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Mar 24th

The Matt Monro Story @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Click for more details and to book tickets for The Matt Monro Story at Theatre Royal Brighton, Brighton

‘Surely you’re too young to remember Matt Monro?’ a lady asked me after the show.  I explained that my parents had been fans of ‘The Man with the Golden Voice’ and played his music a lot, so how could I not have fallen in love with that silky smooth voice?

The Matt Monro Story is not just a tribute to Britain’s answer to Frank Sinatra, it’s a very personal journey which has taken his son, Matt Monro Junior, 30 years to put together.  The show features him singing some of his father’s iconic songs ‘Born Free’, ‘Walk Away’, ‘Portrait of My Love’ to name but a few. 

Matt Monro Junior opens the show singing with a 3 piece band and then introduces Danni Bentley, who narrates the life story of Matt Monro Senior, to a backdrop of pictures and video footage.  Danni also has the chance to show off her beautiful voice singing ‘Yesterday’ and later duets with MMJunior. 

It’s a very interesting life story, as Matt Senior was born in Shoreditch in London in 1930 and was first noticed while serving in the British army in Hong Kong.  His singing career took a long time to really take off, as he worked his way around the clubs and his first few records failed to make a mark.  Strangely enough it was a Camay soap commercial that got his gorgeous voice noticed and his partnership with George Martin and EMI eventually gave him his first huge hit with ‘Portrait of My Love’.

Matt’s signature tune, ‘Born Free’, almost got cut from the film, but thankfully it was kept in and went on to win an Oscar for best song.  The first Bond film to feature a title song ‘From Russia With Love’ especially written for the film, was sung by Matt and set a trend which continues to this day.

Matt Monro achieved international fame, making albums in Spanish as well as English and in the Philippines he filled a stadium of 26,000 people and had to put on 4 more shows selling those out too.

Tragically, Matt Monro’s life and career were cut short as he developed liver cancer and he died in 1985 at the age of 54.

Frank Sinatra dubbed Matt ‘The singer’s singer’ and his rich, velvety voice is so effortless and full of emotion, I defy any singer not to be amazed at his natural, untrained skills with perfect breath control and phrasing.  His son admits that it’s impossible for him to compete and emulate his father, but it doesn’t matter as this touching, very personal celebration of the great singer is very moving. The video footage of Matt Monro Senior singing ‘Softly as I Leave You’ had me welling up, as it brought back memories of my dearly departed parents.  Whatever age you are, if you’ve never even heard of Matt Monro I urge you to listen to this track to hear something very extraordinary and special.  The show is very emotional and it’s a gentle evening of nostalgia for music lovers everywhere.

Further dates can be found http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-matt-monro-story/

Reviewed by:

 

Yvonne Delahaye

21.3.17

@yvonnedelahaye

Feb 28th

Round the Horne @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Round The Horne Tickets at Victoria Hall,

“Oh, Mr Horne! How bona to vada your dolly old eek!”

If you were around between 1965 to 1968, you may recognise this line from the biggest radio programme in Britain at the time, the ground-breaking Round the Horne.  For half an hour every Sunday afternoon, audiences of up to 15 million people would gather around the wireless to listen to Kenneth Horne and his merry crew get up to all sorts of mischief.

With its infamous movie spoofs and hilarious regular characters such as Rambling Sid Rumpo, Charles and Fiona, J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock and Julian and Sandy, Round the Horne was one of the biggest and best radio comedy shows of all time.  Over 50 years since it began it still earns new fans every year and with packed theatres around the country to see the tour, set in the BBC’s Paris Studios, its success is assured for years to come. 

This is the end of the 50th anniversary tour which has been running since 2015 with three U.K. tours and eight weeks in London. The cast were all excellent at recreating the iconic characters portrayed in the radio show, though Colin Elmer deserves a special mention for perfectly emulating  Kenneth Williams’ voice and mannerisms.

Kenneth Horne - Julian Howard McDowell

Kenneth Williams - Colin Elmer

Hugh Paddick - Alex Scott Fairley 

Betty Marsden - Eve Winters 

Douglas Smith - Alan Booty

SFX/Musician - Miles Russell 

The show was compiled, produced and directed by Tim Astley who set up Apollo Theatre Company in 2010, after graduating from Guildford School of Acting.

