Thursday, 31 August 2017

Review: Half a Sixpence

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Half a Sixpence.
Earlier this year, I visited Half a Sixpence with an American friend who was eager to see the show. Those who read my review of the show in February will know that I absolutely loved it and raved about every aspect. After hearing my thoughts on the show, my Mum was really disappointed that she had missed out on it, as it seemed to be her type of show. The show announced closing notice a few months ago, so time was against my Mum's quest to visit Half a Sixpence. Fortunately though, with just weeks to spare before the show closed, she was able to go on her Birthday. I was thrilled to get the chance to see it a second time, and it was just as brilliant the second time as it was the first time. The aspect of Half a Sixpence which has stunned me both times are the production numbers. Half a Sixpence contains multiple large production numbers, which consists of brilliant songs assisted with a large amount of choreography, an enormous amount of energy from the cast and in one instance, a use of props as instruments. The production numbers which truly blew me away were "Pick Out a Simple Tune" and "Flash Bang Wallop", they were like nothing else and are an absolute delight to see. Large production numbers such as the ones in Half a Sixpence can be a rare sight in the West End, so this is evidence that Half a Sixpence is a very special show. Andrew Wright is a magnificent choreographer. With every song in the show featuring this amazing choreography, his work is very consistent. I am still extremely bitter that Half a Sixpence was not nominated for "Best Choreography" at the Olivier Awards. Instead of nominating Half a Sixpence for its phenomenal choreography, the Oliver Award committee chose to nominate Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play which features a small amount of modern movement. The Cured Child is my favourite play of all time, but it did not really deserve to be nominated over Half a Sixpence for best choreography. As I'm sure you can tell, that decision absolutely shocked me. On the positive side of things, Half a Sixpence rightfully won the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Choreography, which proves that the majority of theatregoers disagreed with the Oliver Award committee. The score of Half a Sixpence is wonderful, I never tire of listening to the cast album. If I had to choose three favourites, my personal highlights of the score would be "If The Rain's Got to Fall", "The One Who's Run Away" and "Pick Out a Simple Tune". Completely coincidentally, at both performances of the show I have seen, Charlie Stemp has been absent from the show and Sam O'Rourke has been understudying in the role of Arthur Kipps. I was amazed by Sam's performance the first time I saw it, and I even nominated him for Best Understudy for the Basic Theatre Awards earlier this year. When I saw the show in February, it was his fifth or sixth performance in the role. I had no idea that when I saw the show again I would be seeing his last performance as Arthur Kipps. It was great to see how he has progressed in the role. He is an outstanding actor, singer and dancer; a triple threat! Ian Bartholomew is excellent as Chitterlow. I've now seen him onstage three times (once in Mrs. Henderson Presents and twice in Half a Sixpence) and he is flawless throughout every performance. Portraying Ann Pornick was Devon Elise-Johnson, who has an absolutely beautiful voice, as evidenced in the song "Long Ago". I was also struck by the fact that she is a brilliant dancer, something which I did not notice last time. When I saw the show in February, Emma Williams, who portrays Helen Walsingham, was absent from the show, so it was great to finally see her in the role that gained her a WhatsOnStage Award. Emma is so natural when she is onstage, she throughly transforms into any role that she plays and that is a wonderful quality for any actor or actress to have. She is a true star and it'll be really interesting to see what show she goes into next. I would also like to give special mentions to Alex Hope, as Sid Pornick, and Samantha Hull, who was understudying as Flo, who were both superb. The orchestrations, lighting, set and costumes are all tremendous as well. It's so sad that the show is closing, as it deserves to run and run. Sadly a lot of my favourite shows seem to be closing in September (The Great Comet, Bandstand and Groundhog Day), but i suppose all good things must come to an end. I urge everyone to go and see Half a Sixpence before it closes on September 2nd. I have my fingers crossed that Half a Sixpence will appear on a UK tour someday!

The featured star of Half a Sixpence is, drum roll please... SAM O'ROURKE!


Sam gives one of the best performances for any understudy I have ever seen. He gives it his all when he's onstage and always seems to be full of energy, in what must be a very demanding role. Sam is more than good enough to play the role of Arthur full time, and perhaps if the show were to ever make a return, he would hopefully be able to do so.

Now for my final verdict on Half a Sixpence. I give Half a Sixpence...


This was a very hard choice between 4 and 5 stars, but in the end I decided to go with 4 stars. As I said, it is a real shame that this has to close, but let's hope it won't be the last we hear of Half a Sixpence!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Monday, 21 August 2017

Review: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 was at the very top of my "theatre wish-list" throughout my America trip and there was nothing I wanted to see more than this show. I had made plans to see the show on my final night in America, however the show was involved in a controversy within that time, and there were certain people saying that the show might close before I could see it. I was really concerned, as I desperately wanted to watch it. I was over the moon when I found out that the show would still be playing beyond August 13th, but was still sad to hear the show would be closing soon after that date. I went into the show with high expectations, which can sometimes be a bad thing as in most cases the show does not live up to what you had predicted. I am over the moon to say that The Great Comet was everything I wanted, and more! Entering the Imperial Theatre was like going back in time. The outside area of the theatre (the entrance and where merchandise is sold) was designed like the Moscow streets, with several posters regarding Moscow up on the walls. Then I entered the actual theatre... my, oh my! The creative team behind The Great Comet have completely redesigned the theatre to make the whole room (including the audience seats) look like a Russian club. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, it took me quite a long time to digest all of it. I was so struck by the creativity of the set; it more than deserves the Tony Award for best set design! I was sitting on a "stage seat" so all the action of the show was going on around me. I have never been to a show like this. It was an immersive and wonderful experience which I will never forget. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 takes 60 pages from War and Peace and turns it into a stand-alone story, full of humour and heartbreak. I was really touched by the story told by the show and was close to tears by the end of it. The music has a wide variety of genres, but is best described as an "electro-pop operatic" score. To put this type of music to a novel like War and Peace sounds insane, but boy is it good! It took me a while to pick my favourites, but having listened to the cast album over three times now, my highlights would be "Prologue" and "Dust and Ashes". The lyrics are truly beautiful and meaningful, whilst the music is wonderfully composed. Both the music and lyrics (along with the book) have been written by Dave Malloy, so I will be keeping an eye out for another Malloy musical. Denée Benton had a wonderful voice and was the perfect Natasha! Natasha goes on a long journey throughout the show and Denée is stunning for every moment of it. Scott Stangland was an incredible Pierre! I really invested my feelings into the character of Pierre and truly felt so much sympathy and hope for the character. His performance of "Dust and Ashes" was mesmerising. I have heard audio recordings of fellow Pierre's singing the song, however none of them seem to be as good as Scott was. Lucas Steele, who gained a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Anatole, had a voice like I had never heard before. His voice goes so high; it is absolutely insane! His mannerisms and facial expressions were brilliant and he gave a very memorable performance. Britain Ashford, in the role of Sonya, has a voice different to her fellow cast members, with a voice that actually sounded a little 'country and western'. I liked this as it made her stand out from the rest of the cast, and not to mention the fact that her voice is beautiful. Her solo of "Sonya Alone" is a real stunner! The whole cast are stunning, and cast members that deserve a mention are: Amber Gray as Hélène, Grace McLean as Marya, Nick Choksi as Fedya, Nicholas Belton as Andrey and Old Prince Bolkonsky, Courtney Bassett as Mary and last but not least, Paul Pinto as Balaga. It is no wonder that the show won best lighting design; the lighting design of The Great Comet is terrific, especially during the song "The Duel" which features strobe lighting. The costumes were also great and helped to add to the effect of Russia in 1812. The orchestrations are also superb, as is the sound design. I could go on all night praising this show, but I'll stop there. To see something so fresh and innovative is so much fun. I'm absolutely devastated that The Great Comet is closing and I really hope that it comes to England, as I can't imagine not seeing the show again!

