Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has been a much-loved book since it was written in 1847. It has inspired many unofficial sequels, plays, television serials and films. An important work, which is used in the teaching of English Literature in educational courses all over the world.
This radical production of Pygmalion is a collaboration between Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Headlong and West Yorkshire Playhouse. It was certainly bold and brave and bought it right up to date to the digital age.
The rags to riches story of Eva Peron charting her rise from poverty as a child to the first lady of Argentina has been wowing audiences worldwide since its conception in 1976. The musical written by the award winning duo Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber takes the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions and is as relevant now as it was when it was first written.
I’ve personally seen 74 productions this year including some repeat visits, so how do I then pick just ten shows for a top 10?
2016 has undoubtedly had its highs and lows. I wanted to find out what were my regular reviewers’ two favourite theatrical productions that they had covered for me this year?
A Prince obsessed with his looks cursed by an evil Fairy, transformed into a Beast, will need to learn to love another and earn her love in return to break the spell. With not a dancing candlestick in sight, I would recommend reading the story beforehand.
In 1956 four young men on the brink of stardom had an impromptu jam session at the now legendary Sun studios under the watchful eye of Sam Phillips, the man who created Rock’n’Roll.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graeme’s beloved family tale of the riverbank has delighted readers young and old for over a century. The story of Ratty, Mole and the severe Mr Badger and their mission to save the notorious Mr Toad from himself is a timeless classic enjoyed by all.
Stepping Out is very much an ensemble piece, no individuals character can be classed as the lead. It is clear that this all-star ensemble – including Amanda Holden and Tamzin Outhwaite – are very comfortable working together.
In the safe hands of the close-knit cast this iconic story played out beautifully. The cast worked well together and the camaraderie between the inmates was both beautiful to watch and extremely natural.
What it’s like being on tour? I’ve done a few tours and I really enjoy them. The different theatres and places you go to and different audiences reaction. I get paid to sing and dance doing what I love it’s like a dream come true I feel really lucky. You eat together, you live together and rehearse together so you do get closer, it feels more like a family unit.
We have Abba’s back catalogue, a Greek island, a wedding, a mother and daughter and three possible father’s so what show do we have? Yes of course it’s the smash hit musical Mamma Mia! This colourful show requires no brain work but to just simply sit back, enjoy and to try and guess which Abba song is coming up next.
This production feels like it’s a show returning to its roots, a simplified version with no real trickery, lavishness or big overwhelming live orchestra, more traditional and it’s endearing as a result. Joe McElderry takes the title role in this sweet version and with an undeniably strong singing voice and charisma he makes a great Joseph.
Zizi Strallen plays the leading role and I have to say she was more than “practically perfect” – she was absolute perfection personified in this new stage adaptation of the Walt Disney film classic of the stories written by P L Travers. Strallen effortlessly glides around the stage at times almost seeming to be on wheels, her poise and demeanour of this quintessentially British nanny merely demonstrated that she was sheer brilliance in casting for the role.
Made popular by the MGM 1955 film starring Marlon Brandon, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine this show is undoubtedly in my top three all time favourite shows. Consequently I’ve seen many stage versions and some with equal star billing as the motion picture which started my love affair with it. So did this fresh touring company live up to my high expectations?
I remember watching a 15-minute excerpt from Joe Sellman-Leava’s solo show Labels at a scratch night at Morley College about a year ago. In an evening full of talent, the piece stood out for its blend of personal anecdote, self-deprecating humour and a quietly simmering anger, all presented by an engaging, charismatic performer.
I’ve seen many productions of Chicago, own the DVD of the infamous 2002 film and even pleaded “not guilty” in a production myself. So to say I was excited to see this tour hit my local theatre would be an understatement.
This cast launching the tour has had some changes since leaving the Yorkshire Playhouse where the show was resident over Christmas. I believe they have had just three performances together and whilst there were a couple of times that this showed, along with slight technical issues with “Chitty” neither detracted from the enjoyment of the show.
This review is not going to have any spoilers in it so it will be brief. However, what I can say is this is a modern take on a traditional magic show on a very grand scale. The scene is set as you take to your seat and find an envelope with “Top Secret” written upon it.
Cirque de Glace was my first theatre trip of 2016 and what a way to start the year! When I was a child my grandmother around this time of year took me to see “Dancing on Ice” which invariably was on every year at The Brighton Centre. So the thought of a circus show on ice brought back many fond memories of my childhood.
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