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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

REVIEW: The Clockmaker’s Daughter

You may not be familiar with the writing duo Webborn & Finn, but that’s all about to change. Their first full-length musical, The Clockmaker’s Daughter premiered in London in 2015 and went on to critical acclaim, multiple sell out runs, and eleven award nominations to date.

The original musical faerytale has released a concept album featuring a star studded cast including Christine Allado (Hamilton, In The Heights), Fra Fee (The Ferryman West End & Broadway, Les Misérables West End & film), Ramin Karimloo (Anastasia, Phantom of the Opera), Hannah Waddingham (Kiss Me Kate and HBO’s Game of Thrones), Matthew Croke (Aladdin,Funny Girl), Lauren James Ray (Wicked, Putting It Together Hope Mill Theatre) and Graham Hoadly (Fame National Tour, Guys & Dolls Kilworth House). 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is set in the fictional Irish town of Spindlewood and has what can be described as a modern folk score. While there are elements of folk music interwoven throughout the songs, they also vary widely in style to include everything from ballads and patter songs. The album opens with “The Turning of the Key” which is the strange ritual the townsfolk take part in every year as spring unfolds. This first track sets the stage for the story to be told and conveys a feeling of community as the talented ensemble is heavily featured. 

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

Jamie, a 16 year old high school student, has aspirations to become a drag queen and when his School prom comes around he wants to attend it in a dress. This doesn't go down well with some of the students and after his struggles with his family and bullying at school he over comes this and realises what his teacher really means by “keeping it real”, even if she doesn't know it herself. 

Everybody’s talking about Jamie has one of the most important messages being told in theatre right now and for it to be in such a mainstream commercial bracket is incredible, it is so vital for people to witness this story because it could change the way people view and think about young people, their teenage years, sexuality and career aspirations. This show isn’t just an inspiring story about a gay kid becoming who he truly is, it is so much more.

Jamie has recently welcomed many new faces to the company in its first major cast change. 

REVIEW: I Would Like to Get to Know You at the Crescent, Vault Festival

I Would Like to Get to Know You is a multi-arts piece from Feral Foxy Ladies and Kaleido Film Collective. The production is split into six parts, covering different stories from dating, to sex, love and loss. It is devised from a set of interviews, long snippets of which are played during the show. The concept is wonderful, and the themes of the scenes are unpredictable, therefore keeping the audience absorbed for the whole time.

With an eclectic combination of art forms, the short sketches brought the stories to life in hilariously awkward scenarios. Katherine Vince was funny and charming; her drunken club dancing being a particular standout moment. George Cheetham uses his beautiful song writing to expose the raw feelings drawn out of the interviewees.

I Would Like to Get to Know You integrates music, dance, audio and film to tell their story. Although incredibly compelling at points, the performers could have been used more effectively rather than secondary to the recorded material. The scenes were often not prominent enough to provoke applause, which is what I would expect from a live theatre piece. Perhaps an increased number of verbatim theatre within the scenes could be developed instead of performing alongside the voice recordings. The range of art forms did not always compliment each other; the interpretive dance during the acoustic songs was mostly distracting and should have had more purpose. Devised theatre often seems too improvised and this was no exception, more structure would have improved the flow between the split parts.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

REVIEW: Benidorm at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Stage adaptations of books, films and television shows are nothing new and have been met with mixed success. For every Full Monty there’s a Shawshank Redemption. This new production of Benidorm follows sitcom successes such as Dinnerladies and Heartbeat and hopes to win the hearts of first time fans of the show and perhaps generate appetite for a TV comeback.

Pleasingly, many of the faces from the show appear in this show and are warmly greeted by the loyal audience who love the familiarity of their favourite characters in front of them.

It’s a strong cast too with Janine Duvitski’ particularly impressing as loud, irritating (but very funny) hotel regular Jacqueline. Sherrie Hewson is a commanding presence as hotel manager Joyce Temple Savage while Adam Gillen and Tony Maudsley are audience favourites as comedy duo Liam and Kenneth.

REVIEW: Ghost the musical at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Adored by millions and regarded as one of the most iconic films of the 90s, Ghost made stars of Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and helped sales of pottery wheels rocket around the world. 

The musical version follows the story of the film faithfully and brings all the original characters to the stage, focusing on the love story of Molly and Sam and the betrayal of best friend Carl.

Rebekah Lowings is a strong and commanding presence as Molly who portrays ambition, love and heartbreak in equal measure with ease. Her voice has a good range and has great power and tenderness.

Vocally, Niall Sheehy’s Sam was excellent but the characterisation felt weak and undeveloped. There lacked a genuine chemistry early on between Molly and Sam meaning that for large parts of the show, you never really invested in the relationship. 
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