The featured star of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 is, drum roll please... SCOTT STANGLAND!


I read an opinion of the show online from someone who had seen every Pierre who had ever done the role, and they stated that Scott was the best Pierre that had ever played the role. If that is the case, then I am so glad I got to see Scott. He is such an amazing Pierre and I am really happy that he got the chance to perform the role for a full week on Broadway. Anyone who saw Scott's portrayal of Pierre was very lucky!

Now for my final verdict on Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. I give Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812...


I had no doubt in my mind that this deserved 5 stars. The Great Comet is only playing until September 3rd and I implore everyone to see it before it closes its doors for the last time.

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Broadway)

Hey readers! 
It's time for my review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I had seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London's West End four times (and loved it), so I wasn't so sure whether I should see the Broadway production, as I had heard mixed opinions surrounding the show. However, there are only a limited amount of shows that play on Broadway on a Monday, so I decided to give the Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a try. Whilst, as predicted, it wasn't as good as when it was in the West End, it's still a great show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The show has had many changes, however the storyline, which I consider to be a classic, is still the same: Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka's world of pure imagination. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka's army of curious Oompa-Loompas. I love the storyline of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I never tire of it. Despite this being my fifth time sitting through the story, it was as exciting and fresh as always. The book of the show (written dialogue and backbone of the show) had some very significant changes to it, to the point where some people say it has been completely re-written form the London production, but luckily I didn't feel that the book changes didn't affect the show too much. As long as it's the same old story, it'll always be good. Exactly half of the songs from the original London production have been kept in the show and whilst I was disappointed that some of my favourite songs have been removed, I still think the score is terrific. My favourite additions to the score were "When Willy Met Oompa" and "The View From Here". "When Willy Met Oompa" was so strange and wacky, but I adored it! It had me in stitches. "The View From Here" has taken the place of the song "Pure Imagination" and I'm quite happy with that change, as I think that "The View From Here" is a beautiful song and excellently performed. The removals I was unhappy with were "Almost Nearly Perfect", "The Amazing Tale of Mr. Willy Wonka" and "Simply Second Nature". The biggest loss out of those was "Simply Second Nature" as I really relate to that song and I usually find it to be a large highlight of the show. Christian Borle was the perfect choice for Willy Wonka and he truly does the role justice. Christian's Wonka is bonkers and I loved it! Performing as Charlie Bucket at the performance I visited was Jake Ryan Flynn, who was brilliant. I would even say that he was better than the majority of Charlie actors I have seen in the past. He is extremely talented and has a bright future ahead! Other cast members that stood out were John Rubinstein as Grandpa Joe, Emily Padgett as Mrs. Bucket, Ben Crawford as Mr. Salt, Michael Wartella as Mike Teavee, Emma Pfaeffle as Veruca Salt, Trista Dollison as Violet Beauregarde and F. Michael Haynie as Augustus Gloop. I've read online that there a large number of people that take issue with adults being in child roles, however I personally did not have an issue with this and was able to easily suspend disbelief. I assume this was because the adult actors that were playing the children were so good. The costume and lighting design were both great and definitely deserve a mention. Now for the main reason this production is not as good as it was when it was in London... the set design. When taking the show to Broadway, they had a fresh new start to try and make the show even better than it was in England, but the set design lets it down. In London, the sets are gigantic. They would probably be my choice for the best set design in any show I have ever seen. However, the Broadway sets were extremely downscaled, to the point where there was just no comparison. I understand the stage is much smaller, but more effort could have been put into it. My only other fault for this production of Charlie is that I wasn't a big fan of the ending. For the London production, the show had quite a nice ending, with Charlie bringing his family to the factory for the first time, followed by Willy Wonka appearing one last time, by himself, to say goodbye to his glorious factory. None of that happens here and the show ends a little abruptly. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed myself at this show!

The featured star of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is, drum roll please... CHRISTIAN BORLE!


I had seen Christian in Something Rotten as William Shakespeare three times, and all three times he was amazing. I remember being really excited for him to play Willy Wonka, as I knew it was a role he would be great at. He certainly was great; the casting directors made a very wise decision. He's a stunning actor, a stunning singer, has great comic timing and even looks the part!

