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Imelda Staunton stars in West End transfer of GYPSY at Savoy Theatre - Previews March 2015 - tickets on sale now

Written By Steve Stubbs on Thursday, 18 December 2014 | 10:05

IMELDA STAUNTON STARS IN
WEST END TRANSFER OF JONATHAN KENT’S FIVE STAR
CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE PRODUCTION OF


Imelda Staunton will star as the indomitable Momma Rose in the West End transfer of Jonathan Kent’s five star sell-out Chichester Festival Theatre production of Gypsy, the first to be seen in London for forty years.  This strictly limited season opens at the Savoy Theatre on 15 April 2015 with previews from 28 March 2015 (7.30pm).  Further casting for Gypsy, which goes on sale today, 18 December 2014, will be announced shortly.

Gypsy, a musical fable with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, has choreography by Stephen Mear, designs by Anthony Ward, musical direction and orchestration by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis Gypsy is produced in the West End by Michael Harrison and David Ian.

Gypsy is considered by many to be the greatest of the Broadway musicals. It tells the true story of ambitious showbiz mother Momma Rose, who treks across America with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. As times change, Momma Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.

Gypsy reunites actor Imelda Staunton and director Jonathan Kent who previously collaborated on the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Sweeney Todd, which, after a sell-out run there, transferred to the West End.  Kent also directed Staunton inGood People for Hampstead Theatre, which similarly transferred to the West End after a sell-out season in Hampstead.  

Multi award-winning actor Imelda Staunton’s extensive theatre credits include Sweeney Todd  for Chichester Festival Theatre, Guys and DollsA Chorus of Disapproval and Life x 3 for the National Theatre, A Delicate Balance and There Came a Gypsy Riding for the Almeida Theatre, They Shoot Horses Don’t They? and The Wizard of Oz for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Slavs andGood People for Hampstead Theatre, Circle Mirror Transformation for the Royal Court Theatre, Entertaining Mr. Sloane at the Trafalgar Studios, Calico at the Duke of York’s Theatre, The Corn is Green at the Old Vic, Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville, Into the Woods at the Phoenix Theatre and Habeas Corpus at the Donmar Warehouse.  Her many film credits include Pride, Maleficent, The Awakening, Another Year, Taking Woodstock, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, Vera DrakeNanny McPhee, Bright Young Things, Shakespeare in Love, Sense and Sensibility, Peter’s Friends and Twelfth Night.  Her television includes the upcoming That Day We Sang, The Girl, Psychoville, Cranford Chronicles, The Wind in the Willows, My Family and Other Animals, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fingersmith, Cambridge Spies, David Copperfield, The Singing Detective and An Englishman’s Wife.

Director Jonathan Kent’s theatre credits includes Sweeney Todd and Private Lives for Chichester Festival Theatre, Good People for Hampstead Theatre, Le Cid, Mother Courage and Her Children, The False Servant, Oedipus and Emperor and Galilean for the National Theatre, Man of La Mancha on Broadway, Hecuba for the Donmar Warehouse, As You Desire Me at the Playhouse Theatre, The Country Wife, The Sea and Marguerite for the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Faith Healer in Dublin and on Broadway.  Kent was joint Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre for 12 years, where his many productions included Gangster No 1, All For Love, The School for WivesMedea, Hamlet, The Life of Galileo, Ivanov, The Tempest, Richard II, Coriolanus, Phèdre, Britannicus, Plenty, Lulu, Platonov and King Lear, many of which transferred to the West End and Broadway and toured internationally.  His many opera credits include productions for the Mariinsky in St Petersburg, Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House, ENO, Royal Danish Opera and Santa Fe Opera.

LISTINGS INFORMATION           

Theatre:                           Savoy Theatre, Strand, London WC2R 0ET
Dates:                              previews from 28 March 2015 at 7.30pm            
Press Night:                       15 April 2015 at 7pm
Running time:                    Approximately 2 hours 50 mins including 20 minute interval
Performances:                   Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm, Wednesday & Saturday at 2.30pm
                                      No matinees on 1 and 15 April
Prices:                              in previews £19.50 - £54.50 including £1.50 theatre restoration levy
then £24.50 - £69.50 including £1.50 theatre restoration levy
No booking fee or transaction fee for tickets purchased directly from Gypsy website, ATG Tickets website, call centre and box office. 
Box Office:                        0844 871 7674
Website:                           gypsythemusical.uk

Theatre Review: Saturday Night Fever - Theatre Royal, Glasgow ✭✭✭


This festive season, Saturday Night Fever is taking over Glasgow’s newly refurbished Theatre Royal. Based on the popular film of the same name, the show tracks the story of Tony Manero, a 19 year old Brooklyn boy who has a passion for dance and dreams of more to life than his dead end job in a dead end town. In a bid to escape his religious mother and redundant father, he teams up with fellow go getter Stephanie and enters a dance contest that is set to change his life for good.

Danny Bayne makes a great Tony Manero and commands the stage from his first strut. Bayne can act and sing, but his main selling point in the show is his dancing and he has no trouble mastering every move from Andrew Wright’s fast and fun choreography. His female counterpart, Naomi Slights, is equally impressive and her vocals in particular stood out amongst the rest. They were both joined on stage by a multi-purpose cast who played their own instruments which brought a unique new dimension to the production.

There were however more than a few sound issues, and the dark and gritty plot seemed to get lost from scene to scene which made it difficult to become invested in the characters or their struggles.

The Bee Gees hits the audience know and love are present and enjoyed but instead of carbon copies the tracks are given a makeover and performed to suit the current mood of the plot.  Although the story has the potential to be gripping and emotive there really wasn’t enough to sink your teeth into and it leaves the audience underwhelmed. 

Saturday Night Fever is at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 3rd January 2015. For details and tickets visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/saturday-night-fever/theatre-royal-glasgow/

MARKUS FEEHILY announces London Scala show on 4th March 2015

MARKUS FEEHILY ANNOUNCES LONDON SHOW FOR 2015
  WEDNESDAY 4TH MARCH – SCALA, LONDON
 
 

Markus Feehily is known to many as the soulful lead singer from global pop phenomenon Westlife, who sold over 50 million records in just 14 years before splitting in 2012. Having said a fond farewell to the group, Markus embraced his newfound independence as a solo artist by heading straight back into the studio to explore a darker, more soulful, electronic sound. The songs that resulted signal a fresh new direction for Markus whilst remaining true to his pop origins. Markus will perform a one-off solo show at Scala in London on Wednesday the 4th March, tickets are on-sale from 9am on Friday 19th December and available from www.livenation.co.uk

Taking time to craft his first solo album, Markus has been busy in the studio writing and collaborating with some of the biggest names in music as well as a some of the most exciting new writers and producers around. "There's a lot to be said for working with some of the most successful producers in the business," says Markus, "but at the same time there's a real excitement that comes from working with some of the hottest up and coming talents."

Markus is well on the way to completing the album, scheduled for release in 2015. Largely autobiographical, the album will see him draw from some of his most personal experiences. According to Markus, "it's always more daunting to write and perform songs that are autobiographical. I tend to write more when I'm feeling down or when something bad happens as it can be the only way to express myself. I'm really looking forward to sharing the new songs with the fans.”


"I’ve always had so many influences and things to say that wouldn't have been quite right for Westlife and it's been fun after all these years to finally let them all out!"


MARKUS FEEHILY LIVE:
WEDNESDAY 4TH MARCH – SCALA, LONDON
 
Markus Feehily tickets are on-sale from 9am on Friday 19th December priced at £25.00 (subject to per-ticket charge plus order processing fee) and are available from www.livenation.co.uk

Theatre Review: Eric and Little Ern - St James Theatre, London ✭✭✭✭

Eric and Little Ern

St James Theatre, London

18th December 2014: Well, this is a bit of a difficult review to write after seeing Eric and Little Ern at the St James Theatre last night. Parts of the show I liked, but other parts of the show... I loved! First seen on Edinburgh Fringe, it has been on UK tours, and now returns to London again.

It all starts off with Little Ern (Ian Ashpitel) in a hospital bed recovering from a heart attack, and in walks a doctor in a white coat, and as soon as he puts on his glasses, we realise it is Eric Morecambe (Jonty Stephens).

The two characters reminisce about the old days, telling stories of how they first met, injecting some old Morecambe and Wise sketches into the proceedings - Ice cream vans, Grieg Piano concerto, horns and so on and so forth. Along with the comedy elements, the act is rather touching and heart warming showing how the pair bickered and had huge affection for one another.

In act two, the comedy really comes alive with a full on Morecambe and Wise routine in front of the house tabs. There are gags a plenty in this fun fuelled 50 minutes, where Ashpitel and Stephens really show off their likeness of the comedy duo to great effect. Not only do they look like them, but the two also sound like them, and have their mannerisms down to a tee. Along with the usual japery, there are a couple of song and dance numbers, jokes about Little Ern's wig, and even the old paper bag routine thrown in for good measure... and it measures up to a full cup of laugh out loud moments.

As far as comedy shows go, you can't get better than this, and it was a pleasure to watch. The time just flew by and there was a standing ovation at the end, and very rightly deserved too.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

ERIC & LITTLE ERN 

St. James Theatre, 12 Palace Street, London
SW1E 5JA 

16 December 2014 – 11 January 2015 

Press Night: 17 December 2014 at 7.30pm 

Performances: 

Tue – Sat eves at 7.30pm / Sat mats 3.30pm 

Extra 3.30pm matinee on Wed 31 Dec & Thur 8 Jan. 

Extra 4.00pm mats: Sun 21 Dec, Fri 26 Dec, Sun 28 Dec, Tue 30 Dec, Sun 11 Jan 

Extra 7.00pm eves on Sun 21 Dec & Sun 28 Dec.
No performances on Wed 24 Dec, Thur 25 Dec, Thur 1 Jan.  

£35, £20 (premium seats £45) 
0844 264 2140 

Website: www.stjamestheatre.co.uk 

Theatre Review: CATS - London Palladium ✭✭✭✭✭

Written By Christina Benneworth on Sunday, 14 December 2014 | 09:48

CATS

The cast of CATS
photo by Alessandro Pinna

London Palladium 

12th December - CATS returns to London after nearly 21 years away and The London Palladium is playing host to this production for 12 weeks. 

CATS is based on 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' by T.S. Eliot and the music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The musical tells the tale of a group of cats called the Jellicles and on this night they make the "Jellicle Choice" and decide which chosen cat will ascent to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. 

The London Palladium stage has been turned in to a playground for cats, the amazing production of this show brings to life the story. 

During the show you are introduced to some of cats that form the Jellicles - Old Deuteronomy (who you can get a selfie with during the intermission), Rumpleteazer, Mungojerrie and Rum Tum Tugger.

Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella
photo by Alessandro Pinna
The show has had its little updates, one of which is Rum Tum Tugger, the old production of Rum Tum Tugger had a rock n roll cat, this time Rum Tum Tugger has a rapper edge and we are even treated to a rap during the song 'Mr. Mistoffelees'. The new Rum Tum Tugger works very well and Antoine Murray-Straughan suits the role perfectly. Mr. Mistofelees played by Joseph Poulton, is a cat with magical powers, an amazing dance performance comes when this cat is introduced, twenty-four fouettés en toumant, a beautiful display of dancing.

