Tag Archives: Amelia Lily

REVIEW: Shrek The Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

The big, green, Scottish ogre is back on the road again, delighting audiences young and old in this joyful, colourful, in-your-face, fun night out for all the family.

Based on the award-winning 2001, Dreamworks movie, Shrek and Donkey join forces to rescue Princess Fiona from imprisonment in her tower. Standing in their way are not only a fire-breathing dragon and a great big secret, but a whole host of fairytale misfits and the evil Lord Farquaad.

Beneath the eye-popping colour and glitzy visuals, this is a story with real heart and it gently promotes a message of equality and acceptance in the best possible way: with intelligence and wit. For all the comic songs there’s a fair share of poignant and though-provoking ballads too.

This was never going to be anything other than a sure-fire hit, so beloved are the Shrek films, that coupled with the fact this truly is entertainment for the whole family. Much of the dialogue can be enjoyed at both adult and child level and a sensible start time (7pm) to accommodate the ‘school night’ crowd, make it a must-see for all the family. There’s also a challenge for musical theatre fans to see how many references they can spot to fellow West End and Broadway shows.

The main cast are solid and fine-voiced: Shrek Steffan Harri (largely) nails the Scottish accent in front of a Scottish crowd. Princess Fiona for this leg of the tour is the seemingly ubiquitous Amelia Lily who does a good job vocally and whose acting skills improve with every role she tackles, and Marcus Ayton gives an entertainingly ‘ramped up camp’ version of Donkey. But, of course, it is Samuel Holmes who steals the show with a refreshing take on the hysterical Lord Farquaad. No one can compete when he bursts on stage, not only does Holmes have impeccable comic timing, he has a fabulous voice too. Mention must be made of the multiple role playing ensemble who act wonderfully and sound sublime and the set and the transitions from scene to scene are as slick as you will see on any stage.

The night’s are getting darker, the temperature is dropping, so what better way to warm your heart and soul than to see this big-hearted beauty of a musical.

Runs until 6 October 2018 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub.



REVIEW: American Idiot – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Producing a concept album in 2004 was a brave move for US pseudo-punks Green Day. It isn’t hyperbole to describe that album, American Idiot, as culturally significant in US rock history, winning a Grammy Award in 2005 and frequently appearing on ‘greatest rock album’ lists ever since.
Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer (who reworked Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening with Tony Award-winning success) have together created a two-time Tony Award-winning rock opera for the post 9/11 generation.

Childhood friends Johnny, Tunny and Will, are searching for purpose in small town suburbia in an era of apathy, in a country led by George W Bush at his most bombastic. Wanna-be Rock star Johnny takes his guitar (and his soon-to-be heroin-addled alter ego St Jimmy) and heads for the big city, Tunny turns impulsively to the army and Will, trapped by impending and unplanned fatherhood, sits on the sofa drinking himself into oblivion. Chances are taken, mistakes are made, and everybody goes home licking their wounds in the end. There’s little more to it than that, but for non-Green Day fans and non-American Idiot fans, the story such as it is, might just take a bit of unravelling.

The characters are drawn with broad brushstrokes, existing firmly on the surface, they lack neither depth nor subtlety and the portrayal of women in woeful, worthy of little more than cursory characterisation (the female lead played by Amelia Lily deserves only the moniker Whatsername), that said, this relentless, angst-ridden rockfest is infectiously entertaining from beginning to end.
While it lacks the visual impact of the large scale 2012 touring production which came direct from the US with an all-American cast, director Racky Plews makes up for the simplistic staging by filling the stage with raw energy, not to mention a whole raft of cracking tunes including the anthem for the disaffected Boulevard of Broken Dreams, When September Ends, and of course, the title track American Idiot. Chords crash, the performers flail and writhe in paroxysms of rage, but you just can’t help being carried along with it all.

Folksy singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, (a man whose first ever group was a Green Day tribute band with fellow cast member Lucas Rush) is Johnny and is at his best, guitar in hand, in the slower numbers when his beautifully melodic voice can shine. The rest of the central male cast are competent and high on energy and angst but are underpowered vocally and struggle to overcome the thrashing chords of the fine-sounding on-stage live band. Who does shine in the vocal department is X Factor alumni Amelia Lily, following in her brother Lewis Bradley’s musical theatre footsteps she has crystal clear diction and a strong presence.

American Idiot is a great big, bombastic ear-blaster, and while it might not entirely succeed as a piece of musical theatre, it is a great opportunity to hear an album’s worth of iconic tunes played with energy and enthusiasm.

Runs until Saturday 4 June 2016 | Image: Darren Bell

This review was originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub