Tag Archives: King’s Theatre

INTERVIEW: Susie McCabe coming to the King’s this month

Susie McCabe needed to have a strong word with herself as she set out on writing her new show, Born Believer. This rising star of the UK stand-up scene, who has supported the likes of Jason Manford, Zoe Lyons and Stewart Francis along the way and has been the fastest-selling act at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival for three years in succession, is not a natural optimist. But she was determined to prove that she could change her disposition from cynical to positive.

“It’s very difficult when you’ve spent 40 years living in the west coast of Scotland because optimism does not come naturally to us,” Susie insists. “I did a show before called There Is More To Life Than Happiness which asked whether happiness is over-rated; I think there is an element of that in the Scottish psyche. I’m going to try and be positive, though it’s going to be a struggle. The British in general are pretty miserable. I spent two months in Australia and they’re so happy. The world is upside down just now, but this show is about why I think that everything is going to be alright.”

While Susie has somehow managed to convince herself that ultimately things will turn out just fine, she still feels for a certain group of people who have been stuck with a mess that’s been landed in their laps. “We need to apologise to millennials because we made this mess and they’re our children. Maybe they’ll forgive us? But then I see their fashion and I think they probably can’t be trusted anyway.”

While Susie is reaching for as many positive aspects about modern life as she can, she has found it almost impossible to nail down anything good to say about the B word. “I’ve written a show’s worth of material about Brexit, about the silliness of it, about how we got to that point, and then the absolute shambles of it. But because it changes almost every day, I could no longer find a way of doing it. I try to avoid it now because you can’t pin it down and anything you do pin down is purely historic and so anything you’ve written is inconsequential.”

Susie McCabe has joined the ranks of those people who found themselves on an all-too safe and comfortable career path, but who had eventually realised that they needed to do something else with their life. That something else for many has been comedy, with the likes of Frank Skinner, John Bishop, Micky Flanagan and Jimmy Carr among those who became successful stand-ups later in life. For Susie, her decision to try comedy came about after a stark realisation.

“I only really did this for a dare,” she recalls. “My mate and I were sat at my house after a curry and a few drinks. I was 30 and one of our mates had just been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. We both agreed that you just don’t know how lucky you are or know what’s around the corner.” Susie’s pal suggested that they both do something to scare themselves and after insisting that she would not be jumping out of a plane, a stand-up comedy course was mentioned.

“It all spiralled from there. It was 18 months before I got my first ever gig at The Stand and I only got it because Janey Godley sent an email saying ‘would you please book this lassie?’ And from that I was getting on weekend bills which then grew to headlining nights.”

Now almost a decade on from that first life-changing discussion, Susie has no regrets having seen her career move ever upwards to the point where she has supported some top household names, played festivals in Australia, and is embarking on this new solo tour. She has seen the levels of fame attained by other comics and has a fairly solid idea of what she wants from comedy.

“My ultimate goal is to have a career where I can still walk down the street without wearing a baseball hat and a set of headphones. I’d like to play theatres. I supported Jason Manford at His Majesty’s in Aberdeen and supported Stewart Francis at many a gig and they were brilliant shows. I would like some TV to build up my profile, to tour the country and Europe, and have that nice life where you are still be able to walk your dog in the park.”

For now, Susie feels a strong responsibility towards her audience and knows her job description inside out. “People sit in the house five or six nights a week and they come out to have a good time. We’re just going to have a laugh.”

Susie McCabe  BORN BELIEVER, Saturday, 28th March at the King’s Theatre.

Brian Donaldson

NEWS: HAIRSPRAY THE MUSICAL TOUR ANNOUNCES FULL DATES FOR TOUR

As previously confirmed, following two extremely successful tours in 2015/16 and 2017/18, producers Mark Goucher and Matthew Gale will tour their smash hit production of Hairspray in 2020-21. It can now be confirmed that the tour will open at Leicester Curve on 20 August and will visit the following venues in 2020: Manchester Palace, Bradford Alhambra, Blackpool Winter Gardens, Aylesbury Waterside, Birmingham Hippodrome, Glasgow Kings Theatre, Northampton Royal and Derngate, Woking New Victoria, Liverpool Empire and Brighton Theatre Royal.

