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NEWS: Chicago returns, launches 2016 tour in Feb with John Partridge as Billy Flynn

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

“Murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery… all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts”… so begins the international award-winning musical CHICAGO, which opens a national tour at the New Theatre Oxford on Friday 12 February 2016 starring John Partridge as Billy Flynn, Hayley Tamaddon as Roxie Hart and Sam Bailey as Mama Morton. Tour schedule below …

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CIRCUS: No Man’s Land – by Collectif And Then…

In Circus by Katharine KavanaghLeave a Comment

No Man’s Land is all about borders and boundaries, and what happens when you cross them. It starts with the audience being ushered, military style, into the space and commanded to turn off our cellphones. By the time we’re seated (some of us having been ordered to switch seats with others) we have all accepted the performers’ absolute authority.

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Desperate Divas Cabaret – Review

In by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

*****
Tiffany Graves, Tom Wakeley and Anita Louise Combe
Tiffany Graves and Anita Louise Combes are West End leading ladies who amongst other things, have both played Chicago’s Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly even if never in the production at the same time as the other. It was Tom Wakeley however, a former Musical Director of the Kander & Ebb hit, that spotted the potential of pairing the two as a double act. It has taken a couple of years to bring Wakeley’s idea to fruition, but their cabaret Desperate Divas, a collection of show tunes loosely themed around the trials of modern dating, is now finally receiving its premier at the St James Studio.
Graves and Combes are vocal sensations and this show is all the more remarkable for having been put together whilst both actresses are currently rehearsing major openings. Graves is shortly to commence touring as Ulla in The Producers, whilst Combes in preparation for the transfer of last year’s sensational Gypsy, from Chichester to the West End’s Savoy. It was a neat touch that saw the gig open with a mash up of When You Got it Flaunt It together with Let Me Entertain You from each show respectively. The tweaked lyrics may have been a little bit cheesy but the songs provided a classy moment that set the tone for the rest of the night.
The divas’ patter was mostly classy, even if occasionally clunky. But this was their first gig – and when schedules allow these talented women to re-group and perform again, (which they must) their spiel will only get better.
The songs however were flawless, combining familiar numbers (in a set list that was inevitably heavy on offerings from Chicago) together with showtunes some of which have yet to be performed in the UK. One of Combes’ desperate deliveries was Where In The World Is My Prince from William Finn’s Little Miss Sunshine, which included the sparklingly memorable rhyme that she’d been “trained by Nikinsky and coached by Lewinsky”. Other treats of the first half included Graves’ (now clad in a wedding dress – bravo to the backstage dressers for executing such speedy costume changes) Always A Bridesmaid from I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, whilst the pair closed act one with Side Show’s plaintive Who Will Love Me As I Am, delivered with stunning harmonies and a thrilling anthemic power.
Graves had played a stunning Sukie Rougemont in the 2013 prodcution of The Witches of Eastwick at Newbury’s Watermill (reviewed here). So to see Words,Words,Words, a bogglingly complex number rarely heard on the cabaret circuit, listed amongst the second half gems, whetted appetites. Graves duly smashed the song, to showstopping whoops from the packed crowd.
Tom Wakeley excelled on piano throughout – ably accompanied by Paul Moylan on double bass.
The pair closed with Chicago’s Class and Nowadays – done to perfection by two singers who could not know their material more intimately nor with greater understanding. That they also threw in a very slick Hot Honey Rag dance routine, tailored brilliantly to the Studio’s confines, was but an added bonus. These women are at the top of their game with voices that are perfectly tuned. Cabaret singing doesn’t get better than this!

Photo credit – Jonathan Hilder of Piers Photography

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Review: Caroline O’Connor – The Showgirl Within (Garrick Theatre)

In Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

Going to a one-woman show with a big West End diva. Caroline O’Connor. Who? You know, she’s British but very big in Australia, was in the Sondheim Prom and played the taxi driver in ‘On The Town’ at the Coliseum … judging by Tuesday’s audience it was the most gay, geeky or Australian show-tune fanciers […]

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