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Saturday, 24 December 2022

Pocket Size Picks: Top Shows of 2022

Theatre has been through a lot in the past few years, with the complete shutdown of the industry in 2020 we were all left with uncertainty about the industry and how it would come back. Whilst we are still feeling the effects of this, the theatrical world is back on its feet and 2022 has been a wonderful year for theatre. Pocket Size Theatre looks back at the productions we've seen this year and we have collated a list of the best 20 shows we've seen, take a look and celebrate with us all that theatre has achieved in the past year! 

The Wicker Husband at the Watermill Theatre

"This is a story with real heart and meaning. In a world ravaged by war & global warming and dominated by a superficial obsession with images & messages on social media, it is a pleasure to see a story with powerful reinforcement of natural good triumphing over evil intent and a message that what makes a person beautiful is their soul and caring attitude rather than their external appearance."

Cruise at the Apollo Theatre

"This is an important piece for the LGBTQ+ community, Holden gives the performance of a lifetime and you need to beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this. The most important play you can see this summer."

Grease at the Dominion Theatre

"This is a really great production and whilst it may not be what audiences are expecting, it's a much-needed revival that the West End needs right now to inject some life into it. An absolute mind-blowing cast and it’ll be one I will definitely be returning to!" 

Grease returns to the Dominion Theatre in 2023, running from the 2nd of June to the 28th of October. Click here for tickets from £21.00!

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

REVIEW: Grease at the Dominion Theatre

Everybody knows Grease; we all know the story, we all know the songs and we all know the film. But what you may not be familiar with is this version. This revival of Grease, in one of its old London homes, the Dominion Theatre, takes the beloved show back to its original form. The original production has been brought back to life and the piece benefits from it massively.

This production originated back at the Leicester Curve theatre and after doing a few rounds of the UK on tour, it's finally hit back into the West End, and it comes back with a bang. 

What you get out of this production is a much more fleshed out storyline with more grit and drama centred around the characters. Yes, all the loved moments and numbers are all still there but what we end up with is actually a much better production. At times the story did drag a little in Act 1 but this is me being very picky, on the whole, the show benefits from this in such a huge way. Meaning the show goes from being your classic crowd-pleaser to a proper engrossing musical with depth. 

Friday, 31 December 2021

Pocket Picks: Best Shows of 2021

Here at Pocket Size Theatre, we are lucky enough to see some wonderful shows; some entertaining, some mindblowing, some beautiful and even some life-changing. We've accumulated a list of our top-rated shows from 2021, what a year it's been! Take a look at our list and start thinking of your theatrical highlights and share them with us on Twitter! @PocketSizeBlog

A quick note, even though these are our top shows of the year, we applaud and would like to congratulate every single person involved in putting on ANY show this year. It's been another tough year for our industry and anyone who provides entertainment and live theatre is a hero. You're amazing! 

"Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography is slick and on and there are no words for how marvellous Gabriella Slade’s out of this world costumes are. The musical is aimed at a younger audience; with bright lights, confetti, glittery outfits and modern references- which makes you feel like you’re seeing a girl band live rather than sat in a history lesson. The best of both worlds! The Queens are sarcastic and feisty in their comic delivery, and SIX has that kind of self-awareness that holds onto the element of intimacy that I would imagine wowed the very first audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe 4 years ago."

"They have the perfect recipe to appeal to and entertain any member of the public. I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t smile at least once throughout a Mischief Comedy production. If you are looking to escape the challenges of reality for a few hours, then rush to buy a ticket for this show. Treat yourself to an evening of truly joyous tomfoolery and talent; I can assure you; you won’t regret this magical treat!"


Thursday, 18 November 2021

New Production of GREASE to open at the Dominion Theatre in May 2022

Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical GREASE will return to the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End, with new staging and choreography, opening on Tuesday 10 May 2022, with previews from Tuesday 3 May 2022. 

GREASE is directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips. Casting is to be announced.

Colin Ingram, lead producer said: “This is the first new production of Grease in the West End for 29 years, so we are excited to be bringing this grittier version to the Dominion Theatre. All the familiar songs from the film are included, plus some of the songs and script from the very first production which will be new to audiences. Directed by the brilliant Nikolai Foster and choreographed by the legendary Arlene Phillips, they have done an incredible job of reimagining one of the most popular musicals of all time, to make it feel fresh, entertaining and celebratory – something we all need right now.”

GREASE originally opened in Chicago in 1971, followed by a move to Broadway in 1972, where it received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical. During the show's eight-year run at the time, little known actors including Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze and John Travolta all appeared in the production, with Richard Gere understudying many roles before going on to star as Danny Zuko in the 1973 London premiere. GREASE was first performed at the Dominion Theatre in 1993 before transferring to the Cambridge Theatre in 1996. It returned to the West End, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2007. 

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.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

INTERVIEW: Dex Lee, star of Stage & Screen on how he is teaming up with his Sister, Miriam-Teak Lee, for an online Festive Concert!

Dex Lee is currently one of the stars of the BBC Soap Opera, Doctors, playing Bear Sylvester. Now being on one of the biggest soaps around at the moment, he is also a huge musical theatre star! His theatre credits include In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse & Kings Cross Theatre), The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick Theatre), Carrie (Southwark Playhouse), Seaweed in Hairspray (UK Tour), Danny in Grease (Leicester Curve), Know Moe in Five Guys Named Moe (Marble Arch Theatre), Curly in Oklahoma (Grange Park Opera) and Bill in Kiss Me, Kate (Sheffield Crucible ) to name a few! 

Alongside his Sister, Miriam-Teak Lee (Star of & Juliet, original London cast of Hamilton, On the Town), have put together a festive Christmas online stream to get us all to really start feeling all those festive feels! 'Simplee Christmas' is being streamed through the 25th December. Click here to check it out and buy tickets!

You are currently in the BBC Soap opera, Doctors, after having a very successful career in Musical Theatre what made you want to make the transition to TV? 

Yes, I am and loving every minute of it so far! So, musical theatre is my biggest love that’s for sure, but I wanted to take a break, too much of a good thing can stop you enjoying it so much. I wanted to take a break and I wanted to learn a new set of skills. I want a chance to get to do a bit of everything in my career and so I thought this was the perfect time to attempt to take that step.

We hear a lot about the struggles Musical Theatre performers face when transitioning into other media, did you experience any prejudice because of your career background? 

I can’t say that I experienced prejudice in my transition due to my musical theatre background, but what I can say is that my musical theatre background had me approaching TV/film scripts in the wrong way. On a stage you have to project, express, be bold with choices, be a character. On-screen, the camera is the only audience member, expressing yourself more subtly and through the eyes is key, it's better to become the version of yourself that’s closest to your interpretation of the character.

The fundamentals of being a truth-speaking storyteller remains the same but the execution is different which I’d learned through many audition mishaps!

Thursday, 10 October 2019

REVIEW: Grease at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Grease. A word that has many meanings but always makes you instantly think of the 1971 hit musical before anything else. It is arguably one of the most famous musicals to date and is regularly performed all around the world to sold out venues and no specific target audience. 

Grease; The Musical is currently being staged at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley until Saturday October 12th. However, it’s a slightly fresh take on the classic and being honest - it’s about time! 

I was immediately taken aback by the size of the stage at this side street theatrein Bromley. The stage is absolutely massive and luckily, thanks to scenic designer Colin Richmond, does not swallow the set and the production. In fact - quite the opposite. The, rather large, set consists of the obligatory set of bleachers, school gym apparatus and an elevated recording studio for Vince Fontatine amongst other pieces that move around to create different environments. The set also includes the most famous car in the world - Greased Lightning! 

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

INTERVIEW: Louis Gaunt, currently starring in the new UK tour of Grease the Musical

Louis Gaunt is current playing the role of Kenickie in the new touring production of Grease the Musical. His other credits include Manfred in Sweet Charity at the Nottingham Playhouse, Standing At The Sky's Edge at the Sheffield Crucible and playing Will Parker in Oklahoma! at the Grange Park Opera which he won the 2018 The Stage Debut Award for Best Actor In A Musical. We caught up with Louis whilst in rehearsals for Grease before he heads out on tour. 

Tell us what we can look forward to in this new production of Grease. 

Audiences can look forward to a vibrant & youthful performance of a production that pays homage to the truth of the subjects and matters tackled in Grease and the 1950s era. 

What is it like to be part of a brand new production of Grease, the first of its kind to tour the UK?

Very privileged to be part of such a magical piece of theatre, that audiences from all over the UK will be able to see a little bit of themselves in the show. 

Grease is obviously one of the most well known musicals in the world, but tell us a bit about your exposure with the show prior to getting cast in it. 

I had only ever seen the film version of Grease the Musical, so when I was able to get my hands on the script for this production, my mind was opened entirely to what Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey we’re portraying. There are so many finer details in the musical that are kind of washed over in the film. 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

INTERVIEW: Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky, currently starring in the new UK tour of Grease the Musical

Rhianna-Louise McCaulsky is currently playing the role of Rizzo in the new touring production of Grease the Musical. Her other credits include ensemble & cover Zahara in Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre and ensemble & cover Nabalungi in The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. We caught up with Rhianne-Louise whilst in rehearsals for Grease before she heads out on tour. 

Tell us what we can look forward to in this new production of Grease. 

We’ve got some cool new songs which haven’t been used since the original production, we’ve gone back to the original script and really tried to focus on the truth of the characters. They are working class teenagers growing up in 1950s Chicago and the creative team have really tried to concentrate on that. 

What is it like to be part of a brand new production of Grease, the first of its kind to tour the UK? 

I am so excited about this new production. It’s so nice to be a part of something that we have had the opportunity to mould ourselves. It’s been a very hands on collaborative rehearsal process. I still have to pinch myself sometimes. 

Grease is obviously one of the most well known musicals in the world, but tell us a bit about your exposure with the show prior to getting cast in it. 

My family practically raised me on Grease. That’s why it was so funny that I got the part of Rizzo, because I have been watching it since I can remember. I used to sing ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’ at every opportunity.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Full casting announced for UK tour of GREASE

The producers of the 2019 UK and Ireland tour and first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical GREASE are delighted to announce that Dan Partridge, Martha Kirby, Louis Gaunt and Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky will star as Danny, Sandy, Kenickie and Rizzo respectively. They join the previously announced Peter Andre playing Teen Angel at most performances.

Dan Partridge most recently played Rum Tum Tugger in Cats (International Tour), Link in Hairspray (UK Tour) and Pepper in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre). Martha Kirby will be graduating for the Guildford School of Acting this summer, 2019, and makes her professional debut as Sandy. Louis Gaunt recently played Will Parker in Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera), for which he won the 2018 The Stage Debut Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and Manfred in Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse). Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky most recently appeared in Bat Out of Hell – The Musical (Dominion Theatre). Prior to that, she appeared in The Book of Mormon (Prince Of Wales Theatre).

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

12 production shots that describe the struggles of being in a Musical

When you get a whiff of your costume and clearly it hasn't been dry cleaned in weeks.

2016 Revival of Half A Sixpence 

When you catch a glimpse of a really fit audience member. 

2017 UK tour of Grease the Musical 

When its a double show day and your legs just say no. 

2012 production of Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Full casting announced for GREASE the musical on tour around the UK

Grease is the word! Full casting is announced for the hit 70s musical.

Casting for the tour includes Tom Parker (The Wanted) who makes his musical theatre debut playing Danny Zuko,Danielle Hope (Over the Rainbow winner) who plays Sandy and Louisa Lytton (Strictly Come DancingEastEnders) who plays Rizzo.

Completing the cast are Tom Senior as Kenickie, Michael Cortez as Sonny, Oliver Jacobson as Roger, Ryan Heenan as Doody, Callum Evans as Eugene, Lauren Atkins as Marty, Rosanna Harris as Jan, Rhiannon Chesterman as Frenchy, Gabriella Williams as Patty and Ailsa Davidson as Lynch. The ensemble includes Charlotte Coggin, Anthony Hughes, Alessia McDermott, Natasha Mould, Anna Murray, George Olney, Rory Phelan and Grant Thresh.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

REVIEW: Grease Live!

Increasingly in the USA, networks are broadcasting live musicals. They seem to be bringing in generally good reviews and ratings boosts, however, last night’s ‘Grease: Live’ took everything to a whole new level.

Simply put, the show was electrifying; an absolute knockout.

The shining star of the evening was Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo who utterly embodied the mantra ‘the show must go on’. Hudgens tweeted on the morning of the performance that her father, Greg Hudgens, had died as a result of stage 4 cancer. With absolute professionalism and total fearlessness, she stole the show in dedication to her late father. Her version of ‘There are worse things I could do’ was spine-tingling and poignant. She offered a real layer of vulnerability to the otherwise outspoken and brazen Rizzo with enough conviction to make even the coldest heart warm.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Ashleigh Gray | Interview

Graduating from Guildford School of Acting in 2003, Ashleigh made her professional debut as Kim in the UK national Tour of Taboo before making her West End debut in the London Company of WICKED at at the Apollo Victoria Theatre where she was in the ensemble and understudied Elphaba. She was soon promoted to Stand-By Elphaba the year after joining the company, she left in 2010. Her other credits include Notes from New York, Kirsty in Only You Can Save Mankind, NHS the Musical, Miss Lynch and cover Rizzo and Jan in Grease, Emily in Myths and Hymns, Simply the Music of Scott Alan, Maid Marion in Robin Hood, The Songs of Bobby Cronin, Unwritten Songs; The songs of Michael Bruce, First Things Last; The Music of Lance Horne, Miranda in Betwixt!, Diva’s Sing Scott Alan, Wicked Witch in Mother Goose, Amanda in After The Turn, Lorraine Campbell in I Dreamed a Dream, Fairy Firefly in Jack and the Beanstalk, West End Men and Supporting Susan Boyle in concert. She can also be heard on The Journey Home by Mark Evans, Surrounded By The Sounds by Tim Prottey Jones, Acoustic Overtures; The songs of Dougal Irvine, Stand Tall; A New Rock Musical, Unwritten songs; The Songs of Michael Bruce, Christmas in New York and Sentimental Heart by Oliver Tompsett. She will be featured in Momentous Musicals alongside Gareth Gates, Rachael Wooding and John Owen-Jones which starts its short UK Tour from the 17th July. 

How did you get into performing arts?

I always loved singing as a child. As far back as I can remember there's always been music around me and even though no one else in my family sang or played, I found myself singing along and creating little dance routines to songs at any given chance. So I guess I was always destined to grow up to be a performer. My family were, and continue to be, very support of my love of music and performance so they willingly allowed me to join the local amateur dramatic group and also encouraged me to follow my dreams and go to drama school. The rest, as they say, is history.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt | Interview

Victoria trained at Central School of Ballet and Urdang Academy of Performing Arts, when she graduated she was cast in the UK Tour of Oh What a Night! In the role of Cat and then moving with the production to Germany. Her other credits include Stephanie Mungano in Saturday Night Fever (UK tour), Connie in the Saturday Night Fever (Scandinavian tour), Carmen Diaz in Fame (Aldwych), Anita in West Side Story (international tour) Maria and understudy Susan in Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello), Alex in Flashdance (UK Tour and West End), Rizzo in Grease (West End), Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy (Leicester Curve) and has appeared in Bohemian Rhapsody (international tour). She is currently playing Diana in the London Revival of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions…

Your family has a musical background, how influential was that for you growing up?
Very much so in the sense I was always being entertained by my uncles who always made a racket with pots and pans and anything else they could find around the house! They are both musicians who played in bands The Clash for a brief time before the band got super famous and other bands that would play the north west London scene of Kensal rise and Camden. They are a talented drummer and bass player and pots and pans terrorists! My dad sang the soho night life were he did his Billy Fury and Elvis numbers! 

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