Unfortunate – The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch Review

Blackpool Grand – until 25 May 2024

Reviewed by Debra Skelton

5*****

The Little Mermaid takes me back to when my daughter was little where all the focus was on Ariel (she was a miniature version of her) but have you ever wondered more about who Ursula, the Sea Witch is and what shenanigans she was up to before meddling into Ariel’s life. If the answer is yes, then get yourself down to the Grand Theatre Blackpool before Saturday 25th May 2024 to watch the musical parody Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch.

This musical has ridden the wave of Edinburgh fringe success, with book and lyrics by Grant and Daniel Foxx and directed by the talented Robyn Grant who played the lead in the show’s original production.

We get to explore the backstory of Ursula and her relationship with Triton and how his father framed her for a murder and banished her from the palace. It then continues 20 years later when Triton asks for her help with his daughter Ariel with Ursula stealing her voice so Arial can live as a human girl for three days to woo Prince Eric. It shows that the reason for stealing Ariel’s voice was actually to teach the hapless mermaid an important lesson in independence.

Without a doubt, the shining pearl of the show is its cast. Shawna Hamic (from Orange is the New Black) as Ursula blends humour and fierceness and is an absolute force of nature with phenomenal vocals to boot. River Medway (from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK) is a fabulously air-headed Ariel who sings her heart out about her insatiable desires. Thomas Lowe (Manchester born and West End star) as Triton whose presence on stage could not and should not be missed. The rest of the cast were outstanding including Jamie Mawson as Eric but particularly Allie Dart and Julian Capolei who leap between characters and accents non-stop throughout the production.

Special thanks also need to go to Abby Clarke for vibrant coloured campy costumes, inventive puppets and props that creates an underwater world that’s as whimsical as it is wicked. Melody Sinclair for the wonderful choreography and Adam King and Lucy Baker-Swinburn for the lighting and sounds that worked together to immerse the audience in Ursula’s dark waters.

I have to say, this musical is an hilarious, campy ride that had me hooked from the first moment Ursula swam onto the stage with all the sass and spark you would expect from a fabulous sea witch. Unfortunate is everything you could want in a musical parody and more. It is quirky and clever, with a cast that’s as talented as they are hilarious.

Come From Away Review

Birmingham Hippodrome – until Saturday 1st June 2024

Reviewed by Nadia Dodd

5*****

A new musical to me that I had heard of but didn’t know much about, so given the opportunity for the review tonight I did some research prior to the show. Based on the true life story of 7,000 passengers whose flights were grounded in Canada in light of the 9/11 tragedy and a very small Newfoundland community who welcomed the ‘come from aways’ into their lives.

We all know where we were when we heard the news of the 9/11 disaster, no one reported internationally about the people who had flights grounded whilst the air space had to be closed in the following days.

This musical first opened in 2017 on Broadway and theatres are continuing to sell out shows and audiences are still raising to their feet in admiration of the cast following each performance, no surprise the show has until now won four Olivier Awards. Written by Canadian married writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein.

From the very first song ‘Welcome to the Rock’ it was apparent that we were in for a very entertaining 1 hour & 40 minutes. The whole cast of 12 play a number of different roles, from the Captain of one of the aircraft, a mother of a fire fighter who she is desperate to make contact with and of course the residents of Gander, the community who welcomed the passengers and who quickly became part of their lives.

Staging was very minimal and simplistic, we were taken from inside the local bar, to on the aircraft, inside a local school and travelling on a bus, by just tables and chairs being moved precisely by the cast perfectly. The band were just out of sight but still on stage, the audience are treated to whistles, Irish flutes, electric and acoustic guitars, drums, fiddles to name a few, I loved that during a couple of scenes the band do come on stage and are also really part of the show. They also received a standing ovation after the finale which they totally deserved.

Personally, I’m pleased I didn’t know much about this show prior to tonight, mesmerised from the start with the singing and dancing and learning how so much positivity and kindness can come from an indirect tragedy. Knowing there was truth behind this restores my faith in humanity.

