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Sep 17th

Big Band Night @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Following the huge success of the first Big Band Night in May, Mike Smith and his Orchestra and singers returned to the Waterside last night.  I’d had a very intense and tiring day working in a conference centre as a role play actor, playing 6 different roles and dashing around with barely time to breathe.  My fellow actors were all looking forward to getting home and putting their feet up and I must confess that the temptation to chill out on the sofa and watch Corrie was very strong!  After a good meal and hot shower though I put on my dancing shoes and headed off to the theatre. 

Once again I was amazed at the transformation from theatre auditorium to ballroom and was quite contended to sit and watch the ballroom dancers and listen to the music.  I tried to image what it must have been like in the 1940s when everyone dressed up and danced to a big band, as the familiar sounds of In the Mood and Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree resounded around the theatre.  Nowadays, apart from one stylish lady who wore a long black dress, gloves and diamante jewellery, people don’t dress up and could easily have been going to a b-b-q rather than a ballroom dance.

The band played a great selection of music, allowing the dancers to take to the floor and practice their Quick Steps, Fox Trots, Tangos and Waltzes.  Mike even got the orchestra to play a Viennese Waltz, though quite a few couples gave up on that one after a spin too many!  Without any dance partners ourselves, my friend Tricia and I got up and did some solo Cha Cha Cha and Samba dances and still had fun. 

Once again the superb Matthew Ford treated us to his wonderful vocal dexterity and pelvis trusts as he sang a selection of Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble songs.  High kicking to New York, New York was a must for us and Dance the Night Away was a good way to round off the evening.

I’m certainly glad I found the energy to go along on a Monday evening, but really hope that the next Big Band Night will be either on a Saturday night or even a Sunday afternoon.  I’m sure there will be lots more people who’d love to come, including some of my Ceroc friends who just can’t make it over on a week night.  They’re a great band, playing a variety of music to sing and dance to.  Even if you don’t dance, you can just sit back, relax and soak up the ambience enjoying a good old fashioned dance night out.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
16.8.13

Aug 19th

King Lear @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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The great thing about being a reviewer at The Waterside, is that you get the chance to see a variety of theatre shows.  A few weeks ago I saw Mickey’s Rockin’ Roadshow and a few days ago Shakespeare’s King Lear and you can’t get much more diverse than that can you?  This is the touring production from London’s prestigious Globe Theatre, founded by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker which opened in 1997, as a modern reconstruction of the original theatre on the original site.

Touring theatre was in Shakespeare’s blood and after a 400-year break, The Globe resurrected this tradition in the summer of 2007, with a touring production of Romeo and Juliet.  This current production of King Lear has toured 18 venues in the UK, as well as Turkey, Romania, Austria, Germany and Denmark, with a stop off at The Globe Theatre in May.  The production uses an Elizabethan style booth stage, making it easy to fit into a range of theatre sizes.

 It's a complex story, but basically old King Lear proposes to give up his crown and divides his kingdom between his three daughters - but his rash generosity is cruelly repaid. Lear discovers too late the falsity of the values by which he has lived and is ultimately plunged into despair and madness. Its tempestuous poetry shot through with moments of humour and heart-rending simplicity, King Lear is a profound exploration of the human condition in all its extremes and complexity.

At the top of the show we saw dancing, singing and the cast playing instruments as they interacted with the audience.  It seemed as if we were about to watch a panto, such was the jollity of this opening.  In fact, this play does have some similarities to Cinderella, with the 2 wicked sisters ostracising their sincere sister and manipulating their father into believing how much they love him. 

That’s probably where the similarity ends though, as these 2 women are filled with hatred, plotting against one another, carrying out  heinous acts of cruelty and betraying their loved ones.  The twists and turns and ultimate tragedies almost made TV’s The White Queen seem like a tale of everyday family life!

With the exception of Lear himself, the 8 strong cast play several roles and slide effortlessly from royalty to servants, making it seem as if there is a huge cast.  The production is very fast-paced and energetic, keeping us engaged in what is quite a complicated plot.

