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Jul 10th

Totally Tina @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Totally Tina

As the most successful Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner has received eleven Grammy Awards, including eight competitive awards and three Grammy Hall of Fame awards. With combined album and single sales of approximately 180 million copies worldwide, she’s sold more concert tickets than any other solo performer, reached No 17 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of greatest singers of all time and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  She’s currently working on a new musical based on her life called ‘Tina’.

Worldwide Event Productions have created a faithful representation of Tina Turner’s iconic shows as Totally Tina features a fantastic live band, authentic dance routines and lots of gorgeous costume changes throughout.  Voted the UK’s Official No 1 Tribute to Tina Turner by the Agents Association of Great Britain at the 2016 National Tribute Music Awards, Justine Riddoch morphs into Tina with incredible vocals, mannerisms, gestures and dancing.

Being a singer myself, I always admire tribute acts as I know just how hard they have to work to get the vocals right and you have to be a very accomplished singer to achieve success.  Justine has been in the business for over 26 years and in 2002 won ‘Stars in their Eyes’ as Anastacia and her  subsequent, ‘Justine is Anastacia’ show was in great demand.  As Anastacia’s sales waned, Justine realised it was time to reinvent herself again and set about transforming herself into Tina Turner.

The show that we now see has been honed to perfection and Justine is the ultimate entertainer, engaging the audience quickly, bantering with them and the band and owning the stage with her energy, presence and dynamic vocals.  All the biggest hits are covered from River Deep, Mountain High, Private Dancer, Steamy Windows, Nutbush City Limits, Proud Mary through to Simply the Best.  Justine looks absolutely stunning in a series of glorious sequinned dresses and impossibly high heels, that I haven’t a clue how she moved around the stage in, but I had serious shoe envy!  What a pair of pins she has too and lead guitarist Jimmy singing ‘Hot Legs’ was a perfect song choice, as Justine looks exactly like Tina in her mini dresses.

This really is a fantastic evening and you’d swear that you were watching the real Tina in action.  For further details of the show, with video clips and tour dates visit www.totallytina.co.uk

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

8.7.17

@yvonnedelahaye

 

 

 

May 31st

A Judgement in Stone @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

A Judgement in Stone Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

As a jobbing actor I know only too well that to be able to keep working in the business is extremely tough, particularly for middle-aged women when the unemployment rate is 95%!  The balance of male to female roles is about 3 to 1, so to find a play with several good roles for women is rare. Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, Bill Kenwright’s new  company The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, seeks to redress the balance with a new production adapted from one of the most celebrated works of the writer often hailed as the successor to Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone.

Rendell was first published in 1964 and was awarded a CBE in 1996. Her prolific output included film and TV as well as 80 novels and one of the genre’s most famous characters, Chief Inspector Wexford. Widely considered to be one of Rendell’s greatest works, A Judgement in Stone is loved for its brilliant rendering of character, plot and motive, and is undoubtedly Rendell at her thrilling best.

Featuring an all star cast, Sophie Ward (Young Sherlock Holmes; Heartbeat) stars as Eunice Parchman who struggles to fit in. When she joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper the very reason for her awkwardness, long hidden and deeply buried, leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood - on Valentine’s Day. Ruth Rendell’s brilliant plot unravels a lifetime of deceit, despair and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as ghastly as murder itself.

Attempting to solve the crime is Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street; The Bill), as Detective Superintendent Vetch, ably accompanied by Ben Nealon as Detective Sergeant Challoner, who gives a convincing performance as the observant side-kick.  Former 60s pop idol Mark Wynter plays the pompous George Coverdale, married to his second wife, Jacqueline (Rosie Thomson), who, with the two youngsters Giles (Joshua Price) and Melinda (Jennifer Sims), all meet a gruesome end.

The play opens with the arrival of the detectives, then features flashbacks as we meet all the characters in the days leading up to the crime.  There are lots of cross-over entrances and exits, which can be hard to follow at times, but generally it works.  Suspects Deborah Grant (Not Going Out; Bergarac) is very energetic as the bible-bashing Joan Smith, with Blue band-mate Antony Costa ‘givin’ it large’ as the ex-criminal gardener and Shirley Anne Field (The Entertainer; Saturday Night Sunday Morning) as the elderly cleaner usurped by the arrival of the new housekeeper.

The production is directed by Roy Marsden who is best known as an actor, particularly in his role as Commander Adam Dalgliesh in Anglia TV's P.D. James series, which he played for 15 years. His recent work for Bill Kenwright includes directing a UK tour of Susan Hill’s The Small Hand and the debut production for The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, Rehearsal For Murder.

If you enjoy a good ‘Whodunnit’ featuring actors you know, then this may appeal to you.  Personally, I found the play a bit too melodramatic at times, but to give Bill Kenwright his due he really does keep a lot of actors employed and continues to give audiences choices.

Performances at The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury:       

Tue 30 May – Sat 3 Jun

                                        Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed, Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm

Box Office:                         0844 871 7607 (Bkg fee. Calls 7p per min plus phone company’s access charge)

Groups Hotline:               0844 871 7614

Access Booking:               0844 871 7677 (Bkg fee)

Online Booking:               www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (Bkg fee)

 

A JUDGEMENT IN STONE - UK TOUR DATES 2017

Mon 5 – Sat 10 June                                                                          

Palace Theatre, Southend                                                                 

 

Mon 12 – Sat 17 June                                                                        

Derby Theatre, Derby                                                                       


Mon 19 – Sat 24 June                                                                        

Theatre Royal, Glasgow      

                                                               

Mon 26 June – Sat 1 July                                                                   

New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                                          


Mon 3 – Sat 8 July                                                                               

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

                                                    

Mon 10 – Sat 15 July                                                                          

Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate                                                          


Mon 17 – Sat 22 July                                                         
               

Regent Theatre, Stoke                                                                       

 

Mon 24 – Sat 29 July                                                                         

Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes                                           


Mon 31 July – Sat 5 August                                                               

Theatre Royal, Newcastle                                                                  

 

Tues 19 – Sat 23 September                                                             

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                                                              

 

Mon 25 – Sat 30 September                                                             

Orchard Theatre, Dartford                                                                

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

30.5.17

@yvonnedelahaye

May 11th

King of Pop - The Legend Continues

By Yvonne Delahaye

King of Pop - The Legend Continues Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

It’s an astonishing 8 years since the ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson died tragically from a drugs overdose, administered by his physician Conrad Murray who was subsequently charged with ‘involuntary manslaughter.’  The worldwide outpouring of grief at the loss of such an icon hadn’t been seen since Princess Diana’s death in 1997.  MJ was a singer, songwriter, dancer, producer and philanthropist whose contribution to music, dance and fashion made him a global superstar for over 40 years.  His album Thriller is still the best selling album of all time, selling over 65 million copies worldwide.

Tribute acts have to work incredibly hard to sound like the artist they’re portraying, but to also get the facial looks of MJ, Navi must have gone to extraordinary lengths to look like his idol.  MJ actually used Navi to promote albums/concerts or act as a decoy for him to avoid the relentless pursuit of press and fans.  MJ hired Navi to sing at two of his birthday parties and gave him a standing ovation, describing his performance as ‘incredible’, so that personal endorsement gives him the credibility fans crave to ensure MJ will never be forgotten.  Navi is regarded as the ‘World’s No 1 MJ Tribute’ and has been touring his MJ show for 28 years.

This tour features MJ’s incredible guitarist, Jennifer Batten, who toured with MJ on three sell-out world tours.  Initially hand-picked to play on the Bad tour, MJ was so impressed that she joined him on the road for the next 10 years, playing on his Dangerous and History tours to more than 4.5 million fans worldwide.

It was good to see families in the auditorium, with very small children who weren’t even born when MJ was alive.  The ages in the theatre looked as though they spanned eight decades, which is testament to the enduring, all encompassing appeal of his music.

Navi’s a good entertainer and engages the audience chatting to us throughout the show and making jokes.  There were clearly a few problems with his mic and ear piece in the first half, which meant he was a bit drowned out by the band, but thankfully those issues were all resolved in the second half.  Then we were able to really appreciate his vocals and feel we were actually watching a real MJ concert, as he sang some of my favourites Bad, Thriller, Black and White, Billie Jean, Man in the Mirror and the lovely You Are Not Alone with everyone on their feet clapping, singing and dancing along.

Opening the show could perhaps have been a bit more spectacular, to build some excitement and anticipation of Navi’s arrival rather than him just coming on from the side maybe some smoke, lights arriving from the back centre stage would be more effective. It would also have been good to see more of MJ’s iconic ‘Moondance’, but it didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment  and a good time was had by all!

For tour details and bookings go to. www.atgtickets.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

10.5.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Apr 27th

Jane Eyre @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Jane Eyre

Written by Charlotte Bronte and published in 1847, this tale of the eponymous heroine Jane Eyre, has frequently been adapted for film, radio, television and theatre, and has inspired a number of rewritings and reinterpretations.

Four years ago, Director Sally Cookson got the green light from Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, to devise a two-part version of this classic novel.  Sally says ‘the film’s portrayal of Jane has missed the point.  This is a clarion cry for equal opportunities for women, not a story about a passive female who will do anything for her hunky boss. I was struck by how modern Jane seemed – her spirit and strong will, her peculiar and brilliant mind striving for personal freedom to be who she is, lashing out against any constraint that prevents her from being herself.  She was exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.’

With the help of Mike Akers (dramaturg), Sally began the process of devising a new piece of theatre, focusing not only on the Jane/Rochester relationship, but Jane’s early years living with her spiteful aunt, being sent to a Christian school and her coming of age.  It took 8 weeks of collaboration with a group of actors to devise the two shows, enabling them to get to the heart of the story and characters in a theatrical way. 

Following the run of the two shows, the Artistic Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris invited them to take their version of the show to the NT.  They agreed to distil it into a single show, retaining its epic quality, but honing and tightening to make a more intense experience, which runs to around three and half hours with interval.  

Nadia Clifford, gives a powerful performance of emotional depth and insight in the title role.  The ensemble cast work their socks off to play a variety of roles, including a rather lovable dog who made me smile whenever I saw him.

The wooden set with a series of levels and ladders worked very well to represent the various locations throughout the show.  It’s certainly an exciting and innovative piece of theatre that captures your imagination, even if some of the devices appeared rather stagey.  The only few things I found jarred were Mr Rochester’s swearing when he first met Jane (not sure if that was in the book?!) and the decision to include Noel Coward’s song ‘Mad About the Boy’ and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, which both seemed out of place.

Jane Eyre runs at The Waterside until Saturday 29th, with further tour dates and booking details on:

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/jane-eyre-2017/

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

26/4/17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Apr 6th

I Capture the Castle at the Watford Palace Theatre, Watford

By Trevor Gent

 ‘First love, unrequited love, married love...’

Watford Palace Theatre, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Kevin Wallace Limited in association with Deborah Ward present a new British musical based on the novel by Dodie Smith. It tells the story through the eyes of seventeen year old narrator Cassandra, opening with the famous line: ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink..’

Cassandra (Cassie) is 17. She is trying to ‘capture’ her eccentric family in her new diary - her irritating elder sister Rose, her unconventional stepmother Topaz, her orphaned admirer Stephen, and her novelist father James, who hasn’t written a word in years.  They are behind with the rent for the tumbledown castle that seemed so romantic when they moved in. The roof is leaking, it never stops raining and the family is surviving on oatcakes and eggs. 

But the new landlord is a wealthy young American, with an attractive younger brother, and spring is in the air...

Set in the bohemian England of the 1930s, this warm and sharply funny coming-of-age story from the author of 101 Dalmatians is set to stunning original music by Steven Edis, with influences of swing, tango, beguine, English folksong and a hint of Cole Porter!

The Palace team have brought their trademark blend of emotional storytelling and physical theatre to this brilliant new musical, developed and premiered in Watford before going out on the road...

A very engaging and well written piece of theatre, the simple staging is effective with stairs and beams representing the interior of the castle, and curtain backdrops and clever use of props, sound and light effects depending on the mood and location of the scene. All this leaves you concentrating (and you will need to concentrate) on the actors themselves who all play their roles very well indeed. 

A very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Go along and see for yourselves!

 

Full Cast detail on this link:

https://watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/i-capture-the-castle/#meetthecast|rose&cassandra

Book and Lyrics by Teresa Howard

Music by Steven Edis

Directed by Brigid Larmour

Designer Ti Green

Movement Director Shona Morris

Musical Director Oli Jackson

Lighting Designer Mike Gunning

Sound Designer Nick Manning

 

Playing at:

Watford Palace Theatre from Friday 31st March until Saturday 22nd April.

Octagon Theatre, Bolton from Wednesday 16th April to Saturday 6th May.

Further tour dates to be announced.

Reviewed by Trevor Gent

Mar 30th

Thoroughly Modern Millie @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Thoroughly Modern Millie tickets

What a joy it is to see a good old fashioned musical, with sumptuous costumes, an incredible set, brilliant choreography, dancing, singing and acting.  This musical has them all in abundance and you cannot fail but to be captivated by its warmth, energy and humour.

Strictly come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton, proves that she’s a very talented ‘triple threat’ and gives a delightful performance as Millie.

It’s New York in 1922 and naive Millie Dillmount arrives from the small town of Kansas, immediately getting mugged and losing all her money.  She bumps into Jimmy Smith (Sam Barrett), who gives her the number of a hotel to stay in, where he says the landlady will be understanding of her predicament until she finds work.  All is not quite as it seems though, as the wicked landlady, Mrs Meers (brilliantly played by Lucas Rush) is actually selling her tenants into the white slavery trade, with great acrobatic support from Damian Buhagiar and Andy Yau as the Chinese boys charged with carrying out her evil deeds.

Being ‘thoroughly modern’ in the 1920s, meant that Millie was in search of a rich husband and sets her sights on her new boss, Mr Trevor Graydon (Graham MacDuff), who is oblivious to her charms.   Graham has a chance to shine in the second half, shamelessly over-playing being extremely drunk and getting a lot of laughs in the process.

Jenny Fitzpatrick, as Muzzy Van Hossmere, has the most amazing voice, as does Lotty Somers who stepped in to play Miss Dorothy and seized the chance to make her mark. 

Based on the 1967 film which was written as a vehicle for Julie Andrews and co-starred Mary Tyler Moore, the stage musical opened on Broadway on 2002 and went on to win 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  The West End version opened in 2003 and starred Amanda Holden, with Maureen Lipman and Marti Webb sharing the role of the devilish Mrs Meers. 

It’s glamorous, glitzy and glorious fun, and puts the ‘E’ back into ‘Entertainment!’

For tour dates and tickets please visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/thoroughly-modern-millie-2017

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

28.3.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye

Mar 24th

The Matt Monro Story @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Click for more details and to book tickets for The Matt Monro Story at Theatre Royal Brighton, Brighton

‘Surely you’re too young to remember Matt Monro?’ a lady asked me after the show.  I explained that my parents had been fans of ‘The Man with the Golden Voice’ and played his music a lot, so how could I not have fallen in love with that silky smooth voice?

The Matt Monro Story is not just a tribute to Britain’s answer to Frank Sinatra, it’s a very personal journey which has taken his son, Matt Monro Junior, 30 years to put together.  The show features him singing some of his father’s iconic songs ‘Born Free’, ‘Walk Away’, ‘Portrait of My Love’ to name but a few. 

Matt Monro Junior opens the show singing with a 3 piece band and then introduces Danni Bentley, who narrates the life story of Matt Monro Senior, to a backdrop of pictures and video footage.  Danni also has the chance to show off her beautiful voice singing ‘Yesterday’ and later duets with MMJunior. 

It’s a very interesting life story, as Matt Senior was born in Shoreditch in London in 1930 and was first noticed while serving in the British army in Hong Kong.  His singing career took a long time to really take off, as he worked his way around the clubs and his first few records failed to make a mark.  Strangely enough it was a Camay soap commercial that got his gorgeous voice noticed and his partnership with George Martin and EMI eventually gave him his first huge hit with ‘Portrait of My Love’.

Matt’s signature tune, ‘Born Free’, almost got cut from the film, but thankfully it was kept in and went on to win an Oscar for best song.  The first Bond film to feature a title song ‘From Russia With Love’ especially written for the film, was sung by Matt and set a trend which continues to this day.

