Christmas at the Alexandra Theatre Press Preview and Interview: Dreamgirls

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.

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Press Review: Noughts & Crosses at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Gripping and thought-provoking

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. 

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Press Review: The Shawshank Redemption at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A powerful piece of theatre

Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption (which was also the inspiration for the smash-hit 1994 movie starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption has been adapted for a theatre audience in a 2022 UK tour. 

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… 

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Press Review: The Mousetrap at The Alexandra Theatre

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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.

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Press Review: South Pacific at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ “A visually stunning production”

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

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Press Review: Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 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.

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Press Review: Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ An evening of hilarious and unadulterated chaos. A joy to watch!

Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour.

Based on the beloved 1970’s sitcom by Ray Allen starring Michael Crawford and directed by the award-winning Guy Unsworth, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em tells the story of the accident-prone Frank Spencer (Joe Pasquale). His wife Betty (Sarah Earnshaw) has exciting news, but he’s preoccupied by possible newfound fame as a magician. Joined by Betty’s mother Mrs Fisher (Susie Blake), her boyfriend Mr Luscombe (Moray Treadwell), and priest Father O’Hara (James Paterson), there are plenty crossed wires, misunderstandings and mishaps as Frank and Betty attempt to host a dinner party and do an interview with the BBC. 

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An Interview with Hayley Ria Christian: Midnight Train to Georgia

Capturing the essence of the Multi Award Winning Ms Gladys Knight, Hayley Ria Christian performs the magic of Gladys Knight’s hits in Midnight Train to Georgia, appearing on stage at The Alexandra Theatre on Thursday 7th July.

I had the opportunity to have a chat with Hayley about the show, her love of Gladys Knight’s music and her own experiences throughout her amazing career.

I’m so excited about the show! Tell us more about it!

I created the show in mind of Gladys Knight’s story, with hits that you know she did, but also the hits that you’re thinking “ooh! I didn’t know she did that one!” too. She did a lot of covers, but also a lot of people have done lots of covers of hers. I want to introduce people to the original music and share the love. 

Hayley Ria Christian in Midnight Train to Georgia

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An Interview with Patrick Pryce from the BMOS Birmingham Musical Society

BMOS Musical Theatre Company returns to The Alexandra stage to bring to life Guys and Dolls, a fantastic and funny musical story of gambling, luck and love under the bright lights of Broadway. I had the opportunity to speak to BMOS member Patrick Pryce who is playing Nathan Detroit.

Tell us more about the show!

Guys and Dolls is the classic 1950’s musical, made famous by the film starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. It’s all about a gangster called Nathan Detroit who is trying to run an illegal crap game for some dodgy characters in New York, and he’s got to find a venue but he needs $1,000 but he’s broke. He’s constantly being chased by his fiancé of 14 years, Adelaide, to get married. He comes up with a scheme to bet a high rolling gambler – Sky Masterson – $1,000 to raise this money that he needs. He bet’s Sky that he can’t take a girl from the Salvation Army, Sergeant Sarah Brown, to Havana in Cuba. The hard-nosed, high-flying Masterson does take her to Havana by tricking her in saying that he will bring some sinners to her prayer meeting, but he falls in love. 

The thing with Guys and Dolls is that the show is hilarious – it’s zany, funny, it’s got all the magic numbers like Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat, Luck Be a Lady, If I Were a Bell, it’s amazing. 

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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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