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Sunday, 22 January 2023

REVIEW: Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium

The London Palladium has been the undisputed home of quality variety for many decades and since 2016 has been the home of the biggest pantomime, not only in London but in England with more stars, bigger ensembles, grander sets, and special effects and has built an adoring fan base who know what to expect from Julian Clary and his returning band of co-stars. They know what works and sells the tickets even at the huge prices of £160 for the best stall seat. The confidence the team now have in the formula enabled them to take the bold decision to remove around forty of the premium stalls seats to accommodate the base of the beanstalk that grows up into the auditorium roof to end Act 1, enough lost Gross Box Office to fund most other regional pantomimes! It makes for an impressive if rather telegraphed Act 1 finale but does not reach the stunning spectacle of the upside-down motorbike or double-decker bus flying over the audience in other shows.

The production honours the traditions of Music Hall variety and Musical Theatre concerts that have graced the stage before and as Clary gleefully acknowledges the plot rarely gets in the way of the next turn. Each star is given their moment to deliver their turn alone or in partnership with a CoStar and many of the best-loved routines are included from previous shows and especially from Matt Slack’s Birmingham Hippodrome productions and other Crossroads shows of the last few years. The lip sync routine, the trunk of truth, the tongue twister, If I were not upon the stage, the dance-off, “Who’s at first base”, and even young Nicholas in the songsheet all get included and are well executed but crisper fresher versions have been done in prior years. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Nicole Scherzinger to play Grizabella in CATS at the London Palladium

Nicole Scherzinger will be making her West End stage debut as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats.  Returning to the West End for a strictly limited run at the London Palladium from 6 December 2014, press night will be on 11 December at 7pm.  Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,  the original creative team - Director Trevor Nunn, Associate Director and Choreographer Gillian Lynne, Designer John Napier and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber - are reunited to bring  Cats back to the West End this Christmas.   Final casting will be announced shortly.

On joining the West End production of CatsNicole Scherzinger said:   “I am really thrilled to be making my West End debut in such an iconic show and I couldn’t be more excited.  To have the opportunity to work with Andrew, Trevor and Gillian is a dream come true.  I grew up listening to Andrew’s extraordinary music and was lucky enough, a couple of years ago, to record Cats’ beautiful song Memory.   Andrew’s score is breathtaking and I am truly honoured to have been asked to take part in what I know will be a very special time in my career.  I can’t wait to begin rehearsals.”  

Friday, 27 June 2014

CATS will play a limited run at the London Palladium

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats is to return to the West End following a 12-year absence, with a run from December at the London Palladium.

Cats is directed by Trevor Nunn, with Gillian Lynne as associate director and choreographer. It has designs by John Napier.

For this production, Chrissie Cartwright, long-term associate director of Cats, will work with Nunn and Lynne to re-direct the show for the Palladium. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber will write additional songs for Rum Tum Tugger and Growl Tiger for the production, and he has assembled many of the original creative team including Sir Trevor Nunnwho directs, with associate direction and choreography from Dame Gillian Lynne and set design by John Napier.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

I CAN'T SING announces closure, final performance 10 May 2014

Stage Entertainment and Syco Entertainment, the producers of I Can’t Sing! at the London Palladium, have announced the closure of the production on Saturday 10th May 2014.

The show received a series of rave reviews and standing ovations from thousands of theatre goers following its opening earlier this year.

Rebecca Quigley, CEO of Stage Entertainment UK, said:
“We are sad to be bringing I Can’t Sing! to a close but are immensely proud to have co-produced the show.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

I Can't Sing!: Musical Theatre Review

The London Palladium hosts the world premiere of I Can’t Sing!, the new musical written by Harry Hill. The musical pokes fun at the reality TV show, the X Factor, however this show is more F Factor than X Factor.
Chenice and her grandpa live in a caravan below a fly over and eat the road kill they catch, after picking up Chenices post off the floor Max, a plumber, volunteers to fix her boiler. After her grandpa dying and her house being reposed Max pushes her to enter the X Factor. Believe it or not they manage to spread this story over the course of the whole first act. In the second act we see the live finals of the X Factor and the drama unravels as Simon and Jordy (Cheryl Cole… clearly refused to let them use her name. And I don’t blame her) split Max and Chenice up. After Max wins back Chenices heart the winner is announced and an ‘interesting’ twist shakes up the ending. 
I’ll start by saying this isn’t actually as bad as you’d think, it has some good songs and some of the gags go down well. However when you have a gag every 10 seconds it starts to get old after the first 15 minutes. The show is Viva Forever with a bigger budget. 

Friday, 28 February 2014

I CAN'T SING postpones previews... Again.

Stage Entertainment and Syco Entertainment, the producers of I Can’t Sing! at the London Palladium, have decided to postpone the beginning of preview performances due to a technical problem with one of the show’s set pieces. 

An integral part of the stage mechanism for the show’s set is currently not operating correctly and this needs to be resolved before performances can begin at the Palladium. As a result Saturday's performance has, regrettably, been cancelled.
The first preview will now take place next week.


Monday, 24 February 2014

I CAN'T SING cancel first two previews

Stage Entertainment and Syco Entertainment, producers of I Can’t Sing! at the London Palladium, have decided to postpone the beginning of preview performances by 48 hours due to technical issues caused by the ambitious staging of the new musical comedy.

As a result, the performances scheduled for Thursday 27 and Friday 28 February will no longer go ahead, with the first preview now taking place on Saturday 1 March.

Rebecca Quigley, Producer for Stage Entertainment, said: "After much careful thought and discussion we’ve decided that we need to take some more time to work on technical aspects of I Can't Sing! at the Palladium. As audiences will soon see the production is hugely ambitious, and the volume of installation and scale of the set means that technical work has taken slightly longer than could have been anticipated to make the show audience-ready.


Monday, 9 December 2013

Full cast of I CAN'T SING announced

As previously announced, Olivier Award-winner Nigel Harman will play X Factor supremo Simon, with Cynthia Erivo and Alan Morrissey as lovestruck contestants Chenice and Max.

Joining Nigel on the judging panel will be Ashley Knight as the ever-positive boyband manager Louis and Victoria Elliot as pop queen Jordy. Simon Bailey  (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables) will play the overly affectionate X Factor host Liam O'Deary, with Billy Carter (Someone Who'll Watch Over Me) as Executive Producer and Simon's right hand man, Gerard Smalls. Simon Lipkin  (Avenue Q, Rock of Ages) plays Chenice's faithful canine sidekick Barlow and Joe Speare (The Color Purple, To Kill A Mocking Bird) is her iron-lung bound Grandad.


Monday, 18 February 2013

A Chorus Line the Musical: Theatre Review

Set on Broadway in 1975, A Chorus Line is a musical about dancers who are auditioning for a Broadway show. The original production opened off-Broadway in 1975 and transferred onto Broadway in the same year due to the production having a sell out run and the show also won 10 out of 12 Tony Award nominations. The show ran for 6,137 performances and closed in 1990. A West End production of the show opened in 1976, in the same year U.S and International tours started. Many international productions opened and a film adaptation was released in 1985. A Broadway revival opened in 2006 and closed after running for just under two years, this production recently transferred to the West End marking the shows first ever West End revival. The production is being dedicated to composer Marvin Hamlisch who died last year. 
The is set in an empty Broadway Theatre where an audition is to take place, it follows 17 veteran dancers who are looking for one last job before it’s too late for them to dance anymore. Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban’s score has to be Broadway at its best; each and every song is catchy. When you walk out the theatre each person is humming a different tune! One thing they manage to do, along with the help of James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante’s book, is create 17 characters that all get an individual story making the audience create a wonderful connection with every single cast member. This is truly an ensemble piece and I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything else out there like this. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Marianne Benedict | Interview

Marianne Benedict is currently gracing the stage as The Wicked Witch of The West in The Wizard of Oz in which she took over the role from Hannah Waddingham, She was part of the original ensemble in the show and was recently promoted to full time Wicked Witch. She graduated from Arts Educational, Her credits range from playing Vivian in Dirty Dancing, Understudying the role of Killer Queen in We Will Rock You and Debbie in Debbie Does Dallas. Her other include Miss Mackintosh in The Sunshine Boys, Catherine in The Girl Dusty, Gloria and resident MD in Return to the Forbidden Planet, Sophie in the Misfits (film workshop), Alice and understudy Bonnie in Loveshack, Stella and understudy Polly Baker in Crazy for You and singer in West End Musical Theatre Celebration. I was lucky enough to catch up with her and talk to her about her career...

When and how did you realise that you wanted to perform for a living? Very early on in life, I never stopped singing and dancing around at home and putting on shows.

You attended Arts Educational, what did you learn from them that you still practise or use in your career today? So so much. It really is a fantastic college and I still hear words of wisdom from the staff ringing in my ears.

Is there anything that you didn't learn whist in training that you think is important for young performers to know? You can't possibly learn what it's really truly like to work in this business. Only by getting out there and doing it will you know.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Wizard of Oz the Musical: Theatre Review

The Wizard of Oz opened on March 1st2011 with previews beginning on February 7th. The show looked for their leading role, Dorothy, through a reality TV show which found the current leading lady Danielle Hope. The story is loved by everybody and is known to be the best family film ever made. The plot follows Dorothy and her journey through Oz to get the Witches broom stick and present it to the Wizard so she can get home, along the way she meets the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Lion. They all become friends and eventually Dorothy gets back to Kansas and realises the true meaning of Home.
This recent adaptation of the show is brought to the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber who collaborated with Tim Rice for the first time since 1986; they have spotted some caps in the film where songs need to be put in, like for example Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West both have songs now. The new score really works, I listened to the soundtrack before hand and really wasn't looking forward to seeing it on stage, however on stage it works but still keeps the original feel that the film had. The stage show was very much like the film but Andrew Lloyd Webber and his team has defiantly put their own touch on it by adapting the costumes and the actors have played with the characters but still all have the original essences of the characters that we all love. However I do feel there was still that extra sparkle missing, The Wizard of Oz must be one of the hardest shows to stage but there was still something missing.

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