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Theatre Review: Dead Simple - Theatre Royal, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Monday, 18 May 2015 | 22:41

Based on Peter James' best-selling novel of the same name, Dead Simple tells the tale of Michael Harrison, a Brighton property developer whose stag do begins as a night full of pranks but turns into a nightmare of deadly twists.

Directed by Ian Talbot, this sinister piece lures the audience in and keeps them on the edge of their seats throughout. Michael Taylor's masterful set design creates a paradise seafront apartment / dark forest hell parallel universe that's sure to haunt the dreams of even those with a sturdy constitution. 

Featuring more twists than a ride at Alton towers, the able ensemble cast keep the audience guessing until the fading scenes. Friend or foe? Truth or lie? Lover or killer?

As tormented Det. Supt. Roy Grace Gray O'Brien commands the stage with Marc Small, playing Det. Sergeant Branson, providing much needed light relief with superb delivery of more comedic moments. Central trio Michatl Harrison (Jamie Lomas), Mark Warren (Rik Makarem) and girl in the middle Ashely Harper (Gemma Stroyan) capture the audience in a whirlwind of deceit. Lomas's plaintive screams echo around the theatre while Makarem and Stroyan stun the audience with the calculating meticulousness of their roles. Their collective chemistry weaves a web that ensnares the unsuspecting audience. Josh Brown's portrayal of collateral damage Davey Wheeler is haunting while Sarah Baxendale's, sadly underused, Zoe Frame brings light and hope in a piece that looks into the dark abyss of the very worst of human nature. 

A nail-biting thriller from beginning to end, Dead Simple is certain to jangle the nerves. Buy a ticket to ride this theatrical rollercoaster...if you dare!

Dead Simple is at the Theatre Royal until Saturday 23rd May. For tickets and information visit

INALA arrives in Scotland this July

Following a phenomenal 2014 tour and sell-out runs at both the Edinburgh International Festival and London’s Sadler’s Wells, INALA brings together four time Grammy Award-winning South African choral legends, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and multi-award winning chorographer Mark Baldwin, in this unique artistic collaboration for a creatively reworked production that starts a UK tour from June 2015 arriving at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 14-15 July before heading to the Theatre Royal in Glasgow from 16-18 July

INALA, meaning ‘abundance of goodwill’ in Zulu, delivers a spiritually uplifting live experience, powered by a cultural explosion of music, song and dance. Featuring world-class current and former dancers from The Royal Ballet and Rambert, this critically acclaimed production embraces an exhilarating fusion of South African and Western cultures live on stage, to create a unique, immersive experience that reflects both cultures.

INALA’s original score is composed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala and British composer Ella Spira, who created the concept of INALA with First Artist of the Royal Ballet Pietra Mello-Pittman. Blending the intricate rhythms and infectious harmonies of their native musical roots with live percussion, piano and strings, Mark Baldwin’s choreography unites Zulu traditions with classical ballet and contemporary dance, performed by an exceptional company of 18 dancers and singers.

PURE RIDDY at The Bungo on Thursday 21 May!

Pure Riddy is a comedy event featuring adults (not actors) reading their hilarious and cringe-y real-life teenage diaries to a live audience, during the Southside Fringe on Thursday 21 May.

Once upon a time you were a teenager. Confused, plooky, difficult, generally frustrated with life and how “nobody understands” you. Your scheming, gossiping classroom nemesis “ruined” your life; school disco snogs, first fumbles and debut dating disasters did your heid right in.

Event producer, Meadhbh says “I got the idea from an event I contributed to a few times when I lived in London called ‘Cringe’. I’m chuffed at the response for Pure Riddy so far and can’t wait to hear from Glasgow’s now grown-up teenagers.”

Pure Riddy guarantees a whole horrifying heap of embarrassing diaries read aloud by brave adults baring their teenage souls - and a few surprise guests. Laughs of horrifying recognition guaranteed.

Known for its consistently great food and drink, The Bungo is an ever-popular haunt for Southsiders and beyond. Its basement venue is the perfect match for what promises to be an intimate and fun ‘school night’ out.

The event will run from 7:30pm – 9:00pm at The Bungo, 17-21 Nithsdale Road, G41 2AL. Ticket prices are £5 (full) / £2 (unwaged) SOLD OUT online, limited on the door, but come early!

Twitter: @Pure_Riddy

TOM CONTI to star in Twelve Angry Men in Glasgow this June

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 15 May 2015 | 21:00

TWELVE ANGRY MEN get set to give their verdict at the Theatre Royal Glasgow from Monday 22 until Saturday 27 June 2015. Seven of the West End cast have re-joined the acclaimed production following its record-breaking run at London’s Garrick Theatre.

Olivier Award winner, Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee TOM CONTI returns as juror number 8, the role made famous by Henry Fonda. Tom is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of his generation - unforgettable as the leading man in hit films such as Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Shirley Valentine. He will be joined by new jury member ANDREW LANCEL, best known for playing the villainous businessman Frank Foster in Coronation Street. And taking their places on the jury once more are ROBERT DUNCAN, best known for his role as the as jargon-spouting chief executive Gus Hedges in Drop The Dead DonkeyANDREW FRAME, who starred as P.C Hargreaves in EastEnders, DAVID CALVITTO, whose many theatre credits include These Shining Lives and The Odd CoupleMARK CARTER, whose TV credits include Hollyoaks, Utopia and The Knock and SEAN POWER, who starred in ITV’s Secret Diary of a Call Girland Fright Night 2. JON CARVER, who has had a recurring role in Doctors, returns to play The Guard.

Forming the rest of the jury will be DENIS LILL, who starred in The Royal and Only Fools And HorsesPAUL BEECH, whose theatre credits include King Lear and A Tale of Two Cities, ALEXANDER FORSYTH, who has starred in stage productions of Porcelain and It Never Ends,EDWARD HALSTED, who starred in Holby City and Jonathan Creek, and GARETH DAVID-LLOYD, who is best known for his role as Ianto Jones in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.

Lauded as one of the great ‘must-see’ movies of all time, Reginald Rose’s TWELVE ANGRY MEN originated as a television play and has been successfully adapted for film, radio and stage. The 1957 Academy Award nominated film version starred and was produced by Henry Fonda. This production is directed by Christopher Haydon, Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill.

TWELVE ANGRY MEN follows twelve jurors who have murder on their minds and a life in their hands as they decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. But what appears to be an open and shut case soon becomes a dilemma for the twelve, as their prejudices and preconceived ideas about the accused, the trial and each other turn the tables every which way, until the nail-biting climax...

Theatre Royal Glasgow
Mon 22 – Sat 27 June
Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm
Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7647 (bkg fee)

Glasgow's Puttin on the Ritz this June!

Written By Lisa Davidson on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 | 21:00

The spectacular American production of PUTTIN ON THE RITZ first toured the UK in 2014 and broke box office records. This year, a much longer tour is kicking off on Wednesday 27 May at the New Wimbledon Theatre and includes performances in the very glamorous Monte Carlo as part of The Summer Sporting Festival. Strictly Come Dancing stars Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor lead a cast of West End singers and dancers at the King’s Theatre Glasgow from Tuesday 9 until Saturday 13 June 2015.
PUTTIN ON THE RITZ takes you on a musical journey with wonderful music from three legendary composers, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. Songs in the show will include Cheek to Cheek, Alexanders Rag Time Band, Birth of the Blues, Swanee, Night and Day, I Got Rhythm, Easter Parade, and Puttin On The Ritz.
These classic songs from the Golden Age of Hollywood will be recreated live on stage with a star-studded cast of singers and dancers who are set to wow audiences with their slick harmonies, glamorous costumes and ballroom dancing skills.
King’s Theatre Glasgow
Tue 9 – Sat 13 Jun
Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee)


Written By Christina Benneworth on Monday, 11 May 2015 | 16:40


Multi-platinum selling recording artist and songwriter Matt Cardle, who rose to fame winning the seventh series of ITVs The X Factor will join the cast of MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL in London, it is today announced. Cast and company of the award-winning ‘Best Musical’ at the Shaftesbury Theatre are delighted to welcome Matt who will star as radio DJ ‘Huey Calhoun’ from 6 July, taking over from Killian Donnelly who originated the role in the West End.
Matt will join Queen of British Soul, Beverley Knight who extends her run as club singer ‘Felicia Farrell’ inMEMPHIS THE MUSICAL through October 2015.
Matt Cardle says: “I’m thrilled to be making my acting and West End debut in Memphis. From the first time I saw the show I felt I had a real connection with the character of Huey. It’s no secret that I worked for many years before my breakthrough as a musician. I started my first band when I was 12 years old and spent at least 15 years recording albums and sending demos to record companies before finally having my voice heard. It was the united love from family and friends, similar to that at the heart of the Memphis story, that saw me through. I am truly honoured to be sharing the stage with the incredible Beverley Knight, I’ve admired her work for such a long time and can’t wait to get started in the show”.
Beverley Knight says: "I can’t wait to continue my Memphis journey into the autumn with Matt - who will be a fantastic addition to our Memphis family. We all know he has a "fantastical" voice; I think many will be wonderfully surprised by his ability on stage. We are all going to miss Killian when he leaves but his last few weeks will be party time at the show! Bring it all on! Hockadoo!"
Booking for MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL at the Shaftesbury Theatre continues through to the end of its scheduled run in the West End on 31 October 2015 with early plans in progress for a major tour of the UK and Ireland from Autumn 2016. 
Written by Grammy® Award-winning David Bryan, a founding member of Bon Jovi, and Joe DiPietroMEMPHIS THE MUSICAL will continue to star Rolan Bell as ‘Delray’, Tyrone Huntley as ‘Gator’, Claire Machin as ‘Gladys’, Jason Pennycooke as ‘Bobby’ and Mark Roper as ‘Mr. Simmons’, with Keisha Atwell, Arielle Campbell, Mark Carroll, Joseph Davenport, Momar Diagne, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Kimmy Edwards, Hillary Elk, Laura Ellis, Charlotte Gorton, Yasmin Harrison, Benjamin Harrold, Waylon Jacobs, Rachel John, Dean Maynard, Devon McKenzie-Smith, Tim Newman, Simon Ray-Harvey, Jon Robyns, Ashley Rumble, Kyle Seeley, Helen Siveter, Dawnita Smith, and Alex Thomas.
Inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, MEMPHIS THE MUSICALfollows the fame and forbidden love of a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break.
Olivier and Tony® Award-winning MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL, which opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre to huge audience and critical acclaim in October last year, is Directed by Christopher Ashley with Olivier Award-winning Choreography by Sergio Trujillo, Scenic Design by David Gallo, Costume Design by Paul Tazewell, Lighting Design by Howell Binkley, Sound Design by the Olivier Award-winning Gareth Owen and Musical Direction by Tim Sutton.
MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL is produced in London by Junkyard Dog Productions, Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Barbara Freitag, Joseph Smith and John Brant.
Where                    Shaftesbury Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8DP
Performances          Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
                              Wednesday & Saturday at 2.30pm
Ticket Prices           £20 to £67.50         
Box Office               0207 379 5399              

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? World Premiere of live show at the Adelphi Theatre from 20th June

Phil McIntyre Entertainments, Angst Productions and Hat Trick Productions proudly present…
Two-week run announced on London’s West End with the official backing of original co-creators
Saturday 20th June – Sunday 5th July 2015
The Adelphi Theatre
Tickets on sale from Friday 15th May 2015
Box Office: 020 3725 7060

Host - Clive Anderson

Legendary televised improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? will make its official worldwide premiere as a live show at the Adelphi Theatre on London’s West End from Saturday 20th June. Original co-creators Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson will be working with regulars Colin MochrieJosie LawrenceGreg ProopsBrad Sherwood and Clive Anderson for a limited two-week run.

Host of the show, Clive Anderson, remarked,
“It’s great to be back in charge of the iconic Whose Line Is It Anyway? - joining up with some of the show’s most impressive improvisers to play  many of its best loved  games, together  with some exciting new features,  devised by its original creators. Expect all the fun of the television program - only this time live on stage!”

Co-creator of WLIIA?, Mock the Week and Director of Angst Productions, Dan Patterson, said, 
“I’m extremely excited to be bringing the official worldwide premiere to London’s West End. Since it was last aired on Channel 4 in 1999 the show has really evolved and with the US TV show running for so long we’ve seen some incredible performances. The level of talent involved in the show on both sides of the Atlantic has been phenomenal & we’ve been very lucky to work with all of them. Expect the best of both versions.”

Whose Line is it Anway? shaped the landscape of TV comedy when it first appeared on our screens back in 1988 on Channel 4. The format of the show saw Clive Anderson host a panel of four highly-skilled comedians in the guise of a game show. The comedians would compete in a series of improv games, sculpted by suggestions from Anderson and the audience. The show went on to become an even bigger hit over in the US, where it began airing in 1998 and is still running to this day. The live show premiering on London’s West End this June will combine the best of both the UK and US versions of the show, with a variety of new and exciting games - some of which will involve participation from some brave members of the audience.

The performers on the show are some of the best in the world, demonstrating incredibly fast and expert improv skills. This popular classic is as fresh and exciting as it has always been. 

Tickets for Whose Line is it Anyway?...Live go on sale from Friday 15th May 2015 and are available through Ticketmaster and the Aldephi Theatre Box Office.

