Tag Archives: Glasgow

NEWS: FROM THE QUEEN VIC TO THE QUEEN OF NARNIA SAMANTHA WOMACK TO PLAY THE WHITE WITCH IN THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE

THEATRE ROYAL, GLASGOW

TUESDAY 1 – SATURDAY 5 MARCH 2022

Theatre Royal, Glasgow has announced that TV and theatre star Samantha Womack will appear at the venue next year in a new stage adaptation of C.S Lewis’ beloved classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

 Samantha Womack, who known for her role as Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders, takes on the role of The White Witch when the show runs at the Hope Street venue from Tuesday 1 until Saturday 5 March 2022  as part of a UK tour, which will also visit Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe broke box office records upon opening at the Leeds Playhouse and went on to sell out shows and receive critical acclaim at the Bridge Theatre in London in 2019.

The show tells the story of Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter who embark on a magical journey through the wardrobe into the enchanted kingdom of Narnia. Waving goodbye to wartime Britain, they adventure the frozen, faraway land where they meet a faun, talking beavers, and of course noble king of Narnia, Aslan and the coldest, most evil White Witch.

Samantha Womack returns to the theatre after her recent success playing the lead role in the sold-out production of The Girl on the Train in the West End and on tour.  Sam’s past theatre roles include the Tony award-winning production of South Pacific in which she starred alongside Patrick Swayze, Guys and Dolls at London’s Piccadilly Theatre (directed by Michael Grandage) and playing Emma in an award-winning production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal (directed by Sir Peter Hall). Her varied work on television has seen Samantha moving from comedy to drama with the cult success of BBC’s Game On and Babes in the Wood to ITV’s gritty crime drama Liverpool 1Imogen’s Face and Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders.  Films include playing the unhinged mother of Eggsy in The Kingsman franchise sharing the screen with Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson and playing Hazel in Jon Godbers  Up ‘n Under.

She said“Having been a huge fan of C S Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for as long as I can remember, I am thrilled to be playing The White Witch. The book has always been a magical read and having watched incredible actors interpret this role in the past, I am excited to see what she holds for me. This production is so beautifully conceived with thrilling sets and costumes and an amazingly talented cast and creative team. I can’t wait to seduce, plot and terrify Narnia into a permanent winter.”

James Haworth, Theatre Director at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, said: “What a treat to it is to welcome the magical land of Narnia to our stage as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe arrives for what will be a fabulous run.”

Joining Samantha in the cast are: Ammar Duffus (Peter Pevensie), Shaka Kalokoh (Edmund Pevensie), Robyn Sinclair (Susan Pevensie) and Karise Yansen (Lucy Pevensie).   Aslan is played by Chris Jared, Mr Tumnus by Jez Unwin, Mr Beaver by Sam Buttery and Maugrim by Michael Ahomka-Lindsay.  They are joined by Oliver Bingham (Mr Brinkworth, March Hare and Aslan Puppeteer), Scott Brooks (Mr Pope, Fox Trot, Associate Music Captain), Rachel Dawson (Miss Chutney, Blue Badger and Spirit of the Moon), Oliver Grant (Mr Wilson, Schrodinger, Red Squirrel and Aslan Puppeteer), Matthew James Hinchliffe (Mr Marsden, Mauve Mole), Tash Holway (on stage Swing, Dance Captain), Shaun McCourt (Mr Granville, Jack Rabbit, Aslan Puppeteer), Sophie Naglik (on stage Swing) Kate Parr (Miss Gumley-Warmley and Phoenix), Anthony Starr (on stage Swing), Christina Tedders (Mrs Beaver), Brad Veitch (on stage Swing). Johnson Willis (Professor Kirk, Father Christmas, Wise Owl and White Mouse) and Grace Wylde (Mrs Pevensie, Robin and Falcon)

The tour will be directed by Michael Fentiman, based on the original production by Sally Cookson with original Set and Costume design by Rae Smith.  Michael’s previous productions include the Olivier Award-nominated Amélie (Watermill Theatre/The Other Palace/UK Tour and currently running in the West End), The Windsors: Endgame (also running in the West End), The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville Theatre), the 50th anniversary production of Joe Orton’s Loot (Park Theatre/Watermill Theatre), Titus Andronicus and Ahasverus (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Taming of the Shrew (Sherman Theatre/Tron Theatre) and, as director and writer, CinderELLA (Nuffield Southampton) and The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (Tower of London).

