08th August 2009
Posted in: theatre
Just to follow up from see tickets “Jospeh” gaffe of October 08 (http://www.theatrekat.net/?p=47)..
July saw them emailing about a special offer on the stage version of that well known classic “Dirty Dancig”
I wonder what’s going to be next….
To anyone from the Toxie site reading this - it’s another one with some of Christopher Jahnke’s orchestrations.
To anyone else, I loved the original Bristol production, I loved the London production, and I love the UK tour.
Yes, there are differences - there has to be to make it tourable - but the overriding principals of a Cameron Mackintosh production remain. The set is spectacular, with lots of breathtaking moments where you wonder just how they did that. The casting is practically perfect - we got the understudy Mary, but she was still brilliantly cast with an amazing voice and jaunty confidence the role requires.
The music is gorgeously orchestrated, and and songs a mixture of old favourites and seamlessly integrated new ones. The story keeps you captivated throughout and the characters are all developed to give you a sense of empathy towards all their journeys.
I took my mum, dad and fiance to see it - and they all loved it.
The main differences between this and earlier productions is the new “hand drawn” style - the house is a black and white pencil/charcoal drawing, and the park also has this feel (but in colour). The costumes from Jolly Holiday have also changed - and look even more colourful and amazing. And Anything Can Happen If You Let It has changed AGAIN! The ladders are still gone, but the sparkly mushroom has been replaced by a huge parrot umbrella that looks cool.
Definitely worth seeing - so many magical moments!
David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) also appeared in The Pillowman at the National, circa 2003. This was a FANTASTIC performance and play - as I may have mentioned, it was only when I saw realised that the guy playing Doctor Who was the guy from The Pillowman that I agreed to watch Doctor Who. It’s a really really twisted play, but the writing and performance were incredibly compelling.
Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor) was recently on stage with Christian Slater in Swimming With Sharks. As Chrisitan Slater’s Apprentice, Guy, he didn’t really blow me away, but playing the Doctor will be a completely different challenge.
John Barrowman (Captain Jack) has been in theatre since leaving Saturday morning tv. Most notable would be as Cal in The Fix (very awesome CD) and Jack Ross in A Few Good Men with Rob Lowe (ROB LOWE!!!!!!!). He’s also done lots of muscials - Miss Saigon, Anything Goes, Beauty and the Beast. Theatrekat hopes he’ll do lots lots more.
Billie Piper (Rose) was in Treats, where she met now husband Laurence Fox. It was watcheable, but not great.
Catherine Tate recently finished in nder the Blue Sky. Freema Agyeman hasn’t done anything that I know of, but would love to see her on stage.
Burn Gorman (Owen, Torchwood) is currently in Oliver! and Naoko Mori (Toshiko, Torchwood) had a brief stint in Avenue Q. Zoe Wannamaker (Cassandra, the last human) is often on stage, last seen by theatrekat in the great His Girl Friday, at the National.
Jenna Russell (Floor Manager, Bad Wolf) and Daniel Evans (2005 Xmas Special) starred together in the Olivier award winning Sunday in the Park With George, at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Jenna was also awesome in Guys and Dolls (and sang the theme tune to Red Dwarf). Daniel also directed Lovely Evening/InThe Blue at Theatre 503.
And finally Noma Dumezweni (Captain Erisa Magambo, Turn Left) from the Young Vic’s production of A Raisin in the Sun.
Theatrekat hopes they all continue to take to the stage and keep it free from alien invasion in the future
Theatrekat was one of the privileged few Londoners who got to see the current Doctor Who, David Tennant, in his final performance as Hamlet at the Novello.
Obviously this isn’t a review that can inspire anyone to go see the show, as it’s closed, so you’d need a TARDIS or alternative means of time travel. But it was a noteworthy production, and a strong performance from a very talented actor and so worthy of a post.
General reviews were that David was a good Hamlet before his back operation, but came back as a truly great Hamlet. He was pretty awesome the night we saw it, other than one or two missed cues or slightly mistimed lines. He brought to the role the same level of enthusiasm, intelligence and physical acting that he uses as the Doctor to bring to life the mental anguish of Hamlet.
The supporting cast (including Patrick Stewart) were also incredibly strong, making the language incredibly easy to follow, and really bringing the play to life. There was a touch of irritating Shakespearean singing to add authenticity - and the hey nonny nonnys, swords and suits of armour did slightly clash with the helicopter, jeans and tshirts. The set was pretty basic, and themed around mirrors/reflection and fit the action well.
Also check out: Doctor Who fans may be interested to note that most of the cast have trod the Boards of the West End, so there’s plenty available.Highlights following in the next post!
I was so excited about this show. I saw the original in London, and loved it, so saw it again. And then again when it transferred theatre, and when it changed cast, and the last night in London. Only a year ago, I saw the Mountview students production of it at the Albany theatre. The show was largely responsible for me working in the theatre industry. I was fascinated by the way it evolved over time and it was one of my all-time favourite musicals,. I say “was” because the current tour is a horrific mutation of the original show.
