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Wednesday, 10 March 2021

REVIEW: Gatsby: A Musical at Cadogan Hall

As a huge fan of ‘The Great Gatsby’ I was excited to see how ‘Gatsby: The Musical’ would adapt the book in this musical revival concert, back by popular demand from the 11th-14th March. 

The grandeur of the venue and incredible live band quickly had me feeling almost like I was in the theatre itself, excitedly waiting for the show to begin. With Gatsby (Ross William Wild) lurking on the balcony above the grand empty hall, his voice booming when he begins to speak, you can easily believe the characters are speaking from Gatsby’s long-abandoned mansion.

This adaption of the story places Daisy (Jodie Steele) at the centre, as she returns to Gatsby’s mansion 7 years later, in 1929, looking for him. In this version, Daisy is a far more sympathetic character than the one in the books, and Jodie Steele’s vulnerable performance places you firmly in her shoes as she relives the disastrous events of 1922.

Monday, 4 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Emma Williams

These recent times have been some of the hardest challenges we've faced and as a community, it hit us pretty hard. However during these difficult times, here at Pocket Size Theatre, we wanted to spread a little positivity and share some peoples experiences because we are all in this together. Each day we'll be speaking to our friends in the industry to share their experiences with you all so take a read and see how people are getting through these hard times.

Let's stick together, share the love and get through this as a community!

*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation. Please keep that in mind when reading*

Emma Williams is a four-time Olivier Award-nominated actor. Her credits include Betty Haynes in White Christmas (Leicester Curve & West Yorkshire Playhouse); Paula Pokrifki in An Officer and a Gentleman (UK Tour); Alice Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington (London Palladium); Helen Walsingham in Half A Sixpence (Chichester Festival Theatre & Noel Coward Theatre); Maureen in Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal Bath & Noel Coward Theatre); Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun (UK Tour); Melinda in The Recruiting Officer (Salisbury Theatre); Jenny in Love Story (Chichester Festival Theatre & Duchess Theatre); Luisa in Zorro (Garrick Theatre); Susan in Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre); Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Royal Festival Hall); Fran in Promises, Promises (Sheffield Crucible); Shelley in Bat Boy (Shaftsbury Theatre) and Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium). 

On Monday 16th March 2020, The Society of London Theatre announced the closure of all Theatres in London. This followed suit with regional venues. Where were you when you found out and what was your initial reaction? 

Well, I was actually in France when they began locking down there a few days before. I’d been rehearsing South Pacific with the Opera Toulon and mass gatherings were slowly being banned. First more than 5000, then 1000, 500, so we were expecting it to happen at home too. At the Saturday evening rehearsal, we turned up and were told that was it, we couldn’t continue. It was a brilliant company so whilst there was sadness we made the most of those final few hours together and rehearsed until 11pm (in case we could get the show back on at some point), whilst my husband madly packed up our digs and on the Sunday he drove all the way back home! It was kind of crazy as overnight they closed all the restaurants and caf├ęs so we were driving up the motorways just hoping to find somewhere we could buy food!

Can you tell us anything productive you’ve been doing? 

Our daughter Isabelle has just turned five months old and takes up a lot of our time and focus, so productivity hasn’t been at the forefront although I’ve offered out some one to one masterclasses and I’d love to do more of that. I’ve been asked to livestream a gig but with Izzy, I think we’d be limited to renditions of Twinkle Twinkle! On a personal front, I’m trying to use her nap times to try out new fitness workouts in the garden - it’s hilarious! I have a pint of water on the windowsill next to the iPad and the baby monitor!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

PANTOMIME REVIEW: Dick Whittington at the London Palladium

Last year Cinderella at the London Palladium raised the bar on the scale and production values invested in Christmas Pantomime in a way that few venues could compete with and set the challenge for Michael Harrison in directing this year production of Dick Whittington. 

You can literally see the time and effort invested in this year's show to make it feel bigger and better than last year with nine principles in the cast, twelve in the band and an ensemble of twenty two, all dressed in sumptuous costumes throughout by Ron Briggs with spectacular effects.

The Twins FX team create the huge special effects that are a signature of Qdos pantomimes and this show opens with a ridiculous over the top string of London buses carrying the shows title and then sets the tale in context with a giant rat voiced by last year's star Paul O'Grady. You can imagine someone challenging them to be bigger this year and suggesting flying a London double bus over the audience which they duly oblige at the end of act 1.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

FIRST LOOK: Annie Get Your Gun, UK Tour starring Emma Williams and Jason Donovan

A new production of Broadway classic Annie Get Your Gun is currently touring the UK, starring Emma Williams, Jason Donovan and Norman Pace.
Presented by Ambassador Theatre Group, the tour kicked off at Manchester Opera House on 12 May and will subsequently visit venues including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bromley, Liverpool, Glasgow and Wimbledon. 
Williams, whose West End credits include Love Story and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will play the title role of sharp-shooting country girl Annie Oakley, who falls for the chauvinistic marksman Frank Butler (Donovan) at a contest run by Buffalo Bill (Pace).

Friday, 5 July 2013

Momentous Musicals: Album Review

Momentous Musicals premiered at the Wimbledon theatre in mid 2012 and will be returning to the theatre again this month prior to a UK Tour. The show brings together the musical talent of Gareth Gates (who headlines the event), Rachael Wooding, Daniel Boys, Emma Williams and Jonathan Ansell. 
The CD starts off with the wonderful Rachael Wooding singing One Night Only, what a fantastic opening for the recording. Rachael has a lovely tone to her voice with great power behind it and she sings the song with so much umph! The moment I listened to this track I was drawn in immediately by the brilliant orchestration at the start, a similar moment happened when I listened to Mein Hier sung by Emma Williams. Rachael has an amazing energy in her voice and just by listening to the recording you can tell it would have been a brilliant opening to the show. 
After the high energy opening track we then get to hear the wonderful Daniel Boys sing Maria, such breathtaking control in his voice. It’s beautiful to listen to and you really get drawn into his vocals, even though you’re just listening to it you can really feel the emotion through the vocals. 
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