THE BOOK OF GRACE REVIEW

ARCOLA THEATRE LONDON – UNTIL 8th JUNE 2024

Reviewed by Jackie Thornton

4****

(c) Alex Brenner. No use without credit.

This tense allegorical kitchen sink drama, a companion piece to Suzan-Lori Parks’s Pulitzer prize winning play Topdog/Underdog, makes its UK debut with direction from Femi Elufowoju jr, bringing universal themes of ambition, family-ties, love and the power of redemption to life.

Set right on the US-Mexico border, we never leave the confines of the modest family home where border patrol officer Vet (Peter De Jersey) and his young wife Grace (Ellena Vincent) reside, yet the boundaries and limitations of such a construction are keenly felt in domesticity too.

Austere set and costume design from William Fricker and Rae Smith reinforces the trappings of their circumstances and select hiding spots, use of different levels and rain are put to good effect. Vet, who takes pride in ensuring aliens are kept out of his country, is due to receive a medal for his service so Grace, determined to heal an old family rift, invites estranged son Buddy (Daniel Francis-Swaby) to the ceremony. But Buddy arrives armed with resentment, an ultimatum and (several) hand grenades. Can upbeat and hopeful Grace bring this father and son back together and contain the threat? Or will the titular Book of Grace, a scarlet bound collection of stories about humanity’s propensity for good which Grace keeps hidden under the floorboards, become yet more tinder to Vet’s jealous explosive temper?

It’s in Grace’s secret life that we experience the real power and thematic resonance of this play and a blistering performance from Vincent is vulnerable and convincing. Francis-Swaby is highly watchable as he portrays a young man who longs for, hates and fears his father and it’s also with him that the play finds its lighter, more comic moments, which are but few. De Jersey meanwhile does everything in his power to ensure that we do not warm to Vet.

The first act is quite a slow burn with everyone on a version of their best behaviour but we know there’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and act two certainly delivers in cranking up the action with an ending that will take your breath away.

CAST ANNOUNCEMENT: A Jaffa Cake Musical @ The Edinburgh Fringe

Gigglemug Theatre presents
A Jaffa Cake Musical
Time to decide once and for all… Cake or biscuit?
3:10PM (1hr), 31 July – 26 August 2024 (not 13 Aug) @ Pleasance Courtyard

Inspired by the 1991 tribunal which determined the true identity of a Jaffa Cake, multi-award winning Gigglemug Theatre (Scouts! The Musical, RuneSical, Timpson: The Musical) return to the Edinburgh Fringe
with a brand-new musical comedy for the whole family!

Jaffa Cakes are a British institution but their identity has always prompted debate, so Team Gigglemug, known for creating seriously silly musicals based on existing brands, set out to shed light on one of the most bizarre and heated legal battles in recent history. Whether you’re a Jaffanatic or have never even eaten a Jaffa Cake, this new musical takes the biscuit (or cake…?).

Gigglemug’s debut show was the Edinburgh Fringe hit Timpson: The Musical (sponsored by everyone’s favourite high street shop, Timpson) which won The Stage Edinburgh Award and made it into The Guardian’s pick of the Fringe. In 2022, the company returned to Edinburgh with their critically-acclaimed interactive production RuneSical, based on the BAFTA-winning online game RuneScape. Last year, Gigglemug staged Scouts! The Musical (created in partnership with The Scouts) at The Other Palace which was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off-West End Production.

The cast is a Gigglemug supergroup consisting of the show’s writer Sam Cochrane (Kevin), star of Timpson: The Musical Sabrina Messer (Katherine), from RuneSical Alex Prescot (Judge), from Scouts! The Musical Katie Pritchard (Tax Man) & Harry Miller (Jake) from Peter Pan at the National & The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the Bridge. The production is directed by Ali James, known for her work on Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, The London 50 Hour Improvathon and as part of Mischief Theatre (Peter Pan Goes Wrong/Magic Goes Wrong), with musical direction & arrangements by Faking Bad’s Rob Gathercole.