Now for my final verdict of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is quite close to a four star, but I have chosen three stars on the grounds that the set design was a little weak. However, it's still a fabulous show and provides a lot of fun!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Hamilton (Chicago)

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Hamilton.
When planning my Chicago trip, the idea of seeing Hamilton there was thrilling, but tickets were so expensive so it looked a little unlikely. My Mum and I had a search online for tickets and we found some rear circle tickets that were fairly well priced (when I say that, I mean as fairly well priced as a Hamilton ticket can be) so we went for it! I saw the original Broadway cast of Hamilton in December 2015, and then saw the new cast on Broadway in April 2017, so to see a production of Hamilton that wasn't Broadway was so exciting. Seeing Hamilton in Chicago was just as magical as it was when I first saw the show in December 2015, and it was even better than the second time I saw it on Broadway. As I've said in my previous reviews, the choreography in Hamilton is the best I have ever seen. The choreography itself tells a story; even if the characters were not speaking, the audience would still be able to follow the story through this mesmerising choreography. The choreography is like nothing else I have ever seen onstage, it is extremely special. When I first saw the set of Hamilton, I liked it, but did not think much of it at the time. However, having seen Hamilton twice since then, I am beginning to like the set design more and more, which I believe is due to the reason that I have now noticed much more of the set. Similar to the shows choreography, the lighting design in Hamilton is the best I have witnessed at any show. I have never seen so much thought and effort go into the lighting design. The costumes are perfect, and as I said in my review of Hamilton in 2015, my favourite costume is King George's. The orchestrations were one particular aspect of the show which had not jumped out at me as being noteworthy previously, however seeing it this time the orchestrations seemed mesmerising. I could hear every single instrument, to the point where it seemed like I could feel the music. This could be due to the theatre having a great sound design. Hamilton consists of my favourite score ever written for musical theatre, and I will admit to knowing every word in the show. The lyrics are extremely well written and are like no other. It is clear that a lot of thought and effort went into the lyrics. Now onto the part of Hamilton that can either make or break a show... the cast!

Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton (Alternate)
The two previous portrayals of Hamilton that I had seen were Lin-Manuel Miranda and Javier Muñoz. They were extremely different from each other, with Lin's being a cocky and ambitious freedom fighter and Javier being a man of honour. As much as I liked Javier's portrayal, I struggled with it a little bit, as it was hard to get used to the role being played so differently. Luckily though, I did not have that problem at all with Joseph, I loved his portrayal of Hamilton! He played every stage of Hamilton's life perfectly and you could see the progression of Hamilton throughout the show very clearly. Joseph plays Hamilton with a lot passion and very convincingly. In addition to this, he was phenomenal in both rapping and singing. He really was a great Hamilton!

Daniel Breaker Aaron Burr
The two previous Burr's I had seen were Leslie Odom, Jr. (who won a Tony for the role) and Brandon Victor Dixon. Burr is an extremely difficult role and a lot is needed from the actor that portrays him. Daniel Breaker was the best Aaron Burr I have ever seen. He combined the best aspects of Leslie and Brandon, and in addition added a lot of his own abilities to make the role his own. Daniel nailed the comedic parts of the role and definitely had the best coming timing out of the three Burr's I had seen. His strongest point within the show is at the end of "The World Was Wide Enough", which was when I felt sympathy for him like no other Burr. Burr commits murder, and yet somehow I still felt so bad for the character. It gave me chills. If that wasn't enough, he has a wonderful voice, which is largely displayed during "Dear Theodosia". Seriously, this was a performance for the age.

Ari Afsar as Eliza Hamilton
Both Eliza's I had previously seen in the role (Phillipa Soo and Elizabeth Judd) have been excellent and I am glad to say Ari was also excellent. Ari has a stunning voice and a great stage presence. Her performance could not be faulted; she was a great Eliza!

Jonathan Kirkland as George Washington
Jonathan gave a great portrayal of George Washington. Every Washington I've seen in the show has been great and luckily Jonathan did not let the team down. Jonathan is extremely tall, which was very effective as it gave the character a high status and showed that he was an important figure. He had a powerful voice and sung like no other. It was a wonderful performance!

Aubin Wise as Angelica Schuyler (Understudy)
Karen Olivio (the original Angelica in Chicago) had just left the show a few days ago, but understudy Aubin Wise did not disappoint! She was just as good as Renée Elise Goldsberry (original Broadway cast members) and even better than Mandy Gonzalez (current Angelica on Broadway). Aubin had a large command of the stage and came across as being very powerful, exactly what Angelica needs to be and what I felt was missing from Mandy's performance. Aubin would be more than good enough to play the role full time!

Chris De'Sean Lee as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson 
Chris was very good in both roles, however I am still struggling to have anyone in those roles who isn't Daveed Diggs (original Broadway cast member). Daveed was phenomenal in these roles and it was like the roles were written for him, so he is very hard to match. Having said that, Chris certainly did a good enough job with both roles, as opposed to Seth Stewart (replacement on Broadway) who had a good Thomas Jefferson but struggled with Lafayette.

José Ramos as John Laurens / Philip Hamilton
José acted and sung both roles exceptionally well. This dual role requires a vast amount of versatility from the actor, and José certainly has this quality. The moment of his performance which is the real stunner is Phillip's final scene, where he plays the role with heartbreaking vulnerability.

Wallace Smith as Hercules Mulligan / James Madison
Wallace is good as Hercules Mulligan, but he truly comes into his element when he portrays James Madison. James Madison has limited stage time, but Wallace delivered the lines of Madison hilariously and had impeccable comic timing. I would even go as far to say that he was my favourite James Madison.

Samantha Marie Ware as Peggy Schuyler / Maria Reynolds
Samantha played Peggy quite differently to how I've previously seen the role, but was still good and certainly left an impression, despite limited stage time. The highlight of her performance though, is her portrayal of Mario Reynolds. Her version of Maria Reynolds seemed to be quite manipulative, something which I thought worked very well for the role.

Alexander Gemignani as King George III
Alexander does have a good voice, however he doesn't quite match up to the two previous King's I have seen (Jonathan Groff and Taran Killam). The King generally seems to work better if it is portrayed as being quite camp, but this wasn't how Alexander chose to play it. Alexander was by no means bad, however I just preferred the performances given by Jonathan and Taran.

In summary, the sit down production of Hamilton in Chicago is a stunner. If anyone is thinking of seeing Hamilton, I would urge them to see this production instead of the current Broadway production. Not only is it much cheaper to see it in Chicago, but it is also much better!

The featured star of Hamilton is, drum roll please... DANIEL BREAKER!


This is a cast full of extraordinary talented actors, but this decision came easily. Whilst in America I saw 14 shows, and in all 14 shows I did not see another performance like Daniel's. This is an outstanding and phenomenal performance; I doubt I will ever see another Burr like Daniel's. Daniel left the Chicago company of Hamilton yesterday, but will be joining the show in New York in a weeks time, so anyone seeing his performance on Broadway is in for a treat!

Now for my final verdict on Hamilton. I give Hamilton...