Personally, I didn’t know the radio shows so a lot was lost on me, but the almost full theatre whooped at familiar lines and characters they recognised.  What I loved, as an actor myself, was that all of the actors seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves which made me wish I was up there with them!  We certainly need to see more comedy on stage and it’s a compliment to the clever writing of Barry Took and Marty Feldman that it still works to this day.

The tour ends on 1st March at The Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.  Tim Astley says ‘It is entirely possible that we may produce a 'Round the Horne' show again in the future but for now there are no immediate plans.’

For further details of all their productions, go to www.apollotheatrecompany.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

27.2.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Feb 21st

Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Dreamboats and Petticoats Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

Inspired by the smash-hit multi-million selling CD albums Dreamboats and Petticoats One, Two, Three, Four and Five, the West End sell-out sensation Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical is celebrating its 10th anniversary tour and features some of the greatest hit songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era. These include Let’s Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby’s Girl, Little Town Flirt, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Let It Be Me, Great Pretender, C’mon Everybody, Let’s Twist Again and many more hits from music’s golden era!  Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical  was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2010 for best new musical.

The dazzling success of the first five albums in the Dreamboats and Petticoats series sent the message loud and clear. With over 4 million copies sold and several weeks at the Number One spot in the compilation charts, the Great British public were saying that they didn’t just want to listen to pure nostalgia: they’d love to see it as well. Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the writers behind TV classics Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds of a Feather, The New Statesmen and Shine On Harvey Moon, the show features classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and many more. Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical is produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield in association with Universal Music.

Set in 1961, emotions are running high as young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win a national song writing competition – and, more importantly, the attention of the gorgeous Sue! But when Bobby discovers that shy Laura is no slouch on the piano, love and rock‘n’roll fame beckons.

The role of Laura was played by Chloe Edwards-Wood for this performance and she totally owned the part, playing the love-sick schoolgirl who transforms into a beautiful young woman.  Alistair Higgins plays spotty teenager Bobby, who pursues glamorous Sue (Laura Darton) who in turn is pursuing cool dude Norman (Alastair Hill), who can have his pick of girls and ignores her advances.

Whatever era you grew up in, we all remember the music of that time and it defines who we are now with the memories it creates.  Being a teenager is probably the most difficult period in all our lives, with raging hormones and the juxtaposition between being a child and an adult creating conflict as we strive to work out our place in the world. This show gives a good insight into a time long before the internet, when youth clubs reigned and this was probably where you met your first love.

It’s a fabulous way to spend a winter’s evening and the energy, vibrancy and sheer talent of all the cast ensures that you have a really great night out. 

The talented cast includes:
Jimmy Johnston as Phil/Older Bobby, Gracie Johnson as Donna, David Luke as Ray, Henry Alexander as Colin, Jay Osborne as Richard, Rob Gathercole as Jeremy, Lauren Chinery as Babs, Josh Tye as Derek, Sheridan Lloyd as Andy, Billy Stookes as Barry, Mike Lloyd as Frank/Slugger, Stephanie Hackett as Daisy/Brenda, Alan Howell as Eric

The show continues at Aylesbury Waterside until 25th February, so there’s still time to call the Box Office, on  0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visiting www.atgtickets.com/Aylesbury   (bkg fee).

And for the next few months to:

27th - 4th March
Palace Theatre, Manchester
6th - 11th March
Orchard Theatre, Dartford
20th - 25th March
Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, Southport
3rd - 8th April
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Further tour dates can be found on www.dreamboatsandpetticoats.com

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

20.2.17

@yvonnedelahaye

 



Feb 8th

The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Following the successful tour in 2015 of The National Theatre’s production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the play makes a welcome return to the Waterside Theatre from 7th-11th February. The play is adapted by Simon Stephens from  the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon and is directed by Marianne Elliott. The story concerns a mystery surrounding the death of a neighbour's dog that is investigated by 15 year old Christopher Boone, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and explores his complicated relationships with his parents, interspersed with advice and support from his school mentor, Siobhan.

The play received seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play, Best Director, Best Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design and five Tony Awards on Broadway including Best Play.  The play's West End Theatre debut was 2 August 2012 at the Royal National Theatre, playing in the round. It transferred to the Apollo Theatre in 2013, but following a roof collapse it closed down. It reopened on 9 July 2014 at the Gielgud Theatre, where it will continue until 3rd June 2017. A Broadway theatre production debuted at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 5 October 2014. It won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Play, the 2015 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play, and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. 

