Tag Archives: Musical

GUEST REVIEW: One Night Only – Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld by Fraser MacDonald

Musical Director: Fraser Morrison

Ensemble: Cumbernauld Musical Theatre Society

Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald

As a brand-spanking new company, Cumbernauld Musical Theatre Society waste no time in showcasing their talent in a number of One Night Only shows.

The intimate setting allows the audience to interact with its cast, whilst still keeping a strictly professional feel. Production values are high for an amateur company.

As musical revues go, One Night Only caters for all. It offers a selection of hit Broadway shows that are known to the masses as well as off-Broadway musical numbers. Combining the two offers a platform for less known standards that is refreshing to see in an amateur show.

Carousel’’s You’ll Never Walk Alone is a stand out piece, delicately arranged with the a cappella section ringing out to a dewy-eyed audience. Once We Were Kings from Billy Elliot is another gem in a packed set.

The extensive set may be lengthy, but it affords almost all of the ensemble a solo number. Each is of a standard far beyond expectations of a fledgling company on their first showcase.

The efforts of musical director president Fraser Morrison are rewarded in this first series of shows for the Cumbernauld Musical Theatre Society. If One Night Only is anything to go by, the Cumbernauld Musical Theatre society has a long and successful future ahead of it – this show certainly hits the right note!

Reviewed on 4 November 2017

Critic Contact: fmacdonald@live.co.uk 

 

NEWS: STING’S MUSICAL THE LAST SHIP COMES TO GLASGOW STARRING JIMMY NAIL

The Last Ship – the acclaimed musical by the internationally renowned musician Sting – is to play in Glasgow next summer.

The production, which will star British singer-songwriter Jimmy Nail, has a TONY-nominated original score and lyrics composed by Sting. It will run at Theatre Royal from Monday 18 until Saturday 23 June.

Tickets are on sale to ATG Theatre Card holders now and go on general sale this Friday (3 November).

The Last Ship is inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages and his own childhood experiences. It tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the town’s Swan Hunter shipyard.

When Gideon Fletcher returns home after seventeen years at sea, tensions between past and future flare in both his family and his town. The local shipyard, around which Wallsend has always revolved, is closing and no-one knows what will come next, only that a half-built ship towers over the terraces.

The show is directed by Lorne Campbell, the artistic director of Northern Stage, with set design by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions.

One of the country’s most exciting and acclaimed theatre directors, Edinburgh-born Lorne Campbell had his first professional job as an assistant director at Northern Stage, before returning as artistic director in 2013. A graduate of Channel 4’s Young Theatre Director scheme, he has previously worked with the Liverpool Everyman Playhouse, Bath Theatre Royal, Traverse Theatre and Greyscale theatre company, which he co-founded. Productions for Northern Stage include Get Carter, Dr Frankenstein and A Song For Ella Grey

This personal, political and passionate new musical from multiple Grammy Award winner Sting, is an epic account of a family, a community and a great act of defiance. With original music and lyrics by Sting, The Last Ship also features a few of his best-loved songs Island of Souls, All This Time and When We Dance.

This is the proud story of when the last ship sails.

LISTINGS

The Last Ship

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Monday 18-Saturday 23 June 2018

Mon-Sat eves, 7.30pm

Wed & Sat mat, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7647 *calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

REVIEW: Soho Cinders – Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow

It’s refreshing to see George Stiles and Anthony Drew’s little seen modern adaptation of Cinderella, Soho Cinders being staged in Glasgow, and highly anticipated when you know it’s Mad Props Theatre Company who are producing it. Known for fearless and original choices in their artistic output, Soho Cinders is another first for the company.

Life isn’t going well for skint student Robbie. His mother has died, and his lap-dancing club owning step-sisters have upped the rent on his beloved late mum’s launderette where he works and threatened to turf him out, coupled with that he’s fallen in love with the bisexual, engaged to a woman, London mayoral candidate, James. Oh, and to complicate matters even further, he’s also involved in a rather unconventional financial arrangement with a ‘fairy godfather’ Lord Bellingham.

The path of true love never runs smooth and needless to say there’s many a twist and turn until our Robbie is reunited with his mobile phone (the contemporary version of a glass slipper) and boy gets boy in the end.

There’s potential for Stiles and Drew’s work to be a bit more biting and make a bigger statement, but it remains a lightweight piece of fluff. The characters have been created with broad brushstrokes and the simplistic storytelling undermines the more serious points the musical is trying to make.

It has the feel both in tone and musically of Legally Blonde and Mamma Mia. There are also musical snippets that are reminiscent of Jesus Christ Superstar of all things. That said, the entire score is varied in style and pleasant on the ear. There are some knock-out tunes too – in particular, They Don’t Make Glass Slippers, sung by Mad Props stalwart Dominic Spencer (Soho Cinders marks his welcome return to the stage) they need him to elevate this average musical to something special, and he does. His rendition of this haunting ballad will leave you with goose-bumps. Marie-Anne McGrattan and Louise Daly-Creechan as Robbie’s grotesque step-sisters generate the lion’s share of the laughs, they look as if they’re having a ball and their energy transmits to the auditorium.

The supporting cast are universally solid and Jon Cuthbertson delivers a particularly repulsive turn as political aide William (his storyline uneasily resonant in light of the current sexual harassment scandals). Less successful is Stuart Taylor as Robbie’s love James. His voice doesn’t sound fully warmed up and it is often inaudible. On a side note, and a great coup for the company, the voice of Big Brother, Marcus Bentley provides the dead-pan narration.

Well worth watching for musical theatre aficionados who relish the chance to see less frequently staged works, and worth it alone to hear Dominic Spencer back in his finest form.

Runs until Saturday 4 November 2017 at Websters Theatre Glasgow.

Ticket details here

WHAT’S ON NOVEMBER: Scoundrels take to the stage

Talented residents from across Glasgow are preparing to put Riviera style firmly centre stage in new musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

More than 20 performers from the Minerva Club are preparing to bring the cheeky musical of big money and roguish swindles to life at Eastwood Park Theatre.

Based on the 1988 film, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, the show centres on debonair Lawrence and his champagne lifestyle – maintained by the fortunes of several ladies he has charmed into handing over their fortunes. But when younger Freddy arrives on the Riviera impinging on Lawrence’s success, the two are forced to battle it out for the ultimate score – the coffers of American heiress Christine Colgate. Yet Christine herself may not be all that she seems.

Minerva Club President, Colette Dunsmore, said: “While many people will remember the film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a new show and we’re delighted to be bringing it to the stage in the Glasgow area for the first time since the touring production in 2015. It’s a show that’s full of fun and fantastic physical comedy, with a tongue-in-cheek script and award-winning musical score. I would encourage anyone to come along and enjoy this laugh-out-loud production.”
Musical Director Lynne Fyfe said: “This is my very first show with the Minerva Club and it’s great fun. There’s a fantastic mix of musical styles and a fabulous cast of principals and ensemble.”

Musical Director Lynne Fyfe said: “This is my very first show with the Minerva Club and it’s great fun. There’s a fantastic mix of musical styles and a fabulous cast of principals and ensemble.”

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will be on at Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, from Tuesday 7 November to Saturday 11 November. Tickets cost £14-£16 and are available from any cast member, by emailing tickets@theminervaclub.com or online at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/198858.

The Minerva Club will be supporting the charity Over the Wall with its 2017 production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Over the Wall provides free, residential activity camps for children and teenagers living with serious health challenges and their families, to enable them to reach beyond their perceived limitations and rediscover a whole new world of possibilities.

 

NEWS: First look pictures of The Band – The Take That musical

New photography has been released providing a glimpse of what fans can expect  from this brand new musical, which kicked of its UK tour earlier this month in Manchester. David Pugh, Dafydd Rogers and Take That’s UK Tour of Tim Firth’s The Band, with the music of Take That, got underway at the Manchester Opera House on Friday 8th September.

Advance box office for the tour has now topped a record-breaking £10million and is set to entertain audiences in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Band charts the story of what it’s like to grow up with a boyband.  For five 16 year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything.  25 years on, we are reunited with the group of friends, now 40-something women, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

The Band will be played by AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, who, as Five To Five, won BBC’s Let It Shine.

Glasgow King’s 26 – 30 June 2018

Edinburgh Playhouse – 10 – 14 July 2018.

All Images copyright Mark Crockett

 

WHAT’S ON OCTOBER: Small Faces musical All or Nothing extends its run to Stirling and Dundee

A trans-generational musical experience celebrating the unique sound of the iconic Mod band – The Small Faces. Including an arsenal of brilliant hits like Whatcha Gonna Do About It, All Or Nothing, Tin Soldier, Lazy Sunday, Here Comes The Nice and Itchycoo Park.

In 1964, a new phenomenon exploded onto the dingy British streets. It was the essence of all that was cool. It was Mod. The Small Faces encapsulated all that was Mod, a unique blend of taste and testosterone, neat, clothes obsessed and street-wise. But these cult sophisticates shared another passion, their dedication to Rhythm ‘n’ Blues.

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling 

Mon 2 – Wed 4 Oct 2017

http://macrobertartscentre.org/event/all-or-nothing-the-mod-musical/

Dundee Rep

Thu 5 – Sat 7 October at 7.30pm
Sat 7 October at 2.30pm

Recommended for age 16+ | 154mins 

 

NEWS: Images relesased for Hairspray tour

Following a publically and critically acclaimed opening at Wales Millennium Centre, smash-hit musical Hairspray today released all new production images. Hairspray is back on the road touring the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, starring ITV comedy legend, Norman Pace. 

Full dates and tickets are available at www.hairsprayuktour.com/tour-dates.

Featuring the iconic music and lyrics by Academy Award, Tony and Emmy winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, this much-loved musical comedy stars Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle and Layton Williams as Seaweed.

Alongside award-winning comedian Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad, Matt Rixon returns to the role of Edna Turnblad and newcomer Rebecca Mendoza makes her professional debut as Tracy Turnblad.

Further cast includes; Gina Murray, Jon Tsouras, Edward Chitticks, Aimee Moore, Annalise Liard-Bailey, Monifa James, Lauren Concannon, Melissa Nettleford and Emily-Mae as The Dynamites, Shay Barclay, Ben Darcy, George Hinson, Jordan Laviniere, Graham MacDuff, Lindsay McAllister, Tracey Penn and Freya Rowley.

Choreographed by Olivier Award-winning Drew McOnie with direction from Paul Kerryson.

REVIEW: La Cage aux Folles – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

The much-loved La Cage aux Folles has had a long history: from Jean Poiret’s original 1973 play, then the 1978 French/Italian movie production, it became a stage musical in 1983 before becoming the English language film The Birdcage in 1996. It’s surprising to learn that despite numerous Broadway and West End revivals this is the first professional UK tour.

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Georges (Adrian Zmed) and Albin (John Partridge) run the most glamorous nightclub in St. Tropez, where Albin stars as the glamorous drag artist Zaza. When Georges’ son Jean-Michel (Dougie Carter) announces his plans to marry the daughter of a straight-laced homophobic politician set on closing the nightclub, mayhem ensues.

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It’s astonishing to think that this show is nearly 45 years old and even more astonishing to think how long it has taken for attitudes to change. This story of tolerance and acceptance is wrapped up in a blinding amount of sequins and feathers, and yes, it is awash with every camp cliché, but thankfully, Tony Award-winning Harvey Fierstein’s adaptation does justice to both the original subject matter and the message it conveys. It may sound glib to say it, but La Cage aux Folles is truly heart-warming, and the oohs, aaaahs, whistles and boos it elicits from its audience and the absolute warmth with which the whole production is received is enough to melt the most frozen of hearts.

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Gary McCann’s design reads well in the auditorium, the full-on glamour of the club contrasting well with the faded glamour of Georges and Albin’s apartment and the costumes are universally on-point.

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Partridge is an oustanding Albin/Zaza, it is a role tailor-made to showcase his acting, dancing and singing skills and US TV favourite Adrian Zmed is a fine Georges, there’s a deftness of touch in his portrayal of a character that could easily have been rendered a caricature, he is also in possession of a fine singing voice. Dougie Carter as son Jean-Michel is also a stand-out, a fine actor, his classic, musical-theatre tenor voice is a joy. Unusually, and wonderfully, there isn’t a single weak-link in the entire production.

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This is a production that will put a spring in the step and a song in the heart of even the most jaded theatre-goer. In a theatre scene brimful of repeated revivals and lacklustre works, this is a breath of fresh air – a genuine must-see.

Runs at Glasgow, King’s Theatre until Saturday 29 July 2017

All images: Pamela Raith

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Wonderland – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

In Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy’s Wonderland, their take on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice is now a 40-year-old divorcée. After a particularly bad day: lost her job, car stolen, ex-husband about to get re-married (you get the picture), the White Rabbit appears to Alice and her teenage daughter Ellie. Alice follows Ellie and her next-door neighbour (and secret admirer) Jack down the rabbit hole (a broken high-rise lift shaft) so far, so psychedelic and the trio embark on a voyage of discovery and redemption for both Alice and the whole of Wonderland.

Despite initial impressions that this is merely a modernised Alice, it’s actually a riff on finding yourself, moving forward instead of remaining mired in the past and the corruption of power, with a few dozen extra plot lines unfamiliar to anyone’s who has read Carroll’s work thrown in for good measure. All wrapped up in such a coating of saccharine sweet sentiment that any message it hoped to convey is in a diabetic coma. The song titles alone indicate the production’s intentions: I Am My Own Invention, This is Who I Am, I Will Prevail.

Festooned in eye-popping visuals (it’s a rainbow smorgasbord of colour) and delivered at road-drill volume, this mish-mash relies heavily on its performers to keep the attention, thankfully, they are largely excellent. Leading lady Rachael Wooding is a fine-voiced Alice as is Jersey Boys veteran Stephen Webb who provides some memorable comic relief. TV favourite Wendy Peters particularly impresses with a phenomenal set of pipes. Less successful is Naomi Morris as Alice’s daughter Ellie, in a rush to machine-gun her lines out, they are completely garbled. The supporting performers and ensemble are universally strong.

While the songs are executed well, they are largely forgettable and every one of them, two verses too long. It’s all a bit Eastern European Eurovision Song Contest circa 1990. Untroubled by any sense of self-doubt or skills of self-criticism, it’s never knowingly understated.

While this is a colourful spectacle with a fine cast, the material is just too in your face and the sentiment too forced to have any impact.

Runs until 8 July 2017 | Image: Paul Coltas

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

WHAT’S ON SEPTEMBER: Madness’ Musical comes to Glasgow

logo of our house the madness musical

From the writer of smash hits Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots comes the feel good, Olivier Award-winning Madness musical, Our House.

On the night of Joe’s 16th birthday, a split-second decision forces him to choose between himself and his heart. As two very different paths unfold before him, the consequences of that choice will change his life forever.

Set to a score of Madness hits including “It Must Be Love”, “House of Fun”, “Baggy Trousers” and “Our House”, this hilarious, high energy musical will have you singing and dancing in the aisles…Welcome to the house of fun!

King’s Theatre Glasgow 26 – 30 September 2017

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