Tag Archives: Webster’s Theatre

REVIEW: Soho Cinders – Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow

It’s refreshing to see George Stiles and Anthony Drew’s little seen modern adaptation of Cinderella, Soho Cinders being staged in Glasgow, and highly anticipated when you know it’s Mad Props Theatre Company who are producing it. Known for fearless and original choices in their artistic output, Soho Cinders is another first for the company.

Life isn’t going well for skint student Robbie. His mother has died, and his lap-dancing club owning step-sisters have upped the rent on his beloved late mum’s launderette where he works and threatened to turf him out, coupled with that he’s fallen in love with the bisexual, engaged to a woman, London mayoral candidate, James. Oh, and to complicate matters even further, he’s also involved in a rather unconventional financial arrangement with a ‘fairy godfather’ Lord Bellingham.

The path of true love never runs smooth and needless to say there’s many a twist and turn until our Robbie is reunited with his mobile phone (the contemporary version of a glass slipper) and boy gets boy in the end.

There’s potential for Stiles and Drew’s work to be a bit more biting and make a bigger statement, but it remains a lightweight piece of fluff. The characters have been created with broad brushstrokes and the simplistic storytelling undermines the more serious points the musical is trying to make.

It has the feel both in tone and musically of Legally Blonde and Mamma Mia. There are also musical snippets that are reminiscent of Jesus Christ Superstar of all things. That said, the entire score is varied in style and pleasant on the ear. There are some knock-out tunes too – in particular, They Don’t Make Glass Slippers, sung by Mad Props stalwart Dominic Spencer (Soho Cinders marks his welcome return to the stage) they need him to elevate this average musical to something special, and he does. His rendition of this haunting ballad will leave you with goose-bumps. Marie-Anne McGrattan and Louise Daly-Creechan as Robbie’s grotesque step-sisters generate the lion’s share of the laughs, they look as if they’re having a ball and their energy transmits to the auditorium.

The supporting cast are universally solid and Jon Cuthbertson delivers a particularly repulsive turn as political aide William (his storyline uneasily resonant in light of the current sexual harassment scandals). Less successful is Stuart Taylor as Robbie’s love James. His voice doesn’t sound fully warmed up and it is often inaudible. On a side note, and a great coup for the company, the voice of Big Brother, Marcus Bentley provides the dead-pan narration.

Well worth watching for musical theatre aficionados who relish the chance to see less frequently staged works, and worth it alone to hear Dominic Spencer back in his finest form.

Runs until Saturday 4 November 2017 at Websters Theatre Glasgow.

Ticket details here

SEAT REVIEWS: Websters Theatre, Glasgow

OVERVIEW:

Websters Theatre is a 184 seat tiered auditorium.

The theatre is located in a former church.

There have been issues with the fabric of the building.

The sight lines from most seats is excellent due to the rake of the tiers and the small size of the auditorium.

The previous seats were notoriously uncomfortable and in bad repair. The seating has been recently replaced with old cinema seats. There appear to be at least two different kinds. The auditorium has now got comfortable seats, but in replacing small flip seats with huge cinema seats there is absolutely no legroom. If you are over 5ft 2 then your knees will be jammed around ear level or skinned from forcing your legs to the floor. In my humble opinion this is the most uncomfortable theatre space in Glasgow.

INDIVIDUAL SEAT REVIEWS:

ROW INDIVIDUAL SEAT REVIEWS
BB Obviously affords some legroom as it is the first row. It is also on the same level as the playing space.
AA
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
K
L 7-8 These seats are in the back row and allow you to stretch your legs into the aisle.

This row has the most padded of the various types of cinema seat and is very comfortable. It also has a cup holder.

 

IF YOU HAVE A REVIEW OF A SEAT IN THIS THEATRE PLEASE CONTACT glasgowtheatreblog@gmail.com or on Twitter @LaurenHumphreyz for your review to be added.

**PLEASE GET IN TOUCH EVEN IF THE SEAT YOU SAT IN HAS ALREADY GOT A REVIEW – WE WANT ALL OPINIONS OF THE SEAT – VIEW/LEGROOM/COMFORT/TEMPERATURE/IS SEAT OFF-SET OR DIRECTLY BEHIND ONE IN FRONT/ IS IT OK FOR TALL or SHORT THEATRE-GOERS? LET US KNOW.

REVIEW: Weegie Hink Ae That present Where Ye Fae? – Websters Theatre, Glasgow

New Scottish sketch group, Weegie Hink Ae That, take the most familiar (and embarrassing) Glasgow stereotypes, and oh so cleverly put a new spin on them to create an original, and frequently hysterically funny evening of comedy.

