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Feb 10th

Anything Goes @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 9th-14th February 2015

By Yvonne Delahaye

Anything Goes Tour

Image courtesy of Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

When Anything Goes opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on November 21, 1934, it ran for 420 performances, becoming the fourth longest-running musical of the 1930s, despite the impact of the Great Depression on Broadway patrons' disposable income. Directed by Howard Lindsay with choreography by Robert Alton and sets by Donald Oenslager, it starred Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, William Gaxton as Billy Crocker and Victor Moore as Moonface Martin.  The 1936 film version also starred Ethel Merman, but with Bing Crosby in the role of Billy Crocker.  In 1956 a new version of the film was made again starring Bing Crosby, but with Mitzi Gaynor playing the new role of Patsy Blair.

This version of Anything Goes is produced by Stage Entertainment, in association with Sheffield Theatres and is directed by Daniel Evans and choreographed by Alistair David and will be touring to 32 venues around the UK until the autumn.

Anything Goes Cast (Credit - Johan Persson)

Photo credit: Johan Persson

When Billy Crocker discovers that his heart’s desire, debutante heiress Hope Harcourt is engaged to an English aristocrat, he stows away aboard the S.S. American to win her back. Aided by a string of eccentric passengers on board the luxurious transatlantic liner, can this web of love be untangled before they reach Southampton?

A sensational cast of 26 is led by Hugh Sachs (Bendidorm) Jane Wymark (Midsomer Murders) and Olivier Award nominees Debbie Kurup (The Bodyguard, Chicago) and Matt Rawle (Evita, Martin Guerre).  Anything Goes has Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter and features some of his wonderful songs I Get A Kick Out of You, You’re the Top, It’s De-Lovely and, of course, Anything Goes.  Some of Porter’s lyrics and key changes are very complex, but this strong cast make them look effortless.  It’s good to see a musical with three good main roles for women and they’re all perfectly cast.

The big production tap dancing routine to Anything Goes was superb and the show really came alive at this point, so I felt it was a shame there isn’t another big number earlier in the show.  There is, however, a very clever swimming dance routine that works extremely well.

The second act is completely stolen by Evelyn Oakleigh’s (Stephen Matthews) hysterical rendition of The Gypsy in Me.  Now that’s how you make your mark amongst a huge cast!

Due to some technical issues, the show was 15 minutes late starting and I felt it took a while to get into the flow, but the set, divine costumes, comedy capers and hi-jinks soon has the audience engaged and having a good time.

The Original Book is by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton & Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse. New Book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman. Originally produced by Lincoln Centre Theatre, New York City.

The show runs at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury to:

Performances:   Mon 09 – Sat 14 Feb 
Evenings 7.30pm Thu & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £15.90 - £39.90 (Premium seats also available) when booked in person at the Box Office or for full details when booking on-line or over the phone visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
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 www.facebook.com/AnythingGoesTour
Twitter www.twitter.com/AnythingGoesUK_

For full tour dates, visit:
http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/anything-goes/

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
9/2/15

Twitter: @yvonnedelahaye

Dec 18th

Cinderella @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Photos: Barry Rivett of Hotshot Photography, courtesy of The Waterside Theatre.

A lot of people would find the thought of spending an afternoon in a theatre packed full of primary school children quite horrifying, but it’s actually a wonderful way to enjoy a panto.  For the kids this might be their first introduction to theatre and what better way to have fun than with all their school friends screaming and shouting together!   The atmosphere was thick with excitement and anticipation and it was a joy to watch them really having fun, waving their hands, singing along to this year’s top hits, hissing, booing and screaming ‘he’s behind you’!  You just can’t help but join in and enjoy yourself.

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This year’s panto is a sparkling traditional production of Cinderella, featuring glittering sets, gorgeous fairytale costumes, big song and dance routines, lots of audience participation and 2 very cute Shetland ponies pulling the coach.


Starring as Fairy Godmother is the stunning actress/singer Suzanne Shaw, who also co-directed the show.  She belts out some songs, waves her wand with gusto and helps to create some magic to transform Cinderella’s life.  The lovely Russell Grant plays Baron Hardup and shows he hasn’t forgotten his light-footed dance moves as he’s still a regular on Strictly Come Dancing.

Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Andrew Derbyshire makes the perfect Prince Charming. With his good looks and exquisite singing voice, he has some delightful duos with the beautiful Holly Brewer who plays Cinderella.  This is her third year in panto at The Waterside and she was excited to be returning to play this role.


TV personality Andy Collins also makes a welcome return as Buttons and this year is very special for him, as his 10 year old daughter Molly is in the dance ensemble.  Andy always engages the audience and delivers some great comic moments and it was good to see favourite sketches The Twelve Days of Christmas and The Ghost on the Bench again.


Returning to The Waterside to play one of Cinderella’s pulchritudinously challenged siblings, Cheryl, is the magnificent Tim Hudson.   With some gloriously outrageous costumes, Tim’s twerking will sit in the annals of my memory for years to come!  Dave Lynn plays the delightfully wicked Mel and the two provide the perfect combination of vulgarity and crassness.


This truly is a magical pantomime to be enjoyed by all the family, so make your Christmas even more special this year and book your tickets now!
The panto runs to Saturday 4th January 2015.

Tickets:  £10 - £30.40. See website for times and prices. www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
Box Office:  0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
17.12.14

Follow on Twitter: @yvonnedelahaye

Dec 17th

Dick Whittington @ The Swan Theatre, High Wycombe

By Yvonne Delahaye

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With the X-Factor finals over and the race for the Christmas Number 1 on, we turn our thoughts to panto season to really help us get into the festive spirit.  This year The Swan sees a welcome return of Shane Ritchie in the title role of Dick Whittington.

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Shane is best known for playing Alfie Moon in EastEnders for which he’s won numerous awards and the panto naturally has many references to his character and the soap.  There are plenty of opportunities to hear the familiar ‘duff, duffs’ of the EastEnders theme tune and even a voice-over by Kat!  Shane is a great all-round entertainer, who engages the audience immediately with his quick wit and warmth and the panto really comes to life whenever he’s on stage.

An unusual twist in this panto is to have a Queen Rat, rather than King Rat, played by Kim Tiddy.  Kim is best known for her role as PC Honey Harman in The Bill and more recently as Heidi Costello in Hollyoaks.  She looks great and plays her role with relish, but it was when singing the Rihanna hit, Diamonds in the Sky, that she showed herself to be an accomplished singer and dancer too.


Malcolm Lord, as Mrs Fitzwarren, also makes the most of his role and is a wonderful comic dame with outrageous costumes providing the perfect foil for Dick. Another unusual twist was having The Sultan of Morocco played by local illusionist Phil Hitchcock.  It worked a treat, as his magic is truly amazing and I have absolutely no idea how he made things appear and vanish in front of our eyes.

They’re supported by Sharon Ballard as Spirit of the Bells, who has also appeared in EastEnders playing Gillian.  Nicola Weeks plays Dick’s love interest Alice Fitzwarren and they both take it all in good part when their big ballads are upstaged by comedy routines.

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The sets were delightful and the colourful costumes were spectacular, especially at the end of the end of the first and second acts. It’s a great family panto and is very funny, providing the perfect vehicle for Shane’s comic talents.  The only scenes I felt that didn’t work and dragged the show down were the sailor scenes with the Trio Hatton. They just weren’t actors and the 2 scenes in the first act could have easily been cut and would have made it a tighter, more enjoyable show.

The show runs until Saturday 4th January 2015. Go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk to buy tickets.


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
16.12.14
Follow on Twitter: @yvonnedelahaye

 

 

 

Oct 21st

The Perfect Murder @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Our TV screens are awash with crime dramas with detectives trying to solve the crime, but have you ever wondered how to commit the perfect murder? Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for a long time. But their marriage has reached crisis point and Victor has decided there is only one way to get Joan out of his life forever... but he’s about to get a nasty surprise... as a young Detective Roy Grace starts to investigate his very first homicide case, dark forces intervene and Grace begins to fear that nothing is quite as it seems in this entertaining dark comedy thriller.

This is the first ever stage production of the work of international best-selling crime thriller novelist Peter James – who has sold over 15 million books of his Roy Grace series and been published in 36 languages – The Perfect Murder, which spent 15 weeks at No.1 in the book charts, has been adapted by award winning writer Shaun McKenna.

