Monday, 1 August 2016

Monthly Obsessions! July 2016

Actress of the Month - Natasha J Barnes (Funny Girl)

Natasha J Barnes

Actress of the Month - Natasha J Barnes (Funny Girl)
After Sheridan Smith's dramatic, temporary departure from Funny Girl at The Savoy Theatre, understudy Natasha J Barnes stepped up to take on the leading role of 'Fanny Brice'. Winning over critics, and audiences alike, Barnes has proved, not only her own immeasurable talent, but the talent of understudies/swings/standbys in theatre companies everywhere, and in such a high-profile role takeover, has handled herself with grace and integrity. She’s earned the respect of theatre-goers and proved the haters wrong. For this, she's my winning actress for this month!

Actor of the Month – Jamie Parker (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child)
Jamie Parker as Harry Potter
Credit:Manuel Harlan
Parker is currently starring as one third of the world’s most famous fictional trio in the title role of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. After weeks of previews, the show finally had its press night on Monday 25th July, and received 4 and 5 star reviews across the board with more than one medium naming the show “the theatre event of the year” (and others saying the former declaration is a massive understatement). Parker’s performance has been described as “superb” (Matt Trueman,Variety), “a version of Harry that’s far from Radcliffe’s: matured and reserved but still raw with him emotions” (Rochelle Bisson, Musical Muppet), and was commended for his ability for “brilliantly flesh(ing) out a character who has always been hard to pin down”(Tim Bano, Exeunt). We can’t wait to see him in action!

West End Show – Aladdin
Arabian Nights: Production shot from Aladdin, West End 
Disney’s latest Broadway transfer, Aladdin, is a colourful, fun-filled extravaganza of a show. Perfect for the whole family, this Disney classic is loaded with fantastic quick-witted humour, pop-culture references and all the tunes you know and love from the animated film. It was a pleasure to see this show as Leon Craig made his debut in the role of Genie. He was electrified with energy and his excitement was clear, even from the back row of the stalls. There’s so much to love about this show, and if you haven’t been, I would definitely recommend it! See it now at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Touring Production of the Month - Wicked, The International Tour
Jacqueline Hughes and Bradley Jaden
as Elphaba and Fiyero
The excitement surrounding this production is absolutely palpable. We couldn't be happier to see Jacqueline Hughes going green full-time as Elphaba in WICKED's International Tour, which opened to wonderful reviews after press night on Tuesday 26th July. Supporting Hughes is ex-Les Mis hearthrob Bradley Jaden as Fiyero and Carly Anderson as Glinda. With the 10th anniversary fast approaching, the more WICKED, the merrier! We're sure this production will be one of the most talked about of the year.

Legally Blonde: The Musical,
Original Broadway Cast Recording
Album of the Month- Legally Blonde, The Original Broadway Cast Recording
This album has been played so many times this month on my Spotify account – I am beyond obsessed. I may or may not have visited a radiologist this week to get an X-Ray on my back after a poorly executed ‘Bend and Snap’! Laura Bell Bundy leads this stunning cast album of catch, toe-tapping tunes of one of the best loved films of all time, which coincidentally celebrated its 15th anniversary this month. In the beautiful lyrics of this show we hear "being true to yourself never goes out of style". Words to live by folks. Get listening!

Waitress: Now On Broadway
USA Tours/Broadway – Waitress
“Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress follows Jenna, a pregnant waitress in the south, trapped in an abusive marriage and looking for a happy ending. She finds relief—and potentially that happy ending—by making creatively titled pies and forming a romance with an unlikely newcomer.” This month, it was announced that Glee star Jenna Ushowitz would be joining the cast of this hit show! Congratulations to her! If any of our readers have seen this show, let us know your thoughts! Tweet us @pocketsizetheatre

Carrie Hope Fletcher

Social Media star of the Month – Carrie Hope Fletcher
Itswaypastmybedtime, Carrie’s YouTube channel, is more popular than it’s ever been before, but for this social media superstar, this month's highlight is surely the release of her new novel 'On The Other Side'! We're sure it'll be a truly scrumptious read! Don't forget to catch Carrie in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, currently touring the UK.

Special Mentions
Michelle Pentecost as Elphaba
Super Standbys! Emma Kingston returned to In The Heights for one night only as Vanessa this month as an emergency cover and earned some fabulous feedback online! Despite having not played the role for 3 years, she smashed it! Congratulations Emma! Similarly, Michelle Pentecost returned to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to perform as Elphaba for the first time in over 3 years, due to the indisposition of lead, Emma Hatton, her standby, Natalie Andreou and both understudies Lauren Emmitt and Natalie McQueen. Pentecost stayed in the role for 3 nights, and was widely commended for her performances. Congrats to you both for making the headlines this month! 
Broadway’s biggest show, Hamilton, bids its creator and original lead, Lin Manuel Miranda farewell. Granted, he’s been at the theatre every single day since his departure from the cast, however, audiences miss him already! We wish our dearest, Lin, the best for his next new projects!

Freddie Fox temporarily takes over as Romeo with Branagh Theatre Company’s  ‘Romeo and Juliet’ following injuries to lead Richard Madden, and understudy Tom Hanson. Seems they’ve taken the phrase “break-a-leg” a little too literally! We wish Richard and Tom speedy recoveries, and Freddie a fantastic stint at The Garrick Theatre!

Have I missed something this month which you’ve loved? Let me know and maybe it’ll appear in the next ‘Monthly Obsessions’!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @pocketsizeblog for all the latest news and gossip!

Written by Harriet Langdown @Hattttiiieeex
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