Tag Archives: Kerry Ellis

Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre

8 Nov

Who did it? That is the big question in Murder Ballad, currently playing at the not very glamorous Arts Theatre (yes, the place is in BAD need of a refurb, there just is no denying it). I will not spoil the surprise for those who have not seen it by giving away details of the plot. Just this: While watching the show I came up with various possible endings and none was what actually happened. So there is definitely potential for a good old guessing game as the story progresses.

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Victoria Hamilton-Barritt does not just lead us through the story; she is the star of the show. Both her voice and her sometimes sinister, sometimes almost cheeky and always intriguing portrayal of the Narrator are in a class of its own.

Kerry Ellis plays Sarah, the female love interest. One thing is for sure: She can sing. Personally I do not find her acting convincing. She is not bad by any means but next to her fellow cast members she never manages to shine.

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Then there is Ramin Karimloo – recently returned to the UK after playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway to rave reviews – as Tom, the former boyfriend: Dark, handsome – one of those guys women tend to fall for even though they know they mean trouble. Seeing Ramin take on a role that is so completely different from both the Phantom and Valjean (the two roles he has been playing on and off for a while) is a revelation. He gets to be bad and sexy and finally that incredible voice can show its diversity with a few slightly more rocky tunes. It is a joy to watch and clearly he is having fun in the show.

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Norman Bowman completes the love triangle as Sarah’s nice, gentle partner Michael – the guy she meets after Tom breaks her heart and who she settles down and has a child with. Michael is without a doubt the most interesting of the three lovers. While both Sarah and Tom know there is a third “party” involved Michael is kept in the dark the longest. And it is that moment of heartbreak – when Michael realises Sarah has been cheating on him (betraying her family) – that shows what a tremendously talented actor Norman is. And as if that was not enough he is an incredibly strong singer too.

While you cannot fault the cast of this production the set falls short at times. Personally I am no fan of the huge projections used in this show. They do nothing for the production and only distract from what is happening on stage (that is what a massive black and white photo of Ramin Karimloo does to me at least – call me shallow if you want). And while the revolve is used quite well it seems a bit like a gimmick someone simply wanted to play with.

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The songs did not stick in my head the first time around. I admit I have been back to see the show a second time (the cast is just too good to resist) and that time the score really got to me. So for me Murder Ballad is a grower.  It is not a prefect show. It has some obvious flaws and it will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it is worth checking out if only for seeing a group of talented, well-known performers in such a small venue – who knows when you will get the chance again.

Murder Ballad is playing at the Arts Theatre until December 3rd. For more info and to book tickets visit https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk.

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Upcoming theatre events (a.k.a. stagey nights out)

23 Apr

Do you have a bit of spare time in the next few weeks and want to spend it doing something fabulous? Then maybe one (or more) of these upcoming events are for you.

West End Eurovision 2012 (Dominion Theatre, April 26 2012)

This is a fantastic late night show that pays tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest in true West End style. Several West End shows compete against each other by performing a past Eurovision Song Contest song. This year’s entries are:
39 Steps
Billy Elliot
Les Miserables
Mamma Mia!
Phantom of the Opera
Rock of Ages
Shrek, the musical
Sweeney Todd
Wicked
Wizard of Oz
The celebrity judges of the 2012 West End Eurovision are Tony Blackburn, Kerry Ellis and Stefanie Powers. The evening will be hosted by Gaby Roslin and John Partridge. And as if that wasn’t enough there will be a special guest performance by 2005 UK Eurovision Song Contest entry Javine Hylton.
I attended both the 2010 and the 2011 West End Eurovision and can assure you this event is one not to be missed!
For more information and to book your tickets go to http://www.madtrust.org.uk/west-end-eurovision-ticket-box-office.php?sub=overview.

Scott Garnham Late and Live in Cabaret (The Delfont Room, May 5 2012)

I only discovered the very talented Scott Garnham quite recently through Les Miserables and I was lucky enough to see him as Enjolras on several occasions (he is on again from May 21st to 23rd for anyone that wants to catch him in the part before he leaves the show on June 16th).
This will be Scott’s first solo cabaret and tickets are selling fast. Special guests include Hadley Fraser, Liam Tamne, Jon Hawkins, Laura Tebbutt and Carl Mullaney and the evening will feature two brand new songs written with Tim Prottey-Jones and Steven Luke. And all of this in one of the best cabaret venues in the West End: The Delfont Room.
Book your tickets here: http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/Tickets/LiveIntheDelfontRoom/ScottGarnhamLateAndLiveInCabaret.asp

West End in Concert (St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, May 20 2012)

This is the first event run by the West End in Concert team. Taking place at St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden the evening will see performances by Sabrina Alouche, Lauren Samuels, MiG Ayesa, Adrian Hansel, John Wilding, Tenors of Rock, Scott Garnham, Liam Doyle, Tori Allen-Martin, Lauren Varnham, Mazz Murray, Woman Band, Chloe Hart, Brenda Edwards, Liam Tamne, Ian Carlyle, Victoria Hamilton-Barrit, Sandra Marvin, Ryan Dawson, Lucy Sinclair, Katie Paine, Rebecca Treharne, Parnell Page, Jack Hawitt and Danielle York.
If the bunch of talented performers isn’t enough to convince you to attend then the fantastic location should do the job. St. Paul’s Church is simply a stunning place for concerts.
For tickets go to http://www.seetickets.com/Event/WEST-END-IN-CONCERT-COVENT-GARDEN/St-Paul-s-Church-Covent-Garden/626896.

And in case you don’t want to go home after the concert I suggest you head over to Roadhouse Covent Garden where Bloomfield Avenue will be on stage from 8pm on. There’s free entry before 10pm and you should easily be able to catch at least part of the second set. Check out Bloomfield Avenue here http://www.bloomfieldavenueband.co.uk/. I have seen them on stage various times and have never been disappointed. They are a guarantee for a good night out.