Press Review: Grease the Musical at The Alexandra Theatre

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. 

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An Impromptu Date Night

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!

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Press Review: Rocky Horror Show at The Alexandra Theatre

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. 

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A Pre-40th Birthday Trip to London

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. 

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Press Review: Heathers the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 UK tour.

Based on the 1988 black comedy starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, Heathers the Musical has arrived at The Alexandra Theatre.

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.’ 

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Press Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Alexandra Theatre

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 Theatre last 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.

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Press Review: Rock of Ages at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

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.

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Intentions

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. 

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I Left the House…

I haven’t posted since March which probably makes it the longest period of time in which I haven’t looked at the blog since I started it over eight years ago, and I’ve missed it. 

Part of the reason why I’ve had such a long absence is that there has been very little to post about. With lockdown restrictions only starting to ease over the last few weeks I’ve continued to live a rather Groundhog Day existence that has primarily involved getting up, washed and dressed, logging in, logging out, eating dinner and going to bed. It’s hasn’t been a bad thing – my workload has grown by a phenomenal level which has kept me really busy and I wake up most mornings raring to go and excited to start the day – but it has left little time to focus on my own content. 

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Lockdown Life and Moving Forward

Earlier this week we acknowledged the year anniversary of the covid-19 lockdown. It has been quite an emotional week – while the last year was a lengthy period of reflection and practising gratitude, the realisation of the enormity of the situation affected me more than I expected.

I’ve already spoken about this in previous posts, but lockdown started slightly earlier for me than most. The Bloke and I regularly reviewed theatre shows for the press nights at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, and we were in the bar area eagerly waiting to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and talking to our friend who works there. Suddenly the theatre manager appeared, called everyone together and announced that the show had been cancelled in response to the government announcement that had been made that day, and that was it. I remember seeing the worried and emotional expressions on the faces of the staff and public and felt awful for them. Continue reading