Press Review: Noughts & Crosses at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Gripping and thought-provoking

Sephy and Callum sit together on a beach. They are in love. It is forbidden. Sephy is a Cross and Callum is a Nought. Between Noughts and Crosses there are racial and social divides. A segregated society teeters on a volatile knife edge. As violence breaks out, Sephy and Callum draw closer, but this is a romance that will lead them into terrible danger…

Based on the first book in Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses series, directed by Esther Richardson and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz, Noughts & Crosses offers a love story (very loosely based on Romeo & Juliet) set in an reimagined society. The Crosses – all people of colour – hold the power, while the Noughts – the white population – are at the mercy of the discriminatory rules and restrictions placed upon them. Sephy (Effie Ansah), a Cross, is the daughter of the Home Secretary Kamal Hadley (Chris Jack) and lives a life of privilege Her childhood friend Callum, a Nought, has won a place at her prestigious school for Crosses, causing a violent series of protests and backlash. Their developing romance is strictly forbidden, and both sides face huge barriers and prejudice while trying to simultaneously be together while finding their own paths. 

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Press Review: The Shawshank Redemption at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A powerful piece of theatre

Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption (which was also the inspiration for the smash-hit 1994 movie starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption has been adapted for a theatre audience in a 2022 UK tour. 

Presented by Bill Kenwright, directed by David Esbjornson and adapted from the novella by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns, The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Joe Absolom), who is wrongfully convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover and is sent to the notorious Shawshank facility to start his double life sentence. As he deals with the harsh brutality and cruelty of prison life, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Ellis ‘Red’ Redding (Ben Onwukwe). However, when his talents for accountancy are discovered by Warden Stammas (Mark Heenahan), he realises a desperate plan to escape is needed… 

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Press Review: The Osmonds, A New Musical at The Alexandra Theatre

One Family. One Hundred Million Records.

Decades before the boy band explosion of the 90s was The Osmonds, a clean-cut, all American family of musicians who grew up on the television. From their star residency on The Andy Williams Show to the arrival of Donny and Marie, The Osmonds lived a remarkable life recording chart topping albums, selling out vast arena concerts and making record breaking TV shows – until one bad decision cost them everything. 

Directed and co-written by Shaun Kerrison, written by Jay Osmond, the story of The Osmonds is told through the eyes of Jay in a series of flashbacks from their beginnings as a group under the watchful eye of their military father, the success of Merrill (Ryan Anderson), Alan (Jamie Chatterton), Jay (Alex Lodge), Wayne (Danny Natrass) and Donny (Tristan Whincup) as a band, sister Marie (Georgia Lennon) and little brother Jimmy (Samuel Routley), their meteoric rise to fame and subsequent fall, and the trials and heartbreak that accompany being a member of one of the biggest musical names of all time. 

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Press Review: Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Fun, witty and heart-warming with plenty of sole

From the pier of Port Isaac, Cornwall to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical is loosely based around the true story of the surprise chart-topping Cornish singing sensations and their smash-hit 2019 movie.

Directed by James Grieve with the Book by Amanda Whittington, Fisherman’s Friends tells the story of a group of fisherman in a traditional Cornish village who sing folk songs and shanties to raise money for the local lifeboat. They are spotted by passing visitor Danny (Jason Langley), a former A&R Executive from London who is immediately captivated by the music and convinces them to record a demo to send to Island Records. But is the British public ready for an album of sea shanties and traditional Cornish folk songs?

Yes, they were.

And after watching Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, so am I.

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Press Review: Fame at The Alexandra Theatre

Note: This review is for the Stage Experience performance of Fame at The Alexandra Theatre.

Back after a two-year hiatus, the renowned Stage Experience returned to The Alexandra Theatre with their latest production of Fame. 

Based on the 1980 iconic film which spawned a popular television series, Fame follows the final class of New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts through their struggles, fears and triumph as they navigate the worlds of music, drama and dance

Showcasing the very best in local young talent, the Alexandra’s annual Stage Experience is open to anyone aged 9-24 years old who have a passion for performance, wardrobe, stage management or behind-the-scenes technical skills. Over the last few weeks, 60 young performers and 10 technicians from all over the West Midlands have intensively rehearsed to bring their latest production to life. 

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Press Review: Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ An evening of hilarious and unadulterated chaos. A joy to watch!

Note: This review is for the UK 2022 tour.

Based on the beloved 1970’s sitcom by Ray Allen starring Michael Crawford and directed by the award-winning Guy Unsworth, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em tells the story of the accident-prone Frank Spencer (Joe Pasquale). His wife Betty (Sarah Earnshaw) has exciting news, but he’s preoccupied by possible newfound fame as a magician. Joined by Betty’s mother Mrs Fisher (Susie Blake), her boyfriend Mr Luscombe (Moray Treadwell), and priest Father O’Hara (James Paterson), there are plenty crossed wires, misunderstandings and mishaps as Frank and Betty attempt to host a dinner party and do an interview with the BBC. 

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Press Review: Guys and Dolls at the Alexandra Theatre

 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A fun production for all the family!

Directed by Stephen Duckham, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, Guys and Dolls is the latest production from the BMOS Musical Theatre Company, an amateur performing arts group with members of all ages from across the West Midlands. 

Revered as one of the classics, Guys and Dolls tells the story of Nathan Detroit (Pat Pryce) who needs $1,000 to host a crap game. In an effort to raise the money, he bets gambler Sky Masterson (James Gordanifar) that he can’t take the virtuous Sister Sarah Brown on a date to Havana, Cuba. Meanwhile, Nathan is also being chased by his fiancé of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (Jo Smith), who is desperate to get married and settle down…

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Press Review: 25 Years of Lord of the Dance at The Alexandra Theatre

In 1994 I watched (along with millions of others around the world) as Michael Flatley, Jean Butler and a troop of incredible dancers performed a new take on Irish dancing during the interval show at the Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland. A rare moment where the interval act eclipsed the main show, Riverdance went on to become a worldwide sensation.

I still get goosebumps thinking about it. 

Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance debuted on July 2nd, 1996 and 25 years later, I sat in The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham as the next generation of dancers, singers and instrumentalists (most of who weren’t even born during the original performance) brought Lord of the Dance to life on stage.

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Press Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…

The smash hit West End show is at The Alexandra Theatre this week and The Bloke went along to watch. 

The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! As the accident prone amateur thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!

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Press Review: Cluedo at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ – laugh-out-loud funny and a joy to watch!

Note: This review is for the UK Tour 2022 of Cluedo.

Was it Miss Scarlet, with the revolver in the dining room, or was it Professor Plum, with the lead pipe in the library?…

Based on the classic detective board game and the hit 1985 film CLUE, the brand new stage play of CLUEDO is on stage at the Alexandra Theatre this week. Directed by Mark Bell, director of the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong and A Comedy About A Bank Robbery, we follow the story of Miss Scarlett (Michelle Collins), Professor Plum (Daniel Casey), Colonel Mustard (Wesley Griffith), Mrs White (Etisyai Philip), Mrs Peacock (Judith Amsenga) and Reverend Green (Tom Babbage) who are mysteriously invited to a country manor by Lord Boddy. Greeted by the butler, Wadsworth (Jean-Luke Worrell), a Boltonian maid with a fake French accent (Laura Kirman) and the cook (Meg Travers), secrets are slowly revealed as people start to be killed off one by one. 

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