View Post

PINOCCHIO – King’s Head Theatre

In Cabaret, Children's theatre, London theatre, Opera, Opinion, Pantomimes, Plays, Reviews by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

Charles Court Opera return to the King’s Head Theatre for the festive season with their traditional twist on a classic story that is funny with plenty of audience interaction. This is Pinocchio but not as you know it thanks to Charles Court Opera’s latest pantomime that takes the classic story and turns it into something completely unique.

MIRROR MIRROR: A SNOW WHITE PANTOMINE – King’s Head Theatre

In Comedy, London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

They are new to the King’s Head, but Charles Court Opera aren’t new to pantomime. This year’s Mirror Mirror: A Snow White Pantomime is their ninth “boutique” panto. Though an opera company, this show and cast of six are anything but stereotypical opera fare. John Savournin’s script is fresh and witty, the performances are camp and vibrant, and the re-written pop song soundtrack is so well sung that it deserves a cast recording. There’s plenty of typical panto interaction, made easier and more personal in a fringe venue but doesn’t overwhelm the space, either. Though the costumes are detailed and fun, the set is a bit analog and takes up a lot of playing space, restricting movement and choreography. Some of the performances were more genuine than others, but this remains a wonderfully current panto with excellent writing.

View Post

Ruddigore – Review

In by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

King’s Head Theatre, London 

****

Music by Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W. S. Gilbert
Directed by John Savournin

John Savournin
Charles Court Opera are one of the leading small companies, known for their innovative approach and described as “the masters of Gilbert & Sullivan in small places”. For their 10th Anniversary, the company have chosen the lesser known tenth of fourteen comic operas by Gilbert & Sullivan. In 1887 Ruddigore initially struggled following the huge success of The Mikado, but after a few re-writes and a re-spelt title (from the original Ruddygore) it was to triumph.
Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse, has an unbelievable plot. A centuries old witch’s curse on the Baronetcy of Ruddigore condemns the eldest sons to commit a crime everyday on pain of death. Heirs understandably try to find ways around this, or abscond, with perilous and confusing results all round, driving fiancées to madness and bridesmaids to despair. 
It all makes for a fabulous frolic, executed at the King’s Head Theatre with fine singing, acting and an unrelenting energy. Gilbert’s loquacious lyrics are performed at a breakneck pace, yet the skill of John Savournin’s direction and indeed his performance as Sir Despard Murgatroyd is such that every word is savoured and heard and whats more, that it all seems so ridiculously plausible.
The Bridesmaids’ constant and very funny refrain ‘Hail the Bridegroom, Hail the Bride’ is a memorable air, made all the more remarkable by Susanna Buckle and Andrea Tweedale effectively emulating a chorus of 22 voices, whilst Cassandra McCowan makes more sense of Mad Margaret than is often to be found in Ruddigore productions.
The compact company of just eight sound tremendous, with both acts’ finales sung with a gorgeous musicality and a remarkable attention to detail. David Eaton as Musical Director, accompanies with great dexterity and detail throughout as Philip Aiden’s choreography keeps the cast on their toes admirably and literally, given the speed at which they move and sing. James Perkins’ seaside pier design atmospherically enhanced by Nicholas Holdridge’s lighting becomes hysterically effective when we are introduced to the ghostly ancestors.
It is profoundly re-assuring to see that in 2014 the spirit of Gilbert & Sullivan is more than alive and well in London’s off-West End. With sparkling melodies, glorious singing and rich characterisation, The King’s Head’s Ruddigore makes for a delightful evening of meticulously crafted madness.

Runs to 14th March 2015
Guest reviewer Catherine Françoise

View Post

Review: Do I Hear a Waltz (Park Theatre)

In Musicals, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

I cannot in all conscience recommend DO I HEAR A WALTZ to any but the most forensic Sondheim fans.  It does contain a version of ‘We’re Gonna Be Alright’ but it’s the heavily cut and anodyne one where the couple actually may get along together rather than the acid picture of a disintegrating relationship when […]

The post Review: Do I Hear a Waltz (Park Theatre) appeared first on JohnnyFox.