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Saturday, 22 June 2019

REVIEW: Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet at the Leicester Square Theatre

Sh*t faced Shakespeare have been playing the stages of Fringe Theatres and festivals for over nine years and has honed the art of condensing the Bard's work into its seventy minute format (the first ten minutes seems to be a Health and Safety briefing to set up the context for the show)of the lowest common denominator nonsense. It attracts a different sort of audience to the usual West End Theatres being young couples and parties of twenty-somethings all with drinks in hand as they settle into their seats. They know what they have come for and lap up every silly moment of the action, presumably as a warm up before getting sh*t faced themselves.

The pre show video claims that the format has been seen by over 250,000 people. This was my first and only time. The success of the evening depends on:

Thursday, 20 June 2019

REVIEW: Vulvarine at the King's Head Theatre

Now that nationwide comic book connoisseurs have just about recovered from the epic saga final that was ‘Avengers Endgame’, it appears the world is in need of a brand new super hero. Where she resides? Smack bang in the centre of Angel at The Kings Head Theatre in Fat Rascal Theatre’s latest production of ‘Vulvarine: A New Musical’. 

Following their rave success and reviews across the U.K., Fat Rascals sixth and latest instalment follows Bryony Buckle; an astoundingly average woman living in the extremely ordinary town of High Wycombe. Her days are consumed with endless office work, and falling hopelessly for Orson Bloom from IT. However, after an unusual and highly suspicious dose of hormones and a surprisingly convenient bolt of lightning, the world is given Vulvarine, a feminist superhero for the modern day; saviour of womankind. 

Anyone who has paid a trip to The Kings Head Theatre will tell you that the space is nothing mind blowing. Its stripped back, relies solely on public donations to remain open, and is plain and simply, a blank canvas. The perfect location for any artist to bring their latest masterpiece to life. Which is undoubtedly what Fat Rascal Theatre are doing. Upon entering the space the public are greeted by three pieces and handmade and painted set on stage, nothing more, nothing less. There was no gimmicks, no mind blowing technology, just a minimalistic design to aid the genius that was due to entail.

REVIEW: The Light in the Piazza at the Southbank Centre

The original Broadway production of The Light in the Piazza thrust Kelli O’Hara into stardom, but it is difficult to imagine that anyone would have the same fortune in this rather limp production, currently playing at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Margaret Johnson (Opera star and Tony-nominee Renée Fleming) brings her daughter Clara (Dove Cameron) to Italy for a summer holiday, showing her the sights and teaching her the history. Clara however is more interested in Fabrizio Naccarelli (Rob Houchen). The rub? Clara was kicked in the head by a pony as a child, and is therefore emotionally and mentally undeveloped.

Daniel Evans has assembled a stellar cast, but unfortunately the piece itself never allows them the opportunity to really show us what they can do. The ensemble are severely underused, with just a few bars of the opening to sing, before spending the rest of the evening milling about like scene fillers in an opera.

Harriet Thorpe & Tim Flavin join Tracie Bennett in MAME at Hope Mill Theatre, full casting announced

Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Hope Mill Theatre and Ray Rackham Theatrical are delighted to announce that Harriet Thorpe and Tim Flavin will star as Vera and Beauregard respectively in the first professional UK revival of Jerry Herman’s much loved musical MAME. They join the previously announced Tracie Bennett in the title role.

Following the run at Hope Mill Theatre, MAME will tour for 2 limited weeks at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from 7 to 11 January and Salisbury Playhouse from 21 to 25 January 2020. Tim Flavin will not be performing at these venues. 

Harriet Thorpe is best known for her roles as Carole in the BBC’s The Brittas Empire and Fleur in Absolutely Fabulous. Harriet has performed extensively with French and Saunders, in Girls on Top, Mirrorball and The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle. Most recently, Harriet has appeared on television as guest lead Miranda Hill in Doctors (BBC One), Betty in Hollyoaks (Channel 4), Casualty, Our Friend Victoria, The Three Musketeers, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip alongside Gok Wan, The Secrets – The Conversation, Doctors, Material Girl and Midsomer Murders. She also worked with Victoria Wood in Victoria Wood’s Mid Life Christmas. Her West End credits include Her Ladyship in The Dresser (Duke of York’s), Great Britain (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Vagina Monologues, Madam Morrible in Wicked (Apollo Theatre), Fraulein Kost in Rufus Norris’ production of Cabaret (Lyric Theatre, UK tour and Savoy Theatre), Crazy for You (Regent’s Park and Novello Theatre), Tanya in Mamma Mia! and Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables. Films include: The Writers Group – Cannes 2018, The Lady in the Van, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the head of the WI in Calendar Girls, Suzie Gold, An Arm’s Length, The Calling, Wise Girl, Zeffirelli’s Young Toscanini, the Mother in The Nutcracker, SNUB!, Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and Merchant Ivory’s Maurice. Harriet will soon be seen on the new Series Mister Winner for BBC One playing the role of Sharon, Mr Winner’s mother!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

INTERVIEW: Mazz Murray, currently starring as Donna in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre

Mazz Murray is best known for her run as the Killer Queen and longest serving cast member in the West End musical, We Will Rock You. She is currently playing Donna in Mamma Mia at the Novello Theatre after having previously played Tanya in the same production. She has also not long finished playing Mama Morton in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre. She made her theatre debut playing Patsy Cline in The Roy Orbison Story across the UK and has appeared in Rent, Smokey Joe's Café, Fame, Only The Lonely, Boogie Nights and Pippin.

You’re returning to MAMMA MIA! after having previously played Tanya. What made you want to return to this show? 

The opportunity to play Donna.

And how is it seeing the show from a different characters perspective? 

It’s like a completely different show and experience. 

What are your favourite moments from the show to perform as Donna and which ones did you love doing as Tanya? 

It’s so new at the moment - I’m enjoying all of it, especially singing the songs.

What have you enjoyed most about returning to this show? 

Gosh, seeing the wonderful friends again that are still here – both backstage/ onstage and front of house.
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