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. 

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

Playing Catch-Up… Again

I started February with the best of intentions. I had just completed a No Spend Challenge over January and was feeling a massive sense of achievement, so set myself a whole series of goals over February. One of them was to blog at least twice a week… and now it’s March and to say I failed spectacularly would be an understatement. 

However, despite the storms and constant rain, February was fast-paced and pretty exciting at times with lots of both short and long-term unexpected opportunities. 

Ever heard the analogy about waiting for a bus for ages and then three all arrive at once? 

Continue reading