Just walking into the theatre and seeing Paul Anderson’s vibrantly coloured set for The Boy Friend chases away the winter blues and transports you to 1920s Riviera in this sparkling production.
At the end of a year in which female-forward and feminist theatre has made so much progress, The Boy Friend looks regressive as well as nostalgic. On the other hand, it is a colourful and escapist retreat from the winter, and we could all do with a night off from angst.
As light as a madeleine and as frivolous as a macaron, Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend proves a festive treat at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
The Menier Chocolate Factory has announced initial casting for its major revival of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend running at the theatre from 22 November 2019 to 7 March 2020 (press night is on 3 December 2019). Full casting will be announced shortly.
If a successful future is to be unlocked for Lock and Key then much work is needed on its book. The show is crying out for credible characters who engage in plausible human interaction, and horror that truly suspends our disbelief.
A nippy little thing this, Lock and Key. A new musical from writing duo Barlow & Smith, a couple of cracking musical theatre actresses in Tiffany Graves and Evelyn Hoskins, and the sweaty intimacy of the Pit, one of the Vault Festival’s less hospitable spaces. It all adds up to something really rather entertaining.
Ostensibly, these are concert presentations of musicals but the joy in what you actually get, the bonuses that get incorporated into the creation of genuine one-off experiences makes LMTO one of the more valuable recent additions to the London theatre ecology.
The London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) have done it again. Another fantastic celebration of a beautiful score performed by a beautiful orchestra and a beautiful cast. It was just a whole lot of beautiful, okay!
Natasha J Barnes as Mabel must surely be on her way to an Olivier at some point in the near future.
Full casting has been announced for next weekend’s London Musical Theatre Orchestra much-anticipated concert presentation of Jerry Herman’s Mack and Mabel, which runs for one night only at Hackney Empire on Saturday 23 September 2017. Have you got your tickets yet? Have you entered the competition on our sister site StageFaves.com?
Just a little over two weeks to go until the next star-studded concert presentation from the London Musical Theatre Orchestra. Have you got your tickets yet for Mack and Mabel, starring David Bedella, Natasha J Barnes and Tiffany Graves?
Drip by drip, the National is teasing us with the cast reveals for Network. Latest to be announced is Douglas Henshall who is to play Max Schumacher in this world-premiere of Lee Hall’s new adaptation of the Oscar-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky.
There is an incredible array of top talent assembled – powerful singers, athletic dancers and intelligent actors – but The Wild Party lacks the wit and humour of Chicago so that its effect is limited because the book is so thin.
Drawn from Joseph Moncure March’s 1928 poem of the same name the show is an unrelenting tale of bastardry in 1920s New York. Frances Ruffelle’s Queenie and her husband Burrs are a pair of fading Vaudeville artistes.
March’s jazz-age tale of a tempestuous couple holding a gathering to end all gatherings allows for a real parade of vivid caricatures to come passing through in search of gin, blow, sex and some defining characteristic or other.
Full casting is announced today for Michael John LaChiusa’s THE WILD PARTY, which receives its first major London production at The Other Palace, playing from Monday 13 February to Saturday 1 April 2017, with a press night on Monday 20 February. THE WILD PARTY will be the inaugural production at The Other Palace, formerly St. James Theatre, when it reopens in February …
She’s played Velma Kelly in Chicago, appeared in The Producers, Kiss Me Kate and Sweet Charity amongst many other successful shows. Her cabarets have received critical acclaim – including an Also Recognised Awards nomination this year for her Desperate Divas cabaret with Anita Louise Combe – and she’s about to embark upon two more cabaret dates at the Crazy Coqs. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…. Tiffany Graves!
For one night only this week, the fabulous Tiffany Graves was in cabaret at the Crazy Coqs. The stunning performer, increasingly appearing as one of our finest leading ladies, offered a collection of numbers that mixed career highspots with a dash of poignancy and some fabulous comedy.
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
Ah, The Producers. Probably our favourite of the glut of movies turned musicals of the past decade or so. The original production was a wonder of un-PC satire that was far and away the best thing Mel Brooks had turned his hand to in years. More than ten years later and the show is well established in the canon of musicals that head out regularly on tour. Has familiarity dulled the humour of the piece?
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