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Thursday, 18 February 2021

REVIEW: CASES Studio Cast Recording

It’s always exciting to see a new British musical, and while we wait until we can tread the boards in person, perhaps we are going to see a resurgence of studio albums akin to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s from the 80’s. Dominic Powell’s CASES is a gentle, easy listen, with melodies that float above you performed by a stellar cast comprised of Maiya Quansah-Breed, Bobbie Little, Andrew Patrick-Walker and Waylon Jacobs. It goes without saying that these four all have gorgeous vocals, and the album highlight is the group number “Cost of Living”, which sums up the conceit of the show the best. We are following the personal triumphs and pitfalls of four characters as they navigate an artist’s lifestyle with financial instability and all that encompasses. 

We get off to a strong start with the opening number, the title song, with gorgeous harmonies and a warm, gentle melody inviting us in. Following is an album highlight, “Airs and Grace”, sung by Maiya Quansah-Breed, injecting real character into this catchy and charismatic number that I wouldn’t be surprised to find in many a girl’s audition folder and fantasy solo concert setlist. 

Monday, 30 December 2019

Best Understudy and Cover Stories of 2019

Standbys, understudies, alternates and swings are integral to the running of a show. They save the day on a daily bases all around the country in all kinds of shows. In a time where some shows champion their covers on social media and in the actual theatres, some shows still restrict the cast members on the publication of dates and information about their cover dates. But to prove how incredible they actually are, we looked back at the past year with our friends at @WestEndCovers and put together a list of the Best Understudy and Cover stories of 2019!  

"This year the recognition for standbys and alternates has been greater than any before. Some newer shows with smaller casts like Six, Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen rely on their standbys (who do not perform unless on for one of their cover roles) and alternates (who weekly scheduled shows as their cover) rather than the more common understudy and swing model for shows with a larger ensemble. The difference is that understudies may be a member of the ensemble or a swing who steps up to cover a principle role and a swing steps in to cover ensemble tracks." - @WestEndCovers 

And we must mention but our beloved West End Understudies account are in their 5th Year in 2020!  Here's to the next 5 years of celebrating our fantastic covers all across the theatre industry! 

Take a look at some of these extrodinary stories and tweet us any you think we missed out! @PocketSizeBlog

Monday, 10 June 2019

INTEVRIEW: Maiya Quansah-Breed, currently in the cast of SIX at the Arts Theatre

Maiya is currently playing the role of Catherine Parr in the hit musical SIX at the Arts Theatre. Maiya trained at Guildford School of Acting. Theatre credits whilst training include: Exotica in ‘Cats’; Ronny in 'Hair'; Dottie in 'Nice Work If You Can Get It’ and Mrs Medlock in ‘The Secret Garden'. 

Tell us a bit about Catherine Parr’s Story. 

Catherine Parr was a sensational woman, strong, resilient and a women beyond her years and she wouldn’t have even realised. Catherine was twice widowed and after the death of her previous husbands, she was set to marry Thomas Seymour, the brother of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife. However, Henry has other plans and set his eyes on Catherine and asked her to marry him; Henry’s previous marriages had been decided for him by politicians and people in power but in this case, Henry chose Catherine by himself to avoid further disappointments. And how could she say no to the king of England? That would be her death warrant signed, so she had no other option. Catherine’s Mother was also Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting and it is said to be that Catherine Parr was named after Catherine of Aragon, as she was her Godmother. Catherine Parr, was the first Queen in history to publish a book under her own name, ‘Prayers and Meditations’ and ‘The Lamentations of a Sinner’. Catherine was Henry’s sixth wife and she nursed him until his death. 

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

I had to do a lot of research into Catherine Parr’s life because I didn’t know anything about her and I watched the documentary that Lucy Worsley did about Henry VIII’s wives and I found that really helpful and informative.
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