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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Wicked: 15th Anniversary | Celebrating the wonderful Women who have played Elphaba!

Wicked has established itself as one of the biggest and best West End shows, originally opening on Broadway in 2003 it headed over here and opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in 2006. Today we're celebrating 15 years of the show, and after the slight 'pause' the show has taken, it's come back better than ever and what a good time to celebrate its Birthday! In this piece, we look back at all the wickedly talented Women who have played Elphaba in the UK. From the London production to the tours! Which one was your favourite?!

Wicked in London 

Idina Menzel
September 7 2006 - December 30 2006

Kerry Ellis 
January 1 2007 - June 7 2008, December 1 2008 - May 9 2009, August 4 2014 - October 25 2014 

Alexia Khadime 
June 9 2008 - November 29 2008, May 11 2009 - March 27 2010 

Rachel Tucker 
March 29 2010 - October 27 2012, September 5 2016 - January 28 2017


Tuesday, 3 August 2021

REVIEW: John and Jen at the Southwark Playhouse

John and Jen takes place in the USA spanning from 1985 to 2022. The musical opens as we are introduced to siblings Jen (Rachel Tucker), at 7 years old, cradling her baby brother, John (Lewis Cornay) in their secret attic (designed by Natalie Johnson). Time passes quickly as we see the pair’s relationship dynamic change from vowing to protect each other from their abusive father to being a stereotypical teenager embarrassed by her younger brother to Jen going to college and leaving John behind to ‘hold the fort’. Supposedly years down the line, John begins to idolise his father and becomes extremist in his patriotic views and decides to join the forces.

The story slows to a more welcome pace as the musical becomes more sombre towards the end of the first act when John passes away after fighting in the war. 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

COMING HOME: Lewis Cornay, soon to be starring in John & Jen at the Southwark Playhouse

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! 

Lewis Cornay is someone with fingers in many, many pies (his words, not mine). With a fantastic career in musical theatre, he also works as a writer and photographer. Not long before theatres shut their doors, Lewis was appearing in the West End production of The Book of Mormon and had just left the show in Feb 2020 after a year with the production. He’s also appeared in Just So at the Barn Theatre, was in the UK Tour of Titanic the Musical, played Ryder in Paw Patrol Live and as a child appeared in The King and I, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. 

We met with Lewis fresh from the announcement that he’ll be starring in John & Jen, the world premiere of the brand new updated musical from Andrew Lippa, Tom Greenwald and Jason Robert Brown. We shot with him at the Southwark Playhouse which is where the show will be running from the 28th July to the 21st August 2021. He’ll be starring opposite musical theatre legend Rachel Tucker and will be under the direction of her partner, Guy Retallack. 

Thursday, 25 February 2021

REVIEW: Songs For A New World (Lambert Jackson Productions)

Back to theatreland with ‘Songs For A New World’, a Lambert Jackson Productions, directed by Séimí Campbell takes us back in time to life in the first lockdown, as we see the development of Jason Robert Brown’s song cycle portrayed by four well known Musical Theatre artists; Cedric Neal, Rachel John, Rachel Tucker & Ramin Karimloo. The collection of songs examines life, love and the choices that we make as it transports audiences through time and space. The piece has made many songs centre around the state of the world in Summer 2020 and gives a reflection on this. 

The first thing I will say is that as soon as ‘Opening: The New World’ begins I immediately got goosebumps. There is something about Jason’s music that will always bring nostalgia and a massive well done is needed for Josh Winstone and the band for collectively producing such a wonderful arrangement. The setting is very zoom style with all actors performing the work into their cameras/iPhones. With this, it gives a raw and unpolished finished as we enter their personal homes during life in the first lockdown, shout-out to Rachel John for colour coordinating her outfits with the things in her kitchen and garden. 

Monday, 30 December 2019

10 Year Challenge: Some of our Favourite West End Performers!

There's a craze going around at the moment called 'The 10 Year challenge' and as we're welcoming in the new decade, we looked back at some of our favourite performers and did it for them! Check our the list of amazing actors below and the journey they've gone on from 2010 to 2020 and tweet us your favourite 10 year challenge or send us ones we've left off!

Lucie Jones

As Cosette in the London production of Les Miserables and as Jenna in Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre. Other credits include Emily in A Christmas Carol (Lyceum); Lou in Girlfriends (LMTO); Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (UK tour); Maureen Johnson in RENT the Musical (The Other Palace and UK tour); Holly in The Wedding Singer (UK tour); Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (Leicester Curve/South Korea – DIMF Best Actress in a Musical Award); Molly Jensen in Ghost: The Musical (Asian tour); Victoria in American Psycho the Musical (Almeida) and Meatloaf in We Will Rock You (world arena tour).

Melanie La Barrie 

As Mrs Phelps in the original cast of Matilda and as the Nurse in the original London cast of & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Other credits include Madame Morrible in Wicked (Apollo Victoria); Mrs Phelps in Matilda (RSC Stratford and Cambridge); The Lorax (Old Vic); Martha Watson in White Christmas (West Yorkshire Playhouse); General Cartwright in Guys & Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre); Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Liverpool Playhouse); Madame Thernardier in Les Miserables (Queens); Pearl in Daddy Cool (Shaftesbury) and Mrs Corry in Mary Poppins (Prince Edward).

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

DREAM CASTING: Friends the Musical

If you're like me or the majority of people on my timeline, you'll have watched the entire series of Friends on Netflix a number of times. I think I may be on my 6th rerun of it?! But it got me thinking, If there was a musical who could be in it? So I took to the internet and made my dream cast list. Tweet us and let us know who you would like to see in the musical version of Friends! @PocketSizeBlog

Rachel Green | Emily Tierney 

Ross Geller | Gerard McCarthy 


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Where are they now? I'd Do Anything!

Following on from How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and Any Dream Will Do, the third instalment in the Andrew Lloyd Webber series was I'd Do Anything which searches for the new stars of the musical Oliver!, whilst the show did search for the role of Oliver, the adult and public voting side of the show searching for the role of Nancy. The series to follow was Over the Rainbow (The search for Dorothy). Rival TV shows to these BBC produced series also came up in Superstar (The search for Jesus), Grease is the Word (The search for Danny and Sandy) and Fame: The musical (the search for Nick and Serena). If you are a theatre geek like me, you'll remember these TV shows! And if you don't, you'll certainly know some of the contestants. So, where are they now?

Jodie Prenger

Jodie went on to win the role of Nancy and played it in the revival of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. After playing Nancy she has been seen as The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (UK Tour), Dolly in the National Theatre's production of One Man Two Guvnors (Theatre Royal Haymarket); the title role in Calamity Jane (UK Tour); Emma in Tell Me on a Sunday (UK Tour); Miss Hannigan in Annie (UK tour), Madame Thénardier in Les Miserables (Asia & Dubai); the title character in Shirley Valentine (UK tour); Kelly in Fat Friends (UK Tour) and Beverley in Abigails Party (UK Tour). She has also appeared in TV shows such as Loose Women, Waterloo Road, Candy Cabs and Casualty. Most recently, she was seen playing Helen in Taste of Honey on its UK Tour and at the Trafalgar Studios in London's West End. @Musicalmissy

Jessie Buckley

After finishing second in the show, Jessie played Anne Egerman in the revival of A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory and the Garrick Theatre. After that she went on to train at RADA and has since played Belvedira in Venice Preserv’d (The Spectators’ Guild); Princess Katharine in Henry V (Michael Grandage Company); Miranda in The Tempest (The Globe); Constanze Weber in Amadeus (Chichester Festival Theatre); Perdita in The Winter's Tale (Garrick Theatre). On TV she can be seen in Taboo, War & Peace, The Woman in White and The Lost Post. She has also broken into the movie business with roles in movies like Beast, Wild Rose, Judy, Dolittle, Ironbark and Misbehaviour.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

15 of the Best West End Duos!

Following from last weeks feature (15 Most Memorable Performances I've seen) the Pocket team have been thinking about the best Duos that have been on the West End recently. 

So, in no particular order, here is our list... 

Sierra Boggess & Ramin Karimloo in Love Never Dies

Justin Lee Collins & Simon Lipkin in Rock of Ages


Monday, 26 May 2014

Goodbye WE WILL ROCK YOU! A look back at the productions history...

Having rocked over 6.5 million people in a record-breaking 12 years at London's Dominion Theatre, the smash hit Queen & Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You is due to close on 31 May 2014. Now the longest running show ever at the Dominion by a margin of nine years, the show takes its rightful place in West End history, sitting proudly in the Top 10 longest running musicals of all time.
The show has now been performed in 28 countries around the globe, and has been seen by a more than 16 million people.
From its opening night at the Dominion on 14 May 2002, We Will Rock You quickly became the overwhelming people’s choice of musical in the UK and overseas. In its second year at the Dominion it won top honours in five categories in the Theatregoers Choice awards presented by, including Best New Musical. In 2011, nine years after the curtain first went up, the show won the prestigious Olivier Audience Award, the only category voted for entirely by the public. The show went on to win a number of international awards for productions around the globe.


Monday, 17 December 2012

Wicked the Musical: Theatre Review

Wicked the Musical has recently celebrated its fifth birthday in the West End, the show has proven very popular with musical theatre fans as they continue to sustain a very strong fan base who remain dedicated to the show and support it constantly. I have reviewed this show twice before, but I recently saw the show with the new cast. A lot of the cast have left the show since I last saw it, so I wasinterested to be invited back to check them out.
Rachel Tucker has remained with the production since coming into the company in March 2010; ever since she first started she has just got better and better. She is as strong as she has ever been. What I love about Tucker's interpretation of Elphaba is that she understands the role, a lot of the portrayals I have seen have been based around the singing aspect of the role and the actress's I've seen don't have that much depth in their Elphaba, where as Rachel's does. Her rendition of Defying Gravity and No Good Deed was the best I have ever heard; her voice fills the theatre and is delightful while having an edge to it which gives you shivers down your spine. Her chemistry with Gina Beck (Glinda) was also wonderful; they have had some time to settle in since they have started and their characters definitely work amazingly together and have a certain connection which hasn't been portrayed like that before.
Gina Beck plays a fresh Glinda, her voice is pure and a wonder to the ears. Glinda's comedic parts in the show were done incredibly by her and she picked up on everything, in my opinion she is the only Glinda in the London production that has actually paid attention to who Glinda actually is, rather than focus on what happens to her on her journey in the show. She had a great presence as Glinda and her journey through the show also really contributed to her interpretation of the role.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Wicked the Musical: Theatre Review

Wicked the musical opened on Broadway in 2003 with productions in Los Angeles, Japan, Chicago, Germany and Australia.
The London production opened in 2006 with Original Broadway cast member, Idina Menzel. The story follows Glinda the Good and The Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) before Dorothy arrived in Oz. The musical comes from Gregory Maguire, the story explains why everything is the way it is in the land of Oz. It explains why Glinda is good, why the Witch is wicked, why the scarecrow has no brain, why the Lion is cowardly, why the tin man has no heart and everything thinkable in The Wizard of Oz is included in Wicked.
I recently made a trip back to the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see the show again, the show has everything that a musical should have, and it's universal. The balance between the humour and the emotional sides of the show are brilliant, it's a show that includes every emotion. It also has appeal to everyone, for children this show would be a fantastic spectacle and for adults it's an interesting insight to their favourite childhood story. I recently saw the show on September 24thand it was one of the best performances I've seen from the Wicked Company. This is because we have a few understudies on, two of which it was only their third show on.


Wicked the Musical: Theatre Review

Wicked the Musical opened on Broadway in 2003 and since then has opened productions in Chicago, Los Angeles, Australia, Germany, Japan and London. The London production opened in 2006 and has been going strong ever since. The show has been through multiple cast changes and I recently went to see it on 22ndApril 2011.
The show takes place before Dorothy arrived in Oz, following the story of the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) and Glinda. It's about the relationship that the girls share with a love triangle, a controversy with the Wizard and the story of the Wicked Witch of The East. The show also explains why the Tin Man has no Heart, why the lion is cowardly and why the scarecrow has no brain.Its providing something that everyone can relate to, it reaches out to almost every audience member which is a very rare thing to find in a Musical.
The design team on this show are a dream; Eugene Lee's set is incredible to look at and fits perfectly into the show, as does Susan Hilferty's delightful and imaginative costumes. Stephen Schwartz's score is incredible. The stunning 11 O'clock numbers are to spare in this show; Defying Gravity, No Good Deed and Thank Goodness are the musical and emotional highlights in the show, each one expressing amazing emotion from the characters.
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