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May 1st

Fat Friends the Musical at Kings Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

The successful ITV drama “Fat Friends” gets a musical makeover in this UK Touring production starring Jodie Prenger in the lead role.


 

Kelly (powerfully voiced by Jodie Prenger) is getting married in 6 weeks and is deeply in love with fiancé, Kevin (Joel Montague).  She rashly choses a wedding dress which is two sizes too small and, so, embarks on a mission to join her many friends and family in the pursuit of weight loss.  At the local Super-Slimmers club, she is challenged to hit her weight-loss target by company boss Julia Fleshman (played to extract maximum fun from being the ‘baddie’ by Natasha Hamilton).  But Julia will stop at nothing to get publicity from Kelly’s successful weight loss on her diet plan …   


The principal cast is very strong in this production with Jodie Prenger an excellent lead as a down-to-earth and likeable Northern lass; albeit under a loud-mouthed exterior.  Kelly has surrounded herself with some very talented voices, too.  Veterans Elaine C. Smith and Kevin Kennedy convey themselves well as Mum and Dad and Rachael Wooding and Joel Montague add some lovely character traits to soaring vocals as Sister and Fiancé, Joanne and Kevin.  The secondary narrative of blossoming love between Lauren (Natalie Anderson) and Paul (Jonathan Halliwell) is cutely portrayed and beautifully sung. Even fringe characters from Neil Hurst and Chloe Hart added lovely vocals to the mix – at some points, astonishing!  Combine all this on-stage talent with fresh tunes from Nick Lloyd Webber (the name does sound familiar, doesn’t it?) and you have one of the best sounding musicals around!


Where this show was below par was actually one of the biggest draws to bring me to see it in the first place.  Written and directed by Kay Mellor, one of the most successful UK TV drama writers of our time; I arrived expecting something very special from this very talented pen.  Sadly, the show lacked pace.  Being 30 minutes too long I felt quite disengaged from the story by the end.  I thought that Lauren and Paul’s characters were too innocent and nervous and their excellent duet came too soon in the show for all that emotion.  I also couldn’t see any reason for Rachael Wooding’s duel casting as Pippa (Julia’s mousey sidekick) – albeit that she was very good in both roles.  On the plus side, the characters were well defined and bigger issues like ‘body image’, media pressure to conform to stereotypes like ‘slim bride’ and ‘internet trolls’ were tackled adding more depth.  I would have cut 2 songs and 20 minutes of dialog, though.


This show is not perfect but has a lot of redeeming features in the score and on stage.  Nothing that a good dramaturg couldn’t sort out for a second tour!


Fat Friends The Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

30 April – 5 May 2018

Evenings 19:30, Matinees 14:30 (Wed, Sat)

Tickets £16.50 - £62.50

http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre/

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7 p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge


 

 

 

Apr 24th

Legally Blonde at Kings Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

 

OMG you guys!  The audience was packed to the roof in Glasgow’s King’s Theatre last night to see and hear Elle Woods “bend and snap” as only Elle Woods can!  They were treated to a great feel-good show full of catchy tunes and delightful characters.

Legally Blonde is a movie that has achieved almost cult status among its fans.  With an adorable performance from the pint-sized Reese Witherspoon it tells the tale of love-lost Elle who is ceremonially dumped, but follows her ex to Harvard Law School in an effort to win back his heart!  It’s a journey of self-discovery as she learns about her own strengths and finds a way to fight for the underdog as only she can

On stage, this rich and empowering storyline is delivered by strong character performances and an uplifting score full of memorable songs

In the lead role of Elle, Lucie Jones delivered an endearing performance with powerful vocals.  In stature, she was considerably larger than the famously tiny Reese Witherspoon and this detracted somewhat from her vulnerability.  However, she quickly won the audience over with her winning smile and bubbly personality.  By the second act I was cheering for her as loudly as all the pink clad women around me!

Rita Simons, as Paulette, supported well with a fiery character and good comic timing.  Helen Petrovna was outstanding as skipping rope fitness queen, Brooke Wyndham, leading a cast of skip-rope dancers in the spectacular “Whipped Into Shape”.  Elle’s supporting “Greek Chorus” were extremely talented and added harmony and depth to every scene they appeared in

The show has some great musical numbers with highlights being “Omigod You Guys”, “Bend and Snap” and “Legally Blonde”.  I have to add “There! Right There!” to the list - subtitled “Gay, or European?” – it had me rolling in the isles!

