Tag Archives: Tim Howar

2012 – A look back

31 Dec

With 2012 coming to an end I thought it was time to look back at the past 12 months and sum up my theatre related highlights of the year. And what a year this has been! I have had the opportunity to discover new shows, keep re-visiting my favourite shows, spend time with some amazing people, travel to places I haven’t been to before and – thanks to this blog – share my views on shows and theatre in general with all you guys.

It’s impossible to name each and every fantastic theatre moment – there are just way too many. But I want to mention a few that have had a special impact for various reasons. Lets start with my show highlights.

First of all one of my all time favourites is still going strong: Jersey Boys. That show has been a huge part of my theatre life since 2008 and I’m happy I got to visit the boys and girls in Jersey a lot during 2012. Obviously I have my favourites in every part but all in all the whole cast of this show is doing such an amazing job. They are the reason I will never get bored of the show. A special thank you goes out to Ryan Molloy (you are totally mad but I love you for it), Jon Boydon, Ben Wheeler, Mike Conway, Matt Wycliffe, Eugene McCoy, Mark Isherwood and TeeJaye. You guys are amazing!

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Another show that has had a huge impact on my 2012 is Les Miserables. Thank’s to (mainly) Ramin Karimloo I ended up seeing that show around 25 times between January and March 2012. Ramin’s Jean Valjean was quite simply one of the most stunning things I have ever seen in a show – breathtakingly fantastic all around. And his final show is definitely in the top three of my favourite theatre performances of 2012.

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Next up is a show I wish I could have seen more often than just twice. But sadly a limited run (clashing with the Olympics as well) prevented me from that. It is, of course, Mack and Mabel which was staged at the Southwark Playhouse this summer. This show was such a perfect production, from set and choreography right through to the cast (led by the wonderful Norman Bowman and Laura Pitt-Pulford).

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A show that restored my faith in musical theatre was Singin’ in the rain at the Palace Theatre. Shows like this are the reason I fell in love with musical theatre in the first place – from the dancing to the story to the amazingly talented cast, there’s no weak link in this production. I adore that show and it’s on my list of shows to see a lot more often in 2013.

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One of the smallest yet most enjoyable shows I have seen this year is Boy meets Boy at Jermyn Street Theatre. My reason to book tickets was Stephen Ashfield who I always enjoy to see on stage. I ended up loving this gem of a musical and would be thrilled to see it get another run sometime in the future.

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There were so many other shows I enjoyed (and still enjoy) watching. I can’t name them all but if you’ve been reading my blog and maybe even follow me on Twitter you probably have a basic idea anyway.

I’ll go on with some gig highlights of 2012.

The ones that had the biggest impact on me (and my travel diary) are Ramin Karimloo’s Road to find out concerts in May 2012. Without this tour I would never have ended up visiting cities like Newcastle, Cardiff and Birmingham. The tour consisted of 10 concerts and I am proud to say I managed to attend 7 of them – not bad considering I was flying over from Germany all the time. Was it worth it you may ask? Oh yes! I had a brilliant time. It was wonderful to see Ramin explore this new chapter in his career and I hope he continues to be successful with what he enjoys so much – making music.

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Some slightly smaller but still memorable concerts were the Bloomfield Avenue gigs at Roadhouse, Covent Garden on various Sundays throughout 2012. If you haven’t heard of that band I urge you to check them out: http://www.bloomfieldavenueband.co.uk/. They are currently looking for a new London venue for 2013 so watch out for any upcoming gigs.

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And finally some personal highlights that will remain a special memory of 2012 for me.

I still remember how thrilled I was when Dean Chisnall was promoted to playing the lead in Shrek the musical. I have known Dean for several years and I am proud to call such a wonderful and talented person my friend. And trust me when I say: Dean is by far the most dedicated performer you will ever meet. He so deserved to have a lead part in a big West End show and this year he finally achieved just that. It fills me with joy to see Dean on stage in such an iconic theatre as Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Here’s to more fantastic parts in great shows in the future!

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Tim Howar taking over as Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages is yet another highlight of 2012. I first saw Tim on stage in Tonight’s the night (the Rod Stewart musical – some of you may remember it) in 2003 and fell in love with his voice straight away. Tim has to be one of the kindest people on this planet. I feel privileged to know him and I’m beyond happy that he is back on stage in the West End where he belongs.

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My charity auction in aid of The Brain Research Trust was by far the most challenging theatre related project this year. Lots of emails, walking around the West End collecting posters and programmes and generally a lot of organisational work – but it was all so worth it. I couldn’t have done it without all the support from various lovely people (thank you again – you know who you are). It was great to see what a wonderful community the theatre world really is.

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So, all that’s left now is a look out for what is to come in 2013. There are so many things I’m already looking forward to. In no particular order:

1. Once the musical
2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
3. Book of Mormon
4. Seeing MiG Ayesa and Jenna Lee James in the We will rock you arena tour
5. Seeing my lovely friend Björn Klein play Emmett in Legally Blonde in Vienna
6. Seeing Peter Johansson as Stacee Jaxx in Stockholm
7. Finally seeing Ben Whishaw live on a theatre stage
9. Watching The Bodyguard again (slightly addicted I fear…)
10. Generally continuing to support my favourite performers

… the list goes on…

With that I will leave you for 2012. Thank you for sticking with me throughout the year. I really appreciate your support for my little blog. Hopefully I’ll manage to keep you entertained with more reviews and other theatre related posts in 2013 (watch out for my review of The Bodyguard which is coming up as soon as possible).

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2013 brings you all you ever wished for. Keep in touch – comment, tweet or email me. I love to hear from you guys. x

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Rock of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre – 4th October 2012

8 Oct
I have reviewed Rock of Ages before but after the first big cast change just two weeks ago it’s definitely time for another look at one of the loudest and craziest shows in town.
 
Ross Hunter has taken over from Oliver Tompsett as Drew. Fans of musical theatre might know him from shows like We will rock you where he understudied the lead part of Galileo or Legally Blonde where he was understudy for Warner.
Good things first: I think Ross has a good voice and it’s impressive to see what he has achieved at such a young age. He manages the part just fine vocally and that alone isn’t an easy thing to do. However, for me he just doesn’t suit the part completely. He appears slightly uncomfortable on stage and even though he tries, I just don’t see a rock guy but rather a boy dressed up in rock clothes he doesn’t look natural in sporting long hair that simply doesn’t suit his type. It may be a thing of having to grow into the part and I’m looking forward to see how Ross develops in the part over the next weeks. But at this point he looks the most at home as Jazzy J – the boyband kind of guy.
 
Tim Howar is the new Stacee Jaxx. I’ve been seeing Tim on stage since 2004 and for me he has always been at his best when given a part that allows him to rock and work the crowd. This show makes no exception to that rule. Tim’s Stacee is a true rock star, completely full of himself and slightly oblivious to the fact that he has passed the peak of his career long ago. While I did like Shayne Ward’s portrayal I think Tim is a lot more suited to play an ageing rock star (I’m not calling Tim old here!). Plus he has the bonus of that killer rock voice. For me Tim is the best addition this show could ever get – a great actor with a brilliant voice who portrays Stacee’s arrogance without going completely over the top.
 
Natalie Andreou continues as Sherry. Ever since taking over the part full-time early on in the show’s run she has proven that she is absolutely perfectly cast. Her Sherry is funny and likeable and she’s got a great voice to match her brilliant acting.

Simon Lipkin’s Lonny is the star of the show, there is now denying that. He’s hilariously funny and it’s almost impossible to not watch him whenever he is on stage – even when he’s only dancing as part of a female background chorus.
Plus his ad libs are the highlight of every show – there’s no question that this guy is a hugely talented performer with a real feel for comedy, something not many performers have to that extend.
 

Sandy Moffat and Jodie Jacobs remain in the cast as Franz and Regina. And I’ve said it before: I love them both in their parts. And yes, the German jokes still make me laugh!
 
 
Daniel Fletcher has taken over from Justin Lee Collins as Dennis Dupree. First impression: He is tall!! Daniel gives a solid performance but I do think he needs some time to settle into the part. The interaction between him and Simon isn’t as good as it could be but I’m sure that is just a matter of time. 

The rest of the cast does well although I did miss Amy Thornton and Zizi Strallen. Great to have Tim Driesen back on a West End stage. I’m very much looking forward to seeing him as Drew sometime soon. And it’s always nice to see Scarlette Douglas on stage even if it’s only in her swing part.

Rock of Ages continues to be a fun show. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is: A rock musical with some great 80ties tunes and cheesy jokes built around a simple storyline. It’s not Sondheim and it’s certainly not for everyone. But do I like it? Hell yes!!
 
 
Rock of Ages is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 6th January (before moving to another, yet to be confirmed theatre from 18th January).
 
For more info and to book tickets go to: http://www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk/