Saturday, May 25

Tag: Alex Bourne

Annie – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Annie – Hull New Theatre

What a fabulous, uplifting start to the week - all thanks to a cute, little, red-haired orphan called Annie, whose story is told in a production of the same name. A jam-packed Hull New Theatre was the setting on Monday evening for this smash-hit show, which has come direct from London’s West End. At curtain up, the stage featured metal bedsteads and sparse bedding, in an orphanage run by the drunken, cruel Miss Hannigan (Craig Revel Horwood). With unkempt hair, make-up, sloppy negligee and a fridge-full of booze, the Strictly Come Dancing star is perfection in the role, bringing much hilarity to proceedings as well as a fine singing voice. Equally perfect in her role is young Zoe Akinyosade as Annie, who is on stage for over two hours - no mean feat for a nine-year-old. With a...
Annie – Manchester Opera House
North West

Annie – Manchester Opera House

The story of orphan Annie originates from a 1924 comic strip called Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, lyricist Martin Charnin approached author Thomas Meehan to write the book of a musical, a wise choice considering his many successes since, with awards for co-writing The Producers, Hairspray, also writing the books for the musicals, Elf, and Young Frankenstein amongst others.  Meehan created Annie, using some of the characters from the comic strip, but added to them, using Charles Dickens’ orphan characters as inspiration, which worked well with the musical being set at the time of the Great Depression of 1929.  Lyricist Charnin, would then work with composer Charles Strouse, using Meehan’s book as the framework for Annie. We join Annie (Sharangi Gnanavarathan) and her fri...
Hairspray – Edinburgh Playhouse
Scotland

Hairspray – Edinburgh Playhouse

‘Save your personal life…’ instructs Velma Von Tussle ‘… for the camera, Sweetie.’ She, back in ‘62 (OK, John Waters in the mid 80’s) had clearly seen something in a crystal ball about TV beyond the early 90’s. Despite how prescient this observation, it was soon overwhelmed by a production possessing strength, power and above all… rhythm. The dialogue - sharp and indestructible as a diamond – swung perfectly between the songs and vice versa, but where musicals can often find themselves staffed by good actors who can sing and dance a little, or good singers/dancers who can act a bit, this had a cast capable of handling it all. Of a Dick Van Dyke accent catastrophe there was barely a flicker. Not a cue nor a laugh was missed. It’s scarcely believable that this was the professional deb...
Hairspray – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Hairspray – Birmingham Hippodrome

The John Waters film “Hairspray” has always struck me an odd source for a Broadway musical stemming from the sub-sub-cultural independent movie starring the Ricki Lake and the unsettlingly bizarre Divine. Waters films were, and perhaps still are, deliberately shocking, subversive and cheaply shot. But musicals have been created from odder sources - cats and trains spring to mind. Since 2002 “Hairspray - the musical” has delighted audiences on Broadway and West end and beyond with noted performances from Michael Ball and Brian Conley. So far, it’s ticking all the right boxes and a fun night seem to be ensured…Okay, so the place was full of engaged, delighted and whooping fans intent on a good night and a good night they had, though I’m not sure the show was entirely responsible for it. The...
Hairspray – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Hairspray – Sheffield Lyceum

Sheffield Lyceum’s opening night after 17 months of darkness - Hairspray is resoundingly resplendent, raucous and right on point. The show highlights many modern day issues that are particularly relevant today, that of Racism, Body Image and Sexism but never in a heavyweight way. It can be difficult to achieve this but, Hairspray packages these issues with a buoyant bouffant and plenty of toe tapping tunes.  Set in Baltimore in the 1960’s we follow the trailblazer Tracy Turnblad as she stands up for equality and proves there is no place for the word ‘minorities' in the dawn of a new era. The staging on the UK tour remains traditional and is mainly made up of backdrops and two trucks which represent the Turnblad household on stage right and the Pingleton/ Motormouth Record Store on the ...