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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Bloke asked me the other day of my opinions of the last twelve months. Admittedly, my initial thought was to respond with “dumpster fire.” On a general day to day basis it has been tough. Working from home sometimes means that it is difficult not to get into your own head and can feel like you’re spending 24/7 within the same four walls, and during moments of extreme stress there is little escape. However, amidst the lows there have been a number of highs.
The start of 2021 was indeed a dumpster fire of epic proportions. Within the first month The Bloke got covid (this was before the vaccinations were available) and was incredibly ill for weeks while being quarantined upstairs, two family members had heart attacks (both are thankfully doing okay), the roof in the kitchen started caving in after five years of asking the landlord to fix it and when I lost my temper he put our rent up in retaliation. A few weeks later I had to have a tooth removed – a small filling fell out just before covid hit in 2020 and dentists were closed for months – and after a year the tooth became so damaged the only option was to take it out.
Written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, the award-winning Jersey Boys tells the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, from their beginnings as four guys from New Jersey, to their meteoric rise to fame with their distinctive style and eventual induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While this may appear as a classic musical rags-to-riches story, we get to see the real trials and tribulations of behind one of the biggest bands in history – from stints in prison and run-ins with the mob, to debt, divorce and the loss of Valli’s daughter.
There’s nothing better than speaking to someone who genuinely loves what they do, and Norton James is clearly one of them. Currently starring in the UK Tour of smash-hit musical Jersey Boys, I had the chance to have a chat with Norton and find out more about his life as an actor, being on stage and what it’s like being in an award-winning show.
Tell me a little bit about you! How did you become an actor?
My dad trained as an actor and he ended up running a theatre which actually isn’t too far from Birmingham so it was always in the family! It started with a teacher called Tom Goodluck who gave me the role of Mr Bumble in Oliver as I was the biggest kid in school, and I thought “oh, I quite enjoy this!” and it all kind of started from there. I was playing rugby and I found theatre and I thought “ah, I prefer that!”. From that I went off to drama school and I’ve focused on it over the last five years and I’ve been very fortunate to work and keep everything going.