A little while ago I was given the incredible opportunity to see a preview of the Christmas show at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham: Dreamgirls.
Dreamgirls tells the story of Effie, Lorrell and Deena – three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, a revolutionary time in American music history. We follow the journey of the three friends as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.
Directed by Bill Kenwright, Saturday Night Fever tells the story of Tony Manero (Jack Wilcox), an Italian-American living in Brooklyn, New York with his family. Working as a paint clerk during the week, Tony lives for the weekend where he is the undisputed king of the local disco. When a dance competition is announced, he meets the beautiful and talented dancer Stephanie Mangano (Rebekah Bryant) and convinces her to become his partner.
Sephy and Callum sit together on a beach. They are in love. It is forbidden. Sephy is a Cross and Callum is a Nought. Between Noughts and Crosses there are racial and social divides. A segregated society teeters on a volatile knife edge. As violence breaks out, Sephy and Callum draw closer, but this is a romance that will lead them into terrible danger…
Based on the first book in Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses series, directed by Esther Richardson and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz, Noughts & Crosses offers a love story (very loosely based on Romeo & Juliet) set in an reimagined society. The Crosses – all people of colour – hold the power, while the Noughts – the white population – are at the mercy of the discriminatory rules and restrictions placed upon them. Sephy (Effie Ansah), a Cross, is the daughter of the Home Secretary Kamal Hadley (Chris Jack) and lives a life of privilege. Her childhood friend Callum, a Nought, has won a place at her prestigious school for Crosses, causing a violent series of protests and backlash. Their developing romance is strictly forbidden, and both sides face huge barriers and prejudice while trying to simultaneously be together while finding their own paths.
Presented by Bill Kenwright, directed by David Esbjornson and adapted from the novella by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns, The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Joe Absolom), who is wrongfully convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover and is sent to the notorious Shawshank facility to start his double life sentence. As he deals with the harsh brutality and cruelty of prison life, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Ellis ‘Red’ Redding (Ben Onwukwe). However, when his talents for accountancy are discovered by Warden Stammas (Mark Heenahan), he realises a desperate plan to escape is needed…
Back in July I acknowledged how much my working life had taken over and decided that I needed to break out of the little work / sleep / work / sleep bubble I had created for myself. Thankfully, I have been able to do just that, but this hasn’t freed up much time or improved my ability to sit down and actually write about it. In a desperate attempt to catch up, here’s three months of life experiences in a single post, just in case I don’t get the chance to write another one for a while.
I have still been able to do my regular reviews at the theatre which I look forward to. It’s a great way to spend the evening – a lovely team, great building, and when you get a show that absolutely blows the roof off, it leaves you with a buzz that can last for days.
One of those shows has been Bat Out of Hell. Within the first five minutes when I saw it in January I knew that I was watching something special, despite that fact that I had absolutely no idea what was going on for some of it. Just like my RENT obsession that developed some years ago, I have fallen equally in love and decided that I absolutely had to see it again. So, I booked The Bloke and I tickets to see it at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool and a hotel room for the night.
It’s been a few years since we last visited, so we set off super early to avoid any potential M6 traffic hell, and found ourselves stood on the pier on a dull, but very warn day at 8.00am. For the rest of the day we were shameless tourists – we went to the top of the tower (during which The Bloke mustered up enough courage to actually walk on the glass), won prizes on the horse racing game and played on the 2p machines in the arcades, ate junk food and bought snacks from a shop where the guy behind the counter was actually wearing a bullet proof vest. And then we saw the show, it was amazing, and I was so overwhelmed that I cried on the way back to the hotel. It was just fabulous, even with the drunken men who decided to sing so loudly that two rows physically moved to get away from them.
As news spreads of a murder in London, a group of seven strangers find themselves snowed in at a remote countryside guesthouse. When a police sergeant arrives, the guests discover – to their horror – that a killer is in their midst! Which one is the murderer? Who will be their next victim? Can you solve this world-famous mystery for yourself?
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at the Alexandra Theatre plays for six nights as part of its 70th anniversary tour and was a fantastic way to spend Tuesday night this week, and a full house no less. Lucky for us, The Mousetrap has continued to delight audiences for much longer than the initial fourteen months that Christie herself said she would “give it,” in the fifties when it debuted.
Decades before the boy band explosion of the 90s was The Osmonds, a clean-cut, all American family of musicians who grew up on the television. From their star residency on The Andy Williams Show to the arrival of Donny and Marie, The Osmonds lived a remarkable life recording chart topping albums, selling out vast arena concerts and making record breaking TV shows – until one bad decision cost them everything.
Directed and co-written by Shaun Kerrison, written by Jay Osmond, the story of The Osmonds is told through the eyes of Jay in a series of flashbacks from their beginnings as a group under the watchful eye of their military father, the success of Merrill (Ryan Anderson), Alan (Jamie Chatterton), Jay (Alex Lodge), Wayne (Danny Natrass) and Donny (Tristan Whincup) as a band, sister Marie (Georgia Lennon) and little brother Jimmy (Samuel Routley), their meteoric rise to fame and subsequent fall, and the trials and heartbreak that accompany being a member of one of the biggest musical names of all time.
Directed by Daniel Evans, with Music and Lyrics by Rodgers & Hammerstein and Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan, South Pacific is based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and was an immediate hit following its Broadway premiere in 1949. With a now iconic score including I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Bali Ha’i, There Is Nothing Like a Dame, Some Enchanted Evening and Happy Talk, receiving multiple awards, spawning many successful revivals, tours and a 1958 movie.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Fun, witty and heart-warming with plenty of sole
From the pier of Port Isaac, Cornwall to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical is loosely based around the true story of the surprise chart-topping Cornish singing sensations and their smash-hit 2019 movie.
Directed by James Grieve with the Book by Amanda Whittington, Fisherman’s Friends tells the story of a group of fisherman in a traditional Cornish village who sing folk songs and shanties to raise money for the local lifeboat. They are spotted by passing visitor Danny (Jason Langley), a former A&R Executive from London who is immediately captivated by the music and convinces them to record a demo to send to Island Records. But is the British public ready for an album of sea shanties and traditional Cornish folk songs?
Yes, they were.
And after watching Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, so am I.
The world has felt a little strange over the last few days.
I watched as events unfolded last Thursday live on TV. With the announcement from Buckingham Palace that The Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral, the BBC suspended all programming around lunchtime, changed into black outfits and began preparing us without actually saying it out loud. It was when the plane carrying William, Edward, Sophie and Andrew landed in Scotland that I think we all knew, and the announcement was made at 6.30pm from the Palace that Queen Elizabeth II – our longest reigning monarch – had passed away at the age of 96, just months after celebrating her Platinum Jubilee.