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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

Mar 13th

‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, Tuesday 12th March

By Yvonne Delahaye
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Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to witness Bill Kenwright’s current touring production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

The world-renowned show is a sparkling family-friendly musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice. It retells the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, and includes unforgettable songs such as ‘Those Canaan Days’, ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door to Me’. ‘Joseph’ was first presented as a 15-minute pop cantata at Colet Court School in London in 1968 and was recorded as a concept album in 1969. It received stage productions beginning in 1970 and expanded recordings in 1971 and 1972. While still undergoing various transformations and expansions, the musical was produced in the West End in 1973 and in its full format was recorded in 1974 and opened on Broadway in 1982. Several major revivals and a 1999 straight-to-video film, starring Donny Osmond, followed.

Despite the popularity and success of the show, combined with the fact that I am an avid musicals fan, I had never actually seen a production of this show before. Therefore I was very excited to see what it had to offer; I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
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The whole cast worked wonderfully as an ensemble and I was especially impressed with Joseph’s 11 brothers. They all provided both a strong vocal and physical performance and worked amazingly well together, as well as each very capably taking on other individual chorus roles.

Keith Jack, runner-up in the hit BBC series ‘Any Dream Will Do’, took on the title role of Joseph. Although at certain points his pronunciation came across as a little ‘taught’ rather than natural, he coped well with the balance of pathos and comedy that the role demands and by the time we got to his haunting rendition of ‘Close Every Door to Me’ he had truly won me over. I also really enjoyed Lauren Ingram’s performance in the role of Narrator. This is a demanding role as it cements the narrative and the individual songs together, and with her clear diction and pure and light soprano voice, she did this beautifully.

 One of the famous ‘stars’ of any production of ‘Joseph’ is of course the children’s choir, and this production was no exception. The choir of thirty, who, like the Narrator, remain on stage throughout the majority of the performance, executed their role superbly, providing a strong and dynamic vocal backdrop for the other performers. I especially enjoyed it when they got to take centre stage and perform a medley of songs from the first act as the opening to the second act; it was lovely to see how much they were enjoying themselves.

However, I must state that my favourite performance of the night was from Luke Jasztal who took on the role of Joseph’s brother Reuben and, more impressively, the Elvis-styled Pharaoh. Quite often with Elvis tributes or Elvis-style performances, the portrayal is often rather tongue-in-cheek and appears as merely a bad, cheesy and often overcooked impersonation; this was not true for Luke. He had a strong and dynamic voice and his portrayal seemed convincingly truthful and well executed, without a hint of sarcasm, whilst still remaining funny at the appropriate points.

In fact, I didn’t realise before seeing the show how funny some of it was. Whether it was the brother’s inflatable sheep, the singing camel, Joseph’s amusing angel appearance or Potiphar’s ‘American Express’ credit card, there were plenty of little jokes throughout the show to keep the atmosphere light and jovial.

You only need to look at Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s back catalogue to realise that he is a highly skilled composer. However, I also think that the vast array of varying styles of music you’ll find in ‘Joseph’ is also a tribute to this. With a cowboy country how down (‘One More Angel in Heaven’), a 1920s style ‘Potiphar’, a gospel choir in ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’, an American football theme with accompanying cheerleaders for the appearance of ‘Elvis’ Pharaoh, a French themed ‘Those Canaan Days, and a calypso carnival (‘Benjamin Calypso’), there really is something for everyone.

This is a fun-loving and highly enjoyable production with beautiful brightly coloured costumes and an exceedingly talented cast. I even found myself drawn in to the welcome sentimentality of Joseph’s reunion with his father and brothers at the end of the piece. With a crash or drums and a flash of light, the show then ends with a bright, colourful and energetic medley of all the main numbers from the show. As the cast members exited the stage into the auditorium, many people were on their feet, dancing and clapping with them. A great night out for all the family, not to be missed.