Matt Monro achieved international fame, making albums in Spanish as well as English and in the Philippines he filled a stadium of 26,000 people and had to put on 4 more shows selling those out too.

Tragically, Matt Monro’s life and career were cut short as he developed liver cancer and he died in 1985 at the age of 54.

Frank Sinatra dubbed Matt ‘The singer’s singer’ and his rich, velvety voice is so effortless and full of emotion, I defy any singer not to be amazed at his natural, untrained skills with perfect breath control and phrasing.  His son admits that it’s impossible for him to compete and emulate his father, but it doesn’t matter as this touching, very personal celebration of the great singer is very moving. The video footage of Matt Monro Senior singing ‘Softly as I Leave You’ had me welling up, as it brought back memories of my dearly departed parents.  Whatever age you are, if you’ve never even heard of Matt Monro I urge you to listen to this track to hear something very extraordinary and special.  The show is very emotional and it’s a gentle evening of nostalgia for music lovers everywhere.

Further dates can be found http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-matt-monro-story/

Reviewed by:

 

Yvonne Delahaye

21.3.17

@yvonnedelahaye

Mar 21st

Northanger Abbey at the Theatre Royal Windsor

By Clare Brotherwood

The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds’ production of Jane Austen’s late 18th century novel may only have three backlit panels and a couple of benches to set the scene, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the performances of a young and vibrant company.

I was completely enthralled by the story of the teenage Catherine, who thinks life is like one of the Gothic novels she so loves to read. But through her adventures while taking the waters in Bath and her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, we see her develop and grow into an admirable young lady who, of course, looks set to live happily ever after.

It’s a wonderful part for a young actress, for though Catherine and her friends are somewhat immature and vacuous, she goes through so many changes, and Eva Feiler plays her so well, beginning as an awkward child and becoming a loving and lovable companion.

Eva not only has Jane Austen to thank for her role, but also accomplished writer Tim Luscombe, who has already adapted two of Jane Austen’s novels and manages to condense a classic with 30 characters into a play with only eight actors.

While retaining the essence of the book, he presents it as a lively, theatrical and often funny entertainment which has intrigued me enough to want to read the original. The characters walk, talk and act as if in the 1700s but they appear fresh and can easily be identified with young people today.

Joe Parker gets my vote as the most obnoxious, swaggering, selfish youth John Thorpe who lies through his teeth to get what he wants. Annabelle Terry lights up the stage with her vitality as Isabella but this so-called friend of Catherine’s soon shows her true colours as manipulative and selfish and I loved her petulant outbursts.

In complete contrast, Henry Tilney, the object of Catherine’s affections, and his sister Eleanor, are blonde, beautiful and sweet-tempered, and Harry Livingstone and Emma Ballantine play them to perfection. Quite the opposite is their father General Tilney, and Jonathan Hansler’s portrayal as a gruff, mean and selfish man would make him at home in any story of monsters.

Talking of monsters, the play sometimes reverts to scenes from Catherine’s favourite book, The Mysteries of Udolpho, as her imagination runs away with her, and this gives director Karen Simpson carte blanche to have a bit of fun. Melodrama rules as thunder bellows, lightning flashes, and strange, bent, hooded figures scurry around the stage wielding daggers.

Credit must also go to Mark Dymock who is kept pretty busy as lighting designer, and though I feel there is a little too much dancing, movement director Julie Cave certainly puts the members of the cast through their paces with authentic-looking dances of the day.

Northanger Abbey continues at the Theatre Royal Windsor until March 25

Box Office: 01753 853888

www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

The tour then continues:

April 3-6: Northcott Theatre, Exeter

April 1-13: Derby Theatre

May 2-6: New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

 

May 9-13: The Dukes, Lancaster

Mar 17th

Improbable Fiction

By Clare Brotherwood

Well, this production certainly isn’t run of the mill (excuse the pun). In fact, the best way to describe it is that it is weird and wonderful.

Alan Ayckbourn’s observational skills are legendary and turn mundane domestic lives into celebrated comedies. But his 69th play, first performed in 2005, couldn’t be wackier.

I really don’t want to give too much of the plot away as the element of surprise is electrifying. But it involves a writing group and the stories they are writing or the ideas they are having, however well or badly these are and however well or badly they are developing the characters.

It’s a stroke of genius.

I had looked upon the first act as an introduction to a group of rather mismatched, sad characters who all have crosses to bear.

Arnold, who is hosting the meeting while having his bedridden mother banging on the floor every so often, tries his best to keep everyone happy, but he’s got his work cut out, what with cynical Jess (Julie Teal), insecure Grace (Angela Sims), creepy Clem (Ben Porter), and volatile Brevis (Laurence Kennedy). Only vivacious Vivvi (Sarah Lawrie) and sweet Ilsa (Rhiannon Handy) lighten the proceedings. But it was as if they were all treading water and I knew it couldn’t continue. As the interval approached I wrote in my notebook ‘I have no idea what is to come’. And what does happen you could never imagine!

It’s a complicated piece for every member of this sterling cast. Only Andrew Bone remains the likeable but somewhat confused Arnold who, nevertheless, has to deal with events beyond anyone but Alan Ayckbourn’s imagination. Everyone has to work so hard in so many different areas, from playing different characters from different time zones, which means adopting different mannerisms and ways of speaking, to the quickest costume changes I’ve ever encountered. There isn’t even any respite for Matthew Biss on lighting.

I don’t know how long I’ve been reviewing at The Mill but it’s got to be around 15 years, so before I move to Edinburgh to continue reviewing and to be a theatrical landlady I had hoped my last visit would be particularly memorable. And thanks to Ayckbourn veteran, director Robin Herford and his amazing cast, it was. But then, the Mill’s productions usually are. People come from miles around (the couple sitting next to me had travelled 46 miles from Bicester) to experience the dinner theatre’s award-winning hospitality, and I wholeheartedly thank artistic director Sally Hughes, marketing and administration officer Vanessa Hicks and the rest of the staff for so many years of unadulterated pleasure.

Improbable Fiction is at The Mill at Sonning until May 6.

Box office: 0118 969 8000

 

www.millatsonning.com

Feb 28th

Round the Horne @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Round The Horne Tickets at Victoria Hall,

“Oh, Mr Horne! How bona to vada your dolly old eek!”

If you were around between 1965 to 1968, you may recognise this line from the biggest radio programme in Britain at the time, the ground-breaking Round the Horne.  For half an hour every Sunday afternoon, audiences of up to 15 million people would gather around the wireless to listen to Kenneth Horne and his merry crew get up to all sorts of mischief.

With its infamous movie spoofs and hilarious regular characters such as Rambling Sid Rumpo, Charles and Fiona, J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock and Julian and Sandy, Round the Horne was one of the biggest and best radio comedy shows of all time.  Over 50 years since it began it still earns new fans every year and with packed theatres around the country to see the tour, set in the BBC’s Paris Studios, its success is assured for years to come. 

This is the end of the 50th anniversary tour which has been running since 2015 with three U.K. tours and eight weeks in London. The cast were all excellent at recreating the iconic characters portrayed in the radio show, though Colin Elmer deserves a special mention for perfectly emulating  Kenneth Williams’ voice and mannerisms.

Kenneth Horne - Julian Howard McDowell

Kenneth Williams - Colin Elmer

Hugh Paddick - Alex Scott Fairley 

Betty Marsden - Eve Winters 

Douglas Smith - Alan Booty

SFX/Musician - Miles Russell 

The show was compiled, produced and directed by Tim Astley who set up Apollo Theatre Company in 2010, after graduating from Guildford School of Acting.

Personally, I didn’t know the radio shows so a lot was lost on me, but the almost full theatre whooped at familiar lines and characters they recognised.  What I loved, as an actor myself, was that all of the actors seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves which made me wish I was up there with them!  We certainly need to see more comedy on stage and it’s a compliment to the clever writing of Barry Took and Marty Feldman that it still works to this day.

The tour ends on 1st March at The Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.  Tim Astley says ‘It is entirely possible that we may produce a 'Round the Horne' show again in the future but for now there are no immediate plans.’

For further details of all their productions, go to www.apollotheatrecompany.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

27.2.17

 

@yvonnedelahaye