Wednesday, 31 May 2017

REVIEW: Jane Eyre at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

“Following a critically acclaimed season at the National Theatre, this innovative re-imagining of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is a collaboration between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic and is directed by Sally Cookson.”

“The classic story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment on her own terms. Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.”

Monday, 29 May 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Golden Days - A Collaboration of Brian May and Kerry Ellis

The Queen of the West End, Kerry Ellis is back with a new studio album – Golden Days. In collaboration with her long-term creative partner Brian May, of Queen fame, this exciting new album brings to the fore an exciting array of soft-rock, musical theatre and new original numbers sure to delight die-hard Ellis fans everywhere. 

However, this album is very eclectic and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. 

We start with “Love In A Rainbow” and this pretty much sets the premise for the rest of the tracks. One of five new original songs on this album, its Grecian style chant at the beginning then turns into soft-pop before the introduction of sitars and a chorus. It’s mad but somehow it works... I think. 

Not every song pulls of this new wacky style of creative expression. Whilst listening to “Parisienne Walkways” I was hoping to be transported back to the days of Gary Moore and his iconic live performances, but I was left simply wanting more. May plays his best classic style on this track, but Ellis’s vocals just cannot match up to the original. 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

REVIEW: Tom Molineaux at Jack Studio Theatre

Born a slave in Virginia, Tom Molineaux earned his freedom with his successes as a bare-knuckle boxer. Unbeaten, he moved to England in 1810, eager to face Tom Cribb, the undisputed champion who had been forced to retire through lack of suitable opponents. But, when the two finally met in the ring, Molineaux had to fight two adversaries: the strong Cribb and the hostility of a country where boxing was considered a national sport.

Tom Green based his play on a real story and weaved the drama around the ill-fated friendship between Molineaux (Nathan Medina) and Irish prize-fight reporter Pierce Egan (Brendan O'Rourke). The plot is intense and touches serious topics like racial discrimination, depression and substance abuse but, ultimately, falls short of fulfilling its dramatic potential.

Kate Bannister's direction is unimaginative and intoxicated by an abundance of repetitive yet insignificant gestures. For example, the two actors keep taking off their shirts and putting them on again a minute later, without a real purpose. Despite the suspense that builds naturally during the matches, Tom Molineaux is lifeless and resembles more of a bedtime story than a fiery tale of blood, sweat and tears. Furthermore, the inserted projections with video interviews of current boxers affect the pace of the play and, as anyone unfamiliar with the sport, the lack of subtitles to identify the speakers and the poor audio quality left me quite confused.

REVIEW: Jam at Finborough Theatre

The Finborough Theatre has a small but mighty reputation, and gives the impression of a highly curated programme under the artistic leadership of Neil McPherson (I Wish to Die Singing, 2015 and It is Easy to Be Dead, 2016 nominated for 13 awards including an Olivier). Matt Parvin, the writer of Jam, was part of the Royal Court Young Writer’s Programme and similar at the Arcola and Orange Tree Theatre. As such, I was looking forward to a strong debut ensconced by an award-winning venue, probably London’s finest example of ‘a theatre above a pub’. The only other thing I knew about this play, was that it was about a pupil-teacher relationship that goes wrong, and I was interested to see what Parvin had to contribute. 

The black box stage felt claustrophobic and slightly oppressive, particularly in the round. A large red structure like a climbing frame was the only set and as we took our seats Bella, played by Jasmine Hyde (Not Moses at Arts Theatre and Pericles RSC), sits on a plastic school chair seemingly marking or taking notes. Her clothes and demeanor are unmistakably teacher-like and Hyde does an excellent job at maintaining this persona throughout the action (complete with classic world-weary view and sense of regret at not choosing a more rewarding profession). The ex pupil - Kane - is played by Harry Melling (King Lear at The Old Vic and Hand to God Vaudeville Theatre), who brilliantly succeeds in drawing a complex and highly wrought individual, damaged and deranged, but likeable enough to keep us wondering if he really is guilty, and to add serious complexity to the moral layering of the story. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

REVIEW: My World Has Exploded a Little Bit at Ovalhouse

How should we deal with death? What is the procedure? Is there a script? Are questions asked by Bella Heesom’s autobiographical debut on the subject of mortality, loss and parental bereavement.  As we enter the auditorium, we are greeted warmly by a handshake from Bella and Eva Alexander her comedy sidekick, comes to say hi as we take our seats. The atmosphere is fun, personable and safe. We are then cheerfully informed that “everyone we love is going to die” and the action begins.

