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: Bat Out of Hell at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour. 

Bat Out of Hell is a rock musical with with music, lyrics and book by Jim Steinman. Steinman was a prolific songwriter, with hits including Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now and Air Supply’s Making Love Out of Nothing at All, but is probably best known as the composer of the songs for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album trilogy. These are predominantly the musical numbers that feature throughout the show. 

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Press Review: Alice in Wonderland at The Old Rep

Alice in Wonderland is a retelling of the Lewis Carrol classic, with a young cast of performers from BOA (Birmingham Ormiston Academy). 

Creatively reimagined, Alice in Wonderland focuses not on Alice herself, but the experiences of her three daughters as they navigate the eclectic and bizarre world of their imaginations. Alongside the well-known characters of the story – the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and the Queen of Hearts – we are introduced to plenty of weird and wonderful personalities, from talking doors and playing cards, to a crab, Pat the Guinea Pig, Bill the Lizard and a rather hilarious cook. 

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Press Review: Horrible Histories at the Alexandra Theatre

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! So it’s time to prepare yourselves for Horrible Histories live on stage with this special production of Barmy Britain!

I was unable to attend, but my friend Anna was more than happy to oblige on my behalf!

Directed by Neal Foster with music by Matthew Scott, Horrible Histories is the stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed franchise. The show is unusual in that it stars just two performers – Jack Ballard as Rex and Morgan Philpott as Roger. Would this take anything away from the performance? 

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Press Review: Derren Brown Showman at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 theatre tour of Derren Brown’s ‘Showman.’

The Bloke visited The Alexandra Theatre last night to watch Derren Brown and his latest show, Showman. 

What makes this review difficult is that it is challenging to describe the show without giving any spoilers. With over 20 years of appearances on the stage and screen, Derren Brown is a household name that is known for his ability to trick the mind into believing a different reality.

“All I can reveal is that the show will ultimately be about you, the audience member, because that’s what I find most interesting. There are places I’d like to take the audience where we haven’t been before. I always aim to have it deliver more than you’d expect. I’m excited to be at the starting point of that process. Getting it on the road will be my favourite part of the year.” – Derren Brown.

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Press Review: Dirty Dancing at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the 2021 UK tour of Dirty Dancing.

As someone who has seen the film so many times that I can still recite the dialogue and lyrics by heart, I was interested to see how it would translate from the big screen to the Alexandra Theatre stage

Dirty Dancing tells the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman, an idealistic middle-class teen who is vacationing with her family at the sleepy Kellerman Resort in 1963. Her summer is about to change when she meets the charming and handsome resort dance instructor Johnny Castle…

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Press Review: The Cat and the Canary at the Alexandra Theatre

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!

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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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