Tag Archives: Ramin Karimloo

Ramin Karimloo – Thank you gig, March 19th 2012

21 Mar

Being one of the lucky supporters who were invited to Ramin Karimloo’s special “Thank you gig” I found myself inside venue 2 of 229 The Venue on March 19th 2012.
Announced on both Facebook and Twitter this gig was Ramin’s way to thank his fans for sticking with him over the last years and for bearing with the changes in the release date of his debut album (which was originally meant to be out in January and will now finally be released on April 9). 

 

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As a supporter of Ramin and his work you will probably agree with me: We don’t need any special thank you gestures from him. Ramin has always been beyond generous when it comes to his fans. However, who would say no to an invitation to a free gig from the man himself? 

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Having playede lead roles in shows like Phantom of the Opera, Love never dies and lately Les Miserables Ramin Karimloo is a well known theatre performer. With his debut album “Ramin” he is now embarking on a journey as a recording artist. His first solo tour will take him around the UK in May and to North America in September (more dates to be announced) That in mind this gig provided a good opportunity to test out some material in front of a live audience. 

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The evening started with the up-tempo song „Broken home” from Ramin’s upcoming album which got the audience in just the right mood for what was to come.  
Next up were two Sheytoons songs: “Losing” and “Broken”. For all of you that don’t know who Sheytoons are: It’s the band Ramin has formed with his friend Hadley Fraser. Please make sure to check them out if you haven’t done so already. Hadley couldn’t be at the gig as he was – as Ramin put it – “holding the fort at the barricades” but Ramin certainly did Sheytoons proud nonetheless. Both him and Hadley must be tired of this question but: When do we get another Sheytoons gig?

 

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The audience then was treated to a simply beautiful cover of the Muse song “Guiding Light” followed by “Just A Closer Walk with Thee”, a traditional gospel song which suited Ramin’s voice perfectly.

Ramin went back to his performing roots with“Fiddler’s Green” by The Tragically Hip having sung their songs when he first started singing in bands in Canada.

 

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Next on the list was another Sheytoons song (my favourite I might add): “Wings”. I honestly could listen to that one all day. And as if he knew my personal favourites Ramin then sang “Constant Angel”, a stunning songs he co-wrote followed by the first single from his album, “Coming Home”.

“Murder in the city” (by the Avett Brothers) was up next. I haven’t given this band much notice so far but Ramin has really managed to get me interested in their songs which are beautifully written.

Ramin continued with a so far untitled new song which I really enjoyed listening to and that will hopefully be included in future gigs as well.

 

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The night ended with a cover of the beautifully melancholic “Raining in Baltimore” (Counting Crows) and “Good Riddance” (Green Day). The latter rounded up the evening perfectly – I’m sure everyone in the room definitely had the time of their lives. 

 

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This whole concert showed that Ramin Karimloo is not only one of the leading men in London’s West End but an all around talented and diverse singer. As much as I love to hear him perform musical theatre songs it was refreshing to listen to him sing anything but that. There is so much more to Ramin than “just” musicals and I’m excited to see where the future is going to take him.

I know this gig was a thank you from Ramin to his fans but I do want to say that I myself am hugely thankful to have been part of this very special evening. So I’d like to thank Ramin and his awesome band for providing everyone with such an entertaining, fun and simply amazing concert that I’m sure every single member of the audience will cherish. 

 

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Please check out http://www.raminofficial.com for info on Ramin Karimloo and his upcoming tour dates.
And don’t forget to buy his debut album “Ramin” which is out on April 9 2012: http://www.raminofficial.com/gb/releases/entry/ramin/

 

A big thank you to Anne Stern for letting me use her fantastic shots from the concert!

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Les Miserables – January 3 2012

10 Jan

The 3rd of January 2012 ;marked my 7th visit to Les Miserables since June 2011. What can I say? I’ve always had a habbit of watching ;shows various times for different reasons. With Les Miserables every reason is coming together: It’s a great shows with a fantastic score, I really like the current cast as a whole and one of my favourite performers is playing the lead at the moment. So honestly, I couldn’t resist even if I wanted to. 😉

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The first time I went to see Ramin Karimloo as Valjean Hadley Fraser was on holidays. I didn’t mind at the time as that gave me the opportunity to concentrate on Ramin’s performance without being “distracted” by Hadley (who I love to see as Javert).

Since then I had seen the two on stage together once and loved the interaction between them. They honestly work so well together. That combined with the fact that they are two of the nicest performers I have ever met makes them pretty special.

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It’s hard to grasp the little things when seeing something for the first time so I decided to wait until now before I reviewed their performances.

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First of all I adore both Ramin and Hadley as performers and as people. They are fantastic singers and they both always bring something unique to the parts they play (that is my opinion at least).

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Seeing them on stage together in Les Miserables is simply breathtaking. The chemistry between them is so special – it’s like they know what the other one is thinking and have the perfect understanding of each other and trust each without boundaries. The confrontation scene between Javert and Valjean just after Fantine’s death had me on the edge of my seat. There was such a raw anger visible on stage at that moment, I seriously thought the two might start a proper fight at any time.

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Hadley’s Javert used to be quite animalistic but he has calmed down a lot and plays the part with a more ;subtly dangerous touch now. And that works perfectly with Ramin’s Valjean who is full of raw anger at the beginning and grows into a more collected yet still passionate character throughout the show.

I admit I’m not totally sure yet what to make of ;Ramin’s high notes in certain parts of the show (take the very last note in “Who am I” for example). They sometimes seem a little too screechy. But that’s just a minor rant and doesn’t take away from the fact that his performance as Valjean is stunning. I love that you will never get two performances from him that are exactly the same. His portrayal of a part changes, often on a daily basis. He develops his characters constantly and will change the way he plays certain scenes throughout his run in a show.

Ramin once told me that Mark Rylance is an actor who inspires him a lot – method acting at its best. And while I do think that no one comes even close to the acting genius of Mr. Rylance I can definitely see that inspiration in Ramin’s acting.

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Hadley has been the most underrated performer in the West End for quite some time if you ask me. It’s fantastic to see he finally gets the attention he deserves. And I know his Javert ;is not to everyone’s taste but personally I love the way he plays the part. I’m generally not a fan of the song “Stars” but I could listen to Hadley singing it night and day.

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I’ve been talking about Ramin and Hadley all the time but I can and will not forget to mention someone else: Scott Garnham. I was really impressed ;by his performance at A West End Christmas last December and so I have been looking forward to catching him as Enjolras in Les Miserables. And my God – that guy is incredible! Nothing against Liam, I do enjoy seeing him as Enjolras a lot, but Scott’s portrayal was spot on from start to finish. His Enjolras ;displays such a pure determination and his vocals were absolutely brilliant. This showed me once more how much talent is hidden in the ensembles of various shows in the West End. ;

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So, I’m urging everyone to go and see Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser in Les Miserables – you’ve still got until March 3 so make sure to book your tickets. Just don’t forget that Ramin only does 6 shows a week (his off dates are posted on the Delfont Mackintosh website) and Hadley is on holidays the week commencing January 23.
And if you happen to see Scott Garnham as Enjolras as well you’re in for an extra treat.

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Book tickets for Les Miserables on http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk

Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre, December 3 2011 (mat and eve)

5 Dec

It’s funny how you can go from not watching a show at all to being a regular within a couple of months.

When Alfie Boe joined Les Miserables I started watching the show on a monthly basis. For most people that is quite a lot already. But trust me, it’s nothing compared to the amount of times I will be seeing the show in the next 3 months. And the reason for that is simple: Ramin Karimloo is the ultimate Jean Valjean. I’m not a Les Mis expert and I’m sure some of you will disagree but that’s how I see it. Ramin’s portrayal of Jean Valjean is diverse and moving and quite simply stunning.

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After I heard him sing “Bring him home” on his “A night with the Phantom” tour I thought he needed to play that part one day. Anything else would have been such a loss to the world of theatre. I even told him so after the concert in Manchester – my face when his stint in Les Mis was announced just a short time later must have been a picture.

Sadly I couldn’t be there for Ramin’s first night as Valjean (work can be really annoying sometimes, don’t you think?!). So I did what people expected from me – after all everyone knows I’m a huge supporter of Ramin and his work – and booked a short weekend trip to London to do the Les Mis double on his first Saturday in the show.

First of all, watching a show like that twice in one day is tough simply because the show is not an easy, feel good piece of theatre. It’s an emotionally draining story. And on top of that we are talking about 3 hours each – there is no seat in the world that is comfortable enough for that.


My biggest fear about Ramin in the part was the age thing. I just couldn’t imagine a guy in his early thirties looking and acting convincingly as an old man. But Ramin was aged so well! One could easily believe it was a fragile old man on stage at the end of the show both from his looks and his acting.


As I had been expecting Ramin’s Valjean is very emotional and extremely physical.

I loved Alfie Boe in the part (I’ve always had a thing for big voices) but Ramin’s Valjean is in another league. That is acting and singing on the highest level and completely spot on from beginning to end.


Most people will say I’m biased. I probably am, I admit that. But biased or not biased, I’m definitely able to tell when I’m seeing something special on stage. And I did at the Queen’s Theatre last Saturday.

It is rare for an actor to transport every feeling from anger to hurt, from despair to happiness without even saying a word. Ramin does just that and with that he manages to make me feel for his character.

I will openly admit I’m not a huge fan of “Love never dies” as a show itself. The reason I watched that show various times was Ramin’s portrayal of the Phantom (although the person who first made me see the show was the lovely Dean Chisnall).

I’m so glad to finally be able to see him play such a complex and interesting character as Jean Valjean. Yes, the Phantom in “Love never dies” has some beautiful songs and it is an emotional part. But Jean Valjean is so much more. It’s a character that goes on a journey both in the literal sense and emotionally. And it does take a really talented performer to draw the audience in and take them along on said journey. And one must not forget the part is vocally demanding as well. To play that part six times a week must be tough. On the other hand it probably is one of the most rewarding part to play for a performer as well because it is so well written and you get to sing all those beautiful songs.


I simply adore the intensity of Ramin’s portrayal. He’s one of the few actors I know that never rests on his achievements. And that means none of his performances is ever the same. He constantly develops the character he plays and will change the tone of his performance from day to day. It almost scares me to think of how amazing he will be once he has settled into the role more over the next few weeks. I was an emotional wreck after seeing those two shows on Saturday and this was only his first week as Valjean. Plus I can imagine seeing him and Hadley Fraser on stage together must be even more intense. I shall check if I’m right about that on the 16th. Don’t get me wrong though, I do think Shaun Dalton did a great job as Javert. It’s just that Ramin and Hadley always work so well on stage together.


I’m definitely doing a more detailed review after I’ve seen the show a few more times. At the moment I’m too overwhelmed to collect my thoughts properly. But trust me on this: Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean is something you do not want to miss. His performance is stunning and I’m once more convinced that this guy is one of the most talented people I have ever been lucky enough to see on stage.

So please show your support and see Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean. He even shows off a proper beard now – that alone should be reason enough to get a ticket for the show! 😉

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

 

A night with the Phantom – Manchester, October 22nd 2011

25 Oct

It was time for another road trip to see the talented Ramin Karimloo on stage. After my trip to Bristol the other week I got on a plane to Manchester to attend the second concert of the „A night with the Phantom“ tour.

 

Obviously I knew what to expect now but I was still in for a few surprises as there had been some slight changes to the show (nothing major but still noticable).
Accompanied by the Manchester Concert Orchestra and The Capital Voices Ramin and his guest singers Celia Graham and Olivia Archbold delivered a fantastic show.

 

After a few tiny mess ups during the show in Bristol Ramin seemed more settled and secure this time around and was obviously really enjoying a little banter with the crowd now and then.
I’ve been trying to pick a favourite song but found it next to impossible as there were so many highlights. From classic musicals like „Some enchanted evening“ to the well known songs from Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies, this evening was a real treat for every fan of musical theatre.

 

Ramin’s „Bring him home“ once again proved to be a real show stopper and got a well deserved standing ovation. Honestly, he needs to play the part of Jean Valjean at some point in his career. It would be such a loss to the theatreworld if we never got to see his take on that character.

 

Although Ramin once again assured us that he loves Jazz but doesn’t sing Jazz I was really taken by his version of „They can’t take that away from me“. It’s such a beautiful song and Ramin definitely did it justice.

 

I admit I wasn’t too sure about some of Celia’s song choices. She does have an amazing voice but in my opinion it is more suited to classic musical tunes. So while she did a good job throughout the show I liked her best in the Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies section of the concert. Her Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard duet with Ramin was a joy to listen to as well – those two have such a great chemistry on stage!

 

After hearing Ramin’s take on „Why God why“ for a second time I’m starting to really regret that I never saw him in the show. Miss Saigon has a beautiful score but so far it’s not been a show I was really dying to see. But Ramin as Chris must have been breathtaking. Everyone who was lucky enough to see him back in the days: I do envy you! A lot!

 

I’ve been talking about slight changes to the show and one of those changes was Ramin and Celia staying on stage until the very end of „Do you hear the people sing“ which wrapped up the first half of the concert. In Bristol I found it a bit unfortunate that Ramin went off stage after singing the first verse of the song in French and just left the orchestra and The Capital Voices to finish the first act. This time both he and Celia remained on stage and even tried to make the audience act as the choir – I’ve got a feeling not as many people as Ramin expected actually knew the words to the song though (either that or everyone was just being really shy).

 

Olivia Archbold once again did two songs in act two of the concert. She definitely has a fantastic voice but I wish she had chosen a different dress for the tour. While it is a lovely dress I don’t think it suited the whole evening. But then that’s just me being picky really. Plus I’m most likely biased because I simply adored every single dress Celia wore that evening. Olivia is a real talent and I’m glad I had the chance to see her on stage.

 

I was most looking forward to hearing the two original songs from Ramin’s upcoming album. And „Constant Angel“ has been stuck in my head for days now. It’s such a stunning song – great lyrics and a really catchy melody. Just as „Coming home“ it shows that Ramin is definitely someone to watch out for in the future and I’m not talking musical theatre but international chart success here. I personally can’t wait to listen to the album in January.

 

As expected the last section of act two got a huge reception – after all The Phantom ist the part Ramin is best known for in the world of musical theatre. I liked the new version of „Music of the night“ the first time I heard it. After listening to it again in Manchester I can say that I’m totally in love wit that song. Good thing both „Music of the night“ and „Till I hear you sing“ are part of Ramin’s album as that means we’ll hopefully get to hear both songs again on his next tour.

 

On a side note: It was lovely to see Ramin after the show. He spent ages (and I really mean that – he was still signing autographs well after 11:30pm) with his fans. I’ve been a supporter of musical theatre for around 15 years now and have met many performers along the way. And I can honestly say that Ramin is one of the nicest and most charming people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I’m proud to support a performer that is not only amazingly talented but is also such a lovely and down to earth person.

 

Thank you Ramin!

 

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Don’t forget to pre order Ramin’s album!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ramin/dp/B005Q870PE/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319530808&sr=8-1-fkmr1

 

And if you’re around please support him on the last two dates of the „A night with the Phantom“ tour in Birmingham and Southampton.

Go here for more info and tickets: http://www.raymondgubbay.co.uk/whatson/a-night-with-the-phantom

A night with the Phantom – Bristol, October 13th 2011

16 Oct

Ramin Karimloo is best known for playing the Phantom in both The Phantom Of The Opera and Love Never Dies. So it is definitely a good choice to call his first solo tour after taking off the mask “A night with the Phantom”.

But although the all time favourites from both Phantom shows are obviously part of this concert the audience is in for much more than that. From South Pacific to some Gershwin classics, from Les Miserables to Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard – this show takes the audience on a journey through the world of muscial theatre. Ramin and his special guest (and leading lady) Celia Graham perform some of the greatest musical tunes ever written. But it doesn’t stop there. Ramin even treats the audience to a sneak preview of his upcoming album.
This first concert took place at Colston Hall in Bristol, a lovely venue in the heart of the city. I you’re ever in Bristol make sure to check out their schedule.

I’m not going to review every song from the show but I do want to mention my personal highlights. “They can’t take that away from me” takes Ramin to unknown territory as he doesn’t do Jazz (his words, not mine). But seriously, after hearing this song I think he should from now on. His voice suits the song beautifully – and this is coming from me who absolutely adores Robbie Williams’ fantastic version of that very tune.
After looking through the song list before the concert I was looking forward to hearing Ramin’s take on “Stars” from Les Miserables. Imagine my surprise when that song was replaced by “Bring him home”. I could have died happily at that moment. I have seen Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean and his “Bring him home” brings tears to my eyes. But I can honestly say that hearing Ramin sing this song is even more special – he manages to put so much emotion into it – and this is “only” a stand alone as part of the concert. Just imagine him as Jean Valjean in the actual show – there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house!
The title song from Sunset Boulevard is another one of my favourites. I have never seen the show and am not very familiar with the score. But I think that needs to change as I was blown away by that song.
Ramin’s second special guest is Olivia Jade Archbold who a lot of you will know from Britain’s Got Talent (I admit I don’t but then I’m German and can’t watch the show on tv which is a good excuse I guess). She’s only 16 years old but – my God – she has the most amazing voice. Her “Anyone who had a heart” is absolutely fantastic.

After hearing “Constant Angel” and “Coming home” from Ramin’s upcoming solo album I definitely can’t wait for January. It’s great to hear him sing some original material and if the rest of the songs on the album are just half as good as those two this is going to be one hell of a CD!

The show concludes with some all time favourites from both The Phantom Of the Opera and Love Never Dies. The audience in Bristol was on their feet after almost every song. But then every song deserves a standing ovation. Just hearing Ramin sing “Till I hear you sing” and being treated to Celia’s “Love never dies” again is worth the money for the ticket alone. And without spoiling the surprise I can assure everyone: You will love the very last song of the show (which will also be on the album). I’d like to add that really enjoyed the slightly new arrangement of that song.

The whole evening is a pure delight. Ramin is obviously having a great time and shows off his entertainer qualities by throwing in some funny anecdotes here and there. He really manages to connect with his audience. And the fact that not everything went exactly to plan in Bristol didn’t matter at all – those slight muck ups just made the audience take to Ramin even more.

As much as I have enjoyed watching Ramin in Love Never Dies and lately in the Phantom Of The Opera Anniversary concert it is even more special to see him on stage in this tour. Just the man himself (plus his special guests), an orchestra and a brilliant support by the Capital Voices – it doesn’t get much better than that. Special kudos to the Welsh Concert Orchestra who did a fantastic job at the concert in Bristol.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the show again in Manchester. Everyone who doesn’t have a ticket yet – what are you waiting for? The tour will take Ramin to Manchester on October 22nd, Birmingham on October 29th and Southampton on November 4th.

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For more info check out http://www.raymondgubbay.co.uk/whatson/a-night-with-the-phantom

And go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ramin/dp/B005Q870PE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318791594&sr=8-1 to pre order Ramin’s album which is out on January 2nd 2012.

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary, October 2nd 2011 (evening)

4 Oct

I was expecting to be blown away by this performance, simple as that. I’m not someone who tends to spend 180 quid on a single theatre ticket. I mean, come on, I can see Jersey Boys 9 times for that amount of money! But this was a special occasion and we’re talking about my most likely last chance to see Ramin Karimloo in the original Phantom of the Opera. So yes, I did get a ridiculously expensive ticket for the Sunday evening performance of the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall. Well, technically I didn’t because I have the best parents in the world who sponsored my ticket as an early birthday present.

But still, it was a lot of money for one single ticket and I wanted to experience something special for a price like this.

 

I should point out that I am not a Phan (as the fans of the show call themselves) and I have only seen the Phantom of the Opera once and that was years and years ago. So I can’t compare this anniversary production to any other productions of the show and I’ve got nothing to compare the performers to. What I can and will do is write down my personal view of the evening.

 

First of all, the Royal Albert Hall is a pretty impressive venue. I arrived a little late so didn’t have the time to fully appreciate it before the show. But just walking into the auditorium and seeing the size of the whole place was a memorable experience. The biggest surprise of the evening happened right then (well, apart from running into Dane Quixall right before the show – London really is a village!) when I got to my seat. When I booked the ticket the seating plan indicated that I was sitting in front arena, right hand side, aisle seat, 4 rows from the stage. However I discovered that the rows in front of me had been taken out which transformed my cool 4th row seat into a super-cool front row seat. To say I was happy would be the understatement of the year!

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 The show itself was… I don’t even know how to put it into words. To sum it up with a simple “Amazing!!” doesn’t give the whole thing justice. But it’s hard to sum up an event like this. There was the absolutely fantastic cast lead by Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess who both delivered the performance of a lifetime. I have seen the two on stage together in Love Never Dies various times and have always admired their stage chemistry. To see them play the leads in the original Phantom of the Opera was a dream come true. Sierra’s voice and stage presence was even better than in Love Never Dies and Ramin showed off that he is both a brilliant actor and one of the best singers the West End has ever seen. It was clearly visible how well those two get along. They work together perfectly. Ramin’s Phantom was passionate and angry, yet also vulnerable. His “Music of the night” was everything I hoped it would be. And Sierra’s Christine was breathtakingly beautiful with a voice to die for. Her “Think of me” was simply stunning. For me the two were perfection.

Hadley Fraser as Raoul was the third person I had really been looking forward to seeing that night. I love Hadley’s Javert in Les Miserables plus he is one half of Sheytoons (alongside Ramin Karimloo). It’s fantastic to see him finally getting the attention he deserves as I think he is one of the most underated performers in the West End. Hadley is such a talented singer and actor and I loved his portrayal of Raoul. Some people have written that his Raoul was too arrogant and his voice too weak but I honestly can’t go along with those opinions. For me his Raoul came across as very sure of himself – a guy who knows exactly what he wants – and I think that fit perfectly. And I adore Hadley’s voice – he and Sierra sounded beautifully in “All I ask of you”.

The rest of the cast did a great job as well and it was quite a sight to see such a huge ensemble fill the stage. I was particularly impressed by “Masquerade”.

 

The set was a clever mix between set and projection screens. Some scenes might have worked better in a more intimate venue but all in all I thought the way this show was staged was very well done. They even had the big chandelier which was quite the sight. Yes, it would have been even better to have less projections and more set but I can see the reason for staging the show the way it was done. And it worked and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the performance.

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For the big finale we first got a speech by both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh and appearances by the original creative team and the original London cast of the show. Following that was a choral arranement of “The Music of the night” sung by Colm Wilkinson, Jon Owen Jones, Anthony Warlow and Peter Jöback – impressive although I am not really sure Peter Jöback’s voice is suited for the part (everyone shall find out when he joins the London cast in March 2012). Of course, a Phantom anniversary wouldn’t be complete without the original Phantom and Christine. Sarah Brightman sang the title track of the show together with 5 Phantoms (the ones named before plus Ramin Karimloo). It was a memorable moment to see her on stage that evening but I have to admit I was rather disappointed with her singing. Her voice was almost drowned out by the music and the high note at the end was clearly click tracked.

Michael Crawford took a bow at the end of the show and seemed completely overwhelmed by the response of the audience (everyone was on their feet as soon as he came on stage) but didn’t sing. The show ended with Ramin and Sierra taking an extra bow (after being pushed back on stage by Colm Wilkinson) and Ramin carrying Sierra off stage which was a lovely ending to a fantastic evening.

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I admit I’m not a big fan of most of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows and The Phantom of the Opera will never be amongst my favourite shows. But to be part of this anniversary was something I will cherish forever and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I was expecting to be blown away by this performance – and I was.

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Thanks to Sarah for the first photo.
Credit for the other 3 photos goes to wooller.com.

West End Bares – Clothing Optional

9 Sep

The second West End Bares took place at Cafe de Paris on Sunday, September 4th 2011. Just like last year there were 2 shows (9:30pm and Midnight)  and since I wasn’t able to attend the event in 2010 I decided to treat myself to both performances and stayed a bit for the party afterwards. This ment I got zero sleep that night, and with zero I mean ZERO, as I had a 7:30am flight to catch the next morning. But hey, sleep is overrated anyway, isn’t it?

It’s impossible to do the event justice in a review – you just had to be there. But I do want to sum up my thoughts and I will throw in some pictures just because I know that’s what you all want to see anyway!

The event was hosted by Sheridan Smith and Gok Wan who both did a fantastic job. Sheridan is such a funny and naturally nice person – you cannot not like her. Both her and Gok Wan seemed to have a fantastic time up on stage. I wonder if Sheridan expected to end up in the newspapers the next day for “getting her tits out” though! But then it was for charity which is the perfect excuse.

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So, the show started with a number called „Fashionista“ performed by Steven Ceverly, Susie Allman, Jenny Wickham, Will Peaco, Graham Weaver, Damien Poole, Matt Krzan, David Grewcock, Zoe Doano, Lisa Anne Wood, Jayde Westaby, Tara Young and Siobahn Dillon (Choreographer Dom Tribuzio). I love Steven in Priscilla – Queen of the desert and I was delighted to see him on stage at West End Bares. That guy has charisma and is a fantastic performer. And I wish I had those legs!!!
Special mention to the lovely Jayde Westaby – she’s fantastic and I hope it won’t be long until we see her on a West End stage again.

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Next up „Icons“ with Hannah Toy, Jasmine Kerr, Louise King, Aisling Duffy, Alex Bird, Lia Given (Choreographer Stuart Winter). That was one very sexy number I have to say. The girls on stage looked amazing. Special shout out to Louise King – what a body (I’m only a bit jealous… honestly!).

The next number „Muse me, abuse me“ was a great dance number performed by Tom Muggeridge and Rachel Ensor (Choreographer Stuart Winter). This one could easily fit into a West End show (minus the stripping if the producers wanted to label their show „family entertainment“).

 

 Straight on to „Hats“ which was one of my personal favourites. Darren Carnall, Summer Strallen and Zizi Strallen in a very clever and entertaining dance number (Choreographer Darren Carnall). I might have seen more of Darren than I ever intended to though!

 

„Elizabethan“ with Dom Tribuzio, David Rudin, Adam C Garcia, Gregor Scott, Natalie Casey, Emily Whitehead, Carly Meyers and Jess Ellen Knight (Choreographer Fabian Aloise) gets an extra point for chosing the perfect music: Lady Gaga. I was hoping there would be one number with a bit of Gaga and this one was done extremely well. Loved the Elizabethan/Gaga costume!

 

The next number fits into my blog perfectly: „Confessions of a shopaholic“ performed by Lisa Mathieson, Ian Oswald, Luke Johnson, James Cohen, Callum Nicol, Ben Bunce and Luke Jackson (Choreographer Will Peaco). This one was fun and every girl’s dream – shopping and naked guys, what more do we need?

 

The temperature in the building must have doubled when Oliver Thornton entered the stage to perform „Mad Men“ with Rachel Muldoon, Michelle Francis, John Phoenix, Paul Saunders, Tristan Temple and Sean Mulligan (Choreographer Ashley Wallen). Judging from the noise I figured at least half the audience had been waiting fort his moment alone. And Oliver certainly didn’t disappoint his supporters – we all know the man has a body like a greek god but he can also move and has stage presence. Though once again I may have seen more than I was planning to!

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Then it was time for a performer that had honestly surprised me when he told me he was taking part in this event a few weeks ago: Ramin Karimloo. I would never have guessed it! His number was called „Formalwear“ (Choreographer Ben Bunce) and consisted of him singing „Sex on fire“ by Kings of Leon whilst getting rid of his clothes (of course!). He even got himself some hot dancer (Susie Allman, Jenny Victoria Wickham and Amanda Karimloo). Well, we all know the man has a voice to die for but I may also say: The hours in the gym have definitely not been wasted! 

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„Fashion Faux Pas“ featured Ivan de Frietas, Paul Read Ayres, Andrew simeon, Anna woodside, Sophie Jones, Sophie Linder Lee and Lizzy Benham (Choreographer Rebecca Howell) and was another fun number full of energy. Seeing Anna on stage was a fantastic surprise as I had no idea she was taking part. As always a joy to watch!

 

The show went on with „Labels or love“ performed by Aaron Renfree, Paulo Jorge Teixeira, Robert Jones, Jack Hawitt, Amy Thornton, Lauren Varnham, Emily Hawgood and Holly James (Choreographer Aaron Renfree) and came to a close with the specially composed song „Flesh never goes out of fashion“ which was performed brilliantly by Charlotte Riby, Landi Oshinowo and Emma Lindars (Choreographer Gary Murphy). Such power voices and may I add the three looked absolutely stunning.

 

But, of course, there was still one more number – the famous Rotation. Basically this was the big finale in which the audience got to put their MAD money (available to buy throughout the show – all for charity, of course) in their favourite performers pants. Sounds mad and fun and that’s exactly what it was. I only joined in during the second show and I’m happy to report that my money went to the fabulous Luke Jackson and the amazing Ramin Karimloo (after I had convinced him to come to the front of the stage – the things one does for charity, eh!). Don’t believe me? Well, you better do because I’ve got picture proof!

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If I wanted to sum up the whole evening in one word it would be HOT. Every single performance on that stage was absolutely fantastic. I can’t imagine how much work must have gone into organising, preparing, choreographing and rehearsing the whole thing. To see all these performers, many of whom I’ve been watching on stage in various shows for years, dedicating their free time and putting so much effort into this event made me proud to be a supporter of theatre and the people who work in the business. And not to forget the people backstage, the MAD volunteers and everyone else who gave their time to make this happen. It really shows that people can make a difference!

 

A special mention has to go out to Darren Carnall. Without him there would be no West End Bares. Darren has been the director of the show both in 2010 and in 2011 and has really put his heart and soul into this project. I still haven’t figured out how he managed to do this seeing as he has this little “side job” as Dance Captain and Swing in Ghost the musical as well – my guess is he hasn’t slept for months! Darren, you are a star and I am proud to know you. 

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And last but not least: Don’t forget the Pant Project everyone. There’s still some time left to bid on a pair of specially designed pants from your favourite show.

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Go to http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/madtrust08/m.html?_trksid=p4340.l2562 and check them out! The auctions close on September 16th so get bidding now.

Here’s to West End Bares 3 in 2012 – I certainly can’t wait!! 

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*Apologies in case I got any of the performers names wrong or if I listed someone who might not have been on stage after all. All numbers and the list of performers were taken out of the West End Bares programme as it was impossible to remember everyting and everyone just from watching the show.*

 

Well, hello……

8 Sep

I figure the first post is always the hardest. Getting started and all that. Bla bla bla.

Since this is a theatre blog I might as well jump right in and mention the upcoming theatre related events I’m most excited about at the moment.

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Concert
Taking place at the Royal Albert Hall, October 1 and 2 2011. I’m the proud owner of a ridiculously expensive front arena ticket… 180 quid, I kid you not!! Whilst Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows are not amongst my favourites (there, I’ve said it!) I seriously cannot WAIT for this show. It’s going to be huge I’m sure. And seeing the amazing Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess on stage together for the first time since Love Never Dies is worth the money alone.

A night with the Phantom – Ramin Karimloo in concert
The title explains it all really. Ramin Karimloo is a singing god and that is a fact! That voice is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in my life and just the thought of hearing him sing excites me to no end. Bristol and Manchester, here I come!

Matilda – The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
I have heard so many great things about this production and I’m thrilled it’s getting a West End transfer. This is right at the top of my “Must-see list”.

Last performance of Priscilla – Queen of the desert at the Palace Theatre
How can I look forward to the closure of a show? Well, I’m not. It’s sad to see this show closing and the West End will be a bit less colourfull without Felicia, Tick and Bernadette. But just imagine the last performance of a show on New Year’s Eve, a most likely sold out house – the atmosphere will be electric and the show will get the fabulous send off it deserves.

And then there’s all the rumored events that might or might not happen: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical, Hugh Jackman bringing his solo show to London, more Sheytoons gigs later this year or early next year (in case you are wondering, Sheytoons are Hadley Fraser and Ramin Karimloo and you’ve been missing out big time in case you haven’t heard from them) and so on.

London theatre life certainly never gets boring.