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Dec 20th

The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas

By Trevor Gent

Last night my guest and I enjoyed a Christmas treat with The Rat Pack - Live from Last Vegas at the Haymarket theatre in London (from January 9th to Saturday 3rd February 2018 it will be The Rat Pack - Live From Las Vegas celebrating Ella Fitzgerald’s centenary).


The celebrated West End production of the Olivier Award-nominated The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas, returns to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket – which was its home for its first West End run in 2003 - for a strictly limited season from Wednesday 13 December - Saturday 3 February.

The cast features Garrett Phillips as Frank Sinatra, Nigel Casey (Dean Martin), David Hayes (Sammy Davis Jr), with Joanna Walters, Amelia Adams-Pearce, Rebecca Parker and Laura Darton as The Burrelli Sisters.

Musical Director of the 12-piece Rat Pack Big Band is Matthew Freeman.

Nicola Emmanuelle will also join the show from Tuesday January 9 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald. Songs featured in this special edition of the production will include Night and Day, The Lady is a Tramp, Mack the Knife and S’Wonderful.

From 13 December to 6 January, The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas - devised, directed and choreographed by Mitch Sebastian - will have a Christmas theme with the Pack’s unique take on such festive classics as Baby It’s Cold Outside, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.

The original show updated

At the start of the 1960s, The Rat Pack led by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. were the toast of Las Vegas. With the world’s rich and famous jetting in to see them joke around and sing some of the finest songs ever written, the guys also starred together in a series of glamorous Hollywood films, set fashion trends, rubbed shoulders with the US President, politicians and mobsters... and partied hard as the coolest cats on the planet. The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas recreates that special time. Prepare to drift back in time to an era of glitzy nights spent on the Vegas strip in the company of three of the world’s most popular entertainers. This spectacular production - with a very special Christmas theme until 6 January - celebrates the incredible singing talent of three world-famous entertainers and performers and some of the finest music and song that has ever been recorded. Frank, Sammy and Dean are once again performing in the world-renowned Copa Room at the famous Sands Hotel, supported by the fabulous Burrelli Sisters and The Rat Pack Big Band in a critically acclaimed show that clocked up over 1,000 West End performances on its West End premiere. Frequently imitated but never bettered, The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas features hit after hit, including Pack favourites The Lady is a Tramp, Mr Bojangles, That’s Amore, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, What Kind of Fool Am I?, Volare, My Way, Candyman, Everybody Loves Somebody and many, many more. If you wish you’d swung with the hardest partying pack in town, now’s your chance!


With the arrival of Frank on the stage the show swings straight into action and flows smoothly as we meet Sammy and then Dean. Filled with fun and laughter, not to forget a song or two, this will have you head nodding, knee and foot (and whatever else) twitching along with tunes you will know. You may even be tempted to sing along with some too.

The three main cast members were all superb and smoked and drank their way through the show (with the odd joke or two) engaging with the audience well.

The experience was slightly affected by a couple of rather inebriated girls in the row in front of us who swayed, chatted and whooped throughout, and a loved up couple next to them who maybe should have just got a room instead of going to see the show?

Nevertheless well worth a visit to see this show so catch it if you can.

Post London dates are detailed below. Enjoy and Happy Christmas!

The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas is produced by Paul Walden & Derek Nicol for Flying Entertainment & TRH Productions

Following the West End season, The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas
featuring Ella Fitzgerald Centenary Celebration will play:

Tuesday 6 - Saturday 10 February
Glasgow King’s Theatre

Tuesday 13 - Saturday 17 February
Liverpool Empire Theatre

Tuesday 20 - Saturday 24 February
Manchester Opera House

Tuesday 27 February - Saturday 3 March
Edinburgh Playhouse

Tuesday 6 - Saturday 10 March
Eastbourne Devonshire Park Theatre

Tuesday 13 - Saturday 17 March
Sunderland Empire Theatre

Tuesday 20 - Saturday 24 March
Cardiff New Theatre

Tuesday 27 - Saturday 31 March
Birmingham Alexandra Theatre

Monday 2- Saturday 7 April
Dublin Gaiety Theatre

Thursday 12- Saturday 14 April
Belfast Waterfront Hall

Tuesday 17- Saturday 21 April
Woking New Victoria Theatre

Tuesday 24 - Saturday 28 April
Blackpool Grand Theatre

Tuesday 1 - Saturday 5 May
Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

Tuesday 8 - Saturday 12 May
Darlington Hippodrome

Monday 14 - Saturday 19 May
Dartford Orchard Theatre

Tuesday 22 – Saturday 26 May
Bath Theatre Royal

Tuesday 29 May – Saturday 2 June
Crawley The Hawth

Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 June
York Grand Opera House


Nov 8th

The Nutcracker - Vienna Festival Ballet at Theatre Royal, Windsor

By Kate Braxton

The Nutcracker has long been the ballet of choice for Christmas. Tchaikowsky’s world-famous masterpiece is an enchanting tale set in a winter wonderland of twinkly lights, snowy peaks and includes a trip to a magical Kingdom of sweets.  What’s not to like, for all the family?!

The highly popular Vienna Festival Ballet begins its touring production of the classic this week in Windsor, where we join a Christmas Eve party for Clara and her brother, Fritz. Their mysterious uncle – a bit of a magician -  brings a special toy soldier doll (Nutcracker) for Clara, which at midnight, he transforms into a handsome Prince.  Clara finds herself amidst a nightmarish war between giant mice and the toy soldiers. She saves the Prince from the Mouse King and they journey onward to the Kingdom of Snow as we head into the interval.

Founded in 1980 by world-renowned Austrian dancer, Peter Mallek, Vienna Festival Ballet devise a beautifully classical show. The scenic backdrops are simple, yet effective. The costumes capture imagination through dream-like softly coloured hues and the choreography is traditionally styled.

I'm a great fan of the tableaux and realistic life-scenes that the company creates. This is well displayed during the Act 1 party setting where the ensemble characters come to life, expose personality and draw us into the scene. Naomi Solomon’s slippered shape-throwing as Grandmother is a treat.  The individual dances are also delivered with passion, although there is missing chemistry between some dance pairings, with the exception of Jodie McKnight as Clara, and Ashley Selfe as The Nutcracker. They are well-matched and have evident mutual respect.

In Act II, The Nutcracker Prince escorts Clara to The Kingdom of Sweets where they dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Casey Pereira delivers the classic solo dance with sweet control, well supported by Dean Rushton as her Cavalier.

My favourite sequence is the celebration of sweets from around the world; chocolate from Spain, tea from China, coffee from Arabia etc, we have the Trepak dance from Russia and a Waltz of the Flowers. It provides the opportunity for classical ballet to be taken to different levels, and demonstrate the versatility of the dance form to ballet newcomers. Vienna Festival Ballet’s style might have been a notch more contemporary at this juncture, but it is the artistic director’s choice to present with tradition at the fore. The Arabian and Trepak dances were the delight for me, but each to their own colourfully-wrapped picking.

And this is what The Nutcracker allows; there is something for everyone, thanks, in some way, to the ‘Strictly’ factor. So if Widow Twanky’s become a bit Wishee Washee for your family, consider The Nutcracker for a highly touching festive experience.

The Nutcracker runs at Theatre Royal Windsor from 6th - 11th November 2017

For tickets call Box Office: 01753 853 888

For details of tour, go to









Sep 11th


By Kirstie Niland

Until Saturday 16th September, Blackpool Opera House

The Tony award-wining musical Spamalot has kicked off its national tour in Blackpool - and it's funnier than the black death.

Lovingly ripped off from the hugely successful 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this spammier than ever brand-new show from Selladoor Productions is a riotous comedy full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen. Join King Arthur as he travels with his hapless Knights of the Round Table on a divine mission to locate the illusive Holy Grail – with uproarious consequences.

Spamalot was the winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best New Musical, while it enjoyed a victorious West End run. This hilarious show was written by Python legend Eric Idle, who has been entertaining the British public for over 50 years. The funnyman also wrote the score alongside John DuPrez, famous for his work on Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life amongst a host of other big-name scores.

Michael Williams, Managing Director at the Winter Gardens Blackpool comments “ We are delighted to be staging the opening performances of the brand new tour of the much loved musical Spamalot. The musical joins an eclectic mix of events at the Winter Gardens Blackpool which truly offers something for everyone.”

The new tour is produced by the award winning Selladoor Productions and Mercury Theatre Colchester. Selladoor’s recent tours include Footloose, American Idiot, Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors.

With comic tunes including Brave Sir Robin, We’re Knights of the Round Table and perennial favourite Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Spamalot audiences are sure to be dancing in the aisles. 

Book tickets at Blackpool Opera House here.

Full tour details here.

Photographs courtesy of Winter Gardens Blackpool

Sep 3rd

How the Other Half Loves - Alan Ayckbourn (Theatre Royal Windsor & UK Tour)

By Kate Braxton

It was Bill Kenright who produced the first UK tour of this hit comedy in 1973. This week, with 44 years of mileage, he waves it off on a new run from Windsor following an acclaimed West End revival.  

Its success as a work today proves Ayckbourn’s entertainment value to be timeless.  Although the language, social status commentary and hard-wired telephone props tie it to the late Sixties/early Seventies, the underlying human traits strike today’s virtual chord good and clearly.

The action involves 3 couples of varying age and standing, and both Bob Phillips and William Featherstone are employed by Frank Foster. At the centre of the piece, Frank is tirelessly trying to fathom out what is going on around him. Although he fails to see it, his own wife Fiona is having an affair with Bob, who is in constant conflict with his wife Teresa who feels neglected while raising their baby and is suspicious of his behavior.

The contrasting relationships here help the audience to follow the intertwined plot: one polite, evasive and ‘listening-not-listening’, the other screamy-shouty Corrieastenders styley and we cleverly find ourselves in both living rooms at once, experiencing two different home lives in full simultaneous flow.

A third couple, William and Mary Featherstone, are essentially used as alibis surrounding the affair and both Bob and Fiona have sworn their respective spouses to secrecy over the rumoured red herring infidelities of the innocent couple. All a bit of a ‘Whodunnit?(Ooer)’ for Frank.

The first act culminates in a brilliantly choreographed dinner table scene, which is actually two parties happening on successive nights, with The Featherstones attending each one. Genius!

Robert Daws is exquisite as the flummoxed Frank. He, with Caroline Langrishe as wife, Fiona, provide rich comic artistry and stage experience, along with glorious performances from Matthew Cottle, reprising his role of William from the West End and Sara Crowe’s hilariously awkward Mary. 

Leon Ockenden, best known for his role of Will Chatterton in Coronation Street strides onto the stage with a pec-load of presence, and Charlie Brooks’ Teresa is brash and feisty. While both will appeal to the popular soap audiences, their appreciation of Ayckbourn’s comedy is noticeably less mature than the other actors.  


Director, Alan Strachan has worked alongside Ayckbourn for many years, and the depth of his appreciation of the piece is reflected in its slick coordination.  This is a very challenging play to direct, with two scenes taking place simultaneously, and in his own words, “it’s one of the most difficult I’ve ever come across. The concentration required is just extraordinary.” Yet he makes it look easy. 

To top off the enjoyment of the show, Theatre Royal Windsor has just had a full interior refurbishment in partnership with paint and decoration specialists, Farrow & Ball.  However, the dominating delight of this play is in its quickfire action and reaction, so any of the tour venues deserve to have a full house.

How the Other Half Loves runs at Theatre Royal Windsor from 30 Aug - 9 Sept 2017

Booking: 01753 853 888

For full UK tour details see





Jul 12th

The Wedding Singer (the Hilarious Musical based on the Hit Film) at the Wycombe Swan.

By Trevor Gent


Wedding Singer

Well I must be one of the few people who never saw this film when it came out! It was mostly because I was not a fan of Adam Sandler from his previous efforts on screen. However, this fact did not detract from my enjoyment of this very entertaining musical. Whilst the audience took their seats there was a screen on stage showing 1980’s film clips including, Rambo, Back to the Future, Weird Science and even Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan.

It’s 1985. Hair is huge, greed is good and rock-star wannabe Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) is New Jersey's favourite wedding singer fronting the band ’Simply Wed’. When his own fiancée dumps him at the altar a seriously mixed up Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own.

Can sweet natured Julia (Cassie Compton) and her best friend Holly (Lucie Jones) lure Robbie out of the dumpster and back into the limelight?  Or is he going to see her head off down the aisle with Wall Street bad boy Glen (Ray Quinn). Only Grandma Rosie (Ruth Madoc) seems to be able to see that Robbie and Julia are the couple that are meant to be.


I won’t go through the whole storyline as you need to experience this yourself but it’s a feel good story with some rocky moments along the way.

There are many good musical numbers, my favourites ‘It’s your Wedding Day’, ‘Casualty of Love’ with some Thriller Video type dance moves, ‘Right in Front of Your Eyes’ and ‘Single’ There is even a bit of Rap from Rosie which went down well with the audience.

Rosie Rap

The cast were wonderful and there are lots of laughs too. Apart from the main characters my favourite has to be the drunk bridegroom and the bar drunk (I think played by the same person). If you are looking for entertainment this is certainly one to see and I may just go out and rent the film on DVD too!


