Tag Archives: Glasgow Theatre Blog

REVIEW: Private Lives – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The mere sight of one another from their hotel balconies on their respective honeymoons is enough to tell the previously married Elyot and Amanda that they are still in love. Noël Coward’s brittle, bickering, perennially popular pair return in Tom Attenborough’s new production of Private Lives, but does it still charm a modern audience?

Famously written in three days in 1930 and premiered at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh the same year, any new production has to tread carefully to prevent Coward’s venomous barbs from slipping into parody. Attenborough’s production doesn’t deviate from the well-trodden path of his predecessors, this is very much a traditional production and at an economical two hours including interval, you’ll be out in time for the last train home.

Tom Chambers (Elyot) has recently been making a successful career out of playing louche lotharios from the 20s and 30s, and indeed, his talents are fully exploited here. The former Strictly Come Dancing and Top Hat star gets an opportunity to show some nifty dance moves as well as his singing and piano playing skills in a medley of Coward classics. Chambers’ Elyot isn’t as fully-fleshed-out as one would want it to be and some of the pithiest and wittiest lines are thrown away in his delivery. This is not a duel of equals as Coward intended it to be, Laura Rogers’ Amanda is a far more feisty foe than her former spouse. That said his performance is both engaging and entertaining. Indeed, his entry alone prompts applause from the appreciative audience and there are murmurs of anticipation before each of these oft-quoted lines.

In support Charlotte Ritchie as second spouse Sybil and Richard Teverson as ‘rampaging gasbag’ Victor have little to do, but what they do, they do well.

Attenborough’s production offers nothing new and may not be as ‘jagged with sophistication’ as it could be, but Coward’s wonderful words retain their ability to amuse and entertain over 80 years after they were written.

Runs until 27 February 2016 | Image: Alasdair Muir

This article was originally published at: http://www.thereviewshub.com/private-lives-theatre-royal-glasgow/

REVIEW: Judy – The Songbook of Judy Garland – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

An artist who means so much to so many: both tragic victim of the studio star system and ultimate Hollywood legend, the ever-enduring appeal of Judy Garland is enough to ensure a full house wherever her name appears.

Judy – The Songbook of Judy Garland is the only production officially sanctioned by the Garland estate and features youngest daughter Lorna Luft accompanied on this whistle-stop journey through the musical career of her mother by West End leading lady Louise Dearman, X-Factor, Brookside and Dancing on Ice alumni Ray Quinn, an array of seasoned musical theatre veterans and backing dancers The Boyfriends.

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The show format is a familiar one, live performances are interspersed with video snippets of Garland’s most famous movies and a few unseen interview clips of the star, looking it must be said, fragile and vulnerable, as well as some personal anecdotes from Luft about life with her famous parent. These personal reminiscences are a welcome touch and provide a tangible link from audience to superstar, that said, it would have been nice to utilise this very real connection and allow Luft more show time talking rather than singing songs which only her mother can truly give justice to.

There is a quality which permeates the whole production, from the set design of Colin Rozée (a Hollywood studio stage) with its black, red and white motif that carries through to the costume design, to the first class cast. Dearman and Quinn are the standouts in a universally talented line-up. Dearman’s “Stormy Weather” is a showstopper and Quinn surprises and delights, most notably in his duet with Darren Bennett, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, being both fleet of foot and in extremely fine voice. Bennett, it must be said is a class act, singing and dancing beautifully throughout. Dearman and Luft also memorably recreate the now famous 1962 duet between Garland and a then unknown Barbra Streisand.

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The musical arrangements are excellent as is the choreography and there are some nice touches in the projections especially in “The Trolley Song” where background and onstage action merge beautifully and to great effect. For all its quality there are a few quibbles though: a couple of technical glitches were handled quickly and professionally but an out of synch video of Garland singing “Mr. Monotony” did ruin what could have been a powerful moment.

The celebratory tone is brought to an end by a melancholy tribute to Garland and her most famous song, as the first notes ring out from “Over The Rainbow” the production to its credit, realises that no one else could come close to the star’s iconic rendition, leaving Judy in her gingham dress to sing alone.

This is very much a production that gives its target audience what it wants. With nigh-on 30 songs on the bill and a first-rate cast, the audience can’t complain it doesn’t get its money’s worth. A fine, quality tribute to a Hollywood legend.

Runs until Sat 6 June 2015 then touring

This article was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/judy-the-songbook-of-judy-garland-theatre-royal-glasgow/

NEWS: Glasgow Theatre Blog Voted in the Top 3 Most Influential UK Theatre Blogs

It’s with great pleasure that we received the news last week that Glasgow Theatre Blog was not only voted in the Top 10 most influential theatre blogs in the UK but was in the top 3.

A huge thanks to everyone who reads this blog – it’s all down to you and it makes all the hours at the keyboard so worth while.

And thanks to the Cision Media Rankings for the news.

 

NEWS: Glasgow Theatre Blog in lastminute.com’s Top Ten Theatre Blogs

The lovely people at lastminute.com have compiled a list of the UK’s Top Ten Theatre Blogs and I’m delighted to say that Glasgow Theatre Blog is on the list, check out all ten theatre blogs here: http://blog.lastminute.com/2012/11/19/theatre-blogs-uk/

It’s a great privilege for the blog but it’s an even bigger privilege to promote theatre in our brilliant city – so thanks to you for continuing to visit.

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NEWS: GTB features in Herald today

There’s a great article today from The Herald’s Julie McDowall on Oran Mor and the Glasgow theatre scene. I’m delighted to say that GTB was involved and there’s a wee quote from us in the article. Well worth checking out if you are interested or involved in theatre in our city. Find it here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts-ents/tv-radio/interview-glasgows-theatrical-crusade-complete-with-a-pie-and-a-pint.1402556399

Oran More image: Leslie Black