FULL CAST ANNOUNCED FOR RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! IN CONCERT AT THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE

FULL CAST

ANNOUNCED FOR

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA!

IN CONCERT AT

THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE

Further casting has been announced for RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! in Concert, which returns to its original West End home, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, on Monday 19 August and Tuesday 20 August.

Joining the previously announced Phil Dunster (Ted Lasso) as Curly and Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins)as Laurey are Christina Bianco (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) as Ado Annie, Jordan Shaw (Les Misérables) as Will Parker, five-time Olivier Award nominee and two-time Olivier Award winner Joanna Riding (Sondheim’s Old Friends and Carousel) as Aunt Eller, Tosh Wanogho-Maud (The Drifters Girl) as Jud Fry, Irvine Iqbal (The Witches) as Ali Hakim, Nicole-Lily Baisden (Anything Goes)as Gertie and Sebastien Torkia (Guys & Dolls) as Andrew. The cast is completed by George Beet (Assistant Choreographer), Ashleigh Graham (Assistant Choreographer), David McIntosh, Amonik Melaco, Carrie Willis, David Winters, Jessica Wright and the London Musical Theatre Chorus.

The production is directed and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Bill Deamer, and features Robert Russell Bennett’s full original 28-piece orchestrations performed by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Ben Glassberg, with sound design by Tom Marshall, set & costume design by Rebecca Brower, lighting design by Tim Deiling, casting by Sarah-Jane Price, production management by Pete Kramer and company stage management by Peter Barnett.

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! opened on Broadway in 1943 and later transferred to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for its West End premiere in 1947. OKLAHOMA! was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration, and features some of their most loved songs, including ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’’, ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top’ and the titular title song ‘Oklahoma!’.

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! in Concert is produced by JAS Theatricals, Fourth Wall Live and the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, the team behind the WhatsOnStage Award-winning concert of Love Never Dies.

LISTINGS INFORMATION

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S OKLAHOMA! in Concert

Dates: 19 – 20 August 2024

Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Catherine Street
London
WC2B 5JF

Performances:  7.30pm on Monday 19 August, 2.30pm & 7:30pm on Tuesday 20 August.

Box Office: 020 3925 2998

Website:         www.oklahomaconcert.co.uk
Facebook:      OklahomaConcertUK
Instagram:      @OklahomaConcert
X:                    @OklahomaConcert

Rodgers & Hammerstein: @rodgersandhammerstein

FULL COMPANY ANNOUNCED FOR THE WEST END TRANSFER OF NEXT TO NORMAL

FULL COMPANY ANNOUNCED

FOR THE WEST END TRANSFER OF THE DONMAR

WAREHOUSE’S ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF

NEXT TO NORMAL

CAROLYN MAITLAND, BEN HEATHCOTE,

JAKE REYNOLDS and LIZZY PARKER JOIN as STANDBYS

ALONGSIDE PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED ACCLAIMED CAST MEMBERS

CAISSIE LEVY, JAMIE PARKER,

JACK WOLFEELEANOR WORTHINGTON-COX,

TREVOR DION NICHOLAS & JACK OFRECIO

who reunite for season at Wyndham’s Theatre, London

Music by Pulitzer, Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning composer TOM KITT

Book and Lyrics by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning writer BRIAN YORKEY

For all information and tickets, visit www.nexttonormal.com

The critically acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of the Broadway musical Next To Normal today announces its full company ahead of its transfers to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre this summer. Next To Normal – which sold every seat at every performance across its season at Donmar Warehouse, where the production made its long-awaited UK Premiere – begins performances at Wyndham’s Theatre on Tuesday 18 June 2024 for a strictly limited 14-week season.

Carolyn Maitland (Woman in White, Jersey Boys) joins the company as standby Diana, having previously performed this role during the Donmar Warehouse season, alongside new cast members Ben Heathcote (The Beautiful Game, Fame) as standby Dan / Dr. Madden / Dr. Fine, Lizzy Parker (Heathers: The Musical) as standby Natalie, Jake Rynolds (Grease, Sunshine on Leith) as standby Gabe / Henry.