Full cast list on this link



Music by Matthew Sklar

Book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy

Lyrics by Chad Beguelin 

Based upon the New Line Cinema film Written by Tim Herlihy 

Directed and Choreographed by Nick Winston 

Performances by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Ltd



Future tour dates listed below:


Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 July.

Box Office: 01494 512 000

High Wycombe, Swan Theatre                                         



Monday 17 – Saturday 22 July                                           

Box Office: 0114 249 6000

Sheffield, Lyceum Theatre                                                    



Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 July                                                    

Box Office: 01492 872000

Llandudno, Venue Cymru                                                           



Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 August                                                  

Box Office: 020 3285 6000

Bromley, Churchill Theatre                                                     



Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 August                                                

Box Office: 01752 267222

Theatre Royal, Plymouth                                                             



Tuesday 22 – Saturday 26 August                                             

Box Office: 0844 848 2700

Leeds Grand Theatre                                                          



Tuesday 29 August – Saturday 2 September                          

Box Office: 0844 871 7650

Theatre Royal Brighton                                                                



Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 September                                           

Box Office: 01892 530613

Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall Theatre                         



Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 September                                      

Box Office: 01743 281281

Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn                                                    



Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 September                                      

Box Office: 01792 475715

Swansea, Grand Theatre                                                         



Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 September                                     

Box Office: 023 9282 8282

Portsmouth, King’s Theatre                                                   



Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 October                                                

Box Office: 01902 429212

Wolverhampton, Grand Theatre                                               



Reviewed by Trevor Gent

11th July 2017


May 10th

Miss Meena and the Masala Queens at Watford Palace Theatre.

By Trevor Gent

Dazzling saris, grand Bollywood lip-sync dance numbers and adoring fans are now a distant memory for Miss Meena. The once famous drag queen has lost his sparkle and like his nightclub is washed up and out of date. The punters have gone and whilst the other drag queens are strutting high heels elsewhere, property developers are circling like vultures waiting for Miss Meena to give up the lease on the run down club. 

A new arrival brings a glittery rainbow of hope. But just as things are starting to look up for Miss Meena, a visitor from the past questions everything he stands for. The action is set in and around a drag nightclub for young Asian men in Birmingham. Although not a musical there is music and dancing in this colourful production.

The pressure of family loyalties and commitments are laid bare and cause confusion in various characters but primarily in Miss Meena (aka Abdul) and also Shaan, the 19 year old run away he takes in from the street seeing similarities from his own family situation.


Miss Meena and Shaan

It is sometimes slow and disjointed but there is humour and you really root for the two aspiring drag queens (rather unkindly nicknamed Pinky and Perky by Munni). This character has a few ideas of his own and takes advantage after the death of Miss Meenas father. This event closes the first act and leaves you feeling a bit flat.

The second act opens with the funeral and Abdul (Miss Meena) guilt ridden.  He tries to make amends and even agrees to an arranged marriage but with support from his friends at the club and eventually even his brother he returns to the club and starts again.

Essentially this is a story about having the courage to be who you are and it even throws in ‘I am what I am’ from La Cage Aux Folles in the glitzy finale. The mainly Asian audience enthusiastically applauded and were obviously familiar with the songs and dances but this may not suit everyone.


Miss Meena Dance 

Playing at:

Watford Palace Theatre from 5th to 13th May.

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry from 16th to 20th May.

Greenwich Theatre, London from 24th to 27th May.

Theatre Royal, Windsor from 30th May to 3rd June

NST Campus Southampton from 6th to 10th June

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds from 13th to 17th June.


Reviewed by Trevor Gent

Photos Credited to David Fisher

Mar 8th

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

By Kate Braxton

This week, Bill Kenright’s touring production of the classic Lloyd-Webber sing-along colours the stage at Theatre Royal, Windsor with cute Geordie X Factor winner, Joe McElderry, as the eponymous biblical hero. Since everything about this show - including Joe and the score - is pretty short and sweet, so shall I be.

It’s a bold, vibrant and slick production. Immense credit goes to lighting and stage designers Nick Richings and Sean Cavanagh, whose collaboration shapes a versatile creative solution inspired by the pyramids, for a wide range of theatre houses; a handsome, smart, touring work of art.

Joe’s astonishingly pitch-perfect and true recording voice beautifully captures the honesty of the character. There’s no wild choreography to rattle his vocal cage, however he does give us an unexpected accent which may be acceptable in certain parts of Berkshire. But I like that. It injects a bit of human accessibility to the otherwise untouchably masterful voice that won him the coveted X Factor title. Nothing is left ajar by his rendition of Close Every Door to Me.

A fitting compliment to Joe’s central performance is the casting of a female narrator. Lucy Kay has a challenging part to sing, and some required screeching provides a raw, contemporary slant to the otherwise slightly unadventurous interpretation of the musical.  It has the overall feel of a necessarily wholesome matinée affair, very well done.

Lewis Asquith provides a noteable character performance as the Butler, and of the brothers, Darren Charles’ Asher is the most dynamic to watch.

Alex Stewart’s costumes are an inspired blend with the overall creative approach, although I couldn’t take my eyes off Joe’s Ugg boots. Who’d have thought it, in Canaan? And without a doubt, the closing medley enables the musical direction to shine, wrapping the show up with all the clap’n'singalongability a family could ask for. From someone who hates the show with a passion, it’s a thoroughly pleasing night out.  

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat runs at Theatre Royal Windsor until 11th March 2017.

For information of current national tour dates, visit


Feb 16th

Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures at Richmond Theatre & Touring

By Kate Braxton

The popularity of dance for the British public has soared over the past 10 years, thanks to the foresight and insight of a singular BBC television show. Yet long before this, a singular individual was shaping the future of accessible, popular dance hailed in Britain, for audiences across the globe.

Marking the 30th anniversary of his own dance company, the current touring production of Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures demonstrates with joyful celebration and unique, comfy-in-its-own-skin movement, why he is referred to as ‘Britain’s favourite choreographer’. Bourne is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, a five-time Olivier Award winner, and the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical. And the affection for his work is alive in every one of the company dancers in this production, who, if they were honest, are close to heaven under Bourne’s masterful direction, such is the show’s overriding authentic sense of joy.

This triple bill of succinctly-crafted works - Watch with Mother, Town and Country and The Infernal Galop feels as relevant today as to an audience when it ws first performed in the 1980’s. Bourne’s wide-reaching and lasting appeal works through a fusion of touching and wit-led story-telling, bringing nostalgic scenic tableaux to life in a captivating, timeless style.

The eras depicted in the pastiche scenes are merely vehicles for commentary on basic human limitations and foibles at the hest of community social mores. And Bourne has the ability to elicit bursts of belly laugh through pithy, perfectly-timed visual gags, ranging from a duo of country bumpkins clog dance which we are led to believe may never end, to the sombre funeral procession of a glove puppet hedgehog. It’s fun-poking joy, with occasional life-based sinister undertones. But laughter at human imperfection is at the core, as Bourne’s sublime command of timing facilitates quite personal connections with the audience through identification.

The visual backdrops and wardrobe are generally hard to get emotional about. The scenes of all three works have echoes of absurdist theatre; surreal, painted backdrops offsetting larger-than-life facial expressions, borderline grotesque characterisation wrapped up in some Brechtian alienation effect.

Joie de vie fills the stage from start to finish. It is timeless, proud and completely at ease with itself. Anybody wishing to experience a living stagecraft master at work should not miss his Early Adventures. And all that for a man who started dancing at 22, when most young wannabees have retired through injury. Class of his own.

Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures is currently touring the UK until 12th April 2017. For further information, see


Nov 9th

The Bob Dylan Story at Theatre Royal, Windsor

By Kate Braxton

My perfect Sunday evening is one of mindless, unchallenging nothingness. So, this Sunday, my friend John decides to break the calm and whisk me to Theatre Royal, Windsor for the opening night of The Bob Dylan Story: a brand new musical tribute to the ‘controversial’ winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature and political, socialist, painter, philosopher, songwriting genius. All fairly unchallenging so far, then.

John can cite Dylan’s last public utterance. I am afraid of Dylan, because I’ve never felt brave enough to ‘go there’. But there I am, I don’t know why, and according to John, the answer is Blowin’ in the Windsor royal stalls.

The Bob Dylan Story opens with this familiar 1962 crowd-pleaser and we are immediately introduced to the raw, solo guitar and harmonica reed-play of Bill Lennon, ‘re-creating Dylan’ for the evening. As a performer, he is exposed and vulnerable on the large proscenium stage. He has unfathomable, road-worn shoes to fill – with that surname, to boot - yet there is something about his nerve that glints promise from the outset.

