Tag Archives: Stuart Matthew Price

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 3

24 Jun

Sunday 23rd June 2013

Matthew Morrison, High Society (Daniel Boys), Jersey Boys, Stuart Matthew Price, Oliver Tompsett

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Stuart Matthew Price “The roles I’ll never play” – 12th May 2013

13 May

Everyone who has heard Stuart Matthew Price sing will most likely agree with me on one thing: He has a voice to die for. So obviously the chance to listen to this voice for an evening was too good to miss out on.

With “The roles I’ll never play” Stuart took a very clever approach to this concert. Although the title does have a slightly depressing touch to it Stuart made it clear right from the start that the evening was going to be an uplifting look on parts he was too young, too old or simply “not female enough” for.

And after listening to Stuart singing all those beautiful musical numbers it’s even more clear that this young man who has gone so far already is going to achieve so much more in his career. His “Bring him home” was heartfelt and simply astonishing. I have a strong feeling we have a Jean Valjean in the making here – barricades, watch out!

Another highlight had to be “Til I hear you sing” which was an unexpected yet welcomed song choice – because lets admit it, we’ve all heard “Music of the night” a billion times already.

One of my personal favourites has to be one of the female songs – I’m not sure Stuart would look good in green but vocally “The Wizard and I” suited him perfectly.

“Losing my mind”, “Not a day goes by” and “Being alive” were my favourite set of songs because a) I adore all three of them (especially the first one) and b) they fit together so perfectly.

A special mention goes to Ben Fenner, Aime Hodnett and Natasha Ferguson who supported Stuart with some amazing backing vocals and who treated the audience to a couple of solo songs as well. Especially Aime’s rendition of “14G” was a complete show stopper. Currently in their third year at Arts Ed Ben, Aime and Natasha are definitely three artists to watch out for in the future.

The whole evening proved what I knew all along: Stuart Matthew Price can sing anything, simple as that. And anyone who can turn “Thriller” into a jazzy song AND get the whole audience to sing along has true entertainer qualities.

Stuart Matthew Price’s refreshing approach to some well-known musical theatre songs is entertaining, funny and beautiful. He is by far one of the most talented artists in London’s West End and I’m sure we will hear a lot of him in the years to come.

If you missed out on this gig keep an eye on Stuart’s Twitter because you never know – there might be more concerts in the future. Find him @StuartMPrice and start following.

I’d also like to give a mention to St. James Theatre – the place where it all happened. Please check this new venue out. They have some great things happening in the future: http://www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/

I’m going to leave you with the set list and a couple of photos from the evening. As always, please don’t publish any of the pictures elsewhere without asking. Thank you.

Act One
Circle of Life
I’m The Greatest Star
… As If We Never Said Goodbye
Being Him Home
Til I Hear You Sing
Billie Jean/Smooth Criminal/Thriller
They Just Keep Moving The Line (Ben Fenner)
The Life of the Party
The Wizard and I
Defying Gravity

Act Two
In The Heights
Astonishing
The Girl in 14G (Aime Hodnett)
Losing My Mind/Not A Day Goes By/Being Alive
Listen (Natasha Ferguson)
When I Grow Up/Tomorrow/Where Is Love
Encore: Who I Am Today

Dear World at Charing Cross Theatre – 7th March 2013

8 Mar

Dear World opened on Broadway in 1969 to mixed reviews. However, the show earned Angela Lansbury a Tony Award for her performance as Countess Aurelia. After more than 40 years this musical now receives its UK premiere at Charing Cross Theatre.

The show is described as a musical fable which gives a first hint that this might not be your typical musical theatre story. It focuses on the Countess Aurelia and her friends who are trying to stop a group of businessmen from destroying Paris in their search for oil below the city. Sounds a bit odd you think? Trust me, odd doesn’t even come close. This show is by far the most bizarre thing I have seen on a stage in a long time. However, I ended up finding the whole experience strangely entertaining. This is without a doubt due to a wonderful cast who does the absolute best with the material they’ve been given.

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The cast is lead by Betty Buckley as Countess Aurelia. The chance to see one of Broadway’s most legendary leading ladies on stage in such an intimate venue definitely is worth the ticket price alone. Her performance is flawless and a pure joy to watch.
The same goes for Stuart Matthew Price who plays Julian, a young man who starts out as an assistant to the businessmen but ends up helping the Countess and her friends save the city. In my eyes Stuart is one of the most talented young performers in London and it’s fantastic to see him share a stage with Betty Buckley.
Julian’s love interest Lisa is played by Katy Treharne who does a marvellous job.
Paul Nicholas shines as the Sewerman – pity the part itself is probably the weirdest in the whole show.
One of my personal highlights is Rebecca Lock’s Gabrielle and her imaginary dog Dicky – pure comedy genius!

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This show could be a hidden gem if it wasn’t for the completely random storyline. Yes, it does have its funny moments and it is entertaining for most of the time. However, in its current manifestation I doubt this musical will ever appeal to a wider audience. It is simply too strange and leaves the paying public with too many questions – the main one being: How is it possible to come up with a show like this?

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Still, if you get the chance and you want to see a proper Broadway legend together with an all around talented cast perform in a lovely little venue, then please give this show a shot.
Dear World is playing at the Charing Cross Theatre until 16th March. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/.

Mack and Mabel at the Southwark Playhouse – July 12th 2012

14 Jul

The Southwark Playhouse has proven to be one of London’s top addresses for high quality fringe theatre with shows like Parade and Floyd Collins. Their latest musical theatre production is Mack and Mabel, a show that tells the relationship between Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand who became one of his biggest stars in the late 1910s.

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Music and lyrics for this show were written by Jerry Herman and the book by Michael Stewart, revised by Francine Pascal. The original 1974 Broadway production starred Bernadette Peters and Robert Preston and received eight Tony Award nominations.

The Vault is a former railway tunnel which has been transformed into a unique and atmospheric performing space. And while I can’t imagine watching a feel-good and happy show in there, the place is perfect for a show that does well with a gloomy or melancholic setting.

I really like the U-Shape staging they’ve done for this show. But I’d definitely choose the centre rows over the rows on either side of the performing area as I guess the view might be slightly restricted on the sides.

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The only real downside of this theatre are the ridiculously uncomfortable seats and the slightly damp air which makes concentrating on the show a slight challenge after a while.

Norman Bowman is stepping into the role of movie director Mack Sennett. His portrayal is intense and gripping and had me on the edge of my seat throughout the show. Mack certainly is no character that vows himself into the audience’s hearts. He’s driven by his passion for making movies and it’s hard for him to accept that there might be something else in life that is more important. Norman’s Mack seems almost haunted by his one and only ambition: To make people laugh. The fact that someone who seems unable to love and who is simply not very likeable is so dedicated to bringing people joy with his movies is one of the features of Mack that I found most interesting. And despite all that, Norman manages to make me feel for Mack who slowly realises that he actually does love Mabel but is unable to properly express his feelings until it’s too late.

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Laura Pitt-Pulford gives an outstanding performance as Mabel Normand, the sandwich delivery girl who becomes a movie star. She brings out a vulnerability in Mabel that makes it impossible not to love her. I especially liked the on stage chemistry between her and Norman. Those two work exceptionally well together.

The third stand out performance in this show is definitely Stuart Matthew Price as Frank Capra. He manages to really shine in a part that could be drowned out by the two leads if played by an actor with just an average stage presence. Just one minor grudge: I wish he would get to sing more – it’s a shame to “waste” such a beautiful voice.

The rest of the performers are without exception perfectly cast. There is no weak link on stage (except for a rather rebellious egg). It was good to see Steven Serlin again – Saturday Night Fever seems like ages ago! And big thumbs up for Jessica Martin. Her facial expressions during the silent movie scenes were hilarious and I generally loved her portrayal of Lottie Ames.

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Mack and Mabel is yet another example for a high class fringe show that doesn’t have to hide behind the big West End productions. With a fantastic cast, a lovely score (“I won’t send roses” has to be one of the most beautiful and truthful love songs ever written) and a small yet very effective set.

As for the story itself: I think it’s a well told romance between two people who couldn’t be more different when it comes to their ideas of a relationship. My only criticism would be that the whole story is slightly obvious from the start. You can guess how the show is going to end pretty easily after the first few minutes. This one has the “no happy ending” stamp printed all over its cover.
But that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of Mack and Mabel. I had a wonderful time and can’t recommend this show enough. Please do consider watching this one over one of the big West End musicals and show your support for fringe theatre. You won’t be disappointed.

For more info and to book tickets go to http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-vault/mack-and-mabel/

Photos by http://www.annabelverephotography.com

Vampirette at the Manchester Opera House – May 12 2012 (matinee)

14 May

Vampirette – the name alone had me slightly worried. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I took my place inside the auditorium of the Manchester Opera House but I wasn’t expecting much to be honest.

This show tells the story of Vampi, a vampire girl who wants nothing more than to be a normal teenager – fashion, boys, the usual stuff. She meets Andrew, a friend of her brother Rudi, the two fall in love but of course he doesn’t know she’s a vampire. And than there’s the fact that Andrew’s last name is van Helsing and one of his ancestors has killed a member of Vampi’s family (yes, Dracula – you guessed it). To make things even worse the sleazy journalist Stanley Pea is on a mission to unveil the secret surrounding Vampi’s family.
It does sound like a bad piece of fanfiction, doesn’t it? And it would be just that if the show took itself seriously. However, Vampirette is a complete exaggeration of all those well-known vampire stories old and new. It’s a parody that takes the mickey out of every vampire cliché.

The cast is definitely the most outstanding part of this whole show. Jay Worthy as Dr. Acula and Caroline Deverill as Countess Zanguina do an all around great job. I have to mention their accents which are absolutely spot on throughout the show. Lauren Samuels plays Vampi(rette) and while her accent slipped a few times I enjoyed her performance. However the secret star of the show has to be Stuart Matthew Price as Andrew van Helsing who doesn’t just have an amazing voice, he also manages to make the audience laugh without turning his character into a complete fool. Adam C Booth plays Vampi’s brother Rudi – the stereotype of a playboy. While I loved his portrayal of the character (his facial expressions were hilarious!) I wasn’t totally convinced by his singing. His voice seemed a little weak especially compared to Stuart Matthew Price’s outstanding vocals. I wish Stanley Pea would get to sing a proper solo song – Norman Bowman has such a great voice and only gets to show it during the finale. I loved seeing him in this show though – he acts, he sings, he dances = triple treat.

The ensemble seemed a bit out of sync in parts but then one of the ensemble dancer had gone off with an injury the night before and without swings this ment last-minute changes with little to no chance to rehearse properly.
I really enjoyed Matthew Cole’s choreography which was passionate and vibrant. It’s great to see him do so well although I hope he won’t abandon his performing career completely.

Music wise this show definitely is a jukebox musical. From “Come fly with me” to “If you could read my mind” and “Moonlight shadow” – there wasn’t one song I didn’t recognise. I have to mention “Total eclipse of the heart” because the way they used and arranged that song was hilarious and rather brilliant. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the show but that scene was definitely the highlight of the show for me.

Maybe some of you have seen Rock of Ages – in case you have and you enjoyed it I’m pretty sure you will like Vampirette. If you love your Sondheim and nothing else – don’t bother with this show.
Vampirette is a funny feel-good musical that doesn’t want to deliver a complicated message. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not and that’s what makes it a good show. It’s not a revolution in musical theatre and I’m pretty sure it’s not ready for the West End (yet). But it’s enjoyable and deserves a place in the theatre landscape.

For more info on the show and to book tickets go to http://www.vampirettethemusical.com/. But be quick, the show finishes on May 19th!