Tag Archives: Tour

WHAT’S ON: GLASGOW SHOW ADDED TO CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER’S DEBUT TOUR

Glasgow, Theatre Royal – Sunday, June 11

Award-winning stage star Carrie Hope Fletcher will be bringing her new debut solo tour to Glasgow.

Carrie Hope Fletcher – An Open Book will see the musical theatre star, author and vlogger play a series of unmissable theatre shows in May and June 2023, including a new date at Glasgow Theatre Royal on Sunday June 11.

Performing songs from her incredible West End and touring career, fans can look forward to hits from HeathersLes MisérablesThe Addams Family and many more, interspersed with chat about Carrie’s life and career.

Tickets are on sale from 10am, on Friday, November 4 from www.cuffeandtaylor.com

Speaking about Carrie Hope Fletcher – An Open Book, Carrie said: “I am so excited to be preparing for my first ever solo tour – and to be adding new dates is absolutely fantastic.

“A solo concert tour is something I have wanted to do for some time, and it’s great to be able to visit even more places and meet even more fans.

“I adore being on stage and am fortunate to have performed in so many theatres, but there’s something very special about being able to get out on the road and visit some beautiful theatres around the UK.”

Earlier this year, Carrie was named best performer in a female identifying role in a musical as the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella. Most recently, she has wowed critics in a new revival of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle and is now preparing for her pantomime debut as the villain Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.

Carrie, who has an impressive three WhatsOnStage Awards to her name, has enjoyed a breath-taking career since her West End debut at the age of nine playing Young Éponine in Les Misérables.

Since then, Carrie’s theatre credits include Fantine in Les Misérables: The Concert, Veronica in Heathers, Wednesday in The Addams Family, Éponine in Les Misérables, both Truly Scrumptious and Jemima in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Beth in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and Jane Banks in Mary Poppins.

When she’s not treading the boards of the West End’s biggest stages, Carrie is also a best-selling novelist, Top 20 recording artist and respected vlogger with her popular self-titled music and vlog channel attracting more than a million views a month.

Carrie Hope Fletcher – An Open Book is presented by Lambert Jackson, Live Nation and Cuffe and Taylor.

Jamie Lambert, of Lambert Jackson, said: “Carrie Hope Fletcher – An Open Book presents an opportunity to take one of the West End’s most celebrated and successful leading stars to theatres across the UK.

“There has been a phenomenal demand for the tour so we are delighted to be adding extra dates so even more people will be wowed by the stunning voice of Carrie, while also getting an insight into her incredible career.”

Cuffe and Taylor Director of Theatre Touring Ben Hatton added: “We are very excited to be presenting Carrie’s debut UK tour, and it is testament to her great popularity that we’re adding these dates. Carrie is the most wonderful musical theatre talent and audiences will absolutely love this show.”

For more information about Carrie Hope Fletcher – An Open Book and to secure tickets head to www.cuffeandtaylor.com

 Image: Michael Wharley

REVIEW: Crocodile Rock – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Andy McGregor appears to be spearheading a resurgence in homegrown musicals. Crocodile Rock, originally performed as part of Òran Mór’s 2019 A Play, a Pie and a Pint season, is now embarking on a well-deserved national tour.

Steven McPhail is 17 and stuck on a tiny island off the west coast of Scotland, not knowing quite who he is, or what the hell to do with his life. His prospects boil down to working in his dad’s hard-as-nails pub, or his mum’s B&B. There’s that, and the daily humiliation of going to school to face the object of your affection who has made your life hell since you tried to kiss him.

Steven’s horizons expand way beyond the beaches of the Isle of Cumbrae to the bright lights of the big city, when he tentatively takes his first steps in stilettos and makeup after he meets the glorious Vincente the “queen from Barcelona”.

This one-man-and-a-band musical is absolutely what the Scottish theatre-going public needs right now; with places we know, references we whole-heartedly get, with characters we can really care about and a conciseness of storytelling (coming in at an economic under-90 minutes).

The fact that we care is not only down to McGregor’s emotional rollercoaster of a show, but the central performance on which its success firmly rests. Stephen Arden is utterly magnetic as Steven, completely compelling and thoroughly sublime from the get-go. He flits through a myriad of characters with stunning ease, making each distinct – no mean feat and one to be lauded. That coupled with an impressive vocal range of which he has complete control, it’s a sure-fire recipe for success.

This fabulous musical about finding your tribe is a must-see. It will leave you with a skip in your step and a song in your heart.

Runs until 1 October 2022 then touring | Image: Tim Morozzo

 

NEWS: MAISIE SMITH TO JOIN KEVIN CLIFTON IN THE CAST OF STRICTLY BALLROOM

Strictly Come Dancing finalist and former EastEnders star, Maisie Smith, will make her musical theatre debut later this year, as she co-stars in the 2022/23 UK tour of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical in the lead female role of Fran, alongside her former Strictly dance partner, Kevin Clifton, who she waltzed her way to victory with in the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Children In Need Special.

The musical, based on the award-winning global film phenomenon of the same name, inspired the world to dance and spawned the smash hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing. And now, new for 2022/23, this all-singing, all-dancing and all-glittering show – directed and co-choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood – is set to dazzle audiences once more with this glittering cast. Kicking off in Portsmouth on 26 September, the musical will then waltz around the UK before culminating in Bristol in July 2023. Tickets are on sale now from strictlyballroomtour.co.uk

The show will visit Glasgow in 2023 at The Theatre Royal from 5th to 10th of June.

REVIEW: Lisa Stansfield Affection 30th Anniversary Tour – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Ivor Novello and BRIT Award-winner Lisa Stansfield is currently riding the second wave of her career, after bursting on the scene in 1989, and re-emerging after a sabbatical of over a decade with 2014’s album Seven and 2018’s Deeper.

Hot on the heels of last year’s Deeper tour, this time we are going back, waaaay back, thirty years, to celebrate her debut album Affection. And it’s a full-on nostalgia fest for her fans as she transports them back to those heady days where it all began. As the hall is filled with the rich, full sound of her smooth eight piece band (and two outstanding backing vocalists) you’d be forgiven for thinking this was Stansfield’s 90s heyday – the illusion only shattered by the grey haired, middle-aged audience bopping along with the hits.

Stansfield is still as strong a vocalist as she ever was, the power unbelievably coming from such a teeny, tiny, frame. She storms through Sincerity, Poison, Mighty Love, This is the Right Time, the title track Affection and of course, All Around the World among others.

For someone who is known as a gregarious and verbose interviewee she is surprisingly mute throughout most of the set, rarely engaging with her audience beyond a word or two. There are no frills – the set is a cloth with Lisa on it and the lighting is simplistic. Stansfield relies on the music, and her lauded vocals to do the talking for her.

It is all very low-key and very mellow, and while the mega-fans are lapping it up, to those less invested, the similar sounding songs and the lack of light and shade mean that many of the songs are indistinguishable from one other.

It might not win her any new fans but it’s definitely an evening of quality and nostalgia for Stansfield fans.

The Affection tour continues to:

Tue 29 Oct 2019 – UK, Birmingham Symphony Hall
Thu 31 Oct 2019 – UK, London Royal Albert Hall
Fri 01 Nov 2019 – UK, Cardiff St David’s Hall

 

REVIEW: Leah MacRae – My Big Fat Fabulous Diary – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

It takes a brave actress indeed to decide to create your own solo show and take it on the road, especially an already successful one. Leah MacRae is well-known and loved as Julie in Gary: Tank Commander, Ellie in the Scottish soap River City and the lead in the spoof 50 Shades of Maggie, so you think she’d rest on her laurels. To lay bare your embarrassing teenage diary musings with the world and open up about your daily struggles with fat-shaming, and rejection in your industry, takes courage, even if it is couched in a musical comedy show.

The first impression of MacRae is that she is a fearless, bold, bigger than life personality, un-moved by the criticism of others, and to a certain extent that’s true (she bounds on stage looking like a bubblegum pink pantomime fairy), she even says: “if I were a size 10, I’d be a complete w****r”. However, as we scratch beneath the surface to get to the real message behind these stories and songs, there’s a world of hurt that’s had to be overcome. MacRae is here to spread the word about us all being a bit kinder to each other, that however positive a face we present to the world, these constant barbs and the constant career rejection because of your size, does hurt. That we should embrace and have confidence in who we are, whatever we look like. To never give up on our dreams. She hysterically cites Victoria Beckham as her unlikely inspiration, but maybe not for the reasons you’d think!

Split into two acts, there are few theatrical conventions the Glaswegian powerhouse doesn’t cover: there’s drama, lots and lots of comedy, funny songs, heart-breaking songs, big ballads, a mix-tape section!, dancing and a ton of banter with her hometown audience. While the first act is a mixture of all these, the second becomes a bit more reflective and the mood does take a bit of a dive, until we end with the ubiquitous This Is Me from The Greatest Showman.

There’s some good material here, but there’s a feeling it’s not all it could be. MacRae, talks about constant comparisons to fellow Glaswegian Michelle McManus. McManus has had her own one-woman show, also autobiographical, also funny and also featuring some knock out hits. While MacRae is a talented comedy actress, McManus is a natural born storyteller with an innate comic timing that can’t be learned, and an ability to gauge exactly what makes a perfectly pitched show. MacRae possibly needs some outside eyes to take this raw material with great potential and make it a knock-out from start to finish. There’s also the issue of nerves. MacRae is home, not only in front of her local fans, but her family and friends, and the pressure shows. She looks nervous and as a result the dialogue comes out so fast that it’s impossible to hear a lot of it from anywhere above the stalls.

It’s easy to warm to MacRae, this is an entertaining evening and it’s great to hear her unleash her big voice at full force, but there’s a lot of potential that’s not being fulfilled. Hopefully, there’s more to come. If this is the first version of her stage show, I can’t wait to see the next.

Leah MacRae continues to tour until June. See her website for details.

REVIEW: Milton Jones and Chums – The Town House, Hamilton

The king of the one-liner Milton Jones and star of Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo and Comedy Roadshow, is touring the country with a slew of local comedians in tow. Luckily for Lanarkshire, Jones and chums are stopping off in Hamilton for one night only.

Compered brilliantly by stand up and star of Scot Squad, Chris Forbes, this is a well-curated showcase that delivers a satisfying night of comedy to the packed crowd.

Chris Forbes

Unenviably, it’s down to Edinburgh-based Gareth Waugh to open the show. Waugh is a personable and polished comedian and his self-deprecating stories have enough relatable material to get the crowd nodding and laughing along. It must be said though that for anyone who has seen him in the last few years, much of the material has been culled from his past two Edinburgh Fringe show: granny’s mad childhood games, the teenage gang asking him to buy them a carry-out and his jogging exploits to name a few. There’s also a fair amount of awkwardly familiar stories to make you cringe in recognition. It’s funny enough, and it serves its purpose as a warm up for the acts to come, but there’s nothing new or particularly ground-breaking here.

Gareth Waugh

Next up is the Santa Claus bearded and board shorts and t-shirt wearing veteran Graham Mackie. Mackie’s look may be benign and affable but his material is deceptively subversive, a combination that goes down well with the Hamilton crowd.

Graham Mackie

Second-to-top-billing falls to recent social media viral sensation Gary Meikle, whose rant on his daughter’s obsession with her eyebrows has struck a chord in these self-absorbed times. Meikle a single dad and youthful granddad at 40, delivers a knock-out selection of hugely relatable anecdotes that really do have the audience almost rolling in the aisles. What shines through is his love for his daughter and granddaughter, who provide rich material for the deft story-teller.

Gary Meikle

The wild-haired Jones is well worth the wait and the intellect behind the drolly delivered one-liners is sharp, sharp, sharp. Jones is well aware that some are so clever that they need a moment to land and his deft-touch with an audience allows this to happen.

This is really is a bumper evening of comedy, without a weak link on the bill. Each comedian is well worth seeing on their own and an even bigger treat altogether.

Milton Jones

REVIEW: Nashville: The Farewell Tour – SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Season six marks the end of the road for the much-loved TV hit Nashville. Spreading contemporary country music to the masses, it has captured the hearts of its viewers. So, it was a bittersweet goodbye to the actor/musicians who have made the show such a hit, at the filled-to-capacity Hydro Arena last night.

Favourites Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack and Jonathan Jackson delivered a greatest hits of the six years of the show with some unexpected twists too: Jonathan Jackson’s rendition of Simple Mind’s Belfast Child and Unchained Melody, and Charles Esten leading the 13000-strong crowd in a roof-raising rendition of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger, to name a few.

This contemporary country music is easy on the ear, the tone is well-judged to delight every section of the crowd, and each performer gets their chance to shine. There’s a well balanced variety of songs from ballads to all-out rock numbers.

There’s a sincerity to the evening’s festivities and a genuine thankfulness conveyed for the reception from the crowd and the opportunities that appearing on the show have given to each performer.

An emotionally charged farewell and a fitting end to a show that has given pleasure to many and as much as this is a goodbye, the phenomenal demand for these performers and this music means that it will undoubtedly not be long until we hear from them again.

The tour continues at selected venues around the UK.

Image contributed.

 

REVIEW: Giovanni Pernice, il ballo è vita – The Town House, Hamilton

giiovanni pernice luba mushtuk

Sicilian dance superstar and Strictly Come Dancing alumnus Giovanni Pernice is the latest TV dance pro to take his own personal show on the road and it is arguably, the best one yet.

What this stunning show, il ballo è vito (Dance is Life), demonstrates is that the TV dance behemoth Strictly suffocates the personality of its stars. As a regular viewer of the show, I would be hard pressed to express what I thought Pernice’s personality was – the tabloid gossip about a romance with his celebrity partner the only hint of the man behind the smile. In reality Pernice has a winning and highly charming personality and instead of show-boating in the limelight, he is so comfortable in his ability to shine that he creates a show in which all of his cast get a turn in the spotlight.

cast of dancers il ballo e vita dance is life gianni pernice

There is real artistry here, and under the direction and choreography of Strictly director of choreography Jason Gilkison, there’s so much that delights. The first act has a charming Italian theme, with innovative and beautifully staged classics such as: Volare, Mambo Italiano, That’s Amore and Tu Vuo Fa’ L’Americano. There’s also a funny interlude when a member of the audience joins Giovanni on stage to share some food, Lady and the Tramp style – much to the amusement of the audience. Unlike many of these contrived moments in other dance shows, Pernice’s ease with the audience and genuine charm allows him to pull it off with aplomb. The second act is a tale based on the love story of Pernice’s grandmother and grandfather set to a contemporary and classic soundtrack.

The choreography is simply stunning and the sheer speed and originality of the footwork on display is breath-taking. Pernice is truly a class apart. Mention must be made too of the excellent set and lighting (and shadow) design that enhances the choreography beautifully throughout.

Pernice shows he is a team player, more than ably supported by a team of professionals (including the highly talented Russian dancer Luba Mushtuk), he allows each their chance to shine.

There’s a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere throughout and the ease in the interactions with the audience make this show stand out. This is a classy affair, beautifully staged, and the best Stricty alumni show so far. Catch it if you can.

REVIEW: Shirley Valentine – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

jodie prenger against a greek seaside background

Willy Russell’s track record of successfully writing about ordinary women is almost unparalleled in popular theatre: Educating Rita, Blood Brothers and this, his 1986 effort Shirley Valentine, have repeatedly touched the hearts of the nation in both stage and film versions.

Shirley Bradshaw (Jodie Prenger) is 42, with two teenage kids who have flown the nest, an emotionally distant husband, her day to day existence leaving her resigned to (literally) talking to the egg-yolk yellow walls of her pine-clad kitchen. When her best friend offers to pay for a well-needed holiday for the pair, Shirley jumps at the chance to escape.

In the 30 years that have passed since it was written, much has changed, and women have come a long way. Despite a few dated references, and the fact that at 42, an age when many women in 2017 are only starting to contemplate having a family, 1980’s Shirley feels washed up and unable to escape her situation, Russell’s script has largely weathered the years well. That he can wring so much humour and pathos from the life of a working class Liverpudlian housewife, is a testament to his talent. It is in turn touching, resonant and laugh-out-loud funny.

That said, it’s not without fault. Essentially a 16000-word monologue, the weight of the production’s success is set firmly on the shoulders of the lead. Here, Prenger can’t rely on her impressive singing voice. Shirley’s cheeky chat and charisma, coupled with Prenger’s vivacity and heightened characterisation make it hard to believe that she doesn’t have the confidence to leave her dreary life behind. However, Prenger’s natural warmth transmits brilliantly to the audience, making us forgive her less than on-point Liverpool accent, and the audience is never not rooting for her every step of her journey.

Amy Yardley’s set design is simple, the 80s kitchen familiar to anyone who lived through the decade. Less successful is the rendering of the sun-drenched Greek island, the azure blue Mediterranean Sea more plastic camping tarpaulin than lapping waves. That said, it’s the words that matter, and those are glorious.

There’s enough here to still resonate with an audience in 2017; it’s a perfect balance of thought-provoking, self-searching, inspirational and life-affirming. It will make you, as Russell says in his script, “fall in love with the idea of living.” A British theatre classic and deservedly so.

Runs until 6 May 2017 | Image: Manuel Harlan

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE REVIEWS HUB HERE

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