All in all, this is a great fun and uplifting production which is well worth the ticket price.

Legally Blonde – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

23-28 April 2018

Evenings 19:30, Matinees 14:30 (Wed, Sat)

Tickets £15 - £69.50

http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre/

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7 p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

Apr 5th

Jersey Boys at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

 

A review by Suzanne Lowe

 

Having had the pleasure of watching Jersey Boys before I was more than a little excited to discover that the show would be returning to Glasgow.  You know how it is, you build up a show in your head only to actually find out it wasn’t quite as entertaining as you remembered.  This show certainly lived up to my expectations.  With a superb cast, well known songs and fast paced scene changes this was indeed a great night out at the theatre.

 

Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  Cleverly revealing a past through the eyes of each band member.  A past which was well hidden from fans and record industry moguls.  Prison sentences and associations with the Mafia only coming to light as Jersey Boys came to fruition.  Each member’s memory of events slightly different.

 

Of course along with the revelations of a life behind the stage we get to experience the wonderful sounds of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  With hits such as ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Walk Like a Man’, ‘Oh What a Night’, and ‘Who Loves You?’ resonating around the auditorium, it was difficult not to find yourself singing along (normally a practice I would frown upon!)  The slick dance moves and exceptional voices a joy to watch and hear.

 

The supporting cast totally embraced the era and performed every number with gusto, many performing several roles.  Top marks have to go to Dayle Hodge (Frankie Valli), Simon Bailey (Tommy Devito), Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio) and Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi).  All four giving outstanding performances.

 

With his amazing vocal range the unique voice of Frankie Valli was superbly recreated by Hodge.  Along with the incredible sound came a solid acting performance with a particularly moving scene depicting the moment Frankie learns of his daughter’s death.  A brief moment in the evening when the audience fell silent.

 

As Tommy Devito, Bailey gave us an insight into this stereotypical New Jersey tough guy.  As his connections with the mob and gambling debts become clear we are also drawn to his vulnerability.

 

Egan played the part of Bob Gaudio the genius behind the hit songs we all know and love.  His portrayal revealed a rather sensitive but focused individual endearing himself to the audience.  With superb vocals his performance has to be admired.

 

We are also introduced to Nick Massi with an intentionally laid back performance by Griffiths.  As the quieter member of the group and somewhat downtrodden by Devito, Griffiths gives us an insight into how Massi actually felt being part of The Four Seasons.

 

All four incredibly talented performers gave the audience a great night with their outstanding vocals added to memorable acting pieces.   Be assured that the life of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons was a story which had to be told.

 

And yes….definitely just as great a show second time round.

 

Jersey Boys - King's Theatre Glasgow

03/04/18 - 14/14/18

Matinee (Thu, Sat) 14:30, Evenings 19:30

Tickets £18 - £63.50

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/jersey-boys/kings-theatre/#buy-now

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7 p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

 

 

Feb 27th

The Play That Goes Wrong at The King’s Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

 

If there is a play in existence with a more apt title than “The Play That Goes Wrong”, I have yet to see it!  Mischief Theatre have crafted 100 minutes of mirth and mayhem that had me laughing until I hurt … and then I laughed some more!

This week, Glasgow’s King’s Theatre plays host to a play within a play as a fictional group of not-so-talented am-dramers  (the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society) present “The Murder At Haversham Manor” as the accurately titled “Play That Goes Wrong”.  And boy, does it go wrong!

Before curtain up we are treated to a performance of outstanding incompetence as the “stage crew” attempt to set the stage.  From the opening introduction by Director “Chris” (stiffly portrayed by Jake Curran) we are in no doubt that we are about to be “entertained” by a troupe bearing a remarkable heritage of disastrous am-dram flops. 

The curtain rises and we are entertained by shameless overacting from the players with outlandish and unconvincing characters and a broad disrespect of “the fourth wall”.  This is all delightfully OTT and delivered to wring maximum laughs from the outset.  But this would become tired quite quickly … if the writers did not have an endless supply of acting faux-pas and theatrical cock-ups waiting in the wings; each one more calamitous than the last!  Prop mix ups, prat falls, disintegrating sets, dropped lines, slapstick, badly timed entrances … every single one a disaster in its own right; enough to send any self-respecting amateur fleeing from the stage.  Yet, these are all presented in one show in all of their awkward, heart stopping, nightmare inducing glory.  And we laughed so hard!

