She loves me at Studio 54 / New York – 16th April 2016

13 May

I love old-fashioned American musicals. They have a certain charm you hardly find in shows these days. She loves me is such an old fashioned American musical. Currently being revived on Broadway the show is based on a play by Miklos Laszlo which inspired the 1940s movie “The Shop Around the Corner”.


While the show is predictable and corners on the cheesy side all the way through it’s enchanting nonetheless thanks to an absolutely stellar cast. Zachary Levi is a dream to watch. Add the wonderful Laura Benanti and you have a match guaranteed to dazzle the audience. Jane Krakowski once again proves that she is not only a strong actress but also has comic timing down to a tee. Then there’s Gavin Creel who doesn’t get as much stage time as I would have liked but when he is on stage he owns it, simple as that.


This show doesn’t shine with big showy numbers. There’s no big, flashy ensemble. Instead every one of the principles gets a moment to really shine.

This is one of those shows that won’t impress you with its outer appearance although the set is beautiful and caused applause on several occasions. She loves me will win you over with its simple but irresistible charm.


I think one of the main reasons this show just works is the fact that we all can relate with one or more of the characters. They are not perfect and they struggle. But of course we know from that start that a happy ending is on the cards. And that’s exactly what you want when you are watching a musical comedy. Leave the tough stories for another day – today we want pure musical bliss.


She loves me is playing at Studio 54. For more info and to book tickets visit



Miss Atomic Bomb at St. James Theatre – 12th March 2016

14 Mar

I usually don’t review a preview. On this occasion I will make an exception but I will concentrate on all the positive aspects of the show because I feel that those bits that appeared a bit flawed just need a bit more time to be ironed out.

Miss Atomic Bomb is a musical comedy set in 1950s Las Vegas centering around the vast amount of nuclear tests that took place in the Nevada desert around that time. In an attempt to profit from the always present atomic blasts (and threatened at gun point) Lou Lubowitz sets up a beauty contest to find Miss Atomic Bomb.


At the center of the story we find Candy Johnson (Florence Andrews), a (sheep) farm girl desperate to raise funds to settle her late grandmother’s debt. She runs into Joey Lubowitz (Dean John-Wilson) who has just deserted the army after witnessing the horrific power of the atomic bomb. In an attempt to escape he flees to Las Vegas where his brother Lou Lubowith (Simon Lipkin) has just been appointed general manager of the Golden Goose Hotel. Due to extraordinary circumstances Lou and Joey set up the Miss Atomic Bomb beauty contest which might just be Candy’s only chance to escape the grip of the bank – represented by Mr. Potts (Daniel Boys) – that is threatening to repossess the trailer her grandmother left her.


There is no denying that Miss Atomic Bomb has huge potential. The show has a great score and some wonderful comedy moments. And while the story is predictable it manages to keep the audience entertained nonetheless. Add a talented cast and you have an enjoyable evening at the theatre. Simon Lipkin shines as Lou Lubowitz and his duet with Catherine Tate in act two (Sugar Daddy) is a true showstopper. Catherine Tate has been praised for her comic timing before and she doesn’t disappoint here. Dean John-Wilson is perfectly cast as Joey Lubowitz – the romantic hero who also gets the chance to show off his funny side. He has great on stage chemistry with Florence Andrews who delivers a stand out performance as Candy Johnson. A special mention has to go to Stephane Anelli who is not only hilariously funny as Professor Alvin Schmul but also once again shows that he is a hugely talented dancer and singer. David Birrell has joined the cast on short notice to star as General Westcott / Mr. Rosenhunt and does a great job.


It is obvious how much effort has been put into this new musical and the result is a light-hearted show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Miss Atomic Bomb is proof that new original musicals can be innovative, entertaining, funny, clever and catchy all in one and so appeal to a broader audience.


Here’s hoping this show gets the chance to be seen by a wide range of people not just during its short run at the St. James theatre.

Miss Atomic Bomb is playing at the St. James Theatre until 9th April 2016. For more info and to book tickets click here.

10 Questions with Joe Aaron Reid

25 Feb

Joe Aaron Reid is currently making his London theatre debut starring as Benny in In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre. His theatre credits include If/Then (Scott/ Stephen opposite Idina Menzel, Broadway); Ghost – the Musical (Broadway); Catch Me if You Can (Broadway); Finian’s Rainbow (Broadway); Chicago (Fred Casely, Broadway) and Curtains (Ronnie Driscoll, Broadway); Once on This Island (Daniel, Lucille Lortel); The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Roundabout/Laura Pels); Finian’s Rainbow (Encores); Why We Tell the Story (Lucille Lortel); Kismet (Encores); Lines (Joe, TBG); On the Town (Gabey, 5th Avenue Theatre); A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Gymnasia, Williamstown Theatre Festival); Ragtime (Paper Mill Playhouse); Cats (Munkustrap, Northern Stage); Camelot (North Shore Music Theatre, Boston); Beauty and the Beast (Les Places des Arts, Montreal, and Lyric, Baltimore); If/Then (National, Washington DC); Curtains (Ahmanson); Guys and Dolls (MIMF, Macau, China) and Kiss Me, Kate (Paul, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company).


Joe kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about moving across the pond, living in London, being part of In The Heights and what the future might hold.

You moved to London in March after living and working in New York for years. What made you take such a huge step and is London starting to feel like home now?
I moved to London at the end of March, after closing If/Then on Broadway. We actually moved because of my husband’s job. He works in finance, where it’s actually quite common to move overseas. He is French, so for him it was coming home in a way. I agreed to move because I was living in NYC for 10 years, and although acting is a huge part of my life, adventure is a bigger part. I figured I could do what I love here, and be on a great adventure with my family at the same time. We’ll be back at some point, but for now, I’m happy. We’ve now been here for almost a year, and I enjoy it, but it takes time to feel like you’re at home. I’ll get there soon, I’m sure.

Can you name three things you love about London and three things you dislike?
Three things I love:
1. They are big on Haloumi. I had never heard of it until I moved here. It’s DELICIOUS.
2. The tube is super clean, and there seem to be trains about every 2-3minutes.
3. The architecture. The mixture of such historical buildings with modern skyscrapers is really cool. I love to walk along the Thames and see the juxtaposition between buildings like Big Ben and Parliament vs. the London Eye, and the Shard.

Three things I dislike:
1. The city is very spread out, so it takes quite a long time to get places. That being said, you feel like you are breathing fresh air, most of the time.
2. This is a gross generalization, but…customer service is different over here. I’ve said this before, but in the US, “the customer is always right”. Here, they treat you as if they are doing you a favor, even though you are paying for a service.
3. London is more expensive than NYC. Not. Cool.

Have you had the chance to check out the London theatre scene?
I have been able to see some things. I was able to see Gypsy, in which Imelda Staunton SLAYED! I saw The Curious Incident… and absolutely loved it. Some amazing performances in Miss Saigon!! I’ve seen a couple of other things, as well. Some new and smaller things, and some old staples.


In The Heights


In The Heights marks your first appearance on a London stage. I’ve seen the show several times and the one thing that always gets me is the energy on stage. Everyone seems to put their heart and soul into this production. What’s it like to be a part of In The Heights and are you happy to make your London stage debut in this Show?
YES and YES! The show is so vibrant, and everyone gives it everything they have. What’s funny, is that I wasn’t supposed to be doing In The Heights. I was slated to do Stardust Road at the St. James, but it unfortunately was cancelled. It just so happened that they were in final callbacks for In The Heights, and they agreed to see me. I feel like everything happens for a reason, and I was meant to be doing this show at this point in my life.

This is a question I’ve been asking myself over and over again: Where did Victoria Hamilton-Barritt get her energy from (performing 7 months pregnant)?
I have no clue!!! It’s mindboggling!! I just met her through this process, and so I have only known her pregnant. I can only imagine her force when she’s just eating for one. 🙂

What is your favourite song or scene in the show and why?
Oooooh, That’s a tough one. I like different songs/scenes for different reasons. So, I’ll give you a few that I love. I love the scene into “Benny’s Dispatch”. So much of my show is dramatic, so I enjoy starting off the show being goofy and playful. I love singing “When You’re Home”. Hearing Lily sing “Breathe”. If I stand in the right position backstage, I can see “Carnival” and I love watching everyone throwdown for that one. It’s such a powerful moment. The list goes on…