Further Performances: Wednesday 13th March – 1.30pm and 7.30pm Thursday 14th March – 1.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday 15th March – 5pm and 8pm
 Saturday 16th March – 1.30pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm
Ticket prices range from £10.00 - £32.00, available from www.atgtickets.com
Reviewed by:
 Vicky Poole
12.3.13
Mar 5th

WOW - A Celebration of the Music & Artistry of Kate Bush @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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‘Wow! Wow! Wow!  Unbelievable. Ooh yeah, you’re amazing, we think you’re incredible!
’  Never have song lyrics seemed more apt than watching Maaike Breijman perform as Kate Bush, with whom she shares a birthday, and an uncanny resemblance in appearance, performance and vocal style. Maaike is set to astound audiences worldwide, as she sings Kate’s greatest songs, performs numerous dance routines live on stage with a full troupe of musicians, dancers and state of the art light and video show.

Since the release of her debut album, The Kick Inside in February 1978, Kate Bush has toured just the once, performing 25 shows across the UK and Europe in April and May 1979. Despite this fact Kate’s albums are still as popular today as they were upon release, her new album, 50 Words for Snow, went straight into the top ten of the album charts.

The first live date of Kate Bush’s one and only tour started in Liverpool in 1979. “Kate’s fans have waited over 30 years to see what we believe will be the next best thing to the real thing. It seems only fitting to launch the show in Liverpool” said Producer Spike Beecham at the start of the tour.
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From the opening of the show with Moving, James and Cold Gun we knew we were in for a unique theatrical experience, as Maaike changed costumes for each number to portray the story of each song and the videos enhanced the storytelling.  I didn’t know those first songs, but then came the familiar notes of Babooshka and Wow and I was totally absorbed by Maaike's captivating performance.  The moves, the dancing, the costumes, the facial expressions were all as you’d imagine how Kate would perform a concert as Maaike morphed into Kate.  She was completely uninhibited, free and believable and the audience loved her. 

Dance is very much a part of the show and the dancing and choreography were exceptional, particularly on Running Up the Hill (choreographer/movement director Hester Schröfer). Talented dancers Joseph Reay-Reid and Alex Parsons support Maaike brilliantly throughout the show.  The band are also integral to the show and these outstanding musicians are: Barney Taylor (Keyboards & Programmer, Backing Vocals), Bobby Kewley (Bass Guitars, Cello & Backing Vocals), Jerney Molenaar (Additional/ Backing Vocals), Paul Tsanos (Drums, Percussion & Musical Director), Paul Molloy (Guitars & Backing Vocals).bandbw.jpg

Maaike also plays the baby grand piano for the first few numbers of the second set, adding to our astonishment at her incredible talents. 
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Kate’s songs and videos were renowned for their humour, wit and intelligence and every song tells a story. 
I well remember the video of Cloudbusting with Donald Sunderland playing the Professor and it really was more of a short film than a pop video, so to see the 'cloudbusting machine' on stage was an unexpected surprise.  The props and videos screened behind the band helped to create the mood of each song and this really makes the show a complete theatrical narrative.  The only downside was the lights that blazed into the audience at times, which may cause problems if you’re a migraine or epileptic sufferer and perhaps this needs to be changed?

The most memorable song of the evening for me was the hauntingly beautiful Army Dreamers, with Maaike dressed in black holding a bunch of purple tulips and Joseph and Alex in army flak jackets.  The lyrics are even more poignant today than when it was released in 1980 and I felt a lump in my throat as I watched.
“what could he do?
Should have been a rock star."
But he didn't have the money for a guitar.
"what could he do?
Should have been a politician."
But he never had a proper education.
"what could he do?
Should have been a father."
But he never even made it to his twenties.
What a waste --
Army dreamers.
Ooh, what a waste of
Army dreamers.

Of course there could only be one song to finish the show with and that was Wuthering Heights, leaving the audience giving a standing ovation and craving more. Truly Kate Bush is a unique and exceptionally talented artist and Maaike brings her own outstanding talents to make this an unforgettable night.

The tour continues to 10th March, with a European tour commencing in April and further dates to be announced.  Visit www.wow-theshow.com for more information.

Wed 6th March – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Thu 7th March – Opera House, York
Fri 8th March – Derngate Theatre, Northampton
Sun 10th March – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
European Dates 2013
Thu 25th April – Carre Theatre, Amsterdam
 
Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
4th March 2013

Mar 2nd

Ellen Kent's Carmen @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury 1st March 2013

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Eagle-eyed readers of the Aylesbury column may have noticed that I have been absent from reviewing since last October. Thankfully, Pete Benson has been keeping you updated on the shows at the Waterside with some excellent reviews and I’d like to thank him for stepping into the breach.  In case you’re wondering where I’ve been hiding, I’ve been back treading the boards myself playing the leading role in the farce Touch and Go at The English Theatre of Hamburg.  As professional actors ourselves Pete and I perhaps have a different perspective of what works for us and we can only be honest in our reviews by giving our personal take on what we’ve seen.  I’m very pleased to be back reviewing at the Waterside Theatre and am looking forward to the new season, but Pete will continue to review as well.

Last night I saw the opera Carmen. Directed by Ellen Kent, this traditionally staged, dazzling new production set in Seville and reflecting a Goya painting, with fountains, flowers, orange trees and even a rescue donkey, should guarantee an evening of passion and romance.

Starring international mezzo soprano Nadia Stoianova as Carmen, this is the story of a bewitching gypsy girl whose tantalising beauty lures a soldier to desertion and ultimately leads to her own murder.

Carmen features some of the most evocative and best-loved melodies in opera, including perhaps the best-known baritone aria of all; The Toreador’s Song.

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I confess to not knowing very much about opera, but I’ve seen a few productions of Carmen over the years.  As an actor and singer myself I can appreciate the incredible amount of vocal training required to be an opera singer.  However, what I find difficult is that despite being superb singers, they are not always the best actors.  For me, the role of Carmen should be played by someone like Gina Lollobrigida (as she was in her heyday), a sultry, sexy, passionate Mediterranean woman, who can express wildness and total abandonment.   Nadia was just too nice and too ‘safe’ in her performance and I found myself wondering why Don Jose would give up his life and career for her.  However, the toreador Escamillo did have the strutting power and presence needed to bring some passion back into the show and was very believable.

Despite this, it was an enjoyable show made much more accessible by the box at the top of the stage running subtitles!  This really is a great way to bring people into the theatre to see opera, who previously would have avoided it for fear of not understanding what is being sung.

Tour Dates:
Sat 2 Mar New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham
Sat 9 Mar Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent
Wed 13 Mar Princess Theatre Torquay
Thu 21 Mar  New Wimbledon Theatre
Sat 23 Mar  New Victoria Theatre
Tue 09 Apr  Liverpool Empire
Fri 12 - Sat 13 Apr   Edinburgh Playhouse

For further dates and booking visit: http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx
Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
1 March 2013

Oct 12th

Live Screening of Last of the Haussmans' at The Second Space, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Continuing the season of Live Screenings from the National Theatre Live, The Last of the Haussman’s saw the return of Julie Walters to the stage after a 12 year absence. Anarchic, feisty but growing old, high society drop-out Judy Haussman remains in spirit with the Ashrams of the 1960s while holding court in her dilapidated Art Deco house on the Devon coast. After an operation, she’s joined by wayward offspring Nick and Libby, sharp-eyed granddaughter Summer, local doctor Peter, and Daniel, a troubled teenager who makes use of the family’s crumbling swimming pool. Together they share a few sweltering months in this chaotic world of all-day drinking, infatuations, long-held resentments, free love and failure.

This is the first play written by actor Stephen Beresford, who decided to send it off to The National and was very surprised to receive a call saying they wanted to perform it.  Stephen set it in his home town of Dartford and the weather beaten set is vividly created by Vicki Mortimer, perfectly replicating a dilapidated seaside art deco home.  The play is superbly directed by Howard Davies.

