Tag Archives: Matthew 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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Ryan Molloy live at the Electric Carousel – 29th August 2015

30 Aug

Ryan Molloy’s long-awaited first public appearance after starring as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway took him to the Electric Carousel, an intimate concert venue in Central London. Advertised as “The New Jersey Songbook” the evening turned out to be a diverse journey through the music history of Jersey – from Frank Sinatra to Ben E. King to The Isley Brothers right to the hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons Ryan treated his audience to a collection of some of the finest songs that were ever written.

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The special thing about Ryan is his ability to give every song a completely unique touch. You may have heard all of them a thousand times by various artists but you will always discover something new when you listen to Ryan’s take on them. And while there is no question that Ryan Molloy has one of the best voices in the business he also knows how to entertain and engage his fans making all of them feel part of the evening.

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As expected Frankie Valli / Four Seasons’ hits like “Can’t take my eyes of you” and “Beggin'” proved to be favorites amongst the audience along with a mini reunion for which Ryan was joined on stage by former Jersey Boys Matthew Wycliffe, Eugene McCoy and Chris Gardner singing “Who loves you”, “Oh what a night” and a Jersey Boys Medley.

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But it was the tender “Stand by me” (Ben E. King) and the powerful “This old heart of mine” (The Isley Brothers) that stood out for me. Here Ryan really showed that he is not just “the guy who sings Frankie Valli”.

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Those songs might be what he is best known for but over the years Ryan has proven that he can sing anything from Frankie Valli to modern-day Rock, Pop and Funk. And this concert at the Electric Carousel proved that he is just as comfortable singing a whole collection of classic hits that have their origin in Jersey.

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I could keep on praising the undeniable talent of Ryan Molloy for hours but instead I am going to let music speak. Below are some videos from last nights’ concert. Watch, listen and enjoy.

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Check out ryanmolloy.com for all the latest info about upcoming appearances and get in touch with Ryan on Facebook and Twitter @molloyofficial .





The Commitments at The Palace Theatre – 10th November 2013

14 Nov

Those who know me or simply follow me on Twitter will know I have a bit of a soft spot for a certain Irish musical at the moment. So I thought it was about time I checked out “that other” Irish show that opened down the road just a few weeks ago.

The Commitments is based on the book by Roddy Doyle and was turned into a movie back in 1991. It tells the story of a group of teenagers in 1980s Dublin. They are trying to form a band but it is only when the talented but difficult Deco comes on board that they end up on the road of success.
This could be a show with depth, telling the story of working class kids in Ireland who are trying to escape their dull everyday life by making music. It is however more of a concert with some bits of story thrown in. The characters are too one-dimensional to make me actually care for them. What makes this show enjoyable is the great music performed by a musically talented cast.

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Ian McIntosh is the understudy for Deco (usually played by Killian Donnelly) and gives a gripping and hugely enjoyable performance. He sings brilliantly and hits even the toughest notes with ease. I have heard rave reviews of Killian but I can assure you that Ian McIntosh’s Deco is truly wonderful and a pure joy to watch and listen to.

I’m not convinced by Denis Grindel as Jimmy who seems to be trying too hard. He just doesn’t come across as natural to me. His vocals are fine though and I’m sure he will settle into the role more with time.

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It is great to see Matthew Wycliffe back on a West End stage. After playing Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys he’s now part of The Commitments playing the part of Outspan. Although the part isn’t huge he manages to stand out amongst his fellow cast members – and not just because of some impressive ginger hair! I just wish he got the chance to show off his wonderful voice.

My biggest issues lie with Ben Fox or better: With the character he is playing (Joey). I can’t help but be irritated by him calling everyone “brother”. The character just has a patronising quality about him that I can’t warm to.

Joe Woolmer has most likely been directed to play Mickah the way he does – lets just say I prefer characters to be a bit less “in your face funny”. The audience seems to like this kind of performance though so it might be just me being picky.

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I enjoyed Mark Dugdake’s performance as Derek and thought Brian Gilligan was wonderfully funny as Billy. Special mention for Clodagh Long who did really well as Imelda.

The Commitments is full of great music. If you like to listen to songs like “I heard it through the grapevine”, “Papa was a rolling stone” and “What becomes of the broken hearted” performed live and sung with real passion I’m pretty sure you will enjoy this show. It has some good humour (mixed with quite a lot of swearing) and some enjoyable – albeit not very deep – characters (especially Deco who is walking the line between confused and manic). If the story is what makes a show for you this one might not be for you.

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The Commitments want to bring soul to the people. And in terms of music they really do. I just wish they had a strong plot and well-developed characters to go along with all those great tunes.

The Commitments is playing at The Palace Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go here.

Jersey Boys new cast as of March 2012

13 Apr

Now in its fifth year Jersey Boys is still pulling in the crowds at the Prince Edwards Theatre. Having been a regular at this show since 2008 I have seen casts come and go. And while it is often sad to see cast members leave it’s also exciting to have new performers find their own take on a role.  It keeps a show fresh and interesting for both the people involved and the audience (especially the returning visitors).

Not too long ago I was asked which cast I have liked best at Jersey Boys so far. After thinking about this for a while I came to the conclusion that it was a tie between the second and third cast. I honestly can’t decide between those two with people like Philip Bulcock and Ashley Hale leaving after year 2 and Michael Conway and Jon Boydon joining when the show went into its third year. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like cast number 1 and 4 though. Each cast has been special in their own way.

And now there’s cast number 5 with a few new faces (and the return of an oh so familiar face).

The cast is still led by Ryan Molloy as Frankie Valli (or Jon Lee at certain performances) and although he has been in the show since day one Ryan still delivers a flawless performance. His Frankie connects perfectly with the other 3 main Jersey Boys and his vocals are nothing but amazing. He makes singing those high notes look completely effortless.
Jon Boydon, Matthew Wycliffe and Eugene McCoy also remain with the show. Jon and Eugene are now in their third year in the show while Matthew has just started his second year as Bob Gaudio. All three give strong performances and while Eugene’s portrayal of Nick will never be completely to my liking he definitely has made the part his own and I can understand why he is a favourite of the fans. Matthew has grown a lot in his role throughout the first year. His Bob Gaudio is determined and sincere with a hint of cheekiness. His voice is strong and clear and both Cry for me and Oh what a night have the audience captivated.
Jon Boydon’s Tommy is a bully. You don’t want to get into the way of that guy. And while I’ve always loved his dangerous Tommy I still miss the flirty and engaging side of Tommy in his portrayal. In my eyes Tommy is one of the most difficult characters in the show acting wise – it’s hard to find a balance between being dangerous and flirty.

A new member of the Jersey family is Dan Burton who plays Joey Pesci. I have seen Dan in a few other shows and he always comes across as being totally in control of the character he plays. And he makes no exception with Joey Pesci. I had the feeling he had been playing the part for years when I first saw him (which was in the first week of the new cast). His Joey is lively and a bit geeky and he catches the humor of the role perfectly.

Nicola Brazil joins the cast as Frankie’s wife Mary Delgado. The problem with Mary is she has to show off a certain ammount of  arrogance but at the same time she has to be likable. Nicola does a great job in juggling those two characteristics. And I don’t remember the last time I have seen Ryan so engaged in the argument between Mary and Frankie just before My eyes adored you. Him and Nicola had me on the edge of my seat in that scene.

Howard Jones is playing Bob Crewe, the producer of the Four Seasons. I admit it must be hard to capture that character on stage. You have to find the right balance between the humor and the sincere and highly important figure Bob Crewe was in the history of the Four Season. As much as you may think “That guy is weird!” while watching the show you also have to understand how influential he was and what a big part he has played in the success of the band. Both Simon Adkins and Wayne Smith have managed to portray Bob Crewe perfecly – each in his own way and each without turning the character into a walking joke. Sadly Howard hasn’t achieved that yet. His Bob Crewe is in my opinion rather one dimensional and he is lacking a connection with the four main guys. He doesn’t manage to deliver the lines properly resulting in a lot of the witty punch lines being lost. He might just need time to settle into the part but the fact that both Simon and Wayne had the part down to a tee right from the start makes me rather pessimistic in this case.

Trina Hill has taken over as Francine after being a swing in the show for the past year. She has played the part on several occasions already so she technically isn’t new to it. She sings the only female song in the show (My boyfriend’s back) with a strong voice and her portray of Francine is solid. Compared to her antecessors she is lacking a bit in vulnerability. I prefer Francine to be a bit more fragile and Trina’s Francine seems rather tough throughout the show.

Returning to the show after a one year break is Tee Jaye as Barry Belson. I’ve never really warmed to Jo Servi’s Barry so to say I’m happy about Tee Jaye’s return would be an understatement. He manages to make me laugh while giving his character the needed amount of dignity and seriousness. Jersey Boys has regained so much with this new/old addition to the cast.

Staying with the show are Charlie Bull as Lorraine, Mark Carroll as Donnie/Knuckles, Chris Gardner as Hank, Stuart Milligan as Gyp DeCarlo, Jake Samuels as Norman Waxman and Swings Ben Wheeler, Michael Conway, Mark Isherwood and Lucinda Gill.
Joining as Swings are Edd Post, Ben Jennings and Gemma Whitelam.
Whilst I haven’t seen any of the new swings yet I was lucky enough to catch Mark Isherwood as Donnie lately (a part he only started covering a short while ago) and I can honestly say I have never been captivated by that part in such a way. It was almost impossible to look away from Mark whenever he was on stage. The tiny details he adds to his characters are simply amazing.

Jersey Boys remains one of my favourite shows in the West End. And although I miss several past cast members dearly I enjoy seeing new takes on the different parts in the show. After all that’s one of the things that make live theatre so interesting.

Jersey Boys is showing at the Prince Edward Theatre. For more info and to book tickets please visit http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com.