Review: Ghost Stories at The Alexandra Theatre

Shhhhhhhh…

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to see Ghost Stories at The Alexandra Theatre.

Created by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, Ghost Stories has arrived at The Alexandra Theatre for its first ever UK Tour following a sell-out West End and international stage performances and a smash hit film starring Martin Freeman.

Described as the ultimate twisted love-letter to horror, a supernatural edge-of-your-seat theatrical experience like no other, the show comes with an age restriction of 15, a warning that Ghost Stories contains moments of extreme shock and tension and advises that those of a nervous disposition should think very seriously before attending. In my naivety I took this with a pinch of salt. Surely it wouldn’t be that frightening?

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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

Review: How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the Alexandra Theatre

You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch!

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the press review of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

The musical adaptation of the popular Dr Seuss book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical tells the story of the miserable Grinch who lives on the top of Mount Crumpit with his downtrodden dog, Max. With a heart ‘two sizes too small,’ he sets out to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville, home of the cheery and warm-hearted Whos. Narrated primarily in verse by Steve Fortune’s ‘Old Max’ throughout, Birmingham audiences were also treated to a one-off special guest appearance from George Hancorn who opened the performance. Continue reading

Review: A Christmas Carol at The Alexandra Theatre

Birmingham’s BMOS Musical Theatre Company returns to the Alexandra Theatre stage this week with their latest production – A Christmas Carol.

In a musical adaptation of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol The Musical tells the story of miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is visited by his long-deceased and equally mean-spirited business partner and three ghosts – Past, Present and Future – on Christmas Eve. Originally developed for the stage in 1994 and performed annually in December at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden until December 2003, the score and songs are written by legendary Disney composer, Alan Menken, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Continue reading

Review: The Mousetrap at the Alexandra Theatre

© JOHAN PERSSON

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the Press Night performance of The Mousetrap at the Alexandra Theatre. 

The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a country guesthouse cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be? One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed… 

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the longest continuously-running play in history and has broken a whole slew of records, having been performed in London since 1952.  Continue reading

Review: Curtains at the Alexandra Theatre


From the Tony Award-winning creators of ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Chicago’ – John Kander and Fred Ebb – Curtains tells the story of Jessica Cranshaw, the talentless star of the new Broadway-bound musical
Robbin Hood – who has been murdered on stage on opening night, and the entire cast and crew are suspects. Time to call in the local detective – Frank Cioffi – who just happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer whilst giving the show a new lifeline. 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

An Evening at the Newly Revamped Marmalade Restaurant at The Rep

The Bloke and I were invited to the newly revamped Marmalade restaurant at The Rep in Birmingham last week.

The Marmalade team have been working closely with local businesses and artisan suppliers to provide customers with an all new dining experience that is inherently Brummie and combined with a new outdoor terrace that is capable of seating up to 200 people overlooking the recently developed Centenary Square, it is perfectly situated for both lazy summer lunches and date nights.

I liked the fact that the menus are environmentally conscious, utilising local suppliers with a focus on low environmental impact, including the use of heat exchange technology to reduce energy consumption and natural wetland systems. Continue reading

Amélie the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Last night The Bloke and I went to watch Amélie the Musical at The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham. The 2001 Oscar-nominated film is to date one of the biggest international successes for a French movie and is renowned for its feel-good and whimsical story, which the musical version closely follows. This beloved story of an imaginative and shy romantic with a gift for helping others, in a vibrant re-conception with new orchestrations and has garnered critical and public acclaim leading to a sell-out season.

Amélie is the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness that bring happiness to those around her. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in… Continue reading