Grizabella the Glamour Cat (Nicole Scherzinger); well former glamour cat, she is now old and tired. When Grizabella was younger she left the tribe to see the world and now she is back and wants to be accepted, but is made an outcast by the Jellicles. Grizabella only appears a few times in the show, but Nicole Scherzinger makes the role her own, each time she appears on stage you are drawn to her and wishing her to sing more. Your wish is granted in the second act where Grizabella finally performs the musicals most famous song 'Memory'. It is hard not to be touched by Scherzinger's performance, outstanding vocals, extreme feeling behind every word, her performance makes your hair stand on end. Outstanding.

The whole show is an unbelievable display of talent, singing, dancing and acting. A truly mesmerizing performance, it's a shame it is not running for longer. The show finished with a very well deserved standing ovation.

Five stars ✭✭✭✭✭


LISTINGS INFORMATION           

Theatre:                           London Palladium, Argyll St, London W1F 7TF
Dates:                              until 28 February 2015
Box Office:                        0844 874 0667 (no booking fee)
                                      www.catsthemusical.com/london (no booking fee)
                                      www.london-palladium.co.uk (no booking fee)              
Prices:                              £20 - £59.50
Children Go Half-Price (Monday to Thursday performances, top three prices, subject to a maximum of 3 children aged 16 or under with each full paying adult)
All ticket prices include a £1.25 Theatre Restoration Levy
Performances:                   Monday – Saturday 7.30pm
                                      Wednesday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm
Nicole Scherzinger will perform the role of Grizabella from 6 December 2014 – 7 February 2015
Christmas Schedule:            Monday 22 December 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Tuesday 23 December 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Wednesday 24 December 2:30pm
Thursday 25 December no performance
Friday 26 December 7:30pm
Saturday 27 December 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Monday 29 December 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Tuesday 30 December 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Wednesday 31 December 2:30pm
Thursday 1 January 7:30pm
Friday 2 January 7:30pm
Saturday 3 January 2:30pm and 7:30pm
Captioned:                        Tuesday 3 February 2015 at 7:30pm
BSL Interpreted:                Wednesday 4 February 2015 at 7.30pm
Audio Described:                Wednesday 18 February 2015 at 2.30pm
Website:                           www.catsthemusical.com/london
Twitter:                            twitter.com/CatsMusical
Facebook:                        facebook.com/CatstheMusical
#CatsLondon







Gig Review: Basement Jaxx - O2 Arena London ✭✭✭✭✭

Written By Christina Benneworth on Saturday, 13 December 2014 | 17:50

Basement Jaxx


O2 Arena, London 


11th December 2014 - Basement Jaxx at the O2 Arena can only mean one thing, one massive party. Spanning a career of 20 years Basement Jaxx treated the crowd to some of their best music, showcasing the best in British electronic music. The duo, Felix Buxton and  Simon Ratcliffe definitely know how to get a place moving.

One of the support acts on the night was Ella Eyre and she definitely has a new fan. This girl is definitely one to watch. Even though the arena was still filling ready for the main act to take the stage, Eyre had such a great way of commanding the sage and drawing attention to her performance. Songs included 'Comeback', 'If I Go', 'Deeper' and Rudimental's 'Waiting All Night' which she featured on. Ella Eyre without any doubt will be headlining at the O2 arena in the future. 

Basement Jaxx took to the stage, the first song blasting through the speakers and bringing to the stage; Basement Jaxx main singers, Vula Malinga and Sharlene Hector was 'Good Luck' from the album 'Kish Kash'. From this point on the party had started, the crowd didn't stop moving throughout the whole show. The atmosphere was electric, the music didn't make you move your feet it made you want to move your whole body, there was no chance of sitting still.

Songs from the night included 'Romeo', 'Oh My Gosh', 'Jump N Shout' and 'Do Your Thing' and the Grammy nominated 'Never Say Never'. The set list reminded you exactly how many songs Basement Jaxx have created in their career, you were reminded just exactly how great they are. Felix Buxton moved on from keyboard to vocals; just before the encore, for the amazing 'Where's Your Head At', the whole audience were singing and moving to make for one great moment of the night. 
Welcoming Basement Jaxx on to the stage for their encore, they started with 'Rendez-Vu'. The encore also gave Vula and Sharlene the chance to introduce the members of Basement Jaxx who had performed throughout the gig. The night finished with the samba sounds of 'Bingo Bango' and even though the whole arena was still moving the night had come to an amazing finish.

Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe this year released the new album Junto, proving that they still have what it takes to keep the younger and older generation moving. With a show of dancing, singing and new music there isn't a better time to see Basement Jaxx and the proof was in the journey home, happy smiling people! One epic concert. 

Pantomime Review: Peter Pan - King's Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 12 December 2014 | 13:02


The magic of Pan(to) is alive and well in Glasgow this winter. Celebrating its 50th year with its first outing of the swashbuckling adventure of Peter Pan, the King’s theatre pantomime is as much a Glasgow staple as plain bread, Irn Bru and the legendary deep fried Mars bar.

This year’s pantomime has already endured rough seas to get to opening night with Alex Bourne drafted in an 11th hour replacement to take on the role of Captain Hook after the previous two withdrew. With the Jolly Roger finally under a secure commander the show opened on Thursday night to a positively rock concert reception from the delighted audience.

Making his pantomime debut as hapless Smee, Greg McHugh (Gary, ship commander but for legal reasons you can call me Smee!) steals the show with his more Red Coat than pirate Smee. A new comedic panto duo is born with his sidekick Pirate “AHOY THERE GANG” Starkey, Des Clarke. Clarke and McHugh bounce off each others’ energy and soon whip the boys and girls in the audience into a frenzy while keeping the adults on their toes with their cheeky asides.

With sparkling sets, bombastic dance numbers and laughs a plenty Peter Pan will certainly keep families laughing this winter. What it lacks in plot line and structure it makes up for with heart, energy and amplification.

It may not be a King’s classic like days gone by but it is perhaps the first in a new generation of Glasgow King's pantomime. The sight of a small boy dancing his socks off in one of the boxes and jumping with joy as the theatre echoed with “BRING DOWN THE CLOOT” before a raucous sing song is a reminder of the magical effect of the King's panto and Peter Pan is no exception. 

Peter Pan is at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow until 11th January 2015 with a special relaxed performance at 11am  on 7th January. For details and tickets visit http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/peter-pan-2/kings-theatre/

Heigh ho! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to return as King's pantomime in 2015



We've barely arrived in Neverland and the King's Theatre has already announced that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is set to return to the King’s next year for only the second time in 50 years of the King’s traditional pantomime.

Tickets are already on sale for this festive adventure into an enchanted fairytale forest from Friday 4 December 2015 until Sunday 10 January 2016. Will the Wicked Queen banish Snow White once and for all, or will the dashing Prince thwart her plans with help from the Seven Dwarfs?
This Christmas Peter Pan is set to break King’s box office records with an estimated 85,000 experiencing the panto magic. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs promises another year of family fun-filled festive entertainment at the King's with stunning sets, glittering costumes and side-splitting comedy.

SNOW WHITE LISTINGS INFORMATION
Fri 4 Dec 2015 – Sun 10 Jan 2016 (please call the box office for full details)
Access Performances:
Audio Described – Sun 13 Dec 1pm
Sign Language Interpreted – Thu 17 Dec 1pm, Mon 21 Dec 7pm
Captioned Performances – Fri 18 Dec 1pm, Tue 29 Dec 7pm
Box Office: 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee)
Schools and group bookings: 0844 871 7602

Pantomime Review: Cinderella - New Wimbledon Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Written By Steve Stubbs on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 | 13:08

Cinderella

New Wimbledon Threatre

10th December 2014 - Well, it's that time of year again, where we trundle along to the theatre and shout out at the tops of our voices 'It's Behind You' and are taken off on a whirlwind adventure for a couple of hours. New Wimbledon Theatre is well known for pulling off a good panto... and this year is no different.

Linda Gray as Fairy Godmother
Photo by Craig Sugden
Making her panto debut this year is Linda Gray, best known for portraying Sue Ellen in hit TV show Dallas. As with all previous US stars who have treaded the Wimbledon boards, it looks like she hasn't got a clue what's going on on stage - just like the rest of us really - but she gives it a go and pulls off the part of Fairy Godmother with ease... hoping her rhyming couplets might get her a part in Downton, the audience like her and she does get a lot of time on stage.

The casting of Cinderella this year works incredibly well. Amy Lennox delivers the role nicely, and her vocals match the sparkly dress of the transformation scene. Liam Doyle's Prince Charming also plays well throughout. With an uncanny resemblance to Ricky Gervais, James Doherty as Baron Hardup plays Cinderella's father very well indeed.

Amy Lennox (c) as Cinderella
Photo by Craig Sugden
Playing the Ugly Sisters, there is a genius piece of casting in Matthew Kelly and Matthew Rixon. Father and son in real life, they have the banter and the costumes of a fantastic double act - you just love to hate them, but can't help but love them. And what pantomime wouldn't be without a razzle dazzle dancer to keep the mood in full swing? Step forward the one and only Wayne Sleep, whose energy bounds the stage, especially when he is 'Putting on the Ritz' at the top of Act Two.

For me, Panto is about laughter, and boy did I laugh a lot. This was due to Buttons - Tim Vine! What an absolute pleasure to see Tim on stage in this role adding his unique charm, wit and one-liners to the fray. Puns a plenty in this production, especially the chocolate bar scene which had around fifteen to twenty chocolate puns. The way he interacts with the audience and the kids who come up on stage are second to none - marvellous stuff.

Matthew Kelly and Matthew Rixon
Photo by Craig Sugden
As far as pantos go, this production is of high quality. Nice sets, Shetland Ponies, a 3D scene which works well, good lighting and good sound, and the band led by MD Matt Smith do a superb job throughout.

Go grab a seat for this wonderful production, it will get you in the Christmas mood for sure.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Cinderella runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until 11th January 2015
www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbledon-theatre

Gig Review: Christmas with Lee Mead and guests - Garrick Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Lee Mead
Photo by Nikki Lewis
www.nikkilewisphotos.co.uk
Garrick Theatre


8th December 2014 - Best known for winning 'Any Dream Will Do' on the BBC back in 2007, Lee Mead has come on from strength to strength since playing the part of Joseph in the West End. With subsequent stage appearances in shows such as Legally Blonde and Wicked, Lee is now a familiar face in our living rooms once again playing Lofty in Casualty.

Having released solo albums and in his spare time from his hectic filming schedule, Lee is finding the time to put together a UK tour, with backing from his fabulous six-piece band, which culminated in a special Christmas show here at the Garrick on Sunday night.

Photo by Nikki Lewis
www.nikkilewisphotos.co.uk
Amongst the myriad of stage hits and festive favourites, Lee told a few stories of his past and injected humour into some of the numbers with the addition of loud and powerful snow machines, which had both himself and the audience in stitches. Singing some material from his new album, hitting the MGM era with aplomb, there was a great arrangement of 'Singin' In The Rain added into the mix.


With his first guest of the evening joining on stage, Stephen Rahman Hughes added the Christmas bling with a couple of jumpers for them to wear getting everyone in the festive mood.

Photo by Nikki Lewis
www.nikkilewisphotos.co.uk
But it was Lee's second guest of the night who blew us all away... Amanda Henderson. Known for playing Robyn in Casualty, wow what a voice this woman has! A beautiful rendition of Over the Rainbow (Eva Cassidy version) had the audience stunned. And later, a duet with Lee of 'Baby it's Cold Outside' showed both voices at their full strength... Bravo!

A very entertaining evening was had in the Garrick, it's just a shame that Christmas only comes once a year. Watch out for Lee doing more concerts in the future, and book a ticket as you won't be disappointed.




Four stars ✭✭✭✭




 
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