On-sale dates and further updates will be available in due course via the website: http://www.hairsprayuktour.com/

Featuring the iconic music and lyrics by Academy Award, Tony and Emmy winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, this much-loved musical comedy is choreographed by Olivier Award-winning Drew McOnie with direction from Paul Kerryson.

It’s Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.

Hairspray is a musical based on the 1988 film of the same name which starred Divine and Ricki Lake, by cult filmmaker John Waters. With music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray originally opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently won eight Tony Awards. The production opened in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2007 and won four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical. Proving to be an international success, Hairspray has also opened in South Africa, Japan, South Korea, China and Dubai. Following the musical’s phenomenal success on stage, a film of the musical was released in 2007 which starred John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Marsden.

Glasgow Kings

Mon 19 Oct – Sat 24 Oct
On sale now

IMAGE: Darren Bell

NEWS: SING-A-LONG PERFORMANCE ANNOUNCED FOR BAT OUR OF HELL THE MUSICAL

The producers of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical have announced that a special sing-a-long performance will take place during the show’s run in Glasgow later this year.

The hit production, which features Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s greatest hits, will run at the city’s King’s Theatre from Tuesday 10 – Saturday 21 November as part of a UK tour.

The sing-along performance will take place on Thursday 19 November at 7.30pm. Audience members are also encouraged to dress up as their favourite character from the show as they sing along with the cast.

The sing along performance was announced as full casting was confirmed for the show.

Sharon Sexton will play Sloane and Rob Fowler will play Falco (both recently starred in the Mamma Mia! international Tour and the original West End cast of Bat Out Of Hell).

They will be joined by: Glenn Adamson (American Idiot) as Strat and Martha Kirby (Grease, Rags the Musical) as Raven. They are joined by Jordan Frazier (Nina Simone) as Zahara, Jonathan Bishop (Hamilton) as Jagwire, Killian Thomas Lefevre (Stranger Things Secret Cinema) as Tink, Alex Lodge (The Book of Mormon) as Ledoux and Kellie Gnauck (Evita West End and UK & International tour) as Valkyrie. Also in the cast are Emily Beth Harrington as Kwaidan, Amy Matthews as Vilmos, Rebecca Lafferty as Scherrzo, Samuel Pope as Hoffmann, Andy Prosser as Markevitch, Jack Heasman as Denym, James Chisholm as O’Dessasuite, Andrew Carthy as Hollander, Rob Maguire as Astroganger and Billie Hardy as Goddesilla.

At certain performances the role of Strat will be played by Samuel Pope.

In Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, the electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman has incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out Of Hell albums, including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

Bat Out Of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide. 16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained the massive hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 to 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre last summer. Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical.

 The UK Tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell and casting by Anne Vosser.

LISTINGS

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 10 – Sat 28 Nov 2020

Tue – Sat: 7.30pm

Wed & Sat: 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

 

NEWS: ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’S SMASH HIT WEST END & BROADWAY MUSICAL SCHOOL OF ROCK COMES TO GLASGOW

School of Rock – The Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit, award-winning West End show, is coming to Scotland next year as part of a UK tour.

The production, which is based on the hilarious hit movie of the same name starring Jack Black will load in to the King’s Theatre from Monday 8 until Saturday 13 March 2021 and then the Edinburgh Playhouse from Tuesday 23 until Saturday 27 March 2021

Tickets are on sale to ATG Theatre Card Holder on Friday 6 March and go on general sale on Monday 9 March.

The story follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band – sensationally performed live by the production’s young actors every night with roof-raising energy!

While teaching these pint-sized prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, helping her rediscover the wild child within.

Featuring 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and all the original songs from the movie, this high-octane smash delivers facemelting guitar riffs and touching romance in equally awesome doses.

The production opened at the New London Theatre (now the Gillian Lynne Theatre) in November 2016 to 5-star reviews and widespread critical acclaim. It went on to win the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. The Broadway production recently concluded its run at the Winter Garden Theatre with a US national touring production continuing. An Australian production opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne last October.

School of Rock – The Musical features new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater (The Little Mermaid, Sister Act) and a book by Julian Fellowes. It is directed by Laurence Connor (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, London Palladium 2019) with choreography by JoAnn M.Hunter, set and costume designs by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Mick-Potter, music supervision by John Rigby with Matt Smith as musical director.

