Friday, 21 April 2017

MAMMA MIA


There is no better feeling than coming out of the theatre on a high after a sing and a dance to Abba songs. My favourite song of all time is 'Dancing Queen' and when it was played at my wedding I jumped up on a table and danced to it!

I was so excited to be able to make the opening night of Mamma Mia at The Regent Theatre, Stoke. I saw the film 9 years so didn't make too many comparisons to the stage version.

The story is set on a romantic Greek Island, there is love, laughter and friendship. Sophie finds her mother, Donna's old diary and is on a quest to find the father she never knew. She invites all three possibilities which unfolds some hilarious memories. 

Sophie (Lucy May Barker) opened the show with her beautiful rendition of 'I have a Dream'. The chemistry between her and Fiance, Sky played by Phillip Ryan was convincing, she probably didn't have to do much acting to be fair!

Helen Dobson played the determined and bolshy Donna, she belted out a very emotional 'Winner Takes it all' and 'Slipping through my fingers' which had us choking back the tears. 

Donna's friends, the very funny Tanya (Emma Clifford) and Rosie (Gillian Hardie) all friends from different backgrounds were entertaining and amusing.  Clifford's performance of  'Does your Mother Know' and the Pepper (Louis Stockil) had us in stitches, as did Hardie's version of 'Take a Chance on Me'.

The three potential father's Sam (Alex Bourne), Bill (Christopher Hollis) and Harry (Jamie Hogarth) were equally brilliant, all had us captivated. 

In my opinion the music seemed to overpower the singing a little which may have been a slight technical fault, but it certainly didn't spoil the amazing show. The costumes were colourful and flamboyant, very Abba-esque. The finale had the whole audience on their feet.

Thank you for the music Abba! 

MAMMA MIA! is on until Saturday 29th April. Go to http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/mamma-mia/regent-theatre/


Thursday, 30 March 2017

FUNNY GIRL


It's not often I don't know the story-line or many songs from a musical, so although I'd heard rave reviews about Funny Girl, it was nice to go along without any expectations and try to predict the storyline (which I got completely wrong!)

The movie version brought global fame to Barbra Streisand 50 years ago and boasts some of the most iconic songs in film and theatre history, including People and Don't Rain on My Parade. It tells the true story of Fanny Brice, whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star.

West End star, Natasha J Barnes played Fanny brilliantly, her voice was captivating and her
american accent was spot on, her comedy expressions and mannerisms had the audience laughing out loud. Recording artist Darius Campbell (of Pop Idol fame) played a charismatic, handsome and very charming Nick Arnstein. The chemistry between them was believable and romantic.

Set in the 1920's the costumes were colourful, scenery was incredible and I was impressed with the amount of quick changes including footwear. 

The ensemble entertained us with their tap and ballet numbers and Joshua Lay showed off his talents as the lovable Eddie Ryan. Rachel Izen played Mrs Brice (Fanny's mum) surprised me with her energetic dancing, she obviously wasn't as old as she looks!

Barnes was genuinely humbled and emotional with her standing ovation, which was well deserved. Funny Girl is on until Saturday.



Friday, 24 February 2017

FOREVER JACKSON - LEGACY OF A LEGEND

I introduced Luke to Michael Jackson about 2 years ago and he was instantly hooked, I grew up listening to his music and its hard to believe the Bad Album first came out 30 years ago, so when a friend told me that Forever Jackson was coming to Crewe Lyceum I knew I had to get tickets. An even bigger bonus was it was during half term so the late night didn't matter!

It was lovely to see so many other children dressed up as the man himself, don't think Luke would have forgiven me if he was the only one with the black fedora and sequin glove. You could feel the excitement in the theatre waiting for the show to start. It was an amazing atmosphere when Robin Parsons stepped on stage for the first time and opened with 'Wanna be starting something'. His look and his moves were identical to Michael Jackson and it gave me goosebumps as we have watched many videos and live show recordings to compare. My personal favourite is Smooth Criminal and when he performed the 'lean' we were highly impressed.

The costumes were also a carbon copy of the originals, there was lots of quick changes but we were entertained with dance breaks by the talented 4 Hip Hop Pop dancers. The musicians were equally outstanding and the guitarist for Dirty Diana was incredible.

After the interval we were treated to some oldies from the Jackson 5 and an acapella version of 'Why' which dispelled the rumours that Robin lip syncs, there was certainly no doubt about him singing live. We weren't disappointed by the Moonwalk during 'Billie Jean' and the whole dance break section under the spotlight.

At the end, Robin does a Free meet and greet for the fans, he said that he would not leave until the last person had had their picture taken. It was a real treat for Luke and such a nice thing to do for the fans as I'm sure after an energetic 2 hour show all he wanted to do was take off the make up and costume and get home!

Making memories with my son is what I love doing best and I think I succeeded, with the help of this stunning performance of the legend, Michael Jackson. We hope Robin returns to Crewe next year, we will certainly be back again!

Check out his website for updates of forthcoming shows
http://www.foreverjackson.co.uk/



Thursday, 22 December 2016

WINTER WONDERLAND - SNOWDOME, TAMWORTH

Monday, 12 December 2016

ALADDIN - CREWE LYCEUM


We 'flew' into Crewe Lyceum on Saturday for the opening night of Aladdin, we arrived early to try out Wishee Washee's Street Food which was tasty and good value for money.

I grew up watching Cannon and Ball and saw them on stage when I was around Luke's age, I even had the 'Rock On Tommy' braces! 30 years on (and a bit!) I still found them hilarious and they're clever one-liners and banter had the audience chuckling at PC Tommy & PC Bobby.

Dan Walter of Stage School fame, was a charismatic Aladdin and his partnering with the beautiful Princess Jasmine, Danielle Chupak gave us a convincing romantic storyline. Their dancing and singing enthralled us.

Wishee Washee was played by CBeebies, Sid Sloane, he was great at involving the audience by shouting out 'Hiya Wishee' whenever he walked onto the stage. Their mother, Widow Twankey was the funny Malcolm Lord, the striptease was very funny and I almost had to cover Luke's eyes!

Mark Turnbull was the perfect Panto baddy as Abanazer and his sidekick Scheherazade (my hubby's favourite character!) was Lauren Mobley.

Without giving away too many spoilers, Dooby Duck and his friends put on an impressive show, it has us all captivated.

The costumes were stunning and colourful and it was lovely to see the theatre so full and buzzing.
I hope they sort out the sound issues as there was a bit of reverberation and the music seemed to drown out the singing at times but other than that, I would recommend as a great family entertainment show.

Go to https://crewelyceum.co.uk/Online/crewe-pantomime for tickets.


Saturday, 10 December 2016

CINDERELLA - The most magical pantomime


As each year passes by, I wonder how long it will be until the 'magic' of Christmas disappears, especially as Luke is now 9. There is one thing that will never die because I won't let it, and that is an annual visit to the Panto.

This year it was a family affair as Mark was able to come along too, there was such an exciting vibe walking into the theatre with a red carpet and gold tinsel curtain and lots of little girls wearing princess dresses .

Cinderella's theme remained traditional throughout with the odd 'modern' twist that had Luke and his friend in stitches. References to the Poo emoji, dabbing, mannequin challenge and Pineapple pen was 'down with the kids' whilst the adult innuendos had the grown ups 'lolling'! 

The lovable and very popular Jonny Wilkes played Buttons also directed the production, his character as always was cheeky and hilarious. The chemistry between him and the talented Christian Patterson is slap-stick entertainment, he was Beyonce one of the Ugly sisters and also wrote the script and directed too. The other Ugly sister, Rihanna was the comical Simon Nehan, I loved how Luke explained to his friend that they were both men!

Finley Guy played the beautiful Cinderella, her voice was magnificent and I was emotional with the transformation before the ball, I literally had tears rolling down my face. The story telling between her and Prince Charming (Owen Broughton) was romantic. Ian Stroughair played a camp and humorous Dandini, we enjoyed singing along to his YMCA.

The 'Who, What, I don't Know' was my favourite sketch and had me literally splitting my sides, it included Dandini, Baron Hardup (Michael Geary) and Buttons. 

It was an incredible show, full of laughs for all the family, the best one yet!

To book your tickets if you haven't already go to:-



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

THE COMMITMENTS


The Commitments is one of those films that I always meant to see but never got round to it so last night I went into the theatre not really knowing the main storyline. I was familiar with the famous songs “Mustang Sally”, “In the Midnight Hour”, "I heard it through the grapevine", "River Deep, Mountain High" and “Try a Little Tenderness" so quite surprised why I'd never seen it before.

The story is set in Dublin in the 1980’s when an ambitious band manager, Jimmy Rabbitte (Andrew Linnie) and a group of aspiring musicians get together in the hope of forming a band. Jimmy wants to manage the world’s greatest soul band and holds auditions at his dad's house played by Kevin Kennedy of Coronation Street Fame. He calls the band “The Commitments” and together they attempt to head up an Irish soul revolution.

The band is made up of egotistical lead singer, Deco played by a brilliant Brian Gilligan, when he belted out Proud Mary in the opening number as a drunk at the Christmas party, I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed. The talented band members were all musicians playing their own instruments too, pianist, drummers, guitarists, saxophonist and trumpeter. Each and every band member had their own hilarious character. The 3 backing singers had superb voices and dance moves to match.

I loved how we were their audience at a gig, they certainly deserved the standing ovation at the end, it was a fun and feel good show, I can't wait to watch the film now.

So in the words of 'Wilson Pickett'.......Do you like Good Music, Sweet soul music?.....if so you need to get your tickets before its too late. At the Regent Theatre until Saturday 19th November http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/regent-theatre/