Friday, 25 January 2013

The Les Mis write up (about 4 years behind everyone else)

*** Contains Spoilers*** 

I think it's safe to say that the Les Mis movie has taken the world by storm. I can't pick up a magazine, watch a TV programme or even take the bus without seeing some form of advertising. And I, along with the masses, have Les Mis fever.

I am actually ashamed to admit this, but I didn't like the stage production (don't stone me). In fact, up until this month I would have gone as far to say it was one of the worst shows I had ever seen. Theatre is normally my escape from reality. I go to dream, and to be transported into someone else's life for a few hours - for me, this was one big dark, colourless depressing song after another. However after seeing the movie I have such an urge to give the show another try.

For me the movie was nothing short of perfection... well apart from Russell Crowe. I don't feel truly qualified to give a detailed write-up as there are so many super fan reviews out there. I do however want to share my highlights.

  • Anne Hathaway - Just wow! Her portrayal of Fantine was absolutely flawless. Considering the fact she only had 15 minutes of screen time, I feel she made the biggest impact. 'I Dreamed a Dream' in particular was filled with raw and exposed emotion, rendering it harrowing to watch.
  • Master of the House- Pairing Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen together was genius. It brought some welcome comic relief, and spotting Kerry Ellis throughout that song was a bonus.  
  • All the scenes at the barricade - I loved all the camaraderie between the students and Eponine's death was so heart breaking - Samantha Barks did a brilliant job.
I would absolutely suggest giving this film a watch. It covers a lot of dark territory but ultimately ends with the theme of hope. Hats off to the cast and creatives - what a fantastic outcome. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

No Day But Today - Rent Cast Announced

Rent the musical -UK tour- Starring -
Mimi –Kerry Ellis
Roger – Rory Taylor
Mark - Paul Ayres
Maureen - Nikki Davis Jones
Collins – Leon Lopez
Angel – Ian Stroughair
Joanne- Jemma Alexander
Benny – Kenny Thompson

Twitter was buzzing yesterday with the long awaited reveal of the cast of Rent being announced. Excitement has been building for the tour of this much loved show for months now, and I was really eager to know who would be cast to play some of the most iconic roles in musical theatre.  

Whoever recruited Nikki Davis Jones in this production – I salute you.  I have seen her live playing the role of Elphaba twice now, and she was phenomenal. You would have honestly thought she had been doing the part full time.  I can’t wait to see how she interprets the role of Maureen. 

For some reason the TV show ‘Superstar’ completely missed my radar. So after seeing everyone’s tweets raving about Rory Taylor, I had to have a little YouTube sesh and see for myself.   His performances were fantastic on the show and I think he will make a great Roger. 

Anyone who knows me will know I am a massive Kerry Ellis fan. I have travelled the country to see her in pretty much every role and having her star in something in my home town is a real treat. When I heard Kerry was going to be cast I assumed she would be playing Maureen, so I thought Mimi was an odd choice. I’m sure she’ll smash it as usual though and I can’t wait to hear her belt out ‘Out Tonight’. 

Reading about the cast and rooting through the website has only fueled my excitement. If you don’t have tickets yet you can book them here.   

Saturday, 5 January 2013

My Favourite Shows Of 2012

With my theatre schedule for 2013 filling up nicely, I wanted to reflect on some of the best theatre shows I have seen lastyear. 2012 was definitely the year for me to broaden my theatre tastes and whilst working with the National Theatre of Scotland I have seen some of the most innovative productions.

Let's start at the very beginning (Sound of Music style)- my first show of 2012 was surprise surprise, 'Wicked'.

 My birthday is in February and for the past few years it's been tradition to take a trip to London to see the musical that started this obsession that is theatre. Wicked is my escape from reality and no matter how many different casts I have seen, that inspiring feeling I get when Defying Gravity is performed remains the same.

On that same London trip I had an evening to fill and decided to dayseat for Legally Blonde - best decision ever!! The ticket cost me £10 and the experience of my first time sitting in the front row was priceless.

In 2012 I saw this show 8 times in total including the tour. It has such a feel good, upbeat score and I always left grinning from ear to ear. 

Next up is one of most through provoking pieces of theatre I think I have ever seen. The National Theatre of Scotland's production of 'Macbeth'. 

I was lucky enough to attend the media call which was such an interesting and brilliant experience. We got to chat to the minds behind the set and the lighting. Interviewing Alan Cumming was a particular highlight. I learned a lot that day.  

Last year was also the year I realised that some of the best talent can be found right on my door step. I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring what my local theatres have had to offer. One show that really sticks in my mind was Insideout Productions show 'Company'. 

The artistic director - Paul Harper-Swan - was kind enough to let me interview the cast, which was a daunting but fun event. The show was first class and deserved the sell out performances it got. 

And last but by no means least, the final production (excluding panto) I saw this year was the phenomenal 'Glasgow Girls'. 

This show embodies everything humanity should be about. Friendship, love and community spirit, whilst creating awareness for the hard hitting, heartbreaking subject of dawn raiding. It's transferring to London next month and is definitely a must see.  

2012 was such a good year for me theatre wise and I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store. 

What were your best shows of 2012?