Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Podcast: Rock Of Ages Part IV

In the fourth part of the Rock of Ages podcast special we interview Rohan Tickle & Jodie Jacobs about the Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle, Being in a Glam Rock Band & never leaving the show... Ever. 

Also we have the fourth question in the competition for the signed Rock of Ages Programme.










Podcast: Rock Of Ages Part III

In the fourth part of the Rock of Ages podcast special we interview Zizi Strallen & Simon Lipkin about the Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle, Being in a Glam Rock Band & never leaving the show... Ever. 

Also we have the fourth question in the competition for the signed Rock of Ages Programme.




Zizi Strallen & Simon Lipkin Interviews

Podcast: Rock Of Ages Part II

In the fourth part of the Rock of Ages podcast special we interview Natalie Andreou & Shayne Ward about the Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle, Being in a Glam Rock Band & never leaving the show... Ever. 

Also we have the second question in the competition for the signed Rock of Ages Programme.



Natalie Andreou & Shayne Ward Interviews

Podcast: Rock Of Ages Part I

In the fourth part of the Rock of Ages podcast special we interview Oliver Thompsett & Justin Lee Collins about the Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle, Being in a Glam Rock Band & never leaving the show... Ever. 

Also we have the first question in the competition for the signed Rock of Ages Programme.



Olly Thompsett & Justin Lee Collins Interviews

Review: What The Butler Saw

What The Butler Saw
Vaudeville Theatre, London


In a year when the Olympics come to Britain and it's the Queens Jubilee year, it's only right that we celebrate that other bastion of Britishness, the farce.  Just in time for the celebrations comes arguably one of the best in the shape of a new production of Joe Orton's "What The Butler Saw".  Starring Omid Djalili, the laughs come thick and fast, in this excellent new presentation.


When psychoanalyst Doctor Prentice (Tim McInnenry) requests that his new secretary (Georgia Moffett) to undress, he is very suddenly interrupted by his wife (Samantha Bond) & her latest conquest the titular butler (Nick Hendrix).  Then to add to the ensuing madness Doctor Rance (Djalili) arrives to inspect the practice.  With, lie and counter lie adding to wind up the situation a policeman (Jason Thorpe) arrive enquiring about a Winston Churchill statue...


If ever there was a definition of the word madcap, the What The Butler Saw is just that.  This wonderfully gleeful production directed by Sean Foley (Who was the mastermind behind the recent Ladykillers stage production) arrives just as farce seems to be making a major come back (With recent winners One Man, Two Guvnors & Noises Off).  Maintaining Orton's final play written in 1967, Foley's direction runs at a frenetic pace after a slow burn beginning.  If anything the direction at times comes across a bit haphazard, with the small stage and the speed of the show. It would have been nice to see Ortons play maybe reworked slightly and updated for modern day, but that doesn't hold back this production by any means.


The cast is deliciously great, Samantha Bond is majestic as Doctor Prentice's randy wife, Georgia Moffetts secretary is an exquisite delivery of the part and Djalili's comic timing and personality are razor sharp.  However, Tim McInnery as Doctor Prentice is the complete and utter highlight of the night, with his sanity (and hair line) fraying as the knot's get tighter and tighter wound, his years of working with Rowan Atkinson on Blackadder certainly pay off here.  From rushing round the stage not knowing where to hide clothes to finding himself in uncompromising positions, his comedy leanings and facial expressions are simply priceless.  Nick Hendrix as the butler is excellent & Jason Thorpe's scene stealing Poilceman is a brilliant piece of slapstick acting too.


What The Butler Saw is considered by some anti farce, but whats in a name when a prodction is this funny?  Despite being written in the 60's the script fizzes with humour that may have been shocking back then, but has found a time where it goes from shocking to now being very current.  With plenty to celebrate in 2012, make sure that What The Butler Saw is near the top of that list, especially as it is only with us until Mid-September, which is more the shame as this production deserves to much like the cast, run and run.