Kazeem Tosin Amore (as Robert playing Thomas Collymoore) gives a great comic portrayal of the victim’s school chum with a particular highlight as he tries to break a dialog loop through purple faced rage and mouthfuls of ‘white spirit’.  Elena Valentine (as Sandra) gives a delightfully unconvincing performance as femme fatal Florence Collymoore and becomes the victim of some spectacular physical gaffs.  Bobby Hirston is the prat-fall king as Max (playing Cecil Haversham) and Benjamin McMahon is the youthful Dennis who is superbly miscast as the aging Perkins.  Catherine Dryden develops her character beautifully to hilarious effect as Annie (the somewhat reluctant crew member cum understudy).  Jake Curran was excellent (as Chris playing Inspector Carter), particularly as he broke down over the audience’s reaction to his response to a lost prop.  I’m laughing out loud as I type this … LEDGER!

Direction from Mark Bell expertly balanced the tight timing required for such a complex piece of physical theatre with just enough leeway for the actors to thoroughly enjoy the performance and give the audience a feeling that everything was fresh.  Nigel Hook’s set design was inspired; adding significantly to the laughs.  Despite all of the superlatives above, the script from Mischief Theatre’s own writing team of Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields was truly the star of this outstanding show.

A special mention has to be made of the production programme.  It really is worth every penny is very funny in its own right.

If you fancy a really good, wholehearted belly-laugh (and who doesn’t need a laugh these days) get your tickets to this hilarious show now.

Photos by Robert Day

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Mon 26 Feb - Sat 3 Mar 2018

Mon-Sat 7.30pm

Wed & Sat, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7 p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

 OR ... catch the show at Edinburgh's Fesival Theatre from 12-17 March 2018

Jan 17th

Tango Moderno, The Kings Theatre Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

 

Vincent and Flavia (Simone and Cacace of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing fame) present a wonderfully diverse evening of entertainment at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre this week featuring their famous style of choreography.

 

Let’s face it … we’ve all been there, right?  We have a ‘significant other’ who is super excited to see a new show and we go along … doing the right thing to be there (reluctantly) while our loved one grins enthusiastically at the stage for a whole evening.  It has to be done!

 

But anyone arriving (reluctantly) to this latest production featuring Vincent and Flavia might be pleasantly surprised as this remarkably varied production has something to entertain even the most jaded of persuaded partners!

 

So, it’s basically an evening of dance.  That is a given.  And we should celebrate that dance element first and foremost.  Strictly fans will be delighted to see Vincent and Flavia deliver some lovely routines throughout the show including some steamy hot Argentine Tango choreography.  Most impressive to me was the powerful subtlety of the lifts – less “look at me” in a ‘Strictly’ style and more emotive and powerful; relying as much on Flavia’s core strength as that of Vincent. 

 

But the show adds so much more through the ensemble cast.  Each routine is presented as a short vignette – telling a short story of couples or groups.  Lovers, work colleagues, groups of friends, etc.  The stories are connected through a loose theme of couples coming together and there is a real sense of conclusion at the end of the show which is quite satisfying – not bad for a show with no dialogue! 

 

The vignettes are introduced and connected by a narrator (Tom Parsons) who speaks in cool contemporary prose.  There have been a spate of TV adverts in this style recently and for good reason … it is so on trend!  Tom also sings lead vocals on the majority of numbers – beautifully accompanying the dance activity and covering a broad range of modern artists from Ed Sheeran to Rag ‘n’ Bone Man to Lucus Graham and many more.  Tom is joined by Rebecca Lisweski on vocals.  Rebecca takes the lead from time to time, too, and together they deliver first class entertainment worth the ticket price alone.

 

The choreography from Karen Bruce is excellent throughout.  Each piece advances the story or theme and the variety is astounding covering the spectrum from hilarity to pathos.  The dancing cast deliver all of this with aplomb – in particular, their characterisation is evident with every step and leap.  The piece accompanied by Lucas Graham’s “7 Years” was astonishing and moving and left we wanting to pause and rewind to see it again.

 

I’ll confess that I was already looking forward to seeing this show …  but, having seen it, I’m bursting to tell people who might not normally buy a ticket to see a “dance show” to go and see this one!

 

Tango Moderno, King’s Theatre, 297 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JN

Tue 16 - Sat 20 Jan 2018

Tue-Sat, 7.30pm

Thu & Sat matinees, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

 

Dec 8th

Sleeping Beauty, The Kings Theatre Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

 Review by Suzanne Lowe

It’s that time of year again (oh yes it is….) when children and adults flock to theatre’s around the country to see their favourite pantomime.  The Kings Theatre, Glasgow has always produced top quality productions featuring top quality stars and this year was no exception.

 

The audience were transported to the magical city of Glasweedgia and the delights of ‘Sleeping Beauty’.  This is the classic fairy tale of the beautiful Princess cursed by a spell as a baby, who falls into a deep sleep on the night of her 21st Birthday after a rather unfortunate incident with a spinning wheel.  You know the story….

 

The show opened with the usual colourful singing and dancing one would expect.  A stage filled with beautiful people dressed in very pastel shades belting out a rather forgettable opening number!

 

However the arrival on stage of Johnny Mac as ‘Muddles’ set the tone for the rest of the evening.  A veteran of pantomimes all over the country, this award winning comedian delivered the usual corny jokes with great enthusiasm endearing himself to the audience instantly.  His interaction and comedy timing made this the stand out performance of the night.

 

Making a welcome return to The King's Panto for the first time in 8 years was the hugely talented Elaine C. Smith.  Taking on the role of ‘Fairy Bella Houston’ saw her opening number announce her great return.  Perhaps this felt a little self-indulgent and unnecessary for someone with her acting repertoire.  However this was soon forgotten as we moved through the show.  Her usual comedic delivery had the audience laughing for the rest of the evening.  Perhaps her most memorable moment would be that of taking on the classic Adele Song “Hello” and of course re-naming it “Hey You” in her best Glaswegian accent.  She was a perfect match to her onstage son ‘Muddles’ and the two played off one another brilliantly.

 

Juliet Cadzow played the panto baddie this year taking on the role of ‘Carabosse’, the evil witch who placed the spell on poor Princess Beauty.  Perhaps best known for her roles in Balamory and River City she received the usual ‘Boo’s’ from the audience one would expect from the villain of the show.  Playing along-side her, was Paul-James Corrigan (also of River City fame) who took on the role of ‘Slimeball’.  As the son of ‘Carabosse’ the two worked well together giving the audience the roles they love to hate.

 

As a stalwart of Scottish theatre and television George Drennan played the part of ‘King Hector’ ably accompanied by Louise Ludgate as Queen Morag.  Their rendition alongside ‘Fairy Bella’ and ‘Muddles’ of the classic Scottish version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” had the audience crying with laughter.

 

Will Knights as ‘Prince Calum’ and Maggie Lynne as ‘Princess Beauty’ also delivered faultless performances as the romantic leads.  They brought a sense of calm to the chaotic proceedings going on around them.

 

Perhaps the stand out, jaw dropping moment of the evening has to go to the flying car!  Yes indeed while trying to get to Dunoon, ‘Fairy Bella’ and ‘Muddles’ decided not to take the conventional ferry but instead take to the skies in a sports car.  Having seen many things ‘fly’ over the years on The Kings stage this has to take the crown.  Not only did it lift up on stage it then ‘flew’ out over the audience above the stalls.  An amazing piece of theatre wizardry.

 

As panto’s go this has to be one of the funniest I have seen in a while.  Written by Alan McHugh the up to date topical references have to receive credit.

 

If you want a great night out then get yourself along to The Kings to watch ‘Sleeping Beauty’, you will not be disappointed.

 

(Images courtesy of Ambassadors Theatre Group) 

Sleeping Beauty The King's Theatre, Bath Street, Glasgow

Sat 2 Dec 2017 - Sun 7 Jan 2018

Tue-Sat at 7.00pm, Sun at 5.00pm

Matinees daily at 1pm, 2pm or 11am

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

Dec 7th

Mamma Mia! – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

The warmth of a Greek Summer will be keeping the Winter blues at bay at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal throughout December  as the ultimate feel-good musical, Mamma Mia!, takes up residency there throughout the Christmas period.

Mamma Mia! (in case you haven’t heard) is the wonderfully crafted musical woven around the hits of 70s and 80s pop sensations, Abba.  Sophie (delightfully characterised by Lucy May Barker) is a 20 year old girl about to marry the love of her life.  Her idyllic upbringing on a sun kissed Greek island seems to have only missed one thing – her father.  But, a quick look at her mother’s diary is all it takes to discover that the lucky man could be one of … 3 men.  So, she does the natural thing and invites all 3 to her wedding in the hope that her real father will step forward and walk her down the aisle – while keeping the plot a secret from her doting mother of course!

