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Monday, 17 October 2022

REVIEW: The Choir Of Man at The Arts Theatre

Be it a night out with your mates, a celebration or for ‘just one', the pub tends to be the place to go. Stories are shared and memories are made. In this pub, ‘The Jungle’ the boys, or as they’re known ‘The Choir Of Man’ simply share their stories on stage. 

Accompanied by an eclectic array of popular songs from the likes of Adele. Sia, Queen and many more, with the slight difference that we’re not just the audience, but more punters in for a lock-in like none, we’ve ever experienced before. 

As The Poet (Ben Norris) takes centre stage and introduces the other members of the choir, The Maestro (Michael Baxter), The Romantic (Matt Beveridge), The Beast (Owen Bolton), The Joker (Matt Thorpe), The Hard Man (Levi Tyrell Johnson), The Barman (Lemuel Knights), The Pub Bore (Matt Nalton) and finally The Handyman (Jordan Oliver). Everyone is mentioned as The Poet explains that no one is any different, they’re all the same, a hugely close group who are to quote Ben, ‘only as strong as their weakest. 

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

REVIEW: The Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre

When I hear the word “choir”, I often think of a traditional setting, with outdated music, delivered in a classical genre. After watching The Choir of Man, that vision has truly been shattered and reborn for me! 

Last night I attended the opening press night performance of The Choir of Man, which following three sell-out seasons at the Sydney Opera House and multiple sold-out US and European tours has just started its debut West End run at The Arts Theatre, London. I have often seen this show advertised, however, have never had the opportunity to see it first-hand. Therefore, when the opportunity arose, I grabbed it with both hands, and I can’t express how thrilled I am that I did! 

Set in your everyday local pub, The Jungle, the show delves into the lives of nine multi-talented individuals. Packed full of heart, humour, and harmony (just literally with their world-class, faultless vocals!), and featuring a jam-packed soundtrack of reimagined folk, pop, Broadway and rock chart-toppers from artists including Guns ‘N’ Roses, Fun!, Adele, Avicii, Paul Simon, Sia, and more, this show is an irresistible lock-in that you never want to end! 

Sunday, 21 July 2019

DREAM CASTING: Six on Broadway!

What makes this cast so special in the West End is that we have a cast of fresh faces that really make you realise how much undiscovered talent we have around. But we couldn't help our minds get creative and wonder who we'd absolutely adore to see in the Broadway cast of the show! We do however love how they've cast it in the UK so we would love the same to happen across the Atlantic, but heres our dream! 

Catherine of Aragon | Shoshana Bean 

Most famed for her portrayal of Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, having replaced original cast member and Tony Award winner Idina Menzel. She returns to Broadway to play the role of Jenna in Waitress and we think she'd be epic in this show and as this role! 

Anne Boleyn | Denée Benton 

Seen in her Tony nominated interpretation of Natasha Rostova in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and currently as Eliza in the Broadway production of Hamilton. We think she'd be a great Anne Boleyn! 

Thursday, 13 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Courtney Stapleton, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Courtney Stapleton is currently one of the understudies in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. Courtney graduated from Arts Educational. Theatre whilst training includes Sasha Larkin in Soho Cinders; Grace Shinn in The Music Man; Marta in Company, Phyllis in Iolanthe and Frank’s Girlfriend in Catch Me If You Can. Courtney made her stage debut in Mamma Mia in the West End and has since appeared in Bat Out Of Hell (West End); Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables in the West End and in Kerry Ellis Live at the Palladium and the Olivier Awards.

Tell us a about what Queens you play.

I am Alternate Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr, and I have one show per week as these queens and I cover the other four in case of holidays, sickness and injury! 

What kind of research did you do to prepare for these roles.

I watched a BBC documentary series about the 6 wives of Henry VIII to get to know them a little more and to try and remember what I had learnt in my GCSE’s! And I also watched Beyoncé’s Live at Rose-land concert because this was the concept the the show is based on.

How do you identify with these roles?

I think that I see a part of myself in all of the queens. I love Jane because she’s true to herself, she doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, she loved Henry and she is proud of that fact and I like to think that I try not to let other people’s opinions get to me in that same way. Catherine Parr and I are VERY similar, she is an observer, she watches the story unfold with the other queens for the whole show and then she comes through strong with such a positive and empowering message. She is a Badass and I LOVE her.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Vicki Manser, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Vicki Manser is currently one of the understudies in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. Her other credits include Swing in Bat Out of Hell (Dominion Theatre), u/s Carole King and Genie Klein in Beautiful the Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre), u/s Rasa, Mrs Davies/Marsha, Peggy, Joyce and Gwen in Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre). Other professional credits include Magic at the Musicals with the cast of Sunny Afternoon (The Royal Albert Hall) and a featured dancer for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Tell us a about what Queens you play. 

I understudy all the Queens but I alternate for Anne Boleyn and Anna of Cleves. They are all amazing! 

What kind of research did you do to prepare for these roles. 

Initially I spent a lot of time watching the current cast because being a cover its important to slot in but since starting I have a new found obsession with Tudor documentaries! I also watched Beyoncés Live at Roseland before starting as the writers took inspiration from that concert. Its epic! 

