Sunday, 31 January 2016

Review: Blood Brothers

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Blood Brothers.
Recently I haven't been very impressed with the shows that I've seen at Richmond Theatre so I was a bit skeptical before seeing this. I was very pleased I did see the show as it is the best thing I have seen this year so far! It had an amazing storyline. The synopsis is: Deserted by her husband, Mrs Johnstone already has five children and is expecting twins. She cleans house for childless Mrs Lyons who offers unofficially to adopt one of the babies. Mrs Johnstone reluctantly agrees; she knows that the child will be well brought up in a prosperous household. But, there is a prophesy that twins parted at birth will die when they discover the truth, and both mothers do their best to keep the twins, Mickey Johnstone and Edward Lyons, well separated. The show was very well directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright. The cast were amazing and all gelled well. They were amazingly casted! Cast members who stood out for me were Lyn Paul as Mrs. Johnstone, Kristofer Harding as The Narrator, Sean Jones as Mickey Johnstone, Joel Benedict as Edward Lyons, Paula Tappenden as Mrs. Jennifer Lyons, Danielle Corlass as Linda, Peter Washington as Sammy Johnstone, Tim Churchill as Mr. Richard Lyons and Graham Martin as The Policeman and the Teacher. The songs were great and memorable, with my favourite song being 'That Guy'. The lighting, costumes and orchestra was good as well. I was transported to the character's world. The show was very amusing in parts and was also heartbreaking. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The only part I think the show could've done better was the final scene. It was done very well, but I feel it could have been stretched out a bit longer.

The featured star of Blood Brothers is, drum roll please... LYN PAUL!

Lyn is a stunning actress and singer. She was perfect for the role and she really made the audience feel sorry for her.

Now for my final verdict on Blood Brothers. I give Blood Brothers... 

This was one of the best touring productions I have ever seen. I am so gad I saw this amazing show and I hope to see it again some day.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing The 39 Steps.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My First Anniversary and The Basic Theatre Awards

Hey readers!
In just over a week I will be celebrating my first anniversary with my blog. On February 5th 2015 I created this blog and it has brought me much happiness since. I thank all who have read a review of mine and I just want you all to know that it means so much that you have taken a look at my blog. In the past year I have seen some absolutely mesmerising shows, with some even changing the way I think about life. There are some shows that haven't been so good, but I don't regret seeing them as they have all been great experiences. To celebrate my first anniversary I will launching The Basic Theatre Awards. I am recruiting you guys to help me decide what were the best shows and performances of the year. I have made some shortlists of shows and performances for you guys to vote on. This will include all West End, Broadway, Off-West End, Off-Broadway and UK Touring Productions I have seen over the year. The voting has opened as of today, 27th January, and will close on 27th February. The results will be announced on March 12th. The categories are; Best Production of a Musical, Best Production of a Play, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Play, Best Leading Actress in a Play, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Best Supporting Actor in a Play, Best Supporting Actress in a Play and Best Understudy. Best Musical and Best Play include new shows, revivals. All categories include old shows. All acting categories include replacements. Best understudy includes play, musical, male and female. Actors who weren't performing when I went to visit a show are not eligible. If anyone would like to know who I decided would go as leading and who would go as supporting you are welcome to ask me. Under 16s are not eligible. If you wish to only vote for one category you are welcome to do so, just tick none of the above for the category's you don't want to vote for. The link to voting is:

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Blood Brothers.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading and don't forget to vote!

-The Reviewer

Monday, 25 January 2016

Review: Shrek the Musical

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Shrek the Musical.
I have to be honest, I LOVE Shrek the Musical! It's my guilty pleasure. I saw it 7 times in the West End and I also saw the filmed Broadway version on DVD. The show was my favourite for quite a long time and is still very high up in my list (number 6). The UK and Ireland tour sadly wasn't as good as the West End, but it was a great effort. The costumes are amazing, especially the costumes of the three little pigs. Cast members who stood out for me were Iain Mattley who was understudying as Shrek, Gerard Carey as Lord Farquaad and Candace Furbert as Dragon and Fairy Godmother. It was obvious Ian Matley was trying really hard and it paid off as he was great! Gerard Carey was an absolute scene stealer and he was a pleasure to watch. Candace Furbert had a stunning voice and was phenomenal during the song 'Forever'. It's a very, very funny show with most of my favourite jokes delivered by Lord Farquaad. The ensemble were all really good as was the choreography. The songs are all cleverly written and very memorable. My favourite songs are 'Who I'd Be' and 'Freak Flag'. The orchestra were also great. I didn't think the sets were as good as in the West End, but I know that it is hard to have an amazing set with a touring production. I felt the show wasn't as well directed as in the West End. Idris Kargbo as Donkey, Bronté Barbé as Princess Fiona and Will Haswell as Pinocchio all seemed miscast. I wasn't too keen on Idris's take on the role. I think the problem is I saw Richard Blackwood in the role 7 times and I was so used to seeing him it was odd seeing someone else. Bronté's facial expressions were a little irritating and something that I think should've been worked on. I wasn't overly keen on Will's Pinocchio voice. It's a very tough voice to master. There were a few edits from the West End version which wasn't really necessary. I don't think Shrek is a show you can have a touring version of, but I am glad they are sharing this great show around the UK and Ireland.

The featured star of Shrek the Musical is, drum roll please... GERARD CAREY!

Gerard was astonishing and for me was the best part of the show. He was a great actor, magnificent singer and had impeccable comic timing.

Now for my final verdict on Shrek the Musical is, drum roll please... GERARD CAREY!

Honestly, the main reason I gave this rating was because Gerard's performance was so amazing. This was a worthy effort and I would definitely recommend it.

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 sharing a big announcement.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Review: Derren Brown: Miracle

Hey guys!
It's time for my review of Derren Brown: Miracle.
Ever since it was announced that they would be creating a roller-coaster about Derren Brown at Thorpe Park I was eager to see this show to try and find out what the roller-coaster may be like. Luckily I managed to get some last minute tickets and see this great show. Derren, during the show, asks any reviewers not to reveal about any tricks so I won't reveal anything, but I will say that the tricks are good and interesting to watch. Derren Brown is a very good entertainer and manages to keep an audience of 1400 interested for every second of the show. The show was a really good length of 2 hours and a 20 minute interval. The sets and special effects are dazzling and astonishing. Some of his tricks were baffling, however I did find some to be a little too obvious. I worked out 4 or 5 of his tricks, but to be fair I was concentrating really hard on every part of the stage. There were bits where he was trying to get the audience to believe that something could go wrong and I was just like "Well you're obviously not going to hurt yourself." I understand that this is due to health and safety reasons, but there are some magicians that will put themselves in danger. I'd say act one needs a lot of work, but act two was delightful. I found the show to be a little cheesy at times. I wasn't completely amazed, but nevertheless it was a really fun experience and one I would not trade.

The featured star of Derren Brown: Miracle is, I think this one is a bit obvious... DERREN BROWN!

Derren is a delightful performer and it is understandable why he has such a huge fanbase. I am really excited for his roller-coaster ride and I am sure it will be great.

Now for my final verdict on Derren Brown: Miracle. I give Derren Brown: Miracle... 

Derren will be spreading his magic across the UK in his upcoming tour of this show which I encourage everyone to see as this is a very interesting show.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Shrek the Musical.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Monday, 11 January 2016

Review: Hadley Fraser at the Orange Tree Theatre

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Hadley Fraser at the Orange Tree Theatre.
Hadley Fraser was really good in Harlequinade (which I saw a week ago) so when I read that he would be coming to one of my local theatres I just had to go. He was great once again and I am glad I went. The choice of songs for the show was really good and each song was lovely to listen to. Hadley is very talented at singing and songwriting and he is great at playing at the guitar. The show features Hadley Fraser, Dougal Irvine and Ramin Karimloo. Rosalie Craig was also going to be performing, but sadly due to illness she couldn't make it and I wish her the best in her recovery. Dougal also had a really nice voice and he performed a song which he had written which was amazing. Apparently he has written a few musical which I really want to see now. It was a nice surprise seeing Ramin Karimloo in the show after seeing him in Les Misérables and if I'm honest I preferred Ramin in this to Les Misérables. It seemed to showcase his talent more and his rendition of 'Ol Man River' is beautiful. I think Orange Tree Theatre should have more live music as it is the perfect theatre for it. It would be great if someone like Alex Gaumond did a gig at the Orange Tree Theatre. Hadley, Dougal and Ramin make an amazing team and could easily start their own band. The show was a really good length (about an hour and a half) and the time went by really quickly.

The featured star of Hadley Fraser at the Orange Tree Theatre is, drum roll please... HADLEY FRASER!

This show really showed a different side to Hadley and I really hope I get to see him in another show soon as he is really talented.

Now for my final verdict on Hadley Fraser at the Orange Tree Theatre. I give Hadley Fraser at The Orange Tree Theatre... 

I really hope the Orange Tree Theatre listens to me about having live music because it would be so nice if they did live gigs like this more often.

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 Derren Brown: Miracle

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Review: A Christmas Carol

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol wasn't originally on my list for the theatre marathon, but due to The Dazzle being sold-out I decided to get tickets to A Christmas Carol. I am so glad I went to see this show! I was really excited to see Jim Broadbent and I wasn't disappointed. The show features only a cast of 5, all of whom are brilliant! The show stars Jim Broadbent as Ebenezer Scrooge, Adeel Akhtar as Bob Cratchit, Marley and Young Scrooge, Amelia Bullmore as Hermione Bentham, Ghost of Christmas Past, Constance, Mrs. Cratchit and Mother, Keir Charles as Frederick, Mr. Grimes, Mr. Fezziwig, George and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and Samantha Spiro as Mrs. Lack, Lavinia Bentham, Mrs. Grimes, Fran, Isabella, Ghost of Christmas Present and Maid. The show includes puppetry which I think was amazingly done and I think the best puppet was Tiny Tim. The set and costumes were really good. The decision to just have 5 cast members was very clever and it worked very well. The show was both comical and emotional. The special effects were great and I thought they had a good use of props. I especially like the flying legs! It's a well written adaption and it still had the charm of the classic. I had seen the musical Scrooge in 2012, but I felt A Christmas Carol was better. I think this is mainly due to Jim Broadbent's stunning performance. I do think if I were the director I would have changed a few things. I personally wasn't too keen on the ending as it seemed a bit rushed. It didn't seem to catch the emotional moment of Scrooge turning from a bitter old man into a kind gentleman. I also wasn't keen on the fact that they made it a play within a play. A lot of shows seem to be doing that nowadays (Harlequinade, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Importance of Being Earnest, etcetera, etcetera) and I think the show would've still been great without using this.

The featured star of A Christmas Carol is, drum roll please... JIM BROADBENT!

Jim was phenomenal in the role! He put so much energy and emotion into the role. He was perfectly casted and I hope he will be back in the West End soon.

Now for my final verdict on A Christmas Carol. I give A Christmas Carol... 

A Christmas Carol was amazing! I am so glad I went along and I urge all Jim Broadbent fans to see this great show.

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

Sadly this is the end of the theatre marathon. After A Christmas Carol I finished my theatre marathon with The Lion King (which I reviewed back in May) that was amazing as always. I have been to see some incredible shows and I am truly blessed to have been able to do the theatre marathon. Join me next time when I will be reviewing Hadley Fraser at the Orange Tree Theatre.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Harlequinade/All On Her Own

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Harlequinade/All On Her Own.
I've been wanting to see this show for a long time due to wanting to see Kenneth Branagh. I loved Harlequinade, however I wasn't the biggest fan of All On Her Own. The show featured two different plays by Terrence Rattigan, a comedy (Harlequinade) and a drama (All On Her Own). The storyline of Harlequinade is: 'A classical theatre company attempts to produce The Winter’s Tale and Romeo and Juliet, while the intrigues and dalliances of the company members are accidently revealed with increasingly chaotic and hysterical consequences.' and the storyline of All On Her Own is: 'A woman with a secret, alone at midnight in London has a burden to share that is at times both heart-breaking and sinister. ' Harlequinade was hilarious and had me laughing throughout. It had a very clever storyline. The cast were really good and all worked well together. Cast members who stood out for me were Kenneth Branagh as Arthur Gosport, Miranda Raison as Edna Selby, Tom Bateman as Jack Wakefield, Hadley Fraser as the First Halberdier, Jessie Buckley as Muriel Palmer, Jack Colgrave Hirst as Tom Palmer, John Shrapnel as George Chudleigh and Vera Chock as Miss. Fishlock. The set, lighting and costumes were all great. I'd never seen a Terrence Rattigan play before so I am glad I finally managed to. I look forward to the rest of the plays put on by the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company! As I said earlier though, I did not like All On Her Own. I wasn't keen on Zoë Wanamaker in Harlequinade or All On Her Own and personally I would have cast Judi Dench. I felt Zoë didn't put much emotion into the role. If I were the director I would have cut out All On Her Own and added on a little bit to Harlequinade.

The featured star of Harlequinade/All On Her own is, drum roll please... TOM BATEMAN!

Tom is an incredible actor and I hope he receives an Oliver nomination for his role in this production. I am surprised that they have not asked him to appear in the next Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company production because he is amazing!

Now for my final verdict on Harlequinade/All On Her Own. I give Harlequinade/All On Her Own... 

All On Her Own would've only been 3 stars, but I felt Harlequinade was so funny that the whole show deserved a better rating.

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 A Christmas Carol.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Review: The Book of Mormon

Hey readers!
This is a show I have been wanting to see for a long time, but it was often sold-out. I even tried for the lottery one day, which I was sadly unsuccessful with. I finally saw the show yesterday and I was a bit disappointed. It was a very racist, religiously discriminating and puerile show. I found it to be filth. There were parts that were mildly amusing, however it did not appeal to my sense of humour. It is practically bullying Mormons and Africans. They make fun of the hardships that African's have to go through, which is not something to laugh at. I wasn't a massive fan of the sets either. For those who wish to know what the show is about, it follows a pair of mismatched Mormon boys sent on a mission to a place that’s about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get. I do think that The Book of Mormon is like marmite as there were some people in theatre laughing their heads off, however I know a lot of people who hate it. I don't think it should've won the Oliver or Tony award for Best Musical and I find it surprising Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lost to this. I don't think I will be going to another Tony winning musical as myself and the Tony committee seem to have very different opinions on what is award worthy. Despite my disliking towards the show, I am glad I went as it was something I really wanted to see. I did like the musical numbers and my favourite songs were 'Hello' and 'Turn It Off'. I thought the choreography was good, as was the acting and singing. Cast members who stood out for me were Nic Rouleau as Elder Kevin Price, Brian Sears as Elder Arnold Cunningham, Alexia Khadime as Nabulungi and Stephen Ashfield as Elder McKinley. Nic and Brian work well together and I thought they were well casted. Alexia had a really lovely voice, as did several members of the ensemble.

The featured star of The Book of Mormon is, drum roll please... ALEXIA KHADIME!

Alexia had a really good voice and was an great actor, so I hope after she is finished with The Book of Mormon she moves on to better stuff.

Now for my final verdict on The Book of Mormon. I give The Book of Mormon.

The acting, singing and choreography have saved the show from being a two-star, but it still isn't a show I would recommend.

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 Harlequinade/All On Her Own.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Monday, 4 January 2016

Review: Peter Pan (New Wimbledon Theatre)

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Peter Pan.
After my last panto Cinderella at Richmond Theatre, which was not very good, I was very wary about seeing this. However, I am extremely glad I went to see it as the show was phenomenal! Cast members who stood out for me were Marcus Brigstocke as Captain Hook, Verne Troyer as Lofty the Pirate, Jarred Christmas as Smee, Flawless as The Pirate Crew, George Ure as Peter Pan, Francesca Mills as Tinker Bell, Chloe Macgregor, Shane Knight as Nana, Croc and Whippersnap, Sharon Ballard as a Mermaid and an Indian and Felipe Bejarano as Cecco and an Indian. Marcus is phenomenal! He's an amazing actor and he's hilarious. He used a bit of improv during the show which he was very good at. I am so glad that Verne was in the show because he really brought the life to the party. I'm sad that I haven't seen Jarred Christmas before because he is a comedy legend! He's hilarious! Chris Jarvis was quite good in Cinderella, but Jarred appealed more to my sense of humour. The dance troupe Flawless, really were flawless! They are insanely talented! I loved all the costumes, especially Verne Troyer's, Captain Hook assistant costume. This is a show that has restored my faith in good old pantos. I enjoyed every minute of the show and I think it is a show that can be enjoyed by all ages. This is what pantos should be like! The only piece of criticism I have for the show is that I feel the actors playing Peter Pan and Wendy were a little too old to do those parts. Marcus Brigstocke + Verne Troyer ÷ Jarred Christmas x Flawless = The Perfect Panto! They are an unstoppable team and not a force to be reckoned with!

The featured star of Peter Pan is, drum roll please... MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE!

Marcus is remarkable! He is one of the best performers I have ever seen in panto. The casting director is genius to have cast Marcus. I hope to see Marcus in some more theatre soon.

