Thursday, October 6

REVIEWS

Saturday Night Fever – Palace Theatre Manchester
North West

Saturday Night Fever – Palace Theatre Manchester

Producer and Director Bill Kenwright has taken the iconic 1977 film Saturday Night Fever that originally starred John Travolta and made a successful hit jukebox musical that has toured since 1999. 23 years later and the musical is still a crowd pleaser, the Manchester audience was a prime example of the pleasure this show brings with its feel-good factor pushed to its limit and pure disco tunes of the 70’s by a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. The songs mostly consist of songs that were featured in the film's soundtrack, which in turn were mostly written and performed by the Bee Gees. Throughout the performance AJ Jenks, Drew Ferry, and Oliver Thomson, were dressed as the Bee Gees and stood on a platform above the stage whilst belting out the iconic tunes we all love from thi...
Bugsy Malone – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Bugsy Malone – Sheffield Lyceum

Originally conceived at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in 2015 - This is the first UK touring musical production based on Alan Parker’s 1976 much-loved movie - Bugsy Malone and it is an absolute delight! Directed by Sean Homes with choreography by Drew McOnie this production keeps its roots firmly true to the film yet adds a spicy and slick new presentation. If you haven’t seen this movie, Bugsy Malone is a gangster spoof musical, set in the American prohibition era, where the cast are played by children and the guns are replaced by messy custard pies and splurge. It follows the story of two rival gangs, vying to be top dog, led by Fat Sam and Dandy Dan. Enter Bugsy Malone to save the day. The moral being - we are better together than divided. The staging problem of this musical has ...
Road – Oldham Coliseum
North West

Road – Oldham Coliseum

A trip to the Oldham Coliseum usually provides a gem of a show, and ‘Road’ did not disappoint. The play explores an array of characters, some loud, some rough, some lonely, some misunderstood, and some tormented, who live on a Lancashire street in 1987. An evening of real-life moments told through monologue and dialogue; we hear about Northern people with Northern problems. Although set in 1987 this play explores issues which clearly resonates with some northern towns today, more than 30 years later. The set captured the essence of Lancashire life, transforming between exterior windows, living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. The use of running water, and everyday sound effects such as barking dogs and fireworks, enhanced the real-life atmosphere, providing a sense of familiarity. The...
South Pacific – Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
West Midlands

South Pacific – Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

For a show 73 years old, “South Pacific” more than holds its own in the modern world. Its central premise, which is fleetingly mentioned in James A. Michener’s novel “Tales of the South Pacific” but given full-flight in the musical adaptation by those giants of Broadway, Rodgers and Hammerstein, is one of racism - a subject as pertinent today as in 1949. The cross-race romance is explored deftly and sensitively, and prejudices are challenged. But this is not a preaching show. This is slap-bang Broadway classic which ran for over five years on its initial run. So, expect some solid, stonking numbers - which we get in abundance. Daniel Evans, newly appointed co-director of the RSC, helmed this ship into safe harbour when he was in charge in Chichester and he has re-shaped, re-imagined, r...
The Cher Show – The King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Scotland

The Cher Show – The King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Standing ovations have to be earned and the team behind the Toni Award winning musical, The Cher Show, hit the sweet spot last night at The King’s Theatre, Glasgow. The clever staging (Tom Rogers) was sumptuously lit (Ben Cracknell), especially at the finale, and the costumes (Gabriella Slade) were spectacular … especially at the finale, but more than that, it was the tale of an outsider made good. We all love a story of the underdog overcoming seemingly immovable obstacles. And I don’t know anyone who isn’t in awe of some sort of genuinely gifted individual. Cher’s gift is not just her voice, but her resilience, her obstinacy and her rebellious attitude. Who cares if she’s got parts of her body that don’t match her decades on this earth? The woman has given us decades of rousing, deep...
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare North Playhouse
North West

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare North Playhouse

One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies was chosen to formally launch the main theatre at Shakespeare North Playhouse although more tragically it was to crash into more than one self-inflicted iceberg on the night. As we meet the Duke (David Nellist), and his newly conquered betrothed, Hippolyta (Yazmin Kayani), Egeus (Tia-Bella Easton) interrupts proceedings to complain about her daughter, Hermia (Rebecca Hesketh Smith), who loves Lysander (William Grint) despite her father’s preferred match of Demetrius (Tyler Dobbs), who in turn is unwelcomingly pursued by Helena (Kate James). Hermia’s choice is clear: follow your father’s wishes or face either death or life as a nun. She steals away with Lysander in the night through the forest, rapidly pursued by Demetrius and Helena. Also p...
Noughts & Crosses – Richmond Theatre
London

Noughts & Crosses – Richmond Theatre

‘Noughts & Crosses’, adapted for the stage by Sabrina Mahfouz for Pilot Theatre, is based on a series of young adult novels written by critically acclaimed British Author, Malorie Blackman. The series includes six novels and three novellas, all of which take place in an alternative 21st-century Britain, where the Crosses operate complete power over the Noughts, and where inequality and discrimination form the backbone of society, guiding the moral and constitutional compass. In Mahfouz’s adaptation, Sephy (Effie Ansah) is a Cross, she is dark-skinned and part of the elite class. Sephy’s people call the shots. Callum (James Arden) is a Nought, he is light-skinned and lower-class. He and his family are struggling to survive. The pair have been friends for an eternity, and whilst segr...
Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical – The Lowry
North West

Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical – The Lowry

It’s moving, touching and filled with stirring harmonious songs; Fisherman Friends - The Musical is not your usual ‘film to stage’ production! Directed by James Grieve; the Fisherman Friends Musical follows the same plot as the popular 2019 movie - a true story about a group of Cornish fishermen who are discovered by Danny (played by Jason Langley) a former A & R man for Island records which leads to the group recording a demo and eventually onto performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. This musical tugs at your heartstrings far greater than the movie and there are moments when emotions run high and moments when it becomes quite reflective and somber. It runs at quite a fast pace and although it’s 140 minutes in length; it keeps your attention throughout and the appearanc...
The Day After The Fair – Cheadle Players
North West

The Day After The Fair – Cheadle Players

Community theatre can sometimes be a mixed bag, and then you find a company that you know you can trust to produce work of real quality. The Cheadle Players Dramatic Society is one such company. They have an exceptional work ethic, a great backstage team and a true love of theatre. This opening offering in their 2022/23 season is a play adapted from a novel by Thomas Hardy. Written by Frank Harvey, The Day After the Fair is a romantic drama set in the 1890s. Rising to the challenge of the language, movement and culture of that time period is a principal cast of six; one of whom – Rob Derry – only stepped in at the last minute to play Charles Bradford after the original company member sadly contracted Covid. With only four days rehearsal, he was off-book and on stage. Well done, Rob! ...
Boyzlife – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
North West

Boyzlife – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

What a pleasure it is to step inside the beautiful philharmonic hall, Liverpool, steeped in history and class, this venue is totally unique and provides great variety when it comes to music and performances. This was exactly the case tonight when the striking stage which usually hosts the philharmonic orchestra was swapped for a huge pop throwback known as ‘Boyzlife’. ‘Boyzlife’ is made up of some familiar faces, Keith Duffy who rose to fame in Boyzone and Westlife’s original Brian McFadden. These two singers have joined forces in the last number of years to create their own music and of course, to relive the classics. Noting that they have 21 number one hits between them, this duo is no stranger to the stage and the world of pop music. Tonight marks the start of their ‘Old School Tour...