Tag Archives: Glasgow

NEWS: Oor Wullie tour announced with dates at Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Dundee Rep Ensemble and Selladoor Productions in association with Noisemaker, today announced a new musical adventure bringing to life Scotland’s favourite comic strip scamp DC Thomson Media’s Oor Wullie.  The world premiere stage show opens at the Dundee Rep Theatre from 23 Nov – 05 Jan before touring across Scotland with dates at Theatre Royal, Glasgow from 21  – 25 January 2020. Tickets on sale soon.

Oor Wullie has featured in DC Thomson Media comic strips in the Sunday Post for over 80 years, earning him the title of ‘Scotland’s Favourite Son’ in a public vote in 2004.  The iconic laddie from Auchenshoogle is much loved for his big heart, constant war against boredom and his mischievous energetic pranks which often land him in a scrape or two! Now you can see the spiky-haired scallywag live on stage as he embarks on an adventure with pals Fat Boab, Soapy Soutar, Wee Eck, and the rest of the Sunday Post gang – the only question is; where’s his bucket?!

In their 80th anniversary year Dundee Rep is one of Scotland’s most awarded theatres and the only theatre in Scotland to have a permanent company of actors, established 20 years ago as the Dundee Rep Ensemble. Oor Wullie will be directed by Dundee Rep’s Artistic Director Andrew Panton, and adapted for stage by Noisemaker whose previous collaborations include the hugely successful The Snow Queen in 2018 and a brand new musical premiering in the US this Spring Hi, My Name is Ben.

Oor Wullie also marks an ongoing partnership with the internationally acclaimed Selladoor Worldwide who recently commissioned and produced another DC Thomson Media favourite The Broons directed by Andrew Panton in their 2016 critically acclaimed tour.

Noisemaker’s Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie tell us: “We’re very excited to be bringing Scotland’s Oor Wullie to the stage in this unique collaboration between DC Thomson, Selladoor and Dundee Rep. Like so many of us, we grew up reading Wullie’s stories and they’ve remained a treasured part of our childhood. But the enduring appeal of “Oor Wullie” is that he doesn’t remain in the past; the comic has changed and adapted across its 80-year history, heralding Wullie not only as a figure of tradition, but also of Scotland today. We’re thrilled to be bringing his latest adventure to Dundee this Christmas, and to continue our ongoing relationship with the Rep.”

Andrew Panton, Artistic Director at Dundee Rep says: “Oor Wullie is a character that immediately connects with Dundee. I’m thrilled that as part of our anniversary season we’ll be once more collaborating with Noisemaker to bring this story to life on stage at the Rep – surely the only stage he could start this new adventure?”

David Hutchinson, CEO of Selladoor Productions says: “We couldn’t be happier to follow our production of The Broons working in partnership with such a fabulous creative team and theatre to share a story of the superbly observed and fantastically funny Wullie.  He and his gang hold a very special place in many hearts with a history spanning generations and we can’t wait for what promises to be a memorable night at the theatre for the whole family”.

Priority Tickets go on sale to ‘Friends’ of Dundee Rep on Monday 18th March and general sale on Tuesday 19th March across the tour.  See listings for booking details and join the cheeky chap who will prove that even at 80-years old he’s still Oor Wullie! Your Wullie! A’body’s Wullie!

 

NEWS: New Glasgow theatre group Green Door Theatre present Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins at Websters

A rare treat is coming soon for Glasgow-based fans of musical theatre, as new performing arts company Green Door Theatre bring the darkly comic and rarely-performed musical Assassins to Websters Theatre from 4th-6th April.

A five-time Tony Award-winner, Assassins takes a look at the men and women of American history who took their shot at the big time and tried to assassinate a sitting President — with varying degrees of deadly success. Brought together by Stephen Sondheim’s signature style and a phenomenal script by Emmy and Tony-winning writer John Weidman (Pacific Overtures, Anything Goes, Sesame Street), nine villains take aim in the name of love, rage, patriotism and the promise of the American Dream.

With time periods, gunshots and executions aplenty, Assassins is a complex and intriguing show that’s not often attempted, let alone tackled by a new company. So why have Green Door picked it as their first?

