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NEWS: Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally will make her West End musical debut in Anything Goes opposite Robert Lindsay

In London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Press Releases, Quotes by Press Releases

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.

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‘It’s an absolute gift to any actor’: Rebecca Lock plays Lilli in Sheffield Crucible’s Kiss Me, Kate

In Features, Interviews, Musicals, Quotes, Regional theatre by Olivia MitchellLeave a Comment

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…

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KISS ME, KATE – Touring

In Musicals, Opera, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

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 – Touring

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

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.

HIGH SOCIETY – Old Vic Theatre

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

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.

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Review: Anything Goes (Wimbledon Theatre)

In Musicals, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

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 […]

The post Review: Anything Goes (Wimbledon Theatre) appeared first on JohnnyFox.

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Review: Karen Akers (Pizza On The Park)

In Broadway, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

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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