Image of the London production: Tristram Kenton

NEWS: AMBER DAVIES AND LOUIS SMITH TO STAR IN BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL AT KING’S THIS SEPTEMBER

Selladoor Worldwide has announced that Amber Davies will star as Campbell alongside Louis Smith as Cameron in BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL which comes to Glasgow as part of a UK tour.

Inspired by the 2000 film of the same name, BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL, will run at the King’s Theatre from Tuesday 1 September until Saturday 5 September.

Influenced by the hit film of the same name, BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL takes audiences on a high‐flying, energy‐fuelled journey which tackles friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness – wrapped up in explosive choreography and tricks.

Cheer‐royalty and newly crowned Squad Captain, Campbell, should be embarking on her most cheertastic senior year at Truman High School. When she’s forced to move to the neighbouring hardknock Jackson High, Campbell fears her life is over. But an unlikely friendship catapults Campbell back into contention with a powerhouse squad and the fire to achieve the impossible.

The production has an original score by the multi award winning creator of Hamilton, Lin‐Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize winning Tom Kitt, composer of Next To Normal. The book is written by the Tony Award winning writer of Avenue Q, Jeff Whitty and the lyrics are by both Lin‐Manuel Miranda and writer of the stage adaptation of High Fidelity, Amanda Green.

Perhaps best known as the winner of ITV’s Love Island in 2017, Amber Davies made her professional

stage debut in 2019 to critical and audience acclaim as Judy Bernly in Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The

Musical at the Savoy Theatre and subsequently on the UK tour. Whilst training at Urdang Academy,

her credits included Campbell in Bring It On The Musical and Downing in My Favourite Year.

Four‐time gymnastic Olympic medallist Louis Smith shot to fame in 2008 when he won the first British gymnastic medal in 100 years at the Beijing Olympics. Following his success at the London 2012 Olympic Games Louis later won that year’s BBC Strictly Come Dancing, before going on to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2014. On stage he has appeared in Rip It Up in both the West End and on tour.

LISTINGS

Bring it On: The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 1 – Sat 5 Sep 2020

Mon-Sat: 7.30pm

Wed & Sat: 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

INTERVIEW: Elesha Paul Moses starring as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It? at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre

Elesha Paul Moses has paid her dues in the entertainment world; she’s been striving for success in the music business for 20 years, through sheer hard graft and some TV talent shows. Now she’s taken her singing career to a new level starring in the mammoth tribute show tour What’s Love Got To Do With It?, celebrating the music and life of rock, soul legend Tina Turner.

Elesha, 39, who lives in Hampshire and grew up in Surrey, appeared on The X Factor in 2010, alongside One Direction, winner Matt Cardle and in the same category as the big-haired, bongo playing wild card contestant Wagner. She then reached the battle rounds – twice – on The Voice, with will.i.am in a duo in 2013 and Tom Jones as a solo act a year later. She had previously been mentored by Mathew Knowles – Beyoncé’s dad – on a Channel 4 talent show.

She is also touring the UK, and has performed in Europe and Brazil, as the late, great Whitney Houston in Whitney: Queen Of The Night – including five sell-out shows at the Savoy Theatre in London’s West End.

Brought to you by the award-winning producers behind Whitney: Queen Of The Night, What’s Love Got To Do With It? is the ultimate tribute concert paying homage to one of the most iconic musical artists of the 20th Century.

We spoke to Elesha about her love of performing, and how she loves to party with Tina fans all over the UK.

What’s Love Got To Do With It? launched in 2019, you’ve been on the road for a year now – how has it been, paying homage to a rock and soul legend like Tina Turner?

It has been incredible. Heading into the start of the show, I’d been pretty full on with Whitney: Queen Of The Night so didn’t have too much time to think about it… Then it was full on into touring mode for What’s Love Got To Do With It? and we’ve been up and down the country ever since.

There has been so much love for the show from audiences and on social media – it’s been amazing. I’ve been working hard on the vocals, and the band, backing singers and costumes are fantastic. We love being on the road, meeting all the fantastic fans and that’s made preparing for the 2020 tour even more exciting, as we know what the reactions will be.

Fans have loved the show. What does it feel like to see such brilliant responses from the audience, and to receive the amazing reviews online?

It’s surreal, especially for someone like me as I’m really self critical; I’m always thinking ‘What could I do better?’, even when people are saying the show is fantastic. The comments we get are actually a little overwhelming, and we’re so very grateful for each and every one.

Seeing people in the audience having a brilliant night out, dancing and singing along is what it’s all about.

You perform as both Whitney Houston and Tina Turner – they’re very different artists. What’s it like recreating these iconic female performers live on stage?

It’s been a big learning curve, in the sense of keeping pushing on with everything I do for the two shows.

Doing Whitney as well as Tina, you need a huge amount of stamina – vocally, physically and mentally, but in such different ways for each performance. Tina is much more the physical challenge, Whitney is the vocal challenge. But working hard to be at my best in both areas pays off on both shows.

And it’s funny really. They are such different sounding performers! Each role strengthens my voice in such different ways, but that only helps make me better in each show.

Tina’s not got a growl as such. People think it’s shouting but it’s not, it’s a very particular tone that she has, and she’s so free with her performance.

Then when I’m on stage as Whitney it’s almost the opposite. You’re so exposed and there’s nowhere to hide as it’s a much slower, more mellow pace of show.

Compare that to Tina and What’s Love Got To Do With It?… Once you’re on stage, there’s no letting up from the moment you start. I love that very strong contrast between the two.

You have such a busy schedule with both shows running alongside each other. With two young children, how do you manage that with family life?

Mark, my husband is amazing; I have the best man in the world. I definitely couldn’t do it without him.

My eldest daughter Kookie is turning eight soon, and she’s only ever known me to be a singer. So, in some ways, she’s used to it but occasionally she’ll say something. My little one Teddy doesn’t know any different to the schedule we now have, I’m lucky she’s so young.

For me, I’m able to shut it off to an extent, as I know this is all about building for their future – whatever job you have, you have to balance family life. I also think we’re so lucky to have things like Facetime now so you can catch up easily and see them if you are away for a few days at a time.

What’s your favourite song to perform as Tina Turner?

There are so many I love. Proud Mary is obviously so much fun, but I also love Typical Male and I Can’t Stand The Rain. But for my absolute favourite… I’ll go Proud Mary. It always used to be Simply The Best which people really loved and went mad for – but these days it’s definitely Proud Mary.

Tina Turner is still such a huge name in music, why do you think she’s still so popular?

She is just such a great all-rounder, and she appeals to men as well as women. She’s a great rock and roll artist. Her songs have never gone away. Even youngsters now, they know tracks like Proud Mary. You do those songs and they’re all over it.

Tina’s had difficult times too over the years, but she came through it. I think people like that side of her story too, as well as the brilliant music.

How did you get into singing and performing as a tribute artist?

When I first realised I could properly sing I was about 13 – I was always mimicking others and that’s how I taught myself. But that real big belting voice wouldn’t necessarily come out. Then, listening to people like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, those kind of artists, was when it really came to me. Funnily, I didn’t really listen to Tina Turner when I was younger, my parents played her music in the car, but it wasn’t what I took to at the time.

I was singing in a club and a friend said ‘We should do something different’, I said ‘Shall we try Whitney or something?’. I went home, put down a couple of lines of Whitney and thought ‘Oh, I can sound like her’. It went from there, and a similar thing happened when I started with Tina.

You’ve been working in the music industry for a long time – you started writing with a record company aged just 17 and have been on TV reality talent shows. Can you tell us about the switch to the world of tributes?

I never used to do tributes, I was striving to do my own stuff and put out my own music. Things happened in my life, and I was in between things not really knowing what to do. I didn’t know how to get into the tribute business, but at the same time I felt that by doing that I would miss doing my own thing too.

But I’d done my album and did lots of trying to make it before doing the TV shows. I’d tried the traditional, old fashioned methods to get signed. It was just never meant to be. So, I decided it was time to take it away from being me and into being someone else.

How was your time on The X Factor and The Voice – and what did you learn from the experience?

When I did X Factor – in 2010, 10 years ago, wow – I was in the year of One Direction and Cher Lloyd, and Wagner, he was in Louis Walsh’s Overs category with me, but I went home after judges’ houses.

I was asked to audition for The Voice, and I first went when I was pregnant with Kookie – but I realised the live shows would be on when I was due with her so had to back out. But I auditioned again in 2013 as part of a duo [getting to the battle rounds in Team will.i.am], and again in 2014 [again, getting to the battle rounds with Team Tom].

Doing both of these did give me a boost at the time, even though I got so close but ultimately wasn’t successful. I don’t know what people think of me as an artist having done those shows, but I’m so grateful and glad to have moved on to what I’m doing now.

I’m 99.9per cent – no, make that 100per cent sure I wouldn’t be tempted to do it again.

Forget being mentored by Louis Walsh – tell us about working with Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s dad!

So, yes, I did a TV show a long time ago, where I was mentored by Mathew Knowles – Beyoncé’s dad – that was pretty mad. It was Chancers on Channel 4’s T4, and I won the chance from UK auditions to spend a month in Houston, America, where the group of us chosen had various challenges. Mine was to sing at the same studio where Whitney Houston had recorded.

That experience gave me a really tough skin, to know that whatever you do don’t worry about what’s happened in the past; it’s all brought me to where I am now.

Tickets are on sale now from www.cuffeandtaylor.com

 

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? TOUR DATES 2020

March

Wed 4th PORTSMOUTH, GUILDHALL

Thu 5th POOLE, LIGHTHOUSE

Fri 6th TUNBRIDGE WELLS, ASSEMBLY HALL

Sat 7th KINGS LYNN, CORN EXCHANGE

Thu 12th LYTHAM, LOWTHER PAVILION

Fri 13th WARRINGTON, PYRAMID & PARR HALL

Sat 14th HALIFAX, VICTORIA THEATRE

Thu 19th BIRMINGHAM, ARENA BIRMINGHAM

Fri 20th LEEDS, FIRST DIRECT ARENA

Sat 21st NEWCASTLE, O2 CITY HALL

Thu 26th ABERDEEN, MUSIC HALL

Fri 27th DUNDEE, CAIRD HALL

Sat 28th EDINBURGH, USHER HALL

Sun 29th GLASGOW, KING’S THEATRE

April

Sat 4th HULL, CITY HALL

Sat 11th LOUGHBOROUGH, TOWN HALL

Sat 18th SHEFFIELD, CITY HALL

Thu 23rd PETERBOROUGH, NEW THEATRE

Sat 25th IPSWICH, REGENT THEATRE

May

Mon 4th MILTON KEYNES, MILTON KEYNES THEATRE

Thu 7th SOUTHEND, CLIFFS PAVILION

Thu 14th HAYES, BECK THEATRE

Sun 31st CROYDON, ASHCROFT PLAYHOUSE

June

Sat 6th CARLISLE, SANDS CENTRE

Wed 17th SUNDERLAND, SUNDERLAND EMPIRE

Thu 18th BRADFORD, ST GEORGE’S HALL

Fri 19th STOCKPORT, PLAZA

Sat 20th MALVERN, MALVERN THEATRE

Fri 26th LONDON, INDIGO AT THE O2

July

Wed 1st EXETER, NORTHCOTT THEATRE

Thu 2nd BARNSTAPLE, QUEENS THEATRE

Fri 3rd CHATHAM, CENTRAL THEATRE

Thu 9th OXFORD, NEW THEATRE

Fri 10th BRIGHTON, THEATRE ROYAL

Sat 11th BASINGSTOKE, ANVIL ARTS

Sun 12th HORNCHURCH, QUEEN’S THEATRE

Thu 16th NEW BRIGHTON, FLORAL PAVILION

Fri 17th ISLE OF MAN, VILLA MARINA

Wed 22th BROMLEY, CHURCHILL THEATRE

Fri 24th DARLINGTON, DARLINGTON HIPPODROME

August  

Sun 9th BRISTOL, HIPPODROME

Fri 28th WEYMOUTH, PAVILION

September  

Thu 17th MANCHESTER, BRIDGEWATER HALL

Sat 19th CARDIFF, ST DAVID’S HALL

Wed 23rd ST HELENS, THEATRE ROYAL

Wed 30th DARTFORD, ORCHARD THEATRE

October  

Fri 2nd DUNSTABLE, GROVE THEATRE

Sat 10th NOTTINGHAM, ROYAL CONCERT HALL

Wed 14th LLANDUDNO, VENUE CYMRU

Fri 16th ST ALBANS, ALBAN ARENA

Fri 30th BATH, FORUM

Sat 31st CHELMSFORD, CIVIC THEATRE

November  

Wed 4th LEICESTER, DE MONTFORT HALL

Sat 7th GRIMSBY, AUDITORIUM

Thu 26th BLACKPOOL, OPERA HOUSE

Fri 27th WYCOMBE, SWAN THEATRE

December

Fri 4th CAMBRIDGE, CORN EXCHANGE

Thu 10th DUDLEY, TOWN HALL

 

INTERVIEW: Scottish comedy legend Janey Godley

She’s been dubbed the ‘godmother of Scottish comedy’ and numbers Billy Connolly among her fans. Now, Janey Godley is set to spread her appeal across the nation as this quintessentially Glaswegian comic takes the Soup Pot Tour over the border and down south. “There will be a different demographic politically at these shows, but remember Nicola Sturgeon gets it in the neck from me as well. I will have to speak slower and make sure that it’s not all about just hating the Tories, though that will be difficult. But by and large, people who come to stand-up are open-minded people, they tend not to be died-in-the-wool Brexiteers who hate the Scottish.”

This tour has Janey wielding a variety of talents, as she delivers the kind of forthright stand-up which has earned her a strong reputation on the comedy circuit and a loyal band of followers. But she will also be displaying her skills at improv, as she stands by a screen and narrates adlibbed voiceovers of people (many of whom are today’s crop of politicians), giving them a heavy Scottish accent and inventing a story, many of which involve making soup for the community.

“The soup pot is very universal: if you’re in Australia, America, Brazil, France Germany or Alaska, and someone dies or gets married, people will make soup. The soup pot is the hub of the community. When somebody died near us when I was a kid, somebody would make the big soup pot so all the visitors had something warm to drink and eat. It’s part of us all being in it together. Of course, that was before people discovered they were gluten free and worried about being allergic to lentils.”

Janey first discovered that she could develop this new strand of her career on the night of the Scottish Independence vote in 2014. “I first did the voiceovers live at the Wild Cabaret club in Glasgow where the big screens were up. When the news came through and it was all looking a bit bleak, we turned the volume down and I started talking over the top of people. The audience loved it and I realised this was something I could do really well.”

 

She then poked fun online at the likes of Theresa May, Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon, replacing their talk of policy and elections with chat about big Isa and her soup pots. A recent piece she did on Kim Kardashian (largely mocking her for walking backwards) also went down spectacularly well, while clips of supermodels, Pathé newsreels and Fanny Craddock (the original celebrity chef) are given the Godley treatment. “I started off doing it for me, really. I liked the fact that I could give those politicians a whole new background persona and the idea that they might have these ordinary conversations; I love the idea of that normalcy which cuts through all that bulls**t. The ones that are the hardest to do are of Katie Hopkins, because the audience just boo like they’re at a pantomime.”

Since the voiceovers took off, an unusual trend started which reminded Janey of the halcyon days of Spitting Image when politicians would tune in avidly on a Sunday night, desperate to see if they had been captured in wax and caricatured in song. “MPs will say ‘are you going to do me?’ I’d like to do some international ones; I do Trump but I want to do Australian and Canadian politicians. There’s a lot of fodder to go on.”

When she started performing comedy in the mid-90s, there were very few female acts kicking about, but Janey Godley has now become a standard bearer in Scotland for young women who might fancy a career in stand-up. “I did Have I Got News For You and I was the first working-class Scottish female comic to do that: the first and last. There are girls from Glasgow who saw comedy and it would be Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle, so they all thought ‘that’s not our job, that’s for Scottish men’. But when they see me and they see someone like Fern Brady, they think ‘yeah, that’s also a woman’s job.’”

Recently, Janey has ramped up her acting CV, appearing in Wild Rose (staring Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters and Sophie Okonedo) about a young woman trying to make her way in the world of Country music, and has written and directed a short film entitled The Last Mermaid. She’s also had a one-woman play run Off-Broadway, and will be on TV screens soon playing the lawyer of Martin Compston’s character in Traces, a crime drama from an original idea by Val McDermid.

But for now, she’s enjoying making people laugh all over the country with both her no-holds barred stand-up and the unique nature of these new voiceovers. “The most important thing is that this has never been done before, no other comic in the world is doing this. I’ve been doing stand-up for over 20 years but it took a Tory called Theresa to make me famous.” Mrs May might now be virtually out of the public eye, but the moment has surely arrived for Janey Godley to take centre stage.

Contributed by Brian Donaldson

Images: Murdo Macleod

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: Jack and the Beanstalk – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

If it’s a big traditional panto with plenty of glitz and sparkle you’re looking for, then Glasgow King’s certainly delivers year on year.

This year’s offering is Jack and the Beanstalk, starring local panto treasures Elaine C. Smith and Johnny Mac, and save for these two local favourites, it’s a minor TV celeb-free zone and all the better for it.

The story largely follows the traditional tale: there’s a huge furry cow, some magic beans, a growing beanstalk, a fabulously realised giant and the requisite evil baddie, some familiar tunes – mostly oldies, there are no new pop hits. It’s re-set to Glasvegas with some familiar local references thrown in and most of the usual panto tropes intact. There’s no slapstick, a tiny bit of audience participation, the dame is a woman, the princess doesn’t need a man to vanquish the foe and proposes to her beau – all a refreshing move in the right direction. It needs mentioning though that a sequence between Mac and Smith incorporating the names of famous chocolate bars, was seen last year almost exactly in Cinderella at the SEC Armadillo.

Elaine C. Smith is much-loved and a solid pair of hands for a production as big as this and Johnny Mac is entirely loveable and endearing as Jack, the audience is onside from his first wide smile. Less effective is Anne Smith as the panto baddie Mrs. Blunderbore, an unfortunate visual joke from Jack about her performance being a bit flat, is unfortunately accurate, and in contrast to her co-stars her costumes are utterly lacklustre – more Poundland than Pantoland.

All in all, it’s exactly as you would expect every year from the King’s – big, bold and beautifully executed. A fine night of traditional entertainment.

Runs until 5 January 2019

Image: Richard Campbell

Originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub

NEWS: Footloose returns in 2020

Footloose The Musical . The musical is set to burst back onto stage in 2020 opening at the New Wimbledon Theatre 24 April 2020before an extensive UK tour. With additional casting to follow, it is announced that Gareth Gates will reprise his role as Willard.

The show visits Glasgow from 3rd August 2020.     

Gareth Gates rose to fame through the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2002, going on to sell over 5 million records worldwide and have hits across the globe. His version of Unchained Melody sold over a million copies in the UK and is the 3rd best-selling single of the Noughties. Gareth is also the youngest ever-male solo artist to debut at number 1. More recently Gareth has enjoyed a successful career on stage, with credits including Les Misérables, Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. In 2014 Gareth appeared in the final series of Dancing on Ice, and joined boyband 5th Story as part of ITVs second series of The Big Reunion, touring arenas with bands including Blue and Five.

Gareth says “I’m thrilled to be back playing the role of Willard in the 2020 UK tour of Footloose. I had so much fun the first time around that I jumped at the chance to play such an exciting role again. I was born in 1984, the year ‘Footloose’ the movie was first released; I used to watch the movie lots as a kid not knowing some years later I’d be playing the ‘cowboy that can’t dance’ on stages up and down the country. I’m a terrible dancer, so it’s pretty much Life imitating Art!”

“The show is packed with classic 80s hits – and audiences get to see a little more of me than they bargained for! I can’t wait to be back on tour with such an incredible show”

 City boy Ren thinks life is bad enough when he’s forced to move to a rural backwater in America. But his world comes to a standstill when he arrives at Bomont to find dancing and rock music are banned. Taking matters into his own hands, soon Ren has all hell breaking loose and the whole town on its feet. Based on the 1980s screen sensation which took the world by storm, Footloose The Musical sizzles with spirit, fun and the best in UK musical talent. With cutting edge modern choreography, you’ll enjoy classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and of course the unforgettable title track Footloose

Footloose The Musical will be presented by Selladoor Productions in association with Runaway Entertainment, and will be directed by Racky Plews, with choreography from Matt Cole, musical supervision by Mark Crossland and design by Sara Perks. 

Glasgow King’s Theatre*

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