Tag Archives: Liam Tamne

Working at Southwark Playhouse

20 Jun

Working – a song cycle giving a glimpse into the life of ordinary working people in America – opened at Southwark Playhouse for a strictly limited run earlier this month. The basis for this collection of mini stories are interviews conducted in the 1970s. Add Stephen Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda (amongst others) to the mix and you have a pretty solid basis for a stellar show.

Working features a cast of six established musical theatre performers: Peter Polycarpou, Dean Chisnall, Liam Tamne, Krysten Cummings, Siubhan Harrison and Gillian Bevan. They are joined by six new drama school graduates who are making their professional debuts in this production.

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There is no weak link in the cast and everyone on stage gets the chance to shine. I was particularly impressed by Peter Polycarpou’s “Fathers and Sons” and Dean Chisnall’s “Brother Tucker”. I also have to mention Gillian Bevan’s showstopping number about life as a waitress and Liam Tamne’s superb comic timing both as a delivery man and a call center agent. And special mention for Dean Chisnall’s appearance as both a golfer and a UPS man. Every scene, no matter how short, is a small highlight and I left the show with a big smile on my face because I knew I had just witnessed something very special.

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In this show you will find stories of teachers and construction workers, of waitresses and truck drivers, of firemen and housewives – Working gives America’s working community a voice. It tells the audience about their struggles, their hopes, their fears and their dreams.

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With a dazzling mix of musical styles and gripping choreography by Fabian Aloise this is a show that manages the leap between a relevant message and an entertaining night out. Working feels raw and real and beautifully honest.

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Working is running at Southwark Playhouse until July 8th 2017. For more info and to book tickets visit http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/working/.

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Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre – July 11th 2012 (matinee)

17 Jul

Les Miserables is one of those shows that will probably be around for ever – and rightly so. The show is an all time classic and loved by millions of fans around the world. It has a great story, interesting characters and a score to die for.

The cast is now led by Geronimo Rauch as Jean Valjean. He has already played the part in Spain to rave review. His Valjean is very physical and his voice is strong and suits the songs well. He doesn’t have a strong Spanish accent but I admit I found his pronunciation slightly irritating from time to time.
One of the things I enjoy watching the most in this show is the interaction between Valjean and Javert. Tam Mutu has taken over from Hadley Fraser as the latter and delivers a particularly strong performance. Sadly I don’t think him and Geronimo work too well together. Tam’s Javert seems to dominate Geronimo’s Valjean both physically and acting wise. I have seen Tam in Love never dies and whilst I liked his performance in this show I was never blown away by him. Being a fan of Hadley Fraser I was slightly worried about seeing Tam take over as Javert. But I can honestly say my worries vanished the moment he appeared on stage. His Javert is driven and strong and I loved his portrayal of the role. I never thought I’d say this but I actually preferred his suicide scene to Hadley’s.

One of my highlights of the new cast is Sierra Boggess. She has to be the most fragile Fantine ever – I just wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be alright! Her voice is impressive – as expected – even though she seems to struggle a bit with the lower tones in “I dreamt a dream”. I especially liked to see her play opposite Tam Mutu. You can see that those two know each other inside out by the way they work together on stage.

Danielle Hope’s Eponine is both perky and vulnerable. I wasn’t too impressed by her “On my own” but she definitely made up for it with her acting. Jonny Purchase was on for Marius and as much as I love Craig Mather’s performance it is always nice to see a new take on a role. Jonny has a lovely voice but for some reason I don’t think he’s right for Marius. He just looks too tough and mature to pass for a rather inexperienced student. The same goes for Samantha Dorsey as Cosette. She looks too mature and not right for the part. Her singing was lovely though and she and Jonny sound great together.

Cameron Blakely and Katy Secombe as Thenardier and Madame Thenardier continue to do a fantastic job. Cameron has changed tiny bits of his performance which I as a returning visitor love to see. And his “Master of the house” is simply hilarious. Liam Tamne is strong as ever as Enjolras. He has the most beautiful voice and really commands the stage during ”Red and black” and “Do you hear the people sing”.

The ensemble in Les Miserables is known to being vocally strong. The new cast makes no exception. Hearing the full cast sing “One day more” is a goose bump guarantee and the various members of the ensemble show off their impressive voices throughout the show. A special mention for James Winter who I was lucky enough to see as Bamatabois – I never knew he could be so nasty on stage! Awesome acting and what a fantastic voice! Adam Linstead never fails to make me chuckle with his fabulous portrayal of Grantaire and I really enjoyed seeing Chris Holland as Courfeyrac. Hopefully I’ll manage to catch him as Valjean in the not too distant future.

Les Miserables remains to be one of the most impressive shows in the West End. The new cast still needs a little more time to settle into their parts completely but they already do a great job after less than a month in the show. I was slightly worried about seeing this production again after so many of my favourite performers had left at the last cast change in June. But I really was pleasantly surprised by the new cast and will definitely be back to see the show again later this year.

Les Miserables is playing at the Queen’s Theatre in London. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.lesmis.com.

Please note: Sierra Boggess, Craig Mather and Liam Tamne will stay with the production until January 2013 so plan your visit accordingly in case you want to catch them on stage.

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.

Les Miserables – Queen’s Theatre, London

18 Oct
Believe it or not but until August 2011 I had never (and I repeat: NEVER) seen Les Miserables live on stage. Sure, I knew the story and the songs and had seen videos of the show. But that was it. I know this is strange for a musical theatre geek like me. But somehow I just wasn’t drawn to that particular show. Or maybe I had just secretly been waiting for someone I definitely wanted to see to join the show because that’s what happened this year and so I’m no longer a Les Mis virgin.
For anyone that is asking “But if you wanted to wait until someone you like to join the show why didn’t you go when Ramin Karimloo was in it?” – Well, I would have but sadly it took me way too long to discover the amazing talent of Mr. Karimloo and so I had no idea he existed back in the day.

The reason I just couldn’t neglect Les Miserables any longer was Mr. Alfie Boe. I have watched the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary DVD various times (of course!) and I was lucky enough to see Alfie perform at the 2011 What’s on Stage Awards at the Prince of Wales Theatre. And once it was confirmed he was joining the London production of Les Mis for a few months it was set in stone that I would go and see him on stage.

I’m writing this after my third visit to the show (yes, I’ve been trying to catch up quickly). I guess everyone knows the basic story of the show so I won’t go into that – Wikipedia has quite a good synposis in case you are interested though.
Alfie Boes as Jean Valjean is a true revelation. From the moment he appears on stage I could hardly take my eyes off him. Although he is known for being a singer more than an actor I found his portrayal of Valjean to be extremely intense and gripping. He is a very physical actor which works exceptionally well in this show. I remember one show where he almost ended up falling off the stage after being pushed by the ensemble and falling down a little too forcefully.
Together with one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard that makes an absolutely stunnuing Jean Valjean. When Alfie starts singing “Bring him home” the whole theatre is completely silent and you can feel just how special this moment it.

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Hadley Fraser is playing Valjean’s “opponent” Javert. Until Les Miserable I have only known Hadley as a member of the band Sheytoons (alongside Ramin Karimloo). So I knew he could sing and was a talented songwriter but I had no idea what an all around fantastic performer he is. Well, I do know now. Hadley’s Javert is dangerous, a little arrogant and angry and he is just as physical as Alfie. He portrays a Javert that is almost haunted by his need to find Valjean and completely driven by this one goal. Him and Alfie work so well together – a pure joy to watch.

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I’ve seen Liam Tamne in other shows and best remember him for being a fantastic Fiyero in Wicked and he was, of course, part of the “Summer of Hair” (meaning he was in the cast of Hair at the Guilgud Theatre in 2010). It’s great to see him in Les Miserables now playing the part of Enjolras. He’s got a really good voice and he totally fits the part of the leader of the student revolutionaries.

Craig Mather is playing Enjolras’ friend Marius.  This show marks Crag’s West End Debut and I can see this guy going far in the world of musical theatre. Great voice and great acting.

Alexia Khadime used to play Elphaba in Wicked, a show and part completely different from Eponine. But this really shows what a versatile actress she is. I have heard that some audience members don’t enjoy the way she sings “On my own”. I have to say I adore her take on the song. I’ve never been a fan of this song as I think it’s weaker than a lot of the other songs in Les Miserables. But Alexia manages to make me like “On my own” and actually look forward to hearing it – and yes, I love that she riffs parts of the song!

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The first time I went to see the show Matt Lucas was playing Thenardier and he did a great job. Granted, he’s no born singer and it was visible that he is no experienced musical theatre performer. But he definitely got the laughs – everyone who gets the audiende to clap along during “Master of the house” must be doing something right. I could have done with fewer ad libs though.
Currently Cameron Blakely is Thenardier in the show and I have to say all in all I prefer his portrayal of the part. He’s a bit less “in your face” and manages to give the audience a bit more insight into the character instead of just going for the laughs all the time.
Katy Secombe is a great Madame Thenardier and her and Cameron Blakely work together brilliantly.

Caroline Sheen’s Fantine is probably the one link in the show I enjoyed the least. I’m not saying she’s not good but compared to the rest of the cast she just didn’t stand out for me. And her “I dreamed a dream” didn’t really do it for me – no goosebumps or anything.

Lisa-Anne Wood is a very cute Cosette and I enjoyed hearing her sing “A heart full of love” with Craig Mather.

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The whole ensemble is absolutely amazing. I can imagine how vocally and physically demanding this show is and I salute the whole cast for going through this 8 times a week!

Sadly I probably won’t be able to see the show again while Alfie Boe is in it but I will definitely be back to see Hadley and the rest of the cast. Although Les Miserables is no show I can see every week I’m more than happy that I have finally discovered my love for this show – thanks to Alfie and the whole current cast of the London production.

Les Miserables is on at the Queen’s Theatre. For more information and to book tickets go to http://www.lesmis.com/home_uk.php

Me and Hadley Fraser

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Me and Liam Tamne

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Me and Alfie Boe

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