Directed by Bill Buckhurst, the title role is played by Joseph Marcell, best known as Geoffrey in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and last at the Globe in the 2011 production of Much Ado About Nothing.  It’s an exceptionally strong cast of superb ensemble acting, but I found Oliver Book playing the multiple roles of Edmund/King of France and Oswald, riveting to watch.  He has such energy, commitment and power, I’m sure he’s an actor we’ll soon be seeing as the next Brit to make it big in Hollywood.

This was the final leg of the tour, but check out http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/ for details of forthcoming productions. 

Judging by the almost full theatre in Aylesbury, there’s still a huge demand to see The Bard’s works and I look forward to the next Globe tour.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
16.8.13

Aug 8th

Mickey's Rockin' Road Show @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 6th-7th August 2013

By Yvonne Delahaye

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What to do with the kids during the long summer holidays?  That’s the perennial question many parents ponder on, as the weeks loom ahead and kids easily get bored.  One way to keep them entertained for a few hours, but to give them lifetime memories, is to take them to the theatre to see Mickey’s Rockin’ Roadshow.   Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy, are joined by some of our favourite Disney characters as they set out on a road trip and decide to put on a talent contest.

I took a party along of 3 small children, Cain, Evie and Sadie, who were all very excited to see the show and join in the fun.  Accompanied by their mums (my niece Melissa and neighour Alice) we all enjoyed the show as much as the kids.  In fact for me the delight in taking kids to see a show is watching their excitement and looks of wonder at seeing the characters come to life on stage.  Readers may remember that I took Melissa and Cain along to see My First Cinderella in April and Cain still talks about it whenever he passes the theatre.  We can’t underestimate how wonderful memories can be created in our little ones minds', when the colourful spectacle of live theatre creates a magical experience.

Mickey’s Rockin’ Roadshow is a live stage spectacular, packed with fun, sing-along-songs and dance.  Cinderella looked beautiful and we were amazed at the clever costume change into a gorgeous glittery ballgown, right before our eyes.  Cain’s favourite Disney character Woody was there, with Jessie and Buzz Lightyear, encouraging us to shout out ‘yee’haw’ at the hoedown.  I’ve always loved Tigger though, so I was happy to join in the bounce song with him and the rest of the kids in the auditorium!

PosterIt's a great, fun show and everyone works really hard to keep it moving along and energetic.  One word of warning though, the merchandise on sale is very expensive, so you may want to think about how you deal with 'pester power' beforehand!

You can catch the show to the end of August at the following venues and create some magical lifetime memories for your own kids:




9th-11th
Millennium Centre, Cardiff
13th-14th
The Brighton Centre, Brighton
16th-18th
New Wimbledon Theatre, London
22nd-25th
Blackpool Opera House, Blackpool
28th-31st
Sunderland Empire, Sunderland

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
6.8.13 
      

Jun 22nd

Rainy Days & Mondays: The Carpenters Greatest Hits Live @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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‘Rainy days and Mondays always get me down’
and as I glance out of the window with the rain lashing down, the beginning of summer seems a long way off.  I’m sure we can all relate to those lyrics, but when sung by Karen Carpenter you can easily forget your melancholy and be uplifted by her beautiful voice, despite the lousy weather.

Tribute acts are sometimes given a hard time, but as a singer myself I know just how much work it takes to create a show and sound like the artist you’re portraying.  Not only do you have to be a superb singer with a vast range, but you must be able to accurately mimic the phrasing, intonation and timings of the artist.  Classically trained singer Clare Furley has all of these attributes and captivates the audience with her uncanny vocal resemblance to Karen’s rich, chest vibrato and deep tones.  ImageHandler.jpg


Musical Director Phil Aldridge had toured his show ‘Tribute to the Carpenters’ around the world since 1991, until he felt it had come to its natural end.  That was until Phil heard Clare singing a TV jingle and after meeting, they created a new show called The Carpenters Story.  Claire’s wonderful vocals compliment Phil’s superb musical arrangements to perfection, offering audiences the opportunity to once again share the unique sound of Richard and Karen, The Carpenters.