Previously announced cast members returning to their celebrated roles include:

  • Caissie Levy* who played the original Elsa in Frozen on Broadway, and whose other leading roles include Caroline Or Change and Leopoldstadt playsDiana Goodman
  • Jamie Parker – Olivier Award-winner for his role as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London and on Broadway and portrays Robin Janvrin in Season 6 of Netflix’s The Crown plays Dan Goodman.
  • Jack Wolfe*, who was nominated in the Emerging Talent category at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his role in Next To Normal at the Donmar Warehouse and star of Netflix series Shadow and Bone plays Gabe Goodman.
  • Eleanor Worthington-Cox*, whose credits include Jerusalem at Apollo Theatre, and the youngest winner of an Olivier Award for her lead role in Matilda The Musical plays Natalie Goodman.
  • Trevor Dion Nicholas, whose West End credits include the Genie in Aladdin and George Washington in Hamilton plays Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine.
  • Jack Ofrecio, whose credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare’s Globe plays Henry.

Nominated for their Donmar Warehouse performances at the 2024 Oliver Awards in addition to the show’s ‘Best New         Musical’ nomination.

When the landmark musical debuted on Broadway in 2010, Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it “Brave and breathtaking. It is something much more than a feel-good musical; it is a feel-everything musical.” And Peter Marks of The Washington Post called it “a moving, blisteringly honest, and inordinately powerful new musical stocked with beautiful songs that get to the heart of the story – and simply get to the heart.” Next to Normal went on to win three Tony Awards, including Best Original Score, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, one of only 10 musicals in history to receive the prestigious honour.

Next To Normal is an intimate exploration of family and illness, loss and grief. At its heart is Diana Goodman, a suburban wife and mother living with bipolar disorder and haunted by her past. Outgoing Donmar Artistic Director Michael Longhurst directs this powerful rock musical.

Next To Normal’s creative team is led by Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning composer Tom Kitt and Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning writer Brian Yorkey.

The creative team is rounded out by Musical Supervisor Nigel Lilley; Set and Costume Designer Chloe Lamford; Movement, Choreography and Additional Direction Ann Yee; Lighting Designer Lee Curran; Sound Designer Tony Gayle; Video Designer Tal Rosner; Orchestrations Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, Musical Director Nick Barstow; Vocal Arrangements Annmarie Milazzo; Casting Director Anna Cooper CDG, Associate Director Alessandra Davidson; Associate Set and Costume Designer Helen Hebert, Associate Musical Director Natalie Pound and Production Manager Chris Hay.

Next To Normal is produced by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, John Gore, Ambassador Theatre Group, Aaron Glick, Pine Street Productions, P3 Productions and Donmar Warehouse.

Tickets are on-sale at www.nexttonormal.com

★★★★★

“Electrifying… beautiful… heartwrenching”

Sunday Express

“Kitt and Yorkey’s decision to write about mental health implicitly rebukes those who think musicals can’t be serious. Their approach is compassionate, thoughtful, but also witty”

Evening Standard

★★★★★

“It tears at the heart in a way few musicals manage.”

Attitude

★★★★★

“A heart-shatteringly extraordinary piece of theatre. It has no heroes or villains, just ordinary people trying to survive intense heartache and the alienation of mental illness.”

Broadway World

“Kitt and Yorkey’s musical combines a sensitive exploration of the issue with a wonderful score. Astonishing.”

Daily Telegraph

“MY FAVORITE THINGS: THE RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN 80TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT” TO AIR ON SKY ARTS ON 26 MAY 2024 AT 6 P.M

“MY FAVORITE THINGS:

THE RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN

80TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT”

TO AIR ON SKY ARTS ON 26 MAY 2024 AT 6 P.M.

Concord Originals and The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization announced today that the star-studded My Favorite Things: The Rodgers & Hammerstein 80th Anniversary Concert will be broadcast on Sky Arts on Sunday, 26 May 2024 at 6 p.m. Directed for the screen by five-time BAFTA® winner Julia Knowles. The concert was captured on12 December 2023 at London’s newly restored Theatre Royal Drury Lane – the same venue that premièred the original West End productions of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific and The King and I. More information about the concert can be found at RH80Concert.com.

