Tag Archives: Simon Bailey

I can’t sing at the London Palladium

27 Mar

I admit I wasn’t the least bit excited the first time I heard there was going to be a musical based on the popular casting show The X Factor. The thing is, casting shows really don’t interest me. I have never watched any of them and I don’t plan to give them any attention in the future. That and the fact I am not British probably doesn’t make me the target audience for I can’t sing which has just opened at the London Palladium. However, the cast alone meant I simply had to go and see it.

I can’t sing tells the story of Chenice, a poor girl living in a caravan beneath a motorway who is persuaded by plumber max to audition for The X Factor. She gets in, her and Max both become finalists and it seems Chenice’s dream is coming true.


There is no denying that the show has its flaws. The stereotyped jokes get a bit too much with time and mocking every casting show cliché imaginable alone doesn’t make a show funny or good. The story of I can’t sing is paper-thin and I won’t even start with the ending which left me completely stunned (in a “What the…?!” kind of way). Plus I found the Hunchback and his “back story” (get the joke??) nothing but embarrassing even though I do get the idea behind it.
But despite that I laughed a lot and I left the theatre with a smile on my face.

The sets are impressive and well designed, the show has a great original score and the costumes range from lovely to completely outrageous – in a good way. It is obvious that a lot of money had been spent on the outer appearance of I can’t sing. This show definitely puts form over content. And that’s OK because I can’t sing doesn’t pretend to be anything but a silly night out. It doesn’t want to be Shakespeare. It simply wants the audience to sit down and laugh at funny characters and silly jokes and enjoy catchy songs. And for me it succeeds in doing so with few exceptions.


Simon Lipkin is wonderfully witty as Barlow (the dog) and Simon Bailey’s Liam O’Deary is quite simply hilarious. Then there is Cynthia Erivo who shines as Chenice and once again proves that she is one of the rising stars in London’s West End. Nigel Harman’s comic timing as Simon is spot on – I just wish his appearances were a little more balanced (two minor scenes in act one, almost never off stage in act 2). And despite having no idea who they were based on (this happens when you are a non X Factor watching German) I enjoyed Victoria Elliott’s Jordy and Ashley Knight’s Louis. Alan Morrissey does a great job as plumber / singer / songwriter Max and I have to give a special mention to Joseph Prouse whose Undertaker really made me chuckle.

I can’t sing is definitely a Marmite show. It is full of very silly jokes, stereotypes and some quite offensive clichés and it doesn’t really teach us anything beside the fact that casting shows are a platform for vanity and are lead by internal politics. So don’t watch this show expecting a clever and well-developed story and complex characters or you will most likely be disappointed. I can’t sing offers light entertainment and the opportunity to just stop thinking for 2 hours. And in our busy and often rather unfunny world maybe that is just what we need.

For more info go to http://www.icantsingthemusical.com, follow @icantsingUK on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page.

I can’t sing – Social Media Call – 21st March 2014

24 Mar

Currently still in previews the highly anticipated X Factor musical I can’t sing invited bloggers and press photographers to a special Media Call at the London Palladium on 21st March 2014.

My review of the show is coming soon. Here’s a first glimpse of the cast in action and a few snaps of the arranged cast Q&A bloggers attended after the press photo call. I have to say Barlow really is one handsome fella!

More photos can be found on my Facebook Photo Page. Check them out please (page likes always welcome).

For more info and the latest news about I can’t sing please visit the show’s website, follow @icantsingUK on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page.

More photos…

Watch the trailer: http://youtu.be/8ZSdAL78ffg>

Parade at the Southwark Playhouse

20 Sep

It’s hard to sum up the emotional rollercoaster that is Jason Robert Brown’s Parade. The show has you laughing the one moment and leaves you in deep shock just a minute later. I still regret missing out on the Donmar Warehouse production a few years ago so when I heard that the Southwark Playhouse was putting on Parade I jumped at the chance.

And yes, the fact that the lovely Simon Bailey was to be in it also helped with the decision to book.The Vault – as the venue is called – is quite an unusual yet interesting performing space. You are literally in a tunnel with the audience being lined up in 4 rows on either side of it and the stage being in the middle (like a walkway). I’d never seen anything like it before but really enjoyed the way the show was staged.


For everyone that doesn’t know Parade (but seriously, where have you been all your life? It’s a masterpiece!), the show tells the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager from Brroklyn, who is accused of the rape and murder of 13 year old employee Mary Phagan and ends up being lynched by a mob. Parade shows a real-life miscarriage of justice and paints a disturbing picture of intolerance and corruption.


The cast were amazing and I mean all of them. There wasn’t a weak link and I was once again reminded that I need to go and see more fringe theatre. The quality you get to see in fringe shows is amazing and something several West End shows definitely lack. Special mention for Alastair Brookshaw who’s portrayal of Leo Frank left me with tears in my eyes. The same applies to Laura Pitt-Pulford who gave a stunning performance as Leo’s wife Lucille. Samuel J Weir who has just graduated from Arts Ed in July 2011 is definitely someone to watch out for in the future. Amazing vocals and a really strong performance as Young Soldier / Frankie Epps. Marc Inscoe who I had last seen in Priscilla – Queen of the desert really impressed me with his gripping portrayal of the prosecutor Hugh Dorsey.

Full Cast
Kelly Agbowu: Essie
Simon Bailey: Off. Starnes / Tom Watson
Jessica Bastick-Vines: Lila / Mary Phagan
Alastair Brookshaw: Leo Frank
Michael Cotton: Off. Ivey / Luther Rosser
Terry Doe: Newt Lee / Jim Conley / Riley
Natalie Green: Monteen
David Haydn: Governor Slaton / Britt Craig / Mr. Peavey
Marc Inscoe: Hugh Dorsey
Abiona Omanua: Minnie McKnight / Angela
Laura Pitt-Pulford: Lucille Frank
Philip Rham: Old Soldier / Judge Roan
Samantha Seager: Mrs. Phagan / Sally Slaton
Victoria Serra: Iola Stover
Samuel J Weir: Young Soldier / Frankie Epps


I do admit I was quite shocked by the really disturbing banner you got to see in the end. Since the show has finished it’s run I’m not spoiling anything by saying it was a picture of the real Leo Frank – hanged. It worked well, I can say that. But personally I found it hard to impossible to look at the picture that was left hanging until the end of the show which ment I had to walk past it when leaving the auditorium.

I generally love Jason Robert Brown’s work. Seeing Songs for a new world in a tiny space on a ship in Hamburg still is one of the highlights of my theatre life. And Parade definitely is a show every supporter of the arts needs to watch at least once. It’s moving, it has a brilliant score and it has meaning which is something you don’t get in many of the popular musicals these days.

So finally, I’d like to thank the whole cast for such an outstanding performance of a brilliant piece of musical theatre. Everyone obviously put their heart and soul into this show and it was a real honour to witness musical theatre at its best. Thank you!

Next theatre trip coming up….

14 Sep

Been a bit quiet but unfortunately too much work and nasty shoulder problems have prevented me from any freetime writing. Will make up for that with some reviews soon.

So, my next theatre trip is coming up. I’ve got quite a few shows booked so hopefully there will be something for everyone once I’ve managed to review all of them. In case anyone wants a first taste, here’s the list of what’s to come:
Anna Christie (bit of Jude Law can’t be wrong!)
Les Miserables (hoping both Alfie Boe and Hadley Fraser will be on as scheduled)
Jersey Boys (twice – once with Jon Lee and once with Ryan Molloy as Frankie)
Parade (because I finally want to see that one on stage after missing the Donmar production and because Simon Bailey is in it)
Rock of Ages or Shrek (Rock of Ages is my first choice as I haven’t seen it yet but if I miss out on day seats for that I’ll try and get a ticket for Shrek)

And last but not least I shall attend the second West End Rockaoke at Roadhouse, Covent Garden on Sunday Sept 18th. The first one back in June was lots of fun so hopefully this one will be a great night out as well. Bloomfield Avenue are playing – if you haven’t heard of them go check them out now: http://www.bloomfieldavenueband.co.uk/ – and there will be performers from various West End shows.

Anyone who’s in town and free on Sunday evening should definitely consider coming down to Roadhouse. Doors open around 6pm and you get 2 for 1 drinks until 7:30pm. Rockaoke starts around 8pm.
Put your name on the guestlist as it tends to get busy (and you wouldn’t want to queue outside and maybe miss out on the 2 for 1 drinks, would you?): http://www.roadhouse.co.uk.

So, I’ll speak to you all next week! xx