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Feb 18th

Some Girl I Used to Know @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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With the prevalence of social media in our lives it’s now very easy to re-connect with people from our past, bringing old memories flooding back.  What if your first real love contacted you through Facebook and you were tempted to pick up where you left off, all those years ago?  That’s the premise of this touching and amusing new musical play starring Denise Van Outen as Stephanie Canworth.  On the surface, Stephanie has it all, she’s rich, beautiful, runs a successful business and has a supportive husband and the media love her, but something is missing in her life.
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The story takes us on a journey through Steph’s life and 7-year relationship with Sean, beginning in her teens when she partied hard and hopes were high.  We share with her the raw, intense emotions we all experienced in our youth and long to feel again as we move into middle age.  It’s a heart-warming story of a woman reliving rose-coloured memories and struggling with the realities of her life today.

Basildon-born Denise has been in the business since the age of 7, when she started out modelling knitting patterns.  She attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School and at 12 played Eponine in Les Miserables.  She went on to appear in the Anthony Newley directed production of Stop the World I want to Get Off and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In a long and varied career, Denise has presented Big Breakfast, played Roxie Hart in Chicago in the West End and on Broadway and made copious TV appearances as an actress, presenter and celebrity guest.  On screen Denise appears as Michelle Smith in the film of Ray Cooney’s farce Run for Your Wife.  She has also recorded numerous singles including duets with Andy Williams and Russell Watson.
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The show opens with Denise singing some very familiar lyrics ‘say hello, wave goodbye’, but the arrangement is completely original and sweet  showcasing her rich, mezzo voice.  Then ‘Steph’ starts to tell us her story and we become a part of her confidences.  There’s quite a long 20 minute monologue at the beginning, which I felt would benefit from another song to break it up a little and also because she has such an amazing singing voice it would be good to hear more songs.  She also speaks very quickly and sometimes with her strong Essex accent we miss some of the lines, which is a shame, but those are minor points.

Denise co-wrote the show with Terry Ronald and it’s funny and recognisable. Denise allows herself to expose her vulnerable side towards to the end, with some very real, heart-felt emotions and we share her confusion and pain. The song arrangements are superb, especially Do You Really Want to Hurt Me and the title track Some Girl I Used to Know.
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It really is one of the toughest things to stand alone on stage and hold an audience for 2 acts and Denise, quite rightly, received a standing ovation.  She’s a very talented lady and this show is proving a big hit around the country.

Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury Performances:   Tuesday1 8th & Wednesday 19th February @ 7.30 p.m.
Tickets:   £27.50
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:
The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton 20th-22nd February
Wyvern Theatre, Swindon 24th-26th February
 and The Swan, High Wycombe 27th Feb-1st March
Further dates can be found on www.somegirliusedtoknow.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
17.2.14

Dec 18th

Sleeping Beauty @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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Christmas is only a week away and with the tree and colourful decorations put up, cards sent and presents bought, it’s time to take the kids along to see the seasonal panto. Last year I was in a play at The English Theatre of Hamburg, so I missed out on the Christmas panto and was looking forward to another entertaining evening at The Waterside.
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Sleeping Beauty
is the fairy story of the Princess Beauty (Holly Brewer) who is cursed by the Wicked Fairy Carabosse (Anita Dobson) when she’s a baby.  The curse states that when Beauty reaches 18 she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die.  Fortunately the Lilac Fairy (Frankie Armitage) is able to change the curse so that she doesn’t die but sleeps for 100 years and can only be woken by handsome Prince Antonia (Christian Lund).  In the midst of this, Beauty’s childhood friend Chester The Jester (Andy Collins) and Nurse Molly Coddle (Graham Kent) provide laughter and mayhem and keep us all involved.
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Star of stage and screen Anita Dobson is absolutely fabulous as The Wicked Fairy Carabosse. She relishes her role as the bad fairy, making us all hiss and boo and looks stunning in her long purple dress and short tutu. Shooting to fame as Angie Watts in Eastenders, Anita’s TV, film and stage career has seen her nominated for an Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award and London Theatre Critics Award. Anita’s success in Strictly Come Dancing re-affirmed her place in the nation’s hearts.
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Comic and TV Presenter Andy Collins makes a welcome return to his home town and really knows how to work the audience.  Everyone loved The Twelve Days of Christmas with Andy dashing around throwing objects over his shoulder getting more and more exhausted.  He really works incredibly hard throughout the show and I’m sure by the end of the run will be ready for a holiday!
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There’s plenty of time to go and see this magical panto, so make sure you don’t miss out on the show guaranteed to put some sparkle into the festive season.

Performances:   Thursday 19th to Sunday 5th January
Tickets:   £11.90 to £41.40
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
16.12.13
Dec 2nd

Paul Carrack @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Ask a range of people if they know who Paul Carrack is and you’ll often be met by blank stares, but sing a few lines of Tempted and Over My Shoulder and recognition sets in.  As lead vocalist with Ace, Mike and The Mechanics and Squeeze, nearly 40 years since Ace had a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic with How Long? (astonishingly the first song composed by Paul himself), Paul continues to pack out theatres with his amazing rich vocals and excellent 7 piece band.

In a recent BBC4 documentary (I wish I’d known about and seen!), Paul was christened ‘The Man with the Golden Voice’ and the title couldn’t be more apt.  Listening to Paul singing ballads with such real emotion he constantly touches your heart and I often find myself moved to tears.  There are very few singers who have the ability to resonate so deeply with people’s feelings, but the poignant lyrics and melodies make the songs so special and unique.

Fresh from a worldwide tour as featured artiste with old friend, Eric Clapton,which he’ll be continuing in 2014, Paul was back at The Waterside with his own amazing Sheffield-based band performing songs from his vast catalogue.

Opening the show was support act Robert Vincent on acoustic guitar, singing some of his own compositions from his new album Life in Easy Steps.  Robert hails from Liverpool and is a blues and country music singer-songwriter.  With the backing of Paul Carrack, you know he’s going to be successful, but have a listen to some of his beautiful tracks on www.robertvincentmusic.com and decide for yourself.

After a short interval, Paul and his band bounded on stage with a high octane opening singing Life’s too Short and a couple of rock songs, before Paul moved onto the keyboard and sang my personal favourite Love Will Keep Us Alive.  It’s a song Paul wrote for The Eagles, but whenever I hear Paul sing it with his gorgeous honey vocals, it gets right to my heart and I find myself touched to tears. Thankfully they swiftly move on to a great up-tempo number Better Than Nothing, with it’s jazz-funk riffs and sax, it gave Paul a chance to show what an incredible musician he is with his keyboard solo.

We all joined in to wave our hands and sing along to Tempted, before Paul sang some songs from his new album Rain or Shine.  His new single That’s all that Matters to Me  is getting some air-play and is a lovely song written for his daughter as she embarks on her world travels.

Paul and the band were then joined by former support act TinLin to sing together their sweet new song Make it Right For You.  Another Mike and the Mechanics hit followed The Living Years with those memorable lyrics ‘Say it Loud, Say it Clear’, with a couple more songs before finishing on the unforgettable How Long with everyone standing, clapping and singing along.  The packed auditorium shouted, whistled and applauded for an encore and, naturally, it could only be Over My Shoulder

I pondered on how many of the acts that have come through X-Factor over the last 10 years will still be performing to packed houses in 40 years time?  This is the second time I’ve seen Paul Carrack in concert and you can hear all the different instruments with a perfect balance of sound and clarity and with Paul's delicious vocals, it doesn't get much better than this!  After the first concert I saw 2 years ago I bought his album A Different Hat, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and it’s one that gets played over and over again.  There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be buying his latest one very soon and I really look forward to seeing him on his next tour. 

There are lots of video clips of Paul Carrack on YouTube and you can also visit his website www.paulcarrack.net for more info to listen to and download some of his tracks.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
1.12.13

Nov 19th

Priscilla Queen of the Desert @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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Grab your feather boa and head to The Waterside Theatre this week for the glitziest, campest show on the touring circuit, guaranteed to put some sparkle back into a cold, grey November.  Priscilla is the heartwarming, uplifting story of three drag queens who hire a battered old bus to travel across Oz from Sydney, through the outback and small towns, to change their lives and star in a cabaret in Alice Springs.

Priscilla Queen of The Desert started life as a film in 1994 with Terence Stamp as Bernadette and quickly became a cult hit across the globe, winning an Oscar for Best Costume.  Writer/Director Stephen Elliott and Allan Scott adapted the film to create the stage musical version opening in Sydney in 2006 which quickly became a massive success, adding 1970s pop songs.  The show has won a string of awards including WhatsOnStage.Com and Society of Box Office Managers for Best New Musical, as well Olivier and Broadway World UK Awards for Best Costume.

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Jason Donovan reprises his role as Tick (Mitzi), which he first created in the West End.  Jason has had a varied career, starting out in Neighbours, then becoming a multi-million selling recording artist, playing Frank-n-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, a succession of West End and touring roles, being a finalist in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and last year reaching the final Strictly Come Dancing.  Jason plays Tick, the gay drag queen who misses his son and yearns to see him, unbeknown to his friends, which is why he decides to cross the country and see his son.  It’s a tricky role to play to get the balance between being camp and flamboyant and portraying the inner turmoil he feels about not knowing how his son will accept who he is, but Jason plays it perfectly.  Amongst the exuberance, colour and sparkle, I Say a Little Prayer is heartfelt and sincere and provides some pathos to the comedy.
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Bernadette is played by Richard Grieve, having previously played Tick in the West End.  Richard is best known as Jonny Foster in Emmerdale and in his native Australia, Sam Krantz in Neighbours and Dr Lachlan Fraser in Home and Away.  UK theatre credits include Footloose the Musical and Bells are Ringing.  He gives a stunning performance as Bernadette, with just the right amount of strength and vulnerability for us to really care about if she can find romance with Bob (Giles Watling).

Graham Weaver is wonderfully camp and outrageous as Adam (Felicia), so sure of who he is that he’s unable to comprehend the homophobic small-town behaviour they experience on the journey.
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The show is so joyful and opulent, with sumptuous, colourful costumes that sparkle and dazzle and amaze as they become more and more flamboyant and ostentatious.  I loved The Three Divas flying in to open with It’s Raining Men and appearing throughout the show and the songs are all about having fun including Venus, Boogie Wonderland, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.  For me though the show’s theme tune has to be I Will Survive, as it perfectly expresses the strength and resilience they’ve all needed to survive the prejudices and biogtry they’ve all suffered.  The cast all belt it out creating a vibrant lasting end to the first and second acts. 

If you didn’t catch it in the West End, or even if you did and want to see it again (like me) you really don’t want to miss this show.  It's Entertainment with a capital 'E'!

Performances:   Mon 18 – Sat 23 Nov
Mon – Thu Evenings 7.30pm, Fri 5pm & 8.15pm, Sat 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £35 (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)
For further tour dates and info visit: www.priscillathemusical.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
18.11.13
Nov 17th

Ha Ha Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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If you enjoy mad-cap, knockabout, physical comedy where you become a part of the show, then you’ll love Ha Ha Holmes.  The mayhem and laughter are relentless, as 3 actors and a pianist attempt to tell the story of The Hound of The Baskervilles, with the help of the audience of course!  Before the houselights have dimmed, writer/director and co-star Ben Langley invites us into this crazy world and the fun begins and doesn’t stop.
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Former King of the Jungle, Joe Pasquale takes on the role of Sherlock Holmes.  With over 20 years as a top stand-up comedian, Joe has a list of theatre acting credits including Tom, Dick & Harry, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Dr in the House and The Wizard of Oz.   He presented  The Price is Right and has guest hosted the Paul O’Grady Show many times, as well as voicing characters in the Garfield and Muppets movies.  Joe has appeared 6 times in The Royal Variety Show and has become a mainstay of pantomime selling out in every performance each Christmas.
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With theatre credits ranging from Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Three Men in a Boat to pantomime, Ben Langley is a master of physical comedy, playing not only Dr Watson, but a variety of other roles throughout the show.

Another pantomime regular, Andrew Fettes also has an extensive CV, including Spider’s Web, Taking Steps, The Ghost Train and most recently in the West End playing Albert in Steptoe and Son.

Ben and Andrew met 10 years ago and became founding members of the Ha Ha Boys, touring extensively with Ha Ha Halmet and Ha Ha Hitler.  Collaborating with Jamie Wilson Productions has helped the shows to be taken into bigger venues and enjoyed by wider audiences.  Joe Pasquale is a new member of the Ha Ha team, helping them to attract an even more diverse audience.  The trio are accompanied throughout by actor/musician Andy Pickering, who becomes the foil for some of their crazy antics.
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The show is very clever, witty and, to be honest, a bit bonkers, but you just find yourself laughing at even the silliest of gags.  As the actors are all having so much fun and put so much energy into the show, we share in their exuberance and have a zany night.  It’s original, daft and very British and l guarantee will lift your spirits on a gloomy winter evening.  For information about the show and next year’s tour dates visit www.hahaholmes.com. Their next production will be Ha Ha Hood – no prizes for guessing where that will be set!

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
16.11.13
Nov 9th

The Four Seasons by Candelight @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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There’s nothing like candlelight to create a calm and warm atmosphere and last night’s concert set the scene for a wonderful relaxing evening.  Of course with health and safety concerns, the candelabras were electric, but they still created the perfect ambience.  I was delighted to see the Moscow Festival Orchestra arrive on stage in full 18th Century costume, which also added to the mood.  I could imagine myself sitting in the drawing room of a stately home as a guest of Lord and Lady Farquhar, being entertained after a sumptuous banquet.

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The Conductor/Violinist/Director/Narrator for the evening was internationally acclaimed violinist David Juritz.  Born in Cape Town, South Africa David won a scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and came to London to study at the Royal College of Music with Hugh Bean and Jaroslav Vanecek. During his time at the RCM he won all the major prizes for violin including the college’s highest award, the Tagore Gold Medal.  He has since toured the world with The English Chamber Orchestra and London Mozart Players amongst others and has directed the Royal Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Johan Strauss Orchestra.  In 2007 he busked 60,000 miles around the world to raise money for his new charity Musequality.  Further information can be found on his website www.davidjuritz.com

The first half of the evening dedicated to Baroque masterpieces, commenced with one of my favourites Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmuisik. Next came Chapentier’s Opening of the Te Deum, Handle’s Rejoice Greatly Messiah, Purcell’s Trumpet Suite, Pachelbel’s Canon, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3 ending with Handle’s Let the Bright Seraphim, Eternal Source of Light Divine, accompanied by the pure, clear sounds of the trumpet played by Crispian Steele-Perkins and top soprano Rebecca Bottone.

The second half was devoted entirely to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and David gave us an interesting insight into each of the four movements before each one was played.  Spring begins with a bright opening, full of joy, birds singing, breezes then a rumble of thunder, lightening, back to little birds sleeping, gentle murmurs disturbed by a dog, ending with a country dance.  Summer is sweltering heat when everything is slowed down, sounds of the cuckoo, turtle dove, goldfinch, approaching storm as farmer panics worrying about his crops, plagued by insects - there’s a rumble and the storm strikes. Autumn is about hunting with dogs, excess alcohol and sleeping off its effects.  Winter is icy, shivering as the north winds blow, stamping feet to keep warm, teeth chattering, going into a warm house sitting by the fire as the rain falls against the window then runs down, ice-skating and falling over.

These explanations really did help us to understand what each section of each movement was meant to convey.  Four Seasons is one of the most recognisable pieces of classical music used in many TV commercials and films and I can now appreciate it even more.

This was one of the most relaxing and uplifting evenings that created a wonderful ambience and provided us with beautiful music.  Marvellous!

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
08.11.13
Nov 5th

Moscow City Ballet's Romeo & Juliet @ The Waterside Theare, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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As a jobbing actress I confess that I know little about ballet, as my dance training was primarily in contemporary, jazz and tap.  I’m not qualified to talk about the techniques of the Moscow City’s corps de ballet, except to say that they do indeed possess grace, vitality and excellent dexterity.  However, I was very keen to see how one of Shakespere’s greatest tragedies could be translated into a ballet, as the only ballets I’ve seen are based on fairy stories.

The opening tableaux depicting the four dead bodies held aloft by black cloaked spirits, with the Lords Capulet and Montague standing behind with crossed swords, provided a dramatic start and I knew then that they’d got it right and this was going to be an interesting production.  As the warring families fought in the streets, with even the girls doing hand-to-hand combat, you could feel the hatred between these 2 feuding families.  The drama is enhanced by Prokofiev’s score and when Tybalt enters to the powerful sounds of Dance of the Knights (you’ll recognise it from The Apprentice), we know there’s trouble brewing and all is not going to end well!

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When Romeo meets Juliet, I found the meeting surprisingly passionate and tender and the intensity of their feelings for one another was expressed beautifully.  For me knowing the story and following it through as Mercutio is killed by Tybalt and Romeo kills Tybalt, setting in motion the ultimate demise of the star-crossed lovers, helped to keep me engaged throughout.  Without the Bard’s wonderful language, it was still easy to follow the story and I felt they had captured the drama, passion and intensity of the play to great effect.
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I liked the vibrant, striking use of colours and the simplicity of the vulture costumes was very effective.  I also thought the backdrops worked well, particularly the one with the red domed church, which had a 3 dimensional effect and what looked like gold leaf edging.

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The Moscow City Ballet celebrates its Silver Anniversary and also brings the Nutcracker to The Waterside on 5th & 6th November. The Nutcracker boasts Tchaikovsky’s rich score, complete with stunning costumes and sumptuous sets.  This enchanting ballet tells the story of Clara’s magical adventure with her Nutcracker Prince, including a visit to the delicious Land of Sweets and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy, and is a real festive treat.

Founded in 1988 by Victor Smirnov-Golovanov, who sadly died in April this year after, Moscow City Ballet remains in the safe hands of his wife Ludmila Neroubashchenko, who has been leading the ballet company for the last few years. Ludmila will now officially take on the position of Artistic Director and will continue to preserve Victor's unique choreography and productions, as well as the commitment to promoting ballet in the Russian classical tradition to audiences all over the world.

Ludmila Neroubashchenko said, “We are committed to continue entertaining audiences with our Russian jewels performed by world class dancers. This season we celebrate our 25th Anniversary, so we hope to commemorate it with a magical and entertaining tour in memory of Victor Smirnov-Golovanov, former Bolshoi Ballet soloist and distinguished choreographer.”

Moscow City Ballet is accompanied on tour by the Moscow City Ballet Orchestra who provide a dynamic vitality to this remarkable season of dance. Book your tickets now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
Performances:   Nutcracker Tue 5 Nov 7.30pm & Wed 6 Nov 2.30pm & 7.30pm

The tour continues to:
7th November Romeo and Juliet New Victoria Theatre Woking   
8th & 9th November The Nutcracker New Victoria Theatre Woking   
 
Before going to Abu Dhabi and Dubai and then back to the UK. Further tour dates and company information can be found on www.moscowballet.com
Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
4.11.13

Oct 29th

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Who would have thought that nearly 60 years after the film was released in 1954, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers would appeal to today’s audiences?  I was curious to see whether the storyline would still work and the answer is a resounding ‘yes it does’.  Ok you have to allow yourself to escape into the story and believe in a time when a chat-up line like ‘I need a wife, will you marry me’ in the first few minutes of meeting, was normal!  The theatre was packed and judging by the applause and cheers at the end of the show, there can be no doubt that audiences still love this charming yarn.

Set in 1850s Oregon, this classic American musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers  tells the story of Adam, the eldest of seven brothers living in the rural backwoods, who goes to town to get himself a wife. Convincing Milly to marry him that very same day, he forgets to mention he has six brothers - all living together in his cabin. Milly decides to reform the uncouth siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. Then, after reading about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, Adam has what he thinks is an inspired solution to his brothers’ loneliness - they will kidnap the women they want! 623C3284.JPG
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
is packed with 16 timeless classics, including Bless Your Beautiful Hide, A Woman Ought to Know Her Place and Goin’ Courtin’. This new production is directed and choreographed by Broadway’s award-winning Patti Colombo, who The Wall Street Journal describe as “one of the finest musical-comedy choregraphers in the business”. I have to agree, as the ‘Social Dance’ was certainly the highlight of the first act, with amazing choreography and dancing that was so slick and acrobatic it took your breath away.623C4214.JPG
Patti Colombo’s choreography for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Goodspeed Opera House received a Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography and The Elliot Norton Award for the National Tour. She received an Emmy nomination and American Choreographapher's Award for Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby on US TV and she also choreographed the original Tony-nominated Broadway production. She choreographed national tours of Doctor Dolittle starring Tommy Tune and Seussical, the Musical with Cathy Rigby. She received L.A. Drama-Logue Awards for Drood (West Coast premiere), On the Town, Most Happy Fella, and West Side Story.

Sam Attwater (Adam) landed his first TV acting role in 2009, playing Ricky in Hollyoaks. The following year he joined EastEnders and its online spinoff, EastEnders: E20, as Leon Small. Sam is also a singer and won Dancing On Ice. He recently played Brad Majors in the 40th anniversary tour of The Rocky Horror Show and also appeared in the stage musicals Dreamboats and Petticoats in the West End, Tonight's the Night and 20th Century Boy.

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Helena Blackman (Milly) runner-up in BBC1’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? was Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy at the Wales Millennium Centre, Dorothy in an acclaimed run of The Wizard of Oz at Leicester Haymarket Theatre, she toured the UK as Nellie Forbush in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, she played Gertie in Noel & Gertie at the Cockpit in London and was in The Secret Garden at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Set Design is by Anna Louizos, Lighting Design Nick Richings, Sound Design Jezz Helens, Musical Supervisor Martin Hughes, Musical Director Bruce Knight, Associate Director/Choreographer Karl Warden.

 The show is produced by Paul Nicholas, Peter Frosdick and George Critchely. As well as being a very successful actor, Paul Nicholas has produced many shows including: Jesus Christ Superstar (concert version), The  Pirates Of Penzance (UK tour), Grease (West End & Broadway - Tony Award nomination for Best Revival 2008), The Rocky Horror Show (directed by Paul Nicholas), Ain't Misbehavin' (West End), Singin' in the Rain (UK tour), Evita (UK tour), Chess (UK tour), Happy Days (UK tour), Saturday Night Fever (London Palladium & Minskoff Theatre, New York), Producer, co-adapter Tale of Two Cities (UK tour), Jekyll & Hyde (UK tour), Keeler (directed by Paul Nicholas), Jest End (Players Theatre and Jermyn Street Theatre) Keeler Producer/Director (UK Tour),The Tale Of Two Cities musical (Charing Cross Theatre). His latest West End production is WAG! The Musical at Charing Cross Theatre.

Peter Frosdick’s producing credits over the past 18 years include major national tours of: 42nd Street, South Pacific, Anything Goes, Singin' In The Rain, Disney's Beauty and The Beast, Jekyll And Hyde, Carousel, Barnum, Fiddler On The Roof, Pirates of Penzance, Murdered To Death, Keeler and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, which also played in the West End. His latest West End production is WAG! The Musical at CharingCross Theatre. George Critchley is the Producer and Artistic Director for PMA Productions Ltd. He has produced over 60 plays, musicals and pantomimes.

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If you've seen the film and enjoyed it, then I'm sure you'll love the stage show.  Don't expect to see the role of Adam played like Howard Keel though as Sam Attwater looks great, but he doesn't have the same powerful voice or projection.  Helena Blackman has a beautiful soprano voice and makes the role her own as the feisty Milly. The film was produced on a low budget and yet went on to become one of the best loved MGM musicals of all time.  It has an innocence and charm that leaves you with a warm glow. In the words of Howard Keel ‘the film was magic and it still astounds today’ and the stage show has just the right feel good factor we're all in need of!
 
Book your tickets now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)

Performances:   Mon 28 Oct – Sat 02 Nov  Mon 7.45pm Tues – Sat Eve 7.30pm, Thu & Sat Matinee 2.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £29.50  
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:
 5th-9th November Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
11th-16th November Grand Theatre, Blackpool
18th-23rd November Empire, Sunderland
25th-30th November Kings Theatre, Glasgow
For 2014 dates please visit the website www.sevenbridesthemusical.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
28.10.13

Oct 24th

New Jersey Nights @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

When Jersey Boys opened in the West End in 2008, I assumed it was a play about a boys’ school on the island of Jersey!  Hmmm, got that one wrong didn’t I?  As everyone now knows, Jersey Boys is the smash hit musical based on the life and music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Opening on Broadway in 2005, the show went on to win four Tony awards in 2006, including best musical and in London in 2009 the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.  The show continues to play to packed houses and is transferring to the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2014.

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Direct from the USA the international smash hit show New Jersey Nights comes to the UK as part of their world tour. The show is a spectacular jukebox celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and takes the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the career of one of the biggest selling groups of all times. From the back street studio in New Jersey where it all began, this vibrant production includes all of The Four Seasons greatest hits, including Sherry, Rag Dolls, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, Stay and so much more.

The Production features an award winning cast of singers, dancers, unique stage sets and a rockin’ on stage band. New Jersey Nights has smashed box office records right across the USA and UK and is proving to be one of the most successful touring shows of all times.
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New Jersey Nights takes you on a musical journey celebrating the greatest hits of the internationally successful American rock and pop band The Four Seasons, who shot to worldwide fame in the mid 1960s. The incredibly popular group  fronted by Frankie Valli even  enjoyed the accolade of most popular rock band before The Beatles burst on to the music scene.  As one of the best-selling musical groups of all time, The Four Seasons sold over 175 million records worldwide, and were inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999

New Jersey Nights features the perfect harmonies of Damion Scarcella, Simon Scholfield, Jon Hawkins, Ricky Rojas and  Jennifer Harding. With stylized costumes, a rockin’ live band and amazing dancers, they perform all of the Four Seasons hits, including: Sherry, Rag Doll, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Let’s Hang On, Walk Like A Man, Dawn, Silence is Golden, Oh What A Night and many more.

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Damion Scarcella, originally from Australia, Damion trained in classical voice at the prestigious Melba Conservatorium and has appeared in many top Australian and UK productions, including Fame, Mamma Mia, Leader of The Pack, The King and I, Zorro The Musical and The Mikado and Shout for which he received a Green Room nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He has spent the last five years singing and recording with the acapella group The Flying Pickets, and as lead singer of the East Coast Boys - touring the UK, and as a headliner act for Royal Caribbean, both with the group and as a solo performer.

Jon Hawkins trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. His theatre credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Rock Around The Clock, (UK Tour), MAMMA MIA! (International Tour) and the UK tour of Tonight's The Night, Macbeth (Complete Works) and Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC, Barbican).

Ricky Rojas theatre credits include Grease (UK tour & Piccadilly Theatre), Flashdance at Shaftesbury Theatre; Burn The Floor ON Broadway and in the West End, The Buddy Holly Story, Fame  at Aldwych Theatre, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Adelphi  theatre) and the Season launch  of Mirvish Productions (Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto).

Simon Schofield’s theatre credits include  Gavroche in Les Miserables,  Oliver!, Twelfth Night, A Slice of Saturday Night, Henshall - Sounds Of Hollywood, Frankie Vallie in Rock Around The Clock, The Sound of Music, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and more.


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The Four Seasons
were probably the original boy band, but what made them unique was Frankie Valli’s incredible vocal range reaching to high falsetto.  In this show, there is no lead singer as they all take lead vocals and have amazing vocal dexterity.  When they performed a couple of acapella songs and something went awry on the second one, the audience interaction was great as the guys joked about it and people then realised just how difficult it is to pitch an acapella song when you’re going straight from another one.  Perhaps at this point, the audience realised just how talented this group actually are and how they deliver this night after night.  To compare a musical theatre singer with someone on X-Factor, is a bit like comparing an advanced driver with someone who has just acquired their ‘L’ plates!  A lot of people can sing, but it takes years of hard work to get your vocals up to the standard needed to meet the demands of a musical theatre show and this one in particular.

The guys are ably supported by singer/dancers Bethany Dows, Robyn Ford and Phoebe Henderson who shine as the Ronnettes singing Be My Baby and Da Do Ron Ron.  Backing dancers Jonathan Cook, Simone Cristofaro and Charlie England help to bring the show alive, along with the band Dean Mongerio, Joe Sweeney, Matt Randall and Eddy White.

The set opens in Ruby’s Bar, with some steps leading up to the band and the simple idea of putting twinkly fairy lights on black drapes worked a treat.

It is a lively, fun show and I was very surprised at how many of the songs I actually knew, but realised that a lot of them had been covered by other artists over the years.  For me Can’t Take my Eyes off You will always be an Andy Williams song, but it was written by Frankie Valli and was a big hit for him in 1967 before Andy recorded it in 1968.  If you enjoyed Jersey Boys, you’ll love this show and even if, like me, you’ve not seen the first show and this isn’t your era, there are so many familiar hits to sing along with you’ll enjoy a great night out.

Book your tickets now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)

Performances:    Tue 22 – Sat 26 Oct  7.30pm, Sat Matinee 2.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £27.50  
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:
Cardiff Theatre
5th-9th November 2013
Wolverhampton Theatre
19th-23rd November 2013
Capital FM Arena Nottingham
7th December (2 shows)
More info can be found on www.newjerseynights.co.uk

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
22.10.13

Oct 15th

September in the Rain @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

From its roots as a holiday resort dating back to the 1700s, Blackpool’s popularity remains undiminished. Way back in 1879 Blackpool became the world’s first town with electric street lighting, creating streets full of hotels and boarding houses, luring a new generation of working-class holidaymakers to the resort. As demand for entertainment grew, the first promenade, North Pier, Central Pier, Theatre Royal and Pleasure Gardens had already opened and in 1878 the Winter Gardens billed as the ‘most magnificent palace of amusement in the world.’  Inspired by Paris’s Eiffel Tower, the Blackpool Tower Company was created to construct its very own version, about half the size of its Parisian cousin, which opened in 1894. 13699_full.jpg
With all its history it’s little wonder that September in the Rain is set in Blackpool as it takes us through a journey of 40 years from its heyday in the 1950s, when visitors reached 17 million a year.  Yorkshire couple Jack and Liz retell of their annual summer holiday jaunt across the Pennines to Blackpool, dipping in and out of time together, recalling their first holiday as newlyweds to their last, sharing memories filled with tears and laughter, fish and chips and wet and windy promenades in September. It’s the age of donkey rides, talent contests, saucy postcards, stripy deckchairs, ice cream, rolled-up trousers and knotted hankies, before the ease of cheap flights to foreign climes became the norm. 


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Claire Sweeney and John Thomson star in this heartwarming, bittersweet comedy gem, written and directed by the Olivier Award-winning John Godber who is considered a master of observational comedy. His plays have won numerous awards including and an Olivier and 7 Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards. He is one of the most performed playwrights in the English language. His plays include: Bouncers, Up ‘n' Under, April in Paris, Teechers, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Cramp, Happy Jack, September in the Rain, Salt of the Earth, Passion Killers, Happy Families, Up ‘n' Under ll, Gym & Tonic, Dracula, Lucky Sods, Hooray for Hollywood, Weekend Breaks, It Started With A Kiss, Unleashed, Thick As A Brick, Big Trouble in Little Bedroom, Season In The Sun, on A Night Like This, Our House, Departures, Men of the World, Reunion, Screaming Blue Murder, Black Ties & Tales, Perfect Pitch Going Dutch, Christmas Crackers and Crown Prince. September in the Rain was inspired by his parent’s holidays to Blackpool during the golden era of the British seaside.

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The play opens on the elderly Liz (Claire Sweeney) talking about their first trip to Blackpool as a newly married couple.  She is soon joined by husband Jack (John Thomson) who listens to her rambling on and just chips in with an abrupt ‘no’ and ‘aye’.  Seldom can an actor deliver just one word and get such a big laugh, but John is a master of deadpan comedy and we immediately warm to his blunt Yorkshire character.  He fills the stage and ekes out the comedy from every line and piece of business, especially the deckchair routine!  Claire creates a nagging but feisty wife who wants to change her man, resulting in many arguments, but eventually she learns to accept him for who he is. 

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It is an absolute delight to watch these 2 consummate actors perform and fill the stage with not only Jack and Liz, but a variety of other characters along the way.  To hold the attention of an audience of 1200 and keep us all laughing throughout requires great skill as we recognize their character traits with all their faults and imperfections.  Godber, as always, has some moments of pathos to balance out the comedy, adding depth to these people we soon came to love and understand the simplicity of their lives.

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Claire Sweeney is one of the country's theatre and television favourites with recent credits including a national tour of Educating Rita with Matthew Kelly, Tell Me on a Sunday and Legally Blonde.

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John Thomson’s television credits include the comedy classics Cold Feet and The Fast Show as well as Coronation Street and Waterloo Road. Astonishingly September in the Rain is John’s first UK tour, but he looked and sounded completely at home on stage and we caught every word and nuance. 

This is a brilliant night out and there’s still time to catch this comedy acting masterclass:

Book your tickets now at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)


Performances:   Mon 14 – Sat 19 Oct  7.30pm, Thu & Sat Matinee 2.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £25  
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:
Mon Oct 28th-Nov 2nd  The Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Mon Nov 25th – Sat Nov 30th  Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
14.10.13