When three orphaned children – Charlie (Conor O’Hara), and his siblings Carrie and Paul* are reluctantly evacuated from wartime London following the death of their parents to live with the eccentric Eglantine Price (Dianne Pilkington), they have no idea what adventures lie ahead. They discover that Eglantine is a trainee witch, who is learning magic from spells she has bought from Emelius Brown (Charles Brunton). Complete with a flying bed, an enchanted bedknob, a broomstick and a book they go on an incredible adventure to find a secret spell that will defeat their enemy, which takes them from Portobello Road to the depths of the beautiful briny sea.
Note: This review is for the UK 2021 tour of Grease the Musical.
It has been 50 years since Grease premiered at the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago before transferring to Broadway and 43 years since the release of the film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, undergoing multiple revivals, tours and a live TV performance making it one of the most successful musicals in history.
The 2021 UK tour is the first new production in 25 years, and with an iconic soundtrack including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted to You and You’re the One That I Want, it has big shoes to fill. Judging by the packed and excitable audience at The Alexandra Theatre it clearly still remains as popular as ever.
Ever waited for a bus for ages and then three all arrive at the same time? Perhaps that’s the wrong opening sentence to follow my title 😂 I’m married – I’m talking about theatre.
That’s what the last few months has felt like. After a horrendously long period of restrictions and seemingly very little to do, the last few months have been full of fun and interesting things that have made me stop at times and wonder if the last year-and-a-half actually happened.
As you can probably tell from my recent posts there has been theatre. Lots and lots of theatre. It’s been bloody marvellous – going from seeing nothing in over 450 days to then watching eight shows in about two months has uplifted the soul. I’m so pleased for them – the theatres, performers and everyone in between – the entertainments industry was one of the hardest hit and took the longest to return, and I’m delighted that it is all up and running again. Long may it continue!
Note: This review of The Cat and the Canary is for the 2021 UK tour.
“Twenty years after the death of Mr. West, his descendants gather to learn who will inherit his vast wealth and the hidden family jewels. Within moments, the heritage hunters turn into prey. Walls crack open, shadows loom, and dark secrets are revealed.”
On a suitably dark and rainy Monday evening, we sat down at the Alexandra Theatre to watch the latest show from The Classic Thriller Theatre Company with their production of 1920s murder mystery The Cat and the Canary.
The original play, written by John Willard, opened on Broadway almost a century ago and has since spawned three movie adaptations. The plot utilises that classic whodunnit setup and setting; assembling an ensemble cast in an ancestral mansion on a dark, stormy night, just in time for things to start going awry when a homicidal maniac escapes from a nearby asylum. Adapted for a modern audience by Carl Grose, and directed by Roy Marsden, the play offers up all the twists and turns you would expect from the genre, along with some tongue-in-cheek humour and, of course, plenty of scares!
Rocky Horror Show has returned to the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham and I was delighted to watch it again, over two years after the last amazing performance.
Directed by Christopher Luscombe, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two all-American college kids who meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter and the strange and kooky inhabitants of a creepy mansion when their car breaks down. With hits including “Sweet Transvestite,” “Dammit, Janet” and the iconic “The Time Warp,” it is an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with frolics, frocks, and frivolity.
It may be the same show, but there were some changes in cast members and I was intrigued to see what effect this would have on the overall performance.
I turn 40 at the end of November. I’m not phased by the prospect of it, but instead of my usual birthday request of taking the day off and doing nothing except watching my favourite films and eating my favourite food I wanted to do something special to actually acknowledge it.
It might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder to be a somebody…
Directed by Andy Fickman and with Book, Music and Lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers tells the story of Veronica Sawyer (Rebecca Wickes), an overlooked teen who attempts to make her journey through Westerberg High School more bearable by becoming associated with the ‘Heathers.’
Note: this review is for the 2021 UK tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Jamie is Back!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie returned to the Alexandra Theatrelast night and this has been a show I had been particularly looking forward to. Jamie was the show that was in house when the pandemic restrictions began in 2020 and The Bloke and I were stood in the foyer, programme in hand, when it was announced that the show was forced to close before the performance had happened. Over 500 days later, the return of the show to a sold-out audience felt like a coming home celebration, and I was delighted to see most of the same cast returning.
Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. He is going to be a sensation.
With Music by Dan Gillespie Sells and the Book and Lyrics by Tom Macrae, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie Campbell – the star of BBC3 2011 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 – and has been a huge critical and success since it premiered at the Sheffield Crucible in 2017.
The show tells the story of Jamie New, a 16 year-old who has aspirations of becoming a drag queen.
Note: This is a press review for the 2021 tour of Rock of Ages.
Following a sell-out UK tour in 2018/2019, musical comedy Rock of Ages returned to the Alexandra Theatre. A jukebox musical featuring over 25 classic 80s rock anthems including Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Wanted Dead or Alive and Don’t Stop Believing, Rock of Ages has become a global smash-hit, with sold-out seasons on Broadway, the West End, Las Vegas and spawning a Hollywood movie in 2012.
I wake up each morning full of enthusiasm and intentions and tell myself that I’m going to write a blog post today. I get up, turn on my laptop… and then it’s 6.30pm and I find myself finishing work for the day and feeling mentally spent. It isn’t that I don’t want to blog – even after eight years I still get an enormous buzz from pressing the ‘publish’ button, but it has become less of a priority as other things have taken over. I’d like to change that, especially after receiving so many nice messages from bloggy friends who were wondering where I’ve been.
As I haven’t posted for several months, there’s a lot to talk about.