Tag Archives: Paul Ayres

Bloomfield Avenue – Live in London

7 May

This is a theatre blog so at first it might seem a bit strange to cover a band here. But if you take a close look at Bloomfield Avenue they are not just your regular party band. Its members have a variety of West End credits ranging from Jersey Boys to Mamma Mia, Beautiful, We will rock you, Jesus Christ Superstar, Shrek and others. You don’t find such a huge amount of talent piled into one band very often.


I have had the pleasure of seeing Bloomfield Avenue perform on numerous occasions. Their Sunday gigs at The Roadhouse in Covent Garden were evenings not to be missed. And their Rockaoke events at Freedom on Wardour Street always guaranteed a brilliant night out.

And while the band has been doing mostly corporate and private gigs lately they have not forgotten about the fans who were there from the start. To celebrate their 10th anniversary they are playing a special gig at London’s Hippodrome Casino. You can expect an evening of incredible music and some very special guests – amongst  them Matt Thorpe, finalist on BBC’s Let it Shine, and Rachael Wooding (further guests to be announced).


If you are still unsure whether this is the right thing for you I urge you to take a look at the band’s website https://www.bloomfieldavenueband.co.uk and check out the video and audio section. And for all you Kinky Boots fans – yes, that is Paul Ayres on lead vocals and you can expect him to rock the house at the anniversary gig, too.

So, here’s the date for your diary: June 14th, 8pm at the London Hippodrome Casino.

Book tickets for Bloomfield Avenue – Live in London here.

You can find Bloomfield Avenue on Facebook and Twitter @bloomfield_ave .

If you are ever looking for a band for your birthday, wedding, anniversary or any other occasion – these are your guys.

And make sure to join in with the celebrations on June 14th.


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”.


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.


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.


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 1

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

Ghost the musical at the Piccadilly Theatre – July 12th 2012 (matinee)

20 Jul

With Ghost closing in the West End in October I thought I should finally go and see the two current leads on stage together. The first time I watched the show after Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman had left Sam Edwards was on as Sam and I very much enjoyed his performance but didn’t think him and Siobhan Dillon had the best on stage chemistry. I put that down to him being the understudy and not getting the chance to perform with Siobhan a lot and it didn’t bother me that much.

So this time I managed to see a full cast (not sure about swings in the ensemble I admit as I’m not that familiar with the cast – I do know Louise Lawson and Darren Carnall were not on though).
First of all I’d like to say that I think Ghost is a great new musical. Yes, the score isn’t perfect and yes, the show doesn’t really add anything to the story of the film. However, personally I like the way this popular movie has been adapted for the stage. I think the choreography is interesting and I enjoy the big ballads in the show such as “With you”. Plus the effects are without a doubt rather stunning to look at even though I have figured them all out by now.
I adored the original leads Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman. They were stunning together (and still are in the Broadway production) plus Caissie has a voice to die for. So I certainly was slightly biased but I did my best to give the new leads a fair chance to “WOW” me.

Sadly that didn’t happen. Siobhan Dillon has a lovely voice even though her singing doesn’t amaze me the way Caissie’s does. However, her Molly is simply too tough for my liking. I’m not touched by her performance because for me she is radiating a “I’m a strong woman” aura rather than being a completely heartbroken “girl” who has lost the love of her life and doesn’t know how to move on. To be fair I do think she has improved a lot since the first time I saw her. Her acting in the final scene is lovely and yes, I did tear up when Molly said goodbye to Sam.
Mark Evans is certainly nice to look at and he has a wonderful and clear voice. But sadly I’m left cold by his portrayal of Sam. I find his acting rather wooden and his facial expressions are slightly over the top from time to time. He does ok in the funny scenes and his timing is good but he doesn’t manage to take me along on Sam’s emotional journey. 
But what bugs me the most is that I can’t believe in Mark and Siobhan as (on stage) lovers. They are lacking chemistry and just seem to act next to instead of with each other. Since Sam and Molly’s strong bond is one of the key themes of Ghost this lack of chemistry has a big impact. While perfect on the technical side the show is missing heart and soul.

Sharon D Clarke steals the show as Oda Mae Brown. Her portrayal is spot on and you can’t go wrong with such a voice. “I’m outta here” is a real show stopper and remains one of the highlights of the show for me.

Andrew Langtree has developed so much since the first time I saw him as Carl in 2011. I remember thinking that the whole character was simply too “panto” and one-dimensional. Carl is still a cliché bad guy but Andrew manages to deliver a performance that is a joy to watch. He doesn’t ridicule his character but he also doesn’t take Carl seriously beyond measure which is the perfect mix.

The ensemble does a great job even though I think they are not as slick as the original cast. But then those guys and girls went through the very first rehearsal progress for a brand new show together. That has to result in a strong bond that is visible on stage. And in the end this is just a tiny criticism. Special mention for Lisa Davina Philip who I found hilarious as Clara (and what a voice!!). As always nice to see Paul Ayres on stage, I certainly do have a soft spot for former Jersey Boys.

I still don’t see the point of “Ball of wax”. It’s painfully out-of-place and destroys the atmosphere right after Sam’s death. On the other hand I love the act one finale. “Suspend my disbelief” / “I had a life” is such a strong musical number and always leaves me with goosebumps on my arms.

Ghost remains a good show and if you haven’t seen it yet I recommend you go while it’s still around in the West End. For me the “problem” with the show lies with the new leads who simply don’t reach the pure awesomeness of Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman (just my opinion, of course). So at this point I think I’ll rather keep my memories of the “perfect Molly/Sam duo” and let this recent visit be my last. However, I might change my mind in case I get a chance to see Sam Edwards again.

Ghost is on at the Piccadilly Theatre until October 6th 2012. For more info and to book tickets go to: http://www.ghostthemusical.com/