Tag Archives: Theatre Royal

NEWS: Oor Wullie tour announced with dates at Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Dundee Rep Ensemble and Selladoor Productions in association with Noisemaker, today announced a new musical adventure bringing to life Scotland’s favourite comic strip scamp DC Thomson Media’s Oor Wullie.  The world premiere stage show opens at the Dundee Rep Theatre from 23 Nov – 05 Jan before touring across Scotland with dates at Theatre Royal, Glasgow from 21  – 25 January 2020. Tickets on sale soon.

Oor Wullie has featured in DC Thomson Media comic strips in the Sunday Post for over 80 years, earning him the title of ‘Scotland’s Favourite Son’ in a public vote in 2004.  The iconic laddie from Auchenshoogle is much loved for his big heart, constant war against boredom and his mischievous energetic pranks which often land him in a scrape or two! Now you can see the spiky-haired scallywag live on stage as he embarks on an adventure with pals Fat Boab, Soapy Soutar, Wee Eck, and the rest of the Sunday Post gang – the only question is; where’s his bucket?!

In their 80th anniversary year Dundee Rep is one of Scotland’s most awarded theatres and the only theatre in Scotland to have a permanent company of actors, established 20 years ago as the Dundee Rep Ensemble. Oor Wullie will be directed by Dundee Rep’s Artistic Director Andrew Panton, and adapted for stage by Noisemaker whose previous collaborations include the hugely successful The Snow Queen in 2018 and a brand new musical premiering in the US this Spring Hi, My Name is Ben.

Oor Wullie also marks an ongoing partnership with the internationally acclaimed Selladoor Worldwide who recently commissioned and produced another DC Thomson Media favourite The Broons directed by Andrew Panton in their 2016 critically acclaimed tour.

Noisemaker’s Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie tell us: “We’re very excited to be bringing Scotland’s Oor Wullie to the stage in this unique collaboration between DC Thomson, Selladoor and Dundee Rep. Like so many of us, we grew up reading Wullie’s stories and they’ve remained a treasured part of our childhood. But the enduring appeal of “Oor Wullie” is that he doesn’t remain in the past; the comic has changed and adapted across its 80-year history, heralding Wullie not only as a figure of tradition, but also of Scotland today. We’re thrilled to be bringing his latest adventure to Dundee this Christmas, and to continue our ongoing relationship with the Rep.”

Andrew Panton, Artistic Director at Dundee Rep says: “Oor Wullie is a character that immediately connects with Dundee. I’m thrilled that as part of our anniversary season we’ll be once more collaborating with Noisemaker to bring this story to life on stage at the Rep – surely the only stage he could start this new adventure?”

David Hutchinson, CEO of Selladoor Productions says: “We couldn’t be happier to follow our production of The Broons working in partnership with such a fabulous creative team and theatre to share a story of the superbly observed and fantastically funny Wullie.  He and his gang hold a very special place in many hearts with a history spanning generations and we can’t wait for what promises to be a memorable night at the theatre for the whole family”.

Priority Tickets go on sale to ‘Friends’ of Dundee Rep on Monday 18th March and general sale on Tuesday 19th March across the tour.  See listings for booking details and join the cheeky chap who will prove that even at 80-years old he’s still Oor Wullie! Your Wullie! A’body’s Wullie!

 

REVIEW: Scottish Opera Kátya Kabanová – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The shining star of Scottish Opera’s current season is undoubtedly Stephen Lawless’ gorgeous looking and sounding version of Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová. One of the four late operas by the composer that are universally acknowledged as his greatest works, it has been given something of a Scandi-noir look by designer Leslie Travers and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, for this co-production with Theater Magdeburg. Based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, and originally set in the 1860s in the small industrial town of Kalinov on the banks of the Volga river, the action has been advanced over a hundred years to the dark days of the Soviet era. 