I saw the live screening of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a few years ago and was enthralled by the clever set, which the cameras showed from different angles, enabling the audience to see the action from other dimensions.  It’s a really amazing piece of ensemble theatre and I remember thinking how wonderful Una Stubbs was to be throwing herself around the stage, when she was then 75! 

In this tour, playing the demanding central role of Christopher Boone is Scott Reid, who is currently appearing in BBC1’s comedy Still Game. Scott totally inhabits the role and gives an energetic, committed performance that allows us to experience the inner turmoil of Christopher’s world.  The cast all work hard to create a range of characters and the action moves along at a pace.  I was disappointed that some of the actors seemed to be struggling to project in the space at The Waterside and a few of the performances were rather weak. 

What really makes this play work is the incredible set and the production is designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Paule Constable, video design by Finn Ross, movement by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph.  The Associate Director is Elle While.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time allows the audience to experience life from the perspective of a mathematical genius, who happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome, giving us an insight into his turmoil and struggles.  It was good to see so many teenagers in the audience and to hear them raving about the play at the end, so if it helps bring about more tolerance in our society then this play should continue running for years.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Tour of the UK and Ireland 2017

Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury                                  7 – 11 February

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh                                    20 – 25 February

Grand Theatre, Leeds                                               28 February – 4 March 

Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury                                   6 – 11 March

Theatre Royal Bath                                                    14 – 25 March

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton                            27 March – 1 April

Nottingham Theatre Royal                                        4 – 15 April 2017

Grand Opera House, Belfast                                     18 – 22 April

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin                            25 – 29 April

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff                              2 – 6 May

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield                                         9 – 20 May

New Theatre, Oxford                                                  22 – 27 May

Theatre Royal, Newcastle                                         30 May – 10 June

Bristol Hippodrome                                                   13 – 17 June

Theatre Royal, Plymouth                                          26 June – 1 July

Birmingham Hippodrome                                          3 – 8 July

Venue Cymru, Llandudno                                         11 – 15 July

Cliffs Pavilion, Southend                                           17 – 22 July

Liverpool Empire                                                        25 – 29 July

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford                                     31 July – 5 August

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen                              8 – 12 August 

King’s Theatre, Glasgow                                            14 – 19 August

Norwich Theatre Royal                                              29 August – 2 September

Milton Keynes Theatre                                               4 – 16 September

 

Check with individual theatres about dates and prices     

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

7th February 2017

@yvonnedelahaye

Jan 19th

Gaslight @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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

Written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938, Gaslight is one of the greatest thrillers of all time.  Frequently performed by amateur groups, the play can sometimes be turned into melodrama.  Set in fog-bound London in 1880 in the upper middle class home of Jack Manningham and his wife Bella, the scene opens late afternoon being the time ‘before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea’ as Hamilton wrote in his notes.

Bella has recently moved to a new house with her husband Jack, but she has started to misplace objects and is worried that she may be losing her mind as her mother did.  Jack leaves her alone every evening as he visits the town, but mysterious footsteps are heard overhead and a ghostly flickering of the living room gaslight makes Bella believe she may be going mad. Does the terror exist in her imagination or are dark secrets living in her home? The surprise arrival of retired Detective Rough leads to a shocking discovery that will shake her respectable Victorian marriage to its core.

The play was turned into a British film in 1940 with Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard and Frank Pettingel.  Encouraged by the success of the play and film, MGM bought the remake rights, but with a clause insisting that all existing prints of Dickinson's version be destroyed, even to the point of trying to destroy the negative, so that it would not compete with their more highly publicised 1944 remake  starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. It was also released under the title Angel Street.

Having seen the films and the play on stage many years ago, I was curious to see how it would be staged in this new touring production.  This suspensful thriller can easily be turned into a Victorian melodrama, but this production keeps it truthful with controlling husband Jack playing on Bella’s vulnerabilities and insecurities.

Acclaimed TV and stage actress Kara Tointon has a natural radiance and warmth that makes her very watchable in everything she does and as Bella begins to lose her grip on reality, Kara gives a compelling , multi-layered performance. BBC 1 ‘s ‘Merlin’ star  Rupert Young joins Kara as husband Jack Manningham and in the second act we see more of his sinister, menacing traits. Bringing some light comedy to this darkly twisted thriller, is multi-talented Keith Allen as Detective Rough.

The production has an authenticity that draws you in and the first half raced along.  Even though we’re kept in the picture throughout, the play still has the ability to surprise. It also provides an interesting observation of human frailties and the dynamics of an abusive relationship.

The play tours to Woking, York, Brighton and Richmond and tickets can be booked at:

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/gaslight

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

16.1.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Jan 9th

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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The last time I saw Rumours of Fleetwood Mac was in January 2012 and 5 years on, I’m happy to say that the concert is still as brilliant as ever.  Close your eyes and you would believe you’re listening to the original artists.  The vocals are extraordinary with the band reproducing hit after hit in their latest ‘Hit to Blues Tour’, which began in October 2016, encompassing nearly five decades of this legendary band’s music.

With over 600 major concert events behind them to date the British Rock Anthology Tribute Concert ''Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac'' has now performed to over 600,000 MAC fans across the world. 'Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac' is now recognised globally as the ''Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Concert Experience'' and is endorsed by founder 'Fleetwood Mac' member Mick Fleetwood. 

From the exultant heights of such classic hits as ‘Rhiannon’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘You Make Loving Fun’, and ‘Seven Wonders’, to the cathartic relationship autopsies contained on the bestselling Rumours album, ‘Hits to Blues’. Like previous Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac concert performances, the show guarantees to offer its audiences a rich and emotive musical experience, blowing away the cobwebs and rekindling those precious personal memories in a way that only the best music can. 
  
True to the band’s roots, ‘Hits to Blues’ features a comprehensive profile of the work of legendary British bluesman, and Fleetwood Mac founder, Peter Green. With faithful renditions of early Mac masterpieces such as ‘Albatross’, ‘Oh Well’, and the plaintive ‘Man of the World’, the show promises to bring the full depth and power of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac back to life. 
  
From the outset, the Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac musicians and performers have always striven to combine their deep personal love and reverence for the music of Fleetwood Mac with the excitement and spontaneity of live performance. Immersed in this music as they are, they know that these are songs which simply refuse to be played without passion and intensity. 
  
It is now half a century since Fleetwood Mac first emerged onto the world stage. Over the intervening five decades it is fair to say that both the band and the world have been through some considerable changes. Throughout it all, however, the music of Fleetwood Mac has retained its place in the hearts and souls of hundreds of millions of fans the world over. Join Rumours of Fleetwood Mac this Autumn and experience the very best of Fleetwood Mac, from ‘Hits to Blues’.

Further establishing Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac as the world’s premier Fleetwood Mac concert experience, RFM Concerts welcomes original Fleetwood Mac guitarist, RICK VITO back to the RFM tour. Catch Rick on the following tour dates...

Fri 19 Feb - Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Sat 20 Feb - Northampton Derngate, Tue 23 Feb - Glasgow Pavilion, Wed 24 Feb - Aberdeen Music Hall, Fri 26 Feb - Inverness Eden Court, Sat 27 Feb - Dundee Caird Hall, Sun 28 Feb - Edinburgh Queens Hall, Mon 29 Feb - Gateshead Sage.

Full tour dates can be found on their website www.rumoursoffleetwoodmac.com

The songs are a mix of instantly recognisable rock, pop and blues tunes, appealling to all ages and it was good to see lots of people in their 20s & 30s in the audience. The only thing I’d like them to change would be to introduce the band a bit earlier, and get the audience up on their feet for ‘Big Love’ and ‘The Chain’.  We were all itching to dance at this point and felt a bit stuck in our seats, so having a few more songs to join in with towards the end of the concert would have been perfect.  The original Fleetwood Mac are still touring and should be releasing a new album later this year, so I can see that with over 50 years of material to reproduce, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac will continue to tour for many years to come!

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

7.1.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Dec 13th

Aladdin @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Aladdin Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

Forget the Christmas ads starting in October, the festive season actually begins when panto starts!  Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a visit to your local theatre to see a pantomime, with its colourful costumes and sets, bawdy humour, audience participation, romance, singing and dancing, there’s something for everyone.

This year’s panto at The Waterside Theatre is Aladdin, with not one but two genies.  Former Eastenders actress, Michelle Collins, plays the Genie of The Ring , with Joel Ekperigin making a spectacular entrance as the Genie of The Lamp.  Joel started out as a street dancer before training full-time at the Wilkes Academy in 2014.  His acrobatic jumps and tumbles are breathtaking and add a new dimension to the show.

The cast work their socks off, especially Andy Collins who is run ragged as Wishee Washee in his annual rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist La Voix is perfectly cast in the role of Widow Twankey, with her garish costumes and has a mighty powerful singing voice.

