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: Death Drop at the Alexandra Theatre

Note: This is a review for the 2021 UK Tour of Death Drop. 

Starring Ru Paul’s Drag Race legends Willam, Ra’Jah O’Hara, Karen from Finance and the UK’s very own Vinegar Strokes, Death Drop is killer comedy that is set in a mysterious mansion  in 1991, as group of rather flamboyant and unique guests gather for a dinner party to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. With plenty of hidden secrets and shady behaviour, the ferocious finger pointing and savage speculation begins as one-by-one each guest is murdered. 

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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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Press Review: Grease the Musical at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the UK 2021 tour of Grease the Musical.

It has been 50 years since Grease premiered at the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago before transferring to Broadway and 43 years since the release of the film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, undergoing multiple revivals, tours and a live TV performance making it one of the most successful musicals in history. 

The 2021 UK tour is the first new production in 25 years, and with an iconic soundtrack including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted to You and You’re the One That I Want, it has big shoes to fill. Judging by the packed and excitable audience at The Alexandra Theatre it clearly still remains as popular as ever. 

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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: Rocky Horror Show at The Alexandra Theatre

Rocky Horror Show has returned to the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham and I was delighted to watch it again, over two years after the last amazing performance. 

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two all-American college kids who meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter and the strange and kooky inhabitants of a creepy mansion when their car breaks down. With hits including “Sweet Transvestite,” “Dammit, Janet” and the iconic “The Time Warp,” it is an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with frolics, frocks, and frivolity.

It may be the same show, but there were some changes in cast members and I was intrigued to see what effect this would have on the overall performance. 

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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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