Joining Michael Fentiman on the creative team are Tour Set and Costume Designer Tom Paris, Dramaturg Adam Peck, Composer Benji Bower with additional composition by Music Supervisor Barnaby Race, Choreographer Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus, Lighting Designer Jack Knowles, Sound Designers Ian Dickinson and Gareth Tucker for Autograph, Puppetry Director Toby Olié, Puppetry Designer Max Humphries, Aerial Director Gwen Hales, Illusionist Chris Fisher, Music Director Toby Higgins, Movement Consultant Dan Canham, Casting Director Will Burton, Fight Director Jonathan Holby, Costume Supervisor Joanna Coe, Wigs and Make Up Supervisor Susanna Peretz, Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl, and Associate Director James Callàs Ball.

Image: Seamus Ryan

WHAT’S ON: NEW STAGE PLAY BASED ON THE CLASSIC CLUEDO BOARD GAME TO TOUR THE UK IN 2022

Was it Miss Scarlet, with the revolver in the dining room, or was it Professor Plum, with the lead pipe in the library…?

Producers Joshua Andrews and Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Theatricals, in collaboration with their US producing partners Work Light Productions, Lively McCabe Entertainment & The Araca Group, are pleased to announce that Cluedo, a new stage play based on the classic Hasbro detective board game loved by generations and the hit 1985 Paramount film CLUE, is to tour the UK between January and July 2022. Based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, the play is written by Sandy Rustin with additional materials by Hunter Foster and Eric Price and for the UK production, Mark Bell. Tickets are on sale now from Cluedostageplay.com.

When Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock, Revered Green, Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard all arrive at a country house one dark and stormy evening, they are concerned to find they have all received the same mysterious invitation from Lord Boddy. What’s clear is that they all have something to hide and the mystery and hysteria grows, as the inhabitants and guests of Boddy Manor start being killed, with a variety of familiar weapons, leaving everyone to wonder, who will be next! Casting will be announced soon.

This UK premiere production is directed by Mark Bell, director of the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong and A Comedy About A Bank Robbery and just like the game, it promises audiences of all ages a nostalgic, fun and thrilling evening of entertainment.

This hilarious spoof of a thriller, will keep you guessing right up to the finale as both the audience and actors onstage try to work out whodunnit…. with what… and where!!

Week Commencing  09 May 2022                                     Edinburgh: Kings Theatre – ON SALE

Week Commencing 04 July 2022                                      Glasgow: Theatre Royal – ON SALE

REVIEW: Educating Rita – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

There’s an undeniable affection for Willy Russell’s 40-year-old, Pygmalion-like drama Educating Rita, from the great British theatre-going public. Originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and staged at what is now the Donmar Warehouse, it saw a much-loved and much-lauded film adaptation in 1983 starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine.

The story of 26-year-old, married, Liverpudlian hairdresser Rita (actually Susan) and her foray into the world of academia on an Open University course, and her tutor Frank, a career academic faded and jaded by university life, seeking solace in drink, this OU tutorship paying nicely for his alcoholic fix. Each feeds from the other: Rita’s world expands as she is exposed to the bohemian lifestyle of the students and Frank is energised by Rita’s lust for life. Each shines a light on the other: some truths are exposed, some assumptions shattered and inevitably, both Rita and Frank undergo changes, not necessarily for the better.

Four decades on (admittedly with a bit of updating from Russell himself for the 21st Century and this 40th anniversary tour) it still feels relevant, maybe depressingly so. Is it really still as hard for working class women, or those living in poverty to better themselves as it was in 1980? The ‘them and us’ world so prevalent then, is frighteningly familiar today.

Jessica Johnson and Stephen Tompkinson reprise their roles from the last national tour. Tompkinson’s natural hang-dog expression is perfectly suited to the world-weary Frank and he has time and time again proved himself to be one of the country’s most adept stage actors. Johnson’s Rita (Susan) is hugely likeable but her accent wavers frequently and her projection is such that it leaves you straining to hear much of her dialogue. That said, it is deservedly a British theatre classic, and still well worth watching.

Image: Robert Day

This post was originally written for The Reviews Hub

 

NEWS: The Glee Club Go Bananas to Mark First Anniversary

The Glee Club Glasgow served up a slice of comedy gold last night at their eagerly awaited first birthday bash. An edible pair of The Big Yin’s ‘big banana boots’ took centre stage and proved to be the icing on the cake at the popular comedy club’s celebratory show.

Guests were able ‘to fill their boots’ with slices of the eye catching life-size birthday cake which was created by award-winning Scottish cake designer 3D cakes. Handcrafted from toffee sponge and airbrushed to depict detail, the comedy cake was the brainchild of The Glee team who voted Billy Connelly’s famous fruity booties their favourite Scottish comedy icon.

A stellar line-up of Scottish comics entertained the crowd throughout the evening, including the award winning Mark Nelson, the hilarious Christopher KC and Ashley Storrie and up and coming stars Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Shona Lawson . Freshly made food, drinks and a lively after party ensured that a fun-filled evening was had by all to mark the one year milestone.

Since opening its doors in early 2019, The Glee Club Glasgow has welcomed a raft of top comedians to its stage, including Sean Lock, Joel Dommett, Larry Dean, Janey Godley, Suzi Ruffell, Tom Stade, Fern Brady, Rosie Jones, Gary Meikle and Des Clarke. In addition to its popular weekend shows, the club has hosted a series of sell-out events such as book tours, drag shows and a hugely successful series of Christmas and Hogmanay comedy nights.

To further fly the flag for Glasgow’s thriving creative and entertainment industries, The Glee Club partnered with leading Scottish festivals throughout the year to deliver a series of unmissable events including Celtic Connections, Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Comedy Festival.

The Glee Founder Mark Tughan commented: “Billy Connelly has some pretty big boots to fill in terms of Scottish comedy, so what better way to celebrate our first year in the city than by paying tribute to him with our wonderfully banana’s cake.

We opened the club to showcase and support stand-up comedy in the city and we are thrilled that our first year has been such a success. Glaswegians are known for their humour, so the top notch acts that the club has attracted and sold out shows really is testament to this. Our team is incredibly excited to bring more must-see shows to the city and fly the flag for Scottish comedy’”.

The Glee Club Glasgow’s 400 seater interior, is theatre-style with great views to the round Glee stage, plus excellent lighting, acoustics and atmosphere. An extensive menu of delicious freshly made food and a great quality drinks offering enables guests to enjoy both an evening of entertainment and dining experience under one roof.

Prices: Friday night tickets £11 / students £8 / ticket + food £20, Saturday night tickets £17 / students £8 / ticket + pizza + drink £27

The Glee Club box office: 0871 472 0400 / info@glee.co.uk

www.glee.co.uk

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REVIEW: God of Carnage – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

As with her almost universally acclaimed 1994 play Art, Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage is another comedy of middle class manners. This time, as it was in Art, the behaviour of the seemingly sophisticated adults involved descends into something akin to a playground fight, all the more ironic, as that’s precisely what’s brought them together in the first place.

Alan and Annette’s 11 year-old son Henry has had two teeth removed, incisors to be precise, by fellow pupil Freddie. The two sets of parents meet in that frustratingly PC way to civilly decide what action should be taken to facilitate the children having “a reckoning” and to teach them about “the art of co-existence”. As the alcohol is increasingly imbibed, the adults’ best intentions go by the wayside and the mud starts to get slung and everyone’s true colours come to the fore.

Reza has a masterful touch at highlighting the foibles of the middle classes and delivering them with a punch, but it needs a strong cast to deliver. As author Veronica (currently writing a book about Darfur) Elizabeth McGovern is seemingly the voice of reason, pushing the apology/reconciliation agenda between the two boys. Household goods salesman husband Michael (Nigel Lindsay) doesn’t quite fit seamlessly into this middle class idyll, a bit rough around the edges his loyalties are tested and exposed as the evening progresses. McGovern takes a little while to hit her stride, but she ramps up the emotion and elicits the laughs as the piece reaches its conclusion. As always, Lindsay delivers an absolute masterclass in comic acting, each word and action perfectly timed, as does Simon Paisley Day as driven lawyer Alan, when not throwing well-timed barbs, he’s barking advice to his clients down his constantly ringing phone, the ever-impressive Samatha Spiro as “wealth manager” Annette, is, as always, on-point.

The dialogue is as expected, razor sharp, Reza knows her audience well, and while this couldn’t be described as cutting edge, it is hugely entertaining, escapist fun, scratching the surface of the well-polished veneer of the middle class. Well worth an evening of your time.

Review originally written for The Reviews Hub

INTERVIEW: Peppa Pig talks ahead of ‘Peppa Pig: My First Concert’ UK Tour

Peppa Pig: My First Concert is a fun and interactive introduction to a live orchestra will take Peppa Pig fans on a magical musical journey. Peppa visits Glasgow on the 9th and 10th of February.

This production is based on Entertainment One’s popular animated television series, Peppa Pig, and gives children a chance to experience their first concert in a way that is truly meaningful to them. Specially designed for the youngest audience members, this allows them, together with Peppa, to discover an orchestra for the first time. Perfect for little ones, to capture their imagination and introduce them to a whole new world of music.

We talk to our favourite little piggy, Peppa Pig, before she goes back on the road with the second leg of her first ever concert.

My First Concert opens in February – for all tour dates, visit: https://www.peppapiglive.com/my-first-concert.php

So Peppa, are you excited to be going to a concert with your family this summer, and of course to see an orchestra for the first time?

Yes. Oink! Oink! Hee Hee Hee! I’m very excited to visit all these new places and I hope I get to make some more nice friends.

Have you been to a real-life concert before?

This is my first one! I can’t wait to see all the instruments being played on stage and hear all the different sounds they make.

Who are you going to the concert with?

Mummy, Daddy and George will also be there with me. I think we might even get to join in!

What are you looking forward to the most about the concert?

Listening to all the lovely music and joining in on all the songs I already know, like my favourite, the ‘Bing Bong Song’!

What’s your favourite instrument?

My favourite instrument is the French horn. It looks so fun to play and the noise it makes is so loud! I think George is probably going to like the drums the best.

 

  • 9 – 10 February 2020
  • GLASGOW
    Royal Concert Hall
  • 0141 353 8000
  • BOOK NOW

 

INTERVIEW: Foil Arms & Hog

Foil Arms and Hog will be heading to the  King’s Theatre, Glasgow on Sunday, 23rd February 2020.  Here they talk about their new show Swines.

Sean Finegan, as befits his status as the straight man in the Irish sketch group Foil Arms and Hog, is the spokesman for the trio off stage. It makes life easier for us to speak directly, he says, adding drily: “Otherwise I might say something witty and you’d attribute it to one of the other guys.”

We chat about their latest show, Swines, which is touring the UK after a sell-out season at the Edinburgh Fringe, but first Finegan explains how the trio met and got their distinctive name.

Finegan (Foil), Conor McKenna (Arms) and Sean Flanagan (Hog) were studying at University College Dublin (reading architecture, engineering and genetics respectively) 12 years ago, when they met through their shared love of performing.

“We were friends through the drama society but it was Sean Flanagan writing a play based on Father Ted that led to us forming the group,” says Finegan. “He was Dougal, I was Bishop Brennan and Conor was Father Ted. We had permission to tour round Ireland from [Father Ted’s creators] Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, and when the play finished we decided we should do a sketch show together.”

And the memorable name for the trio came out of good-humoured banter. “We came up with loads of naff names that punned on the word ‘sketch’ and rejected them. And then we were at a party one night and we were slagging each other off and came up with them.

“I’m the straight man, so I’m the foil; Conor is all arms and legs and very clumsy on stage; and Sean always hogs the limelight and steals all the laughs. They’re roles that we very easily fall into on stage.”

Finegan admits that some of the sketches they wrote and performed back then “we wouldn’t get away with now, they were quite insulting to all sorts of people”, but that over the years the humour has become more sophisticated.

That’s probably down to their work ethic; they write separately and then meet almost daily to develop the ideas. “Ideas get torn to shreds in the process and then we jump on to the idea and add more jokes and develop them. It sometimes takes months to nail a sketch.” Do they ever argue? “Well there are three of us, so it usually works out as two-to-one. No one has ever stormed out, put it that way,” Finegan laughs.

Finegan recalls when the group started out. “In the UK there’s a big sketch comedy scene but in Ireland that doesn’t exist. In our early days a lot of people would see three guys come on stage looking like Boyzone or something and they’d be instantly against us. But performing on the same bill with stand-up comics, we learnt so much about audience interaction. As any stand-up comic will tell you, you need to engage with the audience quickly and get them on your side.

“So we learnt pretty quickly and our comedy has become a sort of weird hybrid of sketch and messing with the crowd.”

But Foil Arms and Hog’s audience interaction is not cruel or humiliating. “I hope we’re not,” says Finegan, “because the intention is to bring everyone on board as it can be terrifying for some people [to be picked on]. But we love doing it because you never know what the audience may do, and we get a bit of a buzz from it. It’s the element that makes every show unique.”

In their second year at the Fringe they saw Edinburgh Comedy Awards winner Dr Brown (clown performer Phil Burgers). “I think we had thought clowning was the ‘honk honk’ kind of thing but then we realised that it’s about going with the flow. A couple of years later we attended one of his courses and it’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. It was brilliant stuff.

“It helped us so much on stage, particularly when things go wrong, as we might get to a funnier place with those skills we learned.”

Foil Arms and Hog have a dedicated following that they have built up over 11 Edinburgh Fringe shows, and for the past six years have posted short films on YouTube – they have clocked up an astonishing one million hits and have nearly 950,000 followers on Facebook. They have a broad demographic and, as Finegan says: “When we look out into the audience and see people from eight to 80 it gives us such a buzz. We have people tell us after a show that their son or daughter has found us online and introduced them to our comedy, and they come to see us together. It’s great.”

Thanks to YouTube, the group’s reach is global – and sometimes unexpected, says Finegan. “We were worried that one recent sketch – about Irish people not really being able to speak Irish – may not necessarily appeal to non-Irish people. But then we got an email from a fan in Sri Lanka saying he loved it because, ‘We’re all forced to learn Tamil when we go to school, it’s exactly like this’.”

But Swines – like all Foil Arms and Hog’s live shows – doesn’t contain any sketches fans may have seen online. “Some people may think they’re going to see the YouTube videos performed live on stage, but absolutely not. We make a point of never performing the online videos live. What works online usually doesn’t work on stage. It’s a very different kind of comedy, and much more surreal live.”

They also have more songs in their shows now than when they started. “They crept in,” Finegan jokes. “My singing’s certainly improved – the lads were carrying me in the beginning – but Conor is a very good singer and Sean knows all about harmonies because he’s been in choirs and stuff. The songs help the flow of the show and we like doing them. Who knows, in 10 years’ time we may be topping the charts.”

Contributed by Veronica Lee

 

REVIEW: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – SEC Armadillo, Glasgow

The panto-going citizens of Glasgow raised a cheer when the cast of the SEC Armadillo’s pantomime Snow White was announced. The almost universally adored Greg McHugh – he of the much-missed Gary, Tank Commander would star as court jester Gary, his TV co-star Leah MacRae would play Nanny McWee his mother (not sure the lovely Leah should be best pleased at that!), River City’s Frances Thorburn would be our heroine Snow White and a doyenne of British comedy acting, the wonderful Doon Mackichan would be the evil Queen Lucretia.

The quality cast, coupled with the sheer scale of the spectacle, add up to the city’s most fabulous, funny festive offering. There’s a camaraderie from the cast that just radiates to the audience, who are on-side with the high jinks from the start. McHugh is undoubtedly the star and his antics as the cheeky but naïve Gary are the highlights of the show, but there are star turns a-plenty, especially from Mackichan who is an absolute treat as the evil queen.

The only negative notes are a troupe of mildly horrifying looking woodland animals whose costumes look like they’ve been culled from the leftovers of the abattoir, all the more incongruous in such a spectacularly glitzy show and the auditorium itself, whose vast size does tend to engulf any audience reactions.

Definitely the most spectacular panto in town and certainly the most star-studded.

REVIEW: We Will Rock You – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

From a rocky start in 2002, We Will Rock You has defied critical backlash to become one of the UK’s best-loved musicals. Seen by over 6.5 million people it ran for 4600 performances at the Dominion Theatre in the West End, where the famous gold statue of Freddie Mercury guarded the patrons from his perch high above the entrance. This revived, re-designed and re-energised new touring production is even better than the original and boasts a cast of such quality, it is impossible not to be completely won over.

Set in a dystopian future, it’s 2310, and music has been outlawed. All thought is controlled by Globalsoft Corporation, and life is lived entirely on the internet. There’s no place for originality or free spirit. A rag-tag band of free-thinking ‘Bohemians’ set out to find the last surviving musical instrument on the planet and bring back the mythical ‘Rock and Roll’. That the subject matter is treated with complete knowingness, with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek, is one of its greatest strengths. The laughs in Ben Elton’s script come thick and fast.

However, it’s the music and in particular, the spectacular cast’s delivery of it that makes this production unmissable. As our hero Galileo Figaro, Olivier-nominated Ian McIntosh is an absolute standout, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe his outstanding voice and stunning range. As Scaramouche, Elena Skye is a wise-cracking wonder with fabulous vocals. TV regular Michael McKell provides the lion’s share of the comedy, bringing genuine belly laughs and impressive vocals as Buddy Holly, Amy Di Bartolomeo is also a memorable Oz. One small crimp in the evening is Jenny O’Leary as Killer Queen whose vocals are quite frankly messy, only exacerbated by the fact that these songs are world famous and her co-stars are at the top of their game. That said, the positives overwhelm any negatives.

If it’s an uplifting, feel-good night, with the music of Queen, a crazy, fun story, delivered by a world-class cast you want, then I’d beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this warm-hearted wonder of a show.

Runs until 28 December 2019 | Image: Johan Persson

Originally written for The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: The Overtones Christmas Party 2019 – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

It has become a sign that the festive season is approaching when The Overtones land in town. It’s been a decade since they burst on the scene and they’ve honed their craft over the years, with five top 10 albums, nine sold out UK tours and despite a rough few years personally, they manage to deliver the perfect pre-Christmas celebration.

It is, as always a mix of classic golden oldies, album favourites and a few less expected tracks, but most of all it’s a spirit-lifting evening where you can dance the night and your troubles away. There’s a warmth to each member of the band, they genuinely look as if their having a ball, and new member Jay James has seamlessly transitioned into the gap left by the death of Timmy Matley and the departure to pastures new of the much-loved bass vocalist Lachie Chapman.

Their greatest gift as an act is the ability to pick their set list, it’s all killer, no filler. These classic tunes are floor fillers, instantly recognisable, the audience are on their feet and singing along from the first few bars. Among many highlights, some standouts are their joyous version of Earth Wind & Fire’s September, Womack and Womack’s Teardrops, Dion’s Runaround Sue and old favourite Gimme Just a Little More Time from The Chairmen of the Board. There’s also a freshly arranged version of Walking in the Air, the contemporary twist has breathed new life into a twee festive tune.

The Overtones are a timeless band whose modern-vintage style has wide appeal, but it’s their endearing personalities, effort and energy, love of what they do and devotion to their fans that stands them head and shoulders above their contemporaries. Their ability to fill auditoriums up and down the country, proves that there’s still a place for class and quality. Here’s to many more years.

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