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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Press Review: Dreamboats & Petticoats: Bringing On Back the Good Times at the Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A feel-good show full of fun and nostalgia

Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour.

Featuring rock ’n’ roll songs from the million-selling Dreamboats and Petticoats albums, we see the return of Bobby, Laura, Sue and the gang in the third instalment of the smash-hit musical on stage at the Alexandra Theatre this week.

With a healthy dose of nostalgia from the start, we follow the story of Norman and the Conquests as they take on a summer gig at Butlins, Bognor Regis, and the interweaving sub-plots of the band members and their friends. Bobby (David Ribi) and Laura (Elizabeth Carter) are struggling with a long-distance relationship while Laura reluctantly embarks on a summer season in Torquay, Sue (Lauren Anderson-Oakley) feels unwanted and overlooked by flirtatious husband Norman (Alastair Hill) after giving birth to their baby. Band manager Ray (David Luke) is unsure of his career as a hairdresser and convinces girlfriend, Donna (Samara Clarke) to join them at Butlins. Including songs such as C’Mon Everybody, Blue Moon, Mony Mony and Keep on Running, we are taken on a trip down memory lane as the characters navigate their way through the trials and tribulations of young love while wanting more from their music careers. There is plenty of chemistry and all are talented vocalists, each getting the opportunity to shine in both the individual and group numbers.

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Press Review: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Stunning!

The acclaimed novel by C.S. Lewis has been brought to life on stage with the production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. 

Directed by Michael Fentiman and based on the original production by Sally Cookson with original Set and Costume design by Rae Smith, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe tells the story of Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, wartime evacuees who discover the world of Narnia inside a wardrobe. 

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An Interview with Sam Buttery from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at The Alexandra Theatre

Direct from London, the acclaimed production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming to the Alexandra Theatre stage in Birmingham this week and I had to opportunity to have a quick chat with cast member Samuel Buttery, who is playing the role of Mr Beaver. When we spoke they were on a train on the way to Birmingham.

It sounds like you’ve had a really busy time!

It’s be so busy! I think this month we’ve been to Edinburgh, Plymouth, Canterbury, Glasgow and now Birmingham. It’s a lot!

What can the Birmingham audience expect from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?

I think they can expect something heartfelt. It feels like a communal endeavour without being poncy and too insincere. I’m  lucky in that everyone in the cast and company is really nice and we have formed really close bonds, and the play ends up being about community and togetherness and what happens when goodness can win. 

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Press Review: Fatal Attraction at The Alexandra Theatre

Based on the classic 1987 Paramount Pictures Corporation motion picture starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, James Dearden (who also wrote the screenplay) has adapted the definitive movie thriller into a new stage play. 

Fatal Attraction tells the story of lawyer Dan Gallagher (Oliver Farnworth), who has a weekend affair with the seductive Alex Forrest (Kym Marsh) after meeting in a bar while his wife, Beth (Susie Amy) and daughter are out of town. While initially perceiving it to be a short fling and wanting to return to his normal life, he soon discovers that Alex isn’t willing to let him go… 

Oliver Farnworth as Dan Gallagher and Kym Marsh as Alex Forrest. Photo: Tristram Kenton

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An Interview with Oliver Farnworth from Fatal Attraction

Based on the classic Paramount Pictures Corporation motion picture, James Dearden’s intoxicating new stage play of Fatal Attraction, brings the definitive movie thriller to Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre. I had the opportunity to have a chat with Oliver Farnworth – who plays the lead male role of Dan Gallagher – ahead of the show arriving in Birmingham this week.

Fatal Attraction is coming to the Alexandra Theatre. What can the Birmingham audience expect from Fatal Attraction?

I think the title ‘Fatal Attraction’ will be fairly familiar to a lot of the audience. The notion of the ‘bunny boiler’ was born from the iconic ‘80s film with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close playing the two protagonists. There will be a familiarity with the original story which is obviously very tense and twisted, a gripping psychological thriller. With any adaptation you wouldn’t necessarily want to go and see a film word for word put on stage, so there is very much a theatrical adaptation. James Dearden the writer has been on board and he’s updated the script – there’s a bit more of a twist in the ending. I’d say he’s brought it into more modern day as far as there are more questions around culpability and motives, blame and consequence, It’s very much a classic thriller but brought into an updated, modernised stage version using lots of theatrical licence, twists and tricks. But fans of the original won’t be disappointed – we’ve kept a lot of the original content. There’s a lot to enjoy. 

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Press Review: School of Rock at the Alexandra Theatre

Based on the 2003 movie starring Jack Black and with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes, School of Rock tells the story of Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp), a wannabe rock star who impersonates a substitute teacher in a prestigious prep school. Upon discovering the musical talent of his young students he forms a band in an attempt to win the Battle of the Bands contest. 

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An Interview with Jake Sharp from School of Rock, the Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, the Musical is coming to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham next week.

Based on the cult film starring Jack Black, School of Rock follows slacker Dewey Finn as he turns a class of straight – A  students into an ear-popping, riff-scorching, all-conquering rock band! As they prepare for the Battle of the Bands, can Dewey make them embrace the empowering message of rock?

I was delighted to get the chance to speak to Midlands-born actor Jake Sharp about his role of Dewey Finn ahead of next week’s show.

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Press Review: Chicago at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2022 UK Tour

The last time I saw Chicago on stage was on the West End about fifteen years ago. I have vague memories of enjoying it but nothing of note stands out, so I was looking forward to seeing it again. 

With multiple Broadway and West End revivals, tours and a 2002 Hollywood film starring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, multi-award winning Chicago is one of the most revered and well-known musicals in history. Set in 1926, Chicago tells the story of Roxy Hart (Faye Brooks), who faces trial for murder after killing her lover. To avoid an almost-certain conviction and death sentence she hires charismatic lawyer Billy Flynn (Darren Day), who concocts a sensationalist storyline to dupe the public, the tabloids, her rival cellmate Velma Kelly (Djalenga Scott) and downtrodden husband Amos (Joel Montague). 

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Press Review: The Addams Family at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2022 UK Tour of The Addams Family.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky… and absolutely hilarious. 

The weird and wacky Addams Family were on stage last night at The Alexandra Theatre, and if ever a show surprised me, it was this. 

The cast of The Addams Family. Photo: Pamela Raith

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