Music, Theatre and Review Links Update..

 

Thought I would write a post about a few exciting things that has been going on in my life recently, that I wanted to share. They are all Arts related so thought you would enjoy reading (if you don’t it’s ok we are still all friends here!).

Theatre Reviewer For What’s Offstage? On Soho Radio

Yes you might have already heard me reviewing a selection of productions on the show on a ten minute segment, if not here is my first show here: https://www.mixcloud.com/sohoradio/whats-offstage-21082015/ I also met the wonderful actress Penny McGhie, who had come in to chat to presenter Nina Davis. Techically this wasn’t my first time on What’s Offstage?, as I was also on the show a couple of weeks back chatting to Nina about myself, choosing tracks and singing to close the show, which I absolutely loved. I will next be back on September 18th, so basically I’m reviewing and reporting on the show every two weeks! Oh and it’s on at 9am-10am every Friday so take a listen, it’s an amazing show!!

A Duologue I’ve written is being filmed and showcased..

Not sure how this happened but I’m very excited, and will have more details for you very soon….

Links to Reviews 

Here are links to some recent Theatre reviews I have written for other various blogs and websites:

http://musicaltheatrereview.com/will-barratt-album-launch-london-hippodrome

http://musicaltheatrereview.com/a-midsummer-nights-dream-in-new-orleans-arts-theatre/#.Vd8Qu9m9LCQ

http://carnstheatrepassion.com/2015/08/20/guest-review-by-franmephamg-pascaltheatreco-crossingjerusalem-marks-a-well-crafted-piece-of-theatre-⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F/

http://carnstheatrepassion.com/2015/08/17/guest-review-by-franmephamg-of-indelibleimagez-canalcafe-leaves-a-lasting-impression⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F/

http://www.jonathanbaz.com/2015/07/kit-and-mcconnel-review.html?m=1

http://www.jonathanbaz.com/2015/06/eric-yves-garcia-review.html?m=1

http://carnstheatrepassion.com/2015/08/02/guest-review-by-franmephamg-of-mdscomedyrevue-edfringe-preview-proves-comedy-is-a-strong-remedy-⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F⭐%EF%B8%8F/

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Carmen: Opera Up Close And Personal 

 

Everyone knows that person, who will have that presence that commands attention as soon as they walk in to the room. They twist people round their little finger, get just what they want with the minimal amount of effort. Life seems rosy for them, or is it? OperaUpClose’s production of Bizet’s Carmen at Soho Theatre well and truly conjures up this ice-queen with-a-heart image, with Director Robin Norton-Hale’s exquisite vision.

By creating a sensual yet relateable Carmen (Lilly Papaioannou), added with a dimension of violent defensiveness, seeing her spirit obliterated painfully slowly by the menacing Don Jose( Michael Bracegirlde), the soldier who let’s her escape a spanish prison stint, it’s compulsive viewing. This relationship is the stuff of nightmares, Bracegirlde makes Jose go beyond possessiveness to almost the point of all consuming. There is no love from Don Jose, just a writhe for control between Carmen and himself, his strong Tenor voice adding to moments of great menace. Papaioannou gives a performance that displays her rich and powerful Mezzo voice (the seductive Habenera sounds like it was written for her), as well as some of the finest acting to be seen in Opera today. Her plight as a tormented woman is breathtaking to watch. 

Innocent love interest Escamillo ( Marc Callahan) doesn’t really stand a chance as the salvation to the situation, with the web that has been spun by Both Don Jose and Carmen. He is the perfect man for a tormented Carmen, but this is Opera so the perfect man doesn’t always get an easy ride. Callahan is very charming, with a matinee idol glint in his eye and his intimate rendition of Toreador cemented his power overan audience. Norton-Hale has made the scenes of Carmen and Escamillo capture that first love flush and although their scenes are brief you can feel a tension in the air.

The production is accompanied by a quartet led by musical director Berrak Dyer and adds to the intimate nature of the opera. The solo Violin pizzicato passages were effective of highlighting impending drama. 

All members of the cast were fautless in their performances and a genuine commaradery that radiates to the production is very effective. Micaela (Roisin Walsh) was a revelation as a small town girl, whose heartbreakingly stunning voice impressively portrayed her sadness at playing second best to Carmen with Don Jose’s affections.

Soho Theatre has played host to one of the most exhilarating and dramatic productions of Bizet’s Carmen London has ever seen, OperaUpClose’s realism and outstanding performances make it a Must See! 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Could Previews Become Extinct?

Could theatre production previews become like the bones of a prehistoric dinosaur, a reminder of a long lost time, to be on display in theatrical museums or forgottern all together? There is a real danger of this happening judging by the recent behaviour of certain tabloids reviewing a production of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, at the Barbican while it is still in the preview period. I’m sure you have heard about this and it’s fairly certain The Clangers on their planet have too, but this scolding of the press in question, followed by behaviour and etiquette debates has perhaps detracted from an eventuality, that has risen it’s ugly head. One that happens to be that previews could be phased out and reviews aren’t embargoed until press night, meaning for example that a three month run of a production will be reviewed from open night onwards..

You might be wondering why preview peformances are important for a show. Well it’s a trial run, effectively a way of seeing what works and what doesn’t. It is a way of smoothing out the kinks before the critics are let in to see the production. So a lot can be changed (or not), depending on the show and it’s cast and creative team. It could be argued that this is a safety net and having previews just encourages a production to perhaps be unimaginative and unprepared until press night. A live world tour of a band has to be prepared so that opening night they are on the ball, no second chances, so why does theatre have to be any different?

This might be off the mark, but in sixteenth century England when Shakespeare’s works were gaining momentum, there were no previews just performances, pure and unadulterated. But this doesn’t actually make previews something that are an example of pretentious modern construction or pointless, of course not in fact to the contrary. They are VITAL. If you have the opportunity to improve something whether it’s theatre, a cake or an attitude you grab that bull by the horns. 

Previews are a creative process that need to be cherished, a small minority who have taken it upon themselves to ignore embargoes, and review a production, should not be given an overall power to destroy the etiquette that benefits creative team and audiences alike. Preservation is the only way to describe what needs to be done to ensure that in ten or perhaps twenty years ( yes that near!) the traditional preview hasn’t been thrown on the scrap heap. By looking at how previews can be misconstrude, or seen as irrelevant, is actually the way to save them, as it then highlights the ways to change these views that may have built momentum by those ignoring preview codes of conduct ( by reviewing or commenting before press night). 

The future is never certain especially in the industry we know and love- the arts. With some disecting and rebuilding, the institution of the preview, should flourish, as it’s invaluable influence on theatre and creativity as a whole needs to be realised and not forgottern.

All Hail The Newest West End Diva..Chowsie!!

 There is a new fabulous Diva treading the boards of the West End. Her undeniable talent and natural charm, has enchanted audiences since the critically acclaimed revival of Gypsy, came to London’s Savoy Theatre only a few short months ago. I am of course talking about Nessie, who plays Chowsie in the Show and also happens to be a dog. She likes to be driven in style, has a valet service and her every whim satisfied by none other than the Olivier and BAFTA Winning Imelda Staunton! If you are not seething with envy right now, well then you must be none other than Chowsie herself!

 

Dewynters have caught the Diva in action with this hilarious, as well as insightful video called Chowsie: The West End’s Biggest Diva? There is even a cameo appearance from none other than Imelda Staunton, to show what life backstage with this very special pooch is really like..

#ChowsieTheDivaDog

@GypsyMusicalLDN 

Tag GypsyMusical – London’ on Facebook.

Scott Alan, The Diamond Of Modern British Composers Is At London’s Hippodrome!

 
You have heard the music of Scott Alan, if you haven’t then it is recommended you do this instance for your musical pleasure. This composer of mainly vocal songs, has his compositions performed by musical theatre’s finest and is now bringing a series of concerts of his songbook with some of these great singers to London’s Hippodrome from the 7th-17th September. Guest performers include Eva Noblezada ( Miss Saigon), Dean John-Wilson ( From Here To Eternity) and Celinde Schoenmaker ( Les Miserables).
List of dates and performers are below:

Monday the 7th (8pm)

Scott Alan & Dean John-Wilson with special guest Cynthia Erivo and one lucky unknown talent to be announced

Tuesday the 8th (8pm)

Scott Alan & Oliver Tompsett with special guest Celinde Schoenmaker and one lucky unknown talent to be announced

Wednesday the 9th (11pm)

Scott Alan & Eva Noblezada with special guests Jon Jon Briones & Chris Peluso

Thursday the 10th (11pm)

Scott Alan & Ashleigh Gray with special guests to be announced

Saturday the 12th (8pm)

Scott Alan’s Very Special Birthday Concert Celebrating Mark Shenton featuring over a dozen VERY Special Guests

Monday the 14th (11pm)

Scott Alan & Rachelle Ann Go with special guests Rob Houchen

Tuesday the 15th (8pm)

Scott Alan introduces Jennifer Owens featuring special guest Carol Owens

Wednesday the 16th (8pm)

Scott Alan & Danny-Boy Hatchard with special guest Nina French

Thursday the 17th (11pm)

Scott Alan & Lucie Jones with special guest Hiba Elchikhe

To book tickets visit The Hippodrome, London’s website http://www.hippodromecasino.com/events/2015/september/

http://www.scottalan.net

Life Is A Cabaret (Slightly Maturing) Chum 

Over the last few years Cabaret has seen a resurgence in it’s appeal. To it’s loyal followers who have always seen it’s wonder and treasured place in the arts, hopefully this article about all things cabaret will strike your heart strings like a fine bow. If you are interested to hear a hear a few snippets of info about the genre, keep reading.

First it’s important to clarify Cabaret is theatre, you can’t have a cabaret performance without all the theatrical elements that make it so audience driven. Cabaret leans more towards musical theatre than a play of Shakespearian proportions, with the principle of combining mostly singing, performing instruments and acting. This often includes a monologue/memoir thrown in to the mix that really cements the crowd pleasing nature of cabaret. Singer/Pianists are also very in demand in the cabaret scene, being self contained entities that perform a mixture of repertoire.

What is so exciting about Cabaret, is every performer and show is unique. Whether the performer is a seasoned one or a newbie to the scene that does not matter one bit, of course life experience does make a great performance but some of the most intriguing cabaret artists are a younger generation who seem to muster what experience they do have or simply use their imagination. 

Venues such as The Crazy Coqs or The Hippodrome, both in London, and very contrasting seem to embody this new wave of venues embracing cabaret. Whether larger or smaller seated ones there is a venue to suit every act and audience member. It’s definitely not about size when it’s comes to venue it’s the atmosphere it radiates as somewhere that embraces so many different genres and performer.

Many established performer, in particular musical theatre, give one off or limited run dates (as do most acts) which is sometimes a rare glimpse in to their world with career stories to have you in hysterics, personal strife that will have you in tears and perhaps thought provoking words that will definitely suprise you, whether in song or spoken interjections. 

The musical choices made by the artist is usually what is the most anticipated aspect of a cabaret performance. Depending on the artist and if they write their own songs, the perfect combination is probably a mixture of old favourites and some new gems thrown in there too for some extremely good measure to show the vocal range of the singer.

If you are new to cabaret then it’s defintely recommended as a night of ‘the full package’, an experience that leaves you having an insight in to the performer/s soul, which can be breath taking.

Casting Announced For Bea Roberts Play And Then Come The Nightjars At Theatre503

   It has been confirmed both David Fielder and Nigel Hastings will star in the first show in Theatre503’s autumn season, And Then Come The Nightjars by Bea Roberts. And Then Come The Nightjars is a deeply affecting examination of the crisis caused by the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001. Set in the rural West Country, it shows how the damage is still evident on the landscape ten years on, as well as many years to come.

Royal Shakespeare Company veteran, David Fielder (All’s Well That Ends Well, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It (RSC)) will be playing Michael, who owns a farm in the small South Devon village of Ashwalden. Nigel Hastings (Othello, Henry VI Parts 1 – 3 (Shakespeare’s Globe), Journey’s End (Duke of York’s)) will be joining him as Jeff, a local vet who develops an unlikely friendship with Michael. Amidst a crisis that saw the slaughter of four million animals and the postponement of a general election, the enduring friendship between these two men adds an aching tenderness to the intensely distressing narrative.

This play is one of the two winners of Theatre503’s inaugural international Playwriting Award and was selected from over 1600 submissions. It will be directed by Theatre503’s Artistic Director, Paul Robinson.

Wednesday 2nd – Saturday 26th September 2015 Tuesday to Saturday, 7.45pm
Sunday, 5pm

Theatre503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road,
London SW11 3BW, 

https://theatre503.com/

A Quick Theatrical Guide To August!

You might already have your August all planned with an array of theatrical delights…or you might not. Well if you are the latter, don’t fear, here is a guide of just the tip of the iceberg that London fringe has to offer, with something to cater for every preference.

Grimeborn

Opera! Not just Opera but NEW Productions of contemporary operatic  works, as well as classic favourites at this annual festival at Arcola Theatre 4th-29th August. Definitely give Grimeborn a visit, as there are productions to suit every operatic taste. 

https://www.arcolatheatre.com/whats-on/grimeborn   

 

  A Midsummer Night’s Dream in New Orleans 

Shakespeare’s classic play has been a giving a Jazz soundtrack to make it sizzle this summer at The Arts Theatre 4th-29th August. Including music by such legends as Louis Armstrong and Dr John it promises to be a show to remember!
http://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/whats-on/a-midsummer-nights-dream-in-new-orleans/

 

Inedible Images

Indelible Images is a showcase of new writing from three emerging writers and theatre-makers, which is coming to the Canal Cafe Theatre as part of Camden Fringe on 16th August 2015 at 6.30 p.m for just one night only. If you enjoy new writing you are in for a treat with this showcase.

http://www.camdenfringe.com/?id=3

Frankenstein’s Creature

Frankenstein’s Creature is Swanton’s latest reworking of a classic story for the stage, this theatre being Theatre 503 25th-29th August. Reversing the narrative to put the Creature in control, it unleashes this nineteenth-century creation on the twenty first century, testing the limits of our empathy and morality.

Home

  

Carmen

Bizet’s Carmen is being given the glorious OperaUpClose treatment and performed at Soho Theatre 5th August-19th September. This is one production of the epic Carmen that demands to be seen, performed by the Olivier award winning OperaUpClose and containing some of   Opera’s most enchanting melodies are pretty darn good reasons.

http://www.sohotheatre.com/whats-on/carmen

You Won’t Succeed On Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews

This incredible homeage to the jewish composers and performers who have shaped musical theatre for the past 80 years is coming to St. James Theatre 25th August- 5th September. This is a must see for all Musical theatre fans and those who want to hear beautifully crafted melodies and orchestrations..what are you waiting for?

Book Tickets