Tag Archives: Louise Dearman

Water Babies at Curve Leicester – 8th May 2014

14 May

I love seeing new theatre. It is always exciting to see someone take a risk and present a brand new piece of theatre. I understand the risks involved with this, most of which are of a financial nature. Therefor I approach new shows with an open mind and try not to be too critical.

Water Babies is the latest new musical presented at Curve Leicester – a theatre which has staged several high standard new musicals over the past years. The adaption of Charles Kingsley’s fairy tale tells the story of orphaned Tom who has to find out who he is and discover that life is a lot about making the right choices at the right time.

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The show comes along with high-tech video projections, some nice water effects (and some real water towards the end), several power ballads and a (mostly) stellar cast. What it lacks is proper character development and a storyline that consists of more than the repeated reminder that “everyone has a choice”. Thomas Milner lacks the stage presence needed to play the male lead. And while Louise Dearman and Lauren Samuels shine with fantastic vocals, they are let down by their roles which give them no chance to leave a lasting impression. Tom Lister’s Eel – the stereotyped villain – is too much of a panto bad guy and left me unimpressed. The comedy trio (Tom Davey’s swordfish, Samuel Holmes’ seahorse and Andy Gray’s lobster) made me chuckle but I did feel I was watching a stand up comedy act thrown into a musical. The ensemble does a great job with the material they have been given.

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My first thoughts after leaving the theatre were “form over content” and “too many ballads” and those impressions still last on. To me it seems colourful sets, lots of dance scenes (which sometimes seemed out of places and randomly thrown in), a ton of video projections  and fancy costumes are used to distract from the fact that the actual storyline and its characters are rather bland and underdeveloped.

Having said all this, I wasn’t left feeling completely disappointed and I definitely didn’t waste an evening either. Yes, this show has a lot of flaws and it needs a major rework if it wants to see the light again at another theatre. But there is potential and some scenes and songs really gave me that “Wow” feeling you experience when you realise you are watching something magical on stage. I just wish that feeling had lasted throughout the whole performance.

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Water Babies is on at Curve Leicester until 17th May. For tickets and more info visit http://www.curveonline.co.uk.

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Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre – 10th November 2012

14 Nov

It has been a while since I last saw Wicked.  I used to go a lot when the show first started and I’ve always enjoyed my trips to the Emerald City. I guess Wicked is just one of those shows that need someone in the cast I really want to see to get me booking again.

And with Louise Dearman taking over as Elphaba and Jason Winter joining the ensemble that has happened at the end of October.

First of all I think Wicked is a superb show. It has some gorgeous songs, great characters and an interesting and catching storyline. I have always been a fan of big voices so for me the show stands and falls with the singing abilities of the leads. Acting is important as well, of course, but personally I can forgive some acting glitches as long as I get blown away by the singing (I know it’s the other way round for others).

I have seen Louise Dearman as Glinda and I loved her take on the park. She was funny without going completely over the top and her singing was fantastic. Her Elphaba is acted flawlessly in my opinion. She manages just the right mix of vulnerability and anger and makes Elphaba a character I can feel for and whose motives I can follow. I admit I wasn’t completely convinces by her singing during act one. Her “Wizard and I” was good but not outstanding and she seemed to struggle with the high notes at the end of “Defying Gravity”. However, her “No good deed” was absolutely stunning and the best I’ve heard since Kerry Ellis (who I adored in the part vocally). I’m sure Louise will be a brilliant Elphaba once she has settled into the role a bit more and has gotten used to singing those difficult songs night after night.

It was my first time seeing Gina Beck’s Glinda (that shows how long I haven’t watched the show!) and I fell in love with her portrayal right from the start. Her singing is nothing but amazing and I loved that she manages to balance the part properly. She is funny while still keeping the character real.

Ben Freeman has taken over as Fiyero and I admit I was sceptical towards him in the part after seeing him as Warner in Legally Blonde (yes, I didn’t enjoy his portrayal). I did however try and watch him with an open mind. Sadly I ended up not liking his Fiyero at all. His acting was alright but to me he looked slightly out-of-place most of the time and I didn’t feel any chemistry between him and Louise. Plus his singing was weak compared to the previous Fiyeros I have seen.

Having played the part in the Original London Cast Katie Rowley Jones has returned to play Nessarose. I loved her when I first saw her years ago and I still love her now. For me she plays Nessa just how she should be played.

I wasn’t too impressed by Sam Lupton as Boq. He’s missing cuteness if that makes any sense. James Gillian is still the best Boq I have seen because he was simply beyond adorable. Sam came across as too secure and lacked a bit of the little boy charm Boq should have.

Keith Barlett is doing a fine job as the Wizard. I don’t really like the tone of his singing voice but that is just my personal preference. I really enjoyed seeing Louise Plowright as Madame Morrible. Same goes for Christopher Howell as Dr. Dillamond.

The new ensemble appears fresh and full of enthusiasm which is a joy to watch. These guys and girls will be absolutely fantastic once they been in the show a few more weeks. And I’m really looking forward to seeing some of them in their cover parts – especially Jason Winter as Fiyero who I think will be quite amazing.

Wicked is still a blockbuster of a show and fun to watch. The current cast is – with few exceptions – one of the best I’ve seen in the London production. I definitely recommend a visit even if you’ve seen the show before with a different cast. It’s worth going again to see the new guys and girls for sure.

Wicked is playing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/.

West End Bares 2012 at Cafe de Paris – 2nd September 2012

6 Sep

West End Bares has quickly become an annual fundraiser event for The Make A Difference Trust. Now in its third year the show brings together some of the West End’s most talented (and hottest) dancers.

Created by Jerry Mitchell – probably best known for being director and choreographer of Legally Blonde: The Musical – the event had its origin on Broadway under the name Broadway Bares. In London Darren Carnall has been in charge of the event as Artistic Director since the first West End Bares in 2010.

With London still sparkling with Olympic spirit this years West End Bares: “Get Set… Strip!” was sporting an Olympic theme treating the audience to everything from the Opening Ceremony to Sailing, Synchronised Swimming, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Table Tennis, Boxing and Equestrian right up to the Closing Ceremony. The whole evening was a colourful  mix of amazing choreography,  fabulous costumes and make-up, music that had the audience dancing and, as the title of the event suggests, a lot of naked flesh.

It’s hard to pick a favourite number out of all the brilliant pieces of song and dance. Personally I was especially impressed by The Opening Ceremony which started in style with torchbearer Oliver Thornton. Special mention here for the wonderful Jason Winter who made a rather nice to look at “golden boy” and for Paul Ayres and Jenny Fitzpatrick who showed off their great voices. Out of the “sports” numbers I loved Wrestling and Table Tennis which were both extremely entertaining. The whole Equestrian numb was stunning to look at. Big tumbs up for the amazing horse costumes by Spike Wilmer.
But then there really was no weak link in any of the numbers. This was entertainment on the highest level through and through! Amongst the performers of the evening were well-known West End names such as Carley Stenson, Zizi Strallen, Twinnie Lee Moore and Jodie Jaobs.  The Closing Number had a song especially written for West End Bares by Barry Anderson and Mark Petty which was performed beautifully by Mark Evans and Louise Dearman.

Some of the presenters of the evening were Robin Cousins, Claire Sweeney, Jon Lee, Ben Richards, Louise Dearman and Oliver Thornton. Sadly Rugby World Cup Champion Ben Cohen couldn’t make it due to unforseen circumstances.

Probably the most popular part of each West End Bares is the so-called Rotation. Basically this gives the audience the chance to get up and close to the performers of their choice by putting MAD money in their pants. Said MAD money is sold throughout the show and, of course, all proceeds go to The Make A Difference Trust. So, you can touch up your favourite performer AND do something for charity – what’s not to love?!

Since we’ve been talking about pants: A West End Bares tradition is the Pants Project which was once again introduced with the Pants Parade. For this project wardrobe departments of several West End shows design a special show-related pair of pants which is auctioned of online in aid of MAD. Amongst the shows taking part this year are Ghost, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables and Billy Elliot. There are also pants signed by celebrities such as Brian May and Patrick Steward. I suggest you have a look and get bidding on Ebay.

For everyone that doesn’t know The Make A Difference Trust: The theatre industry has come together for over 21 years in form of this charity to help those facing crises and challenges. Please do check out their work here: http://www.madtrust.org.uk/

I was fortunate enough to contribute a small part to West End Bares by helping out as a volunteer. This was my first experience of volunteering for MAD and I honestly had no idea what to expect. But all my worries vanished as soon as I arrived at Cafe de Paris just before 7pm. Everyone was beyond friendly and I got to meet a whole bunch of wonderful people. In case you were there on the day you may have seen me handing out pre-paid tickets and sporting a bright red MAD t-shirt.
With this extra look behind the scenes and having the chance to see some of the preparations for the show by both performers and the people working off stage I can honestly say that everyone involved in West End Bares has given his and her all to make this evening a success. The people at MAD, the performers, the volunteers, the backstage crew, the costume people etc – everyone has worked so hard for this and I truly felt like a part of something wonderful and important. I can’t thank MAD enough for giving me this opportunity. Hopefully I will get to volunteer at more great MAD fundraisers. And definitely count me in for West End Bares 2013!

Here’s a little photo gallery of the event. Once again, please don’t use these pictures anywhere else without asking.
Since I have been asked which performer was in which number I’ve included an overview of the different numbers of the evening all with names of dancers, choreographers etc.