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Guys and Dolls – Strictly limited season at the Savoy Theatre London from 10th December!

15 Jun

To celebrate the announcement that Guys and Dolls will be coming to London the production have released a very special ‘Luck Be a Lady’ animated poster.
The Chichester Festival Theatre revival of Guys and Dolls will transfer to London’s Savoy Theatre on 6 January 2016, following previews from 10 December 2015, for a thirteen week limited run which is booking to 12 March 2016.

So far two cast members have been announced – reprising their roles will be Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide and Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson. Clare Foster (Sarah Brown in the Chistester run) has confirmed that she is not returning to the show.

Book your tickets here: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/guys-and-dolls/savoy-theatre/

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Blog stats 2014

30 Dec

Time for the annual stats post and another huge thank you to everyone who has read, commented on, liked or shared my posts.
Wishing you all a brilliant start into 2015. x

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sleep no more at The McKittrick Hotel, New York

26 Sep

If you know me or you are following me on Twitter you most likely will have noticed that I have developed a slight addiction to a certain theatre company over the past months. I discovered Punchdrunk through their production The Drowned Man which I ended up attending a total of 32 times between March 2nd and July 6th 2014. It was more than “just” a show for me. The Drowned Man was another world and its residence Temple Studios a place I loved to “live” in for a couple of hours each week.

Sadly Temple Studios closed its doors forever on 6th July and since then I have experienced the worst withdrawal symptoms in my life. It’s funny that a theatre production can have such a huge impact especially considering the short amount of time I had been visiting the show but losing Temple Studios really felt like losing a second home.

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In the end it was only natural to visit the only place I felt could cure my withdrawal symptoms: The McKittrick Hotel in New York, home of Punchdrunk’s Sleep no more.

Sleep no more is loosely based on Macbeth with a few references to Rebecca. Like all Punchdrunk poductions it is a site specific, immersive experience that sends the audience on an individual journey. Please have a look at my review of The Drowned Man to get some basic info about how a Punchdrunk show works – trust me, it’s very different to a regular theatre experience.

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My first visit to The Drowned Man was overwhelming, confusing and impossible to put into words. And even though I would class myself as “advanced” in terms of Punchdrunk (meaning I know how to approach their productions) I was excited about experiencing this feeling of confusion and slight disorientation again. Not knowing what is going to happen when you enter a room or follow a character is a real thrill which obviously wears off once you are really familiar with a production. Having said that, even in my last visits to Temple Studios I discovered new things and the excitement of being in some way a part of The Drowned Man never disappeared.

site-specific 'Sleep No More' Macbeth at the old McKittrick Hotel in chelsea

Sleep no more is set in the McKittrick, a 1930s hotel. It is clear to see that Punchdrunk were inspired by the film noir genre – the set is dark and gloomy and the atmosphere inside the hotel is anxious. The show is less vocal than The Drowned Man – almost everything is expressed through dance and movement. There are five floors (six if you count the balcony on the bottom level as a separate floor) and about 100 rooms to explore although only very few chosen audience members will be able to access the very top floor (I was lucky enough to get there early on in my first visit completely by chance). A lot of the characters in the show are taken out of Shakespeare’s Macbeth including Macbeth himself, Lady Macbeth, Macduff, Lady Macduff, the three witches and Banquo. Beside the Macbeth characters you will encounter nurses, the Taxidermist, Mr. Fulton (a tailor) and several others, some of them inspired by the novel Rebecca.

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From The Drowned Man I know that personally I’m getting the most out of a Punchdrunk show by following characters for full loops. This is one but not the only way to approach a Punchdrunk show. Others may prefer to explore the sets or watch scenes but not actually follow a specific character. This is the beauty of Punchrunk productions – there is no right or wrong approach. During my stay in New York I visited The McKittrick three times following different characters. It’s impossible to give a detailed review of my shows but I can tell you that I had the most amazing time following Jesse Kovarsky’s Boy With and Paul Zivkovich’s Macbeth. Both performers put so much heart and soul into their performance, it was mesmerising to watch. Having said that, I enjoyed seeing Conor Doyle’s Porter immensely and spent a brilliant loop with Luke Murphy’s Macduff.

Sleep no more is a theatrical experience that is hard to describe. Words just don’t do it justice, it needs to be experienced. But please trust me on this: It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. If you get the chance please go and check into the McKittrick Hotel.

Find out more here: http://sleepnomorenyc.com/ and find the show on Facebook.

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And for everyone interested, here are a few tips for first timers that will hopefully help you to get the most out of your experience and leave a good impression on your fellow audience members.

1. Comfortable footwear and light clothing – you will be walking around a lot and it does get quite warm in there.
2. Follow closely but don’t glue yourself to a character and be considerate of those around you.
3. Open drawers, try opening closed doors, look into closets – there’s so much to discover.
4. Watch the rave – follow Macbeth or any of the witches to get there.
5. Find the candy shop on the fourth floor and help yourself to some sweets.
6. Eye contact is everything – when a performer looks you in the eyes, don’t look away.
7. The fifth floor seems pretty deserted most of the time but have a look around and you might be rewarded.
8. The narrow stair cases can be a pain – be considerate and don’t block the way by walking up and down really slowly. Let others pass if they are following a character and you are not.
9. Don’t mess with props – looking at things is fine but stealing or hiding stuff is not.
10. Spend time with the Speakeasy for a chance to get a free drink.