This new concert Rainy Days & Mondays: The Carpenters Greatest Hits Live was a sell out, receiving standing ovations in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and Newcastle in 2010.   In its first full National UK tour since then, the packed theatre proves that even 30 years after her untimely and tragic death, we all love to hear a Carpenter's song. 

The hits are numerous and just keep on coming, Close to You, Superstar, Sing, Top of the World, Yesterday Once More, Solitaire, For All We Know, Only Yesterday, Please Mr Postman and we know them all.  What wedding reception hasn’t played We’ve Only Just Begun as the first dance and it’s the perfect song to start the show.  My personal favourite is This Masquerade, as with its jazzy arrangements it fits in perfectly to my jazz sets and everyone loves it.  Ending the show (with the only song that I know containing my name), Jambalaya, had us all on our feet singing and clapping along.  With an encore of Goodbye to Love, they certainly left the audience wanting more and with so many hits to choose from, the show could have lasted another 2 hours!

The current tour dates are few and far between, but with the enduring popularity of The Carpenters I’m sure they’ll soon be adding in lots more dates.

Sat 22 Jun   Theatre Royal, Brighton
Fri 25 Oct   Kings Theatre, Glasgow
Fri 1 Nov  Richmond Theatre, Richmond

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
21.6.13

May 15th

Birds of a Feather @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Many years ago when Birds of a Feather was regularly on our TV screens, I had the pleasure of working with Lesley Joseph in a corporate video for a well-known travel company.  I was amused to see that in real life Lesley still had her trademark long, red talons and I remarked how difficult it must be to carry out every day tasks, but she assured me she could and that you just got used to it.  Lesley, of course, played the nymphomaniac Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather and it was good to see her on stage, looking as fit, youthful and glamorous as ever.  How she manages to run around the stage in those impossibly high heels is beyond me, as I don't think I'd manage more than a few steps!
 
Birds of a Feather ran for almost 10 years until 1998. Set in Chigwell, it chronicled the misadventures of Sharon Theodopolopoudos and Tracey Stubbs (Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson) and their man-eating neighbour, Dorien Green (Lesley Joseph).

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Pauline Quirke will most recently be remembered as Hazel Rhodes in ITV1’s Emmerdale, she is also well known for her portrayal of Olive Martin in the award winning drama The Sculptress, Down to Earth, Cold Blood and Missing. In 2008 Pauline Quirke celebrated 40 years in the entertainment business and launched the hugely successful Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts, with over 30 academies across the United Kingdom. They bring everything that Pauline has learned and loved about the industry to a whole new generation. Since the last tour of Birds of a Feather, Pauline has just been seen in ITV drama series Broadchurch starring alongside David Tennant.

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Linda Robson rose to prominence in Shine On Harvey Moon and also appeared in Harry’s Game and Play ForToday amongst others before starring as Tracey in Birds Of A Feather for nine years.  Subsequent TV included Jobs For The Girls, Grumpy Old Women and The Bill and feature films have included Anuvahood and Outside Bet.  Linda’ theatre work includes Grumpy Old Women, A Passionate Woman, The Food Chain and Telstar in London’s West End and not forgetting her dip into the jungle in “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…” at the end of 2012.
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Lesley Joseph has recently been touring in the hugely-successful Calendar Girls and her vast array of other theatre work includes Sir Peter Hall’s production of Home, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Piaf, The Miser, Annie, Hot Flush, Office Suite and a successful one-woman show, Singular Women.  Lesley’s TV work includes the ITV soap Night And Day for two years as well as a host of other shows for all the major channels and a plethora of light entertainment shows including a regular spot on This Morning, Wish You Were Here, Stars in Their Eyes and Celebrity Come Dine with Me.