Matt Bourne

News: @WESTENDPRODUCER'S #SEARCHFORATWITTERSTAR LIVE



@WESTENDPRODUCER'S #SEARCHFORATWITTERSTAR LIVE

BOOK ONLINE OR CALL 0844 482 9674(24HRS)TICKETS FROM £26.00


Lyric Theatre, 9th July 2012
#searchforatwitterstar, the online talent competition being run by the Twitter phenomenon @westendproducer, is being brought to a West End stage.
With hundreds of entries to the talent search via YouTube and Twitter, 10 Finalists - 5 male and 5 female - will battle it out in a live final to become a potential Leading Lady and Leading Man of the West End.
"I was so impressed with some of the talent coming through #searchforatwitterstar," explains Producer, Tony Green "and feeling our industry is poorly represented by the current run of TV talent shows, I decided it was time to give our 'stagey' wannabes the opportunity to show us what they have; in the right environment that will enable their talent to really shine through."
The contestants will be judged by a panel of respected West End Musical Theatre experts:
West End Leading Lady LOUISE DEARMAN @LouiseDearman 

West End & TV MD MIKE DIXON @mikedixonmusic 

West End Agent GEMMA LOWY HAMILTON @GemmaLowyHamil 

West End Casting Director ANNE VOSSER @AnneVosser
The competition will also be attended by the normally elusive @westendproducer, who, in his imitable style, will provide his own view on the contestants and give live commentary throughout the event (whilst getting savagely sloshed on Dom and cuddling his Valjean Teddy of course).
"This is a very serious talent search - to find genuine and new theatre talent," said @westendproducer. "It will also be a marvellous evening, and a world-first; an entire tweeting show. I'll drink to that! #dear"
And in a world first, every one of the 900 seats will be a 'Tweet Seat', and the audience will be positively encouraged to Tweet their feedback on the contestants' performance throughout the evening. The audience will then vote for the winning Leading Lady and Leading Man by voting for their favourite via Twitter.

‘A competition born on Twitter........

Talent watched via Twitter........

Stars discovered through Twitter.
How marvellous
#dear ‘
Producer, Tony Green (@MrTonyGreen), is reuniting the creative team behind the recent sold-out all-star Children of Eden gala concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre
Director DREW BAKER @drewbdrew 
Musical Supervisor JAMES DRAISEY 
Production Designer BEN M ROGERS @designforlive

Review: Rock Of Ages

Rock of Ages


There has been much said about the rise of the 'Jukebox Musical' recently (A Jukebox Musical, is a musical that uses previously released popular songs that get licensed for that particular show), some good and some bad, but whatever your view, it's all about to change with the latest show to hit London's West End, Rock of Ages.


The story is set in the mid 80's in sunset strip where an aspiring rocker Drew (Oliver Tompsett) is working in The Bourbon Club on sunset strip, when aspiring actress Sherrie (The delectable Natalie Andreou) arrives in town looking for work and failing at getting auditions, walks in and Drew is smitten.  However property developer Hertz (Rohan Tickell) and his son Franz (Sandy Moffatt) arrive with plans to demolish the strip and build a brand new shopping mall.  Owner of the Bourbon Club, Dennis (Justin Lee Collins) decides to put on one last gig for the mega rock band du jour 'Arsenal' whose lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Shayne Ward) is about to leave to pursue a solo career.  They all collide in the Bourbon Club and before all is said and done, there will be love, loss, laughter and tears, but most of all plenty of ROCK!


Rock of Ages is a breath of fresh air around the theatre scene which up until now has been filled with your traditional, but flashy effects laden shows.  Rock of Ages comes along and kicks the doors in and presents nothing but a good time.  For all of those who were around for the big hair/cock rock era of the 80's will derive the most pleasure from this show.  From the moment you walk into the theatre, the ushers are bedecked with 80's denim jackets, big hair and (free) LED lighters for the upcoming ballad numbers (More of this later).  The theatre set itself is decorated in a typical 80's style with banners and flyers stuck to walls.  As you sit down your ear drums are greeted with 80's rock classics such as Eye of the Tiger (Survivor), Cherry Pie (Warrant) among many others.  The thing to note though upon looking around the auditorium is that the ushers and public alike are singing along and having a great time before anyone has even hit the stage.


Now once the show begins you usually expect the overture, general slow build up, introduction of the main signature tunes & themes building up to the crescendo of the end of the first act before reprising most of it in the second half building up to that one big number at the end.  Someone obviously forgot to tell the makers of Rock of Ages the rules then... From the moment the first power chord hits, you know you are in for a wild ride.  Featuring songs by Bon Jovi, Poison, Whitesnake, Twisted Sister et al, this is not for the feint hearted.  Before the first few songs have ended, you'll be air guitaring in the aisles!  The 80's era is perfectly replicated (Despite some of the cast being too young to probably remember it) with all the excess that fit the era.  By that we mean this isn't what you would call a family show, it's the Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle on display here!


