Tag Archives: Matt Wycliffe

Matt Wycliffe – Debut Album Campaign

19 Jul

If you are  a theatre fan (and if you are reading you probably are) you will have come across numerous West End performers doing crowd funding campaigns. Several of you might even have support one or more of said campaigns. And if there is one thing we all know it’s that we can’t just spend our money on anything.

That’s why I rarely promote a performer’s crowd funding campaign through this blog. I only ever do it when I am 100% convinced I am promoting something that will be worth my and your money.

Having seen Matt Wycliffe in several shows over the years and having witnesses his impressive skills not only as a singer but also as a musician I feel supporting his album campaign is something all of you should definitely consider.

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He has put together an Indiegogo crowdfunding page with a whole bunch of fun perks. There’s something for everyone: From digital album downloads to physical albums plus bonus EP, tickets for Matt’s new theatrical venture “A Million Dollar Quartet” (there are backstage tours available too), a signed electric guitar and private gigs.

Check out the campaign!

Support by pledging for one of the perks (or more – go spoil yourself!). And please spread the word: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, tell your friends at school or at work….

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Make sure to keep up to date with all the latest updates by following Matt on Twitter @MattWycliffe .

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Westend Fest at St. Paul’s Church – 3rd February 2013

7 Feb

Westend Fest is a live event that brings together various West End performers for an evening of music at St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden. This time the show was held in aid of CRY Foundation (find out more about their work here: http://www.c-r-y.org.uk/) and in memory of Matt Beadle, wo sadly passed away last year.

There were so many highlights so I will only point out a few. First of all the wonderful Norman Bowman provided one of the show stoppers of the evening with his sing along “Deliliah” and his fantastic “Who’s the man”.

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Then there was MiG Ayesa who treated the audience to three songs: “Hammer to fall” (with Lauren Varnham), “Hallelujah” (on piano, with Paul Ayres) and “Fix You” (with Sabrina Aloueche). I would like to quote Paul Ayres and say “He (MiG) is a legend!”. Watch MiG and Lauren sing “Hammer to fall” here:

 

Matt Wycliffe showed everyone what a huge musical talent he is by not only performing two of his own songs but also playing three instruments in total. I was especially impressed by his piano playing. Here’s a clip of him performing:

Personally I loved hearing Rebecca Trehearn sing “The Hill” from Once because I adore the whole score of this show and cannot wait to finally see it on stage next month. Simon Adkins doesn’t get the chance to show off his famtastic voice often enough so it was great to have him perform “Life of the party” on this occasion. Beside being a fabulous singer he also proved that he is a wonderful and entertaining moderator and quite a talented auctioneer.

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However, the absolute highlight and probably on of the most heartbreakingly beautiful performances I have ever seen definitely was Matthew McKenna’s “No one but you”. I can hardly imagine how difficult it must have been for Matthew to sing this song at this event. I am happy and proud I was there to witness it and I’m sure everyone who attended the event will agree that this was one of those very special moments you will remember forever.

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Nathan James closed the evening with two songs – personally I’m not really a fan of him as a performer although I do think he has a great voice. But the audience clearly loved him so I guess he was a good addition to the line up. I do think Matthew McKenna’s song should have been the last one of the evening though simply because it was impossible to top such an amazing performance.

For everyone that is interested, here is the running order of the evening (please note that Matthew McKenna was meant to sing “Show must go on” but sang “No one but you” instead).

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Photo credit goes to @WestendFests . Go follow on Twitter to find out more about upcoming events.

Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre – 18th August 2012 (matinee)

21 Aug

A lot of you are aware that Jersey Boys is one of my favourite shows of all time. I have been watching the London production pretty much from the start and a trip to Jersey is usually on the agenda when I fly over to London.

After reviewing the new cast just a week after they had started in the show I thought it was time to look at the show again and give my views on the Jersey Boys and Girls after they have been performing on stage together for about 5 months.

On this occasion the cast was led by Jon Lee as Frankie Valli. Now, I admit I have always been a Ryan girl when it comes to Frankie Valli in this show. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy seeing a different Frankie now and then. I adored Jye Frasca’s Frankie and loved both Michael Conway and Dan Burton in the role when I saw them earlier this year.
The problem with Frankie Valli is that the part itself is very one-dimensional for a lead role. The character hardly develops throughout the show. So to make the part interesting the actor playing Frankie needs to have a great stage presence, a brilliant voice and a ton of charisma. I think Jon Lee does fine in the acting department but just doesn’t have the voice for this part. He struggles with the high singing parts and often cuts notes short (the last one can be interpreted as a personal take on the songs but to me it sounds as if he simply can’t hold the notes long enough). And Frankie is a vocally demanding part so it’s no crime to have a problem with those incredibly hard vocals – only if you are alternate Frankie Valli you should be able to deliver the falsetto bits or – if your voice just isn’t suited to that – just adapt the singing accordingly. Jye Frasca did just that by singing parts of the songs just that tiny bit lower and it worked perfectly.
I know a lot of people really rate Jon Lee’s Frankie but I have to say personally his take on the role bores me. He doesn’t manage to interest me in anything Frankie says or does. So I have to say his Frankie just isn’t for me.

Ben Wheeler was on for Tommy at this show. What can I say? He was my very first Tommy back in 2008 and I completely adore his take on the role. Ben’s Tommy is the perfect mix of flirty and dangerous and with him no show is ever exactly like the other. Ben keeps changing little bits of his performance which is wonderful for a returning visitor to the show. You can see that he does everything to keep the part fresh and interesting. I love Jon Boydon’s and Mark Isherwood’s Tommy and also loved Glenn Carter in the part but if I had to choose my number one Tommy of all time Ben would definitely win the gold medal. His take on the part is diverse and I just need to look at him to know what Tommy is thinking at that exact moment.

Bob Gaudio is played by Matt Wycliffe who has taken over from Stephen Ashfield in 2011. I admit Stephen’s Bob will always be impossible to top for me but Matt has definitely made the part his own. He has a brilliant voice and I love how his Bob goes from that slightly insecure boy to the confident man who stands up against Tommy. He manages to portray the change in Bob Gaudio’s behaviour and personality perfectly. Plus he comes across as the nice boy next door which makes the audience fall in love with him straight away.

Eugene McCoy’s Nick Massi is funny, there’s no doubt about that. And his take on the part has grown on me by now. I still prefer Nick to be more reserved but then I am definitely biased because I adored Philip Bulcock’s Nick and no one will ever manage to convince me that there is a better way to play that part. The audience clearly loves Eugene which is wonderful. He has his own unique way of playing the part and I do enjoy seeing him on stage. When I want to be reminded of how Nick should be played in my opinion I can always watch the show when Mark Isherwood is on for the part as his Nick is almost similar to Philip’s Nick.

Nicola Brazil does a wonderful job as Mary Delgado. Her Mary is feisty yet vulnerable at the same time. Trina Hill has really grown into her role. Her Francine is less tough now and I really enjoy her take on “My boyfriend’s back”. I’m still not happy with Howard Jones as Bob Crewe. In my eyes he is just wrong for the part and doesn’t look comfortable on stage. His Bob Crewe is played for the jokes and nothing else and lacks the authority and dignity the character needs (and deserves) to have.  Dan Burton has to be the most confident performer in history (I’m exaggerating here but that’s what it looks like). His Joey Pesci was brilliant right from the start and he’s managed to become even better over the past months. And he never shows the slightest hint of nerves.
I still love having Tee Jaye back in the show. His Barry is wonderfully entertaining and his facial expressions are priceless. Special mention for Mark Isherwood who was on for Donnie at this show. No matter what part he plays he always manages to draw my attention to him. The man oozes charisma on stage no matter if he’s playing Tommy, Nick or the third guy on the left in the ensemble.
The rest of the cast did a great job. It’s especially nice to see how much Chris Gardner has developed as Hank in the last 1,5 years. Mark Carroll was on for Gyp de Carlo and while I do prefer to see Stuart in that part Mark did a great job.

What’s left to say? I love the Jersey Boys! I have seen casts come and go over the years and I will always have my favourites in all the different parts. But the show itself remains one of the slickest productions I have seen in my 15+ years of theatre going.

Go and see Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/.

Jersey Boys London, September 18th 2011

22 Sep

Yes, I am a Jersey Boys regular. I’ve been watching the show since July 2008 and have since then seen it more than 100 times (and no, that is no typo!). Jersey Boys is one of those shows that I can see again and again without getting bored. It has a gripping story, fantastic songs and is in my eyes almost flawless.

For all of you that have managed to avoid a trip to Jersey so far: The show tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (with a certain artistic freedom). The fact that it is not just a made up tale but in general the true history of real people is one of the reasons I’m fascinated by this musical. I remember the first time I went to watch Jersey Boys – I had no idea what to expect, all I had seen until then where clips online that had made me want to see the man with the fabulous voice on stage: Ryan Molloy (funny enough he was off sick on my first visit). It only took this one visit to get me hooked. So ever since that day Jersey Boys is on my “to see” list whenever I travel to London.

Once you’ve watched a show a certain amount of times you enjoy a few of change now and then. At least that’s what applies to me. So I am always up for understudy shows at Jersey Boys and I tend to book especially to see certain understudies on stage now and then.

The latest addition to those understudy shows happened on September 18th 2011. I do love Jon Boydon’s Tommy DeVito and I honestly miss Jon whenever I see the show and he’s not there but Ben Wheeler’s Tommy will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s probably a little due to the fact that he was my first ever Tommy back in 2008. But then he’s also a completely awesome performer. His Tommy is the perfect mix of dangerous and flirty, something that is quite hard to achieve. Plus I can basically see what his Tommy is thinking from every little facial expression and gesture. He doesn’t just act from script, he puts life into his performance. Ben’s Tommy is not just a one dimensional bully which makes it so interesting to see the characters development throughout the show.
What made this specific Sunday matinee even better was Mark Isherwood’s Nick Massi. He plays Nick exactly like he should be played (in my eyes at least). Nick Massi is a very defined and rather quiet character with a lot of style so for me it is important that he isn’t portayed as a joke figure. And unfortunately that can happen quite quickly with Nick wanting to “start his own group” all the time and doing the infamous “towel” speech in act 2. Mark’s Nick oozes charisma, simple as that. He’s elegant and laid back which is exactly why said towel speech comes across as a real outbreak of “the quiet one”. And I’d like to add that Mark’s smile really lights up the stage – such amazing stage presence! He needs to be on more often (who do I have to bribe??).
Matt Wycliffe always amazes me with the pure energy he puts into his performance. His Bob is very calm and collected yet he almost explodes (not literally!) with energy during the group songs and “Oh what a night”. And just how beautiful is that voice?! I will always miss Stephen Ashfield as Bob Gaudio, after all I’ve seen him in the show for 3 years. But I’m so glad they found Matt to replace Stephen and I honestly adore his Bob Gaudio.
Who’s missing? The one and only Mr. Molloy, of course. What can I say? He’s the man! I’ve never seen a performer like him on stage before. The guy is amazingly talented and if you ask me his voice is actually better than Frankie Valli’s. Plus Ryan is a born entertainer and that definitely shows in his performance. I sometimes wish he could just completely go for it and – for example – sing “Beggin” like he often does at promotional appearances (those riffs are awesome!!).
I seriously hope this wasn’t the first and last time I have seen these four guys on stage together. Their stage chemistry was fantastic and it was obvious they were having a great time performing together.

Wayne Smith as Bob Crewe always is a highlight in every Jersey Boys performance I attend. Yes, I loved Simon Adkin’s Bob Crewe and I always will. But Wayne really has made the character his own. His Bob Crewe has dignity and that is the most important thing everyone playing this part has to achieve. Bob Crewe was such a vital and important part in the history of the Four Season. As funny as his behaviour in the show is (all that “the stars are in alignment” stuff and so on) he can’t be portrayed as a walking joke. And Wayne manages this perfectly. I love his Bob Crewe and beside Matt Wycliffe he is my favourite addition to the Jersey Boys family.
Chris Gardner is doing a good job as Hank Majewski but I have to say he still doesn’t really covince me in the part. His Hank just seems a bit bland but then the part itself is not exactly the most exciting in the show. I have seen his Bob Gaudio and I really enjoyed his performance in that part so it’s probably rather the character’s than Chris’ fault that I just can’t warm to his Hank.
Jake Samuels has really grown into his role over the last few months. It’s no secret that I miss Joseph Prouse’s Norman Waxman dearly though. Joseph just had some kind of sparkle that Jake unfortunately lacks. He’s really good as Nick Massi though and I hope I get to see him in that part again.
Paul Iveson was on as Donnie/Knuckles. He did well but for some reason Paul never totally amazes me. He is good in every part I’ve seen him in but he hasn’t managed to work his way up to be my favourite in any of them.
Carl Au has developed so much since he started in the show. When I first saw him as Joey Pesci I thought he was way too insecure and not funny at all. But now he’s definitely settled into the role. Seeing his Frankie Valli is still on my list.
The three girls on stage always tend to stand in the shadow of the boys which is a shame. Rachael Wooding’s Mary Delgado is feisty and full of energy. She’s definitely my favourite since Suzy Bastone. Charlie Bull as Lorraine has grown a lot in the role over the last 1,5 years. Her Lorraine is more vulnerable now which makes me feel for the character. And Lauren Hall is by far the best Francine I have seen in the show. It’s fantastic to see what she makes of such a small role. When Francine phones her dad in act 2 I cannot help but wonder what must have happened to that girl to make her so fearful and insecure, something that has never happened to me with any of the other girls I’ve seen as Francine.

Only downside of this performance were certain people in the audience. Don’t you just hate it when people talk loudly during the show? And if you read this, yes I mean you, the two middle aged guys in the second row. So inconsiderate and just plain rude.
But even that can not prevent me from saying that this was one of the best performances of Jersey Boys I have seen in the last couple of months and I was once again reminded why I’ve seen it so many times. I truly love this show and as long as it is running in the West End I will be back for more.

Jersey Boys is showing at the Prince Edwards Theatre. For more info go to http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/