REVIEW – Rent at the Cockpit Theatre

Friday night I had the pleasure of attending the press night of Interval Productions’ “Rent” at the Cockpit Theatre. Like most Rent fans, I’m always sceptical when companies put on Rent – I think the scepticism comes from the disaster that was Rent Remixed (shudder). Rent is such a well known and loved show within the theatre community that it is incredibly difficult to get it right. I’m pleased to say this production left me happy that Rent is still around.

The Cockpit (although a bit out of the way) gives the perfect space for a show that always leaves the audience devastated. So many people are quick to dismiss Rent as “that show about AIDS”, but the show is so much more than that. Rent is about family, friendship, relationships and life and it takes a truly special cast to put that across to an audience.

Will Bradnam was a great Mark. I always find it odd that Mark, as such a nondescript character, becomes the narrator and almost a lynchpin for the entire show. Without Mark, half the time the audience would have no idea what was going on. Bradnam carried the role perfectly.

John Mcrea and Carlton Connell as Angel and Collins respectively were perfection. As two of the more integral characters in the show, I often find it difficult to find actors who can portray this very complex relationship with ease and style. These two hit the nail right on the head – I cried like a baby during THAT scene (you know the one) in the second half, and I think most of that sadness was prompted by the loss of such a beautiful relationship.

Tori Allen-Martin’s Mimi was a joy to behold, and at times a little different to how Mimi is normally portrayed – which I liked. Her and Christian Jones made a lovely vocal duo, but I did find at times that Jones’ acting was a touch too intense. Ben Astle played landlord and former roommate Benny well, with just the right amount of sleaze from the start.

I love love LOVED Sabrina Aloueche as Maureen. It’s often great to see an actor do something different with a role and Aloueche’s Maureen was about as different as they get! I laughed a lot during Over The Moon And even found myself giggling during Take Me Or Leave Me. A perfect vocal match for miss Aloueche was the fantastic Ambra Caserotti as Joanne. One thing I did find with this particular pairing, though, was that sometimes I didn’t believe they were in a relationship – just my opinion but I think Maureen and Joanne’s relationship should be pretty intense and for some reason I didn’t feel it here. Maybe it will come with time?

The lead cast were backed up by a faultless ensemble, who all played their multitude of roles with flair and great vocal prowess. I LOVED seeing Rent taken back to how it was created originally, and noticed that some of the choreography was the same or very similar to the choreography seen in the Broadway Production that was so loved.

One problem I did think could do with some re-thinking was the sound. It just wasn’t loud enough. I think Rent is meant to a be a loud show – and without the volume it did lose a bit of its kick. Hopefully this can be solved.

All in all a great production, that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to Rent fans and newcomers alike. Rent is such a gorgeous, gritty show and it’s great to see a company do it justice. In my opinion, if you don’t come out of Rent exhausted and yet uplifted the show hasn’t been done properly, but this production made me feel everything Rent should and more.

As an aside, I do wonder how the show would have changed had Jonathan Larson not sadly passed away? There’s a great story about Rent from when it was first on Broadway. Jonathan Larson (the writer of the show) passed away very suddenly the day before opening night. His parents gave their blessing to open the show anyhow, and the cast decided that what they would do was sing through the show whilst seated on stage, as a tribute to Jonathan. By the time they got to “La Vie Boheme”, they could not sit any longer. From that point they performed the show as it was meant to be staged – of course minus costumes. Following the show there was a long period of applause, followed by silence, which was only broken when an audience member shouted out “Thank you Jonathan Larson”. I think that says it all.

Get your tickets now – because this production is not to be missed!

Rent at The Cockpit Theatre

Performance Dates and Times: 17th – 21st October, 24th – 28th October, 30th October – 3rd November, 6th – 10th November – 7:30pm

Website: www.nodaybut2day.co.uk
Twitter: @nodaybut2dayuk

URGENT – Leeds Area – DO YOU KNOW THIS CHILD?

Please take a moment to listen to this and post on Facebook and any forums you visit or blogs you post on.

Police in west Yorkshire are anxious to trace a family. Yesterday morning a little girl aged three phoned police to say her mother had fallen and wasn’t moving.

The girl is called Ellie, her mother is called Stacey Hall and Ellies grandparents live in Bridlington.

Police have been unable to locate the family. The second link allows you to listen to the full call. 

http://news.sky.com/story/967204/gir…-hunt-in-leeds

http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-…s-girls-voice/

——————

This is not theatre related but is extremely important

NEWS – American Idiot Tour Cast Announced!

he U.S. cast have been announced today for the UK premiere of Green Day’s explosive, award-winning Broadway rock musical AMERICAN IDIOT, which sets out on a major national tour in October, culminating in a London season at the legendary HMV Hammersmith Apollo.
 
The story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9-11 world, AMERICAN IDIOT, will open at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre (October 8 – 13) then tour to Cardiff’s Millennium Centre (October 15 – 20); Edinburgh Playhouse (October 22 – 27); Glasgow Clyde Auditorium (October 29 – November 3); Dublin Bord Gáis Energy (November 5 – 10); Manchester Palace Theatre (November 12 – 24); Birmingham Alexandra Theatre (November 26 – December 1); and then a two-week London season at HMV Hammersmith Apollo (December 4 – 16).
 
Alex Nee will star as Johnny, along with Thomas Hettrick as Tunny, Casey O’Farrell as Will, Alyssa DiPalma as Whatsername, Jenna Rubaii as The Extraordinary Girl, Kennedy Caughell as Heather and Trent Saunders as St. Jimmy.
 
AMERICAN IDIOT will also feature ensemble members Aurie Ceylon, Carson Higgins, Antwaun Holley, Daniel C. Jackson, Brandon Kalm, John Krause, Alison Morooney, Turner Rouse, Jr., Jamal Shuriah, Dustin Harris Smith, Ashley Tobias, Chelsea Turbin and Jared Young. 
 
AMERICAN IDIOT features the music of Green Day with the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. The book is by Armstrong and Michael Mayer and direction is by Tony Award®-winner Mayer (“Spring Awakening”). Its hit songs include “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the blockbuster title track “American Idiot” from Green Day’s 2004 Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum album. Also included are several songs from Green Day’s 2009 release “21st Century Breakdown,” and an unreleased love song, “When It’s Time.” 
 
The acclaimed creative team includes choreography by British Olivier Award-winner Steven Hoggett (“Black Watch”), and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”). The Tony Award®-winning scenic design by Christine Jones and the Tony Award®-winning lighting design by Kevin Adams will also be featured in the tour.
 
Winner of two Tony Awards® and the 2010 Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Show Album, AMERICAN IDIOT premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in September 2009. In April 2010, the musical opened on Broadway where reviews were unanimously positive and it ran for over a year.
 
The UK tour is produced by SJM Concerts and Flying Entertainment by arrangement with Work Light Productions
 
Full UK tour dates & booking info attached
For more information on AMERICAN IDIOT visit:
 
TWITTER             http://twitter.com/AmericanIdiotUK
WEBSITE             www.americanidiotthemusical.co.uk
                            www.americanidiotthemusical-ukandireland.com
                            www.americanidiotthemusical-ukandireland.co.uk
 
 “The most compelling new musical of the Broadway season… a show of 
galvanising energy and theatrical excitement that’s like a 3D, flesh-and-blood 
music video come to life. The triumph of the show is to take Green Day’s celebrated 
album and fiercly and thrillingly translate it to stage life.”
Mark Shenton, The Stage/The Sunday Express
 
“The most adventurous musical to brave Broadway in the past decade”  The New York Times
 
“The first great musical of the 21st century!” The Toronto Star
 
 
 
 
 
 
TOUR DATES

October 8 – 13
Southampton
Mayflower Theatre 
Empire Lane
Southampton
SO15 1AP
Box Office: 02380 711811
 
October 15 – 20
Cardiff
Wales Millennium Centre
Bute Place
Cardiff Bay
CF10 5AL
Box office: 029 2063 6464
 
October 22 – 27
Edinburgh 
Edinburgh Playhouse
18-22 Greenside Place 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3AA
Box office: 0844 871 3014
 
October 29 – November 3
Glasgow 
Clyde Auditorium 
SECC
Exhibition Way
Glasgow
G3 8YW
Box office: 0844 395 4000
 
November 5 – 10
Dublin 
Bord Gáis Energy
Grand Canal Square  
Dublin 2
Ireland
 
November 12 – 24
Manchester
Palace Theatre 
Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FT
Box office: 0844 871 7660
 
November 26 – December 1
Birmingham 
Alexandra Theatre
Station Street  
Birmingham
West Midlands 
B5 4DS 
Box office: 0844 871 3011
 
December 4 – 16
London
HMV Hammersmith Apollo
45 Queen Caroline Street  
Hammersmith
London 
W6 9QH
Box office: 0843 221 0100
 
 

REVIEW – The Mystery of Edwin Drood – WEST END!