This was my fourth time in the audience for Mamma Mia! – and it NEVER gets old!!  It is an absolute joy from start to finish … and I think that this touring production may just have been my favourite so far.  It wasn’t “perfect” … the vocals were not the strongest I’ve heard from the principals … but this was more than made up for in quality characterisation and outright GUSTO!  And, anyway … Mamma Mia! is not a show to get too tied down in artsy critical detail over.  It's how it makes you feel that is important - and that is simply wonderful!

Lucy May Barker was wonderful as Sophie.  She immediately won the audience over with her “girl next door” charm and then set about wowing us with an energetic performance and some beautiful shared scenes with stage mum, Donna (played by Helen Hobson).  Ms Hobson led the ‘older’ generation cast in confident style; portraying extremes of fun and drama with solid believability.  Her combination of “Slipping Through My Fingers” as she describes her changing relationship with her growing daughter followed immediately in the second act by the showstopper “The Winner Takes It All” overpowered the audience with emotion.

Supporting performances were all of an incredibly high standard.  Jon Boydon, as Sam, impressed with vocals that left Pierce Brosnan in the dust.  Brilliant character performances from Emma Clifford, Gillian Hardie, Jamie Hogarth and Christopher Hollis had us all in stitches as they brought Catherine Johnson’s book to hilarious life.  I must also credit Louis Stockil who brought acrobatic skill to the role of Pepper along with pin sharp comic timing.  Energy and vocal harmonies from the ensemble cast were second to none.  The music was note perfect on the night (a must for such popular tunes) but I also noticed that the volume was tempered when underscoring important dialogue and this kept the audience fully engaged with the story – 10 out of 10 from me.

If you have seen Mamma Mia! before, my advice to you is to see it again – this month!  Saying you don’t like this show is like saying you don’t like Christmas!

 

Mamma Mia! Theatre Royal, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 3QA

Tue 5-Sat 30 Dec 2017

Mon-Sat, 7.30pm

Wed, Thu & Sat matinees, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

 

0844 871 7648* calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

 

Sep 27th

Our House, King's Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

Madness broke out at The King’s Theatre in Glasgow last night – Madness of the best possible kind!

 

For some people, it might appear to be “madness” to fork out up to £50 for a ticket to see a show that you might never have heard of before.  I can understand that; a visit to a live theatre event is a luxury for most of us.  It’s a lot out of your monthly pay packet and sometimes it can be something of a gamble.  But this is a show that is exciting, engaging, full of life, packed with music that you’ll love and probably already know and with a storyline which has proven its pedigree.  You’d be mad not to go and see it!  But sadly, the King’s was only half-full last night.  Glasgow … you’re missing a bargain!

 

The story has similar themes to that smash hit Brit-flick from the 90’s, “Sliding Doors”.  Joe Casey (played by the fabulously talented Jason Kajdi) is a typical 16 year old kid who makes decisions that will affect the rest of his life on a daily basis.  The show splits into two separate narratives when Joe is faced with a decision that will change his world.  He takes his girlfriend (Sarah played by Sophie Matthew) to a building site to get a view of their London neighbourhood from the scaffolding.  When police sirens sound, what should Joe do?  Should he run … or should he stay to face the music?

 

Talking of music … Joe’s worlds (both of them) are accompanied by a fantastically raucous soundtrack from 80s pop legends; Madness.  From “Baggy Trousers” to “Welcome to the House of Fun”, “Embarrassment”, “Driving in my Car”, “My Girl” and, of course, “Our House”, all are delivered with real conviction and a sympathy to the story.  “It Must Be Love” was a beautifully crafted scene.  Choreography from Fabian Aloise was brilliantly bonkers and true to the inspirational soundtrack.  “Wings of a Dove” was my favourite – I know this because I grinned until it hurt!

 

Performances were superb across the board.  It was one of those shows where you feel that the entire cast completely gel and deliver an energy greater than they should be able to combined.  From the first beat to the last body-pop the cast gave their all.  Jason Kajdi was an outstanding lead in this role. Full of energy, talent and above all a likeable character in both halves of the story.  Sophie Matthew was ideal as Sarah. Pretty, principled and brainy in equal measure she kept Joe on the straight and narrow ... more or less.  George Samson was a believable bully as Reecey and his dance ability stood out even in this exceptional company.  Sidekicks Billy Roberts, Will Haswell, Jessica Niles and Etisyai Philip were given a chance to shine and shine they did with funny individual characters which contrasted well.