“All of our founding members have been making amateur theatre in Glasgow in some capacity over the last eight years,” producer Rachel Thomson explains, “and when we came together to start Green Door, there was just something about the challenge and excitement of Sondheim’s shows that made them feel like the right place to start. Couple that with being able to do something that nobody in Glasgow has done for years, in the crazy political time we’re now living in, and we thought it would be a great way to start with a… bang. Pun intended!”

New in name they might be, but those in charge of steering this complex production are far from inexperienced. Musical director Erik Igelström has been at the helm of multiple recent acclaimed Glasgow productions including On The Town (Glasgow Music Theatre) and Spring Awakening (Glasgow Live Productions). Assistant director and choreographer Marion Baird is the owner of the thriving Dance Glasgow studios in the west end and city centre, and has over ten years of experience choreographing for high quality theatre and dance shows across Glasgow.

Bringing their combined experience together, Green Door promise audiences for Assassins an evening that’s equal parts gripping and entertaining. Bold, original, and alarmingly funny, it might be the most timely musical for a Western world this divided, and for a Scotland trying to grasp it all from the side lines.

Assassins runs from 4th-6th April at Websters Theatre, Kelvinbridge. Tickets can be purchased via the theatre box office on 0141 357 4000 or at https://webstersglasgow.com/events/assassins-2019-04-04/.

For more information see www.greendoortheatre.com or follow Green Door Theatre on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @wearegreendoor.

 

NEWS: 9 to 5 Returns to Glasgow King’s

Currently playing in London’s West End, the producers of 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL have announced the musical will play the King’s Theatre, Glasgow from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 October 2019. Casting will be announced soon.

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL features a book by Patricia Resnick, the legendary film’s original screenwriter, and an original Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score by country legend and pop icon Dolly Parton. It tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor, will the women manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? Inspired by the cult film this hilarious new West End production is about teaming up, standing up and taking care of business!

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is written by Patricia Resnick, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. It is directed by Jeff Calhoun, choreography by Lisa Stevens, design by Tom Rogers, lighting design by Howard Hudson, sound design by Poti Martin, video design by Nina Dunn, original arrangements by Stephen Oremus & Alex Lacamoire, original Broadway orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, musical supervisor, reductions & extra arrangements by Mark Crossland, musical direction by Andrew Hilton and casting by Victoria Roe.

Dolly Parton presents 9 to 5

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 8 – Sat 12 Mar

Tue-Sat, 7.30pm

Wed, Thu, Sat: 2.30pm

0844 871 7648*

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

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

 

REVIEW: Scottish Opera Kátya Kabanová – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The shining star of Scottish Opera’s current season is undoubtedly Stephen Lawless’ gorgeous looking and sounding version of Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová. One of the four late operas by the composer that are universally acknowledged as his greatest works, it has been given something of a Scandi-noir look by designer Leslie Travers and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, for this co-production with Theater Magdeburg. Based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, and originally set in the 1860s in the small industrial town of Kalinov on the banks of the Volga river, the action has been advanced over a hundred years to the dark days of the Soviet era. 

Sweet and loyal Kátya is seemingly happily married to Tikhon but unrelentingly bullied by his over-possessive, domineering mother Kabanicha. When Tikhon is ordered away on business by his mother, the oppressed and isolated Kátya is tempted into the arms of another. Inherently loyal and utterly remorseful of her actions, she cannot come to terms with what she has done. In the closed-minded town she is subjected not only the whispers of the townsfolk, but the whispers in her own head. Kátya decisively takes action to calm the storm inside.

The orchestra of Scottish Opera are on lively form, at times so lively that it takes a strong singer to stand up to their vigour: some are more successful than others. Laura Wilde is a soft and timid Kátya with a crystal clear soprano, however, there are points where she, like others is overwhelmed by the pit. American tenor Ric Furman as her insipid lover Boris, is almost inaudible for much of the production, and as her Mrs. Danvers-like mother-in-law-from-hell, Patricia Bardon is in fine voice, but strays into pantomime territory as the arch villain. Much more successful are lovers Varvara (Hanna Hipp) and Vanya (Trystan Llŷr Griffiths) who provide a lively foil to the darker goings on.

This is a production that transcends its faults, darkly atmospheric, beautifully designed and with a lyrical yet highly dramatic score that is an absolute treat for the ears, it is a shining jewel in Scottish Opera’s current season.

Touring to Edinburgh 21 and 23 March 2019

Image: James Glossop

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA REVIVES SIR THOMAS ALLEN’S PRODUCTION OF MOZART’S THE MAGIC FLUTE

Sir Thomas Allen’s five-star production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute returns to Scottish Opera in May, set in a spectacular world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne.

Mozart’s most inventive opera, featuring a handsome prince, a damsel in distress, sorcerers, priests and a bumbling bird-catcher, opens at Theatre Royal Glasgow on Saturday 4 May, and tours to Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London and Belfast. With set and costume design by Simon Higlett, this production takes inspiration from the city of Glasgow at the height of its industrial powers, drawing on the aesthetics and ideas of the Enlightenment, particularly the work of the Hunter family and the huge scientific collections of The Hunterian Museum.

Conductor Tobias Ringborg (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) is joined by Peter Gijsbertsen (La traviata 2017) as Tamino and Gemma Summerfield, First Prize winner at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, as Pamina. Richard Burkhard is Papageno, the role he created in the original production in 2012; Julia Sitkovetsky is Queen of the Night; James Creswell is Sarastro and Adrian Thompson is Monostatos. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, Sofia Troncoso (Opera Highlights 2018), sings the role of Papagena.

Sir Thomas Allen said: ‘Our production of The Magic Flute, first created in 2012, makes its return to the stage and to theatres around Scotland. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the rehearsal period and to the performances that follow. There are many changes from our original cast, but one welcome return will be that of Richard Burkhard in the role of Papageno. He brought to the part a really brilliant personal way of playing, just as one would hope for Papageno, and our collaboration was, apart from all else, a lot of fun.

‘As for what you will see, well, if you are familiar with Glasgow and the richness of its constituent parts, then you will recognise all of the references in this show. It is a tribute by designer Simon Higlett and myself to a great Scottish city.’

There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute, in Glasgow and Edinburgh. These specially abridged performances are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia. Sound and lighting levels are adjusted for the comfort of the audience, and the cast is joined on stage by a narrator. Audiences will also be able to go in and out of the auditorium during the performance and see the show in the foyer areas on TV screens. Scottish Opera staged the UK’s first Dementia Friendly opera performance in November 2016, with The Marriage of Figaro at Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend The Magic Flute Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with visual impairments can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

Cast List

Tamino                                                            Peter Gijsbertsen & William Morgan (14, 18 May, 13,15 June)

Pamina                                                            Gemma Summerfield

Papageno                                                        Richard Burkhard & James Cleverton (20, 22, 27, 29 June)

The Queen of the Night                                  Julia Sitkovetsky

Sarastro                                                             James Creswell & Dingle Yandell (1, 5, 20, 22, 27, 29 June)

Monostatos                                                     Adrian Thompson

Papagena                                                        Sofia Troncoso*

First Lady                                                      Jeni Bern

Second Lady                                                  Bethan Langford*

Third Lady                                                     Sioned Gwen Davies

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Creative Team

Conductors                                                     Tobias Ringborg & Derek Clark (13,15 June)  

Director                                                            Sir Thomas Allen

Set and Costume Designer                                Simon Higlett

Lighting Designer                                            Mark Jonathan

Movement Director                                           Kally Lloyd-Jones

Translation                                         Kit Hesketh-Harvey

Performance Diary

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Sat 4 May, 7.15pm

Wed 8 May, 7.15pm

Fri 10 May, 7.15pm

Sun 12 May, 3pm

Tue 14 May, 7.15pm

Thu 16 May, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 18 May, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Thu 9 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 18 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sun 12 May, 1.45pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sun 12 May, 3pm

 

