill Stanford, Geoffrey Towers and Kate Webster.

The Waterside Theatre is lucky to have been chosen as one of only four venues for the play to tour to and it’s not too late to get a ticket this week, as it runs until Saturday 31st March.

Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury   (bkg fee)

The play will be at The Theatre Royal, Newcastle from 3rd-7th April. For details of The National Theatre visit:
http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
27th March 2012