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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Review: The Bodyguard at The Alexandra Theatre

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to see the Press Night performance of The Bodyguard, The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. movie starring Whitney Houstonand Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard tells the story of the complicated relationship between former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer and superstar Rachel Marron, when Farmer is hired to protect her from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. Continue reading

Review: The King and I at The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

The King and I at The Alexandra TheatreLast night The Bloke and I were invited to see The King and I at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

Starring West End actress Annalene Beechey in the role of Anna and Broadway actor Jose Llana as The King, the critically acclaimed Lincoln Center Theatre production of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical arrives direct from a record-breaking season at The London Palladium as part of its major UK tour. Directed by Bartlett Sher and featuring an instantly recognisable score with songs including Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance and Whistle a Happy Tune, the production features a company of over 50 performers and a full-scale orchestra.

Set in 1860’s Bangkok, The King and I tells the story of the rather unconventional and tempestuous relationship between King Mongkut of Siam (now known as Thailand) and Anna, a strong-willed British widowed schoolteacher who is employed by the King to tutor his many children, highlighting the battle between male and female, Western ideals and Eastern traditions. Continue reading

9 to 5 at the Alexandra Theatre

Yesterday The Bloke and I went to see 9 to 5 the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

Based on the 1980 hit American comedy movie, 9 to 5 tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor after he blackmails them, will the ladies manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? While the film was released nearly forty years ago, many of the issues highlighted are still a prominent part of social commentary, particularly on the topics of equal pay and roles and treatment of women in the workplace.

Louise Redknapp as Violet Photo by Simon Turtle

Louise Redknapp plays Violet, a smart and ambitious senior office administrator and widow who is overlooked for a promotion in favour of a man that she trained. She is absolutely perfect for the role – strong, confident and self-assured with a beautiful voice and a presence onstage that demonstrates why she has had such a long and successful career as a performer.

She is joined by Amber Davis in the role of Judy, who has been forced to find a job for the first time after her husband has left her for his secretary. Made famous by her appearance in Love Island, I was admittedly a little dubious about the casting choice, but she quickly dispelled any doubts with a truly incredible performance – sweet, funny and making her own way in a new world, Davis has an absolutely sensational voice. Continue reading

Singing in the Rain at the Alexandra Theatre Review and Interview

Last night The Bloke attended the Press Night of Singing in the Rain at the Alexandra Theatre. Additionally, I was lucky enough to be able to interview the lead actor in the show (who happens to be an ex-student).

Singing in the Rain is this years’ Stage Experience production, which every year sees over 100 of the brightest young talent from across the Midlands put on a professional show. In just two weeks, with the support of professional industry creatives and technical staff, a full scale production is brought to life on stage. Previous Stage Ex alumni include Brummie comedian Joe Lycett (who performed for several years in the scheme) and musical theatre star Liam Doyle, who went on to leading roles in West End hits such as Wicked, Mamma Mia and Legally Blonde. Continue reading

Little Miss Sunshine at the Alexandra Theatre

The road to happiness is a bumpy ride…

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to watch Little Miss Sunshine at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. I’d heard lots about the film, but almost nothing about the musical. I was intrigued by the plot:

The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile into their rickety, yellow VW camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they? This inventive and uplifting musical celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences. Continue reading

Half a Sixpence at the Alexandra Theatre

Flash, Bang, Wallop! 

The Bloke and I were invited to see the BMOS Musical Theatre Company performance of Half a Sixpence at The Alexandra Theatre this week. 

A much-loved musical comedy based on the novel Kipps by H.G. Wells, Half a Sixpence tells the story of how suddenly inheriting a fortune can confuse everything you thought you knew about life.  Continue reading

The Rocky Horror Show at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

 

The Rocky Horror Show Birmingham

The Rocky Horror Show Birmingham

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to go and see the The Rocky Horror Show at the Alexandra Theatre. It’s one of my favourite musicals (this being the third time that I have seen it), but my fifteen year old former self was particularly enthusiastic about the casting of Blue’s Duncan James in the roll of Frank’n’Furter and A1’s Ben Adams as Brad. Additionally, we were treated to pro dancer and performer (including as a pro dancer and winner on Strictly Come Dancing) Joanne Clifton, the ever fabulous Brummie Alison Hammond as the Narrator for the Birmingham shows only, and the incredible Kristian Lavercombe who was also reprising his role as Riff Raff, following more than 1300 performances in The Rocky Horror Show around the world. Indeed, he played the role in the last Rocky Horror performance that I watched and did a brilliant job.The Rocky Horror Show first began life in 1973 before an audience of just 63 people in the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, and tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank’n’Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his castle whilst on their way to visit their favourite college professor. The fact that it is outrageous and has a questionable plot doesn’t matter – the iconic songs and fishnets galore provide a brilliant theatre experience, and I couldn’t wait… Continue reading

The 50th Anniversary Tour of Hair the Musical – The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Last night I was invited to see Hair at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. After winning the 2018 WhatsOnStage award and direct from a sell-out London run, the 50th Anniversary tour stars Dancing On Ice 2018 Winner Jake Quickenden as ‘Berger,’ Daisy Wood-Davis (Hollyoaks / Dreamboats and Petticoats) as ‘Shelia’ and Marcus Collins (X-Factor Finalist / Kinky Boots) as ‘Hud.’

Set in 1967, Hair tells the story of a group of politically active and sexually liberated  hippies – the ‘tribe’ – living a bohemian life in New York City. Claude, Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their lives against society and their conservative parents in ‘the Age of Aquarius,’ united in song as they rebel against the American flag and conscription of one of their own – Claude – into the Vietnam War. Continue reading