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This is certainly an actor’s play, in that the characters are fully defined, finely honed and three dimensional.  There are a lot of very clever one liners and some really good comedy moments, particularly the scene where Nick (Rory Kinnear) tries to chat up the pool boy.  I found his brilliantly observed character portrayal as the gay, ex-junkie, son a master class in acting.  I felt every nuance, mannerism and emotion and he was perhaps the only really likeable character in the family.  Helen McCrory gives a very powerful performance as Libby the vitriolic daughter hell bent on ensuring that she receives her inheritance, but we are also shown her vulnerabilities and mistakes.

Julie Walters creates one of her trademark eccentric characters, as the old hippie who doesn’t give a stuff about what anyone else thinks, including her children.   One of Britain’s best-loved and most versatile actors, Julie Walters has won BAFTA, Golden Globe and Olivier Awards for her work. Her screen credits range from Educating Rita to celebrated work with Victoria Wood, from lead roles in the movies of Mamma Mia! and Harry Potter to portraying Mo Mowlam for Channel 4.

Libby’s sullen 16 year old daughter Summer is played with relish by Isabella Laughland and it seems that she may be the only sensible one in the family. The cast of characters is completed by two outsiders, Matthew Marsh’s Peter - a neighbouring doctor friend of Judy’s who embarks on a brief affair with Libby - and Taron Egerton’s Daniel, a young aspiring competitive swimmer who lives next door as a carer to his bedbound mother.
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Dysfunctional family relationships occur everywhere and I'm sure we all recognise the need to try and hold onto the past and keep the family house and its possessions.  If there is a message in this play though, it probably comes from Judy who tells her children not to get weighed down with material possessions and to go out and live life to the full.  Maybe that’s a motto worth thinking about?

The next Live Screenings are The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury are:
The National Theatre’s Timon of Athens on Thursday 1st November at 6.45 p.m.
Royal Opera House’s The Nutcracker on Thursday 13th December at 7.15 p.m.
The National Theatre’s The Magistrate on Thursday 17th January at 6.45 p.m.
Ticket prices £13.50-15 to book go to:

http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
11.10.12

Oct 12th

The Illegal Eages @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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Only one of these men was born in America. None of them were in Linda Ronstadt’s backing band nor were they the winners of six Grammy Awards but they do sound an awful lot like five men who were. The Illegal Eagles are an Eagles tribute band, see what they did there, ‘Illegal Eagles’?
 
From the get go the band proves that they are more than capable of good strong accurate harmonies on the Eagles first single release Take it Easy, one of an impressive catalogue of familiar songs that have resonated down a generation. As titular front man Jeff Green is visually the most like an Eagle, he has both the hair and the accent and like the rest of the band is a consummate musician. During one of the high points of the show Darin Murphy plays lovely fretless bass on song I was unfamiliar with called New York Minute. The Eagles technically only covered it as it was written by founder member Don Henley for his own solo album after he left the band.

During the interval my guitarist friend who watched the show with me assured me that the band had authentically replicated the Eagles music and harmonies and that these were top class musicians. And for sure these are not five blokes from down the pub setting out to make a fast buck. Their biographies show that they are five professional musicians with a wealth of experience in the world of music and it more than showed.10243.jpg

They tease us nicely in the second half with a discussion of what are the greatest all time opening riffs in rock music, complete with demonstrations of such greats as Gary Moore’s Still Got the Blues, Pink Floyd’s Money, Sweet Home Alabama et al but we all know what the best is going to be. “Just play it won’t you”. The double necked guitar appears so there is little doubt left. Then those oh so familiar opening notes of Hotel California sound out, and no one doubts that there was ever a greater opening riff than this.
Band originator Phil Aldridge made one of the most heartfelt introductions that I have ever heard of ‘his friends’ in the band before they rocked us to the closing, Life in the Fast Lane.

Only the Eagles can look like the Eagles and be the Eagles but in a world where I can never get to see the Eagles at the height of their fame the Illegal Eagles come a pretty good second. Thanks guys for giving me a little taste of an era gone by.

Illegal Eagles tour dates.
OCTOBER
FRIDAY 12 - Truro - The Hall For Cornwall
SATURDAY 13 - Torquay - The Princess Theatre
TUESDAY 16 - Watford - The Colosseum
WEDNESDAY 17 - Fareham - Ferneham Hall
FRIDAY 19 - Basingstoke - The Anvil Theatre
SATURDAY 20 - Worthing - The Pavilion Theatre
MONDAY 22 - Sunderland - The Empire Theatre
TUESDAY 23 - York - The Grand Opera House
WEDNESDAY 24 - Grimsby - The Auditorium
THURSDAY 25 - Wellingborough - The Castle Theatre

NOVEMBER
FRIDAY 2 - Dorking - The Dorking Halls
FRIDAY 16 Stoke - Victoria Hall
FRIDAY 23 - Chesterfield - The Winding Wheel
WEDNESDAY 28- Bury St Edmunds - The Apex Theatre

DECEMBER
SUNDAY 2- Wolverhampton - The WulfrunTheatre

To book tickets for the Waterside Theatre go to:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:
Pete Benson
11th October 2012

Oct 3rd

Dreamboats and Petticoats @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

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The first few minutes of a show are so important to connect with the audience and when it works well, will carry you along for the rest of the performance.  Last night was a perfect example of how to start a show, with some funny banter between the grandfather and his granddaughter, leading straight into Let’s Dance.  We all relaxed and allowed ourselves to be transported back to 1961, singing along to some of the greatest hits from that year and enjoying the age-old story of the complications of teenage love.  It’s a heart-warming show that will put a smile on your face and uplift you with its energy and memorable songs from the Rock ‘n’ Roll era.

Inspired by the smash hit million selling albums Dreamboats and Petticoats One, Two and Three, the show is written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the team behind Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds of a Feather, The New Statesmen and Shine On Harvey Moon.  Since its opening in the West End in 2009 Dreamboats and Petticoats has been seen by over a million people. Following its success, the team  wrote another 60s based show, Save the Last Dance For Me, which came to the Waterside in February 2012 and promises to be just as successful as this one.

Dreamboats and Petticoats tells the story of shy schoolgirl Laura’s crush on Bobby, who only has eyes for the statuesque blond Sue, who only has eyes for Norman.  In turn, Laura’s piano and song writing skills attracts Norman, as they all compete to win the national song writing competition.

Scott Haining gives a delightful performance as love-sick Bobby the teenage boy with acne.  His lovely singing voice and sincerity make him a joy to watch.  TV credits include Waterloo Road, Doctors and My Parents are Aliens.  Elizabeth Carter is also charmingly innocent as Laura and pitches it just right giving a very credible performance as a 15 year old schoolgirl.  Ben James-Ellis creates a likeable character in Norman, the man with little talent, but a huge ego.  Former model Amy Diamond proves that she’s not just a pretty face with a gorgeous body, she knows how to act and can belt out a tune too!  Amy was a finalist in TV’s Over The Rainbow, the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC talent show.

Playing a number of roles including Bobby’s dad was Terry Winstanley.  I spent the first act trying to think where I knew him from and assumed it was in a TV sitcom, as he’s so good at playing comedy.  Terry was, in fact, one of the last 32 who reached judge’s houses on last year’s X-Factor!  He had a few songs to belt out here and looked as if he was having the time of his life in the show.  He has definitely found his niche in musical theatre playing comedy roles and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in years to come.

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As always this is a fantastically talented ensemble cast who not only sing, dance and act, but play instruments too.  Dan O’Brien plays Laura’s brother who finds romance with Sue’s best friend Donna (Anna Campkin)  Gavin is great playing Frank/Slugger/Compere.  Patrick Burbridge, Joey Ellis, Emma Jane Morton, James Nitti, Rachel Nottingham, Josef Pitura-Riley, Mike Slader, Will Tierney, Chloe Edwards-Wood and Christopher Wheeler make up the rest of this gifted ensemble.

Featuring classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and many more, including Let's Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby's Girl, Three Steps To Heaven, Little Town Flirt, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Let It Be Me, Great Pretender, C'mon Everybody, Let's Twist Again and many more hits from music's golden era!dreamboats%20011[1].jpg


There’s still time to book your tickets for a joyful night of escapism.
01 - 06 Oct 2012 Waterside Theatre Aylesbury
15 – 20 Oct 2012 Pavillion Theatre Rhyl
22 - 27 Oct 2012 Regent Theatre Stoke
05 - 10 Nov 2012 – Regent Theatre Ipswich
12 – 17 Nov 2012 – Churchill Theatre Bromley
20 – 24 Nov 2012 – New Theatre Cardiff
Ticket prices £12.00-£35.00 to book go to:

http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye
1.10.12

Sep 30th

Peter Pan Preview @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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Our all too brief summer has ended, the leaves are turning and the heating is back on.  As the nights start to draw in, the thought of winter becomes a reality once more and we need to look for something to cheer us up during those long, dark months.  What better than an excursion to the fantasy land of panto, with its colourful costumes and sets, energetic performances and laughter to lift our spirits? For this year’s panto preview, the Waterside opened its doors to everyone and the theatre was filled to capacity with excited children wearing pirate’s hats and waving flags, accompanied by parents and grandparents.  In a fun packed hour, we were treated to songs, comedy and audience participation as we were introduced to the stars of this year’s show.

Compere for the event was panto supremo Eric Potts of First Family Entertainment (formed in January 2005)one of the leading Pantomime production companies in the world. Promoting the traditional values of pantomime, First Family Entertainment has seen a growth in sales at all the venues it produces in and their productions have received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.  Eric is best known on TV for playing Diggory Compton on Coronation Street, but as panto dame and writer of hundreds of pantos, he reigns supreme.  Warming up the audience with jokes and participation, he then introduced us to the cast in glorious costumes who each gave us a taster of their characters.
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Star of the show this year is the effervescent Russell Grant, playing Roger the Cabin Boy (!), who danced onto the stage in sequined shoes and a colourful red, sparkly outfit.  Russell’s star is certainly in the ascendant after his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing as his theatrical career has been revived.  I was lucky enough to meet this charming man after the preview and he told me how his life has changed since he took to the dance floor.  Theatrical impresario Bill Kenwright asked Russell three times to appear in the Wizard of Oz, but he refused not feeling he could replace Michael Crawford.  When Andrew Lloyd Webber made some changes to suit him (and with Arlene Phillips as choreographer) Russell was finally persuaded to step back onto the stage at the London Palladium 34 years after his last appearance.  Russell started out as a Butlin’s Red Coat and appeared in more than 30 musicals and comedies, so it felt like going home and he clearly loves being back on stage again.

Russell is currently playing Teen Angel in the touring production of Grease and Arlene has choreographed some wonderful samba, salsa and cha, cha, cha dance routines for him.  The BBC has asked him to do several more Strictly Come Dancing specials with Flavia, he’s appearing on TV’s Celebrity Wedding Planner and hosts a radio show about football.  His horoscope websites receive an amazing 4-500 million hits every day around the world and record producer Brain Harris has just asked him to record the 1965 hit ‘The Clapping Song’.  So life is certainly full of activity for Russell and he is absolutely relishing the revival of his showbiz career.  Having lost an astonishing 11 stones, had a knee operation and taken up dancing, he’s a fit and energetic 61, I’m sure we can expect a memorable performance in the panto.

He told me he’d been offered 15 pantos around the country, so I asked him why he’d chosen The Waterside?  He said ‘First Family Entertainment have such great production values and this will be my second panto with them, as I was in Milton Keynes last year as the Genie of The Lamp in Aladdin.  I was very keen to work at The Waterside as this is a fantastic theatre, absolutely AWESOME.’ We’re certainly pleased he’s starring in the panto and look forward to seeing him dazzle us with his dancing skills!

