Tag Archives: Glasgow

REVIEW: Nativity! The Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

The clocks have gone back, Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night are over, so, of course, Christmas is here. Seven weeks early, but who’s complaining when it’s the stage version of Bafta Award-winning Debbie Isitt’s hugely loveable 2009 movie, Nativity?

For those familiar with the big-screen trilogy, the stage plot is lifted entirely from the first film. Mr. Maddens (Scott Garnham) is a less than effective primary school teacher, having previously been an even less than successful actor. With the festive season approaching, the school Nativity show looming and a broken heart courtesy of his ex-girlfriend Jennifer (Ashleigh Gray) who dumped him to pursue her career dreams in Hollywood, things can’t possibly get worse. Unfortunately they do. Competition arrives in the form of his former best friend, Gordon Shakespeare (Andy Brady), who is now receiving plaudits for his festive extravaganzas at a rival primary school. Maddens declares that a Hollywood producer is coming to film his Christmas show, needless to say they’re not, and mayhem ensues, aided and abetted by hyperactive classroom assistant Mr. Poppy (Simon Lipkin).

With such well-loved source material, the cast need to step up and fortunately they more than match, and in some cases exceed that of the film. For West End theatre buffs, this is dream casting. Scott Garnham is entirely believable as the lovelorn Mr. Maddens with a gorgeous voice to boot, Ashleigh Gray makes her mark in the relatively small role of Jennifer and manages to showcase her phenomenal vocal skills, Andy Brady is a suitably manic Mr. Shakespeare (his Herod is a gem) but it is the utterly irresistible Simon Lipkin as Mr. Poppy who thoroughly steals the show. Lipkin is a star in everything he’s in and here he gets to showcase his formidable talents while still bringing out the best in everyone around him.

But what about the kids?, after all, this really is a children’s show. The local children cast as the pupils of Oakwood Primary School are drilled to perfection, but the pupils of St. Bernadette’s are truly phenomenal. Added to an already spectacular cast, there’s also an irresistible pooch called Cracker to crank up the cute factor.

The production values are high and the set looks as good as anything your likely to see on a West End stage, and the choreography from the always reliable Andrew Wright is perfectly reflective of that of children in 2018. The roster of musical numbers has been significantly upped from the half a dozen songs in the movie and each is a catchy delight.

Nativity! starts on a high and the entertainment factor never diminishes for the entire running time. It knows how to tug at the heart strings without becoming over schmaltzy, you’d need to be hard-hearted indeed not to be touched by this. This is a show of infinite quality from start to finish and stands head and shoulders above most festive offerings.

It preaches a laudable message of the power of a positive mindset and that sometimes the good guys can win in the end. Ultimately it’s a festive, feel-good, feast for the eyes that fills you with the warm and fuzzies.

Beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket, this really is an unmissable show.

Runs until November 2018 | Image: Richard Davenport

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub. The UK’s leading and most prolific digital portal for the performing arts. With 150 reviewers spread across the UK, managed by 10 editors, The Reviews Hub publishes reviews, previews, features and interviews on entertainment throughout the whole country.

 

REVIEW: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The mighty Mischief Theatre return. Hoorah! On the heels of their world-wide success with The Play That Goes Wrong (Olivier Award-winning, a run on Broadway and around the globe and several UK tours) and Peter Pan Goes Wrong (West End, UK tour and a screening on the BBC), it’s now the turn of The Comedy About a Bank Robbery. Needless to say, this isn’t the Hatton Garden Robbery or Brink’s-MAT.

It’s summer 1958, Minneapolis, USA. A clutch of utterly clueless Canadian crooks attempt a diamond heist on Prince Ludwig of Hungary’s priceless jewel, cue the astonishing physical feats, witty wordplay and visual puns a-plenty with which this indefatigable theatre company are now synonymous.

The whole production plays out like a glorious 1950s, screwball B-Movie with harks back to the Golden Age of British comedy, there are nods to Morecambe and Wise and Two Ronnies sketches, and the wonderful stage adaptation of The 39 Steps (the show Mischief Theatre followed into the Criterion Theatre in the West End). The visual and physical gags are as jaw-dropping and inventive as ever (to state here what they are would ruin the effect).

The cast are universally top-notch, but it’s great to see Mischief founding member Dave Hearn (seemingly replacing Sean Carey) as con artist Sam, his pin-sharp timing is a joy, Julia Frith as bank manager’s daughter Caprice, is a glorious mix of Lucille Ball and Gloria Grahame, Jon Trenchard is hugely entertaining as the put-upon Warren and Ashley Tucker’s Mrs. Monaghan has more than a touch of Karen Walker from TV’s Will and Grace. The cast also do a brilliant job in their sung scene changes, fabulous 50s Doo-Wop hits cover all the transitions.

There’s a ‘turn up your nose’ snobbery about slapstick and farce, but there’s no denying that Mischief Theatre’s trademark comedy is universally appealing. It also has to be acknowledged how much intellect and acting skill is required to pull this off so successfully.

It does take a while for the first half to get into its stride and there are a few too many filler moments but, though it feels hackneyed to use the phrase ‘a laugh a minute’, it really ramps up to being just this, the visual and verbal comedy is relentless.

Mischief Theatre still have the power to please an audience. It leaves you wanting more and wondering what’s next from this powerhouse production team.

Runs until November 2018 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

WHAT’S ON NOVEMBER: GLOC present Oklahoma at the King’s Theatre

The Glasgow Light Opera Club is proud to present their production of the much-loved classic, Oklahoma!

The popular story tells of farm girl Laurey Williams’ struggle to choose between two rival suitors – cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister farmhand Jud Fry.

Oklahoma! was the first collaboration between the legendary duo Rodgers and Hammerstein and changed the face of musical theatre with its innovative use of storytelling through song.

The production stars Sarah Laing as Laurey, John Trevor Hughes as Jud and Peter Robson as Curly.

With memorable including Oh What Beautiful Morning, Kansas City, and of course the title track Oklahoma, this is the perfect night out for all the family.

Oklahoma!

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 13-Sat 19 Nov 2018

Tue-Sat evenings, 7.30pm

Wed & Sat matinee, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

 

REVIEW: Summer Holiday – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Taking as its source the classic 1963 Cliff Richard movie, Summer Holiday is a feather light piece of escapism for all the family with a hard-working, talented cast and more than a few much-loved, familiar tunes.

It’s yet another miserable British summer, when Don and his fellow London bus mechanics persuade their bosses to let them borrow a double-decker bus to escape the grey skies. They set off for the south of France. On they way, they encounter a trio of female singers (the Do Re Mi’s) who have broken down on the way to a gig in Athens. Thrown into the mix is an American singing sensation (Barbara) disguised as a boy, on the run from her over-bearing mother and her agent. Cue some old-fashioned frolics and farce.

First turned into a stage musical in 1996, it has become a favourite of amateur dramatic societies up and down the UK, and as a work that’s fondly regarded by the great British public, it is ripe for a revamped professional tour. In order to ensure mass appeal, some of Cliff’s earliest releases have been shoe-horned into the song list along with those culled from the soundtrack of the movie. It must be said that there are more than a few that are pure filler, and unnecessarily extend the running time without adding much entertainment value, but for the most part the hit songs are a winner: Do You Wanna Dance, The Young Ones, Move It, Living Doll, Bachelor Boy and the famous title song get the audience on-side the moment the first bars ring out.

The energy level of the cast is critical in a work as lightweight as this, and thankfully they are giving their all. Their commitment to their roles is universally deserving of praise. In the ‘Cliff Richard’ role of Don, Ray Quinn is a hugely reliable, likeable and sure-footed leading man, he’s more than proved his chops in the singing department, but he’s also a gifted dancer. His trio of mates: Rory Maguire (Cyril), Billy Roberts (Steve) and especially the hugely talented Joe Goldie (Edwin) provide solid support, each singing, dancing, acting and breathing life into their roles with energy.

The Do Re Mi’s prove a likeable trio and Alice Baker (Alma) Laura Marie Benson (Angie) and especially Gabby Antrobus (Mimsie) do their best with the slim material they are given. Sophie Matthew is pleasant enough but unremarkable as Barbara and Becky Bassett as her mother Stella, is at least two decades too young to play the part.

Racky Plews choreography is as reliable and inventive as ever and is executed with precision and energy throughout. The scene to Move It in particular, is cleverly realised with ski poles and pairs of Heelys.

The minimal (read for that cheap looking) set doesn’t do much for the production, it is played out to a stark black background throughout which lends no sense of place, it is clear all the money has been spent on the realisation of the double decker bus, which is thankfully effective.

The script is weak and the characters are utterly two-dimensional, however, the fact that the cast are clearly giving their all makes up for the short-comings in the writing. The humour gets to the levels of mildly ‘seaside saucy’ and there are some lazy stereotypical ‘Johnny Foreigners’ replete with dodgy accents, if you’re being kind you could say it’s a hark back to a more innocent and simplistic time, less kindly you could call into question the taste/judgement levels of the production team. Criticism could also be made of an all-white cast in a musical in the UK in 2018.

It’s simplistic, it’s undemanding but it’s ultimately good old-fashioned, feel-good fun.

Runs until 3 November 2018 | Image: Contributed

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

WHAT’S ON FEBRUARY: Ian Hislop and Nick Newman reunite for Trial by Laughter

Trial By Laughter
Mon 11 – Sat 16 Feb
Kings’s Theatre, Glasgow
Tickets from £13

Following critical acclaim for The Wipers Times, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new play Trial by Laughter.

William Hone, the forgotten hero of free speech, was a bookseller, publisher and satirist. In 1817, he stood trial for ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. Worse than that he was funny by parodying religious texts. And worst of all, he was funny about the despotic government and the libidinous monarchy.

WHAT’S ON JANUARY: Rebus – Long Shadows comes to Glasgow

Tue 29 Jan – Sat 2 Feb
Theatre Royal
Tickets from £13
By Ian Rankin, adapted by Rona Munro.

Featuring Charles Lawson as John Rebus, Cathy Tyson as Siobhan Clarke and John Stahl as Big Ger Cafferty, directed by Robin Lefevre.

The new story exclusively on stage. Detective Inspector John Rebus is retired but the shadows of his former life still follow him through the streets of Edinburgh. Whisky helped but now he’s denying himself that pleasure. But when the daughter of a murder victim appears outside his flat, he’s back on the case and off the wagon.

NEWS: Dementia Friendly performance of Still Alice at Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal, Glasgow is to hold a Dementia Friendly performance of Still Alice next month as part of the venue’s ongoing commitment to providing an accessible theatre environment.

Still Alice, which is based on the novel of the same name by Lisa Genova, runs at the city centre venue from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 November with the Dementia Friendly performance taking place on Thursday 15 November at 2.30pm.

Still Alice tells the story of Alice Howland, stubborn, clever and driven – a professional at the top of her game. But, diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 50, she is compelled to confront her new reality and draw on her resilience to remain independent for as long as possible.

Starring Sharon Small with a ‘spellbinding’ performance as Alice, this tender and touching play is a unique insight into the experience of a woman fighting to maintain her identity as her world changes.

Industry publication The Stage described Still Alice as, ‘a moving production that manages to find the positivity at the centre of an otherwise devastating illness.’

The Dementia Friendly performance is carefully tailored for people living with dementia as well as their families and carers so everyone can enjoy this wonderful production in an environment that is comfortable and supportive.

The house lights will be partially left up throughout the performance and quiet break-out rooms will be available before, during and after the performance. Specially informed theatre staff will also be on hand during the show to answer any questions people may have. There will also be an Alzheimer Scotland information stand available during each screening.

A bucket collection will be taken throughout the week in support of Alzheimer Scotland.

Familiarisation visits are available should anyone wish to undertake one of these prior to attending the performance.

This Dementia Friendly staging follows successful Dementia Friendly showcases of Scottish Opera productions at Theatre Royal, Relaxed Performances of pantomime at Theatre Royal’s sister venue, the King’s Theatre alongside several Captioned and BSL aided shows every year across both theatres.

James Haworth, Theatre Director at Theatre Royal, said: “Working with the producers of Still Alice and Alzheimer Scotland to bring a Dementia Friendly performance of this poignant play to Theatre Royal has been extremely rewarding.

“Alzheimer Scotland have been a tremendous support to our staff, ensuring we as a venue understand how to assist those living with the illness when they visit our theatres. I do hope our patrons will consider leaving a donation for this fantastic organisation during their visit to see Still Alice.”

Sarah Burgess, Head of Localities from Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside the Theatre Royal Glasgow to create a dementia friendly performance of Still Alice.

“Knowing that the theatre is aware of what dementia is and how staff can support people can really help those living with the illness become less isolated and more engaged with the arts. This is another crucial step towards building a Dementia Friendly Scotland, where nobody should face dementia alone.”

For any questions you may have about the performance or any specific additional requirements, please our dedicated Access Booking Line on Freephone 0800 912 6971.

LISTINGS

Still Alice

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Tue 13 – Sat 17 Nov 2018

Dementia Friendly Performance, Thu 15 Nov, 2.30pm

Saturday matinee, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

Image: Geraint Lewis

NEWS: Leah MacRae announces her first ever solo Scottish tour – Leah’s Big, Fat, Fabulous Diary

Leah MacRae today announced her first ever solo Scottish tour! Leah’s Big, Fat, Fabulous Diary is her one-woman musical theatre show with original comedy songs – a classic ballad or two – and stories from Leah’s very secret diary. This is an exciting step for the River City and Gary Tank Commander star, taking her own show on the road.

Big, Fat, Fabulous Diary which was first performed to sell out audiences in Glasgow and Ayr in 2018 includes stories like ‘Cleaning Cupboard First Winch’, ‘The Hold-In Pants Naked Truffle Shuffle’ – taken straight from the well-loved pages of Leah’s “own” diary.

Fans of Leah’s on-stage work, her TV personalities and her presence on social media know she’s not afraid of belting a ballad or playing funny, quick and very real characters –they will get to know Leah a lot better as she brings her Fabulous Diary to life across the country in 2019.

TOUR 04 MAY – 09 JUNE 2019  

04 May – Howden Park Livingston

10 May – Adam Smith Theatre Kirkcaldy 

11 May – Barrfields Theatre Largs

16 May – Beacon Arts Centre Greenock

17 May – Eastbrook Hall Dumfries

19 May – Theatre Royal Glasgow

23 May – Palace Theatre Kilmarnock

24 May – The Tivoli Theatre Aberdeen

25 May – Universal Hall Findhorn

30 May – Queen’s Hall Edinburgh

31 May – FTS Theatre Falkirk

01 June – Webster Theatre Arbroath

02 June – Perth Theatre Perth

07 June – Whitehall Theatre Dundee

08 June – The Corran Halls Oban

09 June –  Eden Court Theatre Inverness

NEWS: THEATRE ROYAL TO HOST “THE BODYGUARD” THEMED KARAOKE AS HIT MUSICAL KICKS OFF UK TOUR IN GLASGOW THIS CHRISTMAS

Theatre Royal, Glasgow is to host The Bodyguard-themed karaoke during the hit musical’s four-week run at the venue this Christmas.

Following the success of Mamma Mia! karaoke at Theatre Royal last Christmas, the sing alongs will take place after the 7.30pm performance on Fridays and Saturdays at the venue’s upper circle bar.

Entry is included with the ticket price so if you’ve already booked your seats for a night karaoke is taking place, you’re sorted.

If you’ve yet to book and want to sing all the Whitney hits including Queen of the Night, Run To You, How Will I Know, I Will Always Love You and I Wanna Dance With Somebody, be sure to book for one of the following performances:

Friday 7 December 7.30pm

Saturday 8 December, 7.30pm

Friday 14 December, 7.30pm

Saturday 15 December, 7.30pm

Friday 21 December, 7.30pm

Saturday 22 December, 7.30pm

Friday 28 December, 7.30pm

Saturday 29 December 7.30pm

Grab somebody who loves you and sing the night away!

The Bodyguard, starring Alexandra Burke as Rachel Marron, opens on Monday 3 December and runs until Saturday 29 December, the first dates of an extensive UK tour.

Based on the hit 80s film of the same name, the classic story tells of former Secret Service agent, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. They both expect to be in charge, but they don’t expect to fall in love.

Alexandra Burke returns to the role of Rachel Marron following her triumphant run in the show in both the West End and the subsequent sell out UK tour which ran at King’s Theatre in March 2015 to a sold out crowd.

She first rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor and her debut number one single Hallelujah sold over one million copies in the UK, a first for a British female soloist. She most recently appeared as Svetlana in Chess at the London Coliseum and will soon appear as Roxie in Chicago at the West End’s Phoenix Theatre. Last year she reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing. Her other theatre credits include Deloris Van Cartier in the national tour of the musical Sister Act.

Alexandra Burke will perform the role of Rachel Marron at evening performances only with the exception of evening performances on Thursday 20, Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 December. 

NEWS: KAREN DUNBAR TO STAR IN AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL CALENDAR GIRLS IN GLASGOW

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, the producers of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical comedy, CALENDAR GIRLS The Musical, are thrilled to bring the award-wining production to Glasgow for a two-week run next year.

Starring Scottish comedy queen Karen Dunbar, CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL, which is based on the true story and Tim Firth play of the same name, will run at the King’s Theatre from Tuesday 11 – Saturday 22 June 2019.

Karen Dunbar is best known for BBC1 Scotland’s sketch shows, The Karen Dunbar Show and Chewin’ the Fat. She has also worked extensively in theatre including with the National Theatre of Scotland and last year devised her own play, #71, for A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Oran Mor last year. Karen has also starred in the King’s Theatre pantomime.

Further casting is to be announced.

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the North of England and have been friends for 25 years.  With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner.  Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.

CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5million for Bloodwise. This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will continue to receive monies from this production.

Facebook: @thegirlsmusical

Twitter: @thegirlsmusical

Calendar Girls The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 11 – Sat 22 Jun 2019

www.atgtickets.com.glasgow

0844 871 7648*calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

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