And now go and book your stay at The McKittrick. It’s inhabitants can’t wait to meet you.

Jersey Boys – New cast – 24th March 2013

24 Mar

I am just back from seeing the new cast of Jersey Boys and although I was planning to get a review of Once done first i feel like I should write down my thoughts now while they are still fresh in my memory.

As some of you will know I have been a regular at Jersey Boys since the show started. That means I have seen five casts come and go. A new cast always needs time to settle in and there’s usually the odd one or two people in it who’s portrayal of a part is not to my taste. That’s natural and I have never let this affect my overall enjoyment of the show.

So here I am with Jersey Boys cast number six. Before I start I want you all to know that Jersey Boys has been a vital part of my life for the last five years. I love that show dearly. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ryan Molloy continues to lead the cast as Frankie Valli. He’s the Jersey Boys veteran having been with the show right from the start. He gets accused of looking bored on stage now and then and while I do think he has good and not so good days I have nothing but praise for his performance. Even on a not so good day he delivers a top class performance. His voice is flawless and he is a born performer and entertainer. I adore his Frankie, simple as that.

Jon Boydon plays Tommy DeVito for the fourth year. His portrayal is spot on and he gives the show a kind of security. Jon has been a tower of strength during the last three years an he continues to be just that in his year number four.

Edd Post has take over the part of Bob Gaudio after understudying the role for a year. His singing is good yet not amazing which is especially noticeable in “Oh what a night” which lacks strength. Personally I don’t like all of his acting choices. His Bobby comes across as very confident right from the start which means there’s no real development in the character’s behaviour throughout the show. His acting doesn’t seem natural to me sometimes and I am missing proper chemistry between him and Ryan.

David McGranaghan is Nick Massi. Personally I have yet to find someone who can compete with Philip Bulcock’s Nick. But I have so far enjoyed at least parts of the performance of every Nick Massi I’ve seen. Nick has to be likeable. He is the “outsider” in the group despite being one of Frankie’s closest friends and mentor. Yet he is the one the audience needs to fall for – the guy that never really fit in but was such a vital part of the group nevertheless.
My problem with David’s Nick is quite simple: For me he is not likeable. His Nick is like a stubborn teenager who is sulking because he doesn’t get his way. I don’t feel for him, I just want to tell him to pull himself together.

Will Barratt is in my eyes the best addition to the cast. His Bob Crewe is camp without losing his authenticity. It’s nice to see a portrayal of the part again that I can actually relate to. Bob Crewe has been such a vital part of the band’s history. It’s important to not let him lose his dignity by turning him into a walking joke.

The rest of the cast does a good job. I can’t fault the individuals – they handle their parts well. Rebecca Jayne Davies is a rather feisty but cute Francine and Mark Halliday makes a good Donnie & Knuckles. Ben Evans who is now back in the cast, is still a great Joey (on this occasion – the part is usually played by Ben Jennings). And it is nice to see Chris Gardner get an extra appearance right at the start of the show when he takes on the little dance part usually performed by the person playing Bob Crewe.

However, all of this brings me to one major point – Jersey Boys needs a cast that works well together and has great onstage chemistry. After the previous four cast changes I have always felt that chemistry straight away. It’s like a sparkle that makes you aware of what a tight company you are watching.
Sitting in the theatre tonight I realised this sparkle was missing. I was watching the show that has meant so much to me for five years and it just didn’t feel right. There was little chemistry between the four leads. You could catch Ryan turning to Edd during a song and Edd just staring straight ahead and not even acknowledging Ryan. That’s just one example but it stands for what I was missing while watching the show. There was no real bond between the four leads.
That combined with the – in my opinion – not too fitting acting choices of the two new guys resulted in a lack of heart and soul in the show.

Of course, the new cast is still settling in and I’m sure they will work together better with time. But I have to be honest, I was just disappointed after watching the performance tonight. This is not the show I fell in love with. This was just another musical and nothing special.

It saddens me to say this but I won’t be rushing back to see the show again soon. Yes, I will watch it again at some point because after all some of my favourite performer are still in the cast. I won’t stop supporting them and their work. But I won’t be a regular visitor like I used to be over the past five years.

For me this is the end of an era and I’m quite simply devastated (I know that sounds rather dramatic speaking of nothing more than a West End musical). I want nothing but the best for this show and I wish I could keep loving it the way I used to.

23 May

There’s a first time for everything so here goes my very first reblog. Usually I prefer to just post my own ramblings but this blog by the wonderful Ashley Hale is such a nice read. She’s a performer who is just starting out in New York after moving there from London. Check out her blog about life in New York, auditions and pursuing the Broadway dream.