Sweet and loyal Kátya is seemingly happily married to Tikhon but unrelentingly bullied by his over-possessive, domineering mother Kabanicha. When Tikhon is ordered away on business by his mother, the oppressed and isolated Kátya is tempted into the arms of another. Inherently loyal and utterly remorseful of her actions, she cannot come to terms with what she has done. In the closed-minded town she is subjected not only the whispers of the townsfolk, but the whispers in her own head. Kátya decisively takes action to calm the storm inside.

The orchestra of Scottish Opera are on lively form, at times so lively that it takes a strong singer to stand up to their vigour: some are more successful than others. Laura Wilde is a soft and timid Kátya with a crystal clear soprano, however, there are points where she, like others is overwhelmed by the pit. American tenor Ric Furman as her insipid lover Boris, is almost inaudible for much of the production, and as her Mrs. Danvers-like mother-in-law-from-hell, Patricia Bardon is in fine voice, but strays into pantomime territory as the arch villain. Much more successful are lovers Varvara (Hanna Hipp) and Vanya (Trystan Llŷr Griffiths) who provide a lively foil to the darker goings on.

This is a production that transcends its faults, darkly atmospheric, beautifully designed and with a lyrical yet highly dramatic score that is an absolute treat for the ears, it is a shining jewel in Scottish Opera’s current season.

Touring to Edinburgh 21 and 23 March 2019

Image: James Glossop

NEWS: SCOTTISH OPERA REVIVES SIR THOMAS ALLEN’S PRODUCTION OF MOZART’S THE MAGIC FLUTE

Sir Thomas Allen’s five-star production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute returns to Scottish Opera in May, set in a spectacular world inspired by the Victorian futurism of HG Wells and Jules Verne.

Mozart’s most inventive opera, featuring a handsome prince, a damsel in distress, sorcerers, priests and a bumbling bird-catcher, opens at Theatre Royal Glasgow on Saturday 4 May, and tours to Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London and Belfast. With set and costume design by Simon Higlett, this production takes inspiration from the city of Glasgow at the height of its industrial powers, drawing on the aesthetics and ideas of the Enlightenment, particularly the work of the Hunter family and the huge scientific collections of The Hunterian Museum.

Conductor Tobias Ringborg (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) is joined by Peter Gijsbertsen (La traviata 2017) as Tamino and Gemma Summerfield, First Prize winner at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, as Pamina. Richard Burkhard is Papageno, the role he created in the original production in 2012; Julia Sitkovetsky is Queen of the Night; James Creswell is Sarastro and Adrian Thompson is Monostatos. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, Sofia Troncoso (Opera Highlights 2018), sings the role of Papagena.

Sir Thomas Allen said: ‘Our production of The Magic Flute, first created in 2012, makes its return to the stage and to theatres around Scotland. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the rehearsal period and to the performances that follow. There are many changes from our original cast, but one welcome return will be that of Richard Burkhard in the role of Papageno. He brought to the part a really brilliant personal way of playing, just as one would hope for Papageno, and our collaboration was, apart from all else, a lot of fun.

‘As for what you will see, well, if you are familiar with Glasgow and the richness of its constituent parts, then you will recognise all of the references in this show. It is a tribute by designer Simon Higlett and myself to a great Scottish city.’

There will be two Dementia Friendly performances of The Magic Flute, in Glasgow and Edinburgh. These specially abridged performances are carefully designed to make the theatrical experience more accessible to people living with dementia. Sound and lighting levels are adjusted for the comfort of the audience, and the cast is joined on stage by a narrator. Audiences will also be able to go in and out of the auditorium during the performance and see the show in the foyer areas on TV screens. Scottish Opera staged the UK’s first Dementia Friendly opera performance in November 2016, with The Marriage of Figaro at Festival Theatre Edinburgh.

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend The Magic Flute Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with visual impairments can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

Cast List

Tamino                                                            Peter Gijsbertsen & William Morgan (14, 18 May, 13,15 June)

Pamina                                                            Gemma Summerfield

Papageno                                                        Richard Burkhard & James Cleverton (20, 22, 27, 29 June)

The Queen of the Night                                  Julia Sitkovetsky

Sarastro                                                             James Creswell & Dingle Yandell (1, 5, 20, 22, 27, 29 June)

Monostatos                                                     Adrian Thompson

Papagena                                                        Sofia Troncoso*

First Lady                                                      Jeni Bern

Second Lady                                                  Bethan Langford*

Third Lady                                                     Sioned Gwen Davies

*Scottish Opera Emerging Artist

Creative Team

Conductors                                                     Tobias Ringborg & Derek Clark (13,15 June)  

Director                                                            Sir Thomas Allen

Set and Costume Designer                                Simon Higlett

Lighting Designer                                            Mark Jonathan

Movement Director                                           Kally Lloyd-Jones

Translation                                         Kit Hesketh-Harvey

Performance Diary

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Sat 4 May, 7.15pm

Wed 8 May, 7.15pm

Fri 10 May, 7.15pm

Sun 12 May, 3pm

Tue 14 May, 7.15pm

Thu 16 May, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sat 18 May, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Thu 9 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 18 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sun 12 May, 1.45pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sun 12 May, 3pm

 

Eden Court, Inverness

Tue 21 May, 7.15pm

Thu 23 May, 7.15pm

Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 24 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 25 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sat 25 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sat 25 May, 7.15pm

 

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Thu 30 May, 7.15pm

Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 31 May, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sat 1 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sat 1 Jun, 7.15pm

 

Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Wed 5 Jun, 7.15pm

Fri 7 Jun, 3pm (Dementia Friendly Performance)

Sun 9 Jun, 3pm

Tue 11 Jun, 7.15pm

Thu 13 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 15 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Thu 6 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 15 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Touch Tour

Sun 9 Jun, 1.45pm

The Magic Flute Audio-described performance

Sun 9 Jun, 3pm

 

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London, E8 1EJ

Thu 20 Jun, 7.30pm

Sat 22 Jun, 7.30pm

 

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 22 Jun, 6pm

 

Belfast Grand Opera House, 2-4 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7HR

Thu 27 Jun, 7.15pm

Sat 29 Jun, 7.15pm

 

The Magic Flute Unwrapped

Fri 28 Jun, 6pm

The Magic Flute Pre-show talk

Sat 29 Jun, 6pm

REVIEW: Someone Like You: The Adele Songbook – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

It’s over a decade since Adele burst onto the music scene with her debut album 19. From there the then teenage sensation has matured into a world-dominating megastar. With Adele on a seemingly infinite sabbatical, Katie Markham’s Someone Like You: The Adele Songbook is both a fitting tribute to the star and an excellent substitute.

Former X Factor finalist Markham was chosen to appear in the TV special Adele Live at the BBC presented by Graham Norton, an event that was to change her life. Not only did she get to sing with her idol, that appearance inspired Markham’s decision to create the show Someone Like You, a show that has now toured Britain. A wise decision, as the superstar’s music transcends both musical genres and the generations as evidenced by the large and diverse audience in the Theatre Royal this evening.

Markham manages to capture Adele’s vocal and physical nuances, but she is clearly a gifted singer in her own right and accompanied by a talented four-piece live band and two backing singers, she more than delivers the goods. From Hometown Glory through: Chasing Pavements; Make You Feel My Love; Set Fire To The Rain; Someone Like You; Rumour Has It, Rolling In The Deep, Skyfall to Hello, every hit and some lesser known album tracks are here as well as some tributes to Adele’s musical heroes. There’s even an astonishingly good version of Cheryl Cole’s Promise This, originally performed for Radio One’s Live Lounge, proving that a class act like Adele can make a silk purse out of any musical pig’s ear. Markham’s talented backing vocalists also get their chance in the spotlight with a knock-out version of Natural Woman.

It takes a brave performer indeed to take on arguably the world’s best female vocalist, thankfully Markham is a class act like her musical idol, and Someone Like You is a highly entertaining two hour musical treat.

Katie returns to Scotland next month with shows on:

11th March – Eden Court, Inverness
12th March – Music Hall, Aberdeen
13th March – Webster Theatre, Arbroath 

NEWS: Local casting announced for RSC’s Romeo and Juliet

The Royal Shakespeare Company and Theatre Royal Glasgow have confirmed local casting for Romeo and Juliet which is to run at Theatre Royal, Glasgow next month as part of a UK tour.

As previously announced, two groups of four young people from Glasgow and the surrounding area will join the professional cast to share the role of the Chorus from Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 March 2019

Joining Bally Gill (Romeo) and Karen Fishwick (Juliet) will be:

Mairi McLeod, 14, Cumbernauld

Millie Walker, 16, Largs

Annie O’Dell, 15, Jordanhill

Josh Ennis, 13, Largs

Matthew Don, 16, Clydebank

Eve Wengel, 16, Uplawmoor

Lilah Cowen, 14, Giffnock

Zoe McInnes, 13, Paisley

Erica Whyman, the production’s director, said: “In 2016 we brought my production of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation to Glasgow, and it involved a number of local school children.  We were bowled over by the impact the production had on the young people who took part and those who came to watch. I want to build on that hugely positive experience, as we stage Romeo and Juliet, opening up a dialogue with young people in schools in ways we have never before been able to do. By inviting these young people to join us on stage I want to celebrate the diverse talent of the UK and highlight the revolutionary heart of this most timeless love story.”

The young people selected to perform in Romeo and Juliet were selected from attendees of Theatre Royal’s drama workshops. Those who enrolled on the Young Theatre Royal course were invited to complete an application form and prepare a talk under the subject “I’d love this opportunity because…”. They then attended a workshop session where they worked on some themes from the show and presented their talk to the group. Based on selection criteria provided by the RSC, focussing on providing opportunities and building confidence, the eight young performers were chosen. Prior experience was not necessary.

Alison Cowan, Creative Learning and Community Partnerships Manager at Theatre Royal, said: “It was an honour to have the opportunity to invite our Young Theatre Royal participants to audition to be part of the cast in the RSC’s Romeo and Juliet. I’m confident that this will be a very enriching experience as they take part in the telling of this classic tale alongside one of the UKs most prestigious theatre companies.”

The young people will take part in two rehearsals with members of the RSC’s Education team and the Romeo and Juliet creative team. Then, during the week of the RSC’s visit, they will join the professional acting company for a rehearsal on the stage of Theatre Royal before they face an audience for their public performances.

Bally Gill’s previous credits for the RSC include Coriolanus, Salome, Vice Versa, Always Orange and Fall of the Kingdom. His other credits include The Island Nation (Arcola Theatre), A Local Boy (The Arts Theatre), Dinner with Saddam (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Bureau of Lost Things (Theatre 503) and NW (BBC/Mammoth Screen).

Karen Fishwick, who comes from Glasgow, makes her RSC debut. She most recently appeared in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre of Scotland/Live Theatre). Her other credits include Glasgow Girls (NTS/Citizens), Hansel and Gretel (Citizens Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Christmas Carol (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh), Badults (BBC Three), James Kirk’s Comedy Blaps, The Illuminati (The Comedy Unit) and Tides and Telegrams (for The Winter Tradition).

The cast also includes: Afolabi Alli (Paris); Donna Banya (Gregory); Stevie Basaula (Sampson); Katy Brittain (Friar John/Apothecary); Raif Clarke (Peter); Beth Cordingly (Escalus); Paul Dodds (Montague); Josh Finan (Benvolio); Andrew French (Friar Laurence); Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet); Michael Hodgson (Capulet); John Macaulay (Cousin Capulet); Tom Padley (Balthasar); Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham).