This rating is obvious; I think my review gives enough explanation as to why this is a 5 star!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Review: Idina 2017 World Tour

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Idina 2017 World Tour.
Whilst in Chicago, I spotted that Idina Menzel would be performing, for one night only, at the Chicago Theatre. I had seen Idina in If/Then whilst is was on Broadway and thought she was a terrific performer, so I thought this could be quite interesting. It also appealed to my Mum a lot, so we  got some tickets and saw her concert. The performance was very enjoyable and Idina, along with back-up singers and a fantastic orchestra, put on a really fun show with a large amount of good songs. Idina entered the stage and the first thing she said was "Hello Detroit!", before immediately dropping to the floor in embarrassment, realising that this was Chicago. She told the audience that she would spend the next two hours making it up to the audience, which she certainly did. Idina was brilliant. She provided us with some beautiful vocal performances, with songs from Frozen, Rent and Wicked. Idina is a great performer and entertainer; to keep an audience engaged for a whole two hours is a very hard task, but she pulls it off. All the songs were great, but I personally think that the highlights were: "Seasons of Love" from Rent, "I'm Not That Girl" and "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, "Perfect Story" from her album named "Idina", "Wind Beneath My Wings" from the film Beaches, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel and last but not least "Let It Go" from Frozen.
 I enjoyed her music a lot and I will most likely have a listen to her new album when I have some free time. The orchestrations were great, with the pianist and the drummer standing out. Sometimes in a large theatre, such as the Chicago Theatre, the sound design is not so good, however on this occasion the sound design was great and I could hear every word perfectly, despite being in the circle. The sound was very well amplified. I really liked the way Idina connected with the audience and made everybody feel included and a part of the show. She interacted with the audience often, and even invited certain fans to take selfies with her during the show. One particular moment of audience participation that was great, was that when she performed "Let It Go", she invited younger children onto the stage with her to sing the song alongside her. All in all, this was a truly brilliant performance. It's a concert I would highly recommend to any musical theatre fans, Frozen fans, or simply Idina Menzel fans!

Now for my final verdict on Idina 2017 World Tour. I give Idina 2017 World Tour...


My rating of 4 stars was easy. It's not something I would give 5 stars to, but it's miles ahead of a 3 star. I have only been to one or two concerts in the past, so this was a great experience!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: An American in Paris (US Tour)

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of An American in Paris.
I had seen An American in Paris on Broadway, and I was planning to see it again in London, so I did not originally intend on seeing the US Tour of An American in Paris during my time in Chicago. However, just by pure coincidence, my hotel was right next door to the Oriental Theatre. I decided to just go to the theatre and enquire about tickets, and I found out that $25 rush tickets were available. How could I refuse?
I adored the show on Broadway, and I know from experience that tours are usually very downscales, so I was a little wary that it would not be as good. I am over the moon to report that this tour is just as good as the Broadway show, and I enjoyed myself even more second time around! There were no major changes that lessened the show and some of the cast members were even better than the Broadway cast I saw! The highlight of An American in Paris is the choreography. In my eyes, An American in Paris is the second best choreographed show I have ever seen (my personal number one favourite for choreography is Hamilton). The choreography is stunning from beginning to end and it is what makes the show as mesmerising as it is. The score of An American in Paris is very special. I have had the cast album of the show since I saw it on Broadway last August and it is one of my favourites to listen to. My personal favourites from the score are " 'S wonderful" and "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise". Sara Esty, who portrays Lise Dassin, reminded me so much of Leanne Cope, the original Lise. Sara sounds and looks like Leanne; they could be twins! Sara's dancing is utter perfection and cannot be faulted in any way. She also has a beautiful singing voice and is a fantastic actress; a triple threat! The role of Jerry Mulligan is currently being portrayed by McGee Maddox, and he is also a phenomenal dancer and singer. He seemed to be very suited to the role. In the role of Adam Hochberg is Etai Benson. I felt that I understood the character of Adam more than I did when I saw it on Broadway. This time around, I picked up on the troubles Adam was facing after being a solider at war, and therefore I felt more sympathetic towards the character. Nick Spangler is in the role of Henri Baurel, and I actually preferred his portrayal to Max Von Essen's, who performed the role on Broadway. Nick made the characters emotions and motivations clearer, which made him more relatable and likeable. He also reminded me of a young David Hyde Pierce. As I mentioned earlier, after a show has been on Broadway and begins to tour, it general becomes very downscaled. However, An American in Paris seems to be an exception, as it still excels in set, lighting and costume design, which was a very pleasant surprise. This is an absolutely marvellous production and I urge all to go and see it if you have the chance. An American in Paris is going to several other locations throughout 2017 and 2018, so make sure to take a look on your website, as anyone who sees this is on for a real treat.

The featured star of An American in Paris is, drum roll please... SARA ESTY!


All cast members are amazing, but Sara's performance is something very special. It can be very rare nowadays to find a triple threat (amazing at acting, singing and dancing) and that's what makes Sara's performance so unique. I would be very interested to see which show Sara joins next, as any show would be very lucky to have her.

Now for my final verdict on An American in Paris. I give An American in Paris...


I haven't given any show 5 stars since April, so I think my rating speaks for itself. This is one of the best shows around at this moment in time; I adore it! Everything in the show is absolutely perfect and there are no flaws whatsoever!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Spamilton

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Spamilton.
Before heading to the Windy City of Chicago, I had a long search online to look up what was happening on the Chicago Theatre scene during the few days I was on holiday there. Being the Hamilfan I am, Spamilton was very appealing to me. I went to the Royal George Theatre to see what the ticket situation was like and I was able to get a student rush ticket, so I saw Spamilton on my first night in Chicago. It was also a good time to see it, considering I was seeing Hamilton 4 days later. Spamilton is an extremely well written show and is fantastically witty. Spamilton takes on a large amount of musicals (including Hamilton, Gypsy, Chicago, The King and I, Assassins, Camelot, The Book of Mormon and Sweeney Todd), but re-writes the lyrics to add humour and to make them revolve around Hamilton and its original Broadway cast. An example of this would be, the show features the song 'Finishing the Hat' (from Sunday in the Park with George), but changes the song to make it 'Finishing the Rap'. The lyrics that feature in Spamilton are the cleverest I have seen in quite a while. In my spare time, I love searching up musical theatre songs that have been re-written for humour, so this made Spamilton ideal for me. Spamilton is performed by a cast consisting of Yando Lopez, Eric Andrew Lewis, Becca Brown, Donterrio Johnson, David Robbins and Adam LaSalle. The cast are truly outstanding. They provide non-stop laughs, and if that wasn't enough, they all have phenomenal singing voices. They're voices were so good, that I would even say that they are better singers than some actors I have seen in the West End and on Broadway. This cast of seven gelled very well with each other and all complimented each other's talents nicely. Every single one of them brings a very special quality to the show. The Royal George Theatre had a very small stage and therefore no real set, except for a poster saying 'Spamilton'. This means the actors have to work extra-hard to transport you to their world, which they did excellently. Spamilton has a fairly small budget, which the cast mention themselves during the opening song, so I went in not expecting too much from any of the design aspects. However, to my surprise, the costumes were brilliant. They were very detailed and fantastically designed, so that was an extremely pleasant surprise. I had the time of my life at Spamilton and would urge all theatre fans, whether you live in New York or Chicago, to go and see Spamilton. It is a must-see for all theatre fans!

The featured star of Spamilton is, drum roll please... BECCA BROWN!


All 7 actors in Spamilton was very, very talented, so this was always going to be a hard one to choose. However, having seen Spamilton a week and a half ago, the actor who is the most memorable is Becca. She has to play a total of 12 characters, more than any other actor in the show. Despite this, all 12 characters felt very unique and each character she brought in was hilarious. In addition, she definitely has the strongest voice within the cast. Maybe Becca will join Hamilton someday!

Now for my final verdict on Spamilton. I give Spamilton...


Spamilton is a definitive 4 star; a good show which I would highly recommend!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Review: The King and I

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of The King and I.
The King and I is an old classic; almost all the theatre fans that I know have seen the show. It was something I had always had an interest in seeing, but the only production playing in the past few years was on Broadway and I always seemed to run out of time in New York before I could see it. I did see the film last Christmas and really liked it. I was delighted when I saw it was playing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during my Washington D.C. trip, and as I'm sure you can imagine, I was really excited to go and see it. I loved the majority of the performances, the score, storyline and costumes, however I do feel this production was in the wrong venue. The best thing about this production is Laura Michelle Kelly as Anna Leonownes, who gives an award worthy performance. She was the driving force behind the show from beginning to end, remaining flawless throughout. Laura has a beautiful voice and was the perfect choice for Anna. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the show as much as I did without her performance. Other cast members who stood out were Jose Llana as the King of Siam, Joan Almedilla as Lady Thiang, Anthony Chan as Prince Chulalongkorn and Brian Rivera as Kralahome. They all gave outstanding performances, of which I enjoyed watching. The score of The King and I, despite being 66 years old, does not come across as being dated and still comes across as being delightful. My personal favourite songs from this Rogers and Hammerstein score were 'Getting to Know You' and 'Shall We Dance?'. The story of The King and I, Anna Leonowens, a widowed governess with a young son, who is sent to Siam to tutor the young children of the King of Siam. She ends up having a large influence on the royal family and helps to form the next monarch. It's a truly heart warming tale and shortly after seeing the show I found out, to my surprise, that it was based off of a true story. The costumes were excellently designed for all characters. They were very authentic for 1862, the year the show takes set in, and helped to transport the audience to this time period. As much as I loved all of these aspects, there were a few faults to this production, which may mainly be due to the venue the show was playing in. The show is at the John F. Kennedy Centre of Performing Arts Opera House, filled with 2,300 seats. This is a huge theatre, and I personally feel the show would have benefited from playing in a smaller theatre. As a result of the venue, the sound design did not work so well. Originally, it was a little too quiet and it could be difficult to hear the performers during certain scenes. However, I think they realised the error, but the sound design got worse and the performers were echoing. Hopefully the sound design has been sorted out since that performance. The lighting design also became an issue from time to time, which could have been because of the large venue as well. I have been told that the set design has been largely downscaled from the original Broadway production, however I question whether it has been downscaled too much. The set design  seemed too plain, and may have been nicer if it had more detail to it. My only other criticism for this production was the accent of the child who plays Louis Leonowens. The accent is supposed to be English, but being an English native I can tell you for sure that this was not an English accent. This could be the fault of the dialect coach, so I hope that the dialect coach is able to rectify this mistake for the rest of the tour. Despite these flaws, nothing can take away the fact that this is a marvellous show. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and recommend it to those who live near a theatre where this is playing.

The featured star of The King and I is, drum roll please... LAURA MICHELLE KELLY!


I cannot think of anybody better for the role of Anna. Laura Michelle Kelly is the perfect fit for the role; her performance cannot be faulted in any way. I hope to see Laura in more shows in the future.

Now for my final verdict on The King and I. I give The King and I...


I wanted to give this 4 stars, as it's such a great show, but with the few design flaws I had a very tough decision to make. I decided to go with 3 stars, but if I did half stars this would receive 3 and a half!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Wig Out

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Wig Out.
In Washington D.C. we were fairly limited with choice for theatre shows to see, so I had a long look on several sites to see what theatre was playing and I thought Wig Out looked quite interesting. Wig Out was playing at the Studio Theatre, which was a very interesting theatre due to it being a very trendy place. Sadly though, the show itself was a let down. Whilst I enjoyed the majority of the performances, I did not care for the storyline. The show follows many storylines, but the majority of the show revolves around a competition to become the 'House Mother' of the 'House of Light'. There are parts of the show where the storyline picks up, but then it goes back to the competition to be the 'House Mother' and effectively becomes a drag show. The competition ends with no major impact on any of the characters, which made it seem like the show had an anti-climactic ending. It just seemed to be a little all over the place; there were so many different storylines to follow and there was a lot of it that just did not make sense. Wig Out has a specific target audience (mainly LGBTQ, but also African American drag ball culture) and I personally believe that a major reason I did not love the show as much as others in the audience was because I am not a part of the target audience. I suppose I would say this show was "not my cup of tea". I hate to be so negative, but another critics I have for the show is that I was not a fan of the choice to have characters narrate their actions. I could see what was happening onstage, so I just felt that the narration was really unnecessary and quickly became annoying. Luckily though, there were still some good features of Wig Out. For example, there were some excellent performances, with Michael Rishawn as Wilson, Jaysen Wright as Eric, Edwin Brown III as Venus, Desmond Bing as Deity and Jamyl Dobson as Rey-Rey standing out. They all had brilliant characterisations and physicality. There are parts of the show which are good, specifically the middle of act one. There were parts where the writing picked up and became very interesting, but sadly every time that happened, it seemed to go downhill again. My favourite storyline to follow was the relationship between Wilson and Eric. I was rooting for both characters and I would have been more than happy with the whole show revolving around the two of them. The set design and lighting design were both very effective and I thought that they worked very well. I am pleased to say that not all was bad, but I just do not think this show was for me. I hate being so negative, but there will always be the odd show here and there that isn't as likeable as others.

The featured star of Wig Out is, drum roll please... EDWIN BROWN III!


This decision didn't come to me that easily. The 5 actors that I mentioned earlier in this review were all exceptional and it was very hard to choose a favourite. In the end, I was able to whittle it down to two actors: Edwin Brown III and Michael Rishawn. I went back and forth on the choice, but in the end I chose Edwin. The show didn't really appeal to my sense of humour, but I found Edwin hilarious! His comic timing was perfect and I enjoyed following Venus's storyline. In addition to this, his physicality was very good.

Now for my final verdict on Wig Out. I give Wig Out...


There are parts of the show that deserve 3 stars, but on the other hand there are parts of the show which are on the side of 1 star. I would feel too cruel giving Wig Out 1 star, because there are parts of it which are good and therefore I award Wig Out 2 stars.

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Cabaret

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Cabaret.
Cabaret is a show that I had wanted to see for years. It's an old classic that I have heard endless opinions about, but I'd never had the chance to see a production of it. I was in Washington D.C. on holiday and looked up which theatre shows were playing. I was thrilled to see that Cabaret was playing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Art (along with The King and I), so being the theatre fan I am, getting tickets was a no-brainer! Cabaret takes place in Berlin, 1932, just as the Nazi's are rising to power in Germany and World War II is just a short length of time away. What I loved about Cabaret the most was that it gave me a fascinating insight as to how Germany was before the war and what people were thinking at that time. Germans had different opinions; some thought that the Nazi's would never gain power, others thought that even if they did, then Jews would still be ok. It is both sad and terrifying to think that there were people who did not realise what a large threat they were, and I think that message is still very relevant today. People should always be concerned, we never know what is around the corner. The show features many allegories to the war, which are added in very subtly. Cabaret follows two major storylines; one being the relationship between Sally Bowles and Cliff Bradshaw (a young couple), the other being the relationship between Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz (an older couple). Both storylines are interesting, but I personally found that I enjoyed the latter. Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, are both mature and retired, find love and happiness with each other, which is adorable to watch. They plan to get married, but this is thrown into uncertainty when Herr Schultz is constantly threatened for being a Jew. This storyline is interesting, moving and also heartbreaking. The score of Cabaret, written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, is brilliant. Cabaret is filled with many memorable tunes, with 'Willkommen' and 'What Would You Do?' standing out as particular "wow moments". The Emcee is excellently performed by Jon Peterson; Jon is absolutely perfect for the role. I've seen several clips of Alan Cumming as the Emcee and Jon sounds very similar. Leigh Ann Larkin's performance of Sally Bowles had many good moments, however I was not a fan of her British accent. I personally found it a little grating and I could tell that she was American. I don't feel the dialect coach correctly instructed her with this accent, and I found that it distracted from her performance. Benjamin Eakeley, as Cliff Bradshaw, was excellently cast. His acting seemed to be very versatile, he was interesting to watch and I really understood the character. As brilliant as her co-stars are, it is Mary Gordon Murray as Fräulein Schneider that steals the show. She has a very large stage presence and a beautiful voice, plus she was fantastic at all parts of the, both comedic and serious. She was phenomenal! Scott Robertson, as Herr Schultz, was also very good. As you all know, after Cabaret takes place, the Jewish are persecuted. Herr Schultz is Jewish, but he believes that all will be fine in Germany. It's heartbreaking to watch and Scott is very good at conveying the characters emotions to the audience. Despite this version of Cabaret being a touring production, the set, lighting and costume design were all exceptional. I had lowered my hopes for those three features, because with touring productions they can sometimes be lacking, but to my surprise they were all to a Broadway standard!

The featured star of Cabaret is, drum roll please... MARY GORDON MURRAY!


This decision came with no difficulty. Cabaret has a cast full of wonderful actors and actresses, but this was a performance like no other. Mary has a large control of the stage and had my attention every time she entered the stage. 

Now for my final verdict on Cabaret. I give Cabaret...


Cabaret was between a 3 and a 4 star, but in the end I decided that it just would not be fair to give Cabaret 3 stars, and hence my rating for Cabaret is 4 stars! Sadly Cabaret has now finished its US Tour, but Cabaret never stops being revived, so I imagine we'll be seeing it again soon!

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower raring? If so comment below.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Friday, 18 August 2017

Review: 1984

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of 1984.
1984 ran at the Playhouse Theatre in London's West End a year ago, where I did have an interest in seeing it, but for reasons I cannot actually remember I did not get around to watching it. One reason may have been that the show featured graphic violence and I may have been too squeamish to go at that moment in time. Despite this though, I did not miss my chance to see 1984 on Broadway! One of my favourite TV shows, Big Brother, is based off the novel 1984, so I was intrigued to know what had inspired the TV show. I was also a fan of another of George Orwell's novels, Animal Farm, so I was very hyped to see this. I had heard of people vomiting and fainting during this show, so it was a little nerve-wracking, but I didn't let that put me off seeing it. I am pleased to say that I survived the entire show without vomiting or fainting. 1984 was certainly a unique and extremely strange experience; I had never encountered anything like it before. Based on the popular George Orwell novel, 1984 depicts a dystopian future where critical thought is suppressed under a totalitarian regime. 1984 is really interesting due to the fact that it helped me to see into the mind of George Orwell and what he imagined the future to be. Luckily for Earth, the majority of his predictions were incorrect, but it's still fascinating to see what he had envisioned. Having said that, George Orwell did correctly predict that there would be cameras everywhere, which is true without a doubt. Wherever I go, there are cameras everywhere. Security cameras, people videoing you in public, random people taking pictures of others, it really is quite scary if you truly think about it. George Orwell also predicted that humans would be capable of torturing others, something which is sadly true. Luckily though, Big Brother did not take over Earth, so he didn't get everything right! 1984 is excellently adapted to the stage by Robert Icke and Ducan Macmillan. They have written it in a way that builds tension throughout and has the audience on the edge of their seats. George Orwell would be proud! Parts of the show drag a little bit, but what makes the show is just one scene... Room 101. This is an extraordinary scene unlike anything I have ever seen before. Room 101 is where those who disagree with Big Brother are taken, where they are tortured until their beliefs change. It shows graphic torture with no censorship. Reed Birney and Tom Sturridge are excellent throughout this scene, which demands a lot from both actors. I admire the writers courage to be edgy in putting on such a scene, even if it had made people very uncomfortable. At the performance I was at, several people left during this scene (some running at the speed of light). When I think of this show, Room 101 is what I will remember. Tom Sturridge, as Winston, Olivia Wilde, as Julia, and Reed Birney, as O'Brien, all give brilliant performances in what must be very demanding roles. The lighting design was noteworthy, and stood out above other production aspects. The lighting design was particularly good during Room 101. My criticism with this production of 1984 was that I felt that the use of screen was largely overused. In 1984, certain scenes are filmed live backstage and shown to the audience on a screen. I understand what they were trying to achieve, but I personally wasn't a fan. If I wanted to watch actors on a screen, then I would choose to see a movie. To avoid using the screens so often instead of live acting, perhaps what they could try is to perform the scenes live in front of the audience, but still show them on the screen to keep the effect. My next point is not so much a criticism, but a recommendation: I believe that 1984 could have benefited from having a prologue to help people understand what was going on, as I have to admit, for the first 20 minutes or so I was a little bit confused. That's just a recommendation though, and others may feel differently.