As many of you know, we attended the press night of The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Landor Theatre only a few weeks ago. You can find my previous review Here.

The show opened earlier in the week at the Arts theatre, for a well deserved West End transfer of what I think is probably one of my favourite shows of the year thus far!

My sentiments on the show aren’t really changed from my first review. I thought the show was absolutely fantastic, with one of the most energetic and talented casts in the west end. Every moment is a joy to watch. I love the audience interaction in this show – it’s a great touch.

I was also thrilled to see a different ending to the show than when I saw it at the Landor. I know many were in two minds as to whether there actually WERE different endings, but there definitely are. I love how each of the two characters whose endings I have seen had different motives and reasons for committing the crime.

All in all an enjoyable piece that leaves you humming the songs (I still have Champagne Charlie stuck in my head two days later!) and discussing who the murderer could have been all the way home. Even for those who are not fans of Charles Dickens, this really is a show with a difference that I would recommend to anyone.

The show is playing at the Arts theatre for a very limited 35 performances! Head over to www.droodwestend.com for tickets and more information.

See this show as soon as you can – you won’t regret it!

REVIEW – The Vocal Orchestra @ Udderbelly

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the performance of The Vocal Orchestra. The setting for this evening was inside a giant purple cow… A purple cow you say? Yes, set at London’s Southbank Centre in the shadow of the London Eye sits the E4 Udderbelly cow.  The 410 seat temporary theatre was an ideal setting for The Vocal Orchestra, just enough space for spectacle and intimacy.

The Vocal Orchestra describe the show as “a spine-tingling hour of incredible musical entertainment. A celebration of everyone’s favourite tunes using seven mouths, seven mics and no instruments!” and it sure doesn’t disappoint.

The Orchestra which includes Billy Boothroyd, Ross Green, Robin Bailey, Grace Savage, Johannah Jolson, Claudia Georgette and Harriet Syndercombe Court blend the perfect mix of “human beatboxing, glorious vocal harmonies and floor wobbling basslines”.

With a bit of background into the show, The Vocal Orchestra is an original show, written and created by Shlomo who is an internationally acclaimed beatboxer.  Shlomo himself gave up astrophysics to perform his “amazing vocal pyrotechnics”.  And aren’t we glad he did because without him we wouldn’t have this amazing piece of theatre, beatboxing and vocal talent.

The show itself takes you through so many different styles and genres of music. One minute I was gobsmacked at the awesome beatbox battle the next I was being transported back to 1985 for a medley of some of the best hits of the 80’s. But don’t get too comfortable because in no time we were being whisked to the 60’s, 90’s and even the 1700’s.

If you’re looking for an evening of spectacular entertainment at a wonderfully reasonable price get yourself down to Londons South Bank to see The Vocal Orchestra.

The show is now on from 17 April – 27 May and tickets range from £15 to £19.50 (bargain)

You can book your tickets online at www.underbelly.co.uk/vocal-orchestra

Or alternatively through the BOX OFFICE on 0844 545 8282.

I completely recommend The Vocal Orchestra as (how the website puts it) you’ll be “whooping, clapping and dancing all the way home”.

REVIEW – The Truth Teller @ The King’s Head

Last night we were invited to the Press Night of The Truth Teller at the King’s Head Theatre in lovely Islington.

The show centres around the idea of whether honesty is the best policy, and markets itself as a comedy. It definitely does have its funny moments, and it had some great moments within the script too, but all in all I left the theatre thinking that maybe the plot could have had a little more depth.

The cast were great, particularly Naveed Khan as Sasrutha who was hilarious, but I really did feel that the show was lacking something. I think with a bit of reworking, this could be a hilarious show that makes a clear cut point about lying and truth. Bits of the story were engrossing and well written, but other bits not so much.

I think this show could have great things ahead once maybe the script is altered a little. Then it will be the success it deserves to be.