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Returning to the Waterside is Andy Collins, playing Smee, who starred alongside Cilla Black in Cinderella two years ago.  Andy has to be one of the hardest working entertainers in the business as he told me he’s constantly dashing around London doing warm-ups for Alan Carr’s Chatty Man, Alan Titchmarsh, Jonathan Ross, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away and Celebrity Juice.  As a TV Presenter, he’s probably best known as the host of Garden SOS and Family Fortunes.  Andy is delighted to be back at The Waterside, as he lives locally, but is also happily going to be working alongside his 8 year old daughter Molly!  She worked very hard and had to audition to be in the show, so it’ll be a lovely experience for both of them to be on stage together.  This is Andy’s 14th panto and everyone will be pleased to know that he’s going to be performing his much-loved version of The Twelve Days of Christmas again.
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Heart Radio DJ Matt Brown received a phone call out of the blue asking him to be in the panto and he’s very excited to be playing the role of Starky.  This will be Matt’s first time on stage and he’s very enthusiastic to be a part of such a prestigious panto and says that he’ll be very popular with his two children when they see him performing.   With a 4.00 a.m. start for his breakfast show in Reading and two shows a day in Aylesbury, it’ll be an exhausting run for Matt, but I’m sure he’ll cherish the experience and enjoy himself.
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No panto is complete without a baddie for us all to hiss and boo and they don't come badder than Steve Serlin as Captain Hook.  We loved to hate him in Dick Whittington last year as King Rat and he really stole the show with his rodent-like moves, powerful singing and wicked ways.  Since then Steve has played the roles of Vladamir and Mick in a musical about the Monkees entitled Monkee Business and has just finished a run of Mack and Mable at Southwark Playhouse, playing Mr Kessell.  Future projects include the stage version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. He also works regularly with a big band performing rock in the corporate sector and recently sang at an exclusive wedding in the South of France! Steve is also thrilled to be back in Aylesbury and working again for First Family Entertainment and we can be sure of another ‘capt’ivating performance.


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Local singer Holly Brewer will be playing Wendy in her first starring panto role.  Having won the Milton Keynes Got Talent Show 3 years ago aged just 14, Holly now performs gigs around the area, plays piano and is beginning to write her own music.  With a beautiful, but belting, singing voice, pretty face and blond hair, Holly is the perfect principal girl and I know the kids will love her.

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Playing the title role of Peter Pan is Adam Pettigrew who was unable to attend the preview as he’s currently starring in Wicked in the West End.

Make sure you book early to put some sparkle and laughter into those cold winter days!  Ticket prices £9-£26.00 the show runs from 8th to 31st December 2012.

To book tickets go to:

http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye
29.9.12

 



Sep 20th

Julius Caesar @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye
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It’s a sad fact of life that wherever you live in the world and whatever time period we find ourselves in, there will always be dictators who try to control the masses.  Apart from the language, this play could have been written about any conspiracy to overthrow a dictatorship and remains as relevant today as when it was written.

Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against the Roman dictator Julius Caesar, his assassination and the defeat of the conspirators at the Battle of Philippi. It is one of several Roman plays that Shakespeare wrote, based on true events from Roman history, which also include Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.

RSC Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran has set the play in modern Africa, providing an exhilarating and gripping backdrop to the story.  The recent tragic events at the mine in Johannesburg, shows us that these people are prepared to fight with guns, knives and machetes to get what they want.  It’s this cultural passion and lack of fear for personal safety that makes this production so real and exciting.  From the African drumming, to witch doctors, the costumes and the set, we are transported to contemporary Africa, bringing the text alive and relevant to today’s world.

Deftly playing the title role of Caesar, Jeffery Kissoon is not the most visible character as he appears in only three scenes and is killed at the beginning of the third act. Unfortunately one of his best speeches was interrupted by a sick audience member, but he managed to battle on through the disruption. 

Paterson-Joseph-243x317[1].jpgMarcus Brutus speaks more than four times as many lines and the central psychological drama is his struggle between the conflicting demands of honour, patriotism and friendship.  Patterson Joseph is outstanding as the tormented protagonist in events and is well-known from his many TV appearances including Hustle, Peep Show and Doctor Who.

images[1].jpg‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears’ is the first line of Mark Anthony’s often quoted monologue, showing how the power of oratory can change public opinion.  Ray Fearon as Mark Anthony gives a powerful, mesmerising (potentially award-winning?) performance that was exciting and compelling to watch.  Ray is an Associate Artist at the RSC and has played the title roles in Pericles and Othello, but is best known on TV for playing garage mechanic Nathan Harding on Coronation Street!

Adjoa Andoh is Portia the seductively beautiful wife of Brutus who tries to distract her husband and calm his agitation and grief.  Adoja has a very striking presence and gives a passionate performance as the tragic wife who commits suicide. TV appearances include Law and Order UK, Scott and Bailey and Silent Witness.

The rest of the ensemble cast that all make this such an incredible show are: Segun Akingbola (Trebonius/Favius/Varro); Mark Ebulue (Artemidorus/Carpenter/Cato); Ricky Fearon (Cicero/Lucilius/Cobbler/Popilius); Andrew French (Decius Brutus/Titinius); Marcus Griffiths (Marullus/Octavius’ Servant/Pindarus/Publius); Ivanno Jeremiah (Octavius Caesar); Samantha Lawson (Caesar’s Servant); Simon Manyonda (Lucius); Joseph Mydell (Casca); Cyril Nra (Caius Cassius); Ann Ogbomo (Calpurnia); Theo Ogundipe (Soothsayer); Jude Owusu (Cinna, the Poet/Anthony’s Servant); Mark Theodore (Metellus Cimber/Messala); Ewart James Walters (Caius Ligarius/Lepidus); Chinna Wodu (Cinna, The Conspirator/Clitus).

Following its success at the RSC Stratford, the play moved into the Noel Coward Theatre for a sell-out 6 weeks and is now on tour until 27th October. 

• Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 19 – 22 September
• Bradford Alhambra Theatre 25 – 29 September
• The Lowry, Salford 2 - 6 October
• Norwich Theatre Royal 16 – 20 October
• New Theatre, Cardiff 23 – 27 October

It’s one of the most  exhilarating pieces of theatre you’ll ever experience, so if you haven't already booked a ticket get online now!
To book tickets go to:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx

Prior to the show, outgoing Chief Executive Elizabeth Addlington bade a sad farewell to the Waterside before introducing the programme of shows for the autumn season.  Incoming General Manager Jamie Baskeyfield will have an exciting season ahead starting with Blue Orange, Dreamboats and Petticoats, Northern Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast, Great Expectations, 42nd Street, plus an array of Live Screenings, comedy nights and one night only shows.
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Director of Blue Orange, Christopher Luscombe, told us that as well as being a thrilling psychological play, there’s a lot of laughter in there too.  Robert Bathhurst was drawn to the play as it’s a meaty role with lots of depth. Blue Orange is the electrifying story of Christopher (Oliver Wilson), who believes that a notorious military dictator is his father. In the battle of wills his psychiatrist Robert (Robert Bathurst) plans to thrust him back into the community, but a young doctor (Gerard McCarthy) thinks this is too soon. A compelling and witty battle of freedom and ambition unfolds.  The play runs from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th September with tickets from £10.00 to £32.00.


6871_sml[1].pngBruce MacKinnon, Producer of Great Expectations, gave us some insight into the new touring production coming to the Waterside from 30th October to 3rd November.  With a cast of 15 actors, it’s a dynamic piece originally performed for theatre-in-education.  Adult Pip is played by Paul Nivison, with Jack Ellis (Coronation Street, Where the Heart Is, Bad Girls) as Jaggers, Chris Ellison (The Bill) as Magwitch with Paula Wilcox (Emmerdale, The Smoking Room, Man About the House) as Miss Havisham.  Tickets from £10.00 to £32.00.

To book tickets go to:
http://uktheatrenet.ambassadortickets.com/whatson.aspx
Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
19.9.12