Olivier Award winner Ian Talbot directs an all-star company in the autumn re-casting of The Perfect Murder. Having donned his white coat for eight series of ITV’s 1960’s hospital drama The Royal, Robert Daws, best-known to millions as Dr Gordon Ormerod, plays Victor Smiley. Robert's extensive TV credits have also seen him appear on screen as Sam Mountjoy in Roger Roger, Tuppy Glossop in Jeeves and Wooster and Roger Dervish in the award-winning Outside Edge. His extensive theatre credits include The Secret of Sherlock Holmes and Public Property in the West End and UK tours of Michael Frayn's Alarms and Excursions and David Harrower’s Blackbird, the later of which also starred Dawn Steele.

Dawn Steele has starred in numerous hit TV series including the BBC’s Monarch of the Glen, Sea of Souls and she played the hugely popular character of Alice Collins in ITV’s Wild at Heart. Other theatre credits include the lead role in The Agatha Christie Company's production of Verdict and Dawn also starred in Noel Coward’s previously undiscovered Volcano in both the West End and on tour.

They are joined by Gray O’Brien – who continues his highly acclaimed role as the loveable Don Kirk. Gray recently enjoyed an award-winning three years in Coronation Street and has also starred in the TV series Titanic, Peak Practice and Casualty as well as in the West End in Sleuth; Thomas Howes (DC Grace) who played the much loved character of William the footman in Downton Abbey for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award and whose theatre credits include The Winslow Boy and the National Theatre Production of The History Boys and finally Romanian born Simona Armstrong, who the British public took to their hearts when she was discovered in the BBC's How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and who now continues her run in the role of Kamila.

The play itself is very black comedy and all the performances are good, but I felt it was in need of some cutting especially in the first act.  The second scenes between Victor and Joan went on far too long and it seemed that the audience were getting restless for the plot to move forward.  The story was lifted by the appearance of Don Kirk (Gray O’Brien) looking extremely buff in just a pair of boxers and from there the proceedings progressed with unexpected twists and turns, interspersed with very dark humour.  It’s very enjoyable and should be taken with a huge pinch of salt, but I think if it was 20 minutes shorter it would be ‘the perfect play.

The Perfect Murder is produced by Joshua Andrews and Peter James, in association with Paul Tyrer and Jamie Clark at the Booking Office. Their next production – Peter James’ best-selling novel Dead Simple tours the UK from January 2015.

Book now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee), or online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (bkg fee)

Performances:   Mon 20 - Sat 25 Oct 
Evenings 7.30pm, Thu & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £10 - £32.50 when booked in person at the Box Office or for full details when booking on-line or over the phone visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
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
20.10.14
Twitter: yvonnedelahaye

A light has gone out in the theatre world, as we pay respect to one of the most warm, much loved and vibrant actresses of our time.
AYLESBURY WATERSIDE THEATRE TO OPEN A BOOK OF CONDOLENCE
IN MEMORY OF LYNDA BELLINGHAM
Following the sad news of Lynda Bellingham losing her brave battle with cancer Aylesbury Waterside Theatre will be opening a book of condolence in her memory .

Lynda, originally from Aylesbury, was a firm supporter of the theatre, taking part in the ‘Topping Out’ ceremony in 2009, she also helped to launch the theatres first season in March 2010 and appeared on stage starring in Calendar Girls as part of that opening season.

Elizabeth Adlington Area Theatre Manager for Aylesbury Waterside Theatre said ‘On behalf of our staff and our customers we will be opening a book of condolences for the people of Aylesbury to share their memories of Lynda and their tributes and messages of support for Lynda’s loved ones.  We were privileged at the Waterside to have met Lynda on a number of occasions.  Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.  She was a wonderful warm lady who will be sadly missed’

The book of condolence is now open to the public during opening hours at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre in the main foyer.

Oct 8th

BARNUM @ The Swan Theatre, High Wycombe

By Yvonne Delahaye

BARNUM_Wycombe_600x200_2.jpg ‘Barnum’s the name, P T Barnum, and I want to tell you that tonight, on this stage, you are going to see - bar none - every sight, wonder and miracle that name stands for!’
This exhilarating musical follows the irrepressible imagination and dreams of Phineas T Barnum, America’s Greatest Showman. The story of his life and his marriage to Chairy reveals a couple who looked at the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, and also reveals that she was the practical one who made his dreams come true.  We follow the legendary showman’s life as he lit up the world with colour, warmth and the excitement of his imagination and finally teamed up with J A Bailey to create Barnum and Bailey’s Circus - the Greatest Show on Earth.

Starring Brian Conley (Oliver!, Hairspray, Jolson) and Linzi Hateley (Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Chicago, Les Misérables), Cy Coleman’s wonderfully exuberant score includes the hits; Come Follow The Band , The Colours Of My Life and There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute .
 Barnum is a musical with a book by Mark Bramble, lyrics by Michael Stewart, and music by Cy Coleman. It is based on the life of showman P. T. Barnum, covering the period from 1835 through 1880 in America and major cities of the world where Barnum took his performing companies. The production combines elements of traditional musical theatre with the spectacle of the circus. The characters include jugglers, trapeze artists and clowns, as well as such real-life personalities as Jenny Lind and General Tom Thumb.

The original production opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway, on April 30, 1980 and closed on May 16, 1982 after 854 performances and 26 previews. The show starred Jim Dale as P.T. Barnum, Glenn Close as Chariy Barnum and Marianne Tatum as Jenny Lind. Jim Dale won a Tony and Drama Desk Award for his performance in the title role.

The show made its West End debut on June 11, 1981 at the London Palladium, where it ran for 655 performances. The London cast included Michael Crawford as P.T. Barnum, Deborah Grant as Charity Barnum and Sarah Payne as Jenny Lind. Crawford reprised his role opposite Eileen Battye in a UK Tour of the show which ran between 1984 and 1986, stopping off at various venues including the Manchester Opera House and Victoria Palace Theatre. The tour was recorded for television and broadcast by the BBC in 1986. It was later released on VHS and DVD.

In 2013 Cameron Mackintosh revived the musical at the Theatre in The Park for the Chichester Festival Theatre, which was closed at the time.  Two-time Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald played Barnum and when a UK tour was muted, Brian Conley was cast and so the hard work began for him.

Brian Conley is one of our great all-round entertainers and is perfectly cast as the larger-than-life showman, commanding the stage, eking out every bit of comedy, but also showing emotional depth in the second act.  I saw him earlier this year at The Swan in his one man show and his warmth, humour and energy infects the audience and you know he has everyone in the palm of his hands.  He said then that he was anxious about learning to tight rope walk and we all held our breath when he, thankfully, made it across the stage.  This role needs a big personality and with Brian’s stature dominating the stage, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the role now.

Linzi Hately, as his wife Chairy, is the perfect match and we really feel the genuine warmth, affection and support that she gave to husband P.T. She has a beautiful singing voice and captures her strength and vulnerability perfectly. When Kimberley Blake, as Jenny Lind the opera singer, sang Love Makes Such Fools of Us All you could hear every crystal note, so pure and resonant was the sound I’m sure it could shatter glass!

The show is brash, colourful, energetic and dynamic.  It’s a sensory feast that leaves you dazzled at all of the activity, never being able to see everything as there is so much happening all around you.  The costumes are sumptuous and vibrant and the ensemble of dancer/acrobats are so incredibly talented and strong, that I did wonder how some of their feats got past the Health & Safety brigade!


The show runs at The Swan, High Wycombe from:
Tue 7 - Sat 11 October
Tickets £23.00* - £39.00*
A £1.50 per ticket booking fee applies, capped at six per order. Fee-free booking for Friends of Wycombe Swan; Groups of 10+ please call 01494 552875.
The tour will continue around the UK until next summer, so for dates near  you please visit:
http://www.barnummusical.com/tour/

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
7.10.14
Twitter: yvonnedelahaye

Oct 7th

The Importance of Being Earnest @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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What an absolute joy it was to see this star studded production, which has just transferred directly from the Harold Pinter Theatre in London after a hugely successful 3 month run.  Reprising their 1982 National Theatre roles as Algernon Moncrieff and John Worthing, J.P. are Nigel Havers and Martin Jarvis.  When this cast was first mentioned I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to raise an eyebrow, after all John Worthing is supposed to be 29 and these 2 accomplished actors are, shall we say, a 'little way into middle age?'  How would this work I wondered, but of course all is not as it first seems for this is a play within a play.  Acclaimed comic novelist, Simon Brett, was commissioned to create an original new context for the play and the play opens with the actors from The Bunbury Company of Players rehearsing their next production.  It’s a brilliant concept and works like magic, so any concerns about age are quickly dispelled as we are absorbed into this joyful scenario.

