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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

REVIEW: Heathers at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre


For many, your school years are the best years of your life. For others it’s a constant battle with teenage angst and the struggle to achieve popularity, but just how far will you go to be popular?

For Veronica Sawyer (May Tether) only one thing can ease the high school struggle, become friends with the top of the social food chain, the Heathers (Maddison Firth, Lizzy Parker, Merryl Ansah). 

The show itself, though laden with understudies for Ram (Callum Connolly), Martha (Bayley Hart) and Veronica (May Tether) was faultless. A special mention to Rachel Rawlinson and Aimee Hodnett who came up from the West End cast to cover their respective roles in the tour. Not a single actor looked out of place and a huge nod to the unsung heroes within the cast ready to jump in when called upon. 
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Sunday, 12 September 2021

REVIEW: Grease at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking



From Chicago in ’71 and Broadway in ’72 and the West End in ‘73, to the biggest box-office Hollywood hit, through two broadway revivals, five West End revivals, four tours and a TV adaptation, it's fair to say that Grease has been around the block a few times. Yet this UK tour version still manages to make the show feel fresh and exciting.

This wonderful cast are led by Dan Partridge as Danny and Georgina Louise as Sandy. Partridge truly commands the company when he takes to the stage; his presence and authority are matched only by his swagger and charm. He really comes to life in Act 2 as he gives us his heartfelt ‘Sandy.’ Louise is perfectly innocent in her part, and has a voice that would shake even the hardiest of the Burger Palace Boys. Again in Act 2, Louise’s voice tears through the auditorium in ‘Sandra Dee’— an absolute show stopper and truly magnificent to witness.
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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

REVIEW: Hairspray at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre


The audiences at The Mayflower Southampton love a musical and you could feel the warmth and excitement in the auditorium this week as Hairspray arrived on its UK tour that runs until April 2022. It is slightly curious to find another production at the Coliseum in London with Michael Ball and Les Dennis in the roles of Edna and Wilbur opening around the same time with plenty of publicity for Ball returning to a role he clearly loves. Hopefully, both shows will benefit from the publicity and serve different audiences, but it is a testament to the quality of the musical written by O’Donnell, Meehan, Shaiman and Wittman that producers believe it can sell so many tickets and its upbeat message of hope and change will resonate as audiences return post-pandemic.

The difference between the two shows, apart from the lead casting, is the staging of the show with the touring show necessarily stripped back for ease of its weekly move but the result is a show that at times feels more like a staged concert than a full-blown Musical Theatre. In the TV studio scenes, the usual cameras have been dispensed with and we are left with an open stage with the band behind on a raised platform. Other scenes are backed by black cloth although when they do project scenes on backcloth, they are effective especially in “Welcome to the sixties” where the record discs images are gradually replaced by Black and White Images from the Civil Rights Movement at the time. The two small downstage trucks are regularly used for interior scenes such a the Turnblad sitting room or Wilbur’s joke shop but for those seated in the side aisles, it is less than perfect staging.
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REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Show at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre



The Rocky Horror Show has returned for another UK Tour as it approaches in 50th birthday in 2023, starting in Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre. This extraordinary show which began at the Royal Court Theatre in June 1973 and became a movie that has defined cult status in 1975, has a dedicated and loyal following who have now become part of the show. Indeed, it is the audiences and their interaction with the cast that make this a unique experience and as many productions seek to add immersive elements to their production, Rocky Horror leads the way with the audiences’ reactions and shout out now built into the script. There are two very good reasons to return to see this production as many returning casts are led by a perfectly cast Philip Franks as the narrator and the very likeable Ore Oduba as Brad.

Philip Franks, now perhaps better known as a very good director is a brilliant narrator, a master of the comic pauses and reaction to the audience call-outs, he brings a freshness to the familiar script with his updated references to the last eighteen months. His delivery is perfectly judged and very well-timed and at every entrance, the audience prepares to respond. Oduba who has become a familiar and popular face since his Strictly Come Dancing win in 2016 gets a chance to show his comic talents too as the innocent and hapless hero Brad who stumbles into Frank N Furter’s castle.
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Thursday, 8 July 2021

COMING HOME: Maddison Firth, about to head out on tour with Heathers the Musical

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!

In the return of theatre, one of the shows that has come back is Heathers. The hit Off-Broadway show made its London debut in a staged concert at the Other Palace which lead to a fully staged production at the same theatre and then transferred into the West End. The show is now back in London at the same theatre it transferred to, the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and the production is launching its first UK tour opening on the 28th July 2021 at the Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Maddison Firth will be starring in the UK tour of the show as Heather Chandler. She was a swing for the Cruise production of SIX The Musical and was actually due to play Katherine Howard in the same production but this was cancelled due to the pandemic. After many self tapes and Zoom auditions, the disappointment of a cancelled job soon went away when she was offered the UK tour of Heathers! A few push backs later, Maddison couldn’t be more excited to be heading back into a theatre. “Knowing so many people will be back in jobs they love, and back spreading that love to audiences across the country brings me so much joy.” 
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Thursday, 24 June 2021

COMING HOME: Richard Meek, opening in the UK tour of Hairspray

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! 

We meet Richard fresh from the cast announcement of the UK tour of Hairspray, in which he will be playing the role of Corny Collins, a role and show he says is one of his dream jobs. We met Richard at the Playhouse Theatre, a place he is pretty familiar with! He appeared in The Rocky Horror show playing Eddie/Dr. Scott at the Playhouse, he later went on tour with the show in the same roles before taking over the role of Brad Majors, a role he had played previously. 

With a CV almost as long as my arm, Richard has had a really wonderful career. He’s appeared as Rooster in the UK Tour of Annie, as Trevor Graydon in the UK Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie, starred as Leo Bloom in the international production of The Producers, played Sir Galahad in the UK Tour of Spamalot, played Dustin and covered Greaseball in the Bochum production of Starlight Express and has played the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, to name but a few of his many credits! 
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Monday, 7 June 2021

COMING HOME: Tanisha-Mae Brown, about to head off on tour with Chicago the Musical

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! 

The theatre industry has been hit incredibly hard over the pandemic. Performers, creatives and freelancers across the whole entertainment industry have been affected hugely, but a group of people who the industry has pulled together to try and help are the 2020 graduates. Coming into this industry is usually an exciting and scary thing, but for those who entered it during this pandemic, I can’t even begin to imagine what it felt like to come into an almost destitute industry. 

Tanisha-Mae Brown graduated from the Arts Educational Schools last year and although it's been a challenging time for theatre, she has thrived and has an exciting future ahead of her. She was featured in the Garden Theatre production of Pippin last summer playing Catherine. The theatre was built in a pub garden and was one of the first to open up with live productions. Her next venture will be on the UK tour of the smash-hit musical, Chicago. Our photoshoot with her took place at the Cambridge Theatre, one of the many homes to Chicago in its time in London. 
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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

COMING HOME: Lizzy Parker, about to feature in the UK touring production of Heathers


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! 

Heathers is a cult classic in every sense of the word. The 1989 film has a huge following and following the musical version opening Off-Broadway in 2014, the story was suddenly introduced to a whole new audience. Now a cult classic musical in its own right, the show originally premiered in the UK in a public workshop at the Other Palace in 2017 and later opened for a full-scale production run at the same theatre the following year. After a hugely successful run at The Other Palace, Heathers transferred to the West End and played at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which will reopen on the 21st June 2021 for a limited run until the 13th September 2021. Simultaneously, the show will head out on its first-ever UK tour, opening at the Leeds Grand Theatre on the 28th of July 2021 and is currently booked to go through to December 2021. 

Lizzy Parker is a name you may not know right now, but there's no doubt you will very soon. Lizzy makes her theatre debut in Heathers as Heather McNamara. This being her first show after graduating she’s bagged herself a pretty good job, don’t you agree?! Lizzy only graduated from the London College of Music in 2018, since then she has been featured in the workshop of No Limits: A Song Cycle by Sam Thomas. The show was featured in ‘From the Wings’ with Musical Theatre superstars like Laura Pick and Dougie Carter singing Sams work. Lizzy is featured on the concept album but other than this show, Heathers will be her professional debut. We spoke to her about how she feels about finally getting back to theatre and she is obviously excited, "I can’t wait to be back in a rehearsal room again being creative - it’s been so long. Also, just thinking about being part of an audience, sat waiting for a show to begin gives me goosebumps!”

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Monday, 17 June 2019

INTERVIEW: Lucy O'Byrne, currently starring in the UK tour of Little Miss Sunshine


Lucy O'Byrne is becoming one of the top leading ladies of musical theatre of our time, with leading roles including Eva Peron in Evita, Maria in The Sound of Music and Fantine in Les Miserables. We last spoke to Lucy when she was in the West End production of Les Miserables and recently we caught up with her as she heads out on tour with the new musical production of Little Miss Sunshine. 


The last time we spoke to you, you were playing Fantine in Les Miserables at the Queens theatre. Since that show until now you’ve done quite a few shows, looking back what have you learnt as a performer? 

I learnt so much at Les Mis from watching my colleagues perform to rehearsal process and etiquette to team work in the building. Every day was a day at school - and I loved school. The most important thing I learnt though was to be kinder to myself. I used to think West End performers were infallible so I thought I had to become some kind of invincible robot but working there really showed me we are all human and sometimes we have to go easy on ourselves and listen to our mind and body like everyone else.

Since then you’ve played one of the most iconic musical theatre roles for a female, Evita. How was it taking on a role like that? 

It was more fun than I could have imagined or hoped for.
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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

REVIEW: Fame the Musical at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking



A staple on stage, screen and Walkman’s since the 80s, Fame is the classic story of hope, ambition and showbiz with a sprinkling of love for good measure. 

This production starts slowly and with a few technical wobbles, but a strong and energetic ensemble picks this production up with Morgan Jackson and Tom Mussel particularly impressing. 

The set design is relatively simple and static but allows the large cast plenty of space for some expansive choreography. The actor/muso device utilised some talented performers, namely Alexander Zane (Goody) and Simon Anthony (Schlomo), but it wasn’t always clear when the music was full band or the on stage musicians.

Jorgie Porter shows there’s much more to her than starring in a Soap and demonstrates some beautiful dance moves as budding ballet dancer Iris. Her relationship with dyslexic Tyrone (played by Jamal Kane Crawford) is the most fully formed of all the love interests and there seems a real, genuine connection between the two performers. Crawford is imposing and vulnerable in equal measure and deserves all the whoops and cheers from the female audience.
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Sunday, 2 September 2018

REVIEW: Rain Man at the Windsor Theatre Royal


Bill Kenwright is a prolific producer and his latest production under the "Classic screen to stage" banner is the 1988 four times Oscar winning film Rain Man which starred Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise . It is a "road movie" in which two brothers discover themselves during a drive from Cincinnati to Las Vegas in their late father's 1949 Buick Roadmaster vintage car. It is quite ambitious to translate the story to the stage for a UK tour but writer Dan Gordon does a very good job.

The show opened at Windsor Theatre Royal with Mathew Horne in the Dustin Hoffman role of the autistic elder brother Raymond. It is a remarkable physical and emotional performance that dominates the stage from his first entrance and when ever he is on. He fully deserves the standing ovation at the end. Raymond's disabilities have meant he has been in a care home for much of his life but his brother discovers he has some remarkable abilities which make him endearing, funny and useful to Charlie. He can memorise a phone book and read two books at same time , one with each eye! He has great fun with an old Abbott and Costello routine, now often seen in pantomime, about "who is on first base and what's now on second base" which he resorts to under stress. 
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Thursday, 26 July 2018

FIRST LOOK: Fame the Musical, on tour around the UK


Keith Jack, Mica Paris and Jorgie Porter star in the new UK Tour of Fame – The Musical opening at Manchester Palace on 20 July for a brand new 30th Anniversary Tour.

Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film, Fame – The Musical is the international smash-hit sensation following the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life. This bittersweet but uplifting triumph of a show explores the issues that confront many young people today: prejudice, identity, pride, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.
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REVIEW: Madagascar at the New Wimbledon Theatre


Selladoor and Hartshorn-Hook Productions brings Madagascar to the stage in a new musical production, touring the UK until next year. 

The show as a whole is very close to the film, which is wonderful for the children who are in love with it, but this also means nothing was fresh or different. The use of puppetry was good, the actual design of the puppets could have used a little more flexibility because the movement wasn’t really animal like, but it was very well directed and executed by the cast

For a children’s show, it was good quality. For a musical, it did not achieve what you expect. The music was good, not particularly catchy but OK for what it was. The high point of the show was the choreography by Fabian Aloise; high energy, slick and very contagious! We all wanted to join in with them. 
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Thursday, 12 April 2018

Cast announced for Sasha Regan's all-male Iolanthe UK tour


A dynamic all-male cast have been announced for the return of Sasha Regan’s most critically acclaimed production, Iolanthe – one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous operettas.

Torches flash in the darkness as a party of naughty schoolboys adventure into the magical surroundings of an old theatre. Amid all the backstage paraphernalia they discover a Narnia-likewardrobe and a dusty copy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. What follows is pure magic!

The exciting cast are: Reece Budin (Matilda the Musical, The Civic in Australia; Man of La Mancha, Seymour Centre; Pacific Overtunes, Theatre Works), Michael Burgen (Spamalot, Playhouse Theatre; All-Male H.M.S. Pinafore, UK Tour; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, New Vic Theatre), Richard Carson (Mamma Mia, Novello Theatre; Miss Saigon, Prince Edward Theatre; Wicked, UK and Ireland Tour), Christopher Finn (Alice’s Adventures Underground, The Vaults; Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory, Leicester Square Theatre; All-Male Iolanthe, Union Theatreand Wilton’s Music Hall), James Gulliford (Salad Days, Theatre Royal Bath; Labyrinth, Hampstead Theatre; Luna Park, Tristan Bates Theatre), Dominic Harbison (Annie Get Your Gun, Union Theatre; Sunset Boulevard, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre; Aladdin, Stratford Arts House), Joe Henry (Cats, UK/International Tour; Miracle on 34th Street, Madinat Theatre in Dubai; LIFT The Musical, whilst training), Alastair Hill (Dreamboats and Petticoats, UK Tour; Dreamboats and Miniskirts, UK Tour; The Fix, Union Theatre), Jack Hinton (Christmasaurus: Live!, Eventim Hammersmith Apollo; Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Universal Pictures), Jamie Jukes (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, UK Tour; The Rocky Horror Show, European Tour; All- Male Mikado, UK Tour), Sam Kipling (The Habit or Art, National Theatre; Archibald Craven, whilst training; Bullets Over Broadway, whilst training), Daniel Miles (All-Male Mikado, UK Tour;One Man Two Guvnors, Welsh Tour; Grease, Scandinavia), Benjamin Mundy (Annie, Piccadilly Theatre; Grease, Dubai; Cats, London Palladium), Adam Pettit (The 12 Tenors 10th Anniversary Tour, European Tour; Beauty and the Beast, Palace Theatre in Newark; Out There, Union Theatre), Richard Russell Edwards (All-Male H.M.S. Pinafore, Union Theatre; All-Male Pirates of Penzance, UK Tour; All-Male Mikado, UK Tour) and Duncan Sandilands (Carousel, Barbican;South Pacific, Kilworth House; Thursford Christmas Spectacular, Thursford).
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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Dates Announced For UK Tour of THE BODYGUARD



Producers, Michael Harrison and David Ian are delighted to announce UK tour dates for the international smash hit production of the award-winning musical THE BODYGUARD opening at Glasgow Theatre Royal on Monday 3 December 2018 where it plays until Saturday 29 December 2018 before visiting Hull New Theatre(8 – 19 January 2019), Southend Cliff’s Pavilion (22 January – 2 February 2019), Liverpool Empire (26 February - 9 March 2019), Milton Keynes Theatre (12 – 23 March 2019), Bristol Hippodrome (26 March – 6 April 2019), Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff (16 – 27 April 2019), Norwich Theatre Royal (30 April – 11 May 2019), Canterbury Marlowe Theatre (14 – 25 May 2019), Southampton Mayflower (28 May – 8 June 2019), Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (12 – 22 June 2019) and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (25 June – 6 July 2019). Tour schedule and on sale dates below with further dates and casting to be announced.

Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, THE BODYGUARD, directed by Thea Sharrock with book by Oscar winning (Birdman) Alex Dinelaris, had its world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End in 2012 and was nominated for four Olivier Awards. A sell out 18 month UK and Ireland tour followed, before the show returned to the West End at the Dominion Theatre. THE BODYGUARD has also played in the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Canada, Italy, Australia and China and can currently be seen in Stuttgart, Madrid and on tour throughout France and the United States.
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Monday, 26 February 2018

LES MISÉRABLES announces UK and Ireland Tour


After nearly a decade since the last UK tour sold out within days, Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce that his acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical “LES MISÉRABLES” will open at Curve Leicester for a season from Saturday 3 – Saturday 24 November 2018 (press night 14 November 2018 ), before playing the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin (5 December 2018 – 12 January 2019), Festival Theatre Edinburgh (22 January – 16 February 2019) and Manchester Palace Theatre (19 February – 30 March 2019). Further dates will be announced.

Cameron Mackintosh said, “Since I first conceived the new production of “Les Misérables” to celebrate the shows 25th anniversary in 2009, this production has taken the world by storm - more than matching the success of the original, which can now only be seen in London. I am thrilled that modern audiences have embraced this production as Les Mis for the 21st century and it is playing to packed houses all over the world in many languages. It also inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne.
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Sunday, 14 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Simon Bailey, currently playing Tommy De Vito in the UK tour of Jersey Boys

Simon is currently reprising the role of Tommy De Vito in the new UK tour of Jersey Boys after having previously played the role in West End Production. His other credits include Whisper House (The Other Palace), Reverend Billy Hightower in Bat Boy (Southwark Playhouse), Man in Marry Me A Little (St. James Theatre), Liam in I Can't Sing! The X-Factor Musical (London Palladium), Raoul in Phantom of the Opera (London & National Tour) and Enjolras in Les Miserables (Queens Theatre). He took the time out of rehearsals before the show kicked off its new tour to speak to us about this upcoming production of Jersey Boys. 

You’re returning to the role of Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys after playing it in the West End, now on tour. What made you want to return to this role and show?

Jersey Boys has been one of, if not my favourite show, since it opened. Tommy is such a great character to play. After the show closed in London, I didn’t feel I was done with him! I’m so grateful to be asked back.

How do you think your interpretation of the role could change this time round? 

Well, we’ve had 8 months off so it feels fresh again – I’m also with different actors this time, so I listen and respond to them differently. That’s the best part of my job.
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Friday, 12 January 2018

FAME the musical announces new new 30th Anniversary tour



Fame - The Musical is set to tour the UK in a stunning new 30th Anniversary tour opening at Manchester Palace on 20 July 2018. For full tour dates and venues visit www.fameuktour.co.uk

Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film, Fame The Musical is the international smash hit sensation following the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life. This bittersweet but uplifting triumph of a show explores the issues that confront many young people today: prejudice, identity, pride, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.

Fame the Musical has seen seven West End runs since opening in Miami in 1988 and continues to be one of the best loved musicals across the world.
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Monday, 8 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Lewis Griffiths, currently playing Nick Massi in the UK tour of Jersey Boys

Lewis is currently reprising the role of Nick Massi on the UK tour of Jersey Boys, having previously played the role on the 2014 UK tour. His other credits include Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing (UK tour), cover Carl in Ghost (UK tour), Chad/Dewey/Kyle & Cover Warner in Legally Blonde(UK tour), Frank in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Palace Theatre), cover Benny in Rent Remixed (Duke Of York Theatre) and Clarence in Whistle Down The Wind (Aldwych Theatre). He took the time out of rehearsals before the show kicked off its new tour to speak to us about this upcoming production of Jersey Boys. 



You are returning to playing Nick Massi after playing him on the last UK tour, what made you want to return? 

Call it unfinished business. Nick Massi is an enigmatic character to play, so I wanted to honour that and build on what I already knew.

After already going on tour with the show, what are you expecting from audiences this time round? 

Who knows, some regional audiences will turn out in droves, due to the success of the last tour, but you can’t take that for granted. Hopefully they will re-love Jersey Boys all over again.
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Thursday, 16 November 2017

REVIEW: Spamalot at New Victoria Theatre, Woking


"Lovingly ripped off from the hugely successful 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this spammier than ever production is a riotous comedy full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen. Join King Arthur as he travels with his hapless Knights of the Round Table on a divine mission to locate the illusive Holy Grail – with uproarious consequences."

"Spamalot was the winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best New Musical, while it enjoyed a victorious West End run. This hilarious show is written by Python legend Eric Idle."

On paper alone, Spamalot is outrageously funny and this script has been updated to be as relevant now as it was when it premiered 12 years ago. It's Python's classic style of humour and fans of the films and television shows will love it. With this production, sadly what it's missing is, well, people... 
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