 

This is a show that really needs the Sound department to be on their game.  There were a couple of hiccups but nothing major.  I do have to complain that the balance was a little too much in favour of the band over lyrics.  Lighting was dynamic if a little repetitive but the clever set and (hopefully not trademarked) use of sliding doors was very effective. For Theatre buffs, the costume changes for lead character, Joe, are worth the ticket price alone!

 

Don’t miss this show.  I think that there are offers to be had online so search around and get twice the fun for half the price!  An awesome night’s entertainment that you’d be mad to miss!

 

 

Listings Information

 

Our House

 

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

 

Tuesday 26 -Saturday 30 September

 

Mon-Sat eves, 7.30pm

 

Wed & Sat matinees, 2.30pm

 

Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) Calls cost up to 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge

 

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (bkg fee)

 

Aug 23rd

Sophie at The Lion and Unicorn (Camden Fringe)

By Cameron Lowe

‘Incomprehensible to most …unbreakable to two

 

 

 

 “Sophie’s love saves me in so many ways..."

 

Sophie opens to the Peter, Paul and Mary song Puff The Magic Dragon’, the lyrics to which tell the story of an ageless dragon and his playmate, Jackie Paper, a little boy. Jackie grows up but in the process loses interest in his imaginary, creative playtime, and in so doing leaves Puff behind. "A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys" is thought to mean that it was only "little Jackie Paper" who grew up, holding a great significance in the play overall.

 

In the set-up we see Julia Pagett, sister to Sophie sifting through a collection of photographs, among which she finds a scrunched up piece of paper, a memory-trigger; ‘but what can it represent?,’ we ask ourselves.

 

It definitely appears to stir something deep inside of her, till she averts her focus back to what she is doing but it isn’t too long before she has to expel the fiery ball of fury she has allowed to build up, at which point too the music rapidly slows down, till it comes to a complete standstill; comparable, you could say with a wind-up toy, that is void of all momentum.

 

The intro, sans dialogue, for a good few minutes is used as a valuable dramatic device, to help a necessary level of tension to mount, whereupon the music possibly resembles the slowing down of someone’s heartbeat, or blood pressure.

 

The play seems to hold two principal themes, the first being identical twins, which always brings with it a curiosity, and yet most people cannot admit as to why.

 

‘She’s in everything I do.” 

 

I guess, perhaps, it is because the world we live in expects a difference among individuals, in their appearance and behaviour. Therefore, when two individuals are a tight match, our perceptions of how the world is made up is challenged immediately.  And these likenesses then set off a variety of reactions – both negative and positive, needless to say we continue to be drawn in. Why, some people retain an element of jealousy toward twins, in regards to how close their social interaction can be.

Pagett takes ahold of her emotions once again after a splendidly truthful outburst, she then draws reference to the bike on stage, just one in a few props. A symbol one might say of Sophie’s euphoric liberation.

A second theme is introduced, the unpredictability of depression, and the importance of its power never being underestimated, at which point we witness a definite change in mood as the play becomes considerably darker: and to sum up the writings of Rich Larson:

‘… depression and cynicism. ..go hand-in-hand, along with ..anxiety. ..the three ..eat hope ..quickly ..’ leaving behind despair. ‘despair is exhausting ..we keep it to ourselves to (not) be a burden’

 Until it becomes too much. It doesn’t matter who you are, depression can cause you to feel isolated, and at worse it can result in you dying without anyone by your side.

Yet society has us believe that passive thoughts are transitory and so less dangerous than those which are active.

It can be unclear as to when we should intervene but severe symptoms of depression can be unpredictable. It, therefore, is better to be seen to overact than to not act at all.

What might be deemed as a passive thought should be acknowledged as it can be a sign of a darkness looming up ahead.

Sophie is an eloquently written, passionately performed piece, which successfully brings out the idea that despite even the kinship between twins, every one of us is an individual, and we, as individuals, drive the passive and active thoughts inside our heads.

 

Let the rawness of Sophie break the stigma surrounding mental health.

 

Sophie will continue to run as part of The Camden Fringe Festival until Sun 27 August 2017.

