Tag Archives: Tim Firth

NEWS: Lesley Joseph joins the cast of Calendar Girls in Glasgow

Lesley Joseph will join the cast for the Glasgow run of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical comedy, CALENDAR GIRLS The Musical, based on the true story, the film and the award-winning play.

Lesley will play Jessie from Tuesday 11 – Saturday 22 June at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow and for all other dates in the UK tour until in Saturday 10 August when Ruth Madoc returns to the role.

Although perhaps best known for playing Dorien Green in the ITV sitcom Birds of a Feather, alongside Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson, Lesley has a wealth of theatrical experience to her credit. Most recently she starred as Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein at the Garrick Theatre, a role which earned her an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Lesley’s other notable theatre credits include Miss Hannigan in Annie (West End and UK Tour), Chris in the play of Calendar Girls (UK Tour), The Vagina Monologues (West End and UK Tour), and Kathleen in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Home (Theatre Royal Bath).

On television, Lesley played Rachel Culgrin in ITV’s Night and Day for nearly two years. Other TV appearances include Rumble with Brian Glover, Easy Money, Spywatch, Minder, Roots, and The Knowledge to name a few. She played Green Beryl in Channel 5’s series The Secret of Eel Island, and guest starred as Erica in BBC’s The Slammer.

Leslie has also appeared in scores of light entertainment shows. She had a regular spot as glamour correspondent on GMTV, and presented ITV’s Wish You Were Here…?. In 2016, Lesley was partnered with Anton du Beke on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Lesley joins the previously announced cast starring Sarah Jane Buckley (Blood Brothers and Kathy Barnes in Hollyoaks) as Annie, Sue Devaney (the soon to be seen new Russell T. Davies series Years and Years, Jane in Dinnerladies, Liz Harker in Casualty, Scots comedian Karen Dunbar as Cora, Julia Hills (Doctor Kemp in Broadchurch, Annabelle Shrivener in The Archers) as Ruth, Judy Holt (Cold Feet, Scott & Bailey) as Marie and Lisa Maxwell (panellist on Loose Women, Tracey Donovan in Hollyoaks, Samantha Nixon in The Bill and various roles in The Les Dennis Laughter Show and The Russ Abbot Show) as Celia. The new cast will make their debut at Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, on 23 April 2019.

Rebecca Storm will continue to play Chris.

Also in the cast are Phil Corbitt as John, Ian Mercer as Rod, Sebastian Abineri as Colin, Alan Stocks as Denis, Derek Elroy as Lawrence, Pauline Daniels as Lady Cravenshire, Ellie Leah as Miss Wilson, Danny Howker as Danny, Isabel Caswell as Jenny and Tyler Dobbs as Tommo.

The critically acclaimed and award-winning production played a six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre in 2017, and, before that, this musical comedy played sold-out seasons in Leeds and Manchester.

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the North of England and have been friends for 25 years.  With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner.  Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.

CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5million for Bloodwise. This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will continue to receive monies from this production.

CALENDAR GIRLS The Musical is directed by Matt Ryan and designed by Robert Jones, with comedy staging by Jos Houben, movement by Lucy Hind and casting by Sarah Bird.

Calendar Girls The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 11 – Sat 22 Jun 2019

www.atgtickets.com.glasgow

0844 871 7648*calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

NEWS: KAREN DUNBAR TO STAR IN AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL CALENDAR GIRLS IN GLASGOW

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, the producers of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical comedy, CALENDAR GIRLS The Musical, are thrilled to bring the award-wining production to Glasgow for a two-week run next year.

Starring Scottish comedy queen Karen Dunbar, CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL, which is based on the true story and Tim Firth play of the same name, will run at the King’s Theatre from Tuesday 11 – Saturday 22 June 2019.

Karen Dunbar is best known for BBC1 Scotland’s sketch shows, The Karen Dunbar Show and Chewin’ the Fat. She has also worked extensively in theatre including with the National Theatre of Scotland and last year devised her own play, #71, for A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Oran Mor last year. Karen has also starred in the King’s Theatre pantomime.

Further casting is to be announced.

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the North of England and have been friends for 25 years.  With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner.  Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.

CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5million for Bloodwise. This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will continue to receive monies from this production.

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Twitter: @thegirlsmusical

Calendar Girls The Musical

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Tue 11 – Sat 22 Jun 2019

www.atgtickets.com.glasgow

0844 871 7648*calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

REVIEW: The Band – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Firstly, a fact needs to be stated that this is not the Take That story. The words Take That are never uttered in the entire two and a half hours of the show. You would also be mistaken for thinking that the boyband recruited from the BBC reality show Let It Shine were the crux of the production, and while they feature large, they are far from the centre of the story.

Instead, it’s a story of five friends that spans 25 years. A story of growing up, love and loss, opportunity unfulfilled, of hope, peppered throughout with the hits of the biggest British boy band of the past quarter of a century. It is also more story with music rather than jukebox musical.

Writer Tim Firth clearly has the target demographic in his sights. The mature version of these 90s teens are the heart of the show. Take That the soundtrack to their lives. The pop culture references abound: Smash Hits posters on bedroom walls, Top of the Pops, Ceefax, cassette taping Top of the Pops, it unashamedly taps into the unquenchable thirst for nostalgia.

This is clearly a show of two halves: the central quartet of Heather (Emily Joyce), Rachel (Rachel Lumberg), Claire (Alison Fitzjohn) and Zoe (Jayne McKenna) are fine actresses with a wealth of talent, and it is only when the story fully centres on this quartet that it achieves any real depth. Tim Firth’s dialogue for the mature characters is utterly believable, it is less so for their teenage versions, where it is largely contrived and one-dimensional.

The quartet’s younger selves are played by Katy Clayton (Heather), Faye Cristall (Rachel), Sarah Kate Howarth (Claire) and Lauren Jacobs (Zoe) with Rachelle Diedricks as teenage pal Debbie. Their schoolgirl antics, while familiar, are a tad contrived and their diction is poor, rendering most of the lines a garbled mush. The first half also suffers from a strange selection of Take That songs that don’t exactly fit the narrative. With a back catalogue as fine as this, the choices seem plain odd.

‘The Band’ as played by Five to Five: A.J. Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T. Johns, Yazdan Qafouri, Sario Solomon prove just how good Take That were, and still are. These songs, while seeming easy to sing, just aren’t, and the quintet while having a solid go at it, never fully do the songs justice.

For anyone who has ever seen Take That live, the set design will look familiar. The production values of the band who are the producers of the show are replicated here. It’s big and bold and the stage is jam-packed with effects.

This show has had it’s fair amount of flak, its detractors have been many, but there’s a fundamental question to be asked: are they the target audience? I am pretty sure that the producers made no claims to enlighten or educate. Indeed, the programme notes say it’s a “love letter to the fans”. It’s intended for the Take That fandom, if you’re here and you’re not a fan of Take That, I’d question your choices. Sometimes theatre is made just to be entertaining. But, this reviewer is very much the target demographic, like most of the audience, knowing the words to every one of these tunes and willing this to be a joy, and while the second half was superior to the first, it ultimately doesn’t do enough to overcome its faults. I am sure The Band will be a satisfying night’s entertainment, a piece of pure escapism and nostalgia for many and it may fulfil its brief as ‘a love letter to the fans’, but for this audience member, there are more feelings of disappointment than delight.

Runs until 7 July 2018 | Image: Matt Crockett review originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub.

 

REVIEW: Our House – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Our-House-performing-Driving-In-My-Car.-Photo-Mike-Kwasniak

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at:
http://www.thepublicreviews.com/cd-review-charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory/

Book: Tim Firth

Music & Lyrics: Madness

Director: Peter Rowe

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★½☆

Striving to be more Blood Brothers than Jersey Boys, Tim Firth’s musical Our House based around the music of Madness, ultimately fails to fall into either camp. Neither dramatic play with music or full-blown jukebox musical it is an odd hybrid which sits uneasily between the two.

A cautionary story about the power of choice, it tells the story of Joe Casey who on the fateful night of his 16th birthday breaks into an empty luxury apartment to impress his girlfriend Sarah.  From here onwards we enter a parallel universe where we see the consequences of both his choices: in one world Joe escapes and prospers pursuing a life on the slightly less than legal side of the tracks and in the other he does the honest thing, surrenders to the police and ultimately lands up in a young offender’s institution. The story twists and turns (to its credit it resists taking a predictable path) and ultimately our young hero gets what he deserves. Shoe-horned into all of this are the songs of 80’s superstars Madness.

The company of actor musicians play both multiple roles and instruments onstage throughout and equip themselves with energy and commitment but there’s an overwhelming sense of something missing about the whole endeavour. The sound quality suffers from being dampened by the tiny and distractingly busy set perched on the huge Festival Theatre stage and struggles to reach the volume needed to fill this huge auditorium. The dampened sound also reflects the reaction that met the end of each set piece. No number ends emphatically enough to prompt spontaneous applause and on many occasions the actors launch straight into dialogue at the end of a song leaving no time for the audience to show any appreciation they feel it might deserve. It’s all a pity as the company work hard to engage the audience and their enthusiasm can’t be faulted. It’s a case of bad material happening to good people.

Alexis Gerred (Joe) is an amiable enough lead and he manages the quick changes required of the role with aplomb but he’s a bit lacking in the personality department to convincingly pull this off. Worthy of praise though is Daniella Bowen as girlfriend Sarah, convincing as the moral compass of the piece. However, one criticism must be made of the younger members of the ensemble, whose diction is less than crisp, leading to a universal tendency to mangle dialogue and render punchlines flat. However, Sean Needham and Rebecca Bainbridge as Joe’s parents, lend the show a much needed quality and gravitas, both are accomplished actors as well as musicians and their class shines through.

Despite a somewhat muted reaction throughout, the audience did give hearty applause at the end, though one can’t help think that it was for the hard-working cast rather than the material. The show should be applauded though for attempting to rise above the run of the mill jukebox musical fodder but it needs a clearer narrative and a more charismatic lead to pull it off.