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production is designed by Tom Piper with lighting by Charles Balfour and sound by Jeremy Dunn. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Tue 19 – Sat 23 Mar 2019

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7647*

Class cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

REVIEW: Abigail’s Party – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

If ever there was a play that was well and truly burned into the memory of all those who saw it, Mike Leigh’s 1970s masterpiece, Abigail’s Party is it. There are few who haven’t seen the 1977 BBC Play For Today production of the stage play, who can’t recite a plethora of our leading lady Beverly’s famously barbed lines (16 million people watched the original broadcast alone): “Laurence…Angela likes Demis Roussos, Tony likes Demis Roussos, I like Demis Roussos, and Sue would like to hear Demis Roussos: so please, do you think we could have Demis Roussos on?” “Cheesy pineapple?” – the two words alone got a roar of laughter from the expectant crowd as does the moment when Beverly pops off to chill the Beaujolais. With Leigh’s then-wife Alison Steadman’s once seen (and heard), never forgotten performance so synonymous with the role, those that follow in her gold strappy sandalled footsteps invariably suffer in comparison.

It’s the dinner party from hell where the clearly bored, bitchy, utterly unhappy, suburban social climber Beverly, is hosting neighbours Angela and her husband Tony, and Susan, mother of the titular Abigail who’s having her first teenage party a few doors down. The evening descends into the most cringe-worthy example of social torture as Beverly demeans her uptight, reserved husband Lawrence, belittles both Susan and Angela and tries to seduce neighbour Tony.

Jodie Prenger wafts around Janet Bird’s highly detailed brown and orange, sheepskin rugged, wood-clad walled set in a colour-co-ordinating Paisley patterned kaftan and eye-popping blue eyeshadow. Prenger manages to produce a fair impersonation of Beverly’s nasal whine but overall hers is a more low key, less passively aggressive portrayal. While highly competent, it lacks a bit of the physical energy (and sharpness of timing) that would have truly made this gathering nerve-shredding. Daniel Casey is Lawrence, whose descent into utter contempt for his crass wife is very well-judged. TV soap veteran Vicky Binns’ Angela is a fawning sycophant to the older Beverly, who laps up every compliment while throwing thinly disguised barbs back at her young neighbour. Calum Callaghan’s monosyllabic Tony is an eerily accurate portrayal of a quietly abusive husband and Rose Keegan’s  truly middle class Susan is perfectly pitched, every line is delivered perfectly on point.

It may feel to some that Abigail’s Party perfectly preserves in aspic an era in British social history, when class barriers were supposedly being broken down and the ‘upwardly mobile’ were well and truly on the rise. But, it also speaks at a deeper level of how far and how little women’s freedom has come in the 40+ years since the play was written.

Abigail’s Party is the perfect example of something so well-written, that it still has the power (in a very different world) to be hugely entertaining, decades on from its creation.

Runs until 9 February 2019 | Image: Manuel Harlan 

THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE REVIEWS HUB

 

REVIEW: Rebus: Long Shadows – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

It is a retired John Rebus who appears in his first stage outing, Long Shadows. Currently trying to keep off the cigarettes and booze, Ian Rankin’s best-selling and much-loved detective is living a very different life in his Edinburgh flat. Not exactly in graceful retirement, he is haunted by thoughts of the one’s that got away – the criminals not the romantic kind.

Rebus is plunged straight back into investigation and firmly back off the wagon, when the daughter of the victim of a 17-year-old unsolved murder appears at his door. His once loyal colleague DI Siobhan Clarke has to tread carefully when it transpires that Rebus’ actions in the past may put the conviction of a rapist and murderer and her promotion to DCI, in jeopardy. As every reader of the best-selling novels knows, where Rebus’ past is concerned, it is inevitable that his arch nemesis Big Ger Cafferty will soon appear firmly centre stage.

Playwright Rona Munro has created the first Rebus play based on an original story by Rankin, and as has become her trademark, it is long on dialogue and drama. Tightly written and atmospheric throughout, fans of the novels will be pleased that it has just as many twists and turns.

