Fame the Musical Review

New Victoria Theatre – until October 6th

Reviewer Heather Chalkley

4****

Selladoor Worldwide had big shoes to fill taking on the iconic Fame. This is the classic coming of age story line, full of love and hope, broken dreams and success born of hard work.

Outstanding vocals from Stephanie Rojas (Carmen) brought to life the theme tune and her performance gave a gritty reality that there is no quick route to Fame. Jamal Kane Crawford (Tyrone) and Jorgie Porter (Iris) were beautiful together, creating one fluid movement in their dance. The vocal performance of the night, not surprisingly, came from Mica Paris (Miss Sherman). She brought soul to the stage, creating a fullness and richness to the story. The ensemble provided humour and energy, getting the audience to their feet, mirroring the emotional roller coaster and vitality of untamed, exuberant youth.

There were a few times when the players had their back to the audience during solos and duets, which may be to do with the set or where I was sat in the audience. Otherwise the creatives have formed a simple but ingenious set, creating layers that provided alternative perspectives and imbued a range of atmospheres.

Director and choreographer, Nick Winston, has succeeded in capturing the essence of the Fame story, bringing in some modern references for younger audiences. With the vocal strength of Mica Paris and Stephanie Rojas, it has been lifted out of the quagmire of ordinary.

The Habit of Art Review

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford – until 6 October, then touring until 1 December 2018.

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert

4****

Alan Bennett has somehow achieved status as the nation’s favourite human teddy bear, but this play from 2009 is reminder that he has often dealt in dark and complicated themes. Here he gives us the imaginary meeting in 1972 of two great, ageing artists, the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten, in an intense, serious drama that also makes you laugh.

What we see is a play about the rehearsal for a play about this meeting that didn’t happen, so prepare your head for multiple levels of reality. It could be a farce – a messy rehearsal space, a harassed stage manager, actors forgetting their lines and a playwright tearing his hair out. But Bennett uses the comedy and shifting layers of artifice to delve into creativity, secretive sexuality (in a very frank, raw language), theatre, relationships and the interplays and disconnects between artists’ life and work.

Director Philip Franks and a strong cast keep things grounded and clear. Matthew Kelly (yes, as in Stars in their Eyes) is stunning as a physically decrepit but searingly honest Auden, contemplating the end of life and the oddity of being both revered and sordid. In total contrast, David Yelland makes a convincingly prissy Britten. John Wark is solid as the (real-life) BBC interviewer and biographer Humphrey Carpenter, providing a commentary on the lives of the two men. Veronica Roberts stands out as the mother-hen stage manager who soothes egos and keeps everything going. Roberts and her assistant (Alexandra Guelff) also have a tiny but wonderful surreal moment as the actual art that has been produced. Hard to explain, but it works.

Fascinating Aïda’s Adèle Anderson Joins Cast of Doctor Dolittle

FASCINATING AÏDA’S ADÈLE ANDERSON TO JOIN

MARK WILLIAMS  IN THE NEW STAGE PRODUCTION OF LESLIE BRICUSSE’S

DOCTOR DOLITTLE

FULL CAST ANNOUNCED

UK & IRELAND TOUR OPENS ON 9 NOVEMBER 2018

Fascinating Aïda’s Adèle Anderson is confirmed to join Mark Williams, who plays Doctor Dolittle, in the UK & Ireland Tour of Doctor Dolittle. Adèle will play Lady Bellowes/Poison Arrow at the first six venues of the tour – Bromley, Salford, Oxford, Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Hull. 

 

As previously announced, Brian Capron, Vicky Entwistle, Mollie Melia-Redgrave and Patrick Sullivan will play Albert Blossom/Straight Arrow, Polynesia, Emma Fairfax and Matthew Mugg respectively.  Mark Williams and Brian Capron will play the first ten venues on the tour – Bromley, Salford, Oxford, Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Hull, Aberdeen, Northampton, Nottingham and Sheffield.  Vicky Entwistle, Mollie Melia-Redgrave and Patrick Sullivan will play the entire tour. 

 

Also in the cast will be Femi Akinfolarin, Erica Jayne Alden, Lydia Bannister, Joel Bayliss, Evonnee Bentley-Holder, Jane Crawshaw, Emily Essery, Jacob Fisher, George Hankers, Catherine Hannay, Evan James, Leon Kay, Emma Lloyd, Owen McHugh, Ross Meagrow, Tom Norman, Emily Ann Potter, Ellie Seaton and Richard Vorster.  The role of Tommy Stubbins will be shared by Harry Cross, Elliot Morris, Quillan O’Meara McDonald, Louis Parker, Elliott Rose and Thomas Ryan.

 

This new production of Doctor Dolittle, with book, music and lyrics by double Academy Award-winner Leslie Bricusse, will be part of the 50thanniversary celebrations of the original film starring Rex Harrison and will feature the same songs, including the Academy Award-winning Talk To The Animals.  Featuring stunning visual puppetry, this new production, with the book reworked by Leslie Bricusse, will be directed by Christopher Renshaw.

 

Adèle Anderson is best known as a member of the acclaimed cabaret group Fascinating Aïda and co-writes much of their material with founder member Dillie Keane. They have been nominated for the Perrier Award, the Olivier Award (three times) and the New York Drama Desk Award. Adèle’s theatre credits include Follies and Achilles In Heels at the Landor Theatre, Into The Woods at the Derby Playhouse and The Forum, Wythenshawe, the national tour of Ken Hill’s Phantom Of The Opera, and the European Chamber Opera tour of Die Fledermaus. Her film credits include Lady Jane, directed by Trevor Nunn, and Company Business, in which she serenaded Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  She will be seen in the highly-anticipated new Matthew Weiner series, The Romanoffs, which will air on Amazon Prime in October.

 

Mark Williams’s screen credits include The Fast ShowFather Brown101 DalmatiansThe BorrowersShakespeare in Love and seven of the Harry Potter films.  His many theatre credits include Fanshen at the National Theatre, Doctor of Honour for Cheek by Jowl, Moscow GoldSingerA Dream of People and As You Like It for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Art in the West End, Toast at the Royal Court and Tartuffeat the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

 

Brian Capron is probably best known for his role as Richard Hillman in Coronation Street, for which he won a clutch of awards, including a record-breaking five at The Soap Awards.  Other well-known television roles include Mr Hopwood in Grange Hill and Ozias Harding in Where The Heart Is.  His theatre credits include James in Harper Regan at the National Theatre, Nathan Detroit in The Donmar/West End/UK Tour of Guys and Dolls, Geoffrey in Stepping Out (MEN Award nomination for Best Actor in a touring show) and Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show in the West End/UK Tour.  He can currently be seen in the Channel 5 series Celebrity 5 Go Caravanning.  He is most proud that he was a finalist in Celebrity Masterchef!

 

Vicky Entwistle is probably best known for her role as Janice Battersby in Coronation Street.  Other television credits include Father Brown and Sandra in Ackely Bridge.  Her theatre credits include East is East for Northern Stage, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Madame Thenardier in the West End production of Les Misérables and the UK tour of The Vagina Monologues.

 

Mollie Melia-Redgrave appeared in Drew McOnie’s production of On the Town at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and the UK & Ireland Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for Music & Lyrics.  Patrick Sullivan most recently played Blake in Bat Out Of Hell the Musical at the Dominion Theatre, a role he created in the original Manchester Opera House/London Coliseum production. 

 

Eccentric Doctor Dolittle embarks on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail that holds the secret of life and makes the world a happier place. Helped by his human companions and an exotic menagerie of animal friends, including the Pushmi-Pullyu and trusty sidekick Polynesia the parrot, the larger-than-life Doctor Dolittle teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well! 

 

Leslie Bricusse has written the book, music and/or lyrics for more than 40 musical films and plays.  Stage musicals include Stop the World – I Want to Get OffPickwickHarveyGoodbye, Mr ChipsScrooge and Victor/Victoria, while films (songs and/or screenplays) include Scrooge,Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryGoodbye, Mr ChipsSupermanVictor/VictoriaHome Alone 1 & 2HookGoldfingerYou Only Live TwiceThe Last Emperor and various Pink Panthers.  His songs include What Kind of Fool Am I?My Old Man’s A DustmanGoldfingerYou Only Live TwiceOn A Wonderful Day Like TodayThe Candy Man and Oompa-Loompa-Doompa-Dee-Doo.  As well as winning two Oscars, he has won a Grammy and eight Ivor Novello Awards.

 

The new stage production of Doctor Dolittle will be directed by Christopher Renshaw (Le Grand MortZorroTabooWe Will Rock YouThe King and I), with choreography by Josh Rhodes (Carousel and Sweeney Todd at the London Coliseum, Company starring Neil Patrick Harris for PBS, and Cinderella and Bright Star on Broadway), design by Tom Piper (Associate Designer at the RSC from 2004  to 2014, and designed the installation for the Tower of London poppies installation and subsequent tours – original concept and Poppies by Paul Cummins), puppet design by Nick Barnes, puppet direction by Jimmy Grimes, lighting by Chris Davey, sound by Ben Harrison, and musical supervision by Mike Dixon (most recent theatre includes Mrs Henderson PresentsOh What A Lovely WarBodyguardTabooHairZorroNever Forget and We Will Rock You). 

Doctor Dolittle is based on the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting and the Twentieth Century Fox film. 

 

Doctor Dolittle is performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Ltd.

 

The UK & Ireland Tour of Doctor Dolittle is produced by Music & Lyrics Limited, the producers behind the highly successful recent tours of The Addams FamilyChitty Chitty Bang BangOklahoma!Fiddler on the RoofHigh Society and The King and I, in association with Churchill Theatre Bromley.

 

Website: www.doctordolittlemusical.com

Facebook: Doctor Dolittle The Musical

Twitter: @DolittleMusical

 

 

TOUR SCHEDULE

9 – 24 November 2018                   Churchill Theatre Bromley*+                                        020 3285 6000                                                                                                       www.churchilltheatre.co.uk                                        

11 December – 5 January 2019      The Lowry Salford*+                                                   0843 208 6000                                                                                                        www.thelowry.com                                                    

15 – 26 January                              Oxford New Theatre*+                                                0844 871 3020                                                                                                        www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford

29 January – 9 February                Wolverhampton Grand Theatre*+                                01902 42 92 12

                                                        www.grandtheatre.co.uk                                            

12 – 23 February                            Newcastle Theatre Royal*+                                          0844 811 2121

                                                       www.theatreroyal.co.uk                                             

26 February – 9 March                   Hull New Theatre*+                                                     01482 300 306                                                                                                      www.hulltheatres.co.uk                                              

12 – 23 March                                His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen*                               01224 641122

                                                      www.aberdeenperformingarts.com                             

26 March – 6 April                         Royal & Derngate Northampton*                                 01604 624811                                                                                                          www.royalandderngate.co.uk                                     

9 – 20 April                                    Nottingham Theatre Royal*                                         0115 989 5555   

                                                      www.trch.co.uk                                                    

                                                                                                                            

23 April – 4 May                            Sheffield Lyceum Theatre*                                         0114 249 6000

                                                      www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk                                      

 

14 – 25 May                                  Festival Theatre Edinburgh                                         0131 529 6000

                                                      www.edtheatres.com                                                 

 

28 May – 8 June                           Alhambra Theatre Bradford                                       01274 432000

                                                      www.bradford-theatres.co.uk                                     

 

11 – 22 June                                 Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin                              0844 847 2455

                                                     www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie                                    On sale to be announced

 

25 June – 6 July                           Millennium Forum, Derry                                            02871 264455

                                                     www.millenniumforum.co.uk                                      

 

9 – 20 July                                    The Marlowe, Canterbury                                            01227 8787787

                                                     www.themarlowetheatre.com                                     

                                                   

23 July – 3 August                        Glasgow King’s Theatre                                             0844 871 7648

                                                     www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre

 

6 – 17 August                               Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff                                02920 636464

                                                      www.wmc.org.uk                                                       On sale to be announced

 

20 – 31 August                              Mayflower Theatre, Southampton                               02380 711811

                            www.mayflower.org.uk                                

 

3 – 14 September                          Blackpool Winter Gardens                                         0844 856 1111  

                            www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk             

                  

17 – 28 September                        New Wimbledon Theatre, London                               0844 871 7646

                                                       www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbledon-theatre

 

8 – 19 October                              Milton Keynes Theatre                                                0844 871 7652

                                                      www.atgtickets.com/milton-keynes-theatre

 

22 October – 2 November             Birmingham Hippodrome                                            0844 338 5000

                                                       www.birminghamhippodrome.com                              On sale to be announced

 

+Adèle Anderson dates

*Mark Williams & Brian Capron dates

TOM CONTI ALONGSIDE JENNY SEAGROVE TO SUPPORT THEATRE ROYAL WINDSOR BY STARRING IN NOËL COWARD’S BRIEF ENCOUNTER ON AIR

TOM CONTI ALONGSIDE JENNY SEAGROVE

TO SUPPORT THEATRE ROYAL WINDSOR 

BY STARRING IN

NOËL COWARD’S 

BRIEF ENCOUNTER ON AIR

A SPECIAL LIVE STAGED RADIO PLAY ADAPTATION

OF THE ICONIC MOVIE SCREENPLAY

 

DIRECTED BY ROY MARSDEN

RUNNING AT THE THEATRE ROYAL WINDSOR 

FROM 2 – 6 OCTOBER 2018

 

With a last minute drop out from its programming, most theatres would go dark. Not so at Theatre Royal, WindsorFrom tomorrow evening, Tuesday 2 October, the Theatre Royal sees Tom Conti and Jenny Seagrove star in Brief Encounter On Air, the live staged radio play version of the movie classic, alongside Sue HoldernessRoy MarsdenDaniel Casey and Verity Rushworth.

Brief Encounter On Air is the first in a two-week season of live radio play productions that also includes Mystery On Air, a collection of adapted classic thrillers. The live radio play productions replace the previously advertised production, which is to be staged at a later date. Now, Windsor audiences can experience this unique retelling of Britain’s greatest cinematic love story.

Trapped in a loving but unsatisfying marriage, Laura Jesson is unable to stop herself from falling for a stranger she encounters at the train station. The man, Alec Harvey, is also married and the pair are troubled to find their innocent friendship developing into something more serious. As passion takes over, Laura must make an impossible decision and a heart-wrenching goodbye.

A story of temptation, passion and forbidden love, Brief Encounter On Air is presented in the style of 1940s radio and steeped in romantic glamour, with Tom Conti and Jenny Seagrove leading this all-star cast who perform this radio adaptation of the award winning 1945 film, live on stage.

 Tom Conti is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of his generation. Unforgettable as the leading man in hit films such as Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Shirley Valentine he has also appeared as a myriad of different characters on both the big and small screens as well as on stage. Recent movies include: The Dark Knight Rises and Street Dance. Awards include an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for his stage performance in Whose Life is it Anyway? and a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Reuben Reuben.  He and Dame Judi Dench were jointly voted the Most Popular Actors in the West End in the last 25 years.

 

 

LISTINGS

 

BRIEF ENCOUNTER ON AIR 

Theatre Royal Windsor

Directed by Roy Marsden

Sound Design by Dan Sampson

Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 6 October

Performances:

Tuesday – Saturday Evening at 8pm

Thursday Matinee at 2.30pm

Saturday Matinee at 4.45pm

Ticket Prices: From £15

Box Office: 01753 853 888

Website: theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk