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

The Snow Queen at The Old Rep, Birmingham

The Snow Queen at The Old Rep, Birmingham

Looking for a fairytale that the whole family can enjoy this Christmas?

This new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical adventure follows inseparable friends Kai and Gerda. When Gerda awakes on her sister Karen’s 13th birthday, she discovers that Karen has become mean and cold-spirited – a spell that The Snow Queen puts on all children when they reach the age of thirteen to ensure that everyone is as hateful as she is. After the heartless Snow Queen steals Kai to help rebuild her broken treasure, can Gerda rescue him in time before she plunges the world into an eternal winter? With the help of an unlikely band of companions, Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend.
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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

Little Miss Sunshine at the Alexandra Theatre

The road to happiness is a bumpy ride…

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

Half a Sixpence at the Alexandra Theatre

Flash, Bang, Wallop! 

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

The Rocky Horror Show at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

 

The Rocky Horror Show Birmingham

The Rocky Horror Show Birmingham

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