Danny Colligan is also perfect as Aladdin, with just the right balance of sweet innocence and determination to win the hand of his beloved Princess Jasmine, played by reality TV star Jasmin Walia.

Nicholas Pound’s wonderfully deep, resonant voice is very strong as he creates the evil Abanazar, the audience loved to boo.  In his second panto at the Waterside, David Whitworth plays the Emperor and Chris Nelson plays PC Pong, as well as being the director.

The costumes and sets are absolutely divine, with a wonderful use of colours, textures and glitter, making the scenes look spectacular.

The show is full of energy and fun making it perfect family entertainment to make the most of the festive season.

To book tickets: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

12/12/16

@yvonnedelahaye

Sep 29th

RSC's Cymbeline Live Screening @ Second Space, The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

The live screenings have proven to be a huge success and this time it was the RSC’s acclaimed production of Cymbeline that was screened around the country.  This little performed play was set in ancient times when the Romans ruled Britain, which was alienated and on the brink of disaster, as questions were raised about the taxes that had to be paid, as well as national identity.  Director Melly Still brings a fresh contemporary interpretation, with comparisons to Brexit, making it as relevant to today, as when it was written.

An ineffectual Queen Cymbeline rules over a divided dystopian Britain. Consumed with grief at the death of two of her children, Cymbeline’s judgement is clouded. When Innogen, the only living heir, marries her sweetheart Posthumus in secret, an enraged Cymbeline banishes him. Behind the throne, a power-hungry figure plots to seize power by murdering them both.

In exile Innogen's husband is tricked into believing she has been unfaithful to him and in an act of impulsive jealousy begins a scheme to have her murdered. Warned of the danger, Innogen runs away from court in disguise and begins a journey fraught with danger that will eventually reunite Cymbeline with a long-lost heir and reconcile the young lovers.

Cymbeline mashes up a variety of different Shakespeare stories, with a woman dressing as a man, a ring being given to a lover, a poison that’s actually a sleeping draft, ghosts to name but a few.  As one of Shakespeare’s last plays it’s in the Romance grouping, which are more sharply tragicomic than his comedies: threats of death and scenes of suffering are more acute.  Personally, I felt it was very violent and bloody, especially with a beheading and headless corpse being hugged, but maybe the sense of humour was different in those times?

Gillian Bevan takes the title role of Cymbeline, the first woman to take on the role for the RSC, as it was written as King Cymbeline.  Gillian gives a very strong performance, but actually she is rarely on the stage and it seemed to me that the play really was about her daughter Innogen, so perhaps that should have been the play’s title?  Bethan Cullinane gives a critically-acclaimed performance, as Innogen, as the wronged wife seeking to find her misled husband.

The most enthralling performance of the show for me though was by Oliver Johnstone as Iachimo, the Italian nobleman who sets out to deceive Posthumus.  Oliver’s commitment and intensity make him so compelling to watch and I’m sure he’s someone we’re going to hear a lot more of in the next few years.

A cleverly designed set, for this theatre in the round production, worked well to create the different countries and the photographs and graffiti added to the feel of the piece.  The only downside was that when the translations of Latin were screened on the wall, the cameras moved off too quickly so we couldn’t always read them.  Still it’s a great way to see an RSC production, at a fraction of the cost of travelling to the theatre itself and there are 2 more coming up, King Lear on 12th October and The Tempest on 11th January, so book your seats at your local cinema/theatre now!

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
29.9.16
@yvonnedelahaye

Sep 28th

Sunny Afternoon @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Reaching your teens is a time of great anxiety for everyone, as many changes are taking place in your life and body.  Imagine that on your 13th birthday you're given a guitar by an older sister, who then goes out to a dance and dies from a heart attack?  Such a terrible personal tragedy at that delicate stage of life, must leave an indelible pain in your heart that could never be erased.  This is exactly what happened to Ray Davies, but he turned this personal heartbreak into a very successful career spanning many decades, as he wrote songs from the heart.  Unable to express himself because of a terrible stutter, Ray turned to writing and his lyrics still remain relevant 50 years on.

Sunny Afternoon tells the story of Ray and his brother Dave’s rise to success in the 1960s, as The Kinks exploded onto the scene with a raw, energetic new sound that rocked the nation.  The show opened at The Hampstead Theatre to critical acclaim, before transferring to The Harold Pinter Theatre in October 2014.  In April 2015, Davis won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Achievement for the show, which also won Best Actor in a Musical for John Dagleish, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for George Magquire and Best New Musical.

Ray Davies continues to be very instrumental in the production of the show, including the casting and development of the roles.  This tour features Ryan O’Donnell as Ray Davies and he has a superb range, which can belt out the rockier numbers You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night, but also portray the depth of emotion in I Go to Sleep.  It’s a very sensitive performance, that gives a unique insight into the real man behind the music.    Mark Newnham is also outstanding as the younger brother Dave Davies and the rest of the cast are also all very talented musician/actors.

I didn’t know much about The Kinks before seeing the show, so was very surprised to hear two lovely ballads, Stop Your Sobbing and I Go to Sleep, as I knew they were both big hits for The Pretenders in the 1980s.  Ray had a relationship with lead singer of that group, Chrissie Hynde and they had a daughter together, so that’s where the connection comes in.

The story of how The Kinks became another band that made up ‘The British Invasion’ of The States in the 60s, was very interesting.  They also managed to get themselves thrown out after disputes about non-payment of union fees!  It’s a great story and the theatre was packed to the rafters with fans, old and new, who loved the songs and whooped and applauded with a standing ovation.  My top tip though if you have sensitive hearing is to take a pair of ear plugs, as it is very loud!  Also at nearly 3 hours with the interval the show is very long, but you won’t be disappointed when you hear all their old hits being played live.

For further tour details go to:
www.sunnyafternoon.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
26.9.16
@yvonnedelahaye

Sep 20th

Dirty Dancing @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Dirty Dancing Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Who’d have thought that a low budget film, made in 1987 by a new studio that struggled to get the funding, would have turned into one of the most popular films of all time, becoming the first film to sell over a million copies on home video?  It made its leading actors, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, into stars overnight and Patrick, in particular, will always be remembered for creating such an iconic role.  Tragically, he died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer but his work will never be forgotten and new audiences will have the opportunity to watch the film for years to come.

How could this classic film be successfully turned into a stage show you wonder? Full of passion and romance, heart-pounding music and sensationally sexy dancing, the record-breaking show has been reconceived in an all new production created by an innovative new creative team; directed by Federico Bellone, choreographed by Gillian Bruce and with design re-imagined by top Italian set designer Roberto Comotti. The production premiered in Milan in July 2015, subsequently packing out the 15,000 seat Roman Arena in Verona, and then played a season in Rome. Dirty Dancing –The Classic Story On Stage originally opened at London’s Aldwych Theatre in 2006 with a record-breaking advance of £15 million, making it the fastest ever selling show in West End theatre history. The production became the longest running show in the history of the Aldwych Theatre and played to over 2 million people during its triumphant 5 year run.

It’s the summer of 1963, and 17 year- old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is about to learn some major lessons in life as well as a thing or two about dancing. On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, she shows little interest in the resort activities, and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles across an all-night dance party at the staff quarters. Mesmerised by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. Her life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off, and two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.

The show works wonderfully and recreates all the memorable scenes, including the dance practice in the water and on a log, with some very clever set designs by Andrea Comotti, Wellington Scenic and Henry Thomas.

Lewis Griffiths has very big shoes to fill to make the role of Johnny Castle his own, but with his incredible torso, snake-like hips and sublime dance moves, we gradually get drawn into his performance.  Katie Hartland does a splendid job of playing Baby Houseman, as she makes her professional debut since graduating from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in 2015.  It’s not easy to pretend to be stiff and uncoordinated when you’re actually a trained dancer, but she’s very believable in the role.  Carlie Milner as Penny Johnson is a joy to watch, with incredibly toned muscles and long legs and the dance routines with Penny and Johnny are magnificent.

If you loved the film (and let’s face it most of us do), this show is an absolute must to go and see.  The audience whooped in the final scenes, when we heard the iconic line ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ and watched enthralled as they performed probably the most copied dance routine of all time.

You really will have ‘the time of your life’ watching this show and the good thing is that it’s loved by men and women, so you don’t just have to go along in a hen party!

Performances:      Mon 19 – Sat 24 Sep
            Mon –Thu & Sat eves 7.30pm, Fri 5.30pm * 8pm Sat mat 2.30pm
Tickets:         From £12.50 (£14.40 when booked online or over the phone)
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)

For further tour details go to:
www.dirtydancingontour.com


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
19.9.16
@yvonnedelahaye