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.

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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.

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Press Review: School of Rock at the Alexandra Theatre

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. 

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An Interview with Jake Sharp from School of Rock, the Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, the Musical is coming to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham next week.

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.

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Press Review: Chicago at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2022 UK Tour

The last time I saw Chicago on stage was on the West End about fifteen years ago. I have vague memories of enjoying it but nothing of note stands out, so I was looking forward to seeing it again. 

With multiple Broadway and West End revivals, tours and a 2002 Hollywood film starring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, multi-award winning Chicago is one of the most revered and well-known musicals in history. Set in 1926, Chicago tells the story of Roxy Hart (Faye Brooks), who faces trial for murder after killing her lover. To avoid an almost-certain conviction and death sentence she hires charismatic lawyer Billy Flynn (Darren Day), who concocts a sensationalist storyline to dupe the public, the tabloids, her rival cellmate Velma Kelly (Djalenga Scott) and downtrodden husband Amos (Joel Montague). 

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Press Review: The Addams Family at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2022 UK Tour of The Addams Family.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky… and absolutely hilarious. 

The weird and wacky Addams Family were on stage last night at The Alexandra Theatre, and if ever a show surprised me, it was this. 

The cast of The Addams Family. Photo: Pamela Raith

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An Interview with Kara Lane from The Addams Family Musical

Everyone’s favourite kooky family are coming back to the stage in The Addams Family, a spectacular musical comedy from the writers of multi award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by TONY AWARD nominated Andrew Lippa.

I had the honour of being able to chat with Kara Lane, who plays Alice Beineke in the show. With a lovely Australian accent and a great sense of humour, I wanted to find out more about The Addams Family musical coming to The Alexandra Theatre this week and her experiences as a performer.

I’m so excited about the show! I’ve have seen the TV show and the movies but the musical is new to me. Tell me more about The Addams Family and what can the Birmingham audience expect from the show?

It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s witty, it’s such a great form of escapism which is what I think we all need right now!It’s the same kooky family that you know from the TV show, the movies and the cartoons, but with a brand new adventure. It’s actually set a little bit later in time – Wednesday Addams has grown up and she has found a boyfriend. You’ve got Joanna Clifton playing Morticia, Cameron Blakely (who has done countless West End roles) playing Gomez, you’ve got Scott Paige (Uncle Fester) and Kingsely Morton who is playing Wednesday. She is fresh out of college, although when I say fresh out of college I mean before the pandemic, so life has been on hold since then. I love that all of them in the family have really captured the essence of the characters that we all know and love without impersonating them, they’ve been able to bring something fresh to the roles. I grew up watching the 60’s TV programme so it’s quite close to my heart, and when things are that close to your heart you tend to be a bit biased to the original, but I think everyone has really nailed their characters. It’s such a fun night out!

You play the role of Alice Beineke in the show. What preparation have you done to get into character and to develop your role?

Alice is the mother of Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas (who is played by the lovely Ahmed Hamad), but she’s not a character that the audience may have any preconception about, unlike the rest of the family, so it has been a lot of fun to create a character almost from scratch really. Without giving too much away, she definitely goes on a journey throughout the show, trying to be the perfect wife to her husband Mal, played by Sean Kingsley. 

Kara Lane as Alice Beineke in The Addams Family

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Press Review: Jersey Boys at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 / 2022 UK Tour of Jersey Boys at the Alexandra Theatre.

Oh What a Night!!!

And, indeed, it was.

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. 

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Press Review: 9 to 5 at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 UK tour of 9 to 5.

Dolly Parton’s smash hit musical returns to the Alexandra Theatre direct from rave reviews and sold out shows on the West End and I couldn’t have been more excited. I was lucky enough to see the show just over 2 years ago on the same stage so I already knew that it was going to be a good night.

Based on the 1980 film starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, the show has an Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score by Dolly Parton herself, and a book by the iconic movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick.

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Press Review: Bedknobs and Broomsticks at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the UK 2021 tour of Bedknobs and Broomsticks

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.

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