This ‘story’ has a basic, guided narrative and a crude screen-show of news bytes shaping the social and political landscapes at time of Dylan’s writing; essentially a bit of a helping hand into one hell of a brain. Frankly, the production values are a little shabby for such big messages, but the unwavering intention from this show’s creators, 4th Street Entertainment, is to make it “all about the music”, giving us a platform to experience both the Dylan electric concert sound and repertoire as authentically as possible. They unenviably go on to condense 37 studio albums into 2 hours and 25 fairly-timed tracks. That is already one fine and crucial score in the vinyl.

Most of the song choices are classics that a John might expect, although we hear little past 1975 bar Make You Feel My Love on the piano, so you could argue a large chunk of the story is missing, or perhaps, to be added as this new show evolves. Dylan’s wide range of genre influences are rolled out; Times They Are A-Changin’, All Along The Watchtower, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Song To Woody, Blonde on Blonde, Like A Rolling Stone, Subterranean Homesick Blues and Mighty Quinn are but a few pickings. Particularly delightful to my un-Dylanised ears are their renditions of Hurricane, Tangled Up In Blue, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and this band relishes Lay, Lady, Lay as if they had conceived it. John agrees, but tells me that some of the stuff which has more complex instrumentation in the original recordings doesn’t work so well. Thank you, John.

Although a bad throat is referenced on the night, it is clear that Bill Lennon plays Dylan with apparent ease and conviction, but the show is a generously shared experience with his band who have been cherry-picked for chemistry and ability to be true to Dylan’s sound. Musical Director, Bass Player and Vocalist, Dan Grant ensures they are exquisitely tight. Jim E Williams adds huge colour on drums, Adam Bridges lovingly massages the celestial vibration of that organ, as Keith Forde’s electric guitar completes the round sound. The collaboration certainly works.

My overall gripe would be that the slack consideration given to lighting and multimedia elements doesn’t match the show’s vision for an ambient, ‘transported back-to-the-day’ concert, although Windsor Theatre, for its set up and acoustics, is great for any one night only gig. Hopefully the finessing of these production values will follow the achieved, authentic sound.

The Bob Dylan Story is a joy-laden introduction for the Dylanewbie and a fire-up of passion for the Dylanatic. Next time I protest at breaking my Sunday routine, I won’t think twice, it’s all right. There probably is no perfect Sunday, anyway.


Reviewed by Kate Braxton


The Bob Dylan Story is now touring until November 2017. For more information and a full list of dates/locations, see:


For more information on Sunday evening events and full theatre listings at Theatre Royal, Windsor, see:


For further information on The Bob Dylan Story or similar concerts, see:


Sep 24th

FOOTLOOSE Cuts Loose on a Brand New National Tour!

By Cameron Lowe




Worldwide smash hit musical Footloose: The Musical will burst back onto the stage in 2016 in a major new UK Tour.


Based on the 1984 screen sensation starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose: The Musical tells the story of city boy Ren, who has to move to a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. Featuring classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let's Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track, Footloose: The Musical is set to take the world by storm once again in this brand new production, bursting with youthful spirit, dazzling dance and electrifying music. 


When the film was released in 1984, it became the highest-grossing February release in US film history.  The soundtrack album ended the year-long reign of Michael Jackson’s Thriller at number one and went on top album charts all over the world, eventually selling in excess of 17 million copies.  Footloose was nominated for a Golden Globe, and both the title song and Let’s Hear It for the Boy received Academy Award nominations. Footloose: The Musical first opened on Broadway in 1998 where it ran for 709 performances, with a London production following in 2006, opening at the Novello Theatre following a UK Tour. 


Gareth Gates will play Willard. Gareth rose to fame through the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2001, going on to sell over 5 million records worldwide and have hits across the globe. His version of Unchained Melody sold over a million copies in the UK and is the 3rd best-selling single of the Noughties. Gareth is also the youngest ever-male solo artist to debut at number 1. More recently Gareth has enjoyed a successful career on stage, with credits including Les Misérables, Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. In 2014 Gareth appeared in the final series of Dancing on Ice, and joined boyband 5th Story as part of ITV’s second series of The Big Reunion, touring arenas with bands including Blue and Five.


Gareth Gates said: “I have been so lucky to perform in some of the greatest musicals over the years, from Joseph to Les Misérables and Legally Blonde, and I am so excited that Footloose will be my next. It’s such a high energy show full of incredible dance and music, and this brand new tour is going to be a fresh and exciting new take on it.


Further casting and tour dates to be announced.