Theatre Review: Judy - The Songbook of Judy Garland - Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Sunday, 10 May 2015 | 09:00

Review by Anne Mackie

Let me set the record straight... ‘Judy’ is a show for fans of MGM cinema, musical theatre, and of course, Judy Garland herself.  It is not for the non-theatrical faint hearted.

More a song cycle revue than a large scale production, the show takes a look back at Judy Garland’s legacy and pays credit to the music that made her a star. Fronting the production is Garland’s daughter, Lorna Luft who expertly embraces the stage, the music and the audience, proving a true talent in her own right. However it is supporting vocalist, Louise Dearman that truly steals the show. Her rendition of ‘The Trolley Song’, ‘Stormy Weather’ and the incomparable‘Get Happy/Happy Days/Hooray for Love Medley’ duet with Luft being among the show’s highlights.

Other principal players included Georgina Hagen, Rachel Stanley, Darren Bennett and X-Factor star Ray QuinnA strong vocal line-up, all of whom performed their triple-threated hearts out alongside dance troupe, The Boyfriends.The performers were supported by a small onstage band featuring percussion, keys and a cello. A nice touch for the more intimate ballads, however when it came to the larger scale, big band numbers, an pre-recorded orchestral track was played. A disappointment in many respects, particularly as up-tempo numbers such as Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart’, ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ and ‘Putting on the Ritz’were crying out for a large scale live band to pack a musical punch. This leads us to consider whether the Playhouse was in fact too large a venue for a production of this calibre? Unfortunately, this may have been the case.

Directed by Christopher Manoe alongside Creative Director Arlene Philipsthe production was well structured and included an excellent array of well thought out musical numbers. There was no distinct narrative, but numbers flowed smoothly thanks to a series of video projections by Colin RozeeIt was both effective and moving to see authentic clips of Garland and of course, hear the voice that made her famous beautifully echoing throughout the auditorium. Colin Wood’s emotive lighting design ably supported the limited set, allowing for an intimate yet reflective feel. Special credit, however, must go to Richard Roe and Douglas Mills for devising such exciting, in-sync choreography. Tap numbers in particular proving a memorable highlight.

Generally, this was a good, reliable albeit occasionally repetitive production, but one that, in the main, delivered a strong evening of musicality and danceThe tour marked its official opening in Edinburgh and as such, experienced some teething problems but this, in many ways, was to be expected.Of course, this did not detract away from the overall production values but instead highlighted just how hard the company were working to do Judy Garland’s legendary legacy the justice it so rightly deserves.

So... If you love old-style Hollywood and classic musical theatre, ‘Judy’ is most definitely worth a visit. Grab your ticket ‘come rain or come shine’, as it kicks off on a short UK tour this month and let this truly talented company take you ‘ somewhere over the rainbow’... (puns very much intended!)

AUTOMATA on VOD 27th April & BluRay and DVD 11th of May‏ ✭✭

Written By Christina Benneworth on Thursday, 7 May 2015 | 12:49


On Demand 27th April & Blu-ray and DVD

 11th May, 2015

Automata takes you to a period where the majority of the world is uninhabitable due to radioactive deserts. The world’s population has deteriorated to a mere 21 million and they are all living in walled cities. The surviving humans are served by robots built by a company called ROC and installed with certain protocols that prevent them from altering themselves or from harming any form of life.

Jacq Vaucan, (Antonio Banderas) plays an insurance inspector for the company ROC, whose wife Rachel (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), is about to have a baby. Rachel believes in a future whereas Jacq does not and all he wants to do is escape the city and find the ocean.

Automata is directed and co-written by Gabe Ibáñez, this movie has a very familiar tone and storyline to I, Robot, even down to the supposed rules that the robots have to live by, which of course some of them don’t.

The story kicks off with Jacq having to investigate a case where a dog has been killed by a robot, which would mean the second protocol has been breached. Continuing with his investigation; whether robots are breaking free of their protocols, Jacq stumbles on to a whole heap of trouble and ends up in the desert, being pursued by thugs sent by his company.

Antonio Banderas with his shaved head looking very glum throughout the entire movie, struggles some what with the script, you know what is going, but your almost bored by it, nothing was truly thrilling.

Reaching the half waypoint of this movie you’re in the desert with Jacq, who has pretty much had all the life sucked out of him and so has the movie.

Visually this movie is top-notch. The life like robots have been done really well, the surrounding landscape fits the story beautifully. In all honesty something never quite sits right with this movie, the only thing that comes in to mind is the script. Given the great way this film visually looks it a shame the scrip and storytelling wasn’t quite matched, very robotic, pardon the pun.

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