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Friday, 30 September 2022

INTERVIEW: Jordan Shaw, currently playing Enjolras in the West End production of Les Misérables

Jordan is currently playing the iconic role of Enjolras in the West End production of Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre, recently its been announced he will be staying on with the show in the upcoming cast change. 
Jordan has appeared in many productions throughout his career, including playing Simba in The Lion King (International Tour); Worker in Hadestown (National Theatre); John Bucchino's It's Only Life (Union Theatre); Kevin in the London revival of Follies (National Theatre); Michael in Tick, Tick... Boom! (Park Theatre); Stevie Wonder and understudied/played Marvin Gaye in the Original London cast of Motown the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre); Pouncival in Cats (London Palladium and Blackpool Opera House); the West End revival of Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre) and u/s Charlie, Olen, Andy, Clarence and Dance Captain in The Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic) directed by Susan

Fresh from appearing in one of the world's most loved musicals, Jordan finds some time to chat to us about his career and being part of the world's longest-running musical. 

You’re currently playing the role of Enjolras in the West End production of Les Miserables. How does it feel to be playing such an iconic role and to be flying that red flag every night?

It’s an absolute honour to be a part of Les Miserables. The show has been running for 36 years and there have been so many incredible actors that have been a part of this show, so for me to be playing the role of Enjolras and waving the flag, I never take it for granted. I truly believe this is a masterpiece of a show and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

COMING HOME: Holly-Anne Hull, in Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre and soon to be playing Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's 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! 

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical theatre staple in the theatre industry, with a run of almost 35 years in the West End and over 33 years on Broadway, the show has certainly made its mark as a legendary piece of theatre and a must-see for everyone around the world. The lead roles have become iconic with huge stars across the globe snapping up the chance to play them. Christine Daaé is probably one of the most famous musical theatre soprano roles in history; with stars such as Sarah Brightman and Sierra Boggess having the role on their CV (amongst so many other fantastic actresses). The next to follow in their footsteps is Holly-Anne Hull. 

The West End production of The Phantom of the Opera has recently announced that Lucy St Louis will be playing the role of Christine when it reopens on the 27th July 2021, a huge mark in the history timeline for the show as she will be the first black actress to play the role. An important step forward for diversity and inclusion in our industry. Following her short run on the UK touring production, Holly-Anne will move her way over to Her Majesty's Theatre as the alternate Christine alongside Lucy. 

Monday, 17 May 2021

COMING HOME: Kelly Agbowu, soon to go back to Les Misérables at the Sondheim 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!

A visit to the Sondheim Theatre with the incredibly talented and infectiously smiley Kelly Agbowu was just what we needed on this busy Saturday in London. Having joined the cast of Les Miserables in 2019 fresh from her run in the West End premiere of Waitress, she is one of the few people to say she has appeared in the full production at the Sondheim and in the concert version! Whilst she appears in the ensemble of the show, she also covers Madame Thenardier. Having only performed the role for one day, she can’t wait to get back and give the character another stab. 

Before being a part of Les Miserables, Kelly played Nurse Norma and was covering the role of Becky in the original West End production of Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre. Prior to that she had also appeared in The Wizard of Oz at the Birmingham Rep, in the West End production of The Book of Mormon, on the international tour of The Lion King and RENT at the Greenwich Theatre. 

Thursday, 31 December 2020

10 Most Popular Reviews of 2020

What a difficult year for us theatre people, ey? I shan't go into the details of how hard its been for all of us, I think that's pretty clear! But we did manage to get to see SOME theatre, both in-person and online! Here at Pocket Size Theatre, we pulled together our 10 most popular reviews from this past year! Take a look and remember some of the productions that have happened this year, we've had a great time looking back! 

"The score is stunning, Tucker’s vocals stole the show whilst she was supported by a fiercely strong cast... Julian Kelly directed the 11-part orchestra to an exceptional standard, deservingly taking centre stage throughout the performance. Every element of the production was of the highest quality, pulling out all the stops to create an outstanding piece of theatre."

