Saturday, 28 November 2015

Review: The Phantom of the Opera (West End)

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of The Phantom of the Opera. 
After seeing the Broadway version of Phantom earlier this year, which wasn't all that good, I was a bit weary of seeing Phantom again. After months of contemplating I decided to revisit Phantom, this time in London and I am very glad I did! The whole performance was magical and reminded me what an amazing show Phantom is. For those who haven't seen the show, the storyline is the tragic love story of a beautiful opera singer and a young composer shamed by his physical appearance into a shadowy existence beneath the majestic Opera Paris House. Cast members who stood out for me were John Owen-Jones as The Phantom of the Opera, Nadim Naaman as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, Charlotte Vaughn who was understudying as Carlotta Giudicelli, Michael Matus as Monsieur Richard Firmin and Philip Griffiths who was understudying as Monsieur Gilles André. I feel that is better directed on the West End than on Broadway and that the choreography is slicker in the West End. The orchestra were amazing and the costumes were very well designed. Comparing the cast to Broadway, John Owen-Jones was far better than Jeremy Barbour in the role of Phantom. John just showed more passion in the role and was a better actor. Kaley Ann Voorhees, who was understudying in the role of Christine on Broadway, was better than Celinde Schoenmaker. Kaley was suited to the role a lot better. Nadim Naaman, from the West End production, was superior to Jeremy Hays, from the Broadway production, in the role of Raoul. Jeremy wasn't bad, but Nadim is perfect casting and hard to beat. Charlotte Vaughn was much better than Broadway's Carlotta, Michele McConnell. Charlotte was an amazing singer and better in every way. Broadway's Madame Giry, Linda Balgord, was a little bit better than Jacinta Mulcahy, but neither are amazing. Kara Klein as Meg Giry on Broadway was better than the West End's Meg, Alicia Beck. Both Monsieur Firmin and Monsieur Andre, played by Michael Matus and Philip Griffiths in the West End and Tim Jerome and Laird Mackintosh on Broadway, were better in the West End. The West End duo just had more enthusiasm and had much better comic timing. Paul Morrissey, from the West End, was better in the role of Ubaldo than Christian Šebeck, but Christian isn't much to compete with. I'm so glad I got to see Phantom yet again and I hope to see it for the 5th time soon.

The featured star of The Phantom of the Opera is, drum roll please... JOHN OWEN-JONES!


John Owen-Jones is an amazing singer, we all know that, but for me what makes him superior to all other Phantoms is his acting. He brought me to tears at the end of the show. He is by far by favourite Phantom and I am so glad he has returned to the show.

Now for my final verdict on The Phantom of the Opera. I give The Phantom of the Opera... 


Phantom is currently one of the best shows in the West End and I urge people to see the show before John Owen-Jones leaves.

Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be doing an updated review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Friday, 20 November 2015

Review: The Play That Goes Wrong

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of The Play That Goes Wrong.
I saw this play last year on a school trip and loved it so much I just had to go back! I can with certainty say that is one of the funniest things in the West End right now. It is extremely funny! The storyline, for those who don't know the play, is: The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call. The cast included Harry Kershaw as Chris, Adam Byron who was understudying the role of Robert, Niall Ransome as Dennis, James Marlowe as Max, Laurence Pears as Jonathan, Bryony Corrigan as Sandra, Matthew Cavendish who was understudying as Trevor and Laura Kirman as Annie. The cast seemed to gel really well together and all had perfect comic timing. The cast did change earlier this year, but this cast are just as good! The way the characters are represented is very good. For example, one character is portrayed as a real thespian and another character is portrayed as trying really hard to be a good actor, but often had mispronunciation with words. The production I saw of 'The Importance of Being Earnest' tried to achieve what 'The Play That Goes Wrong' had, but failed miserably. It's really hard to achieve what this production has. The costumes and the set were incredible, as was the direction. I love this show, but there are a few things that irritate me about the production. Sadly I felt some of the jokes went on for far too long. For example, one of the characters is looking for a 'ledger' and can't find it. He then goes onto repeat the words 'a ledger' about 20 times. I also feel that the things going wrong could be a little more spaced out. Something usually goes wrong every 10 or 20 seconds, however I perhaps would have edited that to have something go wrong every minute or two. I seem to be in the minority here though. The show is currently booking till the 11th of September next year and I am sure it will run in the West End for quite some time.

The featured star of The Play That Goes Wrong is, drum roll please... JAMES MARLOWE!


James Marlowe is absolutely hilarious in the role of 'Max'. I felt he was the glue that held the show together, he was so funny! Most of the times I laughed in the show, was at his jokes and the way he delivered them.

Now for my final verdict on The Play That Goes Wrong. I give The Play That Goes Wrong... 


For anyone who needs a good laugh right now I suggest you go to the Duchess Theatre and get yourself some tickets!

