Emmy & SAG Award winner Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) will make her West End musical debut as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes opposite Tony, Olivier & BAFTA Award winner Robert Lindsay as Moonface Martin, running from 8 May 2021 (press night is 20 May) until 22 August at London’s Barbican Theatre.
Fresh from starring as Ms Fleming in Heathers, Rebecca Lock is tackling the tough but exciting role of Lilli in the Sheffield Crucible’s production of Kiss Me, Kate. Rebecca chatted to us all about the show, how Lilli is an ever-relevant character and what people can expect from this new production…
In choosing to restore rather than rejuvenate, Opera North has created a genuinely fascinating and faithful window into a bygone era. In doing so, however, they’ve chosen to celebrate the show as an antiquity, rather than drawing on its more timeless qualities.
After touring for a while, Opera North’s production of Kiss Me, Kate has slipped into the London Coliseum for a short run which showcases its glorious score and stellar cast.
With the World Cup tournament currently in play, football parlance seems appropriate in describing Opera North’s Kiss Me, Kate, arriving this week for a short stay at London’s Coliseum as a show with two halves.
An impeccable five-star production from Opera North in association with Welsh National Opera. Do not be put off by the word opera this is West End musical theatre at its very, very best.
Kiss Me, Kate is full of moments, that remind you of the magic of Cole Porter’s timeless music when performed by a truly remarkable cast and orchestra. Opera North has a triumph on its hands, which will enthral audiences lucky enough to see this classy production.
In quite possibly the finest musical to have been staged at The Gatehouse in recent years, John Plews and his cracking company deliver musical theatre magic in their ambitious staging of Cole Porter’s most famous show, Anything Goes.
Founded in 1989, dark cabaret act The Tiger Lillies are still going strong. For their current show, in conjunction with Opera North, two of the current members reinterpret Cole Porter songs in a distinctive, understated style.
Last night an enthusiastic London audience celebrated the end of the run of an American musical diva born in 1947 whose career has touched millions.
In her one-woman cabaret, Maria Kesselman firmly proves herself to be a force to be reckoned with. A truly seasoned professional, she seamlessly blends an impressive voice and near-perfect technique with an ability to make each and every audience member feel as though they have known her for years.
Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack
Directed by Jo Davies
Quirjin De Lang, Jeni Bern and Company
Opera North, a leading UK arts organisation whose key focus and goal is to ‘actively challenge conventional perceptions of opera’ (as stated in the programme), return to Leeds Grand this Autumn to present their latest season of work, with this new production of Kiss Me, Kate being the first in a diverse line-up.
Kiss Me, Kate tells the story of Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi, two actors whose tempestuous love lives take centre stage as they perform in a new musical version of The Taming of the Shrew in 1940s Baltimore. Almost fabricated as a play within a play, Kiss Me, Kate takes a different tack to the musical theatre norm and allows the audience to see both the on stage and off stage dramatics and hysteria of the story’s main arc.
Quirijn De Lang and Jeni Bern, the key protagonists, shine in their roles offering the audience a true abundance of wit, charm and delight as they work with an overly complex plot that takes an hour and a half to actually get to the point. Whilst there are some great comedic interludes from Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin as Gunman 1 and Gunman 2, Kiss Me, Kate struggles to sell itself as a piece of high class musical theatre.
With a running time of almost 3 hours, Kiss Me, Kate fails to pack the punch required for such a long piece of theatre, with scenes drawn out for much longer than required. At least half an hour could be trimmed and still allow a piece that could be easily grasped without becoming boring due to a lack of tension, suspense or characters one can truly care for.
Tiffany Graves and Ashley Day feel a tad miscast as the secondary characters Lois Lane and Bill Calhoun – there’s a surprising lack of chemistry between the two and apart from a wonderful, albeit small, comedic moment in Tom, Dick or Harry. Katie Kerr as Hattie seems underused with an absolutely divine voice that opens up the first act in Another Op’nin, Another Show, whilst Claire Pascoe as the Stage Manager is another ensemble member who stands out, grabbing our attention as soon as she walks on stage.
The main saving grace of this production is its music. Superbly conducted by David Charles Abell, Kiss Me, Kate harks back to Musical Theatre’s golden era. The best moments are the ensemble numbers particularly Too Darn Hot the second act opener.
The lighting and set designs for this production are ambitious considering the size of the theatre but Ben Cracknell and Colin Richmond do a remarkable job, providing stunning backdrops that draw the audience in and help sell a flawed story.
Kiss Me, Kate’s lack of purpose and confusing storyline will possibly leave many feeling a little cold and put out. For those Shakespeare aficionados however who fancy seeing something a bit different and unconventional, then it may well prove the perfect night out.
Runs until 31 October and then toursGuest reviewer: Megan Kinsey
Puttin’ On The Ritz – which promises to take the audience back to the ‘golden age of Hollywood’ – has the potential to be a hit show. Billed as a ‘song and dance extravaganza’, it plays to the country’s fascination with ballroom dancing (as demonstrated by Strictly Come Dancing) and with the musical genius of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, whose hits caused many audience members to sing along.
Joe Stilgoe, the piano man, holds the stage as we settle, receiving a fusillade of unhelpful audience requests (“Bolero! Summertime! Pink Panther! Prokoffiev’s ninth!” – that last from Andrew Marr, cheeky monkey). Brilliantly, he delivers them simultaneously, singing Summertime over Bolero chords, and getting audience participation in Fever. Crafty to set a cabaret mood before we get down to business with “Come see the rich of Oyster Bay / On this their daughter’s wedding day!” as the silver piano sinks ingeniously into the floor.
Oh, Daniel Evans, you little balding bundle of Welsh genius – I’m not saying you were wasted in that snooker venue in Sheffield but you certainly deserve the widest of musical stages for your work: Anything Goes is a musical theatre buff’s musical, crammed to the gunwales with talent and invention. The plot’s irrelevant, and […]
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Why should you go to a basement venue condemned for redevelopment to hear a tall slender American woman you probably haven’t heard of sing the works of a long-dead composer and lyricist? Because, trust us, you should. For three good reasons. One : Karen Akers has a ten-album back-catalogue (much of it available on Amazon, […]
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