Scots TV veteran Ron Donachie steps into Rebus’ well-worn shoes and curmudgeonly character. His deft touch and naturalistic portrayal of the often larger than life Rebus is a masterclass in exquisitely judged acting. What could so easily have been an excuse to ham it up, is instead a perfectly pitched portrayal. John Stahl is a suitably oily Cafferty, living the highlife in his 7th floor penthouse, clad in some eye-catching threads. Stahl, another much-loved Scottish acting veteran, has fabulous chemistry with Donachie, something essential to the success of the piece, due to Rankin’s 30-year development in print of the pair’s relationship. Less successful is Cathy Tyson’s portrayal of Rebus’ former police partner, DI Clarke, she is under-used and a little stiff in comparison to the easy chemistry between Donachie and Stahl.

The staging is darkly atmospheric, the only criticism would be the lack of one of its most essential elements – the city of Edinburgh. Rankin delivers such a sense of place in every novel, the atmosphere of the place oozes from every page, so much so that our capital city is almost a character in itself.

Expectations are high when any much-loved Scottish character makes their way to the stage, and thankfully Munro’s adaptation of Rankin’s beloved character delivers plenty of thrills and chills to entertain. Hopefully Rebus’ life continues to expand beyond the pages of Rankin’s novels. Well worth watching for crime fans.

Runs until 2 February 2019 | Image: Contributed

THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED BY THE REVIEWS HUB

REVIEW: Rock of Ages – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

An unrecognisable Strictly Come Dancing champ, Kevin Clifton, dons a dodgy ‘80s wig and some even dodgier threads as fading rock star Stacee Jaxx, in Rock of Ages, Chris D’Arienzo’s fantastic, feel-good, fun musical.

1987, Los Angeles. Aspiring rock star Drew Boley (Luke Walsh) is working in the Sunset Strip bar The Bourbon Room. There he falls for small town girl Sheree (Jodie Steele) fresh off the bus from Kansas. While the two lovebirds’ romance looks to be on the up, the same can’t be said for the bar where they both work. Property developers have their eyes on this prime piece of real estate, and while the fight goes on for its survival, Drew and Sherrie’s relationship might just be headed for disaster too, thanks to larger than life rock god Stacee Jaxx (Kevin Clifton).

This isn’t Sondheim or Lloyd Webber or Andrew Lloyd Sondheim as they say in the show, but who thought it would be? Rock of Ages has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, knowingly breaking the fourth wall to get the audience firmly on its side from the start. It’s a larger than life, cheesier than Camembert romp through the greatest ‘hair metal’ hits of the 1980s, a piece of escapist fun to chase the winter, spring, summer and autumn blues away. It’s simply an exemplary piece of pure, joyous entertainment.

Whilst Clifton is undoubtedly the box office draw, and a revelation vocally, this truly is an ensemble piece with an absolute dream of a cast. A cast, in its entirety, talented from their heads to their toes. A cast who put their hearts and souls into making this the most irresistible party in town. The always fantastic Lucas Rush deserves his place centre stage as narrator, Lonny – he is an utter joy, a fine comic actor, and an even finer singer. Luke Walsh as good guy Drew has the most fantastic voice and a fine future ahead of him. Jodie Steele is an excellent Sheree and Zoe Birkett gets to show off her magnificent vocals. TV and musical theatre veteran Kevin Kennedy is a loveable Dennis Dupree and Adam Strong and Andrew Carthy provide high camp comedy as German father and son property developers Hertz and Franz Klinemann.

Rock of Ages cracks along at a blistering pace from curtain up to curtain down, delivers laughs by the bucket load and some of the finest vocals and musicianship you are likely to see on any stage. Guaranteed to lift the spirits – what more could anyone want.

Runs until 26 January 2018 | Image: Contributed

THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED BY THE REVIEWS HUB.

REVIEW: Anthropocene – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh’s fourth work for Scottish Opera (and their first full-length opera) received its world premiere in Glasgow last night. While Anthropocene delivers on many levels, it isn’t quite the perfect package…yet. There’s fantastic potential for thrills and chills both dramatically and musically, but there’s an overriding feeling that the narrative and expected tension of the subject matter has been sacrificed due to uneven pacing.

Entrepreneur Harry King has financed a polar expedition on his state of the art vessel, King’s Anthropocene, an expedition to explore the origins of life on earth. As the ice encroaches, the team become trapped, tensions rise among the small crew and an eerie discovery emerges from the frozen depths.

While Act One firmly establishes each character, it outstays its welcome by a good twenty minutes: there’s unnecessary repetitive padding of the libretto and a uniform musical tone that fails to grip. On the reverse side, its final act comes to its denouement at a break-neck speed. That said there are some hauntingly beautiful musical moments, most particularly at the hands of Jennifer France as the being from the ice. Her gorgeous, ethereal soprano sends shivers down the spine. Less successful both dramatically and vocally are Mark Le Brocq’s Harry King and Sarah Champion as King’s daughter Daisy – each is underpowered vocally and over-acting dramatically.

Samal Blak’s set and costume design, while functional, lacks the necessary detail that keeps the attention for the duration of a full-length work. Matthew Richardson’s direction is functional rather than original or thrilling.

The explorational of our Anthropocene age, science and technology interwoven with ancient beliefs and a touch of Frankenstein, all seem thrilling on paper, and it would have been a stunner had the dramatic potential been fully exploited. It feels like a case of what might have been.

Runs until 26 January at The Theatre Royal, Glasgow, then tours to The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh and the Hackney Empire, London.

IMAGES: James Glossop

 

 

WHAT’S ON MAY: ROYAL WEDDING GOSPEL SINGERS THE KINGDOM CHOIR HEADING TO GLASGOW

Royal wedding gospel singers The Kingdom Choir are heading out on a UK tour in 2019 which comes to Glasgow Theatre Royal.

The Kingdom Choir became a household name following the stunning performance of Stand By Me at the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and the Duchess Of Sussex last May.

And now the choir is set to perform at the Theatre Royal on Wednesday, May 22.

The 18-date headline tour in April and May will include a first anniversary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall in London, a year to the day after the wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Tickets are on sale now from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.cuffeandtaylor.com

Following the Royal Wedding performance, The Kingdom Choir has made high profile appearances across UK TV networks as well as closing the Invictus Games in Sydney in October. Last month the choir released its debut album Stand By Me via Sony, which features the title track as performed at the Royal Wedding, as well as versions of Beyoncé’s Halo, John Legend’s All Of Me and Stormzy’s Blinded By Your Grace Part 2. It also includes original track Chases, written by members of The Kingdom Choir.

Karen Gibson, conductor of The Kingdom Choir, said: “The Kingdom Choir is absolutely delighted with the journey of the past few months! It’s been a rollercoaster, but we wouldn’t have it any other way – first, the honour of being able to sing at the Royal Wedding, then the thrill of being signed to Sony, and now a national tour!

“It’s like an un-dreamt dream – one that you wouldn’t even consider, because you never thought it could happen to you. We’re very grateful and very excited about what’s to come.”

The choir consists of seasoned male and female vocalists, chosen for their high-quality delivery of choral meets gospel. They’ve been featured in the film Tube Tales, the TV series Maisie Raine, an Orange advert, and alongside the BBC Philharmonic for the Radio 4 Easter Sunday Worship.

The choir’s rendition of Stand By Me went straight in at Number 1 on the Billboard Gospel Songs Chart after the wedding and received more than 10 million views on YouTube.

The choir was founded in 1994 London by award-winning conductor Karen Gibson. The singers, from in and around London, draw from various Christian traditions and are dedicated to creating a sound that demonstrates the community they share through their warm energy and enthusiastic performance. Prior to performing in front of almost two billion people at the Royal Wedding, the largest audience The Kingdom Choir had performed to was just 200 people.

The Kingdom Choir’s debut album Stand By Me is available now via Sony Music.

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