I saw In the Heights on Broadway in 2009 and while I liked it I didn’t love it as much as this production. I feel it works better in a smaller space where the audience has the chance to really connect with the characters and story. Do you enjoy performing in such an intimate venue?
I do enjoy it. Most of my past experiences have been in large houses on Broadway, with the traditional proscenium. This traverse stage and smaller house allows you to play more with nuance, because the audience is so close. Now that we’ve been running a while, I’m finding myself discovering new things almost weekly, about the sound, the sightlines, and Benny in general. I imagine playing Benny would be very different on a proscenium. Also, the audience is basically in your lap…or maybe it’s the other way around. When you have a supercharged audience, the energy is truly palpable. You don’t get that in a traditional venue in quite the same way.

Looking into the future: If you could join any West End production in 2016 which one would it be and why?
Well, I find it a little more gratifying when I am originating something. Five of my six Broadway shows were original casts, and there is a bit more creativity and artistic freedom when originating, versus the “move here and speak here” scenario. NOT poo pooing replacements, though!!! That comes with it’s own set of challenges, like HOW to be creatively fulfilled, while staying within the realm of what is currently happening eight shows a week. I will say, I’m sad to see Miss Saigon go. I really wanted a chance to play John. I wouldn’t mind a Fiyero in Wicked situation. Fingers crossed it’ll be something new though. We shall see. 🙂

Do you have the ultimate dream role you would love to play at some point in your career?
YES…well of course the obvious answer is it hasn’t been written yet, because IDEALLY, like I stated in the question before, the goal is to originate something, BUT in terms of roles that are already out there…Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in Ragtime. I had the chance to understudy the role at Paper Mill Playhouse, right out of college, but I’ve never actually had the chance to play it. Being a bit older now, and more right for it agewise, I’ve definitely got my eyes peeled for a production of it.

Final question: Why should people come and see In the Heights?
I think people should come see In The Heights because it has something for everyone. I know a lot of people say “rap isn’t my thing”, but as someone who raps in the show and then has multiple ballads, this show is SO MUCH MORE than rap. Traditional musical theatre lovers still get their West Side Story, while people who like contemporary music and musical theatre get more than their fill. If you like dance, it is jampacked with many different styles. If you like sweeping ballads, there are quite a few. If you are young, there are characters you can relate to. If you are older, there are characters you can relate to. The story is relatable, no matter what your background. You laugh, you cry, you party and at the end of the night you feel joy. NOT the cheesy joy, but the heart open, toothy smile joy. If you are human, you will enjoy it.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joeaaronreid and find him on Facebook to get in touch and find out first about the latest news. The new home of independent theatre discussion

12 Feb
The UK now has a new independent online forum to discuss theatre – TheatreBoard.


Following the recent decision by ist American parent company to discontinue support for the discussion forums originally established by, a group of dedicated fans have taken on the challenge to create a brand new home for lively and informed discussion about the UK theatre scene and beyond.


Once the closure of the old forum was announced at the start of January, many users rapidly got involved suggesting ways forward. Different approaches were considered before the community as a whole put ist support behind a plan to create a new home at


A former moderator of the forum commented: “It was fantastic seeing our online community come together to protect something they valued so much. It was a very democratic process and we are proud to have launched the new site within a matter of weeks”.
A small team of volunteer staff came together to cover the costs and work on the
design and functionality of the new site which already boasts over 500 members and is averaging 17,000 hits a day.




A spokesperson said “We are thrilled to have secured this new online home which we hope will continue to grow and flourish in the years to come. Everyone is welcome – whatever type of theatre they enjoy or how often they manage to see a show”.
TheatreBoard features sections discussing musicals, plays, performers and following member demand, a new area dedicated to opera and dance. Conversations already cover dozens of productions including West End, fringe and touring; alongside topics as diverse as badly behaved audiences to theatre technology and a live chat planned for the upcoming Olivier awards.


All year round the UK delivers an exceptional wealth of live theatre in venues ranging in size from over two thousand seats down to the most intimate studio spaces. TheatreBoard aims to support informed, varied and vigorous debate among those who love theatre.



Ramin Karimloo live at the Union Chapel and Islington Assembly Hall

21 Jan

The last time Ramin Karimloo appeared on a London stage was in October 2012 – more than 3 years ago. Since then he has gone on to become a Broadway star and has performed in venues all over the USA, not to forget appearances in Canada and Japan.


But despite being away for so long Ramin has never truly left London, the city he still considers to be his home. And on January 19th and 20th 2016 he finally found his way back on stage in his hometown. Two sold out gigs at the Union Chapel and Islington Assembly Hall clearly showed that London had not forgotten about “the Iranian with the banjo”. On both nights the audience was enthusiastic from start to finish.

Ramin has always been a unique talent with a voice of gold. From well-known musical theatre songs like “Till I hear you sing” (Love never dies”) to “Oh what a beautiful morning” (Oklahoma) and “Bring him home” (Les Miserables) – the latter a stunning duet with Hadley Fraser on this occasion – to cover versions of his personal and his own material, Ramin Karimloo doesn’t just sing lyrics and melodies, he embraces them and competely makes them his own. It’s what I call putting your soul into every song.


Ramin’s unique and personal style which he has named Broadgrass is an amalgamation of Broadway and Bluegrass music and doesn’t just suit his voice perfectly but is clearly something he truly enjoys working on.

Having followed Ramin’s career since 2010 I have always loved hearing him sing his own songs as well as cover versions of his personal favourites. Getting to listen to “Constant Angel” again was just as wonderful as being treated to his take on “Ol’ Man River” and “If it’s the beaches”. But the most wonderful thing was seeing how much he has developed over the years. He is not “just” that guy with the brilliant voice. He is a talented musician and songwriter who loves what he is doing. And on top of that Ramin is still one of the most humble and gracious performers you can imagine. He doesn’t take his supporters for granted and always does everything he can to ensure everyone leaves the venue with a smile on their face.


A special treat on both evenings was the appearance of Hadley Fraser – Ramin and his “brother from another mother” reunited on the London stage. It doesn’t get much better than this. Everyone who remembered the first Sheytoons gigs back in the days (Dublin Castle, anyone?) couldn’t help but smile all the way through “Driftwood” and “Wings”. Hadley and Ramin together are simply special – the bromance is still strong after all these years.


Ramin Karimloo is going from strength to strength. His star is shining brightly these days but no matter where his career takes him next I hope he will always return home. London needs the Iranian and his banjo.

For all the latest info on Ramin visit, check out his official Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @raminkarimloo.

Liebe Stirbt Nie – Hamburg, 29th December 2015

31 Dec

I watched the London production of Love Never Dies various times despite not being sold on the story. Reason was the great score and the wonderful cast.

When I first heard about a German production of the show I was absolutely sure I would give it a miss – just like I do with most shows over here. However, circumstances arose that meant I would find myself in the Operettenhaus in Hamburg on a cold evening in December.

First of all Liebe Stirbt Nie is adapted from the Australian production of Love Never Dies which differs from the London production in terms of set and costumes. The score remains mostly untouched but has been translated into German.


Mathias Edenborn (alternate) played the Phantom on this occasion. He has a rich voice and manages to do the score justice. I admit I wasn’t blown away by his performance though. His portrayal seemed over-dramatic but that might be the way he has been directed to play the part so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I simply prefer the Phantom to be a bit more subtle with just the occasional outburst which then comes across as even more meaningful and gripping.

But then subtleness is not what Liebe Stirbt Nie is about. This show wants to wow the audience by putting on a true extravaganza. Sadly it fails. The set is meant to be impressive and colourful but the stage is too small for all the various bits and pieces. Everything looks cramped and a lot of the set’s beauty is lost due to lack of space. Some of the costumes appear too bright, too colourful and therefor lose their elegance – whoever thought Christine’s peacock dress was a good idea: I’m saying no.

Szenenbild aus dem Musical LIEBE STIRBT NIE, von Andrew Lloyd We

Jazmin Gorsline (alternate) is a cute Christine but lacks the vocal strength to do the big title song justice. I remember being speechless the first time I saw and heard Sierra Boggess perform this song in London – it was such a beautiful scene that built up to the most astonishing finale with Chistine standing at the front of the stage belting out these incredible notes. Jazmin Gorsline sings the song well enough but she doesn’t manage to make it that one moment you will remember, that one song that breaks your heart a little.

Yngve Gasoy-Romdal’s Raoul is the drunk, sad excuse of a husband you expect to see. I still think that character is one of the hardest to play in the show. It’s tough to get the fine line between making Raoul someone the audience feels for depsite his faults and portraying a man the audience simply hates. Too much on either side and Raoul becomes a Panto-like character. Yngve did ok but I got the feeling he wasn’t really taking the character seriously. I can’t blame him – Raoul has gone from knight in shining armour straight to drunk, abusive idiot. It never made sense to me and it never will.


The rest of the cast did a good job with the material they’d been given – special mention for Björn Klein who was a wonderfully creepy Squelch. But said material is the problem that makes Liebe Stirbt Nie a very mixed bag. The story is ridiculous, simple as that. Looking at Phantom of the Opera the characters have undergone a completey unbelievable development. Some moments in the show are nothing but cringeworthy.

However, the score remains one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best works in my opinion. And while the German translation is far from perfect the beautiful melodies make the songs a joy to listen to.

So, is Liebe Stirbt Nie a failure? Not entirely. Is it a show you need to watch? No.

But as always I’m asking you to make up your own mind. Liebe Stirbt Nie is running at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg. For more info and tickets visit


2015 – A look back

15 Dec

First of all apologies for the lack of updates lately. I won’t bore you with details so lets just say I simply didn’t have the time to do any proper writing and unless I can really sit down and do something properly I would rather not do it at all – that goes for writing reviews as well. Plus most shows I visited in the past 2-3 months have been repeat visits or previews so not much to review anyway unless I wanted to bore you with ramblings about the same shows over and over again.

Anyway, what’s the point of this post? Easy, it’s the end of the year (almost) so time for my annual look back. I do have one more show coming up this year – Love never dies (Liebe stirbt nie) in Hamburg – but I doubt I will manage to post my views before January so in terms of reviews I am done for 2015.

It’s been a New York City kind of year for me with three trips in total. The award for most watched and most loved show of the year goes to Punchdrunk’s Sleep no more. You can find my review from my first visits in 2014 here. The show never fails to amaze me and even after almost 30 visits I am still discovering new things. If you like immersive theatre this is a must see. Actually, it is a must see, full stop. If you happen to be in New York at some point do go and check it out. It’s different, it’s clever, it’s thrilling and it’s visually stunning.

Another immersive theatre highlight in New York City was Third Rail Projects’ Then She Fell which I was lucky enough to see twice this year. I am still in awe of the pure beauty of this show and cannot wait to see the company’s new production Grand Paradise on my next trip to the Big Apple.

When it comes to musicals I am so glad one of my favourites of 2014 has made a return in 2015: In the Heights opened at the King’s Cross Theatre after a succesfull run at Southwark Playhouse last year. Find my review here and please don’t miss this gem of a show.

Then there was Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre and Imelda Staunton’s incredible performance as Mama Rose. In case you missed it or if you just want to rewatch it in the comfort of your home: It’s on BBC4 on 27th December (for those outside the UK: Have a google, there’s ways to stream tv online from abroad).

Other favourites of the year are An American in Paris (Broadway), Fun Home (Broadway) and Jersey Boys (London). I rediscovered my love for the latter after staying away for more than a year.

Personal fangirl highlight of the year: Meeting Hugh Jackman in New York City in January. The man is not just talented but also lovely.


Hugh Jackman


Same goes for Ben Whishaw who I saw in Bakkhai at the Almeida Theatre this year and who remains my favourite British stage actor.


Ben Whishaw


With this said there is nothing left for me than to thank everyone who has contributed to this little blog by reading, commenting and sharing (also a big thanks to the performers who kindly took part in my “10 Questions with” interview series). I really appreciate all the support and I am looking forward to sharing an exciting theatrical 2016 with you. Please keep in touch – comment on here, tweet or email me. I love hearing from fellow theatre supporters.

Wishing all of you a merry christmas and a wonderful new year.


In the Heights at King’s Cross Theatre – 18th October 2015

20 Oct

The moment you enter King’s Cross Theatre to watch the eagerly awaited return of last year’s production of In the Heights you know you are in for something special. The foyer has been transformed to fit the theme of the show. New York Metro maps are hanging on the wall, there’s graffiti decoration, chain of lights hanging from the ceiling and salsa/latin music is filling the air.
All of this sets the mood for a show that had its European premiere at Southwark Playhouse last year (find my review here).


The first thing I noticed is how vibrant and alive this production feels. From the first appearance of Graffiti Pete right until Usnavi leaves the stage at the end of the show In the Heights oozes energy. One of the things I loved most about the Southwark Playhouse production was the intimate setting. And I am happy to report that this intimacy has not been lost in the new venue. You still feel like you are right in the middle of the story – transported from cold London right into the heat of Washington Heights.


And there you meet Usnavi, Sonny, Nina, Benny, Vanessa, Abuela, Daniela, Kevin and Camila, all of them fighting their own battle, trying to live their life in the neighbourhood. In the Heights tells a universal story – we all have our struggles and each of us can probably relate to at least one character in the show and their problems: The fear of not being good enough, the struggle to fit in, lack of money and so on.

Sam Mackay once again steps into the role of Usnavi and gives what I would call a career-defining performance. He doesn’t just “rap” the lyrics – he tells a story, a story that he seems to truly live and breathe for the duration of the show. It’s one of those performances that you will remember for a lifetime.


Another stand out in the show is without a doubt Victoria Hamilton-Barritt who appears to have endless supplies of energy. Her Daniela is witty and a little saucy but always likable.

Lily Frazer is a new addition to the cast. She shines as Nina with clear vocals and great acting. Together with Joe Aaron Reid (Benny) she provides some of the most emotional moments in the show.

There really is no weak link in the cast and I could go on and on about how wonderful each and everyone on stage is but in the end this is something you should go and experience for yourself. One thing that I want to say is how truly amazing it is to see this talented cast put their heart and soul into the show. It is clear that this is not just a job for them but an experience they cherish and want to share with the audience.


In the Heights makes me laugh and cry, it makes me want to get up and dance. This is an inspiring show about love, fear, hope, loss and friendship. It’s a vibrant story about everyday life in Washington Heights – musical theatre has never felt more real and alive.

In the Heights is running at King’s Cross Theatre until January 3rd 2016. For more info and to book tickets visit

Update: The show is now booking until April 10th 2016. Don’t miss it! 

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical – Aldwych Theatre – 19th September 2015

25 Sep

Beautiful – the Carole King musical sounded like a show right up my street the first time I heard about it. It made me go “Female Jersey Boys!” which – as those who know me will be aware of – is praise coming from me.

The Show has been running in London for a while but I only just managed to check it out. And what can I say? I left slightly disappointed. This has nothing to do with the cast – something I want to point out straight away.


Joanna Woodward who was on for Carole King the day I watched the show is quite simply wonderful. She has a marvelous voice and really manages to capture both the innocence of young Carole as well as the development from teenage girl to wife, mother and successful artist.

Alan Morrissey is a believable Gerry Goffin (Carole’s partner both personally and professionally). However, the male star of the show is Ian McIntosh (Barry Mann) who steals the show in most of his scenes. I just wish he had more to sing – his voice is one of the best in the West End and it seems a waste to only give him such small bits of solo singing.


Then there is Lorna Want as Cynthia Weil who is feisty, funny, likeable and just all around fantastic. She and Ian McIntosh work particularly well together – a pure joy to watch.

The rest of the supporting cast and ensemble do well with the material they’ve been given.

The songs are well-known and definitely crowd pleasers. I enjoyed hearing them sung live by such a talented cast. Personally I would have preferred less songs in general but those songs in a full version instead of hearing what felt like a million song snippets though.


So, we have a great cast and great songs. Then why did I not enjoy the show as much as I hoped I would? The answer is: The story. While I find Jersey Boys gripping and well done in terms of narrative and plot development I ended up slightly bored watching Beautiful. The story is predictable and the same things seem to happen over and over again. Plus I simply could not connect with any of the characters.

Spoiler warning!

Basically the show seems to be about Carole King writing a song whenever something happens in her life. She falls in love – she writes a song. She gets married – she writes a song. She has a baby – she writes a song. Her husband cheats on her – she writes a song. It just goes on and on without any proper dramatic tension in my opinion. Plus everything happens so fast there is no time to really get to know the characters. On top of that the two main characters just seem to make choices in their life that makes it hard for me to feel for them. Gerry Goffin might have his problems but we don’t learn much about them apart from him freaking out with no warning. And he is openly cheating on his wife and still expects sympathy. Then there is Carole King who lets her husband cheat on her not once but twice. If I knew more about his psychological problems and their general situation I might be able to understand Carole’s motives but since I don’t she just seems unreasonable to me. Or maybe I just have no sympathy for women who let their husband cheat on them (knowingly, I might add – he asked permission the first time!) and then make a big fuss when it happens again later on.


I don’t mind light entertainment and I certainly don’t mind jukebox musicals. But Beautiful is telling a life story and I wish it would do the characters more justice by giving them a well put together narrative and good character development.

However, I do understand why Beautiful appeals to people. If you take it as a night out listening to Carole King’s greatest hits it certainly is a nice show. And it is perfectly fine to be happy with that. For me what Beautiful has to offer just isn’t enough.

As always I do urge you to go and make up your own mind – if only to see so much talent on one stage. Beautiful is playing at the Aldwych Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go to:

Tim Prottey-Jones: To Do. To Be.

12 Sep

Tim Prottey-Jones is one of those people who can do it all. He is a musician, vocalist, composer, producer and musical theatre performer. He gained nationwide attention when he was chosen for the Top II in the televised live shows of ITV’s Superstar. Tim has appeared in shows like Once, Rent in Concert and Jesus Christ Superstar and can currently be seen in Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre in London. At 23 he achieved a publishing deal and since then has released the albums With Every Line and Surrounded By The Sounds.

His latest work goes by the name To Do. To Be. and features brand new musical theatre writing not only by Tim himself but also by co-writers Tori Allen-Martin, Nick Smithers, Angela Prottey-Jones, Martin Meehan, Darah Carville and best-selling author Ali Harris.


With guest vocalist like Emma Hatton (Wicked, We will rock you), Declan Bennett (Once), Alistair Brammer (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables), Zrinka Cvitesic (Once), Paul Ayres (Kinky Boots, Ghost, Jersey Boys), Arthur Darvill (Once), Laura Pitt-Pulford (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Sound of Music) and Amy Lennox (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde) amongst others this album features some of the finest voices in musical theatre. Combined with Tim Prottey-Jones‘ ability to combine wonderful melodies with interesting and meaningful lyrics To Do. To Be. is a real triple threat.

Taken from six new musical projects the songs tell stories of love, heartbreak, loss, joy, hope and more – it’s one of those albums that has a song for every mood you might be in on the day you give it a listen. From uptempo numbers like The Song Of Sin (featuring Paul Ayres) to the delicate Regret Me (featuring Ambra Caserotti) there is a bit of everything on this album. It’s a diverse mix of songwriting that proves how very much alive and thriving new British musical theatre is. It’s an album to listen to on a cold winter evening when all you want to do is sit down and have someone tell you a beautiful story. All songs on To Do. To Be. are very much stand alone tracks but the album as a whole has a very distinctive instrumental style. It’s easy to listen to but at the same time it’s one of those albums that will make you listen properly.

It’s hard for me to choose a favourite track on the album but if I had to name my top three songs I’d go for (in no particular order)

Kiss Till You Can’t Kiss Anymore (featuring Declan Bennett) I love how Declan Bennett’s voice compliments the song. He is true storyteller through songs.

The Song Of Sin (featuring Paul Ayres) This is such a great uptempo song. It’s one of those that will make you tap your feet along tot he beat. Plus Paul Ayres voice is absolutely perfect for it.

You (featuring Evelyn Hoskins and Brian Gilligan) Another uptempo song but with more of a rock vibe to it. Add two brilliant voices and you have a winning combination.


But the great thing about To Do. To Be. is it has something for everyone. If you are a fan of musical theatre this is the album for. If you enjoy rock and pop music this is the album for you. If you love listening to amazing voices this is the album for you. And if you are a fan of Tim Prottey-Jones this is not only the album for you but also the album to prove that your musical taste is absolutely impeccable.

You can purchase To Do. To Be. and Tim’s previous albums on iTunes and Amazon.

For info on the upcoming album launch gigs in London on 18th and 25th September visit

Follow Tim on Twitter @TimProtteyJones or find him on Facebook.