The Importance of Being Earnest elegantly lampoons the hypocrisies of Victorian society and opens as two bachelors, the dependable, John Worthing, J.P. (Martin Jarvis) and upper class playboy Algernon Moncrieff (Nigel Havers), feel compelled to create different identities in order to pursue two eligible ladies Cecily Cardew (Christine Kavanagh) and Gwendolyn Fairfax (Cherie Lunghi). The hilarious misadventures which result from their subterfuge;  their brushes with the redoubtable Lady Bracknell (Siân Phillips) and the uptight Miss Prism (Rosalind Ayres) result in a plot that twists and fizzles with some of the finest dialogue to be found in theatre.   

The play moves along at a firecracker pace with the rakish charm of Nigel Havers still very much in evidence and Martin Jarvis’s stature and resonant voice lending a gravitas to the role.  The cast are all wonderful, but of course Lady Bracknell always steals the show and Sian Phillips is absolutely magnificent.  Every line delivered is ‘bang on the money’ and her energy is astounding.  I know how physically demanding it is to deliver 8 shows a week and I am in awe of her stamina, though she has, of course,  ‘remained thirty five for years!’

The notable cast also includes Niall Buggy and Patrick Godfrey, who also played Merriman in the 2002 film adaption of The Importance of Being Earnest.  The Bunbury Players include Portia Booroff, Carole Dance and Hugh Osborne who are on stage throughout ready to take over a role at a moment’s notice.

Rupert Gavin, producer for Incidental Colman, said “For our 100th production, in our 33rd year as a producing company with a long tradition in comedy, we are celebrating this milestone with a production of the landmark comedy in the English language, The Importance of Being Earnest. For
this, we have drawn together an exceptional creative team, a group of brilliant comedic actors, and we bring of course, a twist to proceedings, that you would only expect of us.”

Lucy Bailey, Director, said “I was lucky enough as a student, to be allowed to observe rehearsals of Peter Hall’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the National Theatre in the early 80's. I remember watching Nigel Havers and Martin Jarvis wrestle over cucumber sandwiches and being entranced by their charm and playfulness. When they approached me, some 30 years later, to work with them on a new production, I just couldn't resist! We have created a new framework for the play, aided and abetted by the writer Simon Brett and designer William Dudley. We have gathered together an exquisite acting ensemble to take on the challenge of Oscar Wilde's most popular and daring play.”

Seeing such a stellar cast having an absolute ball relishing their roles will be one of the lasting memories I’ll have of live theatre.  Even if you have to queue to get a return ticket, it really would be worth it as this has to be one of the best pieces of theatre you’ll ever see!

Book now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee), or online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (bkg fee)

Performances:   Mon 06 - Sat 11 Oct 
Evenings 7.30pm, Thu & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £10 - £35 when booked in person at the Box Office or for full details when booking on-line or over the phone visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
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)

Tour continues to:
Richmond Theatre from Monday 13th-Saturday 18th October
New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham from Tuesday 21st – Saturday 25th October

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
6.10.14
Twitter: yvonnedelahaye

Sep 21st

Rhapsody Queen @ The Swan, High Wycombe on 19th September 2014

By Yvonne Delahaye

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High Wycombe rocked to the sounds of Queen, when tribute band Rhapsody Queen performed at The Swan on 19th September.  The hits came thick and fast and the band gave a high octane show that had the audience on its feet within minutes.  The audience's ages ranged from 7-70, proving that the popularity of this band will carry on for generations to come.

We all sang along to the songs we knew so well; One Vision, Under Pressure, Another One Bites the Dust, Fat Bottomed Girls, You’re My Best Friend, Killer Queen, Bicycle Race, Lullabye, The Show Must Go On, Don’t Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Flash, A Kind Of Magic, Seven Seas Of Rye, I Want It All, Somebody to Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Radio Gaga, We Will Rock You, I Want to Break Free and We Are The Champions.  It’s an extraordinary list of hits that began in 1973 and kept on coming until 1991, when tragically Freddie Mercury died.  We can only wonder how many more hits they’d have had in the ensuing years, but in the words of one of his songs his legacy will ‘live forever’.

Tribute bands often get a lot of flack, but I think they have to work extremely hard to produce the sounds and emulate their heroes. What is extraordinary about this band is that they’re all in their 20s, so wouldn’t have been born at the height of Queen’s success.  They met at music college BIMM in Brighton and this line-up has been performing together for the past year and they’re going from strength to strength.

Yvan Silva as Freddie Mercury, is an accomplished musician and has a good vocal range up to high falsetto.  He’s a great showman to front the show and has the strutting confidence to engage the audience and get everyone to accept his tribute performance in his own right.  No-one can match the vocal dexterity that Freddie had and Yvan struggled a few times with some of the complex key changes and could have brought more light and shade into some of the songs, but I’m sure that’ll come with time and more experience. Jonny Sennet produces Brain May’s distinctive sound and style and has the height and the hair, as well as the musical abilities to give the band the right image.  The band is completed by Paul Lennox as Roger Taylor, Matt Sparkes as John Deacon and Jason Mercer as Spike Edney, who are all accomplished musicians and singers.

The show is everything you’d want a Queen concert to be, theatrical, entertaining and good fun, with the chance to have a sing-a-long and bop to our favourite songs.


Catch the show on tour:
4th October at Floral Pavilion Theatre, Brighton
17th October at Palace Theatre, Redditch
29th October at The Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
It’s a show you can take your kids or your granny along to and have a great night out!
For more info visit: www.queentribute.co.uk

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
19.9.14
Twitter: @yvonnedelahaye

Sep 8th

Ha Ha Hood @ The Swan Theatre, High Wycombe

By Yvonne Delahaye

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After seeing the madcap comedy Ha Ha Holmes! last year with Joe Pasquale, I was looking forward to some more crazy antics from the Ha Ha! team with a brand new and all-out outrageous comic romp! Ha Ha Hood! And the Prince of Leaves, is the latest irreverent interpretation of a classic story from the team who also brought us Ha Ha Hitler! And Ha Ha Hamlet!  With all the terrible events happening around the world, we all need to escape and have some fun and laughter in our lives and this show is guaranteed to get your sides aching.

Ten years after a messy divorce Robin and Marian are forced back together to fight the Sheriff once more. Little John and Friar Tuck, now considerably older and rougher around the edges, join the merry pair to try and save the citizens of Nottingham…

Maid Marian, Nottinghamshire’s feistiest female, who has in the past been brought to life by the likes of screen goddesses Audrey Hepburn, Cate Blanchett and Uma Thurman  is now portrayed by Su Pollard, who serves up a world-weary Marian who is definitely more matron than maid!   Tommy Cannon takes on the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and Little John while Bobby Ball, currently starring in TV’s Not Going Out with Lee Mack, doubles up as Friar Tuck and Guy of Gisborne.

Su Pollard is a comedy icon who needs no introduction. The Nottingham-born lass makes for a perfect menopausal Marian, cutting her comedy chops on hit BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi as scatty chalet maid Peggy. Su cemented her camp credentials with comedies You Rang, M’lord and Oh, Doctor Beeching, and is a musical theatre and pantomime heroine! 

Cannon and Ball’s starring role in Ha Ha Hood!  Prince of Leaves marks forty years since their first television appearance and a whopping fifty years together as a duo.   The Cannon and Ball Show ran for 9 hugely successful years and the pair have 2 sitcoms and numerous theatre/pantomime appearances under their belts; not forgetting their hilarious stint on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. 

Ben Langley (Robin Hood) has worked in London’s Covent Garden as a street performer for the last 18 years, winning The Bristol Harbour Festival Street Performer of the Year award.  He is co-founder of the Ha Ha Boys comedy team, writing and touring the Ha Ha series of theatre shows since 2007. 

“For me, what I saw in Ha Ha! was a British version of The Reduced Shakespeare Company which, rather than taking the micky out of us, was embracing us and was very pro-British and was a tribute to all of the great comedy artists and routines that have made Britain funny over the last 50 to 100 years.” – Ben Langley, creator

Andy Pickering completes the cast, accompanying on piano and adding a variety of wigs and voices to the chaotic events.

Su Pollard has the most wonderful belting singing voice (and a lovely pair of pins!) and her energy is just as infectious as ever.  Bobby and Tommy are warm and funny and it’s a joy to watch the three of them working the audience, knowing exactly how to deliver a line and entertain us all.   We all enjoyed the show immensely and although we’ve seen the sight gags hundreds of times they all still work and have us giggling all the way through.  Some of the lines were a bit coarse, especially as there were a lot of young children in the audience, but overall the show is jolly good clean fun.

Switch off the news, go out and have a laugh – it’s the best therapy in the world!

Tour Dates:

Tuesday 9th September Venue Cymru Llandudno
Wednesday 10th September Crewe Lyceum Theatre
Thursday 11th September New Brighton Floral Pavilion Theatre
Friday 12th September Carlisle The Sands Centre
Saturday 13th September Durham Gala
Sunday 14th September The Hawth Crawley
Tuesday 16th September Milton Keynes Theatre
Wednesday 17th September Hastings White Rock
Thursday 18th September Leamington Spa Royal Spa Centre
Friday 19th September Redditch Palace Theatre
Saturday 20th September Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre
Monday 22nd September – Tuesday 23rd September Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre
Wednesday 24th September Lancaster Grand Theatre
Thursday 25th September Grimsby Auditorium
Friday 26th September York Grand Opera House
Sunday 28th September Glasgow Theatre Royal
Monday 29th September Edinburgh Playhouse
Tuesday 30th September Billingham Forum Theatre

Further dates and info on www.hahahood.com

@HaHaShow

Reviewed by:
@Yvonne Delahaye
7.9.14

Aug 12th

One Man Two Guvs @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793) born in Venice, wrote over 200 plays, of which 150 are comedies.  One of his best known works, Il Servitore di Due Padroni (The Servant of Two Masters), was given a new lease of life by Richard Bean, who adapted it in 2011 for the National Theatre, setting it in Brighton in 1963.  Now seen by over 1 million people worldwide, this internationally-acclaimed smash-hit has been hailed as 'the funniest show on the planet' by The Mail and a 'comic classic' by The Guardian and has been hugely successful on Broadway, in the West End and on tour in the UK as well as Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand..

One Man, Two Guvnors is the hilarious story of Francis Henshall who, fired from his skiffle band, becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother - who's been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a job with one Stanley Stubbers - but to prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart. It has been described as a glorious celebration of British comedy - a unique, laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners.

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The acclaimed production has songs by Grant Olding, performed by skiffle band The Craze, who entertain the audience before the first and second acts. Every movement is carefully choreographed for maximum comedy effect by the Physical Comedy Director  Cal McCrystal and Choreographer and Tour Director Adam Penford, with designs by Mark Thompson, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound design by Paul Arditti, fight direction by Kate Waters.

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Literally throwing himself into the role of Francis Henshall is Gavin Spokes who recently appeared in 1984  and Jamie Lloyd's production of She Stoops to Conquer.  He played Hardy in Laurel and Hardy for the Watermill Theatre.

Emma Barton, Shaun Williamson, Derek Elroy One Man 2 Guvs.jpgShaun Williamson, probably best known for his roles as Barry in EastEnders, Extras and Life's Too Short for Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, plays scrap dealer Charlie ‘the Duck’ Clench.

Emma Barton, playing Francis’s love interest Dolly, is well known to TV viewers for her role as Honey Mitchell in EastEnders, a role she played for three years and she recently appeared in Celebrity Masterchef.

Jasmyn Banks is Pauline Clench, Alicia Davies is Rachel Crabbe, Michael Dylan is Alfie, Derek Elroy plays Lloyd Boateng, Edward Hancock is Alan Dangle (playing the role of ‘an actor’ which I really enjoyed) and Patrick Warner plays Stanley Stubbers

Taking its roots from Commedia dell’arte, the play often moves into pantomime with carefully crafted  audience participation.  The restaurant scene, as always, is the funniest scene in the play, leaving the audience roaring with laughter at the slapstick antics and mishaps.  Precise comic timing is an absolute must in this show and the cast execute this to perfection.

Having seen the original tour with the superb James Cordon starring, I was a little disappointed to see that some very coarse lines had been added, which seemed to be unnecessary and actually distracted from the comedy.  The style seems to have changed too, playing specifically for laughs, but the audience love it nonetheless and I can see this touring for many years to come.

Performances:   Mon 11 – Sat 16 Aug
Evenings 7.30pm, Thu & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £10 - £29.50 when booked online or over the phone. (premium seats also available)
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 tour continues to:
Crawley Heath
18 – 23 August 2014
Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
25 – 30 August 2014
Liverpool Empire
1 – 6 September 2014
Theatre Royal, Bath
8 – 20 September 2014
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
22 – 27 September 2014
Further dates and info can be found on:
www.onemantwoguvnors.com


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
11.8.14

Aug 6th

April in Paris @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 5th - 9th August 2014

By Yvonne Delahaye

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John Godber is the third most performed playwright in the UK, after William Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. His plays are performed across the world with Bouncers being the most popular and it’s easy to see why he’s so successful.  John writes characters that are real, human, truthful and very, very funny. April in Paris was written in 1992 as part of the Hull Festival and in 1994 was nominated for the Olivier Comedy of the Year Award.


Al and Bet are not what you'd call 'love's young dream'. Bet's bored, Al's at his wits' end and they're stuck in a romance rut! Then out of the blue the passionless pair win a holiday to Paris! Will the city of love rekindle some life into this dying relationship? Will they succumb to the allure of l'amour in 'gay Paris'? Or will it be battle-stations amongst the boulevards? Join the intrepid pair as they sample the delights of the continent. Will Paris persuade them that they are a perfect partnership or is this the end of 'la rue' for Al and Bet?


John revisited the play 22 years after he wrote it and discovered that the themes of high unemployment, redundancy and house price stagnation were still endemic in Yorkshire.  In this version, the play is still very fresh, well balanced and relevant and it’s two stars, Shobna Gulati and Joe McGann, bring the characters to life, sharing their lives, dreams and disappointments with us.

Shobna Gulati is best known for playing Anita in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street from 2001 to 2006, a role to which she returned at the end of 2009 and departed again in 2013. Since then she has been a panellist on Loose Women.

Joe McGann became a household name as Charlie Burrows, the “housekeeper” in the hit TV comedy series The Upper Hand which ran for six years. His major stage roles include Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Ray Say in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

April in Paris is produced by Paul Tyrer & Jamie Clark for April in Paris Ltd with Jane Walmsley and Michael Braham for JAM Pictures Ltd, in association with Derby Theatre.

The dialogue is fast-paced, with almost a laugh on every line and is hysterically funny.  Shobna and Joe are both brilliant as Bet and Al and we totally believe in their characters and relationship.  Every comic nuance is delivered with great energy, enthusiasm and truth.  As my friend Vicky said ‘they make it look so easy’, but as we’re both actors too we know only too well just how hard they both have to work to keep an audience entertained with just 2 actors on stage. The play has great warmth and the moments of pathos are touching, but never dwelt on for long as the laughs just keep on coming. 

The set is very cleverly designed by Pip Leckenby and we loved the 2 understudies, Emma Keele and Robert Ashcroft, dressed as French mime artists who made the set changes hilarious.

Tickets are available from Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee), or online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury  (bkg fee)

LISTINGS
Performances:   Tue 05 – Sat 09 Aug
Evenings 7.30pm, Wed & Sat Mat 2.30pm
Tickets:  £10 - £29.50 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)
The tour continues to:
AUGUST
12th-16th Malvern Theatre
19th-23rd Churchill Theatre, Bromley
26th-30  Glasgow Theatre Royal
SEPTEMBER
1st-3rd   Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
4th-6th  Opera House, Manchester
9th-13th  Richmond Theatre
15th-20th Chesterfield Pomegranate
24th-27th New Brighton Floral Pavilion
30th-4th Oct Dundee Rep Theatre
OCTOBER
7th-11th  Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
14th-18th Civic Theatre, Darlington


Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
5.8.14