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A spotlight on Tim Driesen

19 Dec

It has been a while since my last “A spotlight on” post but after seeing a very talented young man in his two cover parts in Rock of Ages last weekend I figured it was about time for another one.

Obviously I’m talking about Tim Driesen, who is currently understudying both Drew and Stacee Jaxx in the London production of Rock of Ages. I first discovered Tim when he was playing Adrian Banks (the Mark Owen part) in Never Forget the musical in London in 2008. Yes, I know – that show was not to everyone’s taste. But I can honestly say that I loved it. It was such a fun night out and the whole cast were absolutely fantastic. Plus I have always been a fan of great choreography and Never Forget was full of fabulous dance scenes.

Tim (second from the left) and his fellow Never Forget "band members"

Tim (second from the left) and his fellow Never Forget cast members

I managed to catch Tim in a little show called Jet Set Go at Jermyn Street Theatre next which also starred Mark Evans. After the loud party that was Never Forget it was nice to see Tim in such an intimate venue with no flashy lights, huge dance scenes and loud beats to distract from the story and the acting.

And now, after being lucky enough to see Tim as both Stacee Jaxx and Drew in one weekend (yes, I watched the show twice in a row – I just couldn’t resist!) I finally know what an incredibly talented performer he is – not that I had any doubts about this before! But although I knew he had a great voice I was completely blown away by the notes he hit as Drew. Seriously, that was just insane – the guy is a true rocker! And he must be the only person who actually looks good with Drew’s wig (nothing against the other guys I’ve seen in the part but that wig itself just isn’t very pretty). Having said that, Stacee’s long blond hair suits him quite well, too.

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Tim has also appeared in Mamma Mia, Joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat (Joseph), Starlight Express (cover Rusty), The Rocky Horror Show (cover Riff-Raff and Rocky), Bat Boy – the musical, We will rock you (Galileo) Notre Dam de Paris and others. He was a finalist on his native Belgium’s Pop Idol and has appeared on several tv shows in both Belgium and the UK.

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Tim as Galileo

Beside being a fantastic performer Tim is also a talented songwriter. He has written a full length musical called Super Alice Smith which was showcased at Perfect Pitch in 2009 (Trafalgar Studios, London).

Most recently Tim has written a song with David Ribi in aid of The MAD Trust.  Make sure to watch the brilliantly funny video for “Onesie time” (West End Onsie Club) on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE6uK_hkmSc. And please download the song from iTunes. It’s such a fun tune and all for a great cause!

So, what I’m trying to tell you all is this: Watch out for the very talented Tim Driesen in the future. Go see him in Rock of Ages (try and be there for one of his Drew dates – don’t miss out!), download “Onesie time” (and spread the word about the song) and keep an eye open for whatever he comes up with next – whether it’s a role on stage, a new song or a whole new musical… it’s bound to be fantastic!

Follow Tim on Twitter @TimDriesen

A spotlight on Hadley Fraser

21 Apr

As you may have noticed by now I am a huge theatre fan. And just like most theatre fans I have my favourite performers that I will happily go and see in whatever show they are appearing in. So I thought I could use this platform to introduce you to some of them. I’ve decided to call this special series “A spotlight on” (not the most creative title, I know). It will feature performers I am proud to support and who I think you should keep an eye on.

And who would be a better person to start with than the hugely talented Hadley Fraser (coincidentally it’s his birthday today: Happy Birthday Hadley! xx).

I first discovered Hadley through his and Ramin Karimloo’s band Sheytoons. The two formed the band in the summer of 2010 and made their stage debut with Sheytoons at Lauderdale House in October 2010. I was lucky enough to see them perform at the 2011 Whatsonstage Awards and at Dublin Castle in April 2011. Since then things have gone a bit quiet regarding the band with both Hadley and Ramin being quite busy with other projects. But hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Sheytoons. The band really is a breath of fresh air and needs to make another appearance in the not too distant future.

Hadley made his West End debut back in 2003 as Marius in Les Miserables. Now, 8 years later, he’s back in the show this time playing the part of Javert for which he has received rave reviews. I only started watching Les Miserables after he joined the cast and soon became a proper regular at the show. And whilst I admit my weekly visits to the show between December 2011 and March 2012 were mainly due to Ramin Karimloo appearing as Jean Valjean I always made sure I didn’t miss out on seeing Hadley as well. I adore his Javert and he definitely has one of the best voices I have heard on a West End stage ever since I started visiting London on a regular basis back in 2002.


Javert (Les Miserables)

Even if you haven’t seen Hadley live on stage you might remember him as Raoul in the 25th anniversary production of Phantom of the Opera (he was the one with the “guy-liner” to quote the man himself ). Watching that performance live in front row at the Royal Albert Hall still ranks as one of the greatest theatre experiences in my life. And Hadley, Ramin and Sierra (Boggess) have become my on stage dream team with their amazing performance as Raoul, Phantom and Christine.


Raoul (Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary)

Hadley will soon start filming for the upcoming movie version of Les Miserables (starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russel Crowe as Javert) in which he will appear as the Army Officer. For those of you that are familiar with the show: He’s the guy who usually stands off stage singing “You at the barricades listen to this…” and so on. Apparently Hadley will make it in front of the camera for the movie though. I sure hope so as everything else would be a huge loss for the film.

One of the things I deeply admire about Hadley is the fact that he is not only an amazingly talented singer, actor and songwriter but he is also a through and through interesting person to talk to. He’s witty, nice and he’s got a great sense of humor. I’m sure everyone who has had the pleasure to meet Hadley will agree with me: He’s just an all around charming and lovely guy.

So, please do try and catch Hadley in Les Miserables until June 16 2012, watch the 25th anniversary DVD of Phantom of the Opera and generally look out for this guy. No matter what he will be up to in the future – theatre, song writing, movies and so on – I can assure you it will be worth checking out.


Me and Hadley


Sheytoons at Dublin Castle, April 2011

Hadley’s theatre credits
West End: Les Miserables (Palace and Queen’s), Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary production, Royal Albert Hall), The Far Pavilions (Shaftesbury), The Fantasticks (Duchess), The Pirates of Penzance (Savoy), Peter Pan (Savoy):
Broadway: The Pirate Queen
Regional: Pacific Overtures (Leicester Haymarket), Assasins ( Sheffield Crucible), The Last 5 Years (Theatre Aspen, Colorado), A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep), My Fair Lady (Larnaca Amphitheatre, Cyprus), The Last Session (Hackney Empire), Putting it together (Harrogate), The Shaughraun (Abbey, Dublin), Little Shop of Horrors (Northampton Derngate), Longitude (Greenwich)

Concerts include
Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concerts (O2 Arena) and appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Ronnie Scott’s and Birdland Jazz Club (New York).

Recordings include
Scott Alan’s second album Keys, The Pirate Queen (original cast), Phantom of the Opera (25th anniversary cast recording)

Visit http://www.hadleyfraser.com for more info on Hadley and follow the man himself on twitter @hadleyfraser .