Review, Theatre

Northern Ballet – The Little Mermaid: A Review

The shimmering backdrop of the Northern Ballet’s the Little Mermaid, with its centrepiece of two silver blocks, demonstrates in equal parts the beauty of the underwater world and the mermaid Marilla’s isolation from it later on. Similarly, this enchanting production shows in equal parts the pain and the hope that have allowed Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy-tale to remain in the hearts of both children and adults for centuries.

David Nixon OBE’s stunning choreography shows every heart-wrenching step of the mermaid Marilla’s tragic journey, whilst also demonstrating the more lively and uplifting segments of the tale to great effect. It is of course performed spectacularly, with every precisely timed movement being swiftly and effectively performed. This is accentuated by Sally Beamish’s fantastic music, with both it’s booming crescendos and quieter moments adding to the soul of the piece overall, also helped by the fantastic acting throughout. The way in which these aspects combine to create the underwater world and its magical atmosphere as the dancers are lifted and the staging shines, are also very impressive.

In a combination of all these elements, every agonising emotion that Marilla goes through is felt, but at the same time the love she feels for the Prince Adair shines through and as the final note plays, a feeling of hope and peace settles onto the stage. As previously stated, this is what makes the Little Mermaid such a fantastic story and it was delightful to see it brought to life at Milton Keynes Theatre.

The Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid is on at Milton Keynes Theatre until the 21st of April – for more information, you can to http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/northern-ballet-the-little-mermaid/milton-keynes-theatre/ .

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Uncategorized

The Ultimate Guide to Robin Hood

As this swashbuckling Panto will be swooping in to Milton Keynes Theatre this week, I thought I’d give you the Ultimate Guide to this very famous hero…

The Plot

This famous tale of good vs evil is of course all about dashing outlaw Robin Hood, who robs from the rich to give to the poor, fights the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and wins the heart of Maid Marian..

The History

The origins of the Robin Hood legend are a little fuzzy, although we do know that the first reference to the character in literature was in around 1377. Interestingly, a ‘Robunhood’ (along with similar names) was a common catch all term for an outlaw. Some claim he was based on a real person, some claim he was based on several real people and some say he was made up altogether. And we definitely know that Maid Marian was entirely fictional, as she didn’t begin to appear in stories until much later on. All I know is that this was the most confusing google search I’ve ever done!

The Panto

The Panto version on at MK Theatre this Christmas is described as a ‘dazzling 3D adventure) – it will star Shane Richie, Peter Piper and Gina Murray and will run from the 11th of December to the 13th of January. If you want to learn more, you can go to http://www.atgtickets.com and search for MK Theatre.

News, Theatre

Quick Fire News – Extra!

As there’s been so much Theatre News this week, I’m writing up an extra edition of Quick Fire News, with 3 major theatre news stories you might have missed…

Hugh-ge Tour Announcement
Hugh Jackman is to embark on a world tour next year. The show will contain music from The Greatest Showman and Les Misérables amongst others and will include 3 UK dates – Manchester Arena, Birmingham Resorts World Arena and the O2 in London.
Joseph For West End Return

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat will return to the West End. The new production is being put on to celebrate the show’s 50th Anniversary and will play at the London Palladium for an 11 week run from the 26th of June. Casting and creative crew are yet to be announced.
Bonnie Langford Joins 9 to 5 cast

Bonnie Langford has joined the cast of the upcoming revival of 9 to 5, stepping back into the role of Roz, having previously played the part on the 2012 tour. The Dolly Parton penned show, which already stars Louise Rednapp, Natalie McQueen, Brian Conley and Amber Davies, will run at the Savoy Theatre from the 28th of January to the 31st of August.

News, Theatre

Quick Fire News: Chicago, Diversity and More

Chicago Casting

Caroline Flack will play Roxie Hart in the Phoenix Theatre’s current production. The TV personality will step into the role from the 10th of December and will stay until the show ends its run on the 5th of January. This will be her first West End leading role.

Once On This Island Closing Date

The Broadway revival of Once on This Island has set a closing date. A loose Caribbean retelling of the Little Mermaid, it will play its final show on the 6th of January 2019. The production was nominated for 9 Tony Awards and will have played 458 regular performances, in addition to 29 previews.

Head Over Heels to Close

Head Over Heels is set to close on the 6th of January. Based on the music of the Go Gos and with an Elizabethan setting, the Jukebox musical will have played 188 regular performances and 37 previews by the time it closes.

Diversity on Tour

Dance group Diversity are to embark on a UK tour to celebrate their 10th Anniversary next year. The Born Ready Tour. The tour dates will include Stoke, Glasgow, Nottingham and Milton Keynes – they’ll be on the road from the 21st of September to the 23rd of November.

Sweeney Todd for revival in Liverpool

Sweeney Todd will be revived in Liverpool next year. A new production of the classic Sondheim show will be part of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse 2019 season and will run from the 12th of April to the 18th of May. Casting is yet to be announced.

News, Theatre

New Anti-Bullying Project at MK Theatre

A new project by Milton Keynes Theatre’s Creative Learning and Community Partnerships Team will address themes of social media and bullying. Two original pieces, both of which will be performed via a live stream, have been created by MK Theatre’s Youth Theatre, as part of the Ambassador Theatre Group’s first national annual project, which raises awareness of bullying and social media, in partnership with the musical Wicked and the anti-Bullying alliance.

The leader of Milton Keynes Youth Theatre, Georgia Tillery, spoke of her excitement about the project as part of MK Theatre’s press release earlier this week. She said: “This project has really allowed the young people who attend Milton Keynes Theatre the opportunity to voice their own opinions, thoughts and experiences of social media.

“The devising process has been great, all of the ideas have come from the young people themselves. It has been amazing to watch the piece grow with a message at the heart of the work. We can’t wait to share our work via the internet.”

Other participants also commented in the same press release. They said: “It’s been really interesting to hear everyone’s ideas and experiences of social media. We’ve looked at a lot of statistics, which were shocking and a real eye opener.”

“By being someone else and seeing what trauma they have to go through, I feel like it’s warned me.”

The performance will be live streamed on the 4th of December at http://www.facebook.com/mktcreativelearning.

Review, Theatre, Uncategorized

Fame: The Musical at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – a review

Thanks to its buzzing energy, fantastic performances, clever set and peppy score, Fame is a thoroughly enjoyable and upbeat show, which also has a strong emotional core.

From the minute its backdrop, made up of old images of students, lights up, you know you’re in for a fun ride. The cast are also fantastic, with nearly everyone being a standout. Some particularly stunning performances come from Keith Jack as Nick, Stephanie Rojas as Carmen, Jamal Kane Crawford as Tyrone and Mica Paris as the stern but loving Miss Sherman.

Jorgie Porter also does a fantastic job as Iris, particularly with her dance skills, whilst Molly McGuire makes a charming Serena, Albey Brooks is often hilarious as Joe, Hayley Johnston is a loveable Mabel, Simon Anthony delivers a strong performance as Schlomo, Alexander Zane does a great job as Goody and Louisa Beadel is a fantastic Lambchops. Finally, Katie Warsop also adds to the aforementioned strong emotional core as Miss Bell.

Another huge strength of the show is its choreography and overall dance performances, all of which look spectacular.

Fame also manages to balance its rather large number of characters and storylines, giving each an equal amount of space to develop, meaning the audience are equally focused on every part of the plot. There is also a really nice balance between the show’s fun moments and it’s sometimes intensely emotional parts.

Overall, Fame is a great show, which manages to be feel-good and tear-inducing at the same time and overall makes for a really fun night out.

The Ultimate Guide to...

The Ultimate Guide to Fame the Musical

As Fame is coming to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre this week, I thought I’d give you a full rundown on the show and its history in this week’s Ultimate Guide

The Plot

Based on (and sharing its name with) the 1980 movie, Fame focuses on the hopes and dreams of the students at New York’s High School of Performing Arts – kind of like a younger version of a Chorus Line!

The History

I mentioned a Chorus Line just then, but the two shows are actually linked. One of the most famous songs in a Chorus Line, Nothing, is about one of the characters struggles at the High School of Performing Arts. This is turn inspired writer David De Silva, to delve deeper into more stories much like Diana’s. The movie itself was shot in the real-life school, with many of the students acting as extras and one, Laura Dean, starring in a lead role. Irene Cara, who played the part of Coco Hernadez, was also a former student of the school. The movie first premiered in May of 1980 and went on to be a hit with both critics and audiences, earning various awards and nominations.
Following this success, a television series then ran from 1982 to 1987 and became a huge hit – and in the same year that the series ended, it was announced that a stage version was in the works. Fame: the Musical premiered in Miami, Florida in 1988 and went on to have huge international success, playing in Australia, Sweden, France and countless other countries. It first reached the West End in 1995 – it’s seen it’s fair share of revivals and has been on tour several times since!

The Music

The upbeat music of Fame the Musical is very reminiscent of the era it’s set in, with a strong 80s sound throughout. The most famous song in the entire franchise, Fame, is of course in there too!

Fame: the Musical is on at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from the 26th of November to the 1st of December – for more information on tickets, please go to http://www.aylesburywatersidetheatre.com.

Analysis, Theatre

The Deeper Appeal of Heathers

As my Heathers weekend draws to a close following the final Heathers at the Theatre Royal Haymarket yesterday, I’m finishing off by looking into what makes this show so appealing to so many.

The first and most obvious thing is a large part of what I already went into yesterday and that’s the quality of the music, the humour and the great cast. But beyond that, what makes Heathers resonate with so many people on a deeper level?

Well, first of all, its universal themes about bullying have really hit a chord with a lot of people – and for many others, the show’s hopeful ending may give them a little bit of hope too. Additionally, the frank way that the show addresses so many social issues in such a frank manner can seem refreshing to those who are may have ‘patronised like bunny rabbits’ in real life. What Veronica says to Miss Fleming in that scene is probably what a lot of people, especially young people, have wanted to say to authority figures at some point.

Additionally, in a media market oversaturated with teen movies which are all the same, a refreshingly dark parody of those storylines is probably just what a lot of people are looking for, especially teens.

For all of these reasons, and with everything I’ve mentioned over this weekend, it’s safe to say that me and many others will miss Heathers very much, now that it’s taken its final bow. Let’s hope that the rumours are true and that it will be back soon. Now we just need to wait for the long-awaited London Cast Album!