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Sunday, 5 September 2021

REVIEW: 9 to 5 at the Mayflower Theatre

The huge 2300 seat grade II listed Mayflower Theatre has bounced back from the pandemic closure with a strong programme of Musical theatre and in a short period since reopening has presented tours of The Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray and now the opening week of 2021 regional tour of 9 to 5. The strongly themed shows around sexual awakenment and transvestism, racial equality and integration and female equality in the workplace respectively, though wrapped up in a period feel of the sixties to the eighties, still resonate well with audiences today in the era of Pride, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. But most of all they work as entertainments because they are fun, high energy and presented with a knowing charm, well targeted at audiences who crave that feel-good factor on a night out.

It is interesting that the West End too has found a strong response to Anything Goes at the Barbican, Hairspray at the Coliseum and Jersey Boys at the Trafalgar Theatre and now in previews, Back to the Future at the Adelphi with their period feel and lively high-quality presentation. The regional sector may not get the same production values and big-name casting but venues like the Mayflower are big and roomy enough to offer well-priced comfortable access to these big musical shows with top ticket prices less than half the average price achieved in London. It makes for a very good value night out without the travel hassles of the London Tube or a 20-mph speed limit in the congestion zone in London!

Friday, 21 May 2021

COMING HOME: Nicole-Lily Baisden, soon to be starring in Anything Goes at the Barbican Centre

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! 

Nicole-Lily Baisden only graduated from Arts Educational Schools in 2019 and pretty much went straight into her first professional job, as she played Nabulungi in the original UK & International touring production of The Book of Mormon. The tour opened in June 2019, so they had a reasonable run before the theatres shut down but still, unfortunately, didn’t fulfil the full list of touring dates they had prepared themselves for. 

Nicole-Lily has recently been announced as playing the role of Hope Harcourt in the London revival of Anything Goes at the Barbican, featuring a full star line up! She’ll be starring alongside the likes of Broadway legend Sutton Foster, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot as well as West End regulars Samuel Edwards, Haydn Oakley and Carly Mercedes Dyer. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty at the New Victoria Theatre

Matthew Bourne’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ re-imagines the classic fairytale with a gothic twist. This contemporary ballet, like Princess Aurora, is a thing of true beauty. Utterly captivating from start to finish, with humour delicately interwoven and a vampire or two thrown in for good luck.

This production was incredibly refreshing, and while it nods to the upstanding traditions of classical ballet, it is happy to drastically re-write the rule book on a number of things. To some, ballet is synonymous with men in tights, pointe shoes and epic acts of considerable length. This reimagining is wonderfully up-to-date and thrilling to behold. Most of the performance is carried out bare-foot by all the performers, and there is no Lycra in sight. Furthermore, the running time is just right. At just over 2 hours (including an interval), the whole audience seemed very comfortable.

Friday, 3 July 2015

REVIEW: East is East at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

An adaptation from screen to stage is never easy, especially when the subject is one of most successful and iconic British films of the last twenty years. But there is no doubt about it; this production is a great success in its own right.

Fans of the 1999 film (a play previously) will love the intimacy of this production where story-telling and characters firmly take centre stage. With a largely static set, the actors work hard together to combine minimal scene changes with fluid movement to keep the pace of the show fast and slick.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

REVIEW: The Producers at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

A stellar cast leads by example in this triumphant opening night.

Mel Brooks’ classic musical about a struggling Broadway producer dazzled tonight as the nationwide tour stops at Woking. With its all-star cast living up to their top line billing and support cast raising the bar; this was a production for others to live up to.

The script was funny and tight, the comedy on point, slapstick and just a touch bawdy and blue and the songs memorable and bright. The set was simple and scaled down (cue mini sized taxi prop!) but this only helped to fuel the actor’s fire.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

REVIEW: Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Well, the play certainly lived up to its title. Well almost. Nonsense it most certainly was, Perfect? Far from it.

 The three superb individual performances from the production’s cast wasn’t enough to paper over the cracks of a show with a woefully confusing or non-existent storyline and tired gags.

So to start with the good; Ed Hancock as Bertie Wooster was a loveable and energetic lead with great comic timing and facial expressions with just enough restraint to stop the character being irritating. He was a wonderful narrator for this tale but was a pity there wasn’t more in the text for this talented actor to work with.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

REVIEW: The Kings Speech at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

For those who, like me, haven’t seen the smash hit film; this is the heart warming true story of King George VI overcoming his stutter in order to deliver the speech of his life.

Set during Churchill-era Great Britain, this play is tight, amusing, emotional and powerful and allows its leads the chance to take centre stage; an opportunity both actors do with pleasure.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

REVIEW: Spamalot at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

A show packed full of gags but not realising its potential.

Lovingly written by Python’s very own Eric Idle, it is impossible for any Life of Brian or Holy Grail fan not to enjoy this production. It is familiar and rewarding to fans of their comedy, without excluding those not aware of Monty Python’s work. And at less than two hours, the show zips by with little chance to draw breath.

The supporting cast work tirelessly in a variety of roles to bring this silly, irreverent story to life with Richard Kent as Prince Herbert and Richard Meek appearing as Sir Dennis Galahad (amongst other roles) particularly shining. The strength of this production was the pace and energy amongst the cast members, used to great effect to aid their storytelling.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

REVIEW: Saturday Night Fever at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

It upsets me that this is the standard of productions that the British public are watching, there is so much more out there that is amazing but this is what people are paying to watch? I’m confused.

This is a poor quality show, absolutely no love or passion has gone into the creating of this show so there is a flat and dull feeling through out the entire thing. You wait and wait and wait and wait for it to pick up, but it never does. 

Sound issues were a major downfall of this production, I couldn't hear a word most of the cast were singing or speaking however I could hear all the automation and pushing of sets on stage.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Cast announced for JEKYLL AND HYDE at the Greenwich Theatre and on tour

Casting is announced today for a new adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde, which will open at Greenwich Theatre on Wednesday 11 February 2015 (press night Thursday 12 February, 7.30pm) prior to a 33 date UK Tour. On sale now; full tour schedule attached.

The title roles of Jekyll and Hyde will be played by Nathan Ives-Moiba, with Lyle Barke as Utterson and Rowena Lennon as Dr. Lanyon.

Nathan Ives-Moiba’s stage credits include the World Tour of Our Country’s Good and Mixed Up North, both directed by Max Stafford Clarke for Out of Joint. Television includes Coronation Street.Lyle Barke’s recent credits include playing George McFly in Secret Cinema’s Back To The Future.Rowena Lennon’s theatre credits include The Elves and the Shoemaker at New Wolsey Studio and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at the Lyric Theatre.

Monday, 22 September 2014

THE PRODUCERS to tour next year, dates announced

Based on Mel Brooks’ much loved Academy Award winning movie, Adam Spiegel Productions presents The Producers - a hilarious musical comedy that has taken Broadway and the West End by storm, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and 3 Olivier Awards.
Jason Manford is also rumoured to star in the Musical, according to the Mirror he has signed on to play a lead. 
Impoverished by a string of flops, New York producer Max Bialystock recruits timid accountant Leo Bloom to help him pull off Broadway’s greatest scam. Together they aim to produce the worst show ever and run away to Rio with millions, but they learn that Showbusiness can always find a way to kick you in the teeth…
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