A bespectacled and didactic Bella offers us a 17 step “logical and philosophical guide” as to how we should behave in the event that we find ourselves confronted by death. This host-like character is juxtaposed with non-bespectacled Bella, and through savvy layering and sharp storytelling the rational versus the emotional response to death is played out, as Heesom gently takes us by the hand and leads us along this incredibly intimate and personal journey.

REVIEW: Blush at Soho Theatre

On my way out from watching Blush at Soho Theatre I grabbed a copy of Timeout magazine for my journey home. Whilst flicking through the pages, I found a very well-timed column about a Welsh girl who, after receiving an unsolicited picture from a guy of his genitals, made him believe that she lived in Buckingham Palace and was inviting him over. The guy was publicly shamed for driving there from Croydon in the middle of the night and waiting in front of the gate, before being spotted by the guards.

Strongly linked to the same topic, Blush is a play about unnecessarily sexualised content on the net, web pornography, online diffusion of private pictures and the consequent cyber-shaming that has become a widespread issue. Written by Charlotte Josephine and performed by the author herself, together with Daniel Foxmith, this seventy-minute drama gives voice to five every-day characters which highlight distinct aspects of the problem. Taking turns centre stage on a red round carpet, the two actors are surrounded by lights and white screens - as if they were on the set of a photo shoot -- and impersonate three women and two boys, with the use of different accents and inflexions.

REVIEW: Othello at Wilton's Music Hall

The villain: we love him, we hate him, we can’t stop talking about him – or her! Amongst Shakespeare’s plays, I believe Iago in Othello has surpassed Richard III as the worst villain for me. This is because you can never exactly put your finger on why he is acting the way he is: lying, manipulating, pushing to murder and destroying. While Richard warns us from the start why he is cruel, Iago just uses the word “hate” and lets our imagination go wild.

Othello, currently showing at Wilton’s Music Hall, is the story of the Moor of Venice, a Venetian and Muslim army general on the way to Cyprus with his troops to beat the Turkish enemy. He has just married Desdemona, a Christian, fair and energetic young woman and they are madly in love. While their marriage was at first cause for concern, notably for Desdemona’s father, Othello has assimilated to Venetian and Christian life and convinces him by his charisma and strong presence. Iago, Othello’s standard-bearer, hates him so much he manipulates him in believing his wife is cheating on him. The tragic play moves between scenes of war strategy and the love story.

Friday, 19 May 2017

How to get cheap tickets to West End shows!

Theatre tickets do not come cheap, you can pay up to £150 for a good seat at a top West End musical. So we thought we'd collect together our top tips on how to get the best deals for London plays and musicals. Got any more tips? Tweet us! @PocketSizeBlog


This app allows you to book tickets for up to 30 days in advance. The thing we love about this app are the promotions they run; online lotteries for Dreamgirls, Don Juan in Soho and Kinky Boots run every day as well as being able to unlock Rush tickets for shows such as An American in Paris, 42nd Street and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. At 10am a limited amount of tickets get released for discount prices for that same day, a must if your budget is bellow £25! 

The general deals on this ticketing app are also really good, especially after winning the Society of Box Office Managers ticketing agency of the year award this year, it is hotter than ever. A must have download for any theatre fan. 

Use this code to get £10 off your first order: IHIOQ 

Day seats 

A number of shows have day seats that are available at the box office on the day of performances; Wicked is most famed for this system, with fans known to camp overnight to get a hold of these tickets on cast change days. Others shows that run these are The Lion King, School of Rock, Half a Sixpence and Annie. If you're looking for day seats whilst in London, best thing to do is check the official website for the most updated explanation on how the deal with day seats. 


REVIEW: Next Thing You Know at the Etcetera Theatre

I love new musical theatre and this week the Starbuck Theatre Company brings to the Etcetera Theatre ‘Next Thing You Know’ a musical by Drama Desk Award Nominees Salzman and Cunningham. I was excited to see this musical: ‘I Love You Because’ Salzman and Cunningham’s first show, is one of my favourite little gems so I was expecting great things. 

This four hander and a piano sat cosily in the Etcetera's intimate theatre in boho Camden, however, I couldn't help wondering if this would be drowned by space if it was to run in a larger theatre; thus it was a good setting for the performance I was about to watch. The book is the first weak point of this performance; with under developed characters and songs that felt as if they were picked from the discard pile of ‘I Love You Because’,; it really doesn't give the performers a good foundation to build characters the audience can empathise with. 

