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NEWS: Amy Ross & Helen Woolf star as Elphaba & Glinda in Wicked’s 2018 UK tour

In Musicals, Native, News, Press Releases, Regional theatre by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Wicked is delighted to announce that Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) will join the previously announced Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero) to lead the cast of the forthcoming return engagement of the UK & Ireland Tour in 2018.

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Press pass: All the reviews and more from Grey Gardens’ European premiere

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Quotes, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Producer Danielle Tarento and director Thom Southerland have created another Off-West End mega-hit musical. In fact, Grey Gardens has broken all box office records at Southwark Playhouse where it has already sold out, eclipsing the pair’s other much-loved Broadway musical reclamations at the same address over the past five years: Grand Hotel (2015 – spot […]

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Caroline Hanks-FarmerLeave a Comment

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. Grey Gardens is a musical based on the critically acclaimed 1975 documentary about former First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale. Despite their wealthy background and connections, the two were revealed in the 1970s to be living in squalor, their house overrun by stray cats (and other wildlife) and deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’ by the Health Department.

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s not hard to see why Grey Gardens – the musical – has become such a collector’s item. This strange but true tale of American royalty gone rogue, of Jacqueline Kennedy’s rebellious relatives, of a stain on the Bouvier clan somehow exposing the rot at the heart of the American dream was/is irresistible. We all fell for the delicious anarchy of Albert Maysles’ splendid documentary but equally picked up on the sadness of what was at heart an extreme case of co-dependancy. But when “Little Edie Beale said “It’s very diffiicult to keep the line between the past and the present” she unlocked what makes Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright’s work really special.

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

Hot on the heels of THE DAZZLE (about the New York Collyer brothers living in hoarderly squalid isolation) this is about Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie half a century later, living in even more eccentric squalor in the Hamptons. Both interpret true stories. Even more thematically satisfying for the playgoer, no sooner has Imelda Staunton bowed out as Mama Rose dominating her daughter in Gypsy, than we can contemplate the equally showbiz- thwarted Edith senior sabotaging hers. Delusion, eccentricity, toxic but irresistible family bonds, musical obsession and memory: great themes, played out with satisfying difference on stages either side of the Thames.

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Rock operas: How much does American Idiot owe to Tommy?

In Features, London theatre, Opinion by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Birth-wise, more than three decades separate The Who’s Tommy and Green Day’s American Idiot, but location-wise, the distance is only three short train stops, from London’s Charing Cross to Greenwich. That is, for the next few weeks in any case. It’s a happy coincidence that these two “rock operas” based on groundbreaking “concept albums” are both […]

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AMERICAN IDIOT – West End

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Arts Theatre, London
****
Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael MayerLyrics by Billie Joe ArmstrongMusic by Green DayDirected and choreographed by Racky Plews

Amelia Lily and Aaron Sidwell
It has been nearly three years since Green Day’s American Idiot played in the capital and Racky Plews’ take on the show, filling the summer slot at London’s relatively bijou Arts Theatre, delivers an energy and sound that is rarely seen in the West End.
The opening television sequence of various cable news snippets throws the audience into the story’s recent historical time, ingeniously drawing them into a single TV set which replaces the more lavish multiple-screen settings, typically found in a larger scale production. Sara Perks’ design work makes effective use of background art around the stage, mimicking a captive glued to the TV set and thus cleverly and appropriately setting the tone for the opening number, American Idiot.
The show’s distinctly modern-era story era follows three young men, Johnny, Tunny and Will, struggling to make sense of a seemingly directionless post 9/11 suburban wasteland, filled with nothing but misinformation, mediocrity and vacuous reality. As in nature so in life – vacuums are abhorred – and it is variously drugs, military service and disparate relationships with girls that fill the boys lives.
Of the three, Aaron Sidwell’s Johnny gives a solid lead performance, combining charisma, presence and humour. Steve Rushton as Will and Alexis Gerred’s Tunny manage to define the frustrations, anger and yet also the hope of their generation.
One of this musical’s curiosities is that the show’s girls, whilst vital to its plot, are also strangely marginalised in the narrative. The harshly named Whatsername is played by Amelia Lily (she of X-Factor fame and now making a creditable crossover into musical theatre) whilst Raquel Jones is stunning as the show’s Extraordinary Girl.
In what can prove a tough gig seeking to replicate a band, Mark Crossland does a stellar job as musical director. Alex Marschisone [drums], Brock Eddowes [Bass] and Tommaso Varvello [Guitar] combine to produce a sound that offers up a worthy tribute to the original band.
Plews’ vision of the show’s staging and dance is inspirational, reflecting a broad, hands-on grasp of modern popular culture. In her programme notes she speaks of having grown up to Green Day’s pop-punk sound and her work not only defines a respect for the music, it also evidences a profound understanding of Billy Joe Armstrong’s nuance. Powerful stuff.
Whether you’re a fan of quality new musical theatre or just love the music and want to experience the songs of a generation, then go. Green Day’s American Idiot is one of the most exciting and invigorating shows in town.

Runs until 27th September