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Friday, 19 October 2018

REVIEW: The Distance You Have Come at the Cockpit Theatre

The Distance You Have come is a song cycle that weaves some of the famous Scott Alan songs into a story line that centres around 6 characters. We all know and love Alans music from his countless cabarets over the years featuring the crème de la crème of the West End and for this production he has pulled together yet again a stunning cast. 

The story line consists of three couples who cross paths; we have two gay couples, one we see blossom and one see we destroyed, and a straight couple in which one of them has moved on and one of them is experiencing major depression. The storyline was too complicated for such a short piece and the lack of book meant we missed a lot of information so had to fill in the blanks ourselves. It was a bit of a mess and to be honest, not interesting in the slightest. 

The cast seemed to be more in the know of the storyline then we were, and this is not a good thing. The audience like to be one step ahead of the characters, not playing catch up because we’ve missed vital information.

REVIEW: Jersey Boys at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical, packed full of smash hits from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The programme even features a list of “the ones that got away” – thankfully, not every song was played or we would have been there until Christmas! You’ll hear your favourite tunes – ‘December 1963 (Oh What a Night)’, ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ and ‘My Eyes Adored You’ to name but a few.

Scaled down from its West End home at the Piccadilly Theatre, this touring production wows with its music but it lacks a certain … oomph.

Jersey Boys is unique as not only is it a jukebox musical, but it’s the real story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. It’s a remarkable story, however this production is somewhat clunky in its composition. A narration heavy production, which plods through history in a formulaic to-and-fro between speech and song. “But a to-and-fro between speech and song? That’s practically every musical ever written” I hear you say… Yes, I agree but this production relies so heavily on its narration to tell the story, the songs don’t actually aid it – they are used more like punctuation which is a total injustice to the music. With the exception of only two or three numbers, the songs are not used to tell the story – only to highlight where we are in The Four Seasons timeline … “and now, this song was released so we’re going to sing it for you”. Yes, the music is fantastic and the performances from the four Jersey Boys in particular were fantastic but the show itself lacks lustre.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

REVIEW: The Trench at the Southwark Playhouse

The Trench, first performed back in 2012, is in London for the first time – fittingly in time to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Les Enfant Terribles have become one of the most respected and innovative theatre companies in the UK, earning rave reviews, award nominations and selling over 90,000 tickets for their immersive Alice’s Adventures Underground and more recently, a sell-out run of the absurdist and brilliant Flies at the Edinburgh Fringe.

This production carries many of the familiar hallmarks of a LET show; mesmerising puppetry, intricate set design and original music played live throughout and the cast of 5 are incredibly talented with newcomer James Hastings really shining as he glides effortlessly between a number of instruments. 

As with many of their other works, they do really well to create the world of the play and Samuel Wyer’s design is spot on for this show. The set offers the performers flexibility and space to weave in and out of the story and there are many flashes of beautiful movement throughout this 65 minute piece.

Aspects of Love to transfer to the Southwark Playhouse for a limited run

Following the critically acclaimed season at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester this summer, Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment and Hope Mill Theatre are delighted to announce the transfer of their production of Aspects of Love at Southwark Playhouse for a limited season from 7 January to 9 February 2019, with a national press night on Thursday 10 January. This will be the fourth London transfer from Hope Mill Theatre, following Yank!, Hair and Pippin, and the award-winning 50th anniversary production of Hair has recently announced a major UK tour in 2019. 

2019 marks 30 years since the original production of Aspects of Love first opened, premiering at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1989. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart and based on the novel by David Garnett, the musical is set in France in 1947 and features the iconic songs Love Changes Everything, Seeing Is Believing and First Man You Remember. While English student Alex Dillingham is travelling through France before his call up, he falls in love with the alluring actress Rose Vibert. Rose joins Alex at his uncle’s villa. As the pair embark on a passionate affair, the unexpected arrival of Uncle George changes their lives forever. From the cobbled streets of Paris to the mountains of the Pyrenees, Aspects of Love is a heart-breaking love story spanning twenty years.

The Rubenstein Kiss to open at the Southwark Playhouse for a limited 4-week run

Devil You Know Theatre Company is delighted to announce the first London production since 2005 of the multi-award winning play THE RUBENSTEIN KISS by James Phillips, opening at Southwark Playhouse for a limited 4-week run from 14 March 2019, directed by Joe Harmston. There will be a national press night on 18 March 2019.

James Phillips’s first staged play, The Little Fir Tree, was commissioned by and performed, under his direction, at the Sheffield Crucible in 2004. Some of his other work includes Hidden in the Sand (Trafalgar Studios), McQueen (St James Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket), City Stories (St James Theatre and 59E59 Theaters, New York) and Flood, which premiered as part of Hull UK City of Culture in 2017.

Joe Harmston has directed over 100 productions in London‘s West End, various regional theatres including Chichester Festival Theatre and Belgrade Theatre Coventry, as well as multiple No.1 UK and International Tours. Career highlights include his productions of The Lover and The Collection at Donmar Warehouse starring Harold Pinter. His other West End credits include, The Birthday Party, A Talent to Amuse and Wait Until Dark. Joe was nominated by the TMA as Best Director for his 2012 production of Strindberg’s The Father at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
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