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Friday, 24 January 2020

Hairspray at the London Coliseum announces full casting

Paul Merton – one of the UK’s greatest comedians and star of the BBC’s renowned programme Have I Got News For You – is to join the new production of Hairspray the Musical.

Merton, who will be making his West End musical debut as Wilbur Turnblad, will star alongside Michael Ball, who returns to his legendary, Olivier Award winning role of Edna Turnblad, as the huge hearted, multi-award-winning smash hit musical plays at the magnificent London Coliseum for 18 weeks only, beginning performances on Thursday 23 April 2020 (Press Night: Wednesday 29 April 2020 at 7:00pm).

Lizzie Bea will star in the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad. Lizzie recently performed in the UK Tour of Kinky Boots and has just returned from Atlanta, performing in the world premiere production of Becoming Nancy (Alliance Theatre).

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

REVIEW: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the original British musical, is still standing strong in the West End. Opening back in 2017 after a hugely successful run in Sheffield, the show launches a UK tour this year alongside a new film adaptation, so its clear to say this musical is going nowhere! 

Following the story of 16 year old Jamies New in his quest to become a Drag Queen, he decides to go to prom in a dress however this isn’t received the way he thought it might be. 

The show remains to be one of my personal favourites on the West End; it has heart and passion in it with loads of comedy and lightness to it. It remains tight and fresh as the day it started. 

The show welcomes its new cast in, including the new Jamie, Noah Thomas, who hasn’t even finished drama school yet! He plays the role with a real truthfulness in it, similar to the qualities we saw in original Jamie John Mcrea. He has a naivety and an innocence with confidence that just pulls you in straight away and we really go on the journey with him. It is a fine crafted performance that for any performer, let alone someone still in their third year, is a huge achievement. 

LOVE STORY: 10th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT to play at the Cadogan Hall on the Sunday 17th May 2020

Love Story: 10th Anniversary Concert will feature original cast members Michael D. Xavier (Oliver Barrett), Emma Williams (Jenny Cavilleri) and Peter Polycarpou (Phil Cavilleri). This concert marks the 10th Anniversary of Love Story’s premiere at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2010, before a run at the West End’s Duchess Theatre.

Based on the 1970 New York Times #1 bestselling novel by Erich Segal - which was adapted into one of the highest grossing films of all time - Love Story follows Oliver Barrett IV, a Harvard jock, and Jenny Cavilleri, a gifted musician studying at Radcliffe. The musical is a celebration of their lives, reminding us that love is the most important gift of all.

Love Story was Olivier-nominated for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Xavier) and Best Actress in a Musical (Williams). Since its West End run in 2010, the show has been performed in the USA, Russia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, South Korea, Italy, Germany and Bolton Octagon Theatre.

Monday, 20 January 2020

REVIEW: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Beautiful the musical starts its new national tour at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. Riding on the back of an Olivier award winning West End run. It’s a straightforward biographical juke box musical telling the little known story of Carole King who, with her partner/husband Gerry Goffin, wrote dozens of chart hits which have become the sound of popular music – Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, The Locomotion, Up on the Roof, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman and heaps more. She then went on to become a star performer in her own right. Those coming late to the party may also know of her as the writer and performer of the theme tune to the TV series Gilmore Girls, in which she also appeared.

Although the juke box/biography form is used in a completely conventional way, what sets this show apart from others is the sheer quality, quantity and variety of songs written by King and her friends cum rivals Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (who wrote You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, the most played song of the 20th century).

Sunday, 19 January 2020

REVIEW: Four Play at the Above the Stag Theatre

Above the Stag is always a warm and friendly LGBTQIA+ theatre based in Vauxhall, that has newly renovated their studio theatre over Christmas. The revival of Jake Brunger’s ‘Four Play’ marks the first show in this newly improved space, and what a fantastic show to start off with. 

The story revolves around Rafe and Pete, a monogamous couple who’ve been together for 7 (and a half) years, who want to explore sleeping with someone else. Asking their acquaintance Michael (who’s in an open relationship with Andrew) to help them out by sleeping with them both, what could possibly go wrong?

In this day and age, it’s refreshing to watch an LGBTQIA+ show that is not reliant upon nudity to sell it, and the portrayal of all body shapes on stage. It is rare to see such diversity of all kinds on the stage and I am so glad that Above the Stag are putting shows like this on stage. With shows like the Inheritance, Tumulus and now Four Play, they are putting on the map that LGBTQIA+ writing is quality and relevant for everyone! For this I can only commend Above the Stag.
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