Tag Archives: Stephen Arden

REVIEW: Snow White and the Seven Wee Muppets – Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

It may be Snow White whose name is on the poster, but it’s the boys (dressed as women) who totally steal the show in Eastwood Park’s 2017 fun-filled panto.

With nods to the Snow White story, it’s a new take on the familiar tale. The baddie this time is wicked step mother Spella Binding (Stephen Arden), a former 80s pop diva who’s competing with ingénue Snow White in Pantoland’s version of the X-Factor. Spella’s side kick is Siri, a real live version of Apple’s famous app, (a fine-voiced Lisa McKecknie) and while there’s an apple involved it isn’t the poisoned kind but an i-Pad with a virus that infects our Snow. True love as always is the key to saving her, but refreshingly it’s all girl power here, and there’s no need for a prince to save you when you’ve got the love of your friends and family.

Snow White played by Charis Murray, Molly Muppet played by Lee Reynolds, Siri played by Lisa McKecknie, Lady Marmite played by Greig Adam and Evil Stepmother and 80s pop diva Spella, played by Stephen Arden

The goodies and the baddies are well-defined: Greig Adam’s Lady Marmite is a heroine you really want to root for and evil Spella is the perfect panto villain. Both Adam and Arden shine, the pair’s stage presence is so strong that while the others are a pleasant distraction, and undoubtedly talented, you are willing either, or both of them back on to the stage – they are where the action is. It’s heartening that there’s so much local talent in the cast and the local jokes and banter hit their mark.

This truly is entertainment for all the family, there’s no smut, just a lot of sass, songs we can all sing and dance to and a perfect running time of under two hours including the interval.

Snow White and the Seven Wee Muppets runs until Saturday 30th December at Eastwood Park Theatre and is truly family friendly.

Info, including how to book can be found at: https://www.eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/article/8908/Snow-White

Title image: Siri played by Lisa McKecknie, Evil Stepmother and 80s pop diva Spella, played by Stephen Arden, Snow White played by Charis Murray, Molly Muppet played by Lee Reynolds and Lady Marmite played by Greig Adam

Image credit: Mark Gibson

REVIEW: Avenue Q – Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow

There can be few who call themselves musical theatre lovers who have yet to see Avenue Q, Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty’s naughty but (ultimately) nice satire on the lives of the twenty-something human and not-so human, residents of a downbeat New York street. It is testament to the popularity of the piece that after four years of almost continual touring since leaving the West End, the show is still packing in audiences around the country.

Neither those returning to the piece nor first timers, will be disappointed by Sell a Door Theatre Company’s latest production. The gang’s all here: Princeton, Rod, Nicky, Kate, Brian, Christmas Eve, The Bad Idea Bears and of course, Trekkie Monster, as are the now infamous songs “The Internet is for Porn”, ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”

In comparison to shows such as Book of Mormon, with whom it shares a composer (Robert Lopez), Avenue Qis beginning to look more like the naughty little sibling rather than the controversial, ground-breaking, triple Tony award-winning daddy of modern musicals that it once was (the Gary Coleman reference in particular dates the piece badly). But, that said, it is still a winner. So well does it articulate the foibles of modern life and relationships that it never fails to raise a smile.

Stand-out amongst the engaging cast is Stephen Arden who skilfully juggles the multiple roles of Nicky, a Bad Idea Bear and the show-stealing Trekkie Monster with an ease that belies the difficult character changes. His physicality and vibrant energy are impressive as is Emily-Jane Morris as Christmas Eve whose knock out vocals bring the house down in “The More You Ruv Someone”.

Less than successful is Lucie-Mae Sumner who, whilst utterly captivating in her characterisation of Kate Monster is less convincing in the role of Lucy The Slut and her thin vocals fail to do justice to one of the show’s most iconic songs “There’s a Fine, Fine, Line”.

Avenue Q still retains its ability to thoroughly entertain and remains as irreverent, infectious and utterly irresistible as it ever has.

4****