REVIEW: This Is Not Culturally Significant at The Bunker Theatre

Some people are born to be performers and Adam Scott-Rowley is one of them. His debut show, This is Not Culturally Significant, was playfully devised during his years of training at LAMDA and has been gradually developed into the current fifty-minute single act. After a showing at last year's Edinburgh fringe festival and unanimous critical acclaim at the 2017 Vaults festival, it has now transferred at the brand-new Bunker theatre.

Taking in-yer-face theatre quite literally, the young writer, performer and director behind This is Not Culturally Significant appears on stage, after a momentary black-out, entirely naked. Sat on a stool, with his legs spread in the air, he's playing with his genitals and faking an orgasm, whilst impersonating an American woman who works as a webcam porn-star. 


THE OTHER PALACE Announces Development Programme and Work in Progress Series

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Paul Taylor Mills are delighted to announce details for The Other Palace Development Programme and first Work in Progress series until December 2017.

The Other Palace opened in February 2017 as a new home for musical theatre. The venue aims to discover, develop and reimagine musicals. The team want the spaces to be used to nurture the next generation of musicals, and the creatives behind them; celebrating the very best of the art form, from the established to the brand new.

The Other Palace’s Development Programme has been created to identify, explore, encourage and support musicals at every stage of their journey. The venue will be offering creatives space, time and resources; enabling them to explore and test their work, both privately and with an audience.

For audience members, The Other Palace’s Development Programme offers the opportunity to see new shows in their infancy and be part of the process, providing the creative team with invaluable feedback.

The Other Palace is proud to have partnered with, a pioneering app which involves audiences in the conversation and provides an easy way to create interaction and solicit invaluable feedback, through live polls and surveys pre and post show.

West End stars Madalena Alberto, Kieran Brown and Rebecca Trehearn to join Spanish performer JOAN VÁZQUEZ in ‘Something’s Coming – a Sondheim tribute’

After his acclaimed London debut last Fall, Spanish performer Joan Vázquez brings back ‘Something’s Coming – a Sondheim tribute’ as part of Live at Zédel Summer season, on Monday 26th June 2017, 7.00pm.

In the style of recent actor-musician Sondheim latest productions on Broadway, Joan goes solo celebrating music theatre genius Stephen Sondheim with legendary songs such as “Losing My Mind”, “Finishing the Hat”, “Send in the Clowns” or “Being Alive”, accompanied by himself on the piano, while delivering Mr. Sondheim’s witty quotes on the state of the art, love and life.

Joan will be joined by the special West End guest star appearances of Madalena Alberto (Cats, Evita, Piaf, Jekyll and Hyde, Les Misérables), Kieran Brown (The Phantom of The Opera, Wicked, Love Never Dies, Les Miserables) and recent Olivier Award winner Rebecca Trehearn (Showboat, City of Angels, Dogfight Ghost, Love Story).

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Michael Harrison and David Ian are delighted to announce that Danny Mac is to star as Joe Gillis in the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of Curve’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical SUNSET BOULEVARD. Ria Jones is to play Norma Desmond and the show is to be directed by Nikolai Foster.

SUNSET BOULEVARD will open at Curve on Saturday 16 September 2017 (press night Thursday 28 September), before touring the UK and Ireland. Full casting to be announced shortly. Tour schedule below with more dates to be announced soon.

Most recently Danny Mac captured the nation’s hearts and received overwhelming support during his incredible time on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing making it all the way to the final. This month he stars as Gabey in On The Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. His other musical theatre credits include Wicked and Legally Blonde.


REVIEW: Mindgame at the Theatre Royal Windsor

It is always a delight to visit a venue with no expectations or preconceived ideas about a play and leave enthusing about a great piece of theatre. There was only one reason for going to Windsor and that was that the play was authored by someone with the pedigree of Anthony Horowitz. As fans of the TV shows Foyles War, Poirot and Midsummer murders we knew his work in novels and TV but not for the stage.

The play is set in the office of Alex Farquhar at Fairfield Hospital in Suffolk, a high security mental institution for serial killers where we meet Styler, a journalist who has already written about other high profile serial killers and is waiting to meet Farquhar to ask permission to interview to interview an inmate Easterman. Farquhar uses a new therapy to work with his patents which involves mind games but theatrically this play also plays mind games with the audience observing the action in the office through the fourth wall two way mirrors. Nothing is as it seems.

Monday, 15 May 2017

West End Bares returns Sunday 29 October 2017

After last year’s two sold-out shows, WEST END BARES, theatre’s hottest annual fundraiser, is returning on Sunday 29 October 2017 to The Novello Theatre at 7pm and 9.30pm in aid of the Make A Difference Trust. 