Think it should have got a higher rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing the West End version of The Phantom of the Opera.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review: Mamma Mia

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Mamma Mia.
I had been to see Mamma Mia two years ago and it is certainly a lot better than I remember it! The show really has the fun factor which makes it enjoyable to watch for the whole family. When I looked at my programme I had a piece of paper telling me that there were going to be a few understudies performing. I have to admit, when I saw this piece of paper I was a bit wary as understudies can be hit and miss. I can luckily say that I was very, very wrong! The understudies were absolutely incredible and I am really surprised they don't do the roles full-time. The storyline is clever, funny and moving. For those who aren't familiar with Mamma Mia's storyline, here it is: Donna, an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of two old friends. Meanwhile Sophie, the spirited bride, has a plan. She secretly invites three men from her mother's past in hope of meeting her real father and having him escort her down the aisle on her big day. Cast members that stood out for me were Shona White who was understudying as Donna Sheridan, Jasmin Colangelo who was understudying as Sophie Sheridan, Jo Napthine as Rosie, Mazz Murray as Tanya, Richard Trinder as Sam Carmichael, Charles Daish as Bill Austin, Alasdair Harvey as Harry Bright, Alex Jordan-Mills who was understudying as Sky and last but not least Brad Veitch who was understudying as Pepper. The ensemble were also really good. Something that really pulled the show together was everyone's chemistry. The fact that this great story goes along to ABBA's music is the icing on the cake. My three favourite songs in the show were 'Dancing Queen', 'The Winner Takes It All' and 'Take a Chance on Me'. The choreography was amazing and very slick. I loved the costumes and found the set to be simple but effective. The only thing about the show that I have to criticise is that during certain songs they had ABBA singing on a backing track. I felt this was a shame as all the cast had lovely voices and it was not necessary. Apart from that this is a great show and I am so glad I went to see it as I left the theatre in a really jolly mood.

The featured star of Mamma Mia is, drum roll please... SHONA WHITE!


I was having trouble deciding weather to give featured to Shona or Mazz, but at the end of the day Shona stole the show. She was amazing! I find it devastating she is not playing the role full-time as she is phenomenal!

Now for my final verdict on Mamma Mia. I give Mamma Mia... 


I really recommend Mamma Mia as it is so much fun. It's such a great show and I hope to see it again soon!

Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing The Play That Goes Wrong.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Review: Hairspray

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Hairspray.
I am a massive fan of the film version of Hairspray so as soon as I heard that Hairspray was coming to Wimbledon I just had to see it. Sadly there were quite a few problems with this production, but it was nevertheless great fun. The storyline for those who aren't familiar with Hairspray is: It’s Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way. I love all the music, with my favourite song being 'You Can't Stop the Beat'. I thought that the set and costumes were absolutely stunning. I feel that the show sends a great message across saying that you can do anything, no matter your weight, the colour of your skin or how you look. I enjoyed the jail scene at the beginning of act one as this is a scene that isn't featured in the movie. I also enjoyed the scene where the character 'Motormouth Maybelle' sings 'I Know Where I've Been', but this was mainly due to Brenda Edward's phenomenal singing voice. I also thought all the ensemble were very good, especially in act two. Cast members who stood out for me were Freya Sutton as Tracy Turnblad, Tony Maudsley as Edna Turnblad, Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle, Lauren Stroud as Amber Von Tussle, Dex Lee as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Peter Duncan as Wilbur Turnblad and Karis Jack as Little Inez. Sadly I feel some of the actors within the cast did overact  a little and at times I felt like I was watching a pantomime. For some reason the accents just didn't work with various actors, especially with Claire Sweeney as Velma Von Tussle and Ashley Gilmour as Link Larkin. Instead of doing normal American accents, they decided to do cheesy accents which in my experience most American people don't sound like. It's such a shame that Ashley came across as having difficulty with his accent because he was so talented with his singing and dancing. I don't know if a dialect coach was used but it really could have been useful.. In the movie version the character of Penny is portrayed as a bit ditzy, however in this production she was portrayed really dorky, which for me didn't work. I also feel some of the actors need to brush up on their comic timing a bit. I really wasn't keen on act one, but luckily act two got so much better and was a lot of fun.

The featured star of Hairspray is, drum roll please… BRENDA EDWARDS!


I saw Brenda a few years ago in 'We Will Rock You' where she was amazing, so it was no doubt she'd still be amazing! Originally I was going to give featured star to Dex, but after hearing Brenda sing 'I Know Where I've Been' I couldn't not give her featured star. 

Now for my final verdict on Hairspray. I give Hairspray… 


I was only going to give Hairspray three stars due to act one being not so good, but I have decided as act two was amazing this show deserves four stars.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Mamma Mia.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer