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Sunday, 25 October 2020

REVIEW: A (Socially Distanced) Evening with Patsy May at the Phoenix Arts Club

A room full of adults belly-laughing, totally on-board and absorbing every comical moment of ‘Patsy May’s Socially Distanced Show' was a delight to attend and a huge uplifting celebration of musical theatre, film, travel and looking at the brighter side of life. Proving copious viable skills to any doubters, in a furry ball of pink and blue adult-level humour from 2014’s Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Laura Bacon has produced a precise, manicured and pacy show which fires on all cylinders. Her best work yet!
From the outset, Patsy captivated the room and set the tone for the night ahead. Joined by Lee Van Geleen (Les Miserables, Only Fools and Horses) who had a faultless charisma and chemistry with Patsy, numerous West End-quality vocals landed on an appreciative audience - marred only by Patsy’s mother interrupting the climax of a Sweeney Todd classic, popping up on Skype in a hilarious exchange on the video screen behind them.

Yuriko Kotani (BBC New Comedy Award) provided excellent comical variation involving the audience and adding an interactive element to the evening and felt very much part of the well-rehearsed, slick performance. 

Monday, 21 September 2020

REVIEW: Squad Goals at Dagenham and Redbridge Football Ground

Any chance right now for escapism is welcomed and especially if it’s returning to live theatre. Amazing then that Squad Goals should absolutely smash a premier league-level triumph by taking over a stadium no-less for arguably one of the UK’s most exciting live theatre events of 2020. 

Squad Goals revolves around a group of young women who are about to embark on the expected routes their parents anticipated for them. At the eleventh hour before these ‘realistic careers’ are almost reality, the women have the chance to play one crucial last game at a community tournament that is guaranteed to be visited by a scout for Dagenham and Redbridge FC. 

Arriving at the venue, it’s impossible to not be instantly absorbed into the immersive buzz of the football club with its bustling club house bar, stewards checking us in and cast in football kit wandering through the space adding to the sense of pre-match anticipation. 
The players themselves are such a three-dimensional ensemble of characters from the social-media Instagram influencer to the goal-driven ambitious football devotees. Where the production really shines is in these finely-tuned and recognisable ‘types’. It’s very easy to spot someone you recognise and impossible not to sense a fear of missing out when the players split off on their various paths with the fragmenting audience each enjoying backstory that fleshes out our understanding of some of the individuals and their motivations. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

REVIEW: Mascherato the Musical Original Studio Cast Recording

You’d be forgiven if you listened to ‘Mascherato: The Musical’ and assumed it was already a full-scale, polished, Broadway musical.

But it’s not.

In 2015 ‘Mascherato' was conceived by Michael Elderkin (book by James Willett) and workshopped two years later exhibiting a show which had blossomed into this stunning album; recorded with a twenty-two piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios it features a cast almost as impressive as the score itself!

In the heart of 18th century Venice we meet Luca and Elena, and follow as they fall in love against the backdrop of the thriving carnival. However, the pair are torn apart as Venice sinks into war against the Ottoman Empire. When the conflict finally ends, and the empire proves victorious, the two lovers must fight against fate to be reunited.

There is enough dialogue between the tracks to weave you through the Venetian streets with the array of characters Elderkin and Willett have assembled; so vivid and varied are the people who populate the story, it’s as if we’ve fallen upon an Ashman/Menken masterpiece that never was - though it stands clearly on its own two feet as new and intensely visual.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

New series IN THE WINGS launches with performances and interviews

In conversation with Olivier award-winning composer Richard Thomas, featuring live performances by Dougie Carter (Les Misérables; Sunset Boulevard), Aaron Lee Lambert (Hamilton; Miss Saigon; Sweeney Todd), Steph Parry (Mamma Mia; 42nd Street) and Laura Pick (Wicked; The Sound of Music).

Filmed from 3rd June - 6th June 2020 in strict accordance with social distancing guidelines. 

In The Wings is a series of human interest interviews and live entertainment hosted in a London theatre, with composers, writers, and creatives of shows that have been postponed due to COVID-19. 

In the first step towards theatre’s return, In The Wings aims to shine a light on the shows directly affected by the industry’s shutdown and celebrate the work of those composers and writers. Featuring a line-up of stellar West End stars, each episode will feature the FIRST LIVE PERFORMANCES in a theatre with a LIVE BAND since the West End closed.

Episodes will air from this Friday 12th June 2020 at 7:30p.m. and thereafter at the same time each week. Olivier award-winning composer Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer: The Opera; Made in Dagenham) will be joined by creatives from 4 upcoming new musicals that were postponed due to Coronavirus: No Limits; Legends of Arahma; Gretel! and Dorian: A Rock Musical. 
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