Eden Court, Inverness

Tue 21 May, 7.15pm

Thu 23 May, 7.15pm

Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 24 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 25 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sat 25 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Thu 30 May, 7.15pm

Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 31 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Wed 5 Jun, 7.15pm

Fri 7 Jun, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sun 9 Jun, 3pm

Tue 11 Jun, 7.15pm

Thu 13 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 15 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Thu 6 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 15 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sun 9 Jun, 1.45pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sun 9 Jun, 3pm

 

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London, E8 1EJ

Thu 20 Jun, 7.30pm

Sat 22 Jun, 7.30pm

 

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 22 Jun, 6pm

 

Belfast Grand Opera House, 2-4 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7HR

Thu 27 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 29 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 28 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 29 Jun, 6pm

NEWS: GLASGOW WRITERS JOIN FORCES FOR COMEDY FESTIVAL

Four Glasgow playwrights have teamed up to present a quartet of plays as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival next month. Short Attention Span Theatre is a method of theatre which delivers exactly what it says on the tin: short dramas for those with short attention spans as well as those who like to experience a variety of works in one evening. 

Karen Barclay, Tom Brogan, Catriona Duggan, and Chris McQueer will each debut a brand new play to audiences in CCA on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 March.

Barclay’s Mortified aims to get to the root of whether or not a person can actually die from embarrassment, while McQueer’s Last Can tells the tale of a couple living in post-apocalyptic Glasgow when Lou discovers John has stashed the world’s last can of Irn-Bru for himself.

Karen Barclay

Duggan’s When The Penny Drops centres around a school teacher who has found the perfect way to deal with the stresses of the job, and Brogan’s Delivery sees a failed comedian confronted by a pupil in his stand-up comedy class.

Tom Brogan

Five local actors will take on multiple roles in the four plays, continuing the Short Attention Span Theatre trope of performing with a small and tight-knit cast. Regulars Mairi Davidson, Johanna Harper, Kat Harrison, and Grant McDonald will be joined by John Love to keep audiences entertained during the two-night run.

Chris McQueer

Writer Chris McQueer, author of the acclaimed Hings, Leathered, and HWFG, said: “I’ve only just got my head around describing myself as an author, so to try my hand at drama and put on a playwright hat for the first time has been a bit of a challenge – but it’s been great fun. I can’t wait for the performances as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, and for audiences to see these four brilliant plays for the first time.”

Catriona Duggan

Catriona Duggan, who drew on her own experience as a school teacher to bring her play to life, said: “I’ve written for Short Attention Span Theatre a few times before and it’s always been a really wonderful and rewarding experience, but knowing you’re writing something which is going to be performed as part of the Comedy Festival is just a whole new level of excitement! I was really chuffed to be asked to be part of the writing crew for this event and I’m sure the cast will deliver fantastic shows for our audiences.”

For more information, and to buy tickets, visit glasgowcomedyfestival.seetickets.com

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

It isn’t hyperbole to say that Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake changed the face of classical dance forever. Retaining Tchaikovsky’s original score, the rest of the ballet is turned completely on its head. For all its fantasy, in Bourne’s hands the story takes on a much more ‘human’ form. Instead of the Odette/Odile/Siegfried triangle it is now the tale of a melancholic, maternally rejected prince whose emotional demise we track through the course of this exquisitely conceived and delivered production. It is a dark and at times sinister tale of repression and sexual fantasy, punctuated throughout with clever humour. It is also, of course, that show with the gender swapped swans: instead of the prettily prancing pens, it’s a herd of predatory and powerful cobs sizzling with electricity and a large dose of menace. In ridding the story of its expected gender roles it has much more power.

Literally seen by millions around the world, it returns in 2019 with a fresh new (though not radically changed) look for the 21st Century at the hands of original designer Lez Brotherston, with a new lighting design from Paule Constable and with a few of the more tired background characters refreshed. This is a show that even without the changes can withstand multiple re-visits.

The stage bristles with life from curtain up and with intriguing choreographic ideas and mesmerising sequences of movement throughout, it is impossible not to be captivated. Dominic North’s Prince is beautifully danced and emotionally poignant and Max Westwell has a formidable presence, ensuring a searing and memorable performance as the Swan/Stranger.

Tchaikovsky’s 1875/6 score is re-ordered here and is sufficiently varied that a modern interpretation of the story can hang on it perfectly. It is fundamentally beautiful whichever order it is played in, and in whatever era its ballet is set.

Ballet snobs will hate it, but you would need to be emotionally and artistically devoid to fail to appreciate the visual spectacle and the sheer originality of storytelling and staging. Nearly a quarter of a century on it remains as utterly perfect as it ever was. Unmissable.

Runs until 9 March 2019 | Image: Contributed

This post was originally written for the Reviews Hub

NEWS: Viva’s Jersey Beats Are Not Missing a Beat as They Kick Start Their 2019 Tour

Known as one of the greatest tributes to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This outstanding musical quartet has already taken 2019 by storm, kick-starting the year with a one-off performance on the beautiful island of Tenerife. And now with their Blackpool residency in full swing, as well as their 2019 UK tour, there is no stopping this talented group.

Adding an original twist to the phenomenal Jersey Boys’ theatre production, this four-piece powerhouse will take you through a nostalgic journey of the famous sights and sounds of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. All hosted by the outrageous Leye D Johns. A theatrical legend in his own right, Leye has been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years with residencies up and down the North West and beyond, making him no stranger to a packed-out theatre always bringing plenty of laughter, never leaving anyone disappointed.

Now in their fourth successful year at Viva Blackpool, the talented quartet is set to rock the UK in their 2019 tour that started in Leye D John’s old stomping ground of sunny Tenerife earlier this year. Welcomed on the sunny Canary Islands with open arms,  Jersey Beats – Oh What a Nite performed to a sell-out theatre, making the show an international touring production.

With outstanding vocals, flawless dance routines and side-splitting comedy, Jersey Beats – Oh What a Nite brings you hit after hit with performances including ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Beggin’, ‘Rag Doll’, and many more.

The tour will be visiting Glasgow on the 12th April 2019 at the Mitchell Theatre, tickets are available from: https://www.jerseybeats.co.uk/2019/02/28/buy-tickets-glasgow/ 

Jersey Beat – Oh What a Nite! Tour Dates 2019

Fareham – Ferneham Hall 1/3/2019  http://www.fernehamhall.co.uk
Coventry – Albany Theatre 14/3/2019 https://albanytheatre.co.uk/the-jersey-beats
Liverpool – Epstein Theatre 17/3/2019 https://www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk/events/oh-what-a-nite/
Sheffield – Library Theatre 21/3/2019 https://www.jerseybeats.co.uk/2019/02/25/buy-tickets-sheffield/
Aberdeen – ACT 10/4/2019 https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/bookevent/the-jersey-beats-oh-what-a-night/121001APVMTDTKSKHJMGBGBNPGMDBNNHH
Dundee – Whitehall Theatre 11/4/2019 https://www.dundeebox.co.uk/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=6AB760C6-F723-47AD-A853-4015BC38C41C
Glasgow – Mitchell Theatre 12/4/2019 https://www.jerseybeats.co.uk/shows/glasgow/
Isle of Wight – Medina Theatre 1/5/2019 http://www.medinatheatre.co.uk/article/jersey-beats-oh-what-nite
Exeter – Barnfield Theatre 2/5/2019 https://www.barnfieldtheatre.org.uk/
Exeter – Barnfield Theatre 3/5/2019 https://www.barnfieldtheatre.org.uk/
Musselburgh – Brunton Theatre 8/5/2019 https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/thebrunton/
Langholm – Buccleuch Centre 14/6/2019 https://www.buccleuchcentre.com/whats-on/jersey-beats-oh-what-a-nite-1544

WHAT’S ON MARCH: FERGUSON AND BARTON BRING A NEW PIECE OF HITCHCOCK INSPIRED DANCE THEATRE TO PLATFORM

Ferguson and Barton is an exciting new piece of dance-theatre coming to Platform on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th March 2019, which takes a dark look on gender, relationships and film. Filmic images are re-enacted and destroyed through movement, live video and fragmented text.

Loosely inspired by Hitchcock’s film Vertigo, Ferguson and Barton is a riotous challenge to the Hollywood patriarchy. It asks: ‘how do women play women and men play men?’. And do we have any hope of playing these roles together? In reaching back to Hitchcock’s 1958 classic film, Ferguson and Barton seeks to disrupt our contemporary perception of gender norms.

Show co-creator, Jim Manganello said: “Ferguson and Barton is a show about relationships, how we sustain them and how we mess them up. The two title characters love a bit of mischief. They want to explode the romantic images manufactured by Hollywood. So they make, on stage, a kind of alternative film of their own.”

Lucy Ireland, who also created the show, said: “We hope to bring together audiences that traditionally stick to either theatre or dance, giving them a kinetic experience that’s connected to the big themes of today. With Ferguson and Barton, this means taking on the Hollywood patriarchy and the archaic images of men and women that they’ve fed us.”

Ferguson and Barton is the first full piece presented by Shotput, recently founded in Glasgow as a bridge between theatre and dance. The show is created by Lucy Ireland and Jim Manganello, designed by Anna Yates, with lighting design by Emma Jones. It is made in association with Platform after being developed at Dance Base and The Work Room, with the support of Creative Scotland.

Ferguson and Barton

Platform, The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Easterhouse, G34 9JW

Mon 11th and Tue 12th March 2019 at 7pm

£8.50 (Full price), £5 (Concession) and £4 (Local Links)

Tickets via Platform Box Office: www.platform-online.co.uk / 0141 276 9696 (opt 1)

REVIEW: Collabro with special guest Kerry Ellis – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Rarely does a review of musical theatre boy band Collabro start without mentioning their 2014 win in the eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent. It’s now five years, four albums and as many tours on from their triumph. From meeting to rehearse in a London pub to winning the show in a few short months, they’ve supported Barry Manilow on his arena tour and now they’re headlining venues around the country on their biggest tour to date – The Road to the Albert Hall. Such is their stature that they have managed to secure West End veteran Kerry Ellis as a supporting player in their latest two-hour show.

The evening gets off to a fine start with Georgia and the Vintage Youth whose breezy sound has Caro Emerald vibes delivered with an Adele/Amy Winehouse vocal. The trio have an enlivening effect and the audience appear appreciative of the chirpy, bluesy, ska, poppy tunes. The set is short and sweet and the Collaborators, as the band dubs their fans, are more than ready for the main attraction.

Undoubtedly classic musical theatre is still very much their metier, but Collabro have branched out into more popular jukebox musical territory in this latest set. They bounce onto the stage to the strains of Grease is the Word with choreography à la The Overtones, there’s also a spirited medley from Jersey Boys to close the first act, as well as an up-beat pop/soul encore. Rest assured though that all the classic musical theatre big-hitters are here: Maria, As If We Never Said Goodbye, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On My Own, Why God Why?, are present in the first act, interspersed with Ellis’ rendition of a Brian May arrangement of The Way We Were. There’s Electricity with local 32-piece Stageworks choir, Glee’s version of Journey’s Faithfully, their original song Lighthouse, Bring Him Home, the almost inevitable medley of Greatest Showman songs, given a cabaret treatment by Ellis (This is Me and A Million Dreams), and Collabro’s own take on Never Enough, there’s Defying Gravity and the song that started it all for them – Stars, making up the second act.

While each singer has their own chance to shine, they are undoubtedly at their best when singing in harmony, sounding glorious when singing together. There are a few issues with pitch throughout, created mostly by matching the wrong song to the wrong singer and while the quartet feel like a thoroughly nice bunch of chaps, the dialogue to the audience seems stiff and contrived. There’s also an issue that the group themselves acknowledge – too many “sad” songs – the ballads overwhelm and while they are stunningly good, they do nothing to create a balanced journey through the course of the evening.

It will be interesting to see how the group move forward after several tours, to deliver something original next time. Collabro are polished and professional and undeniably provide a first class evening’s entertainment, fans will not be disappointed.

Continuing on tour throughout the UK this spring.

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