Now for my final verdict on Peter Pan. I give Peter Pan... 

Peter Pan is only on for a few more days so I urge everyone to get tickets to this amazing panto! 

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

Join me next time when I will be reviewing The Book of Mormon.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Review: Annie

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Annie.
This is a show I've been wanting to see for a long, long time! Originally I was going to see Annie in Wimbledon, but sadly I had so much going on at the time I never got the chance. Then I was going to see it in Woking but it was all sold-out! It was a show I really wanted to see so I looked up where else it was on and I saw that it would be in Oxford starring Jodie Prenger (who I had seen previously in Oliver and Calamity Jane). With my family, we made the hour's trip to Oxford, on New Years Day, which I can gladly say was worth it! The show was spectacular and 100x better than I expected. Based on a famous American cartoon strip of the 1930s, this musical tells of Little Orphan Annie who escapes from the home run by the dreadful Miss Hannigan and not only changes the life of millionaire Daddy Warbucks but manages to influence President Roosevelt too! The show was excellently casted. Cast members who stood out for me were Madeleine Haynes as Annie, Jodie Prenger as Miss. Hannigan, Alex Bourne as Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, Holly Dale Spencer as Grace Farrell, Jonny Fines as Rooster, Djalenga Scott as Lily, Callum McArdle as Lt. Ward and Franklin Roosevelt and the adult and child ensemble. Madeleine Haynes has a stunning voice and was a very good choice for Annie. Jodie Prenger is fabulous as always. I love all the music and choreography, with my favourite song being 'Easy Street'. The set was fairly simple, but worked very well. The cast gelled really well together. This is far superior to a LOT of West End and Broadway shows I see, *cough* Fun Home *cough*. I also loved Amber the dog who was playing Sandy and she has made me want to get my own dog. The set and lighting were well-done. This was a great show to start off 2016 and I am so glad I went!

The featured star of Annie is, drum roll please... MADELEINE HAYNES!

Madeleine has a bright future as she is an amazing actor, singer and dancer. She is even more talented than most Olivier and Tony Award winners!

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

The tour will be going on till June so there's no reason why you shouldn't see this amazing production!

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

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Peter Pan. 

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Review: Guys and Dolls (Dec 2015)

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Guys and Dolls.
Happy new year everyone! To begin my London New Year Theatre Marathon I decided to see Guys and Dolls on New Years Eve. I studied this show last year at school so it was interesting to finally see it live. The storyline for those who have yet to see the show is: Nathan Detroit is desperate: he needs money for an illegal dice game, and he needs it fast. Not to mention a 14 year engagement with night-club singer Miss Adelaide whose patience is finally running out. Enter notorious gambler Sky Masterson, a guy who can never turn down a bet, and straight-laced missionary Sarah Brown, a doll with a heart of ice. The wager: Sky has to romance Sarah by taking her to Havana for dinner and in return he'll provide a dozen 'sinners' for Sarah's mission. Surely this is one bet Nathan absolutely can't lose? Cast members who stood out for me were David Haig as Nathan Detroit, Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson, Siubhan Harrison as Sister Sarah Brown, Gavin Spokes as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Neil McCaul as Arvide Abernathy, Nic Greenshields as Big Jule and Giovanni Spano who was understudying as Harry the Horse. There was really good chemistry between Jamie Parker and Siubahn Harrison. The scene based in Havana is excellently choreographed and cleverly done. It's a show that has a feel-good factor and has great comedy aspects.  They are still in previews, so here is some constructive criticism to help them before opening night. I found Sophie Thompson's accent as Miss. Adelaide really annoying as it was a little too screechy. If I'm honest, it gave me a little bit of a headache. I also think all the songs and dances during the 'Hot Box' scenes need work on as they felt a little messy. It's a shame, because the rest of the choreography in the show is great. I think diction and lighting could also be worked on a little more. I do think honestly that perhaps Guys and Dolls could do with a little bit of a revamp, as some revivals do. I am really glad I went to see this show and it was a lovely end to 2015!

The featured star of Guys and Dolls is, drum roll please... JAMIE PARKER!

Jamie was perfectly cast in the role of Sky Masterson. He was an amazing actor and an astounding singer. I hope to see him in his next project 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'.

Now for my final verdict on Guys and Dolls. I give Guys and Dolls... 

Guys and Dolls was a great way to spend New Years Eve and I hope everyone has a great New Year!

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 Annie.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer