Last 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 →
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 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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 liberatedhippies – 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 →
Those who follow the blog regularly will know that I love a good musical. I’ve been lucky enough to see a number of musicals performed in theatres both locally in Birmingham, in Manchester, on the West End in London and even on Broadway over the last decade. However, there’s one musical in particular that is my favourite above all the others, that I know inside out and will watch over and over while feeling like I’ve been reunited with a group of friends every time I do…
As with most things, I was very late to the RENT party, only discovering its brilliance in 2016 – 20 years after its first Off Broadway performance, 11 years after the release of the movie and 8 years after its final Broadway performance. Continue reading →
The Bloke and I are in London to celebrate The Bloke’s 50th birthday. We’re staying in an awesome apartment and have had a whole bunch of things on the itinerary for the last few days.
Last night we went to see Wicked for the first time. It has been something that we have both wanted to watch, and I have always been jealous of the fact that I never got to see the Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel partnership. Whenever we have come to London and wanted to see a show it has always seemed to either be sold out or too expensive and we have ended up going to watch something else instead. However, this time at least, as if the stars had aligned, we were able to get reasonably priced tickets in great seats, and I had been looking forward to it. Continue reading →
I’ve been a huge fan of the music from RENT since my teens, yet have never seen the musical live, so I was ecstatic to receive an invitation for the opening night of RENT at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham.
Directed and choreographed by Michael Neri, with a stellar cast of up-and-coming local talented performers, RENT tells the story of a group of young adults who are struggling to survive in New York’s East Village, dealing with issues of AIDS, drug addiction, homosexuality and homophobia.
The set is cleverly simple, with effective ideas used for projections and lighting to suit the small stage in the theatre, and we were given a lovely welcome by the staff when we arrived.
The cast were incredible, with each giving wonderful individual performances in their own right. In particular, Jessica Singer (Mimi) and Joe Ashman (Mark) commanded the stage throughout and Rhys Owen’s performance of I’ll Cover You (Reprise) in the second half was so inspiring that the audience were compelled to give a standing ovation before the song had even finished. Seasons of Love, the opening of Act 2 (and the song I’d been most looking forward to) also didn’t disappoint, with the harmonies on point and a brilliant top note from Alys Wood. Continue reading →