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Thursday, 27 June 2019

REVIEW: Little Miss Sunshine at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Little Miss Sunshine is brought to us by the book writer of “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Into The Woods” and the composer and lyricist of “Falsettos” – both of which are due to have massive box office success when they return to London in the next 12 months. This Tony Award winning team of James Lapine and William Finn bring us ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ a “new musical comedy” as it embarks on a UK Tour. Sadly, this production doesn’t hold a candle to any of their previous work.

“The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile in to their rickety yellow camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they? This uplifting, modern classic celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences.”

The 2006 Academy Award winning film “Little Miss Sunshine” is a knock-out. It’s heart-breaking, yet hilarious and life affirming all at once. It’s a masterclass of film-making and one of my absolute favourites. The stage adaptation I saw was none of these things – just layer upon layer of disappointment. Somehow, this production manages to fall flat on all counts. The music is instantly forgettable with no catchy tunes whatsoever (as much as I was hoping for one), the dialogue is clunky and does not for one moment lend itself to any form of authentic family conversation whatsoever – it’s all overly stylised and unnatural. The choreography left me wanting: it was a poor use of the space with no major set changes, just some bright white side-of-stage lighting and coloured spotlights to change things up every 10 minutes or so, accompanied by lots of running round in circles and an excessively used smoke machine.

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.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Lucy O'Byrne and Mark Moraghan to join UK tour of Little Miss Sunshine

Lucy O’Byrne and Mark Moraghan are to join the cast of the quirky off-Broadway hit musical Little Miss Sunshine for its UK tour which begins at Churchill Theatre, Bromley on 16 May 2019. 

Irish actress and singer Lucy O’Byrne will star as Sheryl, the matriarch of the eccentric Hoover family. Lucy shot to fame on The Voice (BBC) in 2015 and was the runner-up that year. Her theatre credits include Eva Peron in Evita (UK, Ireland & Germany Tour), Fantine in Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre – West End), Maria in The Sound of Music (UK and Ireland Tour), River Woman in Therese Raquin (Park Theatre) and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof (Gaiety Theatre-Dublin). She has appeared on Friday Night is Music Night-Live from the London Palladium (BBC Radio 2), BBC Proms in the Park (BBC) and as Sam & Jessica in Ballybraddan (RTÉ/Monster Animation). Lucy appears on The Sound of Music(EP), NOW That’s What I Call Classical and Therese Raquin (Original Cast Recording) Her album ‘Debut’ is available now.
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