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Tuesday, 25 February 2020

REVIEW: The Pirate Queen at the London Coliseum

For one night only, Tom Gribby made his producing debut and brought the magnificent The Pirate Queen to the London Coliseum to raise money for Leukaemia UK. Directed by Drew Baker, the show (book by Alan Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Richard Maltby Jr) sets the scene in 16th Century Ireland. The Pirate Queen tells the tale of feminist Grace O’Malley fighting her way to be Captain of the ship, struggling with love, loss, betrayal and being hunted down by Queen Elizabeth’s royal subjects.

With two incredible Musical Theatre stars blessing us on the stage as the two powerful women, Grace O’Malley (Come From Away’s, Rachel Tucker) and Queen Elizabeth I (Sex Education’s, Hannah Waddingham) the expectations were high. The score is stunning, Tucker’s vocals stole the show whilst she was supported by a fiercely strong cast, ensemble and the PPA, Arts Ed and Mountview choirs. As this version is more of a concert, rather than a theatrical production, the Irish dancing (choreographed by Jack Ludwig) was a welcome relief from the fighting and the ballads.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

REVIEW: Man of La Mancha at the London Coliseum

It says an awful lot when a show hasn’t been seen in London for over 50 years, which is the case with the English National Opera’s latest production, Man of La Mancha.

Michael Linnit and Michael Grade mention in their programme notes that they consider the piece to be on par with West Side Story, My Fair Ladyand the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I just don’t see it. Despite the sensational talents of the orchestra, Mitch Leigh’s score doesn’t thrill, and its famous “The Impossible Dream” fails to enthrall on both occasions; Kelsey Grammer’s Act I finale, and the full company reprise that closes the show. It should be electrifying, but something is missing.
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