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Sunday, 22 May 2022

REVIEW: My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum

The long-awaited return of Lerner & Loewe’s ageless musical My Fair Lady has finally returned to the UK. For the first time in two decades, this timeless show has graced London with its splendour and with “a little bit of luck” will signify the return of more golden age musicals to the West End. 

First, we must appreciate the theatre itself. The London Coliseum is the perfect venue for such a nostalgic and grand show, the entire theatre dripping in opulence as soon as you enter the auditorium. The Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of My Fair Lady is one of only a few that could fill such a majestic space with its impressiveness. 

Based on George Bernard Shaw’s classic play Pygmalion, the story follows Henry Higgins, a brilliant yet unfeeling professor of phonetics, who accepts the challenge of taking working-class flower girl Eliza Doolittle and refining her into an upper-class lady fit for royalty. After a rocky start with tumultuous tempers between the two, Eliza makes a breakthrough in her phonetics training and her relationship with Higgins. The two finally see eye to eye. 

Saturday, 14 August 2021

REVIEW: Hairspray at the London Coliseum

Hairspray rang for over 1000 performances in its original West End run from 2007 to 2010 winning 11 Olivier Nominations with Michael Ball playing the role at the opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre. With the Black Lives Matters campaign getting so much recent publicity it is a timely reminder of how things were in the USA in the early sixties with this heart-warming revival at the Coliseum in London with Michael Ball reprising his role as Edna Turnblad, a role he clearly loves.  

The musical written by O’Donnell, Meehan, Shaiman and Wittman has an upbeat message of hope and accepting who you are. This revival is true to the original Broadway production with the same creative team of Director Jack O’Brien, choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and Set Designer David Rockwell. If anything, it looks a little small on the gigantic Coliseum stage with a large false proscenium to reduce the stage opening but the energetic performances and strong vocals are big enough to feel the beautiful cavernous Frank Matcham designed auditorium and delight the full house of two thousand seats. It was a bold decision by the Producers to hire this venue but the combination of Michael Ball’s popularity, the strong familiar score and a desire for a post-pandemic theatrical lift is filling the venue and delighting the audience. 

Monday, 31 May 2021

COMING HOME: Kody Mortimer, soon to be in the revival of Hairspray at the London Coliseum

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! 

Due to make his West End debut back in April 2020, Kody Mortimer was meant to be appearing in the London revival of Hairspray. But with the closures of theatres back in March, he didn’t make it to the stage of the London Coliseum and make his West End debut, however, he still will! 

Hairspray is due to open at the London Coliseum on the 21st June 2021, meaning Kody will finally make his West End debut in this fabulous show. Kody will be playing the role of Thad and appearing in the ensemble. A recent graduate from the Royal Academy of Music, he was in the new production of Gypsy at the Manchester Exchange and over lockdown was a part of the original concept album for the new musical, Black Widows. Kody tells us what it was like to work on his first original piece of work Black Widows: “it was great fun, I learnt new material no one had ever done before and got to record and it just felt amazing!” 

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.

Friday, 28 June 2019

REVIEW: On Your Feet at the London Coliseum

On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan is in London for a limited season at one of the most beautiful venues - The London Coliseum. 

For those who grew up listening to Gloria Estefan music - this is absolutely the show for you to see. I’m sure tourists would love the show too but it’s certainly not for everybody. Bursting with energetic dance routines from Sergio Trujillo and an impressive lighting design by Kenneth Posner, the show certainly is visually stunning. The ensemble dancers give it 110% from beginning to end but don’t even break a sweat; a testament to the obvious hard work and dedication they have put into their craft. 

Leading the cast as Gloria Estefan was Christie Prades and George Ioannides as Emilio. Prades gave an energetic, honest and innocent performance as Gloria and this was complimented by the smooth performance given by Ionnides. From the moment Ionnides entered in those white shorts - I think he had everyone on side. Whilst slightly pitchy in parts, his characterisation made up for it. 

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.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

REVIEW: Swan Lake at the London Coliseum

Swan Lake is probably the best known ballet in the world. Tchaikovsky’s most famous work tells the story of a cursed princess named Odette (the white swan) who lives in captivity under the watchful eye of the evil Rothbart. She falls in love with the handsome Prince Siegfried who seeks to save her. He swears a vow of love to Odette but when he celebrates his 21st birthday, Rothbart brings his sister, Odile (the black swan) in disguise so Siegfried believes she is Odette. He proclaims his love to her before Odile is revealed as her true self and the Prince is left heartbroken and confused by his mistake. Odette hears of this and resounds herself to life as a swan without her Prince. Will true love conquer all or will Odette remain a feathered prisoner forever?

The roles of Odette and Odile are famously played by the same dancer - a tremendous ask of physical agility and ability from the ballerina. Irina Kolesnikova is the Prima Ballerina for St Petersburg Ballet Theatre and leads this production in these roles. You will not find a more exquisite and expressive dancer anywhere. Every fibre of her body tells the story - her contorted arms and sensational flexibility allow her to truly become a swan and demonstrate all Odette’s story with breathtaking beauty. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

London Coliseum to host THE NIGHT OF ELECTRIC VOICES starring Adam Pascal, Kerry Ellis & David Michael Johnson

On Sunday March 1, 2015, some stellar performers from London and New York, together with the soloists of the City of London Philharmonic and the West End Chorus, will present a sensational night of musical theatre.  Since 1999 The Night of 1000 Voices has delighted capacity audiences whilst supporting various charities.  In 2015, The Night of Electric Voices will be a celebration of rock musicals and will move for the first time to London’s largest theatre, the London Coliseum, by Trafalgar Square.

Apart from the other international guests who will be announced in January 2015, the stars for this unique evening will include the perennial favourites Adam Pascal (Broadway’s RENT and Memphis); Kerry Ellis (Wicked and Oliver!), and David Michael Johnson (We Will Rock You in Germany).  This spectacular concert will again be introduced by one of the fathers of the rock musical, Sir Tim Rice.
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