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Thursday, 3 December 2020

Leicester’s Curve to present a streamed version of SUNSET BOULEVARD IN CONCERT

Following the recent Government announcement that Leicester went into Tier 3 measures as of yesterday, Leicester’s Curve theatre has announced the planned production of Sunset Boulevard in Concert has unfortunately been cancelled. However, in a first for Curve, the production will be performed by the company in the newly configured auditorium and filmed in HD for audiences to watch from the comfort of their own homes. Tickets for the filmed version will start from £20 and between Tuesday 22 December and Saturday 9 January, there will be up to three different performance times daily. The streamed version will be available for audiences in the UK and all territories across the world, with the exception of North America. Tickets are on sale now and can be booked via the theatre’s website or by calling the Box Office.

All current ticket holders will be contacted as soon as possible by Curve’s Box Office team, and will be eligible for either a full refund or an exchange for an ‘at home’ ticket.


Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said “Due to Leicester entering Tier 3 and the uncertainty of when we will be able to reopen, we have made the difficult decision to cancel public performances of Sunset Boulevard. We are incredibly disappointed not to welcome audiences back to Curve this Christmas, especially as we have invested significantly in measures to ensure we can operate in a Covid-safe way.


REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk by Jack be Nimble in association with Everyman cinemas

2020 will be a year to remember for all the wrong reasons and the chaos for Theatre Producers in planning and staging plays will be most keenly felt this Christmas with the cancellation of so many Pantomimes. The usual family outing to a theatre to see this traditional entertainment with its familiar comedy business, audience interaction and mixture of silly jokes and adult innuendo has for many been postponed until 2021. However, one brave Producer, Scriptwriter and Dame, Peter Duncan has boldly recorded a show in his back garden to entertain us online, or in selected Tier 2 cinemas, and for that he deserves our appreciation, applause, and thanks. 

Duncan plays Dame Trot the central character and sticks to the familiar story structure including many well-worn pantomime gags and routines all aimed mainly at the younger audience with only one adult innuendo when a Beanstalk pops up overnight the Dame remarks “Reminds me of my first husband!”. He provides the charming context of the setting by imagining the show is in the mind of a young girl looking at a pop-up book of the story in front of an open fire and then sets it all in the garden of his and his neighbours house. Fortunately, he has a very grand looking house and extensive garden setting with the shed doubling as Dame Trot’s cottage. He retains all the encouragement for the audience to shout out responses at the screen which adds irony to the traditional villain’s response “I can’t hear you”!

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

INTERVIEW: Emma Hatton, star of Wicked, Evita & Cats on Launching her new Podcast

Leading Lady of the West End, Emma Hatton, is probably best known from her run in Wicked playing the role of Elphaba in the West End and as Eva Peron in Evita on tour and also in London. Her other credits include Grizabella in Cats (Kilworth House); Fantine in Les Miserables in Concert (Milton Morrissey); Maisey in The Distance You Have Come (Cockpit Theatre); 1st cover Scaramouche/Meatloaf in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Donna in Dreamboats & Petticoats (UK tour) and as a lead vocalist for Postmodern Jukebox and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As well as being a West End superstar she has also had success as a solo artist in the music industry, she even opened for Jools Holland at the Royal Albert Hall! She is launching her new podcast '"Dear Music..." and we got the chance to speak to her about her upcoming adventures!

How are you and Hendrix the cat holding up during Lockdown 2.0?

To be perfectly honest, I think Hendrix is pretty fed up of me being at home all the time! Lockdown this time around feels very different to the first one. I thought the first lockdown wouldn’t last too long so I took advantage of a bit of downtime to breathe and reflect but as things have gone on much longer than we anticipated, I, like most people, have started to adjust and am now quite busy. I try to just take things one day at a time otherwise I get a bit overwhelmed.

Your performing career to date has covered some of the most iconic music of all time; from Queen to ‘Wicked’, Soft Jazz to ‘Evita’, Blues to ‘Cats’ and so much more! What music do you normally find yourself gravitating to when you choose a playlist?

It completely depends on my mood but Jazz FM is my go-to radio station which is usually on in my house. Or the UK Jazz playlist on Spotify.

REVIEW: Blackeyed Theatre's Jane Eyre (Online)

Earlier this year NT Live streamed their 2017 co-production with Bristol Old Vic of Jane Eyre as part of their National Theatre at Home season with its large scaffolding set and three-hour running time. It was a fine production in typical NT style. Now Black-eyed theatre brings their more stripped back version adapted by Nick Lane and captured at the delightful Wilde Theatre in South Hill Park in Bracknell. He selectively retells the story of Charlotte Bronte’s 19th-century heroine in just over two hours and focuses on the key relationship between Jane and Rochester. The result is more accessible, more engaging and a very enjoyable watch with a straightforward capture of the show.

Simply staged with a dark setting by Victoria Spearing (the Wilde’s resident designer) with beams that only hint of the various building her story takes us to and a few props consisting of two benches, two chairs and a table, the focus is on the performances. Actor musicians play virtually throughout as an underscore with occasional original songs and dance by George Jennings and Sammy Fonfe creating a melancholy mournful period feel against which the story is told. We skip relatively quickly over Jane’s unhappy childhood in Gateshead Hall with the bullying John and heartless Mrs Reed and her eight-year stay at Lowood School although her friendship with Helen is touchingly portrayed. When she arrives at Thornfield Hall where Jane at the age of 18 becomes a Governess to Adele the story takes off.

REVIEW: Sleeping Trees' The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington (Online)

The latest Christmas online offering from Sleeping Trees says it is “suitable for all ages” and there is no doubt the 50-minute show will not offend anyone but it is aimed firmly at a young audience (up to 10 perhaps) watching with their parents and there are other online shows available that older audiences will find more engaging and enjoyable. However, as this must be the target audience it does deliver a lively interactive show which mixes up a range of stories to amusing effect and will entertain a younger person.

The show is described as the latest “annual Christmas living room adventure”. It lives up to this billing but has the feel of an improvised madcap home video with some good innovative touches and a clever edit that makes the most of the three actors! The three performers who together with Ben Hales wrote the show feel like a young version of the popular Edinburgh Fringe show “The Noise next door” with their anarchic improv style. Director Kerry Frampton and Director of Photography Shaun Reynolds keep if feeling spontaneous while clearly at times needing to edit extensively to all the three actors to change costumes.

The show works hard to engage the young audience throughout requiring them to participate in much of the action. Early on we are told to pause the stream and collect “scrunched up balls of paper, Toilet rolls cardboard tubes, wooden utensils, and a bedsheet” so that we are prepared to join in. We are called on a various times in the audio and with on-screen graphics to “pelt the screen with paper balls”, ”Boo now”, “paddle with wooden spoons”, “spot the whale with the toilet roll tubes”, build and wreck a ship in the lounge, dance, hide under the bedsheet and then “use tickle fingers, run fast on the spot and jump all around”. They do apologise to parents watching for the chaos caused! We are also encouraged to post pictures of this chaos under #Homemadeshipbuild and #Homemadeshipwreck.
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