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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

Romeo & Juliet
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
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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

Oct 12th

Barbershopera's The Three Musketeers @ The Second Space,Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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One of the great things about The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury is that the main auditorium seats 1200 people and takes in big scale touring productions. Sometimes though it’s nice to see a smaller production and The Second Space provides the perfect venue for fringe theatre and comedy nights. For two nights only, multi-award winning theatre group Barbershopera present their new musical comedy based on Alexandre Drumas’ classic The Three Musketeers.

Barbershopera, were the toast of Radio 4’s Christmas play season and this is the fourth full-length musical production from writing partners Rob Castell and Tom Sadler. Previous Barbershopera work has played in the West End and throughout the UK, winning multiple awards at the Edinburgh Festival and at the International Musicals Festival in South Korea. Reinventing Alexandre Dumas' much-loved adventure story with four-part acappella harmonies, the three guys and a girl sing you through the epic adventure of The Three Musketeers.

With her village under threat of destruction at the hands of the villainous Cardinal Richtea, young Nicole D'Artagnan must head to Paris to win support of the King's Musketeers. Murky undertakings plague the progress of our heroine and her new-found trio of friends as they battle corruption, femme fatales and the cultural confusions brought on by a quest to England. All for fun and fun for all! 

Barbershopera! - The Three Musketeers

The talented cast work very hard and bring a lot of energy to creating numerous roles between them. LAURA DARTON plays D'Artagnan and Cardinal Rich Tea Laura has recently finished training at Mountview and says she is thrilled to be making her professional debut with Babershopera. PETE SOREL CAMERON plays King Louis of France and Aramis. Pete joined Barbershopera in 2009 and has been performing with them across the UK – notably at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. HARRY STONE,  playing Porthos and Milady, trained at Stonelands School of Ballet and Theatre Arts and his theatre work includes performances in PayBack and The Tempest. RUSSELL WALKER, as Athos and Duke of Buckingham, trained at the Arts Educational London Schools and will be joining the cast of Wicked after his time with Barbershopera.

It’s a shame there were only 30 people in the audience, as I understand just how hard the cast had to work, but it didn’t diminish their enthusiasm and the vocals and harmonies were all on point! 

Tour dates:
12th Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
 13th Long Sutton Market House
16th Preston Playhouse
17th Kendal Brewery Arts Centre
18th Frosterley Village Hall
 19th Corbridge Village Hall
 21st Canterbury Festival, Spiegel Tent
22nd Leicester Square Theatre
24th Westacre Theatre
25th Westacre Theatre
26th Westacre Theatre
For further info visit: www.barbershopera.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
11.10.13
Sep 24th

Sleeping Beauty Preview @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

 We may just be a few days into autumn and it's a warm, sunny day in the mid-20s, but it won't be too long before the cold, dark nights of winter are here and panto season is upon us once again (oh yes it is!).
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Get set for a wicked Christmas at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre as The Queen of the Square becomes Queen of the Vale! Star of stage and screen  Anita Dobson leads a world class cast as boo-able baddy, Carabosse in this year’s traditional family pantomime Sleeping Beauty Fri 13 Dec 2013 – Sun 5 Jan 2014.

As Angie Watts in Eastenders, Anita Dobson has won a multitude of awards. With a hugely successful  West End career under her belt,  Anita is no stranger to showbiz having appeared in numerous TV programmes including, Casualty, Hearts and Bones, Lily Savage, Dangerfield and Slap Bang to name a few. She has won a whole new legion of fans following her success on Strictly Come Dancing, and most recently been seen on stage in Almost Like Being In Love The Vagina Monologues V-Day, Chicago, Calendar Girls, Hello Dolly, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Island of Slaves, Bette and Joan and in Frozen at the National Theatre for which she was nominated for Best Actress for an Olivier Award, Evening Standard and London Theatre Critics Awards.
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Back by popular demand joining Anita, is Aylesbury’s very own comedian Andy Collins as Chester the Jester.  You’ll be guaranteed a rib-ticking, laugh-a-minute performance with Andy who’s done it all, from Shakespeare to stand-up, club-land to cabaret, MTV to CITV. Andy has also hosted Family Fortunes and presented programs including Garden S.O.S, Street Mate, and Alan Titchmarsh Show. The title role will be played by the stunning Holly Brewer, Buckinghamshire’s favourite singer and songwriter. Holly made her Waterside debut in Panto last year playing Wendy and is delighted to return again this year to work with what she describes as ‘the panto dream team’

This year’s hilarious and truly traditional pantomime Sleeping Beauty promises a fairytale ending for your Christmas celebrations with more jokes and join-in-fun than any other. Not to mention show-stopping song and dance, larger-than-life characters, colourful costumes and spectacular sparkling sets!
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Sleeping Beauty tells the tale of a beautiful princess who pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep – thanks to an evil spell cast upon her by the wicked fairy. Will her true love be able to awaken her and save the kingdom from this enchantment? You’ll have to book your tickets to find out!

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Book today for a panto you could only dream of! Just call Box Office 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee).

LISTINGS

Performances:   Fri 13 Dec 2013 – Sun 05 Jan 2014
(Times vary. Contact the Box Office or visit the website for further details)
Tickets:   £10 - £23.50 (premium seats and family tickets are 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)

Sep 23rd

Steaming @ The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham

By Yvonne Delahaye

Set in a Turkish baths in London’s East End, Steaming is a play about 6 women who meet and chat about their lives, then become united in trying to save the baths from closure.  When it was written and first performed in 1981 by Nell Dunn, it won an Oliver Award for best comedy.  32 years on though, the play appears dated, coarse and irrelevant to today’s world.

It is a problem to find plays with good roles for women, but the blatant full-frontal nudity throughout the show made it very difficult to listen to or care about each woman’s plight.  One chap sitting near to me spent most of the time with his head in his hands and one lady behind me commented that women really don’t walk around like that in baths in the UK.

Ruth Curtis as the bath attendant gave a spirited, sincere and energetic performance as Violet, who listens and offers advice to all the women, then takes up the cause to stop the baths from closing.  Gaye Poole created a lovely warm, comic character as Mrs Meadow and these 2 ladies both projected to the back (we were in Row G and had to strain to hear a lot of the dialogue).  With the lack of projection, clear diction and energy in the first half we noticed that a number of people left in the interval, though the second act was a bit stronger.

A great deal of money must have been spent on the set, which had radiators, pipework, a kitchen, several doors, loungers and a screened off area. There was also a cold water tub, which the nude ladies jumped into several times, making us feel that we were being voyeuristic watching a soft porn show. It saddens me to think that when terrible atrocities are being committed against women around the world, this sets the cause back exponentially.

This current production of Steaming was performed as a one-off run at The Elgiva Theatre in Chesham from 18th-22nd September.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
21.9.13

Sep 20th

The Osmonds: American Jukebox @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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From being discovered by Disney in the early 60s to becoming regular performers on the Andy Williams Show, The Osmonds career has now spanned an astonishing 54 years!  The large family of singing siblings have been popular the world over with their brand of wholesome, family entertainment and joyful personalities.  Who can remember little 9 year old Jimmy Osmond singing Long Haired Lover from Liverpool?, which became a massive number one hit in 1972?  This year little Jimmy celebrated his 50th birthday and is still performing around the world in a variety of Osmonds shows, celebrating not only their own music but a variety of genres. The Osmonds: American Jukebox takes us through a selection of songs from the 50s to the 70s, ensuring there is something there for everyone.

Lead singer Emiley Penny opened the show with a belting version of I’m Coming Out, then Higher and Higher.  With Hayley and Stacey as backing singers and dancers throughout the whole show, their energy and enthusiasm set the mood for a great evening’s entertainment.  Emiley was joined by a band member to bring an element of audience participation with a karaoke version of Wonder of You, followed by a duet and dance to Time of My Life.

With a large video screen showing highlights of the Osmonds career through the decades and an introduction by Bob Cosby, the excitement grew as everyone waited for the three brothers to come out and sing, after a short interval.  This show features Jimmy, Jay (58) and Merrill (60) who set the tone with Having a Party. A selection of country songs followed including 9-5 before zooming back to the 50s with Rock and Roll is Here to Stay, Jailhouse Rock, La Bamba, Great Balls of Fire (giving Jay a chance to show off his drum solo spot), Wake Up Little Suzie and Rock Around the Clock.

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Next up came a few of the Osmonds own hits including Just Like a Yo-Yo and Loving You Could be so Easy.  For me the highlight of the evening was the Stevie Wonder medley with Higher Ground, Signed Sealed, Delivered, Superstitious and For Once in My Life.

Paying tribute to their lifetime mentor, friend and father figure Andy Williams who sadly passed a year ago, they sung a barber shop song from one of his early shows.  The close harmonies and complexity of the song were amazing to watch.  As a tribute to Andy Williams they are continuing his traditional Christmas Show and sang 2 of my favourite Andy songs Girls Go By and Moon River.

The Osmonds are unique in their success as a band and as solo performers. They have recorded over 200 albums, sold over 100 million copies with 59 gold and platinum recordings. They have sold out venues worldwide, breaking box office records and received countless awards, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The show ended with a medley of some of The Osmonds most popular individual hits Long Haired Lover (Jimmy), Puppy Love (Donny), Paper Roses (Maria) through to the 70s and the band’s most successful song Crazy Horses.
For the encore The Osmonds sang 2 spiritual songs Are You Up There and I Believe, which were sung with sincerity and truth.

The show is very slick, their vocals and harmonies are wonderful and the show has a Las Vegas feel with the 3 girls changing into sparkling costumes throughout.  The tour continues:
21st September - The Alban Arena, St Albans
22nd September – Richmond Theatre, Richmond
24th September – Anvil Arts, Basingstoke

Jimmy Osmond will be playing Captain Hook at The Grand Theatre, Swansea this December.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
18.09.13