Press Review: 25 Years of Lord of the Dance at The Alexandra Theatre

In 1994 I watched (along with millions of others around the world) as Michael Flatley, Jean Butler and a troop of incredible dancers performed a new take on Irish dancing during the interval show at the Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland. A rare moment where the interval act eclipsed the main show, Riverdance went on to become a worldwide sensation.

I still get goosebumps thinking about it. 

Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance debuted on July 2nd, 1996 and 25 years later, I sat in The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham as the next generation of dancers, singers and instrumentalists (most of who weren’t even born during the original performance) brought Lord of the Dance to life on stage.

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An Interview With Gabriel Paul

Hailed “a gut-busting hit” by the New York TimesThe Play That Goes Wrong is now in its seventh year in the West End and is currently on tour around the UK. Starring as Trevor, I had the honour of chatting with actor Gabriel Paul last week ahead of the show coming to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

How is everything going so far?

It’s been going great – we’ve been selling out! We starting in Bath on April 20th, we have been up to North Wales, back down to South End, and then to Leicester. 

What can the Birmingham audience expect from the The Play That Goes Wrong? 

It’s a play about the Cornley Drama Society who are a bunch of amateur actors and they are putting on a 1920s murder mystery. As the title of the show suggests, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. 

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Press Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…

The smash hit West End show is at The Alexandra Theatre this week and The Bloke went along to watch. 

The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! As the accident prone amateur thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!

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Press Review: Cluedo at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ – laugh-out-loud funny and a joy to watch!

Note: This review is for the UK Tour 2022 of Cluedo.

Was it Miss Scarlet, with the revolver in the dining room, or was it Professor Plum, with the lead pipe in the library?…

Based on the classic detective board game and the hit 1985 film CLUE, the brand new stage play of CLUEDO is on stage at the Alexandra Theatre this week. Directed by Mark Bell, director of the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong and A Comedy About A Bank Robbery, we follow the story of Miss Scarlett (Michelle Collins), Professor Plum (Daniel Casey), Colonel Mustard (Wesley Griffith), Mrs White (Etisyai Philip), Mrs Peacock (Judith Amsenga) and Reverend Green (Tom Babbage) who are mysteriously invited to a country manor by Lord Boddy. Greeted by the butler, Wadsworth (Jean-Luke Worrell), a Boltonian maid with a fake French accent (Laura Kirman) and the cook (Meg Travers), secrets are slowly revealed as people start to be killed off one by one. 

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Taking It Easy

After spending over a week down south, I returned home for a few days and then travelled up north to Manchester.

The main purpose of the trip was to catch up with a group of friends that I have known for nearly 25 years. It has been two years since I last saw them – they were the last social event I had before the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, so I was looking forward to it. 

I was staying with my mum for the weekend and we had a bunch of things planned around it. I was feeling quite smug when I left the house initially due to being somewhat organised for once, only to discover when I arrived that I had forgotten a whole bunch of stuff including socks, make-up and a phone charger. Who forgets to pack socks??? 

Socks quickly acquired, we went for a meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant on the Friday night. We’ve been going there for decades – I remember having my 18th birthday celebration there, I turned 40 last year and I couldn’t count how many meals our family has had there in between. I was delighted to see that one of the staff members, George, who greeted us during our earliest visits, was still there. There is one particular dish – a sharing platter for two – that both mum and I are obsessed with, so instead of ordering a starter and selection of mains we decided to treat ourselves and had one each without mains. It was fabulous – I couldn’t help but laugh with sheer excitement as they were brought out – but I was so full by the end I thought someone would have to roll me to the car afterwards.

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Press Review: Catch Me If You Can at the Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A clever twist on the classic whodunnit

Note: This review is for the Catch Me If You Can UK Tour 2022. It’s useful to note that this play is not associated with the 2002 Steven Spielberg film of the same name. 

Originally based on a French play by Robert Thomas, this American version was written by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert that debuted on Broadway in 1965. The UK tour is produced by the renowned Bill Kenwright.

Inspector Levine (Gray O’Brien) is called to a house in the remote Catskill mountains to investigate the disappearance of newly married Elizabeth Corban. In a bizarre development a woman (Linda Purl) arrives at the house claiming to be the missing Elizabeth but, instead of celebrating the reunion, her husband Daniel (Dallas legend Patrick Duffy) claims that she is an imposter. 

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An Interview with Linda Purl

Catch Me If You Can, a gripping psychological thriller by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert in on stage at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham this week. Starring Dallas legend Patrick Duffy, Linda Purl (Happy Days, Homeland, The Office) and Gray O’Brien (Peak Practice, Coronation Street), the play tells the story of Inspector Levine, who is called to a house in the remote Catskill mountains to investigate the disappearance of newly married Elizabeth Corban. In a bizarre development a woman arrives at the house claiming to be the missing Elizabeth but, instead of celebrating the reunion, her husband accuses her of being an imposter… 

I had the honour of speaking to actress Linda Purl recently ahead of her upcoming Birmingham shows to find out more about the play, life on the road and her incredible career on both stage and screen. 

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Press Review: Footloose at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2022 UK tour of Footloose.

Based on the 1984 hit film starring Kevin Bacon (which was itself loosely based on true events in the town of Elmore City, Oklahoma), we follow the story of Ren McCormick (Joshua Hawkins) and his mother, who move from Chicago to Bomont, a rural backwater town following the abandonment of his father. There, he discovers that rock ’n’ roll music and dancing is banned following the deaths of four young people in a car accident, with a traditional, conservative and strictly religious community spearheaded by the Reverend Shaw Moore (Darren Day). Taking matters into his own hands, Ren befriends the loveable (although rather dim-witted) Willard Hewitt (Jake Quickenden), falls in love with Rev. Moore’s rebellious daughter, Ariel (Lucy Munden), and campaigns for a dance to be allowed for the seniors of the school.

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Press Review: Diversity – Connected 2022

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ – dazzling and thought-provoking!

Diversity took the nation by storm when they won the third series of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 and have so far sold out nine UK and Irish tours, sold over 600,000 tickets, with countless television and live performances. 

To take them into the new decade of Diversity,  Ashley  Banjo has created a new show, Connected, which centres around the world of social media, the internet, and the digital era we now live in, but more importantly how this connects us all.

The Bloke was there to see it at The Alexandra Theatre last night, and loved every second!

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It’s Oh So Quiet

Yesterday was a little strange. Not that it was bad in any way, but it took me a while to settle in. 

I’m currently dog-sitting at my friend’s house. It isn’t the first time I have done this, so I was already familiar with the area and the dog’s routine and we immediately got back into it. Admittedly, I was feeling a bit tired as her barking had woken me up at 1am when the neighbours returned home, and then again at 2am when she vomited on the floor. (While I miss having the cats, I don’t miss waking up to the sound of retching in the early hours of the morning). We walked, had breakfast, I did some work while she snoozed, we walked again etc. It was a fairly relaxed and peaceful day with glorious weather…

Image credit: Nathan Cowley, Pexels

I suddenly realised yesterday evening just how quiet it was. 

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