Tag Archives: Musical

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Smash hit Spring Awakening at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in March

The smash hit musical Spring Awakening by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik based on the play by Frank Wedekin, will be at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from Sat 10th Mar – Fri 16th March.

Winner of 8 Tony awards, 4 Oliviers and a Grammy for best original cast album, Spring Awakening redefined the boundaries between music and theatre with its fusion of adolescent angst-fuelled anthems.

A group of emotionally unprepared teenagers try to understand their strong, new, thrilling and scary feelings. What’s right and what’s wrong? What are the rules? How far can they be pushed and what happens when you break them?

Desires, emotions and hormones smash and explode in this hard hitting punk-rock musical.

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe)
All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe
http://www.mtishows.co.uk

Please Note: This production contains adult themes, and may not be suitable for younger children.

Wed 14 Mar / 7.30pm – Signed in BSL by Amy Cheskin and Iain Hodgetts.

TICKET INFO HERE  

NEWS: Dog casting confirmed after Legally Blonde auditions

Last month, the producers of the smash-hit musical Broadway and West End production issued a casting call issue the role of Rufus, character Paulette Bonafonté’s dog.

Legally Blonde the Musical will run at the King’s Monday 23-Saturday 28 April.

A British Bulldog was the preferred breed however other dogs were welcome to apply if they had a “brutish nature”.

Among the 12 dogs selected to audition at Theatre Royal on Wednesday 14 February were British Bulldogs, a Chow Chow and a Husky.

Each pooch had five minutes to impress the judging panel which was formed of David Barrett, Associate Director of Legally Blonde, Helen Petrovna, who will play Brooke in the show and Robyn Davis from the King’s and Theatre Royal.

The judges then selected the final three pooches before calling them to back to make a choice on the ultimate candidate.

The three final three dogs were Diniro from Netherburn, Tia from East Kilbride and Guinness from Penilee, all of whom were bulldogs.

The standout contestant for the judging panel however was bulldog Diniro thanks to his laidback attitude.

David Barrett said: “We had a great turn out in Glasgow and we were very impressed with the talent each dog had.

“It was an incredibly difficult decision but we unanimously decided on Diniro due to his fantastic relaxed temperament in the exercises during the audition.

“We can’t wait to welcome him to the Legally Blonde company upon out arrival in Glasgow.”

Deniro’s owner Annis Sweeney, said she was thrilled and that this would be Deniro’s stage debut.

She added: “He has always been very laid back. He’s like this all the time, it’s in his nature,

“He loves being around the people so he’ll have a great time with the Legally Blonde cast.”

Deniro will star alongside, Eastender’s Rita Simmons, Eurovision singer Lucie Jones, Emmerdale’s Bill Ward and  of course, Elle’s dog Brusier.

Legally Blonde the Musical is an all singing, all dancing romantic comedy, a fun-filled, feel-good pink fest.

The popular tale tells of college sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods who doesn’t take no for an answer. When her boyfriend dumps her for someone more serious, Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law School while proving that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

Based on the Reese Witherspoon film, Legally Blonde the Musical earned seven Tony nominations and 10 Drama Desk Award nominations during its Broadway run.

 

 

REVIEW: The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Aiming to recreate the heyday of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas has the potential to be a huge crowd-pleaser. The show, created by Mitch Sebastian has been doing the rounds both on tour and in the West End since 2002 with little change to its seemingly successful formula.

It’s the early 50s, the Sands Hotel and not only are the Rat Pack in town but Jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald is too. While it aims to create that Las Vegas glamour, the set is simplistic: the band on a raised platform, a grand piano, some stools and a representation of the Sands famous logo, are all that decorates the set, so it’s down to the music and the performers to sell the show.

First impressions are good, the band, under the tight musical direction of Matthew Freeman, are outstanding: crisp and pin-sharp, they recreate the sound of the best of the big bands, Freeman also has a fine, fine touch on the piano. Garrett Phillips as Frank Sinatra also makes his mark, recreating Sinatra’s sonorous tone perfectly as well as his idiosyncratic phrasing, although he’s entirely wooden as he moves around the stage. David Hayes has captured some of the voice, but is the least co-ordinated Sammy Davis Jr you are likely to see – for a man renowned for his dancing skills, you can’t help think they could have tried a little harder in the casting and while a heavily panstick-ed Nigel Casey has Dean Martin’s shtick down-pat and moves well, he is often over-powered by the band. Nicola Emmanuel as Ella Fitzgerald makes a fleeting appearance and while entirely competent, fails to make much of an impression.