So to the cast.  Much has been put in the headline stars of former X-Factor winner Shayne Ward as Vince Neill (Motley Crue) & Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) hybrid Stacee Jaxx, although it should be noted Shayne is somewhat of a dead ringer for Poisons Brett Michaels and vocally isn’t too far away either, and Justin Lee Collins.  While these two take the top billing, they actually just form the solid foundations for the rest of the cast who are out of this world good.  Oliver Tompsett as Drew has some of the best and most powerful vocals you will hear around the West End Theatres at the moment, he exudes real charisma and charm, whether it is him belting out a huge rock number or the subtlety of a power ballad (And this reviews favourite songs) such as Warrant's (RIP Jani Lane) Heaven/Extreme's More Than Words/Mr. Big's To Be With You medley.  Then the delightful Natalie Andreou as Sherrie is astounding, she combines the sexy sass and leading lady charms that will beguile any of the red blooded male members of the audience into a standing ovation every time she sings.  However the night and indeed the show belongs to Simon Lipkin as Lonny the narrator, who simply owns the stage whether it be with a tune or his comic asides, which on the night this reviewer was in attendance brought the house down, especially when ad libbing on an unsuspecting Oliver Tompsett.  Mr. Lipkin was brilliant as Trekkie monster in Avenue Q, but here tops that performance and deserves to get all the credit and a headline spot before too soon.  Simon Lipkin is worth the price of admission alone.  This guy is so good, he could probably just turn up in a dustbin liner and wander around the stage for an hour and still be brilliant.  Lipkin gets 5 stars for his performance alone.  Of the rest of the cast other standout notables have to be Rachel McFarlane as Justice (Strip club owner/madam) who belts out a version of Poisons Every Rose better than it was originally produced and that's saying something.  Sandy Moffatts Franz gets a lot of the big laughs too.  But this show is so enjoyable that even the ensemble standout and have you reaching for the programme to find out whom they are (Zizi Strallen get a special mention here... Wow).  Finally it would be unfair to not mention Jodie Jacobs as Regina, who possibly gets the best song in Twisted Sister's Were Not Gonna Take It, which is not an easy song to do with a female vocal at the best of times, but she pulls it off with aplomb.  Rohan Tickell as the pantomime villain is great, although he only really gets one song to shine with, he takes his moment.


But what of Shayne Ward and Justin Lee Collins I hear you cry?  Well, of course it goes without saying that they are worth every (Probably expensive) penny that the production paid for them.  Shayne pulls off Stacee Jaxx effortlessly and has a wonderful wig to boot.  His Wanted Dead or Alive Brings the house down as his arrival on stage couldn't be any better.  Justin Lee Collins is as you would expect great fun, but he especially rises to the occasion whenever he is on stage with Simon Lipkin, in fact their smoke machine moment was another moment of the evening’s ad libbed brilliance (Kiss Him!).  It's hard to imagine anyone else in these roles as they are totally owned by each of the performers and that’s a very rare thing to see in Theatre these days.


There simply is nothing negative to say about this show, it is in a word flawless.  Audience participation with the LED lighters is great fun as well, even the raucous crowd are encouraged as it feels like you are in the front row of a 80's rock concert for the most part (Pick your favourite band), they only break you get is in the interval before you get your head completely rocked off in the second act.  As you know on Screen One we give reviews out of 5, but for Rock of Ages (Or should that be Rock for the Ages?) we're cranking it all the way up to 10!!  Simply Brilliant.  RAWK ON!!!!!







Matt Bourne

Review: Love Never Dies


Love Never Dies


Christine Daae and the Phantom return in this sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webbers incredibly sucessful Phantom of the Opera in Love Never Dies.  Set 10 years after the original events on Coney Island.  The Phantom survives as Mr.Y the creator and manager of the Phantasma show.  Obssesed still with Christine after all this time he secretly arranges for her to come and sing one number in his new show.  Christine arrives with Raoul and her young son unbeknowst to them that the Phantom is behind it all.  As he reveals himself to them both Christine and Raoul have some choices to make before the story is said and done, some of them life altering.


On the night of this review, the understudies were in the main roles of Christine (Celia Graham) & The Phantom (Tam Mutu) and judging by their performances the actual leads have to be incredible especially in the case of the Phantom as Tam Mutu completely becomes the role and some of the delivery of the bigger numbers is nothing short of awesome.  But thats where the greatness of this production ends.


While being technically brilliant it does tend to suffer from a bit of overkill, you've come to see a musical not a visual display of how clever the projection can be.  Also on the downside you find yourself longing for that big Phantom of the Opera type number.  Sure it's got some big tunes in it (The Beauty Underneath, Love Never Dies, Heaven By The Sea, Devil Take The Hindmost), but nothing that leaps out at you and grabs you by the throat like Phantom of the Opera  did.  Also, the plot is wather thin and the big Empire Strikes Back style twist is glaringly obvious from the get go.  The cast are superb but the tend to get overshadowed by the effects.  SOme of larger dance numbers with the circus/show troop are great to watch, but this is a musical not a variety show.


Overall the show may leave you a little underwhelmed and asking the question 'Did this really need a sequel?' 








Matt Bourne

Review: Jersey Boys


Jersey Boys


After a very successful run in the States, Jersey Boys has made it's way to London's Theatreland.  It's been worth the wait.  Charting the rise, fall and rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons it is a rollercoaster ride of great songs dramatic and at times tragic story.  With a great cliffhanger at the half time break it almost feels like a soap opera  too.


The cast are superb in this show which in the wrong hands would have been in danger of decending into just another 'Jukebox Musical' but because of the main cast members Ryan Molloy as Frankie, Stephen Ashfield as Bob Gaudio, Philip Bulcock as Nick Massi and the fantastic Glenn Carter as Tony DeVito it raises the bar to all shows in London at the moment.


If there is a downside to the show, it would be that it will not be suitable for all audiences due to the level of bad language contained within.  While it sits comnfortably within the show as it stays true to the storys roots, it does border on excessive at times and potentially would put a lot of people off.


Minor niggle aside you'll be swept away in the story and be singin along as Ryan Molloy produces a near perfect impersination of Frankie belting out the famous numbers such as Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, I Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You and many more.  This can only be listed as a triumph of modern day theatre storytelling.  Go grab some tickets and catch it as soon as you can!








Matt Bourne

Review: Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!



Mamma Mia! takes place on a fictional Greek island, where Donna owns and manages a taverna, catering to locals and tourists alike. Her daughter Sophie, who is engaged to a young man named Sky, has always wanted to know who her father is, but Donna won't talk about her past. Sophie discovers her mother's old diary and finds entries in which Donna describes intimate dates with three men. Sophie believes that one of these men is her father, and sends each an invitation to her wedding without letting her mother know.


Mamma Mia is not as funny as it would like to think it is.  The show only really hits the highs in the last 15 minutes of the show when all the big numbers and set pieces are rolled out, but by that time it was too little too late.  The show itself is very ironic.  Songs like The Winner Takes It All in the show is about two characters getting together, when in reality the songs were about a painful break-up of a relationship.  It possibly would have been better calling this Shirley Valentine the musical.


Still I'm sure the audience that this is aimed at (i.e not me), will love every moment and every song.  The groups of ladies nights out that were in the audience were standing, cheering and dancing with every note of every song.  The songs themselves are well sung but at times it comes across as glorified Karaoke.  I don't want to sound completely negative about this as it will appeal to a wide audience just not this reviewer.  The cast are obviously loving their jobs as thats what comes across best from this show.  But all in all not for me.








Matt Bourne

Review: Wicked

Wicked



Elphaba is more commonly known to us as the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz and this show tells the story of how Elphaba came to be so 'wicked'. 


Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, feisty and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very, very popular. WICKED is the story of these two unlikely friends and how they end up as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.


WICKED, Broadway’s smash-hit musical that tells the untold story of the legendary witches from L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. 


When Idina Menzel left the show I was wondering wether Kery Ellis would be able to fill the pointy hat...  Well boy can she!   I'd even go as far as to say she's actually better!  Her vocal range is truly amazing and is put to fabulous use in the showstopping Defying Gravity.  Ms Ellis is totally spellbinding and makes this musical experience even more amazing.  Also joining the cast recently is Susie Blake who is best known for her role as Beverley Unwin in Coronation Street.  She takes over the role of Madame Morrible anad again is a fabuolus addition to the cast as she totally owns the role. 


This is one show that lives upto its spectacular billing!   It simply demands to been seen.  The colours, the cast, the effects, it's fun too.  Everything about this show is simply ... well, wicked!  The music is great too with many memorable numbers including the aformentioned Defying Gravity, Popular, Dancing through Life & again Ms Ellis totally owns No Good Deed to spectacular effect.


 This is the one show currently that you need to make sure that you do everything in your power to go and see.






Matt Bourne

Review: Avenue Q

Avenue Q



Avenue Q what can I say about Avenue Q that hasn't already been said?  Crude, Lewd & Rude....   Sesame Street for adults... Yes, it sure is.  The one thing I would add is believe the hype.  This is the funniest show to hit the West End since, well I can't think of anything funnier.  From the word go you will understand exactly where your at when you have a nice fluffy puppet swearing in the first five minutes.  Yes it's that kind of a show.


It's so brilliantly set up, a street in New York which has a variety of characters living there, humans, puppets and a ex-child TV star, all gop through life's ups and downs in a muppet type fashion.  But this is not about learning letters, numbers and the ocassional spanish word.  No, no, no this is about the dangers of excessive drinking, homelessness, internet porn (Yes, I did just write internet porn), one night stands and that's just the puppets!!  Oh and how can I forget the two cute teddy bear puppets trying to convince someone to buy beer and hang themselves?


Everything about this show is done perfectly, the puppetry, the songs and the singing.  Special mention though to Mary Doherty (Who standing in for Julie Atherton was brilliant), Simon Lipkin & Jon Robyns whose muliple roles and singing voices are put the test every night, were absolutely brilliant.   It will have you crying with delight, rolling in the aisles, looking on in shock and humming the tunes for days in equal measures.  This show is certainly not suitable for the younger members of your family, but anyone who grew up in the Sesame Street generation will love every minute of this.  Make your way to Avenue Q now other wise your life may just suck to be you.






Matt Bourne

Review: Sister Act

Sister Act



You must of heard of the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg as a Las Vegas Showgirl Deloris Van Cartier, who after witnessing her Mob Boyfriend shoot someone, she goes on the run and into protective custody with the police who place her into a convent to hide out until the trial happens.  There she ends up becoming the Choir Mistress and organises the Choir by using show tunes and Motown classics to update the flagging church into the 20th Century?  You do, well now Whoopi brings us the stage version.  Which is pretty much the same story just featuring original songs penned by Glenn Slater and the music from Alan Menken.


The cast are superb, featuring the stunning Patina Miller as Deloris who belts out some amazing notes and has incredible stage prescence.  Mother Superior aptly played by Shelia Hancock and a supporting cast featuring the likes of Ian Lavender & Katie Rowley Jones.  The staging lifts this from another show to something of a spectacle.  As you see before your eyes the delapadated church restored to all its glory, with some very creative lighting effects and beautiful costumes.  Nothing about this show is ordinary, from the downbeat beginnings to the furiously up-tempo finale, you can't help but get carried away in the moment of this show.


There's something here for everyone and it's a hoot too.  There's bad guys to boo, songs to tap your feet and sing along to and much more besides.  You will certainly come away from the 'Divas who Believe' realising these Divas certainly achieve!








Matt Bourne

Review: Lord Of The Rings

Lord Of The Rings



Lord of the Rings a very intresting proposition to take to the stage.  The story for those who haven't read the book or seen the Peter Jackson film's is about a young Hobbit, Frodo Baggins and his journey to destroy the 'One Ring' to stop darkness taking over the land of Middle Earth.  This is quite possibly a near impossible task to translate to the stage.  The story is very long so here it is condensed into 3 hours with a couple of breaks.  If you are not aware of the story though you could be in trouble (As the group of ladies behind me were) as you will end up completely baffled by about half way through the first half.


Due to the amount of story they need to get in the staory moves along at a brisque sometimes confusing pace as certain elements of the story are merged into one, or in some cases not there at all (Riders of Rohan).  You kind of get the feel that you are at times watching a very eloborate Pantomime, with all the audience interaction (One lady a few seats over from where I was sitting may never be the same after her up close and personal 'interaction' with one of the Orcs!) .  The music is incidental in this production (Although at one point I thought that Clannad might be appearing live on stage with the style of the music) as it's all about the staging.  My what an amazing spectacle this is!  Dissapearing Hobbits, Gollum crawling down the Safety curtain, the Balrog, Shelob the Spider I could go on.  The lighting effects, moving stage are supremely awesome.  You will not see anything like this anywhere else in the West End  currently for sure.


Finally, the cast.  Apparantly all hobbits are from the West Country... Boromir is Braveheart in disguise and Gandalf is just plain angry all the time.  The problem with all this seems to be is that they have spent all their time on the staging of this production they kind of forgot the key characters.  Gladriel (Laura Michelle Kelly) is awesome though.  Such a powerful voice which really saves the musical side of this production.  This may not please the Tolkien fans and certainly won't keep musical theatre fans happy.  It is an amazing experience that you should see to just enjoy some escape into the troubled  world of Middle Earth.








Matt Bourne

Review: Hairspray

Hairspray



The Broadway smash finally makes it's way to London's West End, and boy was it worth the wait.  Those who saw the film earlier this year will be familiar with the story and the songs for those who didn't here's a quick rundown.  Tracy Turnblad dreams of becoming a TV star on the very popular Corny Collins show.  Unfortunately Tracy diesn't fit into the image of the show in the eyes of the bigotted producer Edna Von Tussle.  In a fortunate turn of events Tracy finds herself not only on the show, but also competing for the attention of the shows heartthrob Link Larkin with Edna's equally repulsive daughter Amber.... 


This is what musical theatre should be all about.  It's loud, it's brash, it's colourful and most of all fun with a capital F.  The entire cast are brilliant each standing out in their own particular showcase moment.  Leanne Jones is absolutely wonderful as Tracy.  She's so adorable that you can't help but love her.  Micheal Ball is a simply a revelation as Edna Turnblad and also worth high praise are (Any Dream Will Do's) Ben James-Ellis, Adrian Hansell & especially Johhnie Fiori as Motormouth Maybelle whose rendition of I Know Where I've Been, brought the house down.  This show is so slick, the lighting is amazing, the staging and sets very impressive, it's hard to fault this show.  This show is so syrrupy sweet you'll be drowning in sugar by the end.


As I mentioned earlier this is what Musical Theatre should be all about, so make sure you get in line because this sure to be selling out, to get your tickets to meet 'the nicest kids in town'!








Matt Bourne


Review: Rent: Re-Mixed

Rent: Re-Mixed



So Rent is back, but is it any good?  For those of you not in the know, Rent is a reworking of La Boheme with the  tuberculosis replaced by AIDS as the killer disease.  It features a young group of friends who live in a squat in alphabet street over the course of a couple of years as they find love, lose love come to terms with friends dying and reuniting.  The original features a fantastic rock/grunge soundtrack which bounces along the story at a cracking pace.  It also happens to be my favoriute musical as well, so there was alot riding on this remix.


 So how does this new interpretation stand up.  Well, it tries hard.  Some of the more die hard Rent fans may not like some of the remixing, but it's still good.  The cast are young and good looking and really come across as loving the show.  The first half builds to the introduction of the rather fabulous Denise Van Outen as Maureen, who bounces onto the stage at the end of the half.  From the point she enters, and you simply cant take your eyes off Ms.Outen.  From that moment onwards, until the final bow she simply livens the whole show up.  But the real find here is the star in the making, Luke Evans who is quite simply, amazing as Roger.  His vocal performance is sublime and every time he belts out another tune the rest of the cast seemed to soar with him and raise their performances, most notably former Sugarbabe Sioban Donaghy who seems a little lost  without him in her vocal performance.  Other standouts are most defeinetly Leon Lopez as the soulul Collins and Francesca Jackson as Joanne.


Sure this doesn't reach the lofty heights of the original cast or the recent movie, but it's still good.  Any show that can get the audience mooing has to be worth the price of admission.  'No day but today' is the the late Jonathan Larsson's mantra for the show, so why not make it today that you drop by the Duke of York's and give this new version a try.








Matt Bourne

Review: Footloose The Musical


Footloose The Musical


Well I for one am a huge fan of the original 80's Movie. In fact I was a big fan of the three F's of the 80's in Fame, Footloose & Flashdance.


Fame is already a popular and sucessful musical in theatreland and now it's Footloose's turn.


The stroty is still the same. Ren and his mother relocate from the big city of Chicago to small suburb in the bible belt. There Ren has to compete with the local town coucil and the domineering Pastor against the law of No dancing or loud music in public. Ren gets the towns youth behind him as they aim to have a summer dance.


From the moment the opening lights and music hit you are propelled into this. It's flash, it's vibrant and it's sure a lot of fun. The clever thing here is how they have taken all the songs off the soundtrack, which certainly weren't sung in the movie and transported them to the stage. Derek Hough as Ren is the standout in this show and has the looks of a bonefide star. With showstopping numbers like "Let's Hear It For The Boy" and the titular "Footloose", this is an excellent night out at the theatre. 




Matt Bourne