The featured star of 1984 is, drum roll please... TOM STURRIDGE!


I did originally have the idea to give Reed Birney featured star, but after a lot of thought I have chosen Tom. Both Reed and Tom give memorable and phenomenal performances, and they are mostly on a parr. The reason I have chosen Tom is because the role of Winston is an extremely challenging and demanding role, it requires a lot from the actor portraying him. It's amazing to think that Tom does 8 performances a week, it must be very tiring!

Now for my final verdict on 1984. I give 1984...


This decision comes on the basis that it is a unique and very well written play, but has one or two flaws. 1984 will be playing on Broadway until October, so if you want don't want to make Big Brother angry, don't miss your chance to see it!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: A Doll's House, Part 2

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of A Doll's House, Part 2.
A Doll's House, Part 2 originally caught my attention when I heard of the great reception that Laurie Metcalf had received when performing in the role of Nora. I would have loved to see Laurie in the role that gained her a Tony Award, however she left the show several days before I arrived in New York. Despite the cast change, I still had an interest in seeing the show, as it sounded very unique. A Doll's House, Part 2 has one or two flaws, but I still found it to be very interesting and enjoyed watching it. Lucas Hnath, the writer of A Doll's House, Part 2, has been extremely daring by writing this play; he really has shown a high level of innovativeness. To take on writing a sequel of a play first written in 1879 is very brave, and I believe the writer should be applauded for being willing to do something so unique and rare. It's something that I doubt Broadway has seen in the past. In the final scene of Ibsen's 1879 ground-breaking masterwork, Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children, and begin a life on her own. This climactic event - when Nora slams the door on everything in her life - instantly propelled world drama into the modern age. In A Doll's House, Part 2, many years have passed since Nora's exit. Now, there's a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind? It's an extremely interesting concept and it's really fun to see it being played out. A Doll's House, Part 2 has the audience on the edge of their seats from beginning to end wondering what on Earth will happen next. With the characters emotions flying high, the show is very unpredictable. Others may feel differently, but I personally had no clue as to what would happen in the end, which made it exciting. Julie White, as Nora, and Stephen McKinley Henderson, as Torvald, had only been performing in those roles for a week when I visited the show and they seemed to be fitting in quite well. The role of Nora is very demanding, so it will take a while for Julie White to become fully comfortable in the role, but I know for sure that she will get better and better as her run continues. Stephen McKinley Henderson very much suited the role of Torvald and he made the character relatable and likeable. For me, Jayne Houdyshell was the star of the show. I've heard a lot about her many Broadway performances and I was very impressed with her performance as Anne Marie. Her comic timing is impeccable! Erin Wilhelmi's performance of Emmy was by no means bad, but I really struggled to understand her character, and I wasn't sure if this was due to her performance or the writing. I hope she will warm to the role as time goes on. I was a big fan of the costume; all characters had excellently designed costumes. They suited the time period nicely. My one criticism for the show is that I had difficulty with some of the writing of the play. There were certain parts where I just couldn't understand the motives of the characters and their thought process. This mostly applies to the final part of the show, where I was left somewhat confused by Nora's final choice.

The featured star of In the final scene of A Doll's House, Part 2 is, drum roll please... JAYNE HOUDYSHELL!


I went back and forth on this decision, as Jayne gave the best performance, however she had a large advantage due to being with the show longer than her co-stars. In the end though, I had to give it to Jayne. This was a hilarious and very memorable performance. She has less stage time than the two leads, but she certainly made an extremely large impact on me. 

Now for my final verdict on A Doll's House, Part 2. I give A Doll's House, Part 2...


There was a part of me which wanted to give A Doll's House, Part 2,4 stars, however with the new star rating system now in place, 3 stars seemed like the appropriate star rating. It is still a terrific show and the new cast will only become better and better!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer 

Review: Anastasia

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Anastasia.
Anastasia was a must-see for me during my time in New York, with a long list of things pulling me towards this production. There has been an extremely large amount of buzz surrounding Anastasia as of late and I had heard many great things about it. In addition, the storyline sounded wonderful and the production looked stunning from the clips I had seen online. When I visited the box office, I found out that Anastasia was largely sold out, however luckily there were two seats left, which my Mum and I quickly bought before they were gone. I am extremely pleased to report that Anastasia is a beautiful tale and is, in my opinion, one of the best shows on Broadway right now. From the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, the new musical, Anastasia, is the romantic, adventure-filled story of a brave young woman attempting to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing young con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family. I adored this storyline; I found it to be both extremely inventive and clever. It's very intriguing and even left me questioning history, so after the show I did further research into the real Grand Duchess Anastasia. I was highly impressed by the book, written by Terrence McNally, due to the fact that the show is well structured and the spoken dialogue is great. The accompanying score is also beautiful, with many wonderful songs (the show has 25 songs in total). The highlight song of the show, which stands out above everything else, was 'Journey to the Past'. This is a delightful song and has remained in my head weeks after seeing the show. Cast members who stood out were Christy Altomare as Anya, Derek Klena as Dmitry, John Bolton as Vlad, Ramin Karimloo as Gleb, Caroline O'Connor as Countess Lily and Mary Beth Peil as Dowager Empress. Every single cast member in Anastasia brings something very special to the show and all these performances were very memorable. It is a very talented cast! On the production side of things, everything is fantastic. The Tony Award nominated costumes were brilliant and the best I have seen in quite a while. They are extremely detailed and help to transport you to the 1900's. A good friend of mine who had seen Anastasia a few months ago criticised the sets due to the heavy use of screens. It is true that Anastasia relies heavily on the use of screens, however I really liked them They helped me to transport to Anastasia's world and they were extremely effective. I wouldn't want screens to be used in every show, but I think they work well in this instance. The lighting and choreography are also superb and I have no bad words to say about either of them. All in all, Anastasia is a brilliant and phenomenal show. The show will be visiting many different countries over the next few years and it is one I recommend to everyone who lives in a country that Anastasia visits. It is not one to be missed!

The featured star of Anastasia is, drum roll please... CHRISTY ALTOMARE!


This decision was easy for me. All cast members are stunning, but Christy gives a performance like no other. Many say she was born to play this role, and I would have to agree with that. She suits this role so perfectly, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing Anya. I am absolutely gobsmacked that she did not receive a Tony nomination. If this performance was not Tony nomination worthy, then I don't have a clue what is!

Now for my final verdict on Anastasia. I give Anastasia...


This was tough, as Anastasia is borderline 5 stars. If I did half stars, Anastasia would receive 4 and a half stars. After a lot of thought, I chose to give Anastasia a 4 star, but I would certainly understand any arguments that would give Anastasia 5 stars.

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Review: Bandstand

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Bandstand.
After seeing a few clips of Bandstand on both the internet and on TV, I had a read of the synopsis to see if it was a show I would be interested in. It sounded like the type of show I would like, so on my second day in New York I headed to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre and got some rush seats. I am pleased to say that Bandstand certainly lived up to my expectations and I had a brilliant time! Set in the smoke filled, swing fueled night clubs of 1945, Bandstand brings the against-all-odds story of singer/songwriter Donny Novitski and his band of mismatched fellow WWII veterans to the stage. The story is extremely moving and it truly helps people to understand what a difficult time veterans can have when they return from fighting for their country. Bandstand has given me a deep appreciation for what our veterans have done and we must never forget all that they do, and have done, for us. I believe that Bandstand has the power to inspire others and encourage people to follow their dreams, despite what may have occurred in the past. The story is accompanied by a wonderful big band score, featuring many memorable tunes composed by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor. Every single cast member from this show gives an incredible performance, with stand-outs being Laura Osnes as Julia Trojan, Corey Cott as Donny Novitski, Beth Leavel as June Adams, Joe Carroll as Johnny Simpson, Brandon J. Ellis as Davy Zlatic, James Nathan Hopkins as Jimmy Campbell, Geoff Packard as Wayne Wright and Joey Pero as Nick Radel. The cast play their own instruments, which makes Bandstand a great showcase for the cast's talents. All great actors, all great singers and all great dancers! The Tony Award winning choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler is thrilling. I have seen Andy Blankenbuehler's work in both Hamilton and Cats and I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of his. His movement based choreography is fantastically done, he is one of the best choreographers on both the West End and Broadway at this moment in time. The lighting, costume and set design were all very noteworthy too. They all suit the era that Bandstand is set in extremely well. Sadly, Bandstand posted closing notice the other day which is a real shame as I think this is an outstanding show, but as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I hope that Bandstand will have a life beyond Broadway; fingers crossed for a West End transfer!

The featured star of Bandstand is, drum roll please... LAURA OSNES!


For Bandstand, the option of featured star was between Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, who are both equally talented. At the end of act one, I would have most likely chosen Corey, however by the end of the show Laura's performance left a really big impression on me so I decided to choose her. Laura was perfectly cast in the role of Julia. Her acting and singing was utter perfection, it was a mesmerising performance.

Now for my final verdict on Bandstand. I give Bandstand...


Bandstand is a definitive four star in my eyes. It is a high quality show and I would definitely recommend that people see it before it closes on September 17th.

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Review: War Paint

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of War Paint.
The first thing to grab my attention from this show was the stunning performance that Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole gave at the Tony Awards, back in June this year. Despite the Tony Awards ceremony not being as great as usual, War Paint gave a phenomenal performance and left me really wanting to see the show. After just a few hours in New York, I made my way over to the Nederlander Theatre, where I was able to get some well priced rush tickets. War Paint is an extremely sophisticated and classy production and has the feeling of an old classic, despite it being a new show. The force behind the show and what puts it above other shows on Broadway right now are the phenomenal performances of Patti LuPone as Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden. They give wonderful characterisations that truly help the audience understand every thought and feeling of their characters. When Patti and Christine are united they are unsurpassed! They make the perfect team, that I doubt many people would be able to match. Adding to their terrific performances are John Dossett as Tommy Lewis and Douglas Sills as Harry Fleming. They also give faultless performances and are a great addition to the show. Despite both characters making poor decisions, I could still understand their thought process, which was due to the superb performances given. The rest of the cast are all also excellent; the show features many stunning actors, singers and dancers. The storyline of War Paint follows the two women responsible for make-up becoming so popular and it is absolutely fascinating. Against all odds, these two women changed the world for better or worse, whilst competing with each other to become the best in the business. Every song from the show is brilliant and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the cast album. War Paint has a large amount of memorable tunes; I would be very surprised to hear if someone had disliked the score. I have personally found 'Face to Face' a moving and memorable song; it's been in my head ever since I saw the show a week and a half ago. The set, lighting and costume design were all done to the best extent possible and were extremely impressive. In my eyes, this show is perfect in all aspects. The cast is great, the music is great, the storyline is great and the design is great. All round, it's a terrific show!

The featured star of War Paint is, drum roll please... PATTI LUPONE!


Patti and Christine's performances are practically equal and it was really hard to choose a favourite. However, having to choose only one, I had to go with Patti. Patti LuPone is someone I have heard so much about. Before seeing War Paint, I had most likely heard or read her name over 100 times! I was really struck by her performance, she translated Helena very well to the audience. I felt that I could understand all of what Helena had gone through and all of her motivation to do what she does. In addition to this, I was extremely impressed at Patti's ability to sing with a Polish accent. 

Now for my final verdict on War Paint. I give War Paint...


This decision was easy for me. A 4 star is a standard good show which I give high recommendation to; War Paint fits this category perfectly!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer