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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

Sep 14th

The Little Shop of Horrors @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Little Shop of Horrors Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

The classic moralistic story of Dr Faustus signing a deal with the devil in blood is re-told in this quirky, hilarious 1950s musical comedy, Little Shop of Horrors which tells the story of Seymour, the assistant at Mushnik's Flower Shop in downtrodden Skid Row, who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers a strange and exotic plant. He names it Audrey Two in order to impress glamorous Audrey, the shop assistant he’s secretly in love with. But Audrey Two has a mind of its own, and soon grows into a bad-tempered, foul-mouthed carnivore with an appetite that can’t be satisfied. Seymour must keep the meals coming to stop his prized plant from wilting, but how far is he willing to go to get the girl of his dreams?

Little Shop of Horrors originally opened Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway later that year, where it ran for five years and won numerous awards including the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical. It opened in the West End the following year, and in 1986 was adapted into the now iconic cult film starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin. Other notable stage productions include the 2006 London revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End, starring Sheridan Smith as Audrey.

Little Shop of Horrors features music by Alan Menken and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman. They are best known for their collaborations on iconic Walt Disney films including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, for which they received Academy Awards.

The ultra-talented cast features Sam Lupton (Boq in Wicked, West End, Avenue Q, UK Tour) as Seymour, Stephanie Clift (Mamma Mia!, West End) as Audrey, Paul Kissaun (Calamity Jane, Fiddler on the Roof, UK Tours) as Mushnik, Sasha Latoya (Rent, Greenwich Theatre, Britain’s Got Talent) as Crystal, Vanessa Fisher (Hairspray, UK Tour) as Chiffon, Cassie Clare (Cats, West End) as Ronnette and Josh Wilmott (Spamalot, We Will Rock You, UK Tours) as Audrey II. The cast also includes Phil Adele, Stephanie McConville and Neil Nicholas.

X-Factor winner Rhydian was unable to perform the role of Orin, the sadistic dentist, but was brilliantly replaced by Josh Wilmott.  Josh has a powerful voice, great comic timing and energy and certainly ‘owned’ the roles he created.  Stephanie Clift also has superb comic timing and relished her role as Audrey as did Sam Lupton, as the hapless Seymour whose life changes dramatically because of the blood-sucking plant.

Little Shop of Horrors is directed by Tara Wilkinson (Associate Director of Motown the Musical, Memphis and Sunday in the Park With George, all in the West End) with choreography by Matthew Cole (Footloose The Musical UK Tour), design by David Shields, lighting design by Charlie Morgan Jones and sound design by Gareth Owen. The Musical Supervisor is Mark Crossland. It is presented by Sell a Door Theatre Company and Damien Tracey Productions by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited. Sell a Door Theatre Company have previously toured critically acclaimed productions of Avenue Q, The History Boys, American Idiot and Seussical the Musical.

This is a fantastic night’s entertainment that will have you laughing all the way through and singing along with its iconic songs. The show is extremely slick with strong performances from everyone and if you loved the film, you’ll love the stage show even more.  Go and see it, have fun and escape into a fantasy world of craziness for a while; it’ll uplift your spirits and keep you smiling for a long time after the curtain comes down.

There's still time to catch the show in Aylesbury:
Performances:      Tue 13 – Sat 17 Sep
            Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm, Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
Tickets:         From £15*
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)
Facebook:         www.facebook.com/aylebsurywatersidetheatre
Twitter:         @thewaterside1


Full tour details can be found on:
www.littleshopuktour.com
@LittleShopTour

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
13.9.16
@yvonnedelahaye

Sep 2nd

NT Live Encore 'The Audience' at Second Space, The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

The National Theatre’s Live Screenings have been an outstanding success around the country, enabling everyone to see an NT production without having to travel to London.  Some of the most popular screenings are being repeated and if you missed them first time around, it’s certainly worth trying to catch one of the ‘Encore’ screenings around the country.

To celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, The Audience has returned to cinemas starring Helen Mirren in the multi-award  winning performance as Queen Elizabeth.  Written by Peter Morgan , who also wrote the film The Queen, the play is directed by two-time Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominated director Stephen Daldry.

For sixty years, Queen Elizabeth II has met with each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a private weekly meeting, lasting just 20 minutes.  These meetings are known as ‘The Audience’ and are completely confidential, creating speculation about what is actually discussed between the two parties.

Helen Mirren is outstanding as The Queen and it’s a hard task to change physically and vocally through six decades, as well as all the rapid costume and wig changes.  Her comic timing is spot on and she perfects the regal mannerisms, withering looks and humour of our much-loved monarch.

Supported by a tremendous cast playing the 12 prime ministers, each meeting is a vignette providing an insight into what was happening politically at the time.  With Edward Fox as Churchill, Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gorden Brown, Paul Ritter as Rufus Wright and David Peart as James Callaghan, who all portray their respective PMs with brilliant authenticity.  For me though, the meeting between Margaret Thatcher, superbly played by Haydn Gwynne, was the highlight of the play.  Haydn totally captured the vocal intonations and authority of Thatcher and for a while you could imagine you were witnessing an actual conversation.

The screening ends with a Q&A session recorded between Stephen Daldry and Helen Mirren and is well worth staying a few more minutes to listen to.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
1.9.16
@yvonnedelahaye

Jul 27th

That's Entertainment @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

That's Entertainment Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

Summer is finally here and with the long school holidays, I’m sure there’ll be lots of parents and grandparents looking for entertainment ideas.  One of the great things about a show like That’s Entertainment is that it can be enjoyed by all the family.  Younger children may not appreciate it so much, but with a dazzling arrays of beautiful costumes, excellent tap dance routines and timeless songs, there should be something for everyone.

That’s Entertainment includes songs from Carousel (If I loved You, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Carousel Waltz) and South Pacific (I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Some Enchanted Evening and There is Nothing Like a Dame) by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The show features the 1927 song Putting on The Ritz by Irving Berlin and They Can’t Take That Away from Me by Cole Porter, right up to the 1971 hit The Candyman.  There’s also a Cockney Knees Up section, featuring songs from the 1912-1947, including My Old Man and We’ll Meet Again. Although the poster says ‘The Greatest Hits of the 40s and 50s’, as you can see there’s an eclectic mix of songs covering 6 decades.  The show boasts over a million sequins and 20 stunning costume changes, some of which are completed in under 30 seconds!  There are some brilliant dance routines and clever use of backing tracks that sound as if there are dozens of people tapping, which is incredibly effective.  The show is directed and choreographed by Emma Rogers, with musical direction by Kurt Kansley and is produced by David King of Spirit Productions Worldwide, who produced Putting on The Ritz.

Making three guest appearances throughout the show is four times Olivier-nominated musical theatre artist, Ruthie Henshall. Ruthie has played the lead role in many of the most highly-acclaimed, long-running successful award-winning musicals in the West End and on Broadway of the last 30 years, including Billy Elliot, Chicago, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Cats and Crazy For You which catapulted Ruthie into a major musical West End star. Ruthie is also in high demand as a concert performer touring and performing extensively in the UK, the USA and Australia. Ruthie engages the audience with theatrical tales and shares some personal memories in between singing some of her favourite songs, including All That Jazz from Chicago.
 
With glorious costumes, sumptuous music, stunning dance routines and an award-winning cast of singers and dancers, this is guaranteed to wow the audience and keep their toes-tapping! That’s  Entertainment is feel-good entertainment at its best for all the family.

Prior to the show was the launch for the autumn season, when we can look forward to Little Shop of Horrors, AIDA, Dirty Dancing, Sunny Afternoon, Save The Last Dance for Me, The Woman in Black and this years panto, Aladdin, featuring Michelle Collins.

The launch was hosted by BBC Three Counties Radio’s Theatre Luvvie, Ian Brown, who introduced us to Richard Darbourne, the Producer of The Kinks Sunny Afternoon.  Richard gave us an insight into the casting and rehearsal process for the show, where Ray Davies has been very hands-on from auditions and rehearsals through to opening nights.  The show has been running in the West End since October 2014 and won Best New Musical Olivier Award 2015, as well as Best Actor (John Dagliesh), Best Supporting Actor (George Maguire) and Outstanding Achievement in Music (Ray Davies).

Also on the platform was National Theatre Producer, Kash Bennett who talked about the exciting production of Jane Eyre.  Charlotte Bronte’s novel has been described as one of the greatest romantic novels of English fiction.  The NT’s production has been called ‘Enchanting’, ‘Magnificent’ and ‘theatre at its most imaginative’ and The Waterside Theatre is pleased that the play will be coming to the theatre next year.  Two other hugely successful NT productions, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time will be making a return visit and War Horse will also be coming to The Waterside.

Details of all the shows can be found at www.atgtickets.com/Aylesbury 

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
26.7.16

Jul 12th

Chicago @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 11th-16th July 2016

By Yvonne Delahaye

In the 1920s Chicago was run by gangsters, making huge amounts of money out of illegal alcohol, gambling, prostitution and extortion. This was the era of the Prohibition Law, where mobsters Al Capone and Johnny Torrio frequented nightclubs and enjoyed the company of jazz musicians.  Set against this lawless background, a junior reporter on the Chicago Tribune was assigned to cover the trials of women accused of murder.  Maureen Watkins interviewed the most glamorous women and soon transformed criminals into stars.  Two women in particular caught her attention, Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner and it was their stories that she wrote about, which raised public sympathy leading to them both being acquitted and literally getting away with murder! 

In 1926, Watkins turned their stories into a play, so Beulah Annan became Roxie Hart and Belva Gaertner became Velma Kelly.  Their flamboyant attorney W W O’Brien was transformed into Billy Flynn.  The play was described as ‘the finest piece of stage satire ever written by an American’ and was turned into a film with Ginger Rogers, before John Kander and Fred Ebb created the 1975 musical we enjoy today.  Co-author Bob Fosse choreographed the original show and his style is tightly emulated wherever it’s performed around the world.

The original Broadway production opened in 1975 at the 46th Street Theatre and ran for 936 performances until 1977. Bob Fosse choreographed the original production, and his style is strongly identified with the show. Following a West End debut in 1979 which ran for 600 performances, Chicago was revived on Broadway in 1996, and a year later in the West End running for 15 years, making it the longest running American musical. The Academy Award-winning 2002 film version of the musical was directed by Rob Marshall and starred Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, and Queen Latifah.

When I was in my first year at drama school we stage managed the second year’s production of Chicago, which we also took on tour.  The two leading ladies both went on to successful West End careers and I loved the storyline, vibrancy and catchy songs.  Our production was a colourful affair with glitter curtains and sequins, so when I saw the West End production some years later I was disappointed to see how black and grey everything was.  Of course, it was slick and stylish, but I felt it had lost some of its humour and warmth.  I’m pleased to say that this touring production has got both in bucketloads!

Hayley Tamaddon is wonderful as Roxie Hart and radiates energy with a smile that lights up the whole theatre.  She proves herself to be a brilliant ‘triple threat’ and not just a soap actress, renowned for her roles in Coronation Street and Emmerdale.  Roxie’s arch enemy, Velma Kelly is played by Sophie Carmen-Jones.  Former Eastenders actor, John Partridge, makes the most of his role as the corrupt attorney Billy Flynn.

Returning to play the role of Mama Morton is Gina Murray, who played her in the West End and recently on a tour of China.  She has a terrific voice and gives a very solid performance as the prison guard who takes care of all the girls. Cuckolded husband, Amos Hart, is played with just the right amount of pathos and subtlety by Neil Ditt.  Journalist Mary Sunshine (A D Richardson) almost shatters the lights with the strength of her vibrato and I could feel my eardrums quivering.  What an astonishing voice!

Of course it’s the songs that make this show so memorable, All That Jazz, Funny Honey, Cell Block Tango, We Both Reached for the Gun, Mister Cellophane, Razzle Dazzle and Nowadays being some of the best known. 

This truly is a brilliantly stylish show and one that can be enjoyed over and over again, so go on... paint the town and all that jazzzzzzz.

Chicago is at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until Saturday 16th and continues its tour to Liverpool, Glasgow, Woking, Sunderland and Birmingham.  Full tour dates and booking details on http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/chicago-the-musical/

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
11.7.16

Jul 5th

The Mousetrap @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

When The Mousetrap opened in the West End after a short tour on 25th November 1952, Agatha Christie reckoned that her play would run for eight months.  Producer, Peter Saunders, was slightly more optimistic predicting a run of 14 months.  How astounded would they be now to see that 64 years later the play is still running in the West End, with a tour around the UK?

