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Showing posts from September, 2014

Previews: Memphis in Rehearsals

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Rehearsals have now begun for the West End production of hit Broadway musical Memphis, which will have preview performances at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London from 9 October 2014 with Opening Night on 23 October 2014.

Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, the show is led by multi award-winning recording artist Beverley Knight as club singer ‘Felicia Farrell’ and stage star Killian Donnelly as radio DJ ‘Huey Calhoun’.

With Rolan Bell as ‘Delray’, Tyrone Huntley as ‘Gator’, Claire Machin as ‘Gladys’, Jason Pennycooke as ‘Bobby’ and Mark Roper as ‘Mr. Simmons’


Wicked thoughts: The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd @OrangeTreeThtr

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The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd at The Orange Tree Theatre is an exciting start to new season at the Orange Tree Theatre. The audience is made to feel as if they are eavesdropping on the drama in this working cottage where a family is falling apart.

Set in the Nottinghamshire mining community in 1914, DH Lawrence has created a moving piece of working class woman in an abusive relationship.

After an evening where he brings home two ladies after a night of drinking she wishes he was dead. She soon gets her wish and then suffers guilt.

Father knows best: Wingman @sohotheatre

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Father-son comedies have never quite felt so weird as they do in Wingman, Richard Marsh's new take on strained and odd family relationships having an early slot at the Soho Theatre this month.

Marsh, a writer of Fringe First winning Dirty Great Love Story and Radio 4 show Love & Sweets, has crafted a story that is part dialogue and part poetry that has a surreal comic effect in describing his dysfunctional relationship with his dad (played by Jerome Wright).

Mum has died but after twenty years apart they reunite at her graveside. And it is an opportunity for dad to reunite with the son he left twenty years ago. And dad suggests after seeing that his son is struggling with women that perhaps they could socialise together and he could be his wingman. But that means the son has to get over his issues of abandonment and general hatred of the man...

Quick looks: Christina Bianco Party of One

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Christina Bianco has concluded a short run at the Hippodrome Casino. An expert at mimicking any female singer she is now off to the West End transfer of Forbidden Broadway, but the highlight of her show was when she got a chance to just sing and be herself, or use the material from Forbidden Broadway (which was funnier).

Bianco has become a bit on Youtube with her singing songs in the style of other performers. She has a great set of pipes too.

She just needs a show that she can make her own. Here's hoping that comes soon for her. In the meantime future cabaret performances would feel more substantial with more jazz and less mimicry.

It's a wonderful life: The Me Plays @ORLTheatre

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Growing up in Wembley seems like fun in Andrew Maddock's The Me Plays, currently showing at The Old Red Lion Theatre. 
Two forty-five minute monologues delivered by Maddock present a semi-autobiographical look at his life growing up there.

Male body image, internet pornography, Catholic schools, surgical procedures are all covered in this brutally honest account. The cleverness in the work is its frankness and his matter of fact delivery, which makes for a fascinating evening that will linger with you after leaving the show.

Bare ambition: Quentin Crisp Naked Hope

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Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, Quentin Crisp Naked Hope, playing at the St James Theatre studio gives a brief insight into the life and times of the unconventional man. 
Written and performed by Mark Farrelly, the piece follows the same format as one of Crisp's stage shows, where he would retell stories from his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant, and then entertain the audience with his amusing responses to questions from the audience. 
While it is fun to hear the Crisperanto (particularly if you are not familiar with it), you get the sense you are just seeing a guy in a funny wig and lipstick, rather than Crisp before you. 
Perhaps a little more improvisation would bring some spontaneity to the piece.
The St James Theatre studio space is lovely, but get in early for a good seat as it is unreserved. And (according to the woman I overheard at the door) get your wine from the bar upstairs as it has a better selection. It runs until 7 September and then is followed by a nation…

Opening up on the road: Autobahn @KingsHeadThtr

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Neil LaBute's Autobahn, now playing at the Kings Head Theatre, explores over seven short vignettes how sitting in a car be a cathartic experience. Or a chance to just talk crap. While the focus is America, the themes are universal.

Often funny and never boring, each vignette involves two people.  Sharon Maughan (Holby City, The Bank Job, She’s Out of My League), Henry Everett (Michael Grandage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Tom Slatter (Robot Overlords), and Zoe Swenson-Graham (Our Town) play the various characters, changing characters as quickly as a change in gears.