While there is a fair representation of the main trio’s biggest hits: I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Mr Bojangles, That’s Amore, to name a few, there are some less well known numbers that will either delight or frustrate. In the case of this reviewer, it frustrates somewhat. With three (and with Fitzgerald, four) artists with such rich back catalogues, there is space to make this an evening of out-and-out highs, however, the uneven nature of the song choices means the evening never really hits its stride. That coupled with some utterly cringe-worthy linking dialogue and an attempt at humour in the second act, that falls flat on its face – you can feel the tumbleweed slowly making its way across the stage – you can’t help feel that it’s all an opportunity missed.

There’s undoubtedly talent on the stage, both in the singers and musicians, but their potential is not being exploited. It’s time to get rid of the sexist, racist and homophobic banter and while there’s an argument that it’s reflective of the era represented, it’s just lazy, especially with a cast with so much to give musically – less chat, more music please. These artists and they way they sang these songs can speak for themselves. An overhaul is needed to get the most from the music and the cast. Still an enjoyable evening if you concentrate on the music and ignore all the filler.

Runs until 10 February 2018 | Image: Betty Zapata

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub here

NEWS: Sweeney the Demon Barber hits Eastwood Park next week

Glasgow Music Theatre are bringing Stephen Sondheim’s Victorian musical thriller SWEENEY TODD – THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET to Glasgow next week, transporting theatregoers at Eastwood Park Theatre to 1800s London in the 1800s.

This masterpiece, which details the exploits of murderous barber Sweeney Todd who kills his unsuspecting customers before baking them into meat pies, originally debuted on Broadway in 1979, where it won Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. It was also notably adapted for the silver screen by Tim Burton in 2007,  in the critically acclaimed film starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

The deadly story fuelled by love and revenge will have you at the edge of your seats (and sometimes covering your eyes!). The infamous roles of Sweeney Todd and his able baking accomplice Mrs Lovett will be played by Chris McLeish and Kerry Burley.

Both experienced performers, they are thrilled to be taking on these characters. Chris explains: “Having worked for years as an actor, most recently as the lead in a production of Beauty and the Beast, I’m looking forward to bringing my experience from panto to pies!”

Kerry Burley, who will be transforming into the devious Mrs Lovett, has waited her entire 30 year acting career for this opportunity to get into her ‘meatiest’ role to date. She laughs, “I’m excited to take on such an iconic role, but I’m slightly concerned about what I’ve been doing to my four-year old’s development with sinister music blasting out at home night and day – the other day after singing ‘Worst Pies in London’ in the other room, she popped her head in to ask if we could go to Greggs for some pies!”

 

 

The two star- crossed lovers in the story, Johanna and Anthony, will be played by Glasgow’s very own Ross and Rachel, and the dynamic duo offers the audience welcome romantic relief in the gruesome tale. Ross Pollock, a barman from Glasgow, had his debut with GMT in summer 2017, while the lovely Rachel Thomson, a doctor currently working in Ayr, originally from Rutherglen has worked with the company for over seven years.

Backed by a brilliantly talented principal and ensemble cast tackling this complex and wildly entertaining musical, the audience are sure to leave the theatre thrilled by this unique show – .and hopefully ‘hungry’ for more!
Tickets £15, available from the Box Office: www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk

For more information, visit www.glasgowmusictheatre.co.uk

www.facebook.com/glasgowmusictheatre

Photocredit: Erik Igelström 

REVIEW: London Road- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Chandler Studio Theatre, Glasgow

That anyone thought that a musical about the serial murders of five sex workers in sleepy Ipswich in 2006 would be suitable source material for a musical, might rightfully have been called utterly misguided – thoroughly insensitive, in fact, but that’s the premise for Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork’s London Road.

Delivered verbatim style, the lyrics are culled from interviews that creator Alecky Blythe conducted with the real inhabitants of London Road. The musical a reflection of how the residents, sex workers and media dealt with the terrifying and sensational events unfolding around them.

This work defies every preconception you might have about it. It is thoughtful, intelligent and utterly compelling and there’s not a whiff of exploitation or sensationalism throughout (neither the killer, Steve Wright (dubbed the Suffolk Strangler) nor his victims appear (save for a ‘blanket over the head’ moment when Wright is rushed to the courthouse). Each group involved are given their voice, no matter how unpalatable or un-PC it might be. The honesty and raw truth of it all is what sets it above its contemporaries. The plaudits the work received on its debut at the National Theatre, utterly deserved.

The work is in the safe hands of the 3rd year BA Musical Theatre students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, under the direction of Philip Howard, and their quality and commitment to the work, make it unmissable. The large ensemble cast is faultless. The set design from Meghan Grieve, suitably dark and atmospheric, with an abundance of beautifully realised tiny details, the choreography by EJ Boyle is innovative and eye-catching. The only gripe would be the ear-splittingly loud band which overpowers the vocals and drowns out the lyrics at times.

This is a work of the utmost quality and a refreshing change to the lightweight musical theatre fluff that abounds – tickets are like gold dust, but if you can secure one – you won’t regret it.

Runs until 1 December 2017

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

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 

 

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