On 13th September 1957, the play achieved ‘longest running straight play in the West End’, which prompted Noel Coward to send a spiky message to Agatha ‘Much as it pains me, I really must congratulate you!’ But that was just the beginning of its most extraordinary record breaking achievements. The 50th anniversary was on 25th November 2002 and the performance was attended by HM The Queen and Prince Philip.  In its 60th year on 18th November 2012, the play reached an astounding 25,000 performances!  It was in this year that the first UK tour set out, but the play continued to run at St Martin’s Theatre, which has been its home since transferring from The Ambassadors Theatre in 1974, without a break in the run.  It also toured the Far East in 2013.

The big star names in the original cast were Richard Attenborough playing Det Sgt Trotter and his wife, Sheila Sim, who played Mollie.  Over 400 actors have played in The Mousetrap in the last 64 years, so it has certainly given a lot of jobbing actors regular work opportunities.

This touring production has only one ‘name’ at the moment and that’s Louise Jameson, who plays Mrs Boyle.  Louise is best known for her roles in Doctor Who, Bergerac, EastEnders and Doc Martin.  The Mousetrap though is bigger than any ‘names’, so long as the actors are good, then people will still flock to see the play, rather than its stars.

The characters are two-dimensional and the lines a bit clunky and full of clichés, so it’s not that easy to make the part your own.  Gregory Cox, playing the flamboyant Mr Paravicini, though did manage to lift the energy from a quite lack-lustre Monday evening show.

Agatha Christie was perhaps as baffled as everyone else by the show’s enduring appeal, but offered the following analysis ‘it is the sort of play you can take anyone to.  It’s not really frightening.  It’s not really horrible.  It’s not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people.’

Check out tour dates on www.mousetrapontour.com and tick this one off your bucket list!

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
4.7.16

May 20th

The Sound of Music @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

 Poster

There are some things that have become an essential part of Christmas time, panto, crackers, dramatic soap storylines and, of course, The Sound of Music.  Released in 1965, following its adaptation of the 1959 Broadway musical, it starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plumber and  has become the most successful movie musical in history. It all began with the story of the Trapp Family Singers and Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, which inspired Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to create a Broadway musical in 1959. The Sound of Music tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria became part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII.

The unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including Edelweiss, My Favorite Thing, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, So Long, Farewell and of course, the title song, The Sound of Music. This touring stage production is produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer, with musical direction by David Steadman.  Gary McCann has created a wonderfully lavish, clever set recreating the abbey and house against a stunning backdrop depicting the mountains beyond.

BBC1’s The Voice runner-up and award-nominated Lucy O’Byrne stars in the role of Maria in this spectacular five-star production.  Lucy O’Byrne became a household name when she shot to success as the runner-up in the live shows of the TV talent show. With chart-topper Will.i.am as her mentor, and biggest fan, Lucy made history as the first classical singer to reach the final, impressing the nation with her stunning vocal range. Now, having recently performed at the BBC Proms, she makes her musical debut as the young postulant, Maria. Her first album, Debut, was released earlier this month.  Lucy has a warmth, charm and energy perfectly suited to Maria and once settled into the role, proved she deserved to be playing the lead.

Captain Von Trapp is played by Andrew Lancel, best known for his roles in Coronation Street as Frank Foster (for which he won Villan of The Year at the British Soap Awards) and as DI Neil Manson in The Bill.  This is Andrew’s first musical and was only his second performance since taking over the role, so he did look a bit uncomfortable at times.  He does have a nice baritone voice though and I’m sure once he settles into the role he’ll start to relax and enjoy it. 

 

Photo: Pamela Raith, courtesy of The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Someone who looked completely relaxed and at ease with himself and the role was Duncan Smith as Max and I loved his camp performance.  The show was completely stolen for me by Jan Hartley as Mother Abbess whose sublime rendition of Climb Every Mountain, shook the theatre as she hit that top D, now that really is a voice that deserves to be heard!  The rest of the cast includes Isla Carter (Baroness Elsa), Kane Verrall (Rolf), Annie Horn (Liesl), Zoe Ann Brown (Sister Margaretta), Kate Scott (Sister Berthe), Tammy Davies (Sister Sophia), Jude Neill (Ursula), Anouska Eaton (Baroness Elberfeld), Jon de Ville (Franz), Pippa Winslow (Frau Schmidt), Scott Ainslie (Admiral von Schreiber), Piers Bate (Baron Elberfeld) and Lewis Barnshaw.