Thursday, 5 November 2020

REVIEW: Les Miserables: The Staged Concert, CD & DVD

In a time when COVID-19 didn’t exist, and we had no idea of the chaos coming our way, the West End was host to the behemoth concert version of the world’s longest running musical, Les Miserables. Whilst the Queen’s (now Sondheim) underwent a huge renovation, Les Mis popped next door to the Gielgud for it’s sell-out 16 week run, with Cameron Mackintosh assembling the crème de la crème of the show’s alumni.

This semi-staged production features a company of over 65, with cast and orchestra sitting on a huge barricade-like structure. At the top of the show, the lighting rigs are floating just above the stage, to then unfold throughout the overture. The combination of lighting, design and automation deliver constant drama, and it really is thrilling to watch.

Alfie Boe returns to the role of Valjean following performances in the West End and Broadway productions. Whilst his classical voice is undeniably impressive, it doesn’t thrill in the same way as that of his musical theatre colleagues. It’s a crying shame that John Owen-Jones is overlooked in this release, especially as he played Valjean for almost fifty percent of performances at the Gielgud due to Boe’s frequent illness. Jones appears on the 2010 cast album, but in this mammoth production and setting, bonus tracks of Valjean’s Soliloquy, Who Am I?, Bring Him Home and One Day More would be most welcome.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

15 Production Shots that describe the struggles of a Lockdown

With all this spare time we now have we have decided to bring back our most popular article to date but this time, with a twist. So here it is: 15 Production Shots that describe the struggles of being in a Lockdown! (P.S. before you all come for me, I know this isn't an official lockdown. It's just catchier than Quarantine. Ok thanks.) Enjoy! 

View Part 1 and Part 2 of the Production Pictures articles!

When your partner tries to make you go to the supermarket for supplies but you're too scared. 

Alistair Brammer and Laura Pick in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre 
When the supermarket is out of bread. AGAIN. 

Jon Robyns in Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre

Monday, 30 December 2019

Best Understudy and Cover Stories of 2019

Standbys, understudies, alternates and swings are integral to the running of a show. They save the day on a daily bases all around the country in all kinds of shows. In a time where some shows champion their covers on social media and in the actual theatres, some shows still restrict the cast members on the publication of dates and information about their cover dates. But to prove how incredible they actually are, we looked back at the past year with our friends at @WestEndCovers and put together a list of the Best Understudy and Cover stories of 2019!  

"This year the recognition for standbys and alternates has been greater than any before. Some newer shows with smaller casts like Six, Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen rely on their standbys (who do not perform unless on for one of their cover roles) and alternates (who weekly scheduled shows as their cover) rather than the more common understudy and swing model for shows with a larger ensemble. The difference is that understudies may be a member of the ensemble or a swing who steps up to cover a principle role and a swing steps in to cover ensemble tracks." - @WestEndCovers 

And we must mention but our beloved West End Understudies account are in their 5th Year in 2020!  Here's to the next 5 years of celebrating our fantastic covers all across the theatre industry! 

Take a look at some of these extrodinary stories and tweet us any you think we missed out! @PocketSizeBlog

Monday, 14 October 2019

INTERVIEW: Emma Kingston, about to star in London Musical Theatre Orchestra's A Night At The Musicals

Emma Kingston has just finished playing the title role in the international touring production of Evita, under the direction of original director Hal Prince. She is also about to star in A Night at the Musicals on tour starting with the Royal and Derngate in Northampton on 22nd October. Her other credits include Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre); Naomi in 21 Chump Street (Tristan Bates Theatre); Vanessa in In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse); Clara in The Light in the Piazza (Bernie Grant Arts Centre); Ensemble/cover Éponine in Les Misérables (Queens Theatre); Diva 1 in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Miss Lynch/cover Jan in Grease (UK tours); Honeymoon in Vegas (London Palladium) and Something Wonderful (Royal Festival Hall).

You’re appearing in A Night at the Musicals with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra on tour very soon, tell us a bit about how this opportunity came about for you. 

I have had some amazing opportunities to work with LMTO previously. It all started around 3 years ago when I went to my first LMTO Playthrough, now called “SITZ” . Since then Freddie and I have worked a lot together, one thing being my solo cabaret at Zedels, he was my MD. So when he asked if I was available for this concert, I jumped at the chance.

Tell us a bit about this upcoming show, A Night at the Musicals. 

It’s going to be a musical extravaganza. All your favourite contemporary musical pieces in one show with a 30 piece orchestra.

What kind of songs can we expect you to sing at London Musical Theatre Orchestras A Night at the Musicals? 

You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out! 

Saturday, 12 October 2019

INTERVIEW: Luke McCall, about to star in London Musical Theatre Orchestra's A Night At The Musicals

Luke McCall is about to star with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, in A Night at the Musicals on tour starting with the Royal and Derngate in Northampton on 22nd October. He is the youngest person ever to play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. He made his West End debut in Les Mis before heading over to Phantom and has since appeared in Man of La Mancha at London Coliseum, followed by the UK and International Tour of Titanic – The Musical. 

You’re appearing in A Night at the Musicals with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra on tour very soon, tell us a bit about how this opportunity came about for you. 

I have worked with LMTO a couple of times singing in their SITZ which is a full score sing through of a musical. 

Tell us a bit about this upcoming show, A Night at the Musicals. 

The show is going to be extremely fun and I know the audience are in for a treat with some incredible talent coming along and a brilliant orchestra playing musicals that everyone knows and love, what more could you want!

Sunday, 6 October 2019

10 Long running shows that didn't win Best Musical at the Oliviers


The original production of Chicago in 1979 lost out on the Best Musical Award to Songbook. However the revival did win Best Musical revival in 1998. The original production ran for 600 performances at the Cambridge Theatre. The show was also nominated in two other categories at the 1979 Olivier Awards; Antonia Ellis (Roxie) for Best Actress in a Musical and Ben Cross (Billy Flynn) for Best Actor in a Musical. However The Awards went to Virginia McKenna (The King and I and Anton Rodgers (Songbook).

Starlight Express

This long running show at the Victoria Apollo ran for 7,409 performances over 18 years. The show is currently the ninth longest running West End show in History and remains the Apollo Victoria Theatres longest running show. The musical lost out on the Best Musical Award to 42nd Street in 1984. Lon Satton, who played Poppa in the original London production, was also nominated for Best Actor in a Musical but the award went to Paul Clarkson for The Hired Man.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

20 Production shots that describe the struggles of being in a Musical | Part 2

Following our overwhelming response to our article last year, we have decided to bring this back! Production Pictures that describe the struggles of being in a musical smashed all of our records last year and we had such fun creating it, so here's another one! We hope you all like it as much as last year and enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Please note, this article is merely light-hearted entertainment. We respect and adore all the performers and shows involved in this and hope that it is viewed in the same way. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Hardest Male roles in Musical Theatre

Being a musical theatre performer is not easy in the slightest; from the auditions to get the job in the first place, to the constant rehearsals and finally recreating an incredible performance for a paying audience night after night. This is even before you look at some of the challenges some roles might have within them; either emotionally, physically or vocally. Here at Pocket we have teamed up with our friends at and put together a list of characters we think are among some of the hardest. And don't just take our word for it; we've had help from some of our performer friends who have played the roles to give you an insight into what it was like from their perspective. 

There are so many more that could be on this list so if we've missed any, tweet us what you think should be on it! @PocketSizeBlog

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.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

10 Most Iconic Mothers in Musical Theatre | Mothers Day Special

Mamma Rose in Gypsy 

Donna in Mamma Mia 

Diana in Next to Normal 


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.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Oliver Savile, about to star in Stephen Sondheim's Company

Oliver is currently in rehearsals for Company at the Aberdeen Arts Centre, where he is playing the role of Bobby. His other credits include Fiyero in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre), understudy Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s), Rum Tum Tugger in Cats (No 1 UK tour), Fueilly and understudy Enjolras in Les Misérables (Queen’s), Peter Tork in Monkee Business (UK tour), understudy Sky in Mamma Mia! (international tour) and Simeon and understudy Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK tour). He took some time out of rehearsals to chat to us about this upcoming production. 

How do you feel about spending some time up in Scotland? 

I love Scotland! Last time I was up there was Cats about 5 years ago so I’m really looking forward to being back.

Do you have other Sondheim roles you like to tackle in the future? 
To be honest Bobby is the one I’ve always wanted to play but I didn’t think I’d get a go at it this early in my career. 

You’ve done all the big shows; Wicked, Mamma Mia, Phantom, Les Miserables, Cats (to name only a few…) but which job has been the most special to you so far? 
Wicked will always hold a very special part of my heart but I have honestly loved every single one for many different reasons!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Bradley Jaden, currently playing Fiyero in WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Bradley is currently playing Fiyero in the London production of WICKED after having played the role in the international tour of the show earlier this year. His other credits include ‘Enjolras’ in Les Misérables (Queen’s and 30th Anniversary cast), ‘Freddie’ in My Fair Lady 60th Anniversary Celebration (St Paul’s Actors Church), Ghost the Musical (No 1 UK Tour) and Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). He took time out his busy 8 show week schedule and health regime to give us an insight to his life in the smash hit musical. 

You’ve transferred into the London production of Wicked after playing Fiyero in the UK and International tour. What happened when you got the offer to come into town with the show? 

It was a bit of a dream really because when I agreed to do the international tour it wasn’t finishing until January 2018 so to have the opportunity to audition for the town production was out of mind and wasn’t even on my radar, and Oliver Saville was doing such a wonderful job, I don’t think they wanted to lose him so I didn’t even think it was on the cards! So, when I found out there was a chance I could audition for it, of course I wanted to jump on it. 

So you had to go back through the audition process again?

Of course, anything can happen over a year: you can become lazy and complacent and the creative team didn’t want that to then transpire from tour to town and they want to make sure they’re getting the best and if there’s someone else out there that can do it much better than you, I don’t think just because you’ve played the role somewhere doesn’t mean it’s a given you can play it somewhere else. 

Looking back on your time in the show, how has you Fiyero changed? 

I think it changes every night, I’m so pleased I get to work with some incredible actors in the ensemble and the two witches. The girls I had on tour were absolutely incredible but different to the ones who are equally incredible in town. The character relationships have changed and even little things like the set, because it was a touring set, so slightly different little actions and movements can make such an impact on a scene so it has completely changed. I think I’ve got a little more confident in the old dance moves, 'Dancing Through Life' still to this day scares the life out of me. Hopefully we're trying every night to change it and not keep it stale but it definitely has developed from our opening night in Bradford. 

Monday, 22 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Alice Fearn, currently starring as Elphaba in WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Alice is currently playing the lead role of Elphaba in the London production of WICKED, after having previously been the standby for the role. The Woman in White (Palace), Les Misérables (Queen’s), Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic); ‘Rapunzel’ in Into the Woods (Regent’s Park), ‘Gingy’ in Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), ‘Renee’ in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy) and ‘Nancy’ in Oliver! (Watermill Theatre, Newbury). She took time out of her greenifying to have a little chat with us.

You were previously the Standby for Elphaba in the London production of Wicked, when did you find out you’d be taking over as the lead?

Well I’d been auditioning for quite a few years for the show, when I’d be able or free to do so I’d be auditioning for it. Weirdly actually, this last time I auditioned, when I got the standby, I said that was my last time I was doing it. I think that might have been my fifth time auditioning, I remember calling my mum and saying “this is the la
st time now, I can’t be put through the wringer if I’m not going to get this.” I thought this was my last time and if I get it great, if I don’t then I can move on. And thankfully I got it, then obviously a year later I got the upgrade to play the lead full time. I think I was in the kitchen with my fiancée, Gavin, who was cooking lunch and my agent called me and I knew it would be about this because I’d auditioned to play the lead again so when I was the standby I had to go back and do all the stuff again so I knew I was waiting for a phone call with a yes or a no. My agent had me on loud speaker so I did think it was something quite important because the whole office could hear, and he said I got the job and I was so shocked and surprised I think I threw the phone across the room towards Gavin and he was saying “What?! What?!” and I just said they’ve given me the part. And immediately we got a bottle of champagne out of the fridge and started pouring it because it was something I wanted for so long. So, it was a pretty good day that day!

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.

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
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