*A donation box will be available after the performance to raise money for MIND in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Or donations can be made online at http://www.justgiving.com/sophie-play

 

Sophie

 

A new play

written and performed by Julia Pagett

directed by Keir Mills

lion and unicorn                                                                                

link to The Camden Fringe Festival 2017:http://www.camdenfringe.com/show.php?acts_id=1058

 

Review writer © Tremayne Miller

Aug 11th

Flashdance the Musical, Kings Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

 

80s revival musicals seem to come as frequently as downpours in August but this one is remarkably true to the original movie and has a rock solid cast to boot!  The bosses at Selladoor decided to launch this UK Tour in Glasgow and the local audience responded enthusiastically to this honour.

 

You can get a feel for the cultural impact of a movie by the number of times it is copied, mimicked or lampooned in other media.  With its iconic dance sequences, gritty characters and dark humour, Flashdance ticks all of the cult boxes … try typing Flashdance into Youtube to see what I mean!  So, a musical version of the movie might seem almost inevitable … but a successful conversion from celluloid to live theatre is far from certain and this revived production would have to work hard to match the grit of a tour almost 10 years ago.  Thankfully, the producers of Flashdance the Musical have not let us down.

 

At its heart, Flashdance is a story about achieving acceptance and respect.  By day, Alex (played by Strictly’s Joanne Clifton) is a female welder in “Steel Town” Pittsburgh working hard to be respected in the male dominated culture.  By night she is an exotic dancer in a ‘respectable’ joint.  She has aspirations to train at a dance conservatory but fears prejudice against her background.  Nick (played by pop icon, Ben Adams) is the son of her daytime boss.  He is immediately attracted to Alex but she has a rule about “dating the man who signs her pay cheques”.  This unlikely love affair is set against a gritty backdrop of mass unemployment, drug abuse and mobsters.

 

The musical avoids wallowing in its 80s roots by using down to earth costume and street language.  Matt Cole’s choreography adds real character to the piece with dazzling break dances contrasting well with ballet sequences.  Hairography was suitably present and even the slick scene changes were augmented with a dance accompaniment – sceneography?  Video projection was used effectively to change mood and depict thoughts feelings and dreams.  The score from Robbie Roth and Robert Cary develops character and helps to move the story along.  It has many changes from the last tour but still features original movie hits like “Maniac”, “Manhunt”, “Gloria” and “Flashdance - What A Feeling”.  The sound was suitably rocky and loud but sometimes overpowered the lyrics – especially in chorus numbers.

 

Onstage performances were superb throughout – although some minor characters suffered from a lack of consistency in accents.  Ben Adams really hit the high notes and delivered a convincing performance although, by the end of the evening, his signature nasal vocals did grate a little for me.  The entire cast showed impressive dance capability and, in some cases, eye watering flexibility!  The show was deservedly headlined, though, by leading lady Joanne Clifton who truly led from the front with her genuine triple threat skills on show.  You'd be a maniac to miss this.

 

Listings Information

Flashdance – The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Monday 7-Saturday 12 August

Mon-Sat eves, 7.30pm

Wed & Sat matinees, 2.30pm

Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) Calls cost up to 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (bkg fee)

 

 

TOUR DATES              

 

King's Theatre, Glasgow 04 AUGUST-12 AUGUST 2017

Empire Theatre, Sunderland 11 SEPTEMBER-16 SEPTEMBER 2017

New Theatre, Oxford 18 SEPTEMBER-23 SEPTEMBER 2017

Regent Theatre, Stoke 25 SEPTEMBER-30 SEPTEMBER 2017

New Theatre, Wimbledon 02 OCTOBER-07 OCTOBER 2017

Empire Theatre, Liverpool 16 OCTOBER-21 OCTOBER 2017

Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells 13 NOVEMBER-18 NOVEMBER 2017

Opera House, York 27 NOVEMBER-03 DECEMBER 2017

Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 04 DECEMBER-09 DECEMBER 2017

Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh 15 JANUARY-20 JANUARY 2018

Palace Theatre, Manchester 29 JANUARY-03 FEBRUARY 2018

Victoria Theatre, Woking 19 FEBRUARY-19 FEBRUARY 2018

Princess Theatre, Torquay 26 FEBRUARY-03 MARCH 2018

DeMontfort Theatre, Leicester 26 MARC-31 MARCH 2018

Theatre Royal, Brighton 09 APRIL-14 APRIL 2018

Hippodrome, Bristol 25 JUNE-30 JUNE 2018

Milton Keynes, Theatre 16 JULY-21 JULY 2018