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Saturday, 18 August 2018

THEN AND NOW: Chicago the Musical

Making its return to the West End stage, Chicago is one of the most famous musicals around the world. The show has attracted some very famous names to it including Ruthie Henshall (who is the only Woman to play all three leads), Bebe Neuwirth, Brandy, Jerry Springer, Mel B, Todrick Hall, Wendy Williams, Tase Diggs, Ashlee Simpson, Melanie Griffith, Patrick Swayze and most recently on the West End, Alexandra Burke. In this edition of 'Then And Now' we look back on the original Broadway production, the 1996 Broadway revival, the 2013 revival at the Leicester Curve, the current West End production and we also look back to numerous cast members who have featured in the West End run of the 1996 revival. Take a look and share your favourite moments of the show with us on Twitter! @PocketSizeBlog #PocketThenNow

Roxie Hart 

Gwen Verdon (1975), Ann Reinig (1996), Bonnie Langford (2006), Gemma Sutton (2013) & Sarah Soetaert (2018)
Velma Kelly 

Chita Rivera (1975), Bebe Neuwirth (1996), Leigh Zimmerman (2001), Verity Rushworth (2013) & Josefina Gabrielle (2018)

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Mazz Murray Joins Martin Kemp in CHICAGO, With New Booking Period Announced

Mazz Murray will join the West End cast of CHICAGO at the Phoenix Theatre, playing the title role of Mama Morton from Monday 2 July. Also joining the cast on 2 July will be the previously announced Martin Kemp as Billy Flynn. They will join Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle and Paul Rider as Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and Amos Hart respectively.

Martin Kemp will be staying in the London production of CHICAGO until 2 September 2018, with Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle, Mazz Murray and Paul Rider staying until 11 August 2018.

A new booking period opens today, Tuesday 26 June, with tickets available for performances from Monday 8 October to Saturday 5 January 2019. 

Mazz Murray’s previous theatre credits include nine years as Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Tanya in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre), Mabel in Fame (Victoria Palace), Grandma Bertha in Pippin (Bridewell Theatre) and Dusty Springfield in A Girl Called Dusty (Duke of York’s Theatre). On television, she has appeared in EastEnders and Footballers’ Wives, and on film in John Boorman’s Hope & Glory and the soon-to-be-released Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She has toured with Earth Wind & Fire and Billy Ocean as part of the band Woman the Band, and with Il Divo as a solo artist. Her debut solo album, Midnight Mazz, was released earlier this year.

Friday, 22 December 2017

REVIEW: Peter Pan at the Birmingham Arena and the Wembley Arena

Peter Pan at the Birmingham arena (for 4 days) and at Wembley arena (2 days) is billed as the worlds biggest pantomime and by some measures it is . The vast auditorium seating 5000 and a cast of 100 with two big stars in Bradley Walsh and Martin Kemp promises a lot but somehow the story gets lost in translation to this vast space . What we are left with is a Christmas variety show with a comedy ring master and a loose connection between each scene.

The problem is visible as soon as you settle into your cramped seat with a £10 programme in hand . No one has a good view of all the action as the long thrust stage runs through the lower tier seating and half the audience are viewing side on. The large LED screens which are used for some excellent scene setting visuals as well as close up projections of the action become the main way to work out what is going on as the cast fill the available space on the stage and spill onto the large walkway in front of the tiered seating .

There is no magic in this production. When Peter first appears high up at the back of the auditorium you hope he might fly down to the stage but he does not. When he and Wendy do eventually fly they emerge from behind the screens with the full pulley system on show . Worst still when overage Michael and John fly you can see the stagehand pulling hard on the manual lift. When the crocodile finally appears he can only get half way along the thrust stage so the pirates including Hook have to walk back to it and throw themselves at it. You can see these key moments done so much better in many theatres around the country this year.
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