Included in Sky Arts’ celebration of the 80th anniversary of the legendry songwriting partnership of Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II is the airing of three classic R&H films:

  • Friday, 24 May at 6 p.m. – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1965 film)
  • Saturday, 25 May at 6 p.m. – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (1955 film)
  • Monday, 27 May at 6 p.m. – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific (1958 film)

Additionally, the 42-track live recording of My Favorite Things: The Rodgers & Hammerstein 80th Anniversary Concert will be released on 31 May on double CD and digital platforms worldwide from Concord Theatricals Recordings. The new album is now available to preorder on CD HERE.

The full concert will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 4 June. It can be preordered HERE.

The landmark concert event was headlined by recent R&H leading lady Joanna Ampil  (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific);two-time Olivier Award® winner Michael Ball; television, film and stage actor Daniel Dae Kim; four-time Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman; Emmy®, two-time GRAMMY® and six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald; Olivier Award® nominee Julian Ovenden; West End sensation Lucy St. Louis; Tony Award winner Aaron Tveit; two-time Olivier Award nominee Marisha Wallace; and two-time Tony, two-time Golden Globe® and Emmy Awardnominee Patrick Wilson. The performance also featured Anna-Jane Casey, Lily Kerhoas and Jordan Shaw, along with special appearances by EGOT winners Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rita Moreno.

Completing the company were Jade Albertsen, Alex Louize Bird, Matthew Caputo, Dan Cooke, Barry Drummond, Harry Francis, Matt Gibson, Bethany Huckle, Jonny Labey, Brenda Newhouse, Emily Ann Potter, Sophie Pourret, Stephen Quildan and Rachel Wang-Hei Lau.

The celebration of the historic partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II featured the 40-piece Rodgers & Hammerstein Concert Orchestra, conducted by Simon Lee, with stage direction by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Christopher Gattelli, and associate choreography by Simon Hardwick.

Presented by The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, the concert was produced by Concord OriginalsConcord Theatricals, Kilimanjaro Live/JAS Theatricals, Austin Shaw and Rob Bagshaw.

BIOGRAPHIES 

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II

After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers (Composer, 1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (Librettist/Lyricist, 1895-1960) joined forces in 1943 to create the most successful partnership in American Musical Theatre. Prior to joining forces, Rodgers collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart on musical comedies that epitomized wit and sophistication (Pal JoeyOn Your ToesBabes In Arms and more), while Hammerstein brought new life to operetta and created the classic Show Boat with Jerome Kern. Oklahoma!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, introduced an integrated form that became known as “the musical play.” Their shows that followed included CarouselSouth PacificThe King and I and The Sound of Music. Collectively, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals have earned Tony, Oscar, GRAMMY, Emmy, Pulitzer, and Olivier Awards. The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization is a Concord Company, www.concord.com.

Concord Originals is the narrative content creation division for Concord, the world’s leading independent music company and licensor of stage productions. Ready access to Concord’s vast well of iconic intellectual property and award-winning Concord-represented writers, along with robust in-house production capabilities, uniquely positions the Concord Originals team to swiftly develop and produce stories that satisfy the growing demand for fresh takes on beloved content. The division’s slate is comprised of feature films, series, documentaries and podcasts, including remakes and re-imaginings of properties from Concord’s legendary artists, music and theatrical works. Current projects include a multi-part docuseries about the culture-defining Stax Records for HBO which debuted May 20, 2024, and three feature documentaries: Let the Canary Sing about music icon Cyndi Lauper which streams on Paramount+ on June 4, 2024, and Shari & Lamb Chop and Pretty Ugly: The Story of the Lunachicks which both premiered at DOC NYC 2023. Concord Originals also has an active scripted slate, including a remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I with Temple Hill for Paramount Pictures, and a limited series adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Skydance TV and Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions. 

Concord Theatricals is the world’s most significant theatrical company, comprising the catalogues of R&H Theatricals, Samuel French and Tams-Witmark, plus dozens of new signings each year. Our unparalleled roster includes the work of Irving Berlin, Agatha Christie, George & Ira Gershwin, Marvin Hamlisch, Lorraine Hansberry, Kander & Ebb, Tom Kitt, Ken Ludwig, Marlow & Moss, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anaïs Mitchell, Dominique Morisseau, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Thornton Wilder and August Wilson. We are the only firm providing truly comprehensive services to the creators and producers of plays and musicals, including theatrical licensing, music publishing, script publishing, cast recording and first-class production. www.ConcordTheatricals.co.uk

Austin Shaw is the leading producer of live theatre capture, with award-winning productions of 42nd Street, An American in Paris, Anything Goes, From Here to Eternity, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King And I, Kinky Boots, Message in a Bottle, The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!, Titanic and Wind in the Willows. For PBS, Austin staged and filmed “Great Performances: Chess in Concert” and “Andrew Lloyd Webber Celebration” (both at Royal Albert Hall), “Andrew Lloyd Webber: Masterpiece” (Great Hall of the People in Beijing), “Swan Lake 3D” (Live from Mariinsky Theater) and “Mick Fleetwood & Friends” (London Palladium). As MD of Really Useful Films, he produced stage captures of CATS, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, By Jeeves, Jesus Christ Superstar and the Academy Award-winning feature film The Phantom of the Opera. 

Rob Bagshaw is a multiple Emmy Award winner with 25+ years of international production experience. Theatre trained, Rob is now one of the leading creatives in broadcast events. He has worked for all major platforms, producing 2000+ hours with UK daytime series “The Big Breakfast” and “This Morning”; US docu-series “Breaking Pointe” and “So Cosmo”; multi-cam location series “Castaway” and “Paradise Hotel,” and award-winning global competitions “Project Runway All Stars” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” A prolific format creator and showrunner, highlights include “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader,” “Australia’s Perfect Couple,” “The Crystal Maze,” “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge” and “Top Chef Masters.” Formerly EVP, Kids & Family for Paramount Global (Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, TIME Kid of the Year, NFL Superbowl LV, The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!); EVP, Creative at Dick Clark Productions (Academy of Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, The Golden Globes, “So You Think You Can Dance”) and East Coast head of Bunim Murray Productions (“Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “Project Runway,” “The Real World”). Currently SVP, Live Events & Specials with NBCUniversal, creating content across NBCU’s portfolio including “Barry Manilow’s A Very Barry Christmas,” “Christmas at Graceland LIVE,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and “Wicked.” 

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People, Places & Things Review

Trafalgar Theatre – until 10 August 2024

Reviewed by Claire Roderick

5*****

Duncan Macmillan’s devastating play about addiction and recovery returns to the West End with Denise Gough reprising the role of Emma with an incredibly raw and mercurial performance.

After slurring her way through a performance of The Seagull and having an onstage breakdown, Emma checks herself into a rehab programme. Unwilling to take part in and engage in group sessions, Emma questions the methodology and psychology of the recovery programme, trying to antagonise the doctor and therapist at every opportunity. Emma is only comfortable when she is playing a role, and her interactions with her fellow patients and medical staff are built on lies and concealment of her true character. As she spins stories that evoke sympathy and glimmers of understanding about why she became an addict, the rug is pulled from under the audience as she angrily rails against the process and pivots on what is actually true. Gough is slippery and believably unstable as Emma bulldozes her way through recovery. Her physicality is breathtaking as Emma’s darkest moments are played out, and she nails the charm, cajoling, anger and desperate selfishness of addiction.

As Emma insists that addiction is a response to the chaos and violence of the world, the other members of the group share their stories. Macmillan slows the pace during the group scenes, emphasising the repetition and slow progress of recovery, embodied perfectly by Emma’s reactions as she sits looking bored and frustrated.

In the second act, Emma’s journey to recovery seems to be on track as she becomes a more active and invested member of the group, but is she still playing a role to fool others, or to fool herself as everyone around her willingly lays themselves and their actions bare before the group? Macmillan sets up the bleak final scene expertly with the wonderful Sinéad Cusack and Kevin McMonagle playing the therapist and fellow patient “rehearsing” the difficult conversation she needs to have with her parents and responding generously and warmly. In the final scene they play Emma’s parents, who have lived through her addiction, lies and violence and don’t react as she would hope. The shocking information revealed in this scene makes their responses perfectly understandable and acknowledges the devastation addiction wreaks on family and relationships. With committed and compelling performances from the entire cast, Bunny Christie’s clinical white tiled set is a triumph containing the chaos and out of control lives depicted on stage under Jeremy Herrin’s dynamic direction.

People, Places & Things is not an easy watch. It is uncomfortable, exhilarating and darkly funny – with a stellar central performance that is simply magnificent. Unmissable.

Full 2024/25 cast for TINA – The Tina Turner Musical in the West End

FULL 2024/2025 WEST END CAST ANNOUNCED FOR

T I N A – T H E   T I N A   T U R N E R   M U S I C A L

The hit West End production TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL which is based on the life of legendary artist Tina Turner and was produced in association with Tina Turner herself, announces the full cast joining the previously announced Karis Anderson and Zoe Birkett who share the role of Tina Turner and Rolan Bell as Ike Turner.

The musical has been in the West End for 6 years, making it the longest running show ever to play at the Aldwych Theatre.

From Tuesday 25 June 2024 Mark Anderson will continue as Record Producer Phil Spector and Lyricist Terry Britten, as will Jonathan Carlton as record company Marketing Manager Erwin Bach, Grace Wylde joins to play Tina’s sister Alline Bullock, Irene Myrtle Forrester continues as Tina’s Grandmother, GG, Daniel Haswell joins as Tina’s father Richard Bullock, Harry Harrington continues in the role of Tina’s Manager Roger Davies, Emma Hatton continues as Ike and Tina’s manager Rhonda Graam, Maddison Tyson joins the cast as Tina’s first love Raymond Hill and Carole Stennett continues as Tina’s mother Zelma. Charlotte St.Croix will join the show as Standby Tina Turner.

Ensemble members are Sarah Freer as Lorraine and Lloyd Gorman as Carpenter, Angelis Hunt as Tina’s son Ronnie, Joey James as Tina’s son Craig, Ria Turner as Toni, the Ikettes are played by Morgan Broome, Equiana Givans and Ohaana Greaves and swingsare Jenna Bonner, Tré Copeland-Williams, Abiola Efunshile, Jordan Louis-Fernand, Marisha Morgan, Dan O’Brien, Curtis Scott, Ellie Seaton, Kirsty Anne Shaw and Samuel J Weir.

Children’s casting includes new cast member Azalea Harris, current cast member Ezmai Robinson and new cast member Elsa-Grace Waigo as Young Anna Mae Bullock and new cast members Kennedy-May McLeary, Amira Skerritt, Alaya Scotland Thomas as Young Alline Bullock and Young Craig.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is a global success with 8 productions having opened worldwide since 2018 and a new UK and Ireland tour beginning March 2025. Developed in London together with Tina Turner, the critically acclaimed production received its world premiere in April 2018 and has subsequently broken all Box Office records at the Aldwych Theatre.

Discover the heart and soul behind the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll at TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, the undeniable mega hit in London’s West End. Set to the pulse-pounding soundtrack of her most beloved hits, experience Tina Turner’s triumphant story live on stage as this exhilarating celebration reveals the woman that dared to dream fiercely, shatter barriers, and conquer the world—against all odds.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL opened at the Aldwych Theatre on London’s West End in 2018 before a global roll-out that brought the show to sold-out audiences across the world. In North America, the Broadway production opened in November 2019 and was nominated for 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical and can currently be seen across the continent on tour. In Europe, TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL has had productions at Stage Operettenhaus in Hamburg, Germany, the Apollo Theater in Stuttgart, Germany, the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht, Netherlands and at the Teatro Coliseum in Madrid, Spain. TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL can currently be seen touring across Australia, having finished sell out seasons at Theatre Royal Sydney and Astor Theatre Perth

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees PrinsTINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is choreographed by Anthony van Laast, with set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Bruno Poet,sound by Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Jeff Sugg, orchestrations by Ethan Popp, wigs, hair and makeup design by Campbell Young Associates, casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG and fight direction by Kate Waters.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is produced in the West End by Stage EntertainmentJoop van den Ende and Tali Pelman, in association with Tina Turner.

Produced by Stage Entertainment and Ghostlight Records and featuring the original London cast, TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL: Original Cast Recording is available worldwide on CD, both online and in stores. The CD features a 20-page booklet, which includes liner notes, synopsis, and production and studio photography. The album was recorded in February 2019 at Angel Studios and RAK Studios, produced by the show’s Music Supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck and Kurt Deutsch, and co-produced by Tom Kelly. To download or stream the album, or order the CD www.ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/riverdeep-tinaturnermusical

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is dedicated to the memory of Tina Turner, who sadly passed away in May 2023.

The Full Cast announced for Jordan Luke Gage’s REDCLIFFE musical workshop at the Other Palace

The Full Cast announced for Jordan Luke Gage’s REDCLIFFE musical workshop at the Other Palace

REDCLIFFE ignites the stage with a fusion of talent! Penned by Jordan Luke Gage, harmonized by Ben Tomalin, and directed by Bronagh Lagan, this production unveils its powerhouse cast for the upcoming public workshop performances on 29 – 31 May at The Other Palace Studio.

The cast will feature:

Lauren Drew (Kinky Boots, Heathers The Musical, Six The Musical, Les Misérables) as Esther;

Jordan Luke Gage (Bonnie & Clyde, Heathers The Musical, &Juliet The Musical) as William;

Nadine Higgin (Legally Blonde at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Twelfth Night, A Winter’s Tale The Comedy of Errors at The Globe; The Crucible at The National Theatre) as Georgie;

Leanne Jones (Hairspray, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Naked Truth) as Landlady;

Matteo Johnson (Halls the Musical, Bat Out Of Hell, Jersey Boys) as Jacob;

Jessica Lee (Miss Saigon, The Prince of Egypt, Evita, Les Misérables) as Louisa;

Rebecca Lock (Marry Poppins, Heathers The Musical, School of Rock, Elf The Musical) as Mother;

Joseph Peacock (Kin, Titanic, Bat Out Of Hell, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat) as Arthur/2nd Officer;

Steven Serlin (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Heathers The Musical, Hairspray, Priscilla The Party!) as Judge/Officer;

Liam Tamne (Bonnie & Clyde, The Prince of Egypt, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Richard;

Jess Douglas Welsh (RuneSical and Woven at the Edinburgh Fringe) as Abigail;

Russell Wilcox (Annie, Billy Elliot, Sunset Boulevard, Bonnie & Clyde, The Producers) as Landlord John Baber.

REDCLIFFE, is based on the true events of William Critchard and Richard Arnold in Redcliffe, Bristol in the 1750s and is an epic tale of forbidden love during the persecution people faced for hundreds of years.

William is feeling the pressure to find a wife whilst also being the breadwinner to his family. His mother’s nagging doesn’t help. When he meets Richard, he unlocks a world he had never dared to explore before and it’s clear there is no going back.

REDCLIFFE will be presented in a workshop format with actors using scripts at times, with limited tickets available to the public.

Produced by The Other Palace and funded via the venue’s Development Fund, where 50p of every ticket sold in the Main House goes to fund developing new work. Further plans for the production will be revealed in due course.

LISTINGS

Box Office       https://theotherpalace.co.uk/redcliffe-2/  

020 7592 0302

REDCLIFFE

THE OTHER PALACE

12 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JA

Performances Dates

29 – 31 May 2024 
Wednesday 29 May and Thursday 30 May7.00pm
Friday 31 May3.00pm & 7.00pm