Almost every highlight of the show has been replaced, lost or destroyed.
The magic of the three witches flying over the audience is gone - they fly, or bob above the stage a bit - and aren’t even lit whilst doing so. Lighting was a problem at other points aswell - most niticeably the beginning, where the Little Girl was in darkness, and various points where the Witches weren’t quite in the right lights.
The set is unimaginitive, the crew can’t even be bothered to ensure pieces move in a coordinated fashion (the three houses were lifted out at varying times and speed and it was obviously not intentional), and key pieces are missing - I completely fail to understand why, if a semi professional production managed to achieve the cherries/disposal unit scene, a national tour can not.
The cast are poor. I sense that the budget was blown on Marti Pellow, and the producers couldn’t afford anyone else with any significant talent. Sure, some of them have West End credentials, but the three Witches are pretty interchangeable if you swap their wigs. There’s none of the spellbinding harmonies of the original cast, no motherly, feisty Lucie Arnaz, or prim and precise Joanna Riding, or feathery and incredibly funny Maria Friedman. Felicia is just scary, Michael had a good voice but the wrong physique, and Marti Pellow was truly appalling. He lacked charisma and authority, his voice lacked power, and he played the role like a simpering wannabe Phantom (please please never let him near that show).
The original script had a lot of great songs, and incredible humour. Most have been cut, and those that remain are delivered with a lack of subtely, nuance or comic timing. There’s no Who’s The Man, Loose End, I Love A Little Town or Eye of the Beholder. Even Who’s The Man replacement Glory of Me has gone. In place are some drivel about wildest dreams, being Darryl van Horne and a badly annunciated reprise of the once great Dance With The Devil.
The show’s humour I can’t remember word for word - but Clyde had some great lines in Evil “A candle - where’s the cake” “A silver dollar, my god she finally paid off”. All cut. Fidel’s “Right then” and exit after Darryl’s demise - gone. No Koolaid and hohos, no Disney porn or spaghettios. Why all the changes, I have no idea - the show was great, and now is less than mediocre. The only area I can’t criticise is the sound, and original arrangements of the score.
Whilst the show was an old favourite of mine, Paul was new to it, and also found it dismal. In defence of its glory days, I contacted a few of the people I saw the original with. They said
“Yes, it was the one with the people flying over the audience - and yes, very good and well worth seeing”
“Witches of Eastwick was definitely good”
Also check out: The Original Cast Recording of Witches of Eastwick (not the tour. It’s three hours of your life you won’t get back), The Toxic Avenger, Wicked
This has changed SO much since the UK tour - people who lived, die - and people who died have completely vanished. Relationships have been changed, and whole scenes and songs rewritten. The result is a much slicker, pacey and greatly improved musical.
It is of course the tale of Don Alejandro’s renegade son, Diego, who has to return home to save the pueblo from military control and adopts the mysterious persona of Zorro to do so. There are lots of magical disappearances and tricks, which are smoothly integrated into the action and very fun to watch. The show has a lot of energy - although possibly a little too much flamenco dancing.
There’s a lot of humour too - mainly targeted at Nick Cavaliere’s Sergeant Garcia , who Ithink is actually the star of the show. Sure Diego (Matt Rawle’s Understudy on the night I went), Inez (also the understudy) and Luisa (Emma Woods) are great too, but Garcia was awesome.
Definitely one of the better new musicals of 2008 - and much more fun/less intense than Imagine This
Also check out: Dirty Dancing, The Phantom of the Opera
I’ve been avoiding Billy Elliot since it opened - about three and a half years ago. There seems to be a distinct split between people who loved the movie (who also love the musical) and those who weren’t bothered by the movie, and are equally uninspired by the theatrical adaptation.
Sure, the kids are cute, there’s some good dancing and the juxtaposition of the ballet girls and miners/policemen is well executed. But the songs aren’t especially memorable and none of them would work outside of the context of show. The set didn’t work for me either. It looks expensive, but all too often there are backdrops or sections at the side which actually relate to a previous scene and shouldn’t still be visible. Oh - and talking of visibility, I saw most of the stage crew at various points in the show, which again shouldn’t happen.
The cast were enthusiastic, despite wandering accents - and I was particularly impressed by the boy playing Michael (Billy’s cross-dressing mate) who had excellent comic timing.
I really didn’t see anything special or magical about the show - but if you liked the movie it’s worth a visit.
Also check out: Billy Elliot the movie
The image of a rose growing from a strand of barbed wire caught my attention as soon as I saw the posters for this production. It’s actually a very symbolic representation of the show itself. There’s no well known songs or music, it’s not based on an established brand or on a movie or book, there’s no superstar actor or director to push the show into the limelight, it’s about the Holocaust and there’s a credit crunch - and yet despite all these inhibitors, it’s a beautifully put together musical and well worth seeing.
The set extends slightly into the auditorium, making you really feel engaged with the show. It adapts well to the different scenes in the production and combined with lighting, sets the scene and atmosphere beautifully.
The musical is set in a WWII Jewish ghetto in Poland, where a family are trying to keep people’s hope alive by performing plays. A very large chuck of the musical covers the performance of one such play, about Jews in the biblical times of Masada. The tale of the Jews in Masada mirrors that of those in Poland, and at the end the Polish Jews are faced with a moral dilemma.
Despite the depressing subject matter, there’s a LOT of humour within the musical - and some brilliant performances. The songs and music are more memorable than I’ve heard in a lot of new musicals, although none are true showstoppers.
Sadly, because so much time is spent in Masada, there’s not really much opportunity to get to know the characters, and so you don’t care as much about them as you’d like to. It’s a shame as there are some great performances in there, particularly from Peter Polycarpou (Daniel) and Michael Matus (Pompey).
Overall, a great new musical, beautifully done, but could benefit from some rewriting to redress the balance between the plays.
Also check out: The Secret Garden, Far Pavillions, Parade
27th October 2008
Posted in: theatre
I received this a few weeks back, and was amused by the well known “Jospeh”
From: SEE Theatre <email@example.com> Date: 3 October 2008 02:47:03 PDT Subject: SEE Jospeh - Best Seats £29.50
Reply-To: Do Not Reply <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I’d thought maybe they’d have noticed and become more vigilant - but this week I recieved the following gems all in one newsletter:
>From: “seetickets.com” <email@example.com> >To: “seetickets.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org> >Date: October 27, 2008 06:07:38 PM GMT >Subject: See Events In London >Solange Knowles - Younger sister of Supertstar diva Beyonce, Solange is becoming an R & B star in her own right. >Goldfrapp - The duo went down a storm at last weekends BBC Electric Proms, see them live at The Carling Academy. >Finley Quaye - Presenting the blissed-out, soulful, reggae-folk vibes from the man who brought us - ‘Your love gets sweeter everyday’,'Even after all’ & ‘Its great when we’re together’. With support from Gentlemans Dub Club and more. >John wheeler AKA Barley Scotch - John Wheeler, better known as the frontman, mouthpiece, and populist philosopher of cult American rockgrass band Hayseed Dixie, presents a solo show at London’s Bush Hall >Ice Skating at Hampton court Palace, Kew Gardens And The Towers Of London - Join in the festive fun as these massive ice rinks return for a second year. Guaranteed to fill you and your family with christmas cheer in the run up to the big day! >Hanpton court Palace - http://www.seetickets.com/?a=h+c+p+i+r&t=surrey&filler3=id1lon >MPH - This year MPH has lined up an even more stunning array of super cars for you to drool over, sit in and get up close and personal with… And of Course theres the also the Top Gear Live ‘The Ultimate Performance Arena’ to enjoy! >See - proud to be supporting events in your area.
But possibly not so proud of their levels of spelling, grammar and accuracy.
If you liked the movie, you’ll love the show.
It’s beautifully transcribed, scene by scene - and includes some deleted scenes, and some completely new bits. All the songs from the movie are there - with lots more. The set, costumes, lighting, video projection are all brilliant, and the choreography is fantastic.
It’s not a traditional musical - there’s a great bit in the souvenir programme about how the music is in the context it would have been at Kellerman’s. So, if music is on the radio, it’s the original track. If it’s live entertainment at Kellerman’s, it’s sung live. If you can accept that - and that the Kellerman’s staff like making their own music and singing a little more than the average person, then you’ll enjoy it. If you’re expecting Johnny and Baby to sing, you’ll be confused, and maybe slightly disappointed.
The first half is a little slow, but the fantastic finale more than makes up for it. The show has just started it’s third year, and is still the hottest ticket in town.
My favourite bits are There Will Never Be Another You, Johnny’s Mambo, and Yes. And the new bit with Billy barking after Lisa hums How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?
But what are the new cast like?
Well, with three ex-Matthew Bourne company dancers (Martin Harvey, James Leece and Alan Vincent) the dancing is fantastic.
The three leads, Johnny (Martin Harvey), Penny (Nadia Coote) and Baby (Leanne Rowe) are all good. Nadia has been with the show since the original Australian production, and I’ve never yet left the show without thinking “I wish I could dance like that”!
Leanne and Martin are both new, and not yet sufficiently familiar with the show to make the most of their lines. However there’s a growing chemistry between them, and in a few more shows they’ll be great. Neil is also still growing into his role - but again, will be great in a few days.
Robbie (James Leece) is great - slightly sleazy, and very believable. It’s just a shame he doesn’t get more opportunity to dance - except when he’s covering the role of Johnny.
Baby’s family are a mixed bag. Lisa (sister) is fantastic, and does a very funny rendition of the hula song. Marge (mum) is fine - it’s not the most demanding role but she’s pretty similar to the last one. Jake (dad) was as bad as the last one but in a completely different way. This one growls.
Billy (Chris Holland) is awesome as ever, with spine-shiveringly beautiful rendition of In The Still of The Night. Stan is great, as are the Pressmans, Schumachers and Max.
Also check out: Footloose, anything by Matthew Bourne (esp. Edward Scissorhands)