There’s no doubt, from the performers to the material they deliver, where they’re from. This is Glaswegian to its very core. From a musical eulogy to the Greggs Pie, through Saturday night with the girls at the dancing, a parody of some familiar playground taunts, to some new and unusual ways to utilise the tattie scone – it’s clear there’s huge potential here.

The transitions are slick, each of the performers (Gregor Mackay, Conor Hardie, Jack Jarvis Gouther and Elliot Hannigan) pulls their weight, and to their credit, has their own identity (which is quickly established by the clever writing) within the group.

Don’t be fooled by the tracksuit/trainer-clad lads you see in front of you. These are highly intelligent writers and performers. It takes a great deal of talent to pull this material off with such aplomb, and it’s easy to see this getting picked up for TV. It would make a youthful counterpoint to the geriatric Glaswegian pals in BBC TV hit Still Game.

Not all the material hits its mark, and for broader appeal they could extend their frame of reference a few decades beyond their own youthful demographic to ensure Scotland-wide comedy domination, but these young men are going far – keep your eyes peeled, this won’t be the last you’ll hear of them.

REVIEW: Carrie – Webster’s Theatre, Glasgow

Louise Creechan Carrie Websters theatre Glasgow mad props

It takes a brave theatre company to tackle a show based on a 1974 Stephen King novel, notoriously dubbed the “most legendary flop musical ever produced”, well Glasgow-based Mad Props Theatre are just that, staging Michael Gore, Lawrence D Cohen and Dean Pitchford’s Carrie.

Debuting in 1988, (unbelievably) at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, it was met with decidedly mixed reviews, but that was nothing compared to its Broadway run, plagued with script and technical problems and the near-decapitation of musical theatre legend Barbara Cook, it closed after five performances, the most expensive theatre flop of its time. Thankfully, time has been kind, and after a successful 2015 revival at the Southwark Playhouse, Mad Props present the Scottish premiere.

Told in a series of flashbacks by her only ally Sue, Carrie is a telekinetic teen with an oppressive religious fanatic of a mother, humiliated by her classmates at prom, she wreaks her revenge on those who’ve wronged her.

The problems that have always existed with the production – weak script, forgettable music are still here, but thankfully judicial trimming, tight direction and some fine performances elevate this production above its source material.

Stand out among the talented cast is Katy Allan as Carrie’s controlling and abusive mother,  hers is a finely measured performance, that, despite the titters from some of the audience, treads the fine line between hysterical exaggeration and frightening believability. Louise Creechan’s acting skills are also worthy of note, she delivers the requisite intensity and naive vulnerability of the put-upon teen perfectly (as well as bearing a startling resemblance to movie Carrie, Sissy Spacek). There is also a brace of fine performances from the ensemble, the only gripe being a lack of dancing skills that rendered this very professional looking production a bit shambolic at times.

The small stage at Websters fits the production like a glove and the special effects are impressive from an amateur company.

Hugely entertaining and impressively delivered, mad props must go to Mad Props for continuing to deliver something different to musical theatre audiences in Glasgow – long may it continue.

 

REVIEW: Two Tribes – Websters Theatre, Glasgow

It’s 1983, the East End of Glasgow and dyed-in-the-wool Celtic fan Archie McCann’s daughters Kathleen and Tricia are getting married on the same day. That day just happens to be the day of the League Cup final between Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers. To add to the mayhem, future sons-in-law Kevin and Billy have season tickets for opposite sides of Glasgow’s great footballing divide. Will it be football or family that wins in the end? Alan Brady’s Two Tribes explores familiar tropes from the sectarian troubles of the city and life in the outrageous 80s.

The packed audience at Webster’s laughed heartily throughout, enjoying Brady’s play thoroughly and they had a brace of fine performances to thank for it, Sarah Meikle convinces as daughter Kathleen as do Alex Nimmo and Colin McGowan as Kevin and Billy, but standout among them is the actress playing clairvoyant, nosy next-door neighbour Maggie, who garners the lion’s share of the evening’s laughs.

While this is rich subject matter, the narrative needs more focus and there were long periods where it all seemed to be going nowhere and already laboured jokes were repeated unnecessarily, there was also an astonishing amount of profanity, in a city where swear-words are used as everyday adjectives it was still too much.

There is though, an attempt to deliver more depth, the plot thread with CND supporting wife Rita pondering a life unfulfilled has some beautifully observed moments and some cracking lines, as did the reflections on Maggie the clairvoyant’s life, but it was all a bit lost in a sea of crassness and cheap laughs. There’s potential here and with a fresh pair of outside eyes on it, really could deliver the goods.