If you love the film (and who doesn’t?), this production is a ‘must see’.  The heart-warming love story translates perfectly to the stage, the singing is divine and the operatic tones at times, particularly in the choral harmonies in the abbey, seem heavenly. 

 

For tour details and to book tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com

 

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

@yvonnedelahaye

20.5.16

May 3rd

Let It Be @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Flyer

Photo; Provided by Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Say the words ‘Let it Be’ to most adults and immediately they’ll think of the Beatles, 46 years after the song was released.  It’s extraordinary how much the music of The Beatles still permeates our lives and new fans are discovering their music every day.  They were a phenomenal global success with their music rooted in skiffle, beat and rock and roll, They formed in 1960, playing in Hamburg and then the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings, greatly expanding their popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, "Love Me Do", in late 1962. They acquired the nickname "the Fab Four" as Beatlemania grew in Britain the next year, and by early 1964 became international stars, leading the "British Invasion" of the United States pop market. 

The Beatles were George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. They are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over one billion units. The group received 7 Grammy awards, 15 Ivor Novello Awards and an Oscar. They have more multi-platinum albums, more number one singles and more number one albums than any other group. They are the only act to have simultaneously held the top five positions on the US Billboard chart. They are the only group to appear five times in the top 100 best-selling singles in the UK – no other group appears more than twice. Their song Yesterday is the most covered song in history. Their song I Want To Hold Your Hand is the fastest selling single of all time. The Beatles 1 is the fastest selling CD of all time. The group officially split in December 1970.

The national UK tour is visiting 26 theatres across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales entertaining theatregoers with a show spanning the iconic eras of the band’s illustrious career.

Let It Be audiences can look forward to a show lasting more than two hours bursting with timeless hits, show-stopping sets, dazzling costumes and a brilliant performance which fans will never forget. The show also continues to attract theatregoers and fans of live music, alongside the most dedicated Beatles’ enthusiasts. The Beatles have never been so popular with a real resurgence in the band’s popularity and new fans discovering their music. 

The cast of talented musicians have already toured the show to some of the biggest stages in the world including Broadway.  With the help of some excellent wigs, the lads really look like the Fab Four and do a fantastic job at recreating their sound and humour.

Photo; Provided by Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

 

Performances:   Mon 5 – Sat 7 May

Mon– Sat eves 7.30pm

Thu & Sat mat 2.30pm

Tickets: From £17.50 (£20.40 when booked online or over the phone)

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)

Facebook: Let It Be UK Tour

Twitter: @thewaterside1

 

Reviewed on: 

Yvonne Delahaye

@yvonnedelahaye

2nd May 2016

 

Apr 6th

Tom, a Story of Tom Jones, the Musical @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

The word ‘legend’ is often bandied around about people whose achievements have been somewhat minor.  Tom Jones, however, really has earned the title of ‘legend in his own lifetime’ with over 50 years since reaching number 1 with ‘It’s Not Unusual’ in 1965. Since then, he has sung many forms of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul, and gospel – and sold over 100 million records. Jones has had thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States; some of his notable songs "What's New Pussycat", "Delilah", "Green, Green Grass of Home", "She's a Lady", "Kiss", and "Sex Bomb".

Photo by Simon Gough courtesy of The Waterside Theatre

Jones was awarded an OBE in 1999 and received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music" in 2006. He has received many other awards throughout his career, including the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1966, an MTV Video Music Award in 1989, and two Brit Awards, winning Best British Male in 2000 and Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2003. From 2012 to 2015 Jones was one of the four coaches on the BBC television talent show The Voice UK.

TOM. A Story Of Tom Jones. The Musical is written by Mike James and directed by Geinor Styles, with musical direction by Ben Goddard, set design by Sean Crowley and sound design by Mike Beer.  The story charts Tom’s early life in Ponypridd with his teenage sweetheart, Linda Trenchard, whom he married a month before their baby son, Mark, was born, when they were both 16. Linda is clearly a very strong woman, who completely supported Tom’s ambitions at the expense of her own life.  It takes a woman of enormous strength to allow their partner to follow their dreams, even with the knowledge that he was cheating on her during that time.  Much has been written about their relationship over the years, but their marriage has endured all these years and that is testament to a deep, unconditional love.

Kit Orton plays the hip swivelling Tom, whose voice and moves has everyone enthralled and he clearly had something very special that was recognised early on.  Elin Phillips plays his long-suffering wife Linda, showing a depth to her character that gives us an insight into how this couple survived all this time.

The show takes us on a journey of 8 years, with Tom playing the pubs and clubs, striving for success.  I’m sure this grounding has enabled Tom to keep reinventing himself and stay at the top of his game all these years.  With reality TV offering a quick route to success nowadays, I doubt many of today’s new stars will be known in 50 years time.

If you’re a fan of Tom (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), it’s a great night to give you an insight into his early performing years.  There are some great songs along the way and a few to sing along with at the end. 

Director Geinor Styles said: “Just very occasionally an opportunity comes along that has the words ’perfect fit’ written all the way through it like a stick of rock.  In this case it’s rock and roll and the compelling story of the early days of this county’s most famous son – the living legend that is Sir Tom Jones.”

The development of this production has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, RCT, NPT Theatres and Wales Millennium Centre.

www.tomthemusical.co.uk


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
@yvonnedelahaye
5.4.16

Mar 8th

Private Lives @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".

Born in Teddington, south-west London, Coward attended a dance academy in London as a child, making his professional stage début at the age of eleven. As a teenager he was introduced into the high society in which most of his plays would be set. Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta Bitter Sweet and comic revues), screenplays, poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography. Coward's stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works.

Private Lives, written in just three days, remains Coward’s greatest success and the play that marked the peak of his career. Coward himself played Elyot with his ex-wife Amanda being played by Gertrude Lawrence an association unrivalled for clamour during their lifetimes and a legend to this day. Elyot and Amanda are a gloriously selfish divorced couple who, by a quirk of fate, meet again on their honeymoons with their new spouses and reignite their old spark. The revival of their fiery romance, alternating between heated rows and passionate reconciliations, reminds them that although they cannot live with each other, nor can they live without.

A masterpiece of 1930’s high comedy full of razor sharp wit and sparkling dialogue, Private Lives remains one of the most sophisticated, entertaining plays ever written, offering an evening of acutely sharp, divinely decedent, and unashamed humour. The leading roles have attracted a wide range of actors; among those who have succeeded Coward as Elyot are Robert Stephens, Richard Burton, Alan Rickman and Matthew Macfadyen, and successors to Lawrence as Amanda have included Tallulah Bankhead, Elizabeth Taylor, Maggie Smith, Kim Cattrall and Lindsay Duncan. Directors of new productions have included John Gielgud, Howard Davies and Richard Eyre. The play was made into a 1931 film and has been adapted several times for television and radio.

Private Lives - Production Images - Laura Rogers (Amanda Prynne) & Tom Chambers (Elyot Chase) photo by Alastair Muir PL326.jpg

Photo: Alastair Muir (provided by Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury)

This latest production is touring the country, prior to a West End run and features Tom Chambers (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) as Elyot, Laura Rogers (Tipping The Velvet) as Amanda, Charlotte Ritchie (Call the Midwife) as Sybil and Richard Teverson (Downton Abbey) as Victor and is directed by Tom Attenborough. The set designer Lucy Osborne has done a fine job, creating wonderful art deco sets and costumer supervisor, Ed Parry, has created some chic period styles in particular the silk pyjamas worn by Amanda in the second act.

With all the recent talk about Eton and Oxbridge educated actors taking all the roles, I actually think that for Coward’s plays, this is what is required.  His characters really are light, whimsical and two dimensional and require a very light touch to play the humour, sophistication and glamour, particularly in Private Lives.  I felt that although the set and costumes were in the right period, the contemporary approach of the actors didn’t quite fit with the class system and style of the time.  There are particular ways of walking and moving with good deportment that was prevalent in the 1930s and was missing in this production.  It’s a very wordy play and some of the dialogue in the first act got lost through speed.  It’s also quite difficult to get the fights right between the warring couple, as it needs to be somehow played for comedy and not drama. 

How wonderful must it have been to have seen Burton and Taylor playing these roles, but it’s good to see that Coward’s work continues to be as popular as ever.


To book visit the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee).


Performances:

Mon 7 – Sat 12 March
Mon – Thu eves 7.30pm
Thu & Sat mat 2.30pm

Tickets:  From £15 (£16.90 when booked online or over the phone)
Box Office:  0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) Calls 7p per min plus your 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)

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
7.3.16
@yvonnedelahaye