How do you identify with these roles? 

Boleyn, I think, is the Queen that's closet to my personality. I have a lot of fun with her! 

INTERVIEW: Grace Mouat, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Grace Mouat is currently one of the understudies in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. Grace trained at the Guildford School of Acting. Theatre Credits include: Eileen in Nice Work If You Can Get It (GSA); Ensemble in Hair (GSA), Luna in Cats (GSA), The Oliviers in Concert (Royal Festival Hall); Ensemble in Spring Awakening (Leicester Curve), Ensemble in Beauty and the Beast (Camberley Theatre), Susan in Soul Music (Rose Theatre, Kingston) and ENCORE: 40 Years of NYMT (Adelphi Theatre). She will be appearing in the new West End musical, & Juliet, at the Shaftsbury Theatre from November this year. 

Tell us a about what Queens you play. 

So I am alternate Katherine Howard (beheaded) and Catherine of Aragon (divorced). I also cover the other 4 when necessary! I love these queens so much! I love their sarcastic lines and fierce songs. 

What kind of research did you do to prepare for these roles. 

Last June when we were in rehearsals we all researched our queens and presented them them to each other as if we were in a history class! It was so fun and interesting to see the queens present their characters and personalities.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Alexia McIntosh, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Alexia is currently playing the role of Anna of Cleves in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. Her most recent credits include Godiva Rocks and Save our School Dinners at The Belgrade in Coventry and Tiger Lilly in Peter Pan in Blackpool. Other credits include Mimi in the smash musical ‘Rent’, Tina in the musical comedy, ‘Sister Act’, at The Gordon raig Theatre, and Chief Weasel in The Wind In The Willows.’ at Birmingham Old Rep Other work includes a national tour of Opera For An Unknown Woman for Fuel Theatre As a singer Alexia has travelled around Europe and has performed at the O2 London.

Tell us a bit about Anna of Cleves’ Story. 

She's the 4th Wife, from Germany, she got the best deal! Palaces, money and an entourage!

What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role? 

I had to read History books and lots of googling! We had a discussion of research found with the other Queens, writers and directors. I also Watched Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj concerts! 

How do you identify with the role? 

Cleves is assertive, fun, sassy, comical but also strong and clever. She avoided being beheaded and formed a brother/sister bond with Henry which allowed her to gain riches and freedom.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Natalie Paris, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Natalie Paris is currently playing the role of Jane Seymour in the hit musical SIX at the Arts theatre after having appeared in the original cast and on the cast album. Her other credits includeMrs Slammekin and Dolly Trull in The Beggar’s Opera (Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre), Totally Over You (Lyric Theatre), Les Miserables (Palace & Queens Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium), Joseph (New London Theatre) Sunday in the Park with George, also singing on the cast recording (Menier Chocolate Factory & Wyndham’s Theatre) and Billy Elliott (Victoria Palace). Natalie also performs regularly as part of a four- part harmony group Sorella (formerly The Stereoettes) and in the last year they have made appearances in venues across the UK including Winter wonderland, Hyde Park, Primo Bar, Westminster, a recent ‘A Capella’ Performance at The London Hippodrome, as well as charity events for the NSPCC and a performance for Sky Television. They have also toured Europe as well as visiting Miami in the USA.

Tell us a bit about Jane Seymour’s Story. 

Jane Seymour was was supposedly the only wife that Henry truly loved. She gave birth to a son, Edward, but unfortunately died a few days later from complications in child birth. There’s a question wether Henry truly loved her for her, or for giving him an heir to the throne. But one thing for sure is that she definitely loved him. 

What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role? 

We did a lot of research on the queens from google & books etc. But one of the most interesting ways to learn about them for me was the Lucy Worsley documentary because she tells it from the wives point of view. It was actually one of the inspirations for the musical. 

How do you identify with the role? 

Obviously I haven’t had a child, so I can’t relate to Jane in that sense, but I do believe that Jane was loyal and had a lot of love to give, and that I most definitely can relate to. I pride myself on being a loyal and kind person and always giving people a chance no matter what, and that’s what I love about Jane too!

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Millie O'Connell, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Millie O'Connell is currently playing the role of Anne Boleyn in the hit musical SIX at the Arts theatre. Her other credits include Ensemble in Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour); Ensemble/us Annie in 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); Ensemble/us Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (Theatre Du Chatelet); Slave of the Ring/us Jasmin in Aladdin (Civic Theatre) Television Credits include The entire universe (BBC); Endeavour (ITV) & The Peoples Strictly (BBC). 

Tell us a bit about Anne Boleyn’s Story.

Anne Boleyn is the 2nd wife of Henry! She was BEHEADED!! She is perceived as a temptress and a seducer, calculated in every move she mad but actually ... she is just a fun loving girl who wanted to have some fun!! She didn’t even kiss Henry for 7 years when he was trying to woo her!!

What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role?

We had a one on one session with our directors and did research in rehearsals. A mind map of everything related and associate with Anne and who she is. 

How do you identify with the role?

I think Anne is the outspoken version of me! She does and says everything Millie would be to worried to say! She’s Millie X100 and I really enjoy channelling all my energy into her.

Monday, 3 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Jarneia Richard-Noel, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Jarneia is currently playing the role of Catherine of Aragon in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. She trained at the The Urdang Academy where she graduated in 2017. Her first professional job straight out of college was on the P&O cruise ship, Azura as a Singer/Dancer.

Tell us a bit about Catherine of Aragon’s story.

Catherine of Aragon was a Spanish Queen who married Henry’s brother Arthur first, sadly he passed away and finally after a lot of discussion who she was going to marry next, she ended up with Henry.  She reigned as Queen along side Henry for 24 years. She was fearless, powerful, strong, warrior and so resilient. When Henry was away, she ruled the roost. She fought battles and was a strong leader! She was devastated and disgusted when Henry wanted to divorce her for Anne Boleyn creating the Church of England. She stayed under the same roof as them two and his many other ladies in waiting for 7 years before they got an annulment. She did everything in her power to prove he had no right to divorce her, her bravery was admirable! 

What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role?

In rehearsals we had a whole week on character building. Our directors Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage would break down our songs and explain all the historical content in it. We also did our own research and brought it into rehearsals. Each queen had a mood board of several words to represent our queen and the information we found. We all did a presentation of everything we found out about our Queens. It was a learning lesson for us all, as we got to learn about each Queen and why they are all so amazing!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

If the SIX Queens were RuPaul's Drag Race contestants

Whilst watching an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race after having seen SIX the musical at the Arts Theatre, we wondered who we'd like to see in the All Stars version! Now this is the lip sync we'd love to see... Tweet us who you'd like to see play each Queen! 

Catherine of Aragon | Bob the Drag Queen 


Thursday, 14 March 2019

REVIEW: Six at the Arts Theatre

Having seen this show, and reviewed it (read my original review here), I was very much looking forward to heading back to see this show again and to see how its improved. Since its run at the Arts Theatre back in 2018 it has been on a short tour of the UK and is now back to stay (for the foreseeable future) at the Arts Theatre. 

When you walk into the Arts, both the front of house and the auditorium, you feel a sense of intimacy. Personally, I’d advise you get there early as it gets very busy in the foyer but the team that work there and the charm of the place are really delightful. The space is small but perfect for this piece, any bigger and I think we’d feel a disconnection with the Queens. They really feel like they’re talking directly to you so the intimacy of this theatre really works in their favour. 

Having seen the show before, I can see some changes in the production. Not that I saw any flaws in the show before, but the writing is tighter, choreography is slicker and musically it sounds so much better. With the success of this show, one could say “If its not broke, don’t fix it”, but what I admire about the creatives on this is that they are clearly striving for more than just a good recipe for a show. They are true creators and are striving for excellence. A quality that will go very far in this industry. 

Friday, 7 September 2018

REVIEW: Six at the Arts Theatre

I was a little apprehensive coming to see this show, I’m not sure why. Part of me thinks this may be because it’s a fresh, new idea and as theatre going audiences we have seen so many of these be full of flaws and not properly executed. Excuse the pun. However this show proved me wrong. 

The show tells the story of all Six of Henry VIII ex-wives, each having their chance to tell their story and compete to be the leading lady of the show. At its heart it shows us there is more to the story than the rhyme we all learnt in school and with the backdrop of the #MeToo campaign going on its so great to see this show fronted by Six empowered women with a full female band. 

Making a girl band out of some of the most famous Ex-Wives in history is an odd idea and may seem bizarre but it’s ideas like this that make the best and most successful shows. I mean who would have thought a musical about Cats would succeed? 

Monday, 19 March 2018

First look: Ruthless! The Musical at the Arts Theatre

Ruthless! is about to open at the Arts Theatre and the company has opened the doors to the rehearsal room to offer a sneak peek on the most outrageous musical that has ever graced the West End. Acting as the executive producer and general manager for the London run, the Menier Chocolate Factory is currently hosting the star-studded cast, who we found tirelessly going over the dazzling musical numbers. 

A frothy Kim Maresca reprises her role as Judy Denmark, after a successful off-Broadway run. During the taster event, she interpreted the opening motif Tina's Mother and was soon joined on stage by the delicious Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner. His presence in drag as Tina's agent Sylvia St. Croix is a guaranteed recipe for success.

Tina's drunken grandmother is brought to life by the legendary Tracie Bennett, whereas the protagonist herself, the eight-year-old Tina, is played in turns by four exceptionally talented young performers: Charlotte Breen, Lucy Simmonds, Anya Evans, and Fifi Bloomsbury-Khier.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

REVIEW: The Toxic Avenger at the Arts Theatre

Premiering in London at the Southwark Playhouse last year, Toxic Avenger returns to London after a hugely successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe. Now playing at the Arts Theatre through to December 3rd. 

Based on the 1984 cult classic, The Toxic Avenger follows the story of a small town hero who gets dunked in toxic waste after trying to clean up the problem. Add in a corrupt Mayor, a New Jersey mother and a blind love interest and you get this. 

The story is completely bizarre and silly but its perfect escapism. With whats going on in the world at the moment, shows like The Book of Mormon are what we need and this follows in their footsteps. 
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