Showing posts from June, 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Dead Dog in a Suitcase ★★★★★

Dead Dog In a Suitcase
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Tuesday 25th - Saturday 29th June 2019
Back in October 2015, when Kneehigh were last at The Everyman with Dead Dog in a Suitcase, we described the production as 'theatre at its best', and nearly four years later, all those emotions and jaw dropping moments again we're relived, especially having seen the show three times at this current point, if not enhanced more this time around due to its skillful casting additions.
(In this review we'll be discussing this current version of the tour. To read our more in-depth review from back in 2015, click here)
Taking over the roles of Filch and Polly Peachum in this adaption, are the two newest additions to the Kneehigh Company, Georgia Frost and Angela Hardie respectfully. The role of Filch, though described as a male in the show, is stunningly portrayed by Georgia, fresh from wowing audiences alike in A Monster Calls last year, and here shows no sign in stopping with her detailed a…

THEATRE REVIEW: The Bird Show ★★★★

The Bird Show 
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Saturday 29th June 2019Following the story of Sally the Sparrow and her flapping friend Henry the Herron, The Bird show tales the story of two friends who long fly from their grounded surroundings in search for food, but along the way fin themselves trapped with despair, littered goods and occasional flocks of seagulls.Presented by The Last Baguette company and aimed at children, we took our little reviewer along and by the end of the hour long performance, we find it hard to keep up with all their thoughts as they enjoyed all the aspects on the performance, and rightly so with a slick and simple story, mixed with brilliantly engineered puppetry to tell the origins of Henry's first flying adventure, where he met his close friend Henriette, who he longs to be reunited with one day.The use of musicality was another successful aspect with a blend of toe tapping tunes marinated with audience participation, which in fairness took a little time …

MUSICAL REVIEW: Bad Girls The Musical ★★★

Bad Girls The Musical
The Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Thursday 27th June 2019Set in the fictional prison HMP Larkhall, giving inspiration for the hit ITV crime drama, Bad Girls the Musical centres around the inmates and officers affairs, both professional and personal, in this amaeutur production which, unlike any personally seen before, uses the form of multimedia, which in this case is being used from the original stage production to tell the story, and in most parts works efficiently. Producing striking images throughout, especially with a prison door as it’s centerpiece, there are many moments in this which stand out, from the opening scene with a back turned Rachel Hicks (Amy Westwood) partially naked with only her bottom halved underwear on show, through to more tender and intimate moments within the inmate’s cells which in terms of set involves only a metal framed bed to enhance the atmosphere. Times set in the cafeteria are at times somewhat seems crowded with characters and cla…

THEATRE REVIEW: 2000 Stories ★★

2000 Stories
Theatre Royal Plymouth
Wednesday 19th - Saturday 22nd June 2020
Alux Harris’ 2000 Stories tells the life Selena, a young woman who is generous to the poor by handing out notes when she feels bad for not bringing out change from a coffee shop, works on projects with the International Social Connections Schemes, and has a fascination over Michelle Obama. Selena is simply your everyday girl next door, and that’s where the problem lies with the story, one in which always delivers one tone and has you scratching your head into figuring what the whole production is centered around.
As a one woman show, Selena is portrayed by Shiquerra Robertson, and in general comes across as a confident performer in her movements; she has a good attitude, yet for a show that is simply set within Selena’s flat, the use of rhetorical questions falls thin in providing a concept, as it has you wondering if Selena is aware of her audience, because whilst it seems that she is merely talking to hers…

MUSICAL REVIEW: The Battle of Boat ★★★★

The Battle of Boat
Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham
Saturday 15th June 2019As we open in the summer of 1916 and meet a whole array of young adults and children alike, we are embodied within the small southern town they situated in. This production, originally written for the National Youth Music Theatre by Jenna Donnelly and Ethan Lewis Maltby, charts the tale of a group of 14 - 17 year olds going off to fight for their country in the war and encountering the enemy, whilst at heart being a show full of humour, warmth, and courage, in a show presented by Stagedoor Learning, the BTEC course supported by The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, and Virtual Learning UK.Illegally going off to fight for his country, our protagonist William Miller is portrayed with such conviction from Joseph Stanley. As we interweave within Miller's journey throughout the WWI, Stanley conveys a heightened sense of uncertainty in his voice which mirrors his characters traits, as we hear his letters being sent b…

THEATRE REVIEW: The House on Cold Hill ★★

The House on Cold Hill
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Tuesday 11th - Saturday 15th June 2019Peter James' is known for his best selling books, having sold over 19 million copies to date in 37 different languages, with 'The House on Cold Hill' the fourth installment to get the theatrical makeover, following on from its predecessors The Perfect Murder (2014) Dead Simple (2015) and Not Dead Enough (2017). What runs in common with the adaptions usually is what's known as stunt casting, bringing well known TV stars on stage, with the likes of Shane Richie, who has featured in two installments, Jessie Wallace, Laura Whitmore, Tina Holbey, and Gray O'Brien to name  few, with this latest offering being no different, featuring Holby and Strictly star Joe McFadden (Ollie) and EastEnders Duo Rita Simons (Caro) and Charlie Clements (Chris).On paper, this production sounds like it would hit the market for an thriller fan; described as a modern thriller, this indeed does come across …


Everyman Theatre Irving Studio, Cheltenham
Tuesday 11th June 2019Set in the backdrop of the 1980s, Smoking Apples presents Flux, a fully puppeteered show where our protagonist Kate, a female scientist in a world driven by males, makes some remarkable discoveries and we as the audience watch as her brain swirls and ideas are formed, all whilst keeping her personal life in check, in Smoking Apples first production to feature a central female character.There's something beautifully charming about this production; the puppetry of the full scale 'Kate' is enhanced with such precise mannerisms that you're fully engrossed and laugh at mundane activities that we can relate to, whether this is spraying our underarms to simply throwing items in a bin. It's these sorts of movements that makes Kate physically and emotionally human, something that we can instantly connect to. With the use of an 80s style dictaphone, we hear the thoughts and discoveries of Kate's findings…

MUSICAL REVIEW: COD's The Producers ★★★★

The Producers Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham Tuesday 4th June 2019

The Cheltenham Operatic and Dramatic Society, based in Cheltenham, are not ones to hold back on their productions; From Avenue Q to The Full Monty, Legally Blonde to Sister Act, they have always gone big and bold juggling between The Playhouse and The Everyman, with their latest production, Mel Brooks' The Producers, being no exception to the list, and probably the most risk taking. It's fair to say leaving the performance that this is a production to go into with a laid back approach and be swept away by the charm on stage.

Ben Leeke and Ben Wilson respectfully portray Broadway Producer and prodigy Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom with sheer commitment and mannerisms, Wilson particular giving a performance that would set him on par with any West End or professional touring performer you could see in recent times. Leeke meanwhile gives a blazing performance as loud and brash Bialystock, who has dollars in his eyes and ol…

CONCERT REVIEW: Hugh Jackman ★★★

Hugh Jackman: The Man. The Music. The Show.
02 London Arena
Sunday 2nd - Thursday 6th June 2019Star of the stage and screen, and best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men and standalone series, and P.T Barnum in The Greatest Showman, which 18 months later is still in the Top 10, Hugh Jackman is now on his most ambitious role to date; being himself and opening up his back catalogue on a 90 day tour, which includes 5 nights at the O2. What we as the audience are presented with is a mixture of Broadway, Les Miserables (Oscar nom), a return to Peter Allen, a role from 'The Boy for Oz' which Jackman once won the 2004 Tony award for his performance, and finally a mixture of special guests from the likes of Keala Settle, Robbie Williams, and a bemusing Matt Sterling from the latest series of Britain's got Talent.Though this is Jackman's show, you can't help but leave the venue feeling more liberated by the supports from the show; Settle's incredibly powerful and…

MUSICAL REVIEW: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ★★★★★

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Southwark Playhouse, London
Wednesday 15th May - Saturday 8th June 2019When I was younger, an annual camping trip to Cornwall was always on the agenda and became one of the main highlights of the year. Then as I've grown older those family holidays have since become a distant memory, until tonight. Stepping into The Little at Southwark Playhouse, the atmosphere and soundscape of the ocean hitting against the rocks, with decked staging, wooden crates and lifebuoy attached to the side, all beautiful designed Schönlatern, brought all those forgotten memories flooding back, just the one exception being that there wasn't a cone of chips within my hand.Turning The Curious Case of Benjamin Button into a musical frankly sounds daunting, but this adaption from Jethro Compton Productions is anything but of a worry within the first few moments of the performance, as the angelic, beautiful voices from the actor musicians bring this tale of an 80 year old …

THEATRE REVIEW: Death of a Salesman ★★★★

Death of a Salesman
Young Vic, London
Wednesday 1st May - Saturday 13th July 2019Arthur Miller's 1949 play surrounding the mental health of Father and Husband Willy Loman, is that of a theatrical classic, though one I knew little about before attending this production, which is beautifully co-directed by Marianne Elliott & Miranda Cromwell respectfully. It is one though where you can see the outcome by the time you get to the interval, where the second act only provides meat between the characters to provide and sustain the full impact of a devastating climax, if not including scenes which only seem to seem to fill time before we get the final showdown and an almost rushed finale.Making his UK stage debut, Wendell Pierce is captivating as Willy, a complex and deeply troubled character to which Pierce showcases a compelling array of emotions, which can undoubtedly be said for his fellow performers on stage; Sharon D Clarke as wife and mother Linda Loman, Arinzé Kene as the stubbo…

THEATRE REVIEW: Great Grimm Tales ★★★★

Great Grimm Tales
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Thursday 30th May - Saturday 1st June 2019
What's so beautiful about Box Tale Soup is their originality in puppetry which they describe every production that they do as a 'labour of love', something that definately rings true especially in their latest creation, Great Grimm Tales. In this production we have come across more animal like creatures than in any previous production, where the felines especially are designed so accurately, as well as a certain larger member of the Felidae family.
Directed by regular performer Noel Byrne who takes a backseat in this instance, the tale in which we are treated to is that of 'The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was', which centres around a young boy who gets sent away for three nights to find out, with of course a puppetry and musical spin in the mix, which is beautifully written from within the creative team, with added vocals provided by the cast.
Running just …