REVIEW: Ordinary Days The Musical

Reviewed by Charlie White

I was lucky enough to be able to see Ordinary Days at the Edinburgh Fringe, a musical about four peoples day to day lives can connect with each other. It follows the story of Claire, Jason, Deb and Warren, trying to find their way in life and make some tough decisions. 

The venue was extremely intimate so it was a scaled back production but I could see it had a lot of potential.

The songs had a typical theatrical feel but with a modern edge which I thought was quite refreshing for a musical.

The cast was made up of four people. Neil Cameron was great as Warren, I think he played the role fairly vulnerably which I thought suited the character and there was a definite likability factor. The role of Deb was performed by Nora Perone who I have to say was wonderful throughout. Her comedy with the character was excellent and combined with her acting, facial expressions and lovely voice, it was great! Alistair Frederick and Kirby Hughes played couple Jason and Claire and I think they both portrayed the emotion wonderfully! I was moved by their touching performances.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see Ordinary Days before my trip to Edinburgh so I’m not sure how much they had to adapt to the festival however one thing I would say is that the ending seemed quite abrupt.

Overall it had a great base to a fresh modern musical and I see lots of potential! Would be great to see it somewhere with proper staging etc, but the cast did a fantastic job! 

4stars

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HAIR EXTENSION! and initial CASTING for 50th Anniversary Production


HAIR‘s new 50th anniversary production is to have a HAIR extension through to New Year 2018! The show was due to run until early December but already due to popular demand the show is now extending for a further 6 weeks to SUNDAY 14 JANUARY 2018 – the perfect night out especially over the Festive Season!

The iconic tribal rock musical HAIR opens at London’s fully immersive Off-West-End theatre, The Vaults, from WEDNESDAY 4 OCTOBER 2017 and is now to run to SUNDAY 14 JANUARY 2018. 

Still ground-breaking at the age of 50, HAIR opened off-Broadway in 1967, so to open this genuinely new production off-West-End in 2017 is the perfect move for Hope Mill Theatre’s acclaimed production, directed by Jonathan O’Boyle – as relevant now as it was in the 60s.

1967 and HAIR‘s hippie-hood youngsters live as The Tribe, in the East Village of New York: yearning to change the world, questioning authority and the American flag. They are wild, colourful, free, sexually liberated beautiful people who join in protest and song – under the shadow of the Vietnam War. Featuring classic hit songs: Aquarius, Let the Sun Shine In and Good Morning Star Shine – and the story of youth and war still resounds throughout the world making this a topical musical for the millennial generation. 2017 vividly sees the world protesting and marching, fighting for freedom of speech; from Trump to Brexit via Syria – the core spirit of HAIR.

Initial casting for this thrilling, young and moving production of HAIR includes: DANIEL BAILEY (Motown The Musical – Shaftesbury Theatre, The Lion King – Lyceum Theatre), ADAM DAWSON (Jet in West Side Story RSC Live – Stratford), JESSIE MAY (Fiona in Blondel – The New Union Theatre, Rock Of Ages – UK tour). And returning to the production are: NATALIE GREEN (Wicked – UK tour), LAURA JOHNSON (Rizzo in Grease – UK tour), SHEKINA MCFARLANE (Parade – Hope Mill Theatre, The Lion King – UK & International tour), ROBERT METSON (Ryan in Bear – Southwark Playhouse), LIAM ROSS-MILLS (Les Miserables – West End, Ben in Ushers: The Front of House Musical – Charing Cross Theatre), KORYANN STEVENS (West Side Story – Live Nation) and KIRSTEN WRIGHT (Our Seasons End – The AC Group).

Further casting to be announced, as the search continues to cast the roles of Berger, Hud and Margaret Mead!

The genuinely youthful cast will bring the original protest musical to life, in the intimate theatre seating just 200, revealing every emotion up close and personal through HAIR‘s drug fuelled journey.

Like a mini Woodstock, from the moment the audience arrive, The Vaults is transformed into a fully immersive 60s venue, with psychedelic, innovative creatives, iconic artwork and hippie flower power. With 60s themed pop up restaurants and themed drinks; plus stalls including: vintage 60s and tie dye clothes, 60s smiley badges and memorabilia, hippie wigs and flower headdresses, vinyl’s – everything needed for a legal high. The audience then move through to the theatre space for HAIR – the musical that changed the face of the modern musical.


COME JOIN THE TRIBE – HAIR

The 50th Anniversary production of HAIR transfers to London from its critically acclaimed run at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester.

VENUE: THE VAULTS (7AD, Leake St, London SE1 7NN)

PERFORMANCES: WEDNESDAY 4 OCTOBER 2017 – SUNDAY 14 JANUARY 2018

Previews: Wednesday 4/10 7.30pm, Thursday 5/10 3pm & 7.30pm, Friday 6/10 7.30pm, Saturday 7/10 7pm & 10pm and Monday 9/10 7.30pm.

TUESDAY to SUNDAY (no performances on a Monday)

Tuesday – 7.30pm

Wednesday – 7.30pm

Thursday – 3pm & 7.30pm

Friday – 7.30pm

Saturday – 7pm & 10pm New Saturday timings from 05/12/17 = 3pm & 7.30pm

Please note: Saturday show time changes to 3pm & 7.30pm in new booking period from 05/12/17-14/01/18

Sunday – 3pm

FESTIVE PERIOD PERFORMANCES AND TIMES STAY THE SAME

TICKET PRICES: £25 – £50

Age recommendation: 14+ (this show contains nudity)

BOX OFFICE: 020 7401 9603

WEBSITE: http://www.hair50.com

TWITTER: @Hair50London

HAIR Hope Mill Theatre production

***** The Reviews Hub: ‘Stunning’

***** North West End: ‘Astounding’

**** The Guardian: ‘Sweetly enticing’ – Lyn Gardner

**** The Stage: ‘Thrilling! Jonathan O’Boyle’s production left me walking on air’ – Mark Shenton

**** Northern Soul

**** Musical Theatre Review.

REVIEW: LIFT at the Stage Door, Southampton

Probably the best amateur production of a musical I’ve seen, Lift is a story about strangers in a lift, all in the perspective of a street busker.

Set in a busy Covent Garden tube station lift, we are crammed into the tight space with a Busker, a Secretary, a French Teacher, a Bright Young Thing, a Ballet Dancer, a Lap Dancer, a man that is Tall, Dark And Handsome, and a young girl who is Athletic And Wearing A Thong. Have you ever been on a lift with such a cast of characters and couldn’t help but think: “Who are these people and why are they here?” this musical explores the concept of that.

When I first heard of the concept of LIFT, earlier this year, I couldn’t help but ridicule it, and think to myself WHY someone would write a full-scale musical about one minute in a lift. A few weeks later, I purchased the video recording on Digital Theatre (the original London cast). I wasn’t too blown away, but slightly impressed. The concept was brilliant, but, like any video recording of a live performance, I wasn’t hooked.

When I found out that local musical theatre group Music Theatre South were producing LIFT in October 2016 at the Stage Door in Southampton, I knew I’d love to go. This wasn’t my first time with either MTS or the Stage Door, as I saw two performances of MTS’ production of RENT in October last year at the same theatre, which wasn’t exceptional, but it was a brilliant production and I was glad to have seen it’s first preview and final performance.

Come October this year, a few days before the first performance, I wasn’t too intent on going to see LIFT. Come Friday, the night before the final performance, I thought “Screw it, I’ll go and see LIFT tomorrow.”

I’m glad I did.

From the moment we entered the auditorium (which is situated above a noisy bar, a small little fringe/cabaret venue), we were immersed into an abstract Covent Garden station. The thrust staging really worked with the show, we decided to sit on one corner, so we could see the front of the stage but also the side. the “stage” is sat in the middle of the auditorium, where seats would usually be if using the usual proscenium staging, the stage was a raised platform, with four poles on the corners, with another platform on top, forming a box-type, to show the lift. The band were sat on the theatre’s permanent stage.

From the moment the audience entered the auditorium, Liam Baker, who wonderfully played The Busker was stood on stage, with a guitar and case full of pennies. Slowly, the other cast members entered the stage. None of them left the stage throughout the show.

The actors weren’t mic’d as this was a very intimate show, which I feel was a poor decision as there were many solos we couldn’t hear over the ensemble’s other verses, and sometimes the singing and/or dialogue couldn’t be heard over the walking around the stage (which was very loud, especially in the opening number.).

Adam Myers took the challenge of directing a sort of abstract piece and adapting it facing three sides of audience. He did it beautifully, though some of the jokes weren’t conveyed due to the staging, but for the most part it was beautifully. The vocals were extremely strong, and the vocalist that stood out for me the most was Imogen Johnson as The Bright Young Thing. Her rendition of Lost in Translations was gorgeous, she has an insanely strong range  and amazing vibrato control. She was insane.

The Lap Dancer, played by Sam Frith, was beautifully acted. Her singing voice too was beautiful, my only critique would be she has very natural hand movements when she sings, which aren’t controlled. When she sung It’s Been A Year, her hands often would flare out and then she’d hold her stomach. That needs to be controlled, but other than that she was an absolutely beautiful performer.

The production on a whole was amazing. Beautifully directed, and beautifully performed. It’s an extremely non-naturalistic piece, yet it’s naturalistic at the same time. The staging was so different to that of the London production, but this production could be mistaken for the London production.

Music Theatre South have put on an extremely well-done production. I wish I could see it all again in the future…perhaps on a bigger stage?

Nathan xoxo

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PS: Interview with the writers of a new Jack The Ripper Musical coming Monday, and coming up: Reviews on the new London production of Side Show and review on the long-awaited West End production of School Of Rock! 

 

NEWS: 21 CHUMP STREET Comes To LONDON?!?!

As part of the From Page To Stage showcase at the Tristan Bates theatre, Lin Manuel Miranda’s mini musical 21 Chump Street is coming to London.

The showcase’s Facebook page announced it to be playing from the 31st October-20th November, but the Tristan Bates theatre website says that the showcase is from the 11th-19th November.

Either way, we can’t wait. Get tickets here.

Nathan & Charlie xoxo

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21 Chump Street

 

5 Musicals That Need A West End Production!

There are multiple amazing shows that have never seen the light of the London’s West End! So here is my top 5 musicals that need a West End production! NOT INCLUDING MUSICALS THAT HAVE HAD AN OFF-WEST END PRODUCTION

5. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL – Lin Manuel Miranda’s genius is not unknown in London, with In The Heights finishing a run in January, and Hamilton opening in 2017, so why not go for his third? Bring It On is based on the movies of the same name. It features Campbell, a high school cheerleader for Truman High School. When she lets a junior, Eva (fabulously played on Broadway by Elle McLemore), onto the cheer squad, she finds herself mysteriously transferred to another high school – Jackson. Jackson is round and rowdy, and it has no cheerleading squad. When Campbell finds out that Eva is now team captain and is the reason she was removed from her perfect school life, she takes it upon herself to form a cheerleading squad at Jackson. With Truman High School’s music by Tom Kitt, and Jackson High School’s music by Lin Manuel Miranda, this musical is a celebration of cheer and really deserved a West End production.

4. A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL – A Christmas Story is based on the beloved American classic Christmas movie. It centres on Ralphie, a young boy, who wants nothing more for Christmas than an official Red Ryder Carbine Action BB Gun with a compass and stock and this thing that tells time. He realises that it’s sooner to Christmas than he expected, and although his friends, family, teachers and even a mall Santa tell him “You’ll shoot your eye out!” He doesn’t give up determination to get what he wants for Christmas. With a beautiful score by the wonderful Pasek & Paul (my favourite composers), A Christmas Story would really work over here for a short seasonal run or UK tour.

3. HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL – Heathers premiered Off-Broadway in 2014 and has developed a huge fan base. Based on the 90’s film starring Winona Ryder, and set in the eighties, many people call Heathers the original mean girls. When Veronica finds herself in the coolest clique in school, formed up of Heather Chandler, Heather Duke, and Heather McNamara (fabulously played Off-Broadway by Elle McLemore), she realises she bit off more than she can chew and she hates her new best friend, Chandler. When she gets involved with new boy, JD, their relationship becomes a force to be reckoned with, and the pair murder Heather Chandler. This first murder spirals into something a lot more sinister, and Veronica becomes a Dead Girl Walking. Awesome rock score by Legally Blonde’s Laurence O’Keefe, this show would delight west end audiences alike.

2. FUN HOME – I’ve expressed my love for Fun Home multiple times before (see here) and would love nothing more than to see it on the West End. I’d be there every. single. performance.

1. NEWSIES – It’s a classic Disney movie adapted for the stage. And although the movie wasn’t as big in the UK as it was in the US, Newsies would surely be a huge success! It focuses on Jack Kelley, news boy extraordinaire. When the likes of Joseph Pulitzer increases the selling price of the news paper by one cent for the news boys, Jack decides to round up his newsies and form a union and go on strike! Alan Menken’s awesome score and the delightful cast of characters would really make an impact on the UK audiences.

And that’s it, those are my five.

What would your five be? Let me know in the comments!

Nathan xoxo

 

 

CAST RECORDING OF THE WEEK 08/10/16

This week’s cast recording of the week is:

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MATILDA THE MUSICAL – ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING

Matilda The Musical tells the story of Matilda Wormwood, a shy nine year old girl who loves to read. Shunned by her parents and brother, Matilda often flees to the library to tell her friend, the librarian, stories. When Matilda is sent to school, her teacher, Miss Honey, recognises Matilda’s advanced skills but fails in getting the school’s abusive and frightening headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, to also recognise her talent. Throughout her time at Crunchem Hall, Matilda learns that sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty!

TRACK LIST

  1. Overture – 0:42
  2. Miracle (Part One) – 4:24
  3. Miracle (Part Two) – 2:12
  4. Miracle (Part Three) – 2:41
  5. Naughty – 3:15
  6. School Song – 3:58
  7. Pathetic – 1:46
  8. The Hammer – 3:00
  9. The Chokey Chant – 1:01
  10. Loud – 4:01
  11. This Little Girl – 2:02
  12. Bruce – 4:05
  13. Telly – 3:11
  14. When I Grow Up – 3:39
  15. I’m Here (Story 4) – 4:17
  16. The Smell Of Rebellion – 5:18
  17. Quiet – 3:37
  18. My House – 3:48
  19. Chalk Writing – 1:24
  20. Revolting Children – 2:33
  21. When I Grow Up/Naughty (Reprise) – 2:10
  22. Story One: Once Upon A Time… – 3:24
  23. Story Two: The Great Day Arrived… – 4:25
  24. Story Three: The Trick Started Well… – 4:25
  25. Perhaps A Child (Cut Song) – 2:30
  26. Naughty (Four Matildas) – 3:00

CHARLIE: Check out Charlie’s review here!

NATHAN: The Broadway cast recording of Matilda holds a special place in my heart. It’s such a heart-warming show and the cast in the Broadway production are PHENOMENAL and so much better than any of the West End casts so far, although there is one cast member that means so much to me: LESLI MARGHERITA. Lesli was in the show from it’s opening as Mrs Wormwood. She stayed in the show until September 2015, when she departed to work on Dames At Sea on Broadway. When Matilda was announced to be closing on Broadway, it was announced that Lesli was to join in September 2016 for the closing cast. Lesli adds new depth to Mrs Wormwood than anyone else. She is a stunning dancer, and a flawless belter. She is the reason why Matilda lasted so long. Amen.

 

Nathan and Charlie xoxo

REVIEW: Matilda the Musical

Hey guys!

So we had a group trip to see Matilda the Musical last weekend and it was so fab! Third/fourth time seeing it for Charlie and first time for Nathan!

The show tells the story of a very special little girl named Matilda who has a hard time fitting in with her family and she has never felt like she belonged. That is until the time comes for her to begin school. Matilda is a girl who loves to read and learn however just when she thought she had escaped the bullying at home, a new bully comes along who just happens to be the principle of the school…Miss Trunchbull. It takes us on a journey of good overcoming bad and shows us how working together (with maybe a touch of revolting) could make for a happy ending after all.

Matilda is such a feel good show and the soundtrack is awesome (and actually quite addictive once you get in to it). At times it can be quite dark but the comedy I think overshadows that and helps to lighten the mood- plus there is such a variety of songs from those that make you perhaps a tad emotional to ones that make you laugh out loud.

The cast are so talented and the fact that it’s basically ran by such a young group of actors/actresses just makes it all the more impressive. Our Matilda was Emily-May and she did such a fantastic job! We were lucky enough to be there for her final two performances and she did Matilda proud. She gave such a confident performance and we really enjoyed her portrayal as the title role.

Craig Els as the Trunch was insane! Love him in this role, so funny yet terrifying at the same time. His ‘Smell of Rebellion’ is genius.

Overall, we had a great two shows and will most likely be back soon.

Charlie & Nathan xoxo

COMPETITION! Win A “School Of Rock” PlayBill!

Hey guys!

Our first competition is to win a SCHOOL OF ROCK PLAYBILL as well as two different SCHOOL OF ROCK LONDON FLYERS!

The competition runs until the 30th October and all you have to do to win is to show us your best rock face, tweet us @thespiansblog and follow us on twitter!

The winner will receive:

  1. SCHOOL OF ROCK Broadway playbill from September 2016
  2. SCHOOL OF ROCK London rectangular flyer
  3. SCHOOL OF ROCK London square flyer

And two runners up will receive:

  1. SCHOOL OF ROCK London rectangular flyer

Good luck!

Nathan & Charlie xoxo

 

GOSSIP: Is FINDING NEVERLAND flying into the Piccadilly Theatre?!

Now that JERSEY BOYS has announced closure in March 2016, we wonder if Peter Pan could be flying into the Piccadilly theatre? The Finding Neverland London website advertises “THE HIT BROADWAY MUSICAL WITH AN ORIGINAL SCORE BY GARY BARLOW IS COMING TO LONDON IN 2017!”

Could the production be transferring to Jersey Boys’ old home…?

FLYING NEVERLAND IS PLAYING TO SELL-OUT AUDIENCES ON BROADWAY!

Based on the Academy Award®-winning film of the same name, this breathtaking show follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer – and the man – he yearns to be. Barrie finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter.
Delighted by the boys’ hilarious escapades, Barrie conjures the magical world of Neverland and writes a play unlike any the high-society London theatergoers have ever seen. It’s a tremendous risk, but as Barrie himself has discovered—
When you believe, you can fly.
Tony® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) directs this innovative musical featuring an original score by noted composer Gary Barlow and Grammy® winner Eliot Kennedy, with a book by celebrated playwright James Graham and choreography by three-time Emmy® winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium). Packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, FINDING NEVERLAND is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up. [From the Finding Neverland Broadway website.]