Tickets are now on sale with an Early Bird offer of 20% off the top three ticket prices available for one week only, until Sunday 21 May.

This year’s theme and celebrity guests will be announced in the summer. Previous celebrity supporters have included Eddie Izzard, Dame Judi Dench, Michelle Visage, Samantha Bond, Graham Norton, John Barrowman, Ramin Karimloo, Bianca Del Rio, Joe Lycett and Beverley Knight.

REVIEW: Dyl at The Old Red Lion Theatre

When James (Scott Arthur) moves to Aberdeen and starts living with his landlord Ryan (Laurie Jamieson), he finds himself in front of a man who ticks every box of the petulant flatmate cliché. James is a young rigger who has left his ex-girlfriend Steph (Rose Wardlaw) and his two-year old daughter Dyl in England, but struggles to cope with the distance. He's withdrawn, depressed and hunted by the ghosts of his past wrongdoings. Things seem to change when Ryan invites James to spend an evening with some mates – which is devised by director Clive Judd with the stereotypical imagery of strobe-lights, heavy drinking and friend-snogging episodes to regret the day after. Following this night out, James starts opening up to his live-in landlord and Ryan – also calling into play James' mother Wendy (Joyce Greenaway) – realises that he could do something to help his tenant.

Friday, 12 May 2017

REVIEW: Paper Hearts at Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Combining feel-good vibes with a motivation-boosting plot and a cute finale, Paper Hearts is the musical love story of the year. 

Young bookshop attendant Atticus Smith (Adam Small) is an aspiring writer, with plenty of talent but particularly low self-esteem, and his skills are called into action when the business gets into trouble by the hand of his father Roger (Alasdair Baker). The difficult relationship between father and son is sweetened by the arrival in the shop of Roger's chosen manager Lilly Sprocket (Gabriella Margulies) and her romance with Atticus is intertwined with the plot of his manuscript Angel Star. The Cold War adventures of protagonists Yanna (Sinead Wall) and Isaac (Matthew Atkins) give breath to the main action and offer a metaphorical counterpart to Atticus and Lilly's misunderstandings.

2017: West Ends Hottest Women!

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt

Victoria has been one of our favourites here at Pocket for a very long time, this yummy mummy never fails to deliver on stage. She was most recently seen 'killing' it in Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre and playing Kate in The Wild Party at the Other Palace. Her talents have finally been recognised by the Oliviers this year for her performance in Murder Ballad. Previously she played Daniella in In the Heights (Southwark Playhouse & Kings Cross Theatre); Alex in Flashdance (UK tour & Shaftesbury Theatre, pictured above) and Diana in A Chorus Line (London Palladium). @VixHamBarritt

Joanna Woodward

Joanna is one we have watched for a while, ever since she stood out in Merrily We Roll Along at the Harold Pinter Theatre. This pin-up was most recently seen in Carol King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and playing Mary in The Life at the Southwark Playhouse where we not only saw her talents up close... Her other credits include The Hurly Burly Show (Duchess Theatre); Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Little Shop of Horrors (Kilworth House Theatre) and The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk/National Theatre). @JoannaWoodward


Thursday, 11 May 2017

REVIEW: Thoroughly Modern Millie at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Originally a film made famous by Julie Andrews, Thoroughly Modern Millie is the story of a small-town Kansas girl who moves to the city to find a rich man to marry.

From the outset it’s hard to fathom who thought this show needed to be retold for a modern audience. With no likeable characters to cling on to, strong narrative to drive the plot and no memorable numbers, this is a musical that really could have stayed in the history books. In the 20s Millie may have been aspirational and modern, today we’d have called her a gold-digger.

The show starts brightly enough with “Not For The Life Of Me” building nicely and some fizzing choreography, but its light soon fades. What follows is nearly three hours (including interval) of woeful characterisation and non-existent storyline.

Friday, 5 May 2017

2017: West Ends Hottest Men!

Jason Winter

We have seen Jason shine in so many West End shows over the years but currently he is dragging it up in Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. He is a brilliant performer and, I mean, look at that body! His other credits include Charlie and u/s and played Hyde in Jekyll and Hyde (Old Vic); Rudolpho in Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre); Potsie in Happy Days (UK tour); u/s Fiyero in Wicked (Apollo Victoria); Tulsa in Gypsy (Leicester Curve); u/s Jerry Travers in Top Hat (UK tour); Chicago (Cambridge Theatre) and Flashdance The Musical (UK tour). @jaseleigh

Daniel Hope

This cute munchkin first came to our attention when he appeared in Wicked and he's gone straight from Oz to play Michael Wormwood in Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre. His credits include Boq in Wicked (Apollo, Victoria); White Rabbit in Alice: A New Musical (St James Theatre) and Ensemble/understudy Alan and Rory in Bare: The Rock Musical (Greenwich Theatre). @DanielHopeUK

Full casting announced for European Premiere of WORKING at Southwark Playhouse

Completing the cast of the European Premiere of WORKING at Southwark Playhouse are six young performers all making their professional debuts. Patrick Coulter (Bird College of Dance), Nicola Espallardo (Guildford School of Acting), Izuka Hoyle, Luke Latchman, Huon Mackley (all Arts Educational Schools, London) and Kerri Norville (Bird College of Dance) will join the previously announced Gillian Bevan, Dean Chisnall, Krysten Cummings, Siubhan Harrison, Peter Polycarpou and Liam Tamne.

WORKING opens on 7 June 2017, with previews from 2 June, for a strictly limited season ending 8 July 2017, and is directed by Luke Sheppard.

The musical’s creative team has auditioned over 130 drama school students and aspiring young performers, discovering some of the most exciting upcoming musical theatre talent. With the support of Arts Council England and Unity Theatre Trust, the production will also host workshops for young people in Southwark and Lambeth interested in entering the theatre profession.

KINKY BOOTS announces new cast from July 10th 2017

Simon-Anthony Rhoden takes on the role of Lola and Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth joins the cast as Lauren in West End hit Kinky Boots, which extends until Saturday 24 March 2018. 

Kinky Boots, the winner of every major Best Musical award, is pleased to announce that Simon-Anthony Rhoden will take on the role of Lola and Verity Rushworth, popular with TV viewers for her role as Donna Windsor in ITV's Emmerdale, will star as Lauren from Monday 10 July 2017. Kinky Boots, which recently played its 700th performance at London's Adelphi Theatre, today also announces the opening of a new booking period until Saturday 24 March 2018, with tickets on sale from Friday 5 May 2017. 

REVIEW: Voices from Chernobyl at Brockley Jack Theatre

There are many kinds of disasters. Some come from nature, like earthquakes and droughts, others from war, where civilians die unjustly, and some are man-made creations that end up hurting those who created them. 

The disaster of Chernobyl on 26 April 1986 was one of those: the town of Pripyat, then part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and its surrounding areas, were infected by radioactivity due to the core of a nuclear power plant exploding and contaminating everything around it. Not only did nature suffer, but people did too, and thirty years later, they still do: the radiation levels hurt children, adults, their food and their clothes without them even truly realising it at first. What is more, thousands of people from all around the Soviet Union were called up to deal with the consequences of the explosion, putting themselves in danger. While these people probably saved the rest of Europe from a similar disaster, one could say that their pain is not acknowledged enough or too often subject to people looking away. 

REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet at the Union Theatre

It can be argued, that homophobia in football is one of the last taboos in our society. Although significant efforts have been made by institutions such as Stonewall FC and Chelsea FC announcing the first LGBT fan group in 2016, there still remains the painful fact that not one player has come out whilst in the Premier League. Activists have encouraged players to come out all at the same time, or through campaigns such as #rainbowlaces attempted to change the culture of reception rather than place focus on the individual, but as the programme for Andy Bewley’s Romeo and Juliet reminds us the ghost of Justin Fashanu lingers. 

With this highly-charged and laudable backdrop, I was looking forward to seeing how the issue would be dealt with and what I might learn from a gay retelling of Romeo and Juliet in Southwark’s the Union Theatre. With Amy Warren (Mind Over Matter Theatre Collective) as Movement Director and Abram Rooney (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) this proffered an interesting premise for how the beautiful game might be woven into this age old tale of lust, conflict, youth and tragedy.

Full casting announced for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at the Union Theatre

The Union Theatre is thrilled to announce the cast for the upcoming production of Irving Berlin's ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. 

GEMMA MACLEAN will head up the company as the infamous, sharp shooting Annie Oakley. Gemma most recently starred as Liz Imbrie in "High Society" at Sonning Mill not long after appearing as Kathy (and understudy Judy Bernley) in the National Tour of "9-5 The Musical". Other credits include "The Wizard of Oz" (London Palladium), "Sweet Charity" (Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre Royal; Haymarket), "We Will Rock You" (Dominion Theatre) and "Witches of Eastwick" (The Prince of Wales). 

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