Tag Archives: Ricky Rojas

REVIEW: Puttin’ On The Ritz – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Taking as its inspiration the early 20th century American songbook, and capitalising on the nation’s obsession with nostalgia, Puttin’ on the Ritz is billed as “a song and dance extravaganza” featuring almost 50 pieces of music from the Golden Age of Hollywood. With songs from the greatest of the greats: George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, the audience can’t claim they’ve been short changed on content.

Presented as a cabaret style review, the team of six vocalists and ten dancers deliver a whirlwind trip back in time accompanied by special guests, and Strictly Come Dancing favourites, Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor.

The production has toured previously but seems now considerably tighter than before: the core vocalists instead of having a guest singer, this time have guest dancers, and the production is all the better for it, if your regular vocalists are of a high quality why have more?

The sextet of singers are hugely experienced stage performers and do justice to these classic tunes. Ricky Rojas in particular striking a chord with the audience as the only cast member to go marginally off-script and break the fourth wall to encourage a sing-along in his numbers ‘Let There be Love’ and ‘Birth of the Blues’. Fans of Boardwalk Empire will also appreciate Adam Ellis’ almost Eddie Cantor like turn in his featured performances.

The choreography is also sharper this time around, particularly in ‘Anything Goes’, ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it Ain’t Got That Swing) and in the Cotton Club sequence, and as ever the onstage action is complemented by multiple, glamorous costume changes throughout. The dance interludes by Rihanoff and Windsor also deserve praise,  providing as they do a change of dynamic that punctuates the evening nicely.

Very much playing to its more mature target audience, it covers much the same ground that recent productions such as The Songbook of Judy Garland and musicals Top Hat and Anything Goes do, but it can be easily forgiven as who wouldn’t want the glorious music of Gershwin, Porter and Berlin ringing in their ears.

An undemanding but highly entertaining celebration of this magical music.

Runs until Sat 13th June 2015 then touring

This review was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com at http://www.thepublicreviews.com/puttin-on-the-ritz-kings-theatre-glasgow/

REVIEW: Tonight’s The Night – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

This review was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com

Writer: Ben Elton

Director: Caroline Jay Ranger

Choreographer: Denise Ranger

It’s down in Gasoline Alley, Detroit. Here we meet Stuart, madly in love with garage receptionist Mary but unable to declare his love, the lovelorn lad makes a deal with the devil to trade his soul for that of his idol Rod Stewart. He then learns the hard way to be careful what he wishes for, as in the pursuit of fame and fortune, he loses not only the girl he loves but everything he ever was.

Ben Elton’s plot of Tonight’s The Night is holier than Swiss cheese and has not so much been shoe-horned around the hits of Rod Stewart as crow-barred. Seriously outdated, the storyline and the humour regularly fail to meet the mark: essentially a well-worn love story with a bit of a morality tale about losing oneself in the pursuit of fame, it has all been done before and better. What saves the whole endeavour is the cast who, to a man, work their socks off.

Ben Heathcote turns in a creditable performance as our hero Stuart and is ably supported by Jenna Lee-James as love-interest Mary, it must be said though, that Miss Lee-James voice was cracking under the pressure at times throughout the night. The real stars however are the supporting cast, in particular Andy Rees as mechanic Rocky,  Rosie Heath as Dee Dee whose delivery of ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ brings the house down and Ricky Rojas as Mick Jagger/Keith Richard hybrid Stoner, who not only is in possession of an excellent voice but also manages to deliver the shows only funny lines with considerable aplomb. This trio are seriously underused, as the action and quality of the singing elevates when they are given their moment in the spotlight. The onstage (but camouflaged) band are also deserving of credit, fine-sounding, they help to drive the action along apace.

If you forgive the holey (almost non-existent) plot and concentrate on the music you’ll have a half decent night, and indeed the first night Glasgow crowd who sang their hearts out along with the cast at the biggest hits, were on their feet, (free) sailor hats on head, belting out the encore megamix at the end. Possibly of interest to Rod Stewart fans – musical theatre lovers might well do themselves a favour and steer clear.

Runs until Sat 14 June 2014