Tag Archives: King’s Theatre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Runs until November 2018 | Image: Richard Davenport

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oklahoma!

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 13-Sat 19 Nov 2018

Tue-Sat evenings, 7.30pm

Wed & Sat matinee, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

 

REVIEW: Summer Holiday – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Runs until 3 November 2018 | Image: Contributed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further casting is to be announced.

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

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

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

Facebook: @thegirlsmusical

Twitter: @thegirlsmusical

Calendar Girls The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 11 – Sat 22 Jun 2019

www.atgtickets.com.glasgow

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

REVIEW: Saturday Night Fever – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

It’s astonishing to think that Saturday Night Fever is over 40 years old. Bee Gee’s manager and producer Robert Stigwood’s gritty, 1977 movie, based on British journalist Nik Cohn’s 1976 New York magazine article ‘Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night’ (later revealed to be pure fiction) has stayed in the public consciousness since then. It has even been declared “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry.

First appearing as a stage musical in the West End in 1998, it has undergone a myriad of incarnations since then, some less successful than others. This time it’s the turn of Bill Kenwright to tackle this seminal tale of the disco subculture.

 

Living at home with his parents and little sister, 19 year-old Bay Ridge boy Tony Manero (Robert Winsor), spends his days working in the local paint store and his nights escaping to the 2001 Odyssey disco. Eager to dig himself out of his dull life, he sets his sights on the $1000 prize in the local dance competition. Conflict arises with his friends and his potential dance partners: local girl Annette and the comparatively sophisticated Stephanie. Thrown into the plot are rape, abortion and suicide.

Unlike other productions, The Bee Gees (played by Ed Handoll, Alastair Hill & Matt Faull) appear onstage to provide musical accompaniment to the action, and do so phenomenally well, their vocals almost indistinguishable from the real thing. They are accompanied by a fine-sounding band, who are musically on-point throughout. Only a few of the characters in this ‘musical’ sing the songs that drive their character’s narrative: Tragedy by Bobby C (Raphael Pace) and If I Can’t Have You by the spurned Annette (Anna Campkin), and when they do it seems utterly incongruous. It feels as if it should be an ‘either/or’ choice, either a play with an accompanying soundtrack or a full blown musical. The soundtrack as it is delivered by the onstage band and vocalists is strong enough to eschew any need for the characters to burst into song.

The multi-level set is cleverly conceived and smoothly transitions from family home to paint store to local diner, to dance studio to the cacophony of colour at 2001 Odyssey, it is evocative and suitably evocative of the era. It beats the catastrophic 2014 actor/musician version that played out on an awful multicoloured cube strewn set, hands-down.

 

The cast work hard with the material they have, each is clearly giving their all. Richard Winsor as Tony has the most fully-formed character, with a beginning, development and end. Winsor’s acting is undoubtedly solid, as is his dancing. I can testify to Winsor’s dancing credentials, having seen him performing as part of Matthew Bourne’s company, and he is clearly a gifted ballet dancer, however, he looks uncomfortable with this loose disco style. He looks as if he is fighting between his classical training and the freedom of these moves. Less well rounded are those without fully developed and resolved stories: the spurned and sexually assaulted Annette and the tragic Bobby C, to name two, their story lines are introduced, then left to hang in the air with no satisfactory conclusion.

Bill Deamer’s choreography is lively, but as someone who has seen the original West End production, he has borrowed liberally from Arlene Phillips very memorable original choreography.

The writing is the production’s weakest link, with better material, this hard-working cast could have done so much more. Entertaining escapism, but there’s a lot of unfulfilled potential here.

Runs until Saturday 20 October 2018 at Glasgow King’s Theatre.

Images: Pamela Raith

NEWS: Sing a long to The Greatest Showman

Ladies and gentlemen…

The King’s Theatre in Glasgow have the perfect post-Christmas treat with a sing along screening of hit film, The Greatest Showman in the New Year.

Presented by Sing-a-long-a, the team who successfully brought Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast to the sing along screen, the fun will take place on Tuesday 8 January at 7.30pm.

As well as on screen lyrics there will also be a live host and interactive fun pack so everyone can join in.

The live host will teach you a unique set of dance moves that will truly make you “come alive”. As they show you how to use our interactive prop bags, you also get to practice your cheers, your boos and even a few wolf whistles. Then you can sit back and relax and sing and dance along to the lyrics on screen.

Cheer on Hugh Jackman, lust after Zac Efron and hiss Rebecca Ferguson (…or maybe not) as you experience The Greatest Showman in the greatest way possible – with lyrics on the screen so you can sing-a-long as loud as you want!

It couldn’t be easier or more fun! The first rule of Sing-a-long-a is THERE ARE NO RULES! Fancy dress is strongly encouraged and full audience participation is essential.

Dress up in your best top hat and tails, add a beard if you fancy, and sing and dance your heart out in a night that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and music in your heart!.

 Please note this is a screening of the movie not a live stage show.

Sing-a-long-a The Greatest Showman

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 8 Jan, 7.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

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

REVIEW: Shrek The Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

The big, green, Scottish ogre is back on the road again, delighting audiences young and old in this joyful, colourful, in-your-face, fun night out for all the family.

Based on the award-winning 2001, Dreamworks movie, Shrek and Donkey join forces to rescue Princess Fiona from imprisonment in her tower. Standing in their way are not only a fire-breathing dragon and a great big secret, but a whole host of fairytale misfits and the evil Lord Farquaad.

Beneath the eye-popping colour and glitzy visuals, this is a story with real heart and it gently promotes a message of equality and acceptance in the best possible way: with intelligence and wit. For all the comic songs there’s a fair share of poignant and though-provoking ballads too.

This was never going to be anything other than a sure-fire hit, so beloved are the Shrek films, that coupled with the fact this truly is entertainment for the whole family. Much of the dialogue can be enjoyed at both adult and child level and a sensible start time (7pm) to accommodate the ‘school night’ crowd, make it a must-see for all the family. There’s also a challenge for musical theatre fans to see how many references they can spot to fellow West End and Broadway shows.

The main cast are solid and fine-voiced: Shrek Steffan Harri (largely) nails the Scottish accent in front of a Scottish crowd. Princess Fiona for this leg of the tour is the seemingly ubiquitous Amelia Lily who does a good job vocally and whose acting skills improve with every role she tackles, and Marcus Ayton gives an entertainingly ‘ramped up camp’ version of Donkey. But, of course, it is Samuel Holmes who steals the show with a refreshing take on the hysterical Lord Farquaad. No one can compete when he bursts on stage, not only does Holmes have impeccable comic timing, he has a fabulous voice too. Mention must be made of the multiple role playing ensemble who act wonderfully and sound sublime and the set and the transitions from scene to scene are as slick as you will see on any stage.

The night’s are getting darker, the temperature is dropping, so what better way to warm your heart and soul than to see this big-hearted beauty of a musical.

Runs until 6 October 2018 | Image: Contributed

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

 

 

NEWS: FIRST NEW PRODUCTION IN 25 YEARS OF GREASE AT KING’S THEATRE

Following a highly acclaimed sold out 8-week run at Curve, the first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical GREASE will tour the UK and Ireland in 2019, with a stop in Glasgow.

Directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, the electrifyn’ show will run at the King’s Theatre from Tuesday 27 – Saturday 31 August 2019.

Casting is to be announced.

Nikolai Foster is Artistic Director at Curve, which has just celebrated its 10th birthday. For Curve, Nikolai has most recently directed An Officer and a Gentleman – The Musical, Scrooge, Sunset Boulevard, which won Best Musical at the Manchester Theatre Awards and Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards, Legally Blonde (also Opera Garnier, Monaco & Daegu Opera Festival, South Korea), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (also Theatre Royal Haymarket, London & UK tour) and A Streetcar Named Desire. Nikolai’s production of Annie completed a successful run at the Piccadilly Theatre, London earlier this year and is about to transfer to the Mirvish Theatre, Toronto.

Nikolai Foster said: “We are looking forward to working alongside Jim Jacobs, Colin Ingram and Arlene Philips on the return of our critically acclaimed, Made at Curve production of GREASE. Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s musical is an electrifying celebration of the birth of cool and teenage culture. It provides a gripping snapshot of a country on the cusp of social change, all set to one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll scores ever written. Curve audiences love GREASE and we are immensely proud to be sharing our production with audiences across the UK.”

Grease

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 19 – Sat 31 Aug 2019

ww.atgtickets.com/Glasgow

 

NEWS: GLASGOW GIRLS TO MAKE KING’S THEATRE DEBUT

Cora Bissett and David Greig’s life affirming Scottish drama, Glasgow Girls is to run at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow next year.

The production, which is based on real life events, will make its debut on the big stage from Tuesday 15 – Saturday 19 January 2019.

Filled with song-and-dance-filled this true story tells of seven feisty Glaswegian teenagers, whose lives change forever when their school friend and her asylum-seeking family are forcibly taken from their home to be deported. They are galvanised to fight for her rights, inspiring a whole community to unite behind its residents.

Glasgow Girls was an Edinburgh Festival Fringe sell out in 2016 and winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

James Haworth, Theatre Director of the King’s, said: “I am especially excited to welcome this local production to the King’s Theatre in January.

“Glasgow Girls has become a cultural staple in the city and it has proved itself more than worthy of its praise and accolades to date.

“I just know our audience will love this show and I invite anyone who considers themselves a Glasgow Girl or Glasgow Boy to come along and see this spectacular production.”

Glasgow Girls is presented by Raw Material in association with Regular Music.

LISTINGS

Glasgow Girls

King’s Theatre

Tue 15 – Sat 15 Jan 2019

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

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