Rock of Ages is a jukebox music which lacks any storyline but makes up for it through the use of humour and performance.
Let’s start by saying that Rock of Ages is not a musical masterpiece by any means, but it is a super self-aware, high intensity, fun and crazily well performed show, that’ll definitely have your toes tapping to some of the most well-loved rock classics.
Black musical comedy Heathers The Musical has graduated with honours to the West End, opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket to whoops of laughter and screams of delight from enthusiastic audiences.
Following a sold-out run at The Other Palace earlier this year, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding Heathers the Musical, with a strong fandom out in force and social media buzzing with (mostly) glowing comments.
Every so often a show comes around which receives an exceptional amount of hype and has the West End buzzing. Heathers is currently that show and the good news is that it truly lives up to it.
The hype for Heathers The Musical is real, awards need to be nominated for and won. High School will never be the same again, it’s just ‘So Very’.
You thought there were enough school-themed musicals? What with Bring it On, School of Rock and our own dear cross-dressing Jamie…? Make room, here comes Heathers.
The creative team behind Heathers the Musical has announced a brand new song has been written into the show ahead of its West End debut at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (3 September to 24 November 2018), along with multiple re-workings to the script.
Joining the previously announced Carrie Hope Fletcher, playing Veronica Sawyer in the Uk premiere of Heathers – The Musical at The Other Palace (9 June to 4 August 2018) are Jodie Steele (Chandler), Sophie Isaacs (McNamara) and T’Shan Williams (Duke) – The Heathers, with Jamie Muscato playing the mysterious teen rebel Jason Dean (JD).
The West End Live Lounge concerts are truly joyous to be a part of because they not only celebrate the fantastic talent the West End has to offer but raise money for fantastic causes.
Final casting for Myth: the Rise and Fall of Orpheus, directed by Arlene Phillips and playing at The Other Palace from 10 March, includes Jaymi Hensely, best known for his work in boy band Union J.
Rachel Tucker is a masterful performer, both in terms of her faultless vocals and her ability to embody and live every song she sings.
Our compere for the evening was the ridiculously hilarious Samuel J Holmes who delivered gag after gag and was his own stand-up act between performers.
Released earlier this month, Favourite Sins is 4-track EP of musical theatre tracks written by actor/singer/songwriter Alex James Ellison with lyricists Robert Gould (whose work I have previously reviewed here and here) and Jimmy Granstrom.
Drayton Arms Theatre, London
Music & lyrics by Neil Bartram
Book by Brian Hill
Directed by Christopher Lane
Jodie Steele, Simon Bailey, Natasha Karp
It’s a brave conceit to fuse art with science and one that The RSC only recently pulled off with their stunning Oppenheimer, analysing the atomic bomb’s evolution. On a more modest level, The Theory of Relativity seeks to link Einstein’s eponymous theory with the human condition. That the show’s final monologue (delivered it must be said, via a brilliant performance from Jodie Steele) seeks to play on the rather tortuous wordplay of “the speed of light” vs “the speed of life” offers a hint at how shallow this show’s thesis turns out to be. As an exercise in modern metaphysics The Theory of Relativity turns out to be little more than a sometimes flawed song-cycle, albeit one that showcases some top notch performance work.
The always excellent Simon Bailey leads the company as a quirky geek, in a character who also offers the one strand of chuckle-worthy humour with a recurring motif that gradually takes the value of pi to an increasing number of decimals. Bailey brings a precision to both his vocal and physical presence that lifts the show – with a beautifully resonant tone.
Steele’s presence matches Bailey – with a vocal belt and a poignant lyric that also defines her as an actor of considerable merit.
Elsewhere, Natasha Karp is a strong neurotic and Ina Marie Smith has a pleasing presence too – though for the writers, in 2013 no less, to have been making fun of size 16 women and OCD is offensive. A number intriguingly titled Apples and Oranges hinted perhaps at a foray into Newtonian physics? Alas, it was merely a trite and patronising nod towards diversity.
Set above a pub and with a noisy air conditioning unit, the shallow raked audience placed end-on to the action demands a vocal strength in the company’s projected voice work that isn’t always achieved. More work is needed here, certainly in the show’s softer moments.
Musically, MD Barney Ashworth, occasionally accompanied by actor-muso Andrew Gallo on guitar, delivers an impressive shift on the keyboard.
Put together on what appears to be a micro-budget even for London’s fringe, The Theory of Relativity is a one act work that drags – and if you struggled with maths and physics at school, there are no easy answers here. That being said, it offers a hard working troupe in action and to catch a close up glimpse of some of our nation’s finest young performers, then fans, producers and casting directors should head to SW5.
Runs until 13th June
Picture credit: Poppy Carter Portraits at www.poppycarterportraits.com