Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Review: Brexit the Musical

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Brexit the Musical.
A musical about Brexit, how could I refuse? I was a little surprised that a Brexit musical has  been made so quickly. As I've said before, I love both politics and drama, so combining the two thrills me! The show is currently playing at Waterloo East Theatre, which is an Off-West End venue. It's a nice small and cosy venue, which is needed for a show like this. The main thing I loved about this show is the actors' dedication and love of performing. It's the type of dedication and love of performing that is sometimes missed in certain West End shows. Off-West End shows may not have huge budgets, but what they lack in design, they certainly make up in dedication. The lyrics of the songs are really witty and clever, with highlights being 'When All About You There's Confusion', which perfectly displays Jeremy Corbyn's personality, and 'Boris/Putin Rap', which is an... interesting perception of a conversation between Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin. Every single one of the songs was humorous and I would be interested to hear other music from the same composers. I hear that they had a show called 'Barack and the Beanstalk', which I imagine would've been interesting. All songs are excellently performed by a fantastic cast. The majority of impressions were done to perfection; there were times I was left wondering if that was the real Boris Johnson? ;) It seemed clear to me that the performers were having a great time onstage and that was so nice to see. The show perfectly sums up the mess of the referendum and this would be a good way to show foreigners, or indeed anyone who has no knowledge of Brexit. The show was the perfect way to spend my Sunday afternoon! Something that I wanted from the show was that I would've like for it to be more outrageous. A lot of it was quite polite, but I think it would've been a good idea to really go for it and make all of the politicians into laughing stocks (then again, the politicians don't need much help to that!). Two TV shows that Brexit the Musical could take note from are 'Newzoids' and 'Saturday Night Live', which have  hilarious political sketches. The musical features a cast of 6 actors, with all of them playing multiple roles. For the majority of the time, the role changes were noticeable, but there were instances where more could've been added so that there could be a clear difference between characters. The show is only 1 hour and there's so much of Brexit to cover that I think that perhaps an extra half an hour could be added to the show? I loved it so much and after the hour point I still wanted to see more of it!

The featured star of Brexit the Musical is, drum roll please... JAMES SANDERSON!

This was a  tough choice, as all cast members were so funny, but I have to give this to James as his Boris impression was extremely on-point and lifelike. He had everything: the accent, the mannerisms, the costume and even the look! He was the ultimate Boris!

Now for my final verdict on Brexit the Musical. I give Brexit the Musical...

I give this rating because, even though it was a tough choice between three and four stars, I had an absolute blast! It's a shame that the shows time at the Waterloo East Theatre is limited, but hopefully the show will be back soon!

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

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Half a Sixpence.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

*WARNING* This review will contain spoilers. I will be doing my best to miss out major spoilers, such as the ending, but I will be talking about characters featured in the show and certain plot twists. It is very important to #KeepTheSecrets so if you have not read the book or seen the play, then think before reading this review. You have been warned.

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
I have waited since last March to see this! This is the longest I have ever had to wait to see a show after booking tickets. Hamilton will soon break this record, as I booked tickets for that the other day and won't be going until next January! There is SO MUCH to say about the show, where do I even begin? I was absolutely blown away by the creativity of the show. The show has been fantastically put together. There is a lot of hype surrounding the play and to answer the question that is on everyone's lips, it does live up to this hype. I can definitely why it was made into a play, as opposed to a film, because I think it would've lost its magic on the big screen. It was a great idea to split the show into two halves as they were able to take time to introduce us to the characters and then be able to introduce many plot twists. One part would not be completely without the other. It all fits together like a puzzle. I'll start with the creative aspects of the show and then move onto the storyline. The set design was not as complex as I imagined it to be, however that did not weaken it whatsoever. With only few set pieces here and there changing it as able to change location many times; the set design worked very well for the show. I thought the lighting was excellent and it was definitely one of the highlights of the show. The lighting designer, Neil Austin, has done a spectacular job. Sadly, I was not a huge fan of the costume design. It felt very hit and miss, with some being great and some looking unprofessional. Two prime examples of this are Hermione and Ginny's costumes, which didn't seem right. The physical theatre aspect of the show surprised me, as I didn't expect this to be the type of show to use it, but to my surprise it worked well. All physical theatre parts were excellently choreographed and they were carried out by the cast perfectly. The illusions were amazing, especially when the wizards enter a telephone box and are able to disappear. I'm still not 100% sure how that was done. The video projections, used during time travel scenes, were great. The video projections have been nominated for a Whatsonstage Award and deservedly so! I thought that the storyline was very strong. A LOT happens, so the audience must stay thoroughly focused throughout. There was so much time travelling that it left me wondering how many alternate universes they'd created! The two parts overall are over 5 hours and you go with the characters on a major journey. So much happens and it is great to witness these characters for this amount of time. I preferred Part 2, as Part 1 took a little while to get going as that part has the job of getting the storyline going. There are some heartfelt moments throughout Part 2 that really touched me. The only major bad part about the storyline and the writing is that there were certain lines of dialogue which came across as a little bit cringey. The first that comes to mind is the conversation that takes place between Ron and Hermione in an alternate universe where they are not married. Onto a major aspect of the show... the cast! Sam Clemmett, as Albus Severus Potter, gets better and better as the show goes on. He is one of the two lead characters and  by the end of the play I understood the character's struggles, his motivations and why he made the choices he made. Anthony Boyle, as Scorpius Malfoy, was AMAZING! He gives one of the best performances, in a play, that  I have seen throughout the whole year. He steals the show from every single one of his co-stars, he outshines them all! Not enough praise can be given to his performance, it is a masterclass. The character of Delphi Diggory, played by Esther Smith, originally starts out as being really sweet and nice, but in Part 2 we find out she is the antagonist of the play. I really did not guess this whatsoever originally and that is because Esther played the role so well. Jamie Parker, as Harry Potter, certainly does the role justice. He displays that Harry has badly suffered and this is is achieved through impressive acting skills. It is clear, even to those who have not read the book, that Harry has seen many tragedies. Ginny Weasley, portrayed by Poppy Miller, uses her stage time well and she is exactly how I imagined an older version of Ginny to be. I've heard a little bit about the acting from the show from a forum I use, but I hadn't heard anything about Alex Price as Draco Malfoy, which surprises me because he was utter perfection in this role and was a real standout. Alex Price is stunning in this role. Paul Thornley was hilarious in the role of Ron Weasley. He was another cast member who really stood out and he provided some great moments of comic relief. I'm about to say something which I don't think will make me very popular, but I wasn't keen on Noma Dumezweni in the role of Hermione Granger. Perhaps I missed out on something, as she generally received praise. I just felt she came across on stage as very awkward and she doesn't seem quite right for the role. I didn't expect Severus Snape to be in the show, but there he was! The portrayal of him by Paul Bentall was amazing. He doesn't have a large amount of stage time, but Paul Bentall really put his mark on the character and I was raving about his performance after the show. Two other cast members who stood out were Chris Jarman as Hagrid and the Sorting Hat and Barry McCarthy as Amos Diggory and Albus Dumbledore. The only other negative thing I have to say about the show is that I was disappointed at the amount of latecomers that were let in. People are late, I understand that, however they should have either waited for a blackout point during the show or had a 15 minute cut off point. For the first 30 minutes there just seemed to be more and more latecomers with people having to get up during initial scenes. There are some people I have seen online that have referred to this show as a "theme park show". That is absolute rubbish! The show has a top story, with a talented cast and fantastic creative aspects. There is nothing more that I could wish for, for a show.

The featured star of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is, drum roll please... ANTHONY BOYLE!

There is a lot of praise about Anthony Boyle's performance and it still doesn't seem enough. At the end of the play, to me it felt like the show had revolved around Scorpius Malfoy and I think it is because the performance was so wonderful. I cannot imagine this being done by any other actor, Anthony is seriously amazing!

Now for my final verdict on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I give Harry Potter and the Cursed Child...

I give this rating because it was everything that I'd hoped it would be. The muggle's did well with this one! ;)

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

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

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

P.S: A new record has been broken, that was my longest review of all time!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Review: Lazarus (London)

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Lazarus.
I first saw this show in New York (some of you reading this may have even read that review) on December 27th 2015(where did the time go?), so with a London transfer I decided to go again as there was so much to take in the first time and I enjoyed it way more second time round. I had been listening to the cast album for just over two months prior to seeing the show in London, so I already felt like I knew the music off by heart. I wasn't sure in which order the songs came and I was always excited when I heard the first few beats, as I would then be able to tell which one it was. I absolutely adore the music and since going back to the show I have listened to the album 7 times! The music is extremely haunting, there's just something so special about it and I'm not sure what exactly. There was a lot to the show I feel I missed last time, but I now fully understand all of the story and all of the characters. I was even close to tears this time! Knowing that Bowie knew he was going to die when helping to create the show, adds a lot to certain story elements. The show is unbelievably creative and is actually the most creative show I have seen since Hamilton (keep in mind, not the best show since Hamilton, just the most creative). There is truly nothing like Lazarus and that is what makes it so special! The cast are phenomenal and what a treat to be able to see the majority of the leads once again. They each bring so much to the show. Michael C. Hall as Newton is incomparable. He stays on stage for almost all of an hour and 50 minutes (plus he is onstage for around 20 minutes at the beginning of the show) and  even when he doesn't speak or is just in the background, he is constantly 'acting'. Through physicality, facial features, it is a masterclass of a performance. His performance just blew me away. His vocals as well, everything about his portrayal of Newton is amazing. His rendition of the song 'Where Are We Now?' is astounding. Sophia Ann Caruso as "Girl" has a voice like no other. Her performance of 'Life On Mars?' gives a true WOW-factor. It is a highlight of the show. As I said in my review of the show in New York, she has a very bright future ahead of her. Michael Esper gives a truly terrifying performance as Valentine and conveys the character very well indeed. We aren't told of Valentine's past, but you can see it all in his eyes. Amy Lennox as Elly is a new addition to the cast, but you wouldn't be able to tell this as she fits in so perfectly. I understood the character of Elly a lot better this time and I genuinely felt a lot sympathy for the character. The stage projections are extraordinary and very impressive. Not many shows use stage projections such as these, but it works so well. The lighting design is also great. It was wonderful to see the orchestra live onstage, it added a lot to the effect of the music. This was also helped by a good sound design. I cannot say enough good things about this show. Wow. Endless Wows. I wasn't as keen on it when I went the first time in New York, but fully understanding it I realise now what genius art work this is. I really want to go back a third time!

The featured star of Lazarus is, drum roll please... MICHAEL C. HALL!

I don't think this show would be the same at all without him. He gives an inspired performance that is magical. Michael C. Hall is actual stage magic. There is no other way to describe him!

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

I give this rating because now that I understand the meaning and the purpose of the show, I have bumped it up from 4 to 5 stars. Given how I now know the clever purpose and meanings behind the show, it'd be criminal to give it anything below 5 stars!

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

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Monday, 2 January 2017

Review: Dirty Dancing

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Dirty Dancing.
I had not seen the film of Dirty Dancing (long before my time!), but wanted to add more musicals to the marathon so went see it on New Years Eve. Before you ask, yes, I did have the time of my life. It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of 2016 ( which has been a great year for me). I absolutely adored the storyline! I can see why so many people love the film, it has loveable characters to root for and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. I could not tell what would happen next, the show manages to keep the audience on their toes, whilst still having the time of their lives (these jokes are too easy to make). I'm very curious to watch the movie now and to see how it compares to the show. From what I've heard, the show is extremely accurate and is basically the movie onstage. The choreography is excellent and the show features the best dancing I have seen since On Your Feet in New York. They have many glorious dancers in the cast! Cast members who stood out were Katie Hartland as Frances 'Baby' Houseman, Lewis Griffiths as Johnny Castle, Carlie Milner as Penny Johnson and Michael Kent as Billy Kostecki. I know that the show has been on tour so I expected the set to be minimal, but I was really surprised. The set was fantastic with a large attention to detail. It was a revolving set, which I always love! The orchestra were onstage and were integrated into the show (they were supposed to be the local band at the hotel where the show takes place), which I thought was such a great idea. It always adds to the excitement when you can see the orchestra onstage. The show isn't really a musical, I suppose it could be considered a play with songs, but the live music was great and I've even bought the album of the last stage production of Dirty Dancing (this production hasn't released an album). The final number was fantastically staged and it seemed that the cast were having the time of their lives (OK, I'll stop with those jokes now!). It's a shame that the show was playing in the West End for such a short amount of time, but hopefully it'll be back next Christmas! My only critique for the show is the sound design. Maybe there was a fault, but there were a few songs that sounded a little distorted, specifically the pre-recorded ones. Perhaps this could've been avoided by having all songs done live?

The featured star of Dirty Dancing is, drum roll please... KATIE HARTLAND!

Katie is a star! Far ahead of all the other performers, she gave the strongest acting in the show and was a superb dancer too. I was rooting for her character, Baby, throughout the entire show and this was thanks to Katie's convincing performance of Baby. She was remarkable!

Now for my final verdict on Dirty Dancing. I give Dirty Dancing...

I give this rating because the show has a storyline that I loved and dazzling dancing. Due to the sound design and a few other issues, it doesn't get my top mark, but I still adored it and I recommend it to the people of Germany, where the show will be heading  next.

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

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Lazarus.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer