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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Theatre

Foreshadowing Moments in Musicals

Probably the most interesting thing about re-watching any show, or listening to the cast album after you’ve seen a show, is noticing foreshadowing. Sometimes you get it right away, sometimes you don’t notice it until you’re scrolling through Lyric Genius when you’re bored and the songs are stuck in your head – but either way, foreshadowing can be super interesting to notice. Today, I’m going to be going over 3 of my favourite moments of foreshadowing in musical theatre! Please note that this blog post will of course contain spoilers.

1. Wicked

When you read the words “foreshadowing” and “musical theatre”, this is probably the first show you thought of, right?

Wicked is filled to the brim with foreshadowing – pretty much everything Glinda sings in the opening number flips around once you know what really happened between her and Elphaba – and that’s not even looking into the Wizard and I and Dancing Through Life, where hidden (and not so hidden) treasures include “life’s more painless, for the brainless”, “when people see me they will scream” and “I’d be so happy I could melt”. Some of these are in-jokes which use the knowledge the audience already has of future events, with the Wizard of Oz being such a cornerstone of pop culture and some of them are there to reflect on the “fresh experience of a story you know” theme that is at the centre of the show. Either way, Wicked is one of the best musicals out there for foreshadowing.

2. Bonnie and Clyde

“It must be great to be called ‘the it girl’, your face in every magazine – that’s where I’m gonna end up someday, trust me”….
This is another one that relies on dramatic irony – when young Bonnie sings this at the beginning of the show, the majority of the audience know that eventually she will end up with her face in every magazine – just not in the way that she would’ve hoped…
This adds a tragedy to the show, which really helps us to emphasize with Bonnie as a character right from the start and it sets up her eventual fate perfectly.

3. Hamilton

In amongst the intricate lyrics of this mega-musical, there’s quite a bit of foreshadowing. Two well-known examples that I’m going to mention here are the Bullet and the foreshadowing of Hamilton’s son Phillip’s death. Hamilton is a busy show, in terms of staging and pacing, meaning that many people may not notice the Bullet, an ensemble member who becomes a representation of death, approaching and touching every character who dies and eventually carrying the bullet that kills Hamilton from Burr’s gun and towards him in the infamous duel.

What are some of your favourite moments of foreshadowing in musical theatre? Let me know in the comments

Theatre

Tom Gates Live at MK Theatre: A Review

The biscuit loving, guitar playing doodler and mischief maker of Liz Pichon’s hit book series comes to MK Theatre this week in an inventive new show.

Surprisingly catchy songs (considering the context) combined with all the characters that its young audience know and love make this show a hit with kids – and it’s enjoyable for parents too.

Matthew Chase takes on the title role and brings a great level of energy, whilst other cast members including Matthew Gordon, Amy Hargreaves, Daniel Harkin and Ashley Cousins all bring their respective characters to life in a suitably cartoonish fashion.

But the most striking thing about this production is its clever staging, which makes great use of projections to bring the illustrations of the source material to life.
Tom Gates: Live on Stage is on at Milton Keynes Theatre from the 9th to the 11th of May – for more information, please visit http://www.atgtickets.com.

Theatre

Yet more fun facts!

I’m back again with more fun facts about some of your favourite shows!

1. The set of the Broadway and West End show Aladdin weighs the equivalent of 4.5 double decker buses

2. One of the longest running shows on Broadway is the Phantom of the Opera – Howard McGillin has played the role more times than any other actor, with over 2,500 performances in total. Only 15 people have worn the famous mask on Broadway in total.

3. The Lion King is famous for its masks and puppetry – but did you know that the masks are made of carbon fibre?

4. Six indigenous African languages are spoken in the Lion King – Zulu, Xosa, Swahili, Tswana, Sotho and Congolese are used throughout the show

5. The history of musical theatre can be traced back to the plays of Ancient Greece, where music and dance were often included

6. One of the biggest Broadway hits of the past decade has been Hamilton – known for its intricate lyrics, the show contains 20,520 words performed at 144 words a minute!

Theatre

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at MK Theatre: A Review

This high energy production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat gives a classic show a fresh coat of paint, with a stellar cast and great music.

At the centre of this iconic Bible story is Jaymi Hensley in the lead role, who gives an emotionally gritty, vocally powerful and overall charming performance. Trina Hill also provides impressive vocals as the narrator, whilst Joseph’s brothers all have great energy and comedic timing.

Meanwhile, Henry Metcalfe is great as both Jacob and Potiphar and local kids also get the chance to shine in the choir and do a great job!

The show’s music is of course iconic and is performed brilliantly by the ‘Joseph Orchestra’, again giving the show a fantastic level of pep and energy. It’s humour is also kept fresh thanks to the excellent comedic timing of the cast.

Overall, Joseph is a fun, funny and energetic show and this new production proves that it has more than earnt its classic status in the year of it’s 50th Anniversary.

Theatre

The Ultimate Guide to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

As Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is set to come to Milton Keynes from the 9th to the 13th of April, today I’ve written up an Ultimate Guide to this very colourful show…

The Plot

This fast paced high energy show brings the biblical story of Joseph to life!

The History

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were first commissioned to write Joseph for a school choir. The original version of the show ran at just 15 minutes – it soon grew in popularity and was expanded, first into into 20 minutes and then 35, before it eventually turned into the show we know and love today. The first performance of the show in it’s current form was at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1974 and it’s been an iconic part of musical theatre ever since!

Music

Classic songs include Close Every Door to Me, Go Go Go Joseph and of course Any Dream Will Do.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is on at Milton Keynes Theatre from the 9th to the 13th of April – for more information please visit http://www.atgtickets.com and search for ‘MK Theatre’.

Theatre

Quick Fire News: Cats, Starkid and More

More Cats News

According to new reports, the cats in the Cats movie will be the size of actual cats. The latest of an increasingly bizarre revelations about the upcoming adaptation was revealed to CinemaCon attendees as part of a behind the scenes look into the film which also revealed that the sets will be on a large scale, to be shown from the perspective of its feline protagonists. The movie is set to be released on the 20th of December 2019.

New Starkid Show Announced

Starkid fans rejoiced this week, as the ever-popular musical theatre group dropped the trailer for their newest show. Celebrating their 10th Anniversary this year and best known for shows including A Very Potter Musical, Holy Musical Batman, Twisted and The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals, they released a trailer for their newest show, Black Friday, on Tuesday night. The trailer states that the show will be on for the “holiday season” – more information including specific castings, venue and a Youtube upload are expected to follow in the next few months.

Adrian Mole to Hit the West End

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ the Musical is to receive a West End run. The show, which has already had successful runs at the Curve Leicester and the Menier Chocolate Factory and is based on Sue Townsend’s books, will open at the Ambassadors Theatre on the 15th of June. Tickets go on sale on the 5th of April.

Maya Angelou’s Story for Broadway Adaptation

Maya Angelou’s work and story will soon be combined in a new one-woman stage play. The show, which is being produced with the support of her son Guy Johnson, will be called Phenomenal Woman: An Evening With Maya Angelou and has been slated for 2021.

Theatre

MK Theatre Panto Cast

Lee Mead and Joe Pasquale will headline 2019 the MK Theatre Panto. They’ll appear together in Aladdin from the 7th of December to the 12th of January, in the roles of Aladdin and Wishee-Washee respectively. MK Theatre went into more detail on the castings in a press release last week. They said:

“Comedian and actor Joe Pasquale will lead the cast in the role of Aladdin’s hapless brother, Wishee Washee. Well-known and best-loved for being one of the hardest-working and top-selling live comedians in British comedy today, Joe has been delighting audiences for more than 20 years with his live stand-up tours and infectious sense of fun.

“ Best-known for winning the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead won the title role in the West End revival of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to rave reviews. Since then Lee has had lead roles in Wicked and Legally Blonde in the West End, released several solo albums and toured extensively.
They also went into more detail on the show itself, saying:

“Aladdin will feature the MK hallmark of outstanding entertainment for theatregoers of all ages with a lamp-full of laughter, a laundry-load of audience participation and jaw-dropping flying carpets complete with all of the ingredients audiences know to expect in this year’s must-see production.”

For more info on the Pantomime, please visit http://www.atgtickets.com and search for MK Theatre.