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Thursday, 20 January 2022

REVIEW: Moulin Rouge at the Piccadilly Theatre

Walking into the auditorium is a spectacular experience; you are immersed into the world of the Moulin Rouge. Not a single detail is spared in Derek Mclane’s set, with the iconic windmill stage right and the giant elephant head stage right, at eye level in the Royal Circle. The dancers circle around the stage, quite menacingly in slow motion, in anticipation of the show- head to toe in burlesque-themed sparkling outfits, designed by Catherine Zuber. Lady Marmalade starts the show with a bang, the ensembles’ energy uplifting and throws you into the drama of the Moulin Rouge. 

As the club is on the brink of shutting down, the owner Harold Zidler (Clive Carter) must do what it takes with his ‘diamond’ showgirl, Satine (Liisi Lafontaine) to gain investment from the Duke (Simon Bailey). Mistakenly identifying an American tourist named Christian (Jamie Bogyo) for the Duke, Satine spends the night being entertained by Christian and his fellow songwriters, Santiago (Elia Lo Tauro) and Toulous-Lautrec (Jason Pennycooke), who wish to bring their show to Moulin Rouge. When the Duke arrives for his time alone with Satine, he finds the three in a compromising position, of which they improvise their way out of and make an arrangement for the Duke to invest in the show and the venue. Being the seedy man he is, he also takes ‘ownership’ of Satine- who has quickly fallen in love with Christian- whom she has a secret affair with alongside being with the Duke. 

Sunday, 30 May 2021

COMING HOME: Serina Mathew, soon to be appearing in Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back! 

Before the theatres closed, Serina Mathew was appearing in the London premiere of the musical version of the classic hit movie, Pretty Woman. With the show only just making its debut in town before lockdown, she will be returning to the production when it reopens at the Savoy Theatre on the 8th July 2021. 

Serina has previously appeared on the UK tour of Fame in the ensemble and covering Carmen, Miss Bell and Miss Sherman, as the Havana Girl in Guys and Dolls at the Kilworth House, played Buffy and covered Pearl in the German production of Starlight Express and played Rimpy and covered Jess in the West End premiere of Bend it Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre. 

Thursday, 5 September 2019

REVIEW: Heartbeat of Home at the Piccadilly Theatre

Heartbeat of Home is from the Producers and Director of Riverdance. After a sold out run at the London Palladium, the show has transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre for a limited 5 week run. The show is a collection of traditional Irish dancing, Latin and Afro-Cuban music and live music performers. With a large cast of 37, including the onstage band and vocalist, it is a fun, upbeat, visual performance that is very enjoyable.

John Mcolgan’s concept is the introduction to different cultures, merging together through dance. There is little in the way of a storyline, with only 2 voice overs to describe the onstage narrative but it is mostly interpreted through dance and song. Heartbeat of Home remains light-hearted with no deeper meaning. Brian Byrne’s composition is exciting and diverse, the show is incredibly cheesy and the music supports this. I particularly enjoyed how much personality the band had and how they were also a major part of the production, as well as how smoothly vocalist, Lauren Azania, fit into the performances. The projections on the large screen behind the performers were what makes Heartbeat of Home stand out. David Torpey’s projection design was magnificent and took us from sunsets over the sea, to New York and Cuba. For the most part, these were incredibly realistic and completely immersive- the top of the Empire State building being a particular stand out moment. However, to add to the corniness, the very large moons in the night sky did not do the slow dances any favours for drawing out emotions.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Matt Cardle to join cast of Strictly Ballroom The Musical

Best-selling recording artist, X-Factor winner and West End star Matt Cardle is to join the cast of Strictly Ballroom The Musical. Based on Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed film and now transformed into a spectacular and joyous West End musical, Matt will play the role of band leader Wally Strand, from Tuesday 31st July at the Piccadilly Theatre. He takes over the role from Will Young. 

Matt Cardle first came to the public’s attention when he won The X Factor in 2010, the year the TV phenomenon series enjoyed its highest-ever ratings. His debut single When We Collide was Christmas number one in 2010, sold over one million copies and was nominated for a BRIT Award for Best Single. Since then, Matt has now sold over 2 million albums, had 3 Top 10 albums and played 5 sold-out UK tours. Matt’s most recent album ’Time To Be Alive’ was released by Sony earlier this year and features his latest single ‘I’m Not Letting Go Yet’ and the huge club hit ‘Desire’.

In 2015 he triumphed in a whole new arena when he made his West End debut, playing the lead role of Huey Calhoun in Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Starring alongside the legendary Beverley Knight, Matt won the Best West End Debut.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

REVIEW: Strictly Ballroom at the Piccadilly theatre

Based on the 1992 Baz Luhrmann film, Strictly Ballroom comes to the West End after having previously had a run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. Directed and Choregraphed by one of the most exciting people in the West End at the moment, Drew McOnie. 

Having not really been a fan of McOnies directing work previously (his choreography however, is ground breaking) I was apprehensive about seeing this production, but I had nothing to worry about. It was smooth, slick and sassy! The scene changes may have been a little too much with unnecessary amounts of scenery, but it was done seamlessly and with grace and personality by the cast.

The concept of the show included having a narrator, Wally Strand (played by Will Young), I followed this and bought into it as I think the show justified it however he sang the whole score which was a complete waste of the talents of this incredible cast. Young played it well with charm and humour but overall, I felt a little disappointed that the musical talents of the company weren’t showcased. 
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