For a TV sitcom to run for 10 years you know it must have been something very special. At the centre of every episode was the great friendship, warmth and affection between the 3 ladies and this still beams out across the auditorium.  You immediately feel relaxed and at home with these people that we see as friends, instantly getting involved in their lives and wanting to catch up on the last 15 years. 
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As soon as the curtain goes up, we’re introduced to Tracey’s 16 year-old son Travis (played by Pauline’s real life son Charlie Quirke) and discover how he’s been totally mollycoddled by his mum.  As Sharon arrives carrying her Lidl shopping bags into Tracey’s luxury home, we know how little their lives have really changed.  The laughs just keep on coming when they go to visit Dorien in a home for the ‘well-off’ and the mayhem ensues.

I absolutely loved the show.  It’s brilliantly written by Gary Lawson and John Phelps and is very fast and very funny, as gag after gag just keep the audience in stitches.  It’s also bang up-to-date with references to the Cyprus crisis and Facebook, keeping the characters and situations fresh and relevant to today.

The set is very cleverly designed by Andrew D Edwards and I also enjoyed the video clips in the scene changes and the residents dancing around to move props was inspired.  Simon James Green does an excellent job directing the show and he is also the Creative Director of The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts.  The show is produced by The Comedy Theatre Company, producers of the highly successful tour of Victoria Wood’s dinnerladies and Keeping Up Appearances.

If you enjoyed watching the TV series over the years, then you really shouldn’t miss out on seeing these lovely ladies live on stage, as their warmth, laughter and friendship fills the packed theatre.  I suspect this will tour for as long as the ladies would like to keep going and they all looked to be really enjoying themselves, which helped us to enjoy ourselves too.

Tickets are on sale now. Visit Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee), or book online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee).

LISTINGS
Performances:   Tue 14 – Sat 18 May
Tue – Sat Evenings 7.30pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £26 (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)

Next tour dates are, but full tour information can be found at www.birdsontour.com

May 21 - May 25 SOUTHAMPTON, Mayflower
Mats: Thu/Sat: 2.00. Eves: 7.30  
May 28 - Jun 01 NEWCASTLE, Theatre Royal
Mats: Thu/Sat: 2.00. Eves: 7.30  
Jun 18 - Jun 22 BROMLEY, Churchill Theatre
Mats: Thu/Sat: 2.30. Eves: 7.30  
Jun 25 - Jun 29 YORK, The Grand Opera House
Mats: Wed/Sat: 2.30. Eves: 7.30  

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
14/5/13

May 6th

Big Band Dance Night @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Since its opening in October 2010, I’ve seen a vast range of productions at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury from musicals, plays, ballets, opera, comedy, concerts to panto, but for one night only the auditorium was turned into a spectacular ballroom. Mike Smith’s Orchestra and Singers (with award-winning vocalist Matthew Ford) took to the stage with a mix of quickstep, jive and foxtrot along with many other big band numbers, ranging from In The Mood, Moonlight Seranade, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, through to some of the jazz standards made famous by Frank Sinatra Mack The Knife and My Way, to name but a few.

The transformation into a dance hall was absolutely amazing.  Gone were the rows of seats, carpets and sound box and who’d have suspected that underneath lurked a terrific wooden dance floor with a bar at the back! Very clever that this was built into the design and I hope this will be the first of many more dance evenings.

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The Mike Smith Orchestra are one of the UK’s most versatile Orchestras promising sparkle with every performance. Mike Smith has been involved in the Big Band scene for many years; first fronting an Oxford- based Big Band, Blue Velvet, who toured throughout Europe under his direction.

Despite the success of Blue Velvet, Mike was keen to break away from the traditional 1940s Big Band style, and went on to form a completely new orchestra capable of performing a wide range of music and styles to appeal to all ages. This marked the start of his Orchestra’s now fully established reputation for quality entertainment with Mike hand-picking each member of his 15 piece Big Band from the country’s best musicians and singers. 

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The band is in good company with Best UK Male Big Band vocalist Matthew Ford. Matthew regularly makes appearances with the BBC Concert Orchestras and has also worked with the Northern Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Matthew’s in great demand performing with the BBC Big Band, Grammy-nominated John Wilson Orchestra, the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra and many others. He has also been invited to perform for both domestic and international royalty. Recently Matthew has broadcast on BBC2 (Friday Night is Music Night) with West End Stars Lee Mead and John Barrowman.  Matthew has a rich tone to his voice, with a very powerful vibrato and I could have listened to him singing all evening.

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The evening though was really all about the dancing and there were some very serious ballroom dancers taking to the floor throughout the evening.  Although I did ballroom many years ago, Ceroc dance is my favoured dance of choice and I was joined by a group of friends who are all accomplished Ceroc dancers.  For the uninitiated, Ceroc is modern jive, with a mix of  swing, Lindyhop and a bit of ballroom thrown in for good measure!  John and Clare had come over from Milton Keynes and met up with their friends Gary and Pauline from Ruislip.  Tricia hails from High Wycombe and I drove over from Amersham.  I mention this because Ceroc dancers will travel for miles to dance at a good venue and everyone absolutely loved the dance floor, the amount of space and the theatre itself and all want to go back again soon!  We also met a couple of Ceroc dancers from Buckingham and I can tell you that when word gets around the Ceroc circuit, The Waterside will soon be scheduling in regular dances.

Turning The Waterside into a ballroom was a fantastic idea and one that I hope will be repeated time and time again.  It also enabled a lovely lady called Agnes (who’d recently moved to the area) to decide to come along by herself and enjoy a great night out and meet new friends.  The theatre is very much a part of the community, but events like this will ensure that its reputation spreads far and wide with people making long journeys to spend an unforgettable evening there.

For details of the current programme of events visit:

http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/

and to book your tickets now, visit Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call 01296 745135

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
4/5/13

 

Apr 27th

Ifs, Buts and Babies @ The Second Space, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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As an actress I’m very much aware that good comedy roles for women are few and far between, especially as you reach your ‘middle youth’!  The ratio of roles for men to women is about 3 to 1, so competition is very fierce.  The best solution to this dearth of good roles for women seems to be to get out and write your own!  It’s certainly worked well for Miranda and touring shows like Calendar Girls and Hormonal Housewives, playing to packed houses, prove that there is a big market for plays starring women enacting women’s lives.

When Avelia Moisey and Jill Neenan met in 2004 their oldest kids were 3 years old, attending the village nursery.  They soon realised that they had similar backgrounds having trained in music and theatre and had both worked professionally in the business.  Coffee mornings soon became an opportunity for them to start bouncing ideas off each other for their own show and ‘Ifs, Buts and Babies’ was born!IMG_7379e.jpg

 Avelia studied trumpet, organ and singing at the Royal Academy of Music and her career has encompassed international tours and West End theatre work including Cats, Calamity Jane (with Toyah Wilcox) and Oliver.  She has recorded original CDs with Marti Webb (after touring with Magic of the Musicals) and Brain Conley in Jolson.

 Jill graduated from University of Warwick with a BA Honours in Music and Drama and went on to study at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  Jill has appeared in panto, opera, musical theatre and classical shows include performing as Principal Soloist at the London Palladium and at the Schonbruun Palace in Vienna.

Ifs, Buts and Babies takes a light-hearted look at the highs and lows of being a parent, from the desire to have a baby through to the first day at school.

Highly entertaining, this professional two woman show provides down to earth snapshots of the trials and tribulations, tears and triumphs of parenthood through outstanding original songs and duologues, including When Is The Time For Me?, If Only and Big Knickers.

Avelia and Jill create a variety of different unrelated characters from stressed out mums, to babies, toddlers, a  supernanny and a physiologist.   The predominantly female audience laughed and chuckled as they recognised only too well the different scenarios, advice and frustrations of being a parent.  I’m not a parent myself, but coming from a large family I have lots of nieces and nephews and understand how hard it must be to know how to handle the varying demands of parenthood and be able to juggle your own life.

The show is a great mix of comedy, interspersed with cleverly written songs and some fun dance routines, but with just the right amount of pathos in the song Why Me?  Unlike some of the other female shows that can perhaps be too focused on hormones and the female anatomy, this show keeps it to real life experiences, situations and emotions.  They’ve also made it very accessible to men, as they would also be able to relate to the demands of parenthood portrayed.  Far too often men can feel excluded from women’s shows, as instead of dealing with our own issues, they go down the feminist route and take a pop at men’s inadequacies.  Sure we all know that 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus', but, hey, vie la difference – life would be pretty boring without them!

This is an enjoyable night out for any stressed out parent to relax and have a good laugh!

The show is touring to:

10th & 11th May, Aldridge Youth Theatre, Walsall
15th June, Players Theatre, Thame
21st June, The Guildhall Theatre, Derby
27th June, Harrogate Theatre
13th & 14th September, Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury
16th October, Old Town Hall Theatre, Hemel Hempstead

Further dates and show information, please visit:
www.ifsbutsandbabies.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
26/4/13

Apr 21st

My First Cinderella @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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How many of us can remember our first ever visit to a real theatre?  What about our very first live ballet?  I grew up in a remote area on the Welsh borders in the foothills of the Black Mountains, so theatre for me was village hall productions and ballet was just something I knew about from the TV.  Somehow when I was 8 years old I’d decided I wanted to be a ballet dancer, even though there were no ballet classes in the area and I’d never seen a ballet!  Who knows how images are formed in our minds when we’re young, but although I didn’t ever do ballet, I did go on to become an actress!

My First Cinderella is aimed at children from 3+ to introduce them to the world of ballet and the magic of live theatre.  I took my grown-up niece Melissa and her little boy Cain (yes that does make me a Great Aunt – but if you emphasise the word GREAT it doesn’t make me sound ancient!) to see the show.  Cain is just over two and a half, but is a fan of Strictly Come Dancing and has a cartoon ballet DVD that he loves watching, so we felt he was ready for his first live theatre experience.

The My First... series brings young audiences their first taste of ballet through the magic of fairytales, captivating music and beautiful dance. ENB2 features graduating dancers of outstanding potential from English National Ballet School in performances produced by English National Ballet.  My First Cinderella is choreographed by George Williamson, English National Ballet’s Associate Artist. Earlier this year, at the age of 21, he created Firebird; a new work to Stravinsky’s classic score for English National Ballet.

My First Cinderella tells everyone’s favourite rags-to-riches story in a beautifully adapted version for young audiences. Cinderella is tormented by her spiteful stepsisters and longs to attend the Prince’s glamorous ball. Abandoned to an evening of drudgery, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears and transforms her into a glittering Princess who shall go to the ball.

Concept and Direction: George Williamson and Loipa Araujo
Choreography George Williamson
Company Répétiteur: Antony Dowson
Musical Director: Gavin Sutherland
Costume: David Walker

The theatre was packed with children of all ages, some dressed as Cinderella and Prince Charming, accompanied by parents, grandparents and aunties.  Cain was enthralled as the story was narrated throughout by actress Jane Wymark, dressed as the Pastry Cook, who gave all the characters a new voice and accent.  It’s a wonderful way of explaining the story to children, bringing the fairy story to life and enabling us to understand the dance.  The production is colourful with sumptuous costumes and vibrant sets and everyone was drawn into the magic.  We hadn’t seen the Four Seasons in Cinderella before, so that was a new innovation, but it worked really well to transport the scenes from kitchen to ballroom.

It was also good to see that audience interaction brought elements of panto into the show, as the kids were encouraged to shout out ‘he’s behind you’.

The running time of one hour and 20 minutes with an interval is absolutely perfect to keep children’s attention.  Cain was captivated by it all and only once did he start to look around at the ceiling and start asking ‘what’s that’, the way small children do!
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After the show, Cain had a little run around outside and as we went back in for me to take this photo, he asked if we were going to see the show again?  That surely must be the ultimate critique of the show if a two year old wants to go and see it again, then it really is good.  When he saw his Nana later on he very excitedly told her all about it! I hope that when he’s grown up (and I actually feel like the elderly great-aunt that the image conjures up), he’ll remember the magic of seeing his very first ballet in this wonderful theatre!

The tour continues to:

Bromley, Churchill Theatre
27/04/13 – 28/04/13
Oxford, New Theatre
4/05/13 – 5/05/13
Crawley, The Hawth
11/05/13 – 12/05/13
Manchester, Opera House
18/05/13 – 19/05/13
London, Richmond Theatre
25/05/13 – 26/05/13
www.ballet.org.uk

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
20.4.13

Apr 19th

Lee 'Memphis' King @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Elvis is alive and well and is currently touring the UK in the form of Lee Memphis King, who was officially declared the best Elvis Tribute Artist in the world at the prestigious 2005 Collingwood Elvis Festival held annually in Canada. This is attended by the top Elvis tribute artists from around the world and the judges’ criteria for awarding this prestigious title are based on the authenticity of the voice, stage performance, appearance and adopting Elvis’s personality and passion on stage.

Lee Memphis King has played nearly every major UK theatre including The London Palladium, NIA Birmingham and O2 Indigo to name a few. He is the only tribute artist to date to perform at Hammersmith Apollo.

When Elvis Presley died in 1977, it's estimated there were about 170 people impersonating him. This number grew and grew and in the year 2,000 it was estimated there were about 85,000 Elvis impersonators. This statistic is according to the funny website http://www.murderousmaths.co.uk/elvis.htm that does some extraordinary calculations to say that by 2043 the world will be populated by Elvis tributes!

Contrary to popular belief, Elvis impersonators have existed since the mid-1950s, just after Elvis began his career. The first Elvis impersonator was a 16-year-old boy named Jim Smith, who could neither sing nor play the guitar!  Many other Elvis impersonators appeared while Elvis was still alive, evolving mainly out of small town talent competitions which took their influences from major music artists of that time. It wasn't until after Elvis' untimely death on August 16, 1977 that impersonating Elvis started to become popular in the mainstream. The large growth in Elvis impersonators seems tightly linked with his ever-growing iconic status.

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Over the last 10 years as Lee has toured his One Night of Elvis, but in this brand new show for 2013,  Lee Memphis King presents the ultimate tribute to The King. Celebrating the entire career of the musical legend, from his first single in 1954 up to his untimely death in 1977, Lee brings the majesty of the voice and the electrifying power of Elvis's performance back to life. Accompanied throughout by his world class band and backing singers that breathe the life into the music of a legend. The show also features large screen projection, making it the biggest Elvis show to tour UK theatres.

Opening the show with Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes and Shake, Rattle & Roll, Lee rocks the house as everyone sings along and a couple start dancing in the aisle.  Wearing a gold sequined jacket with black trousers and shoes, with Elvis’s trademark jet black hair and sideburns, Lee captivates the audience with his gyrating hips, energy and vocal resemblance to Elvis.  What made Elvis unique was the mix of gospel, rock, blues and soul in his voice that hadn’t been heard before (or since then really), plus his stunning looks and moves of course!

The rest of the first act covered his earlier hits including That’s All Right, Treat Me Right, Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock, ending with the beautiful If I Can Dream.  Elvis performed this at his 1968 comeback tour in a white suit, which Lee also wore to finish the act.

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Act two focused on Elvis’s Vegas years, where he performed over 1200 sell-out shows right up to the end of his life.  Naturally, a white cat suit features strongly as we sing along to In The Ghetto, Let It Be Me, One Night With You, Polk Salad Annie, The Wonder of You and many other classics, ending with Suspicious Minds.  It made me realise just how many hits Elvis must have had in his career, though I was a little disappointed that his greatest hit It’s Now or Never wasn’t included in the show.

Lee was supported throughout by his brilliant band, Luke Thomas, Adrian Dear, The Brass Monkeys, James Elliott-Williams, Dean Elliott and Stephen Price.  Jill Schoonjans and Shelly Beckett provided some powerful backing vocals and the screen with video clips and photos helped to bring Elvis’s life and career back into focus.

It really is a great night’s entertainment and I was pleased to see that there were people of all ages in the audience, even young teenagers with their parents.  This will ensure that although Elvis has ‘left the building’ in body, his spirit, music and films will endure forever!
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Next tour dates:
Fri 19th Apr,  New Alexandra Theatre,Birmingham
Fri 3rd May, Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Sat 11th May,Phoenix Theatre, Blyth
Fri 17th May, Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol
Fri 31st May, The Robin 2,Wolverhampton
Sat 1st Jun , Playhouse Whitley Bay, Whitley Bay
Fri 7th Jun, King's Lynn Corn Exchange, King's Lynn
Thu 13th Jun, Sunderland Empire Theatre, Sunderland
Sat 5th Oct, Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne

For more information visit: www.leememphisking.com

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye, 18/4/13

Apr 9th

The Mousetrap @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Many years ago I was touring the UK in a play and was asked to audition for The Mousetrap.  I’d never seen the play, but was sent a copy which I read and set off on the train from Darlington to London to audition.  All went well and the Director liked my performance, but realised I was ‘too petite’ for the role!  I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that all the characters must be of average height and build and I just didn’t fit the costumes! 

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is, of course, the world’s longest running stage production with nearly 25,000 performances to date and to celebrate the 60 years since it opened in the West End, the play has been on a record-breaking tour since September 2012.   It seems our fascination with a good murder mystery remains as constant today as it was in 1952. 

Mousetrap Productions has licensed 60 productions of The Mousetrap world-wide to mark the 60th year. During this period the world’s longest running show will be seen in every continent, with professional productions scheduled for Australia, China, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Scandinavia, Venezuela, and across the United States and Canada.

The cast for this second leg of the UK tour includes some well-known TV faces: Steven France (Eastenders, The Bill) as Christopher Wren, Karl Howman (Brush Strokes) as Mr Paravicini, Bruno Langley (Coronation Street, Doctor Who) as Giles Ralston, Graham Seed (Yes, Prime Minister UK Tour, BBC Radio 4’s The Archers) as Major Metcalf and Jemma Walker (Family Affairs, Eastenders) as Mollie Ralston. Elizabeth Power (EastEnders) as Mrs Boyle and Clare Wilkie (Eastenders) will play Miss Casewell.  Bob Saul will reprise his West End role as Sgt Trotter.

I’d also like to give a special mention to the understudies who tour the country ready to step into the breach at a moment’s notice, who are Pamela Hardman, Jamie Hutchins, Michael Instone and Becky Pennick.

You really can’t beat a good Agatha Christie to give you a range of complex characters and a storyline so full of twists and possibilities, it’s almost impossible to guess ‘whodunnit’.  That’s what keeps people flocking back to see The Mousetrap after all these years, as it really has become a national institution.  It is obviously a period piece, but has a lot of warmth and humour and is pure escapism.  Personally I can’t watch the endless TV detective shows that like to show lots of grizzly close-ups of corpses, which I find unnecessary and repulsive.  Agatha Christie knew that a good murder mystery should be all about the characters and a compelling storyline and that’s why Miss Marple and Poirot are still so popular today.

The Mousetrap is continuing to sell out on its UK tour as its continuous run in the West End sets more and more records.  I can’t tell you ’whodunnit’, but I can tell you that if you’re a fan of Christie and haven’t managed to see it in the West End, now’s the time to book your ticket at a theatre near you!
                                                              
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call  0844 871 7607 (bkg fee) or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)
Performances:    Mon 8 – Sat 13 Apr
Tickets:   £10 - £27
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)


The tour continues to:
Brighton Theatre Royal
15 Apr - 20 Apr | 0844 871 7650
Norwich Theatre Royal
22 Apr - 27 Apr | 01603 63 00 00
Bristol Hippodrome
29 Apr - 04 May | 0844 871 3012
York Grand Opera House
06 May - 11 May | 0844 871 3024
Nottingham Theatre Royal
13 May - 18 May | 0115 989 5500
Truro Hall for Cornwall
20 ay - 25 May | 01872 262466
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
27 May - 01 Jun | 01902 42 92 12
Further tour dates can be found on www.mousetrapontour.com

Reviewed By:
Yvonne Delahaye
8th April 2013