Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Review: King Lear

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of King Lear.
I sadly don't go to Shakespeare as often as I should, with the last Shakespeare play I saw being Romeo and Juliet last August. However, this play has really reminded me what genius Shakespeare is. For those who aren't familiar with the show, the synopsis is: 'King Lear has ruled for many years. As age overtakes him, he decides to divide his kingdom among his children, living out his days without the burden of power. Allowing vanity to cloud his judgement, he believes he can relinquish the crown while enjoying the same authority and respect he has always known. Misjudging his children’s loyalty, he soon finds himself stripped of all the trappings of state he has taken for granted. Alone in the wilderness, he is left to confront his mistakes. ' It is such a fascinating and intriguing play, I was so engrossed in the story. The play was written over 400 years ago and yet it is still very relevant. The show features a very strong cast consisting of; Michael Pennington as King Lear, Catherine Bailey as Goneril, Sally Scott as Regan, Beth Cooke as Cordelia, Adrian Irvine as Albany, Shane Attwooll as Cornwall, Pip Donaghy as Gloucester, Tom McGovern as Kent, Gavin Fowler as Edgar, Scott Karim as Edmund, Daniel O'Keefe as Oswald, Joshua Elliott as Fool, Caleb Frederick as France and Doctor and Reginald Edwards as Burgundy and Curan. The cast all worked very well together and made the Shakespearean language sound so natural. The costumes and lighting were very well designed and the set is fairly simple, yet extremely effective. I'd heard a little bit about Michael Pennington prior to seeing the show, but I had never seen him live. He gives such an outstanding performance and it was a real privilege to actually see the performance live. I also thought Gavin Fowler was really exceptional as Edgar, he puts a lot of emotion into the role. I really enjoyed this more than I expected to. For people who don't see Shakespeare that often, I would definitely recommend searching for a brief summary of the show before going. There is a lot to take in and to fully understand the show, it may be better to have some knowledge of the show beforehand. I understood most of the show, but I must confess to having a look on Wikipedia at the interval to fully understand it all.

The featured star of King Lear is, drum roll please… MICHAEL PENNINGTON!

Michael is perfect for this part and after seeing him in the show I would love to see him in some more Shakespeare. I shall be on the look-out for news on his next production!

Now for my final verdict on King Lear. I give King Lear…

I was thoroughly impressed by this production and I would definitely recommend to Shakespeare fans. The show will be touring until July, so if you're a fan of Shakespeare, have a look if this production will be coming to a theatre near you.

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

In a few weeks, I will be heading across the pond once again to the Big Apple in an attempt to see 6 shows in 4 and a half days! Join me next time when I will be reviewing Fiddler on the Roof.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Review: Funny Girl

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Funny Girl.
For ages, I have been hearing people rave about "Sheridan Smith's stunning performance in Funny Girl', so the other day I decided to see if Sheridan's performance lived up to the hype. The answer… her performance was even better than expected! Sheridan Smith, as Fanny Brice, gives an absolutely stunning and faultless performance. She's a stunning actress, she's a stunning singer, she's a stunning dancer and is also very versatile. This really is the perfect role for her, as it shows of her wide range of talents. She is an absolute delight to watch! The show is very entertaining and was so funny in certain parts. For those who would like to know, the synopsis is: 'Charts the rise of Fanny Brice’s career as one of Broadway’s biggest stars by way of the Ziegfeld Follies, as well as her doomed romance with Nicky Arnstein.' The show is fantastically choreographed by Lynne Page, and the set and lighting are very well designed by Matthew Wright and Mark Henderson. I love all the music especially 'Don't Rain on My Parade' and 'Who Taught Her Everything She Know?'. I really loved the overture and it was so nice to include it in to showcase the orchestra's exceptional talent. Cast members who stood out for me were Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice, Darius Campbell as Nick Arnstein, Joel Montague as Eddie Ryan, Marilyn Cutts as Mrs. Brice, Valda Aviks as Mrs. Meeker and Gay Soper as Mrs. Strakosh. I think this is a show for any age and I'm sure all the family would enjoy this show. I really was mesmerised by the finale of act one, 'Don't Rain on My Parade' and it was definitely the highlight of the whole show. I thought Darius Campbell was very well cast, he was a great actor, he was a great singer and he had charisma, he ticked all the right boxes to play this part! The show features a very strong cast who all work brilliantly together. The only thing to fault this show is the storyline, which is a little basic, however the show makes up for it in all other aspects.

The featured star of Funny Girl is, drum roll please… SHERIDAN SMITH!

As I said, Sheridan is stunning in this role. She is worth the ticket price alone! It would be impossible for anyone to fault her performance.

Now for my final verdict on Funny Girl. I give Funny Girl…

The show is already near sold-out until June, so if this show sounds like your kind of thing then make sure to buy tickets before it closes on the 8th of October!

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Friday, 6 May 2016

Review: Mrs. Henderson Presents

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Mrs. Henderson Presents.
Ever since watching Mrs. Henderson Presents performance at the Olivier's I have been really wanting to see this show. The performance completely blew me away and it was my, by far, my favourite part of the award ceremony. On Wednesday I went to London to go and get some day seats for Funny Girl (the evening performance) and wasn't sure how to spend the afternoon. In the end, I decided to get some more day seats to see the matinee of Mrs. Henderson Presents. This show is a really unique piece of theatre and not a show you would usually see in the West End. The show is closing in June and it's a pity the show didn't have a longer run, but I really hope it goes on tour. For those who haven't heard of the show, here's the synopsis: 'It's London, 1937, and recently-widowed eccentric, Laura Henderson, is looking for a way of spending her time and money when her attention falls on a run-down former cinema in Great Windmill Street. Hiring feisty impresario Vivian Van Damm to look after the newly renovated Windmill Theatre, the improbable duo present a bill of non-stop variety acts. But as war looms something more is required to boost morale and box office... When Mrs Henderson comes up with the idea of The Windmill Girls – glamorous young women posing as nude statues – audiences flock. And as the Blitz hits London, The Windmill provides a refuge for all, boasting the spirit-raising slogan "We Never Close".' Cast members who stood out for me were Tracie Bennett as Laura Henderson, Ian Bartholomew as Vivian Van Damm and Emma Williams as Maureen. Tracie Bennett was a really good choice for the role and she was especially good in the song 'Whatever Time I Have', in which she portrayed a lot of emotion. Ian Bartholomew gives such a heartfelt performance. I cannot think of a better choice for this role, Ian was absolutely stunning and his song 'Living in a Dream World' really had the WOW factor. I really think Emma Williams was robbed of that Olivier. I think Lara Pulver is really good in Gypsy, but Emma gives such an astonishing performance, but I am still really happy she at least received a nomination. I even shed a tear during her song 'If Mountains Were Easy to Climb'. The set is very well designed, as is the lighting. The music is excellent and there are some really well-written and catchy songs. I thoroughly enjoyed this show and found the storyline really gripping. One thing about the show which I found a little odd was the choreography to 'Lord Chamberlin's Song'. I wasn't sure if it was meant to be comedic or something, but it seemed a little out of place. The most common criticism I read of the show is of the comedian Arthur, played by James Foreman. I don't think the comedian is very necessary, but I thought James did the best he could with the part.

The featured star of Mrs. Henderson Presents is, drum roll please… IAN BARTHOLOMEW!

I was completely wowed by Ian's performance and it is one I will not be forgetting for a while. As I said, he is perfectly cast and I am happy he received an Olivier nominations for his great performance.

Now for my final verdict on Mrs. Henderson Presents. I give Mrs. Henderson Presents…

This show hasn't got much longer in the West End, so don't miss your chance to see this unique show!

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 Funny Girl.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Review: Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens.
It's a really funny story about how I ended up seeing this show. I had been invited to A Kingdom for a Stage on April 28th and Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens on April 29th, but couldn't make Saucy Jack's press night so couldn't see the show. I really wasn't feeling well on the night I was supposed to be going to A Kingdom for a Stage and somehow managed to get all my invites mixed up. Despite having an awful headache, I made my way to the theatre where I thought A Kingdom for a Stage was playing, only to find out I had gone to the wrong theatre (King's Head Theatre), where Saucy Jack was playing. Luckily, after the long travel, the producers still invited me into the show to review it. I am so glad all of this happened as this musical was absolutely stunning! The synopsis is: 'A seedy cabaret bar on the planet Frottage III — presided over by the alluring and charismatic Saucy Jack himself. All is not well — danger lurks in every corner as the cabaret acts are being picked off by a serial killer. As the show begins Vulva Savannah, promising entertainer and torch-song singer, has just become the latest victim of the Slingback Killer. The Space Vixens arrive to solve the mystery — interstellar, super-fashion crime fighters here to save the day by the Power of Disco! They hit the ground singing with the explosive house anthem Glitter Boots Saved My Life'. The songs are REALLY catchy and since coming home from the show I have been listening to the album non-stop. I had a look in the programme and it didn't list who wrote the music, but I would be curious to listen to more music by this  great writer. My personal favourite songs in the show are 'Saucy Jack's' and 'Let's Make Magic'. The show has a really strong cast, featuring Hugh Stubbins as Jack, Jamie Birkett as Jubilee Climax, Zoe Nicholls as Bunny Lingus, Lorna Hall as Anna Labia, Caspar Cordwell James as Booby Chevalle, Sophie Cordwell James as Chesty Prospects, Ashton Charge as Sammy Sax, Tom Whalley as Dr. Wily von Whackoff and Kristopher Bosch as Mitch Maypole. The costumes and lighting are great. This show is just so much fun! It would be impossible not to laugh. The show reminded me of The Rocky Horror Show, but it is much better and funnier. The theatre had such a great atmosphere, it really felt as if you were at Saucy Jack's bar. This show is perfect for the King's Head Theatre. I don't actually think I can fault this show, it was absolutely phenomenal! It's the most fun I've had at a show in a long time.

The featured star of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is, drum roll please… TOM WHALLEY!

Tom is the perfect combination of Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays and Emmy Award Winner Neil Patrick Harris! He gives such a fantastic performance and completely stole the show. Any line he said, I was laughing my socks off!

Now for my final verdict of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens. I give Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens…

This show is certainly worth the journey to Islington, I can't recommend it enough! 

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

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Mrs. Henderson Presents.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer