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Review: Dancing on Ice - Wembley Arena ✭✭✭✭

Written By Steve Stubbs on Thursday, 3 April 2014 | 16:23

Dancing on Ice 
Wembley Arena

Review by Emma Curry

1st April 2014: The final Dancing on Ice Tour returned to Wembley Arena on Tuesday evening, starring a mixture of celebrities from the recent All-Stars series on ITV, hosted by the inimitable Jayne Torvil and Christopher Dean, and with Robin Windsor, Karen Barber, and Nicky Slater all back as judges. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since the show began, and this tour stands as a celebration of the longevity and popularity of what seemed at first to be a potentially disastrous concept. Luckily there were no accidents on the evening, however, and I think even the most hardened cynic would have struggled not to enjoy this warm-hearted and rather inspiring show.

The first half of proceedings was devoted to the competition element, and ran very much like the Sunday night TV programme used to: each celebrity performed their routine, received marks and feedback from the judges, and at the end the audience added their votes to determine the winner. Whilst each celebrity performed admirably under the glare of thousands of spectators, as was the case on the TV show this year, there could only really be one winner: Ray Quinn. The former X-Factor star has an unbelievable skating talent: with his leaps and lifts he’s as good, if not better, than some of the professionals we saw, and seeing him skating live was, for me, the highlight of the show. The speed and smoothness with which he moves around the ice are utterly breath-taking, and the leaps that he performs in his ‘flamenco’ routine have to be experienced in real life to be truly believed. Here’s hoping he’ll pursue this new hobby in the future.

The second half of the show, after revealing the winner of the skating competition, took on a more freestyle element, as the celebrities and professionals each performed a further routine, with the addition of props, costumes, and, in one spectacular sequence, fire. The highlight here was Joe Pasquale, possibly performing the world’s first stand-up routine on ice (although, despite the name, he repeatedly failed to remain on his feet). As the rather wobbly underdog, Pasquale had an instant chemistry with the audience, and his brief and comic guide to skating like a professional was an enjoyable moment of slapstick amidst all the other more poised performances.

The show was brought to a close by Torvil and Dean ending, rather fittingly, where they really began: with a stunning performance of the Bolero, which I actually found rather moving. Jayne Torvil commented at the end: ‘This isn’t goodbye. Just goodnight’. Now that Dancing on Ice has come to a close, I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the pair next.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

For more info and tour dates click here: www.dancingonicetour.co.uk

It's a bumper year at the King's and Theatre Royal, Glasgow!

Written By Lisa Davidson on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 | 07:00



 Don't miss out this year, there's something for everyone to enjoy at the King's Theatre and Theatre Royal in Glasgow. 

Their new season kick-starts with Fame - The Musical (Mon 23 – Sat 28 Jun) split jumping onto the King’s stage with it’s 25th anniversary production.

Meanwhile at the Theatre Royal, Christopher Timothy leads the cast in Dial M for Murder(Tue 24 – Sat 28 Jun), famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock, and now a gripping stage production.

The National Theatre’s award winning One Man, Two Guvnors (Mon 30 Jun – Sat 5 Jul) - starring Eastenders’ favourites: Shaun WilliamsonEmma Barton and Jasmyn Banks - will have the audience rolling with laughter in the aisles. 
 
For something more light-hearted pack your sombrero and join the stars of the original TV comedy Last of the Duty Free (Mon 7 – Sat 12 Jul), including Gwen Taylor and Keith Barron, for one last fling!

‘The Final Countdown’ is on for Rock of Ages (Mon 4 – Sat 9 Aug) with Ben Richards as rock god Stacee Jaxx and Hear’Say’s Noel Sullivan as Drew Boley. You’ll be strumming your air guitar to a string of eighties anthems including ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’, ‘We Built This City’ and ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’.

Our very own Creative Learning team have clicked their heels together to help youngsters realise their dreams of performing on a professional stage. This year’s Summer School(Mon 4 – Fri 8 Aug) will be working on a production of Under the Rainbow where after waving goodbye to Dorothy, something goes terribly wrong for the people of Oz.

After Coronation Street’s Vicky Binns is showered with applause in Singin’ in the Rain (Tue 12 – Sat 23 Aug) her colleague from the cobbles, Shobna Gulati, rekindles her marriage inJohn Godber’s April in Paris (Tue 26 – Sat 30 Aug).

Sparks will fly in Annie Get your Gun (Tue 2 – Sat 6 Sep) with a smoking cast includingJason Donovan as Frank Butler and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill.

Rediscover Johnny and Baby’s iconic dance moves and that all important lift in Dirty Dancing (Tue 26 Aug – Sat 20 Sep).

Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery, The Mousetrap (Mon 15 – Sat 20 Sep), will sharpen your mind with its twists and turns.

The Full Monty (Tue 23 Sep – Sat 4 Oct) will be strutting its stuff in the King’s. From the Oscar winning writer of the film, Simon Beaufoy brings the tale of six out of work steel workers to the stage featuring songs by Donna SummerHot Chocolate andTom Jones.

Edward Scissorhands (Wed 19 – Sat 22 Nov) will carve a place in your heart with exquisite choreography by the multi-award winningMatthew Bourne.

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Mon 24- Sat 29 Nov), nominated for best comedy at the Olivier Awards 2014, won’t fail to deliver the laughs. 

The emotionally charged Blood Brothers (Mon 3 – Sat 15 Nov) opens with the heart warming reunion of twins separated at birth but soon leads to sibling rivalry with fatal consequences.

From drawing guns to swashbuckling swords, for the first time ever Peter Pan (Sat 6 Dec – Sun 11 Jan) will be flying into the King’s to celebrate 50 years since the very first pantomime was staged at the historic Glasgow venue. Another first for the King’s is a Relaxed Performance (Wed 7 Jan, 11am) of Peter Pan which is an opportunity for people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs to benefit from a relaxed environment to ensure a more enjoyable theatre visit.

While panto reigns at the King's, have your tap shoes ready for Top Hat (Tue 2 – Sat 13 Dec) which encapsulates the Hollywood glamour of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Then when disco king Tony Manero takes to the dance floor in our Theatre Royal Christmas production, ‘You Should Be Dancing’ to Saturday Night Fever (Tue 16 Dec – Sat 3 Jan).

For tickets and information for all performances visit www.atgtickets.com/Glasgow or view the Spring brochure online by clicking here

Relaxed panto performance of Peter Pan at the King's Theatre Glasgow


Marking World Autism Awareness Day 2014, the King's Theatre Glasgow announced today that for the first time they will be hosting a Relaxed Performance of their famous Christmas pantomime on Wednesday 7 January 2015 at 11am.

This year's pantomime is the classic tale Peter Pan and this special performance will provide an opportunity for people with autism, learning difficulties or other sensory and communication needs to benefit from a more relaxed environment to ensure an enjoyable theatre visit.

Alison Cowan, Creative Learning Manager and Access Champion hopes more people will enjoy the magic of the King’s panto: “I am thrilled to announce this unique performance of Peter Pan which will be adapted with a more relaxed attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium. House lights will be kept on low and special effects softened in order to reduce anxiety however I can ensure you the panto won’t lose its sparkle!"

Relaxed Performance bookers will be provided with a Visual Story in advance of the show which contains information about what to expect on the day and to help prepare for the production. This will also include photographs, a plot summary, character descriptions and a note of audience participation to explain the story of Peter Pan.

A familiarisation visit to the theatre ahead of the show can be arranged where staff will be available to answer any questions. There will be designated ‘chill-out areas’ throughout the theatre for customers to use at any time during the performance. These will have comfortable places to sit and quiet activities for people to enjoy. In addition to their front of house team, trained staff members and volunteers will be on hand at all times during the performance should anyone require assistance.

Relaxed Performance: Wed 7 Jan, 2015 11am
Signed Performance: Tue 16 Dec 1pm & Mon 29 Dec 7pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 18 Dec 1pm & Tue 30 Dec 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Fri 19 Dec 7pm, Touch Tour 6pm
For more details and to book call:
Box Office: 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee)
Schools and group bookings: 0844 871 7602 (bkg fee)
www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (bkg fee)

Annie Get Your Gun rides into Glasgow this September

Written By Lisa Davidson on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 | 20:30


A brand new production of the Tony Award-winning version of Irving Berlin’s classic musical, Annie Get Your Gun, rides into Glasgow this September starring Emma Williams as Annie Oakley, Jason Donovan  as Frank Butler and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill.

A star of stage and screen, and having performed on the musical theatre stage across the globe, Jason Donovan has appeared in hit musicals including Priscilla Queen of the Desert,The Sound of MusicWar of the Worlds and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Now he will appear as Frank Butler in this new version of the classic Broadway smash hit. Jason is joined by Emma Williams as Annie Oakley. Emma is the twice Olivier nominated star of Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang and Love Story. Her other credits includeSunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  Jason and Emma will be joined by the much loved Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill, who most recently starred the West End production of Chicago.

With timeless classic songs including There’s No Business Like Show Business andAnything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, Annie Get Your Gun tells the legendary story of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West female sharpshooter, Annie Oakley and her romance with fellow sharpshooter, Frank Butler. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show comes to town, it only takes one glance for sharp-shooting country girl Annie Oakley to fall head over heels for its star marksman, Frank Butler. Both have truly met their match, revealing their competitive natures as they vie for best shot – and each other’s hearts.

For more information visit www.anniegetyourgunthemusical.com

Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 September
Mon –Sat
 eves 7.30pm
Wed, Thurs & Sat mats 2.30pm                                 
Box Office: 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee)
Website: www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (bkg fee)

Saturday Night Fever boogies into Glasgow this Christmas!

Written By Lisa Davidson on Monday, 24 March 2014 | 13:15


A brand new touring production of Saturday Night Fever, one of the most loved dance stories of all time, staged by Theatre Royal Bath Productions in association with the Robert Stigwood Organisation, iscoming to the Theatre Royal Glasgow as part of a nationwide tour this Christmas from 16 Dec – 3 Jan.

Featuring a large, hugely talented cast of actor-musicians, this spectacular new production of Saturday Night Fever is packed with legendary hits from the Bee Gees including the classicsStayin’ Alive, Night Fever, Jive Talking, How Deep is Your Love? and You Should Be Dancing.

The date is 1976 and in New York, Tony Manero, a young man from a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood with a dead-end job and an extraordinary ability to dance, has only one ambition in life - to become the disco king.  Every Saturday night, Tony dons his flares and hits the dance floor, creating a stir as he wows the crowds with his phenomenal moves and routines. When he meets Stephanie, who also dreams of a world beyond Brooklyn, and they decide to train together for a dance competition, their lives begin to change forever.

The smash hit 1977 film of Saturday Night Fever starring Oscar-nominee John Travolta inspired the definitive soundtrack by the Bee Gees and popularised disco around the world. The multi Grammy Award-winning music behind the film, combined with its gripping storyline captured the imagination of millions.

PERFORMANCES
  
Tue 16 - Thu 18 Dec 7.30pm
Fri 19 Dec 5pm & 8.30pm
Sat 20 Dec 4pm & 7.30pm
Mon 22 & Tue 23 Dec 7.30pm
Wed 24 Dec 2.30pm
Fri 26 & Sat 27 Dec 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Mon 29 & Tue 30 Dec 7.30pm
Wed 31 Dec 2.30pm
Fri 2 Jan 5pm & 8.30pm
Sat 3 Jan 4pm & 7.30pm             

Gig Review: Elouise - The Pheasantry, Chelsea ✭✭✭✭

Elouise

The Pheasantry, Chelsea

Review by Philippa Stubbs

16th March 2014: Looking as stunning as ever in her bejewelled gown, ‘Little Belter’ Elouise stepped out into the spotlights of the intimate basement-come-pizza restaurant at The Pheasantry, Chelsea.

The night’s program was an eclectic mix of power ballads, musical numbers, chart toppers and an original composition called ‘The Sandbox’ by talented songwriter and performer Jonathan Eiø.

Photo by Ed Carter
When Elouise opens her mouth to sing, something magical happens. She is clearly passionate about her vocal idols from the past, such as the legendary Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland and has taken inspiration from their belting quality and heart-felt performances. Elouise still, however, displays her personal vocal strength and quality by making original performances of classics such as ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ (Oliver) and ‘My Man’. Another highlight of the evening was a cover of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, followed by ‘Skyfall’, sung with such vocal strength elasticity.

Taking a more contemporary feel to the evening, Elouise’s stripped-back covers of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Never Too Late’ and Lady-Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ were a success and something very special to listen to. A trio arrangement of ‘Tell Him’ (Celine Dion & Barbra Streisand) alongside Bonita Delaney and Alex Robertson showcased all three accomplished voices and the harmonic blend of the trio was simply beautiful.

Watch out for Elouise performing at a venue near you soon!

4 Stars ✭✭✭✭

Comedy Review: Miranda Hart - The Hydro, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Saturday, 22 March 2014 | 14:00

 Review by Anne Mackie


As Miranda Hart welcomed her arena-filled audience, she heartily clarified "This isn't just a show. Tonight, I thought we'd have a party." 

And a party we irrefutably had! Bursting onto the stage to Chesney Hawkes’ classic The One And Only, Hart shared wry yet comedic anecdotes about party food etiquette, mingling with the upper class, and her awkward flirting due to troubles with “what I call” (to quote a genius) trapped wind! Some would call this form of humour juvenile, but the hearty jollity of the16,000 in Glasgow’s Hydro Arena would very much suggest otherwise. Of course, with every great ‘part-ay’ comes the buffet (and by buffet I mean the winning combo of Doritos followed by “chocolate in a sheath” – AKA, the After Eight), balloons and communal singingslash dancing. “Such fun”? Absolutely.

Hart’s self-deprecating, warm humour and down-to-earth charm has endeared her to thousands of fans spanning 7 to 87 years of age. However, captivating a faithful following via the television is significantly different to amusing a tough-to-please paying crowd during a arena tour. Hart is equally as appealing on stage as she is on the box, confirming she need not depend on the cast of her self-titled sitcom to enhance her comedic “allure”.

On occasion Hart plays it safe with a couple of quips taken from previous material but this in no way detracts from the comedic “cocoon o’ fun” she wraps her audience up in. Not remotely nervous but instead utterly at home in the vast space that is the Hydro arena, Hart delivers her inaugural tour with upbeat gusto and energy proving what an infectious and endearing performer she is. However, My, What I Call, Live Show is perhaps best regarded as modest funhouse as opposed to typical stand-up comedy. Why? There's audience participation, as viewers reenact the dialogue of a posh party, two volunteers are ushered off on an interval blind date, Hart initiates a group dance-off to Whigfield's Saturday Night and we all rejoice in a full arena-karaoke-chorus of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. Contrary to opinion, this was better than stand-up.

Where Hart excels is her physical comedy and direct ad-libbing. A particularly humorous (unrehearsed) moment came when a fan walked to the front of the stage, shook Hart’s hand (contentiously) whilst asking for personal instruction during the audience involvement. Hart’s response echoed that of the entire arena – “LET GO!” which she delivered with utmost jest and wit.  A similarly comedic routine on the behaviour adults should reclaim from toddlers was sharp and quick-witted, as was another sequence about parents endeavoring to rein in their disobedient daughter at a wedding. To quote the “Youth of Today”, I was “ROFL’ing”.

In an society where body image and celebrity are considered vastly significant, it was refreshing to watch a naturally talented, hilarious woman who is less than bothered about her personal body image (cue jokes vis-à-vis stick people who perpetually diet and Hart’s love of the humble dessert menu). It must however be noted that Hart looked tremendous after an obvious personal weight loss achievement.

Since launching her popular self-titled TV series, Miranda Hart has naturally become – for want of a typical cliché – “a national treasure”, and her inaugural tour is the key reason why - the proof in the pudding… And who doesn’t love a pudding?

My, What I call, Live Show continues onto Leeds, Liverpool, Belfast, Brighton and Birmingham.

Theatre Review: West Side Story - Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 21 March 2014 | 18:00

Review by Graeme Shield

The West Side Story, currently at the Edinburgh Playhouse, is the hit international touring production of the classic 1957 musical that was conceived, choreographed and directed by Jerome Robbins.

I would suggest that how much you enjoy this touring version will undoubtedly depend on what you feel about West Side Story in the first instance. Admittedly, I was never fond of the original film (when made to watch it during high school).  However, what I discovered when the curtain rose was an unexpected blend of powerful movement, story and one of the best musical scores you’re likely to find.

Based loosely around the story of Romeo & Juliet, Arthur Laurent’s book shifts the story to 1950s New York and focuses on two gangs – the Sharks & the Jets – to see who can click their fingers in the most dramatic fashion.

Director/Choreographer Joey McKneely has very sensibly reproduced the original choreography – a smart decision and one that provides a throwback to the truth and honesty of the original production.
The performances of Tony & Maria, played by Louis Maskell and the sublime Katie Hall, were fantastic and well-rounded. Strong support was given by Jack Wilcox as Riff and Jalenga Scott as Anita. The ensemble were really put through their paces and acquitted themselves admirably.

In West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein created a score that is effectively a character in itself which musical director Ben van Tienen and his exquisite 18-piece band brought to life. The powerful jazzy sequences punched while the delicate melodies soared into the heavens.

Where other older musicals seem keen to ‘reinvent’ themselves, this one seems content to revel in the brilliance of it’s original work. I’m pleased to say that I now understand why my music teacher wanted us to experience the brilliance of Bernstein’s music all those years ago. For the unconverted, it’s time to give it another chance.

West Side Story is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 29th March. For tickets and information visit www.atgtickets.com/Edinburgh

Theatre Review: The Perfect Murder - King's Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 | 12:30

Review by Siobhan Brennan


Peter James is known for his bestselling crime novels, and the current UK tour of The Perfect Murder is the first one of his works to be adapted for the stage. It's clear that the witty dialogue and fast-paced plot of the original novel lend themselves well to live performance.

Enter the world of Joan and Victor Smiley, a not-so-happily married couple who now have nothing in common apart from a substantial dislike of one another. Victor decides to take extreme, macabre measures to rectify his marriage crisis and ensure himself a life free of nagging and bickering.  Unbeknown to him, Joan is hatching a similar plan herself - but who will succeed in carrying out the perfect murder?

Les Dennis and Claire Goose give credible performances as the Smileys, weaving between spells of tension and humour as the details of their many years of marriage are revealed.Their respective lovers, Kamilla (Simona Armstrong) a Brighton sex worker and Don (Gray O’Brien) a faux-Cockney jack-of-all-trades, offer both comic relief and some genuinely heartfelt encounters.  Steven Miller’s portrayal of the novel’s protagonist, Detective Roy Grace, manages to remain understated while still successfully piecing the story together.

The clever split-level set design allowed each scene to run seamlessly into the next while keeping the audience focused as the story unravelled. This play is full of exciting twists and turns, with some unexpectedly frightening parts and an ending that is worth the ticket price alone.


The Perfect Murder is at the King's Theatre until 22nd March. For tickets and information visit www.atgtickets.com/Glasgow

KYLIE announces 2014 'Kiss Me Once' UK tour dates

Written By Steve Stubbs on Monday, 17 March 2014 | 08:23

KYLIE

ANNOUNCES HER EUROPEAN TOUR INCLUDING 12 DATES IN THE UK AND IRELAND

THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED NEW ALBUM, ‘KISS ME ONCE’ IS RELEASED TODAY, MARCH 17

Kylie, whose new album “Kiss Me Once” is released today, announces the Kiss Me Once Tour.

The tour will open here in the UK and will comprise of 31 shows in 15 countries - including 12dates in the UK and Ireland.   Famous for her live shows, Kylie’s Kiss Me Once Tour will be true to form as a celebration of both new and old material.

The brand new album, ‘Kiss Me Once’ is Kylie’s first studio album since 2010’s ‘Aphrodite’, and her first since signing to Roc Nation Management. The album was executive produced by Kylie and Sia, who also penned the title track. Kylie also teams up with Pharrell Williams (who wrote and produced ‘I Was Gonna Cancel’). Other producers include Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM) on ‘If Only’, MNEK on ‘Feels So Good’, and Greg Kurstin on bonus track ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’.

Tickets for the Kiss Me Once Tour go on sale at 9am on Friday 21st March here –


(Tickets subject to per-ticket charge plus order processing fee.)

UK Tour Dates Below:

24/09/14 – ECHO ARENA, LIVERPOOL
26/09/14 – PHONES 4u ARENA, MANCHESTER
29/09/14 – THE O2, LONDON
30/09/14 – THE O2 ,LONDON

03/10/14 – MOTORPOINT ARENA, CARDIFF
05/10/14 – CAPITAL FM ARENA, NOTTINGHAM
07/10/14 – THE NIA, BIRMINGHAM

08/11/14 – THE O2, DUBLIN
09/11/14 – THE ODYSSEY ARENA, BELFAST
11/11/14 – METRO RADIO ARENA, NEWCASTLE
12/11/14 – THE SSE HYDRO, GLASGOW
13/11/14 – MOTORPOINT ARENA, SHEFFIELD

Further details to be announced very soon.


 
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