TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL commemorates the one year anniversary of Tina Turner’s passing

In partnership with Fleurs de Villes, who feature floral artists around the world,  TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL   presents a floral tribute to Tina Turner by Ricky Paul Florist, currently on display at Hay’s Galleria in London Bridge. Today, Friday 24 May 2024, commemorates the one year anniversary of the icon’s passing.  TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL in the West End continues to celebrate her extraordinary music and inspirational story.

Please find below a download link to new principal cast members Zoe Birkett (Tina Turner) and Rolan Bell (Ike Turner), at the installation at Hays Galleria. Ricky Paul Florist created the floral tribute using pampas grass, help heads sprayed gold to create the dress and a gorgeous display of roses surrounding the design inspired by the Tina Turner Rose.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, choreographed by Anthony van Laast and written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins. The show currently stars Karis Anderson and Elesha Paul Moses sharing the role of Tina and Okezie Morro as Ike Turner. With Mark Anderson as Record Producer Phil Spector and Lyricist Terry Britten, Jonathan Carlton as record company Marketing Manager Erwin Bach, Vanessa Dumatey as Tina’s sister Alline Bullock, Irene Myrtle Forrester as Tina’s Grandmother, GG, Earl Gregory as Tina’s father Richard Bullock, Harry Harrington as Tina’s Manager Roger Davies, Emma Hatton as Ike and Tina’s manager Rhonda Graam, Jairus McClanahan as Tina’s first love Raymond Hill and Carole Stennett as Tina’s mother Zelma.

The critically acclaimed production of TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL received its world premiere in April 2018 in London and subsequently broke all Box Office records at the Aldwych Theatre.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL is dedicated to the memory of Tina Turner, who sadly passed away in May 2023. She would have turned 85 on 26 November this year.

Mind Mangler – Member of the Tragic Circle Review

Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge – until Saturday 25th May 2024

Reviewed by Steph Lott

5*****

Mind Mangler,” is a production from the Mischief stable, starring Henry Lewis as the eponymous magician, Jonathan Sayer as the Stooge, and Tom Wainwright as Percy. It’s a delightful blend of magic and comedy that keeps the audience laughing and amazed throughout the performance. Written by the talented trio of Lewis, Sayer, and Henry Shields, and expertly directed by Hannah Sharkey, the show is a blend of comedy and magic. Lewis has the audience in his pocket from start to finish, and the laughs and wonder never stop.

Lewis’s portrayal of the Mind Mangler is spot-on, as he effortlessly navigates between impressive feats of magic, awkward comedic moments and humorous encounters with the audience and his assistants. The reactions of the participants and the crowd’s astonishment are testament to Lewis’s skill and showmanship, ably supported by Sayer and Wainwright. The banter between the magician and his assistants is hilarious, and there is plenty of laughter from the audience.

The audience participation is another standout aspect of the show. Lewis and Sayer have an incredible rapport with the crowd, making everyone feel included and engaged. They effortlessly select volunteers, who become part of the performance, adding an extra layer of unpredictability and humour to the proceedings.

Throughout the show, the successful tricks are indeed excellent, showcasing Lewis’s skills as a magician. The magic is enhanced by the comedic elements, making each moment more memorable and enjoyable. The Mind Mangler manages to find the perfect balance between humour and wonder, ensuring that the audience is consistently entertained.

In conclusion, “Mind Mangler” at the Cambridge Arts Theatre is a must-see comedy magic show that offers a perfect blend of laughter and astonishment. With a talented cast, brilliant writing, and expert direction, this performance is a testament to the power of combining magic and comedy. The audience participation, the rapport between the performers and the crowd, and the masterful balance of successful and “failed” tricks make for an unforgettable evening of entertainment. If you’re looking for a show that will keep you laughing and amazed from start to finish, “Mind Mangler “ is an excellent choice. If I could give it more stars, I would.

Madagascar Review

The Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – runs until 25th May 2024

Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth

4****

Madagascar is originally a real family favourite film series. The story is based around a group of zoo-kept friends that have no idea of their roots. It’s an adventure where, as an audience, you follow the funny animal team on an unexpected journey to Madagascar. They have spent their entire lives in New York’s Central Park Zoo living in captivity so witness them experiencing life outside for the first time. There are lots of laughs and it really is a heart-warming tale.

The cast all have great energy and must really feel the strain of these heavy, thick costumes on stage, especially during the warm months! Some to mention, first and foremost is Karim Zeroual playing King Julien (mostly on his knees), what a talent he is. Some may know him from Stictly Come Dancing. He is made for the stage and excels in all areas, great singing, dancing and charisma galore. Joseph Hewlett plays Alex the lion and seems to fit the role well, seems to be able to really match the film character, which must be what the young audience is there for. Jarneia Richard-Noel has a beautiful voice and really works well in her cumbersome costume.

The stage is lit up and brightly dressed much of the time, it’s a very pleasing and a positive sight, you can almost feel the Madagascan sun! Great lighting, well done to lighting designers Howard Hudson and Tom Mulliner. Some clever use of the transporting boxes that frame the stage, using boxes for stage dressings to pop out of depending on which scene they are on. Costumes are fantastic and really add authenticity to the characters. Especially tricky costume for Melman, fantastic work from the brilliant Joshua Oakes-Rogers for controlling it so well while performing.

Selladoor Worldwide have toured with this production since 2018. The show has landed in Australia, USA, New Zealand and the UK, performing to over quarter of a million. It’s really worth a watch, especially if you have little ones that are fans of the films. Perfect in size for wriggly legs with it being in two acts and in total only 105 minutes. If you want to see this, then you really need to ‘Move It, Move It’ to get tickets quick!

Launch Announcement- The Stage Debut Awards 2024

THE STAGE DEBUT AWARDS 

 WHO WILL BE THE BREAKTHROUGH STARS OF 2024? SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN!

DATE, VENUE AND HEADLINE SPONSOR ANNOUNCED

The Stage Debut Awards, the only awards devoted solely to recognising breakthrough theatre talent both on and off stage, today announces that submissions for 2024 are now officially open. The live ceremony will be held on Sunday, September 29, and promises to be an unforgettable night celebrating the outstanding achievements of upcoming performers and creatives who have made their professional debuts on stages across the UK over the past 12 months.

This much-anticipated annual fixture in the awards calendar will be hosted again at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London. On the night, a mix of the industry’s freshest talent and a starry who’s who of established names will be entertained by Theatreland’s most exciting artists, performing musical numbers up close in this intimate space. Tickets will go on sale soon. 

Newly rebranded ATG Entertainment returns as the headline sponsor. Trafalgar Entertainment reaffirms its sponsorship for the Best West End Creative category, Crossroads Live for Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer and Sonia Friedman Productions for Best Writer. This year, we welcome the Noël Coward Foundation and Michael Harrison Entertainment to The Stage Debut Awards’ esteemed stable of sponsors with their support for the Best West End Debut Performer and Best Performer in a Musical respectively. 

The eight eligible categories championing performers, directors, designers, writers, composers and lyricists are Best Performer in a PlayBest Performer in a MusicalBest DirectorBest Writer; Best DesignerBest Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer and Best West End Creative Debut. The winner of the Best West End Debut Performer is the only category to be determined by a public vote. Last year, theatre audiences picked former Strictly Come Dancing’s breakout star Rose Ayling-Ellis as the winner for her standout debut performance in As You Like It at @sohoplace. The star has recently announced landing a major upcoming BBC television role. 

Anyone who has made their professional debut between July 18, 2023 and July 17, 2024 will be eligible.Submissions can be made HERE and entries will close on the June 30. The shortlist of nominees will be announced in August.

Ted Stimpson, Group CEO of ATG Entertainment said: “We are delighted to be supporting British theatre’s emerging talent through The Stage Debut Awards for the third year. At ATG Entertainment, we profoundly appreciate that we must nurture the next generation of talent that will bring exciting and groundbreaking ideas and voices to our audiences. We look forward to being part of an exceptional night celebrating the awesome talent at these awards in September.”

The Stage Debut Awards launched in 2017 and has proven to be a career defining launchpad with recipients of these prestigious awards enjoying continued success across stage and screen. Last year’s winners included Rob Madge for My Son’s a Queer, (But What Can You Do?) at Garrick Theatre and Ambassadors Theatre, Isobel Thom for their leading role in I, Joan at Shakespeare’s Globe, Michael R Jackson for composing A Strange Loop at the Barbican Theatre and Tingying Dong for her sound design on The Crucible, Gielgud and National Theatre. A further roll call of notable award winners from previous years include Shan Ako (Hamilton), Spitlip (Operation Mincemeat), Tyrell Williams (Red Pitch), Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Miriam-Teak Lee (& Juliet), Bush Theatre artistic director Lynette Linton (Sweat) and composers Femi Temowo (Death of a Salesman) and Dan Gillespie Sells (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie). 

For details on eligibility and the judging process see The Stage Debut Awards website: HERE

Live At Loseley including Musicals Live At Loseley starring Aimie Atkinson, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Rob Houchen, Emily-Mae, and much more

CNC Live presents 

Live At Loseley 
A new outdoor concert series for this summer featuring

The Best of Frankie Valli Live At Loseley – 2 August

Musicals Live At Loseley – 3 August starring 
Aimie Atkinson, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Rob Houchen& Emily-Mae

Movie Soundtracks Live at Loseley – 4 August

CNC Live presents Live At Loseley a spectacular summer showcase of top family-friendly entertainment set amidst the breathtaking beauty of the estate and gardens at Loseley Park, Guildford, from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 August 2024.

Kicking off the weekend in style on Friday 2 August, The Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – Live at Loseley, is the ultimate celebration of timeless music, paying homage to one of the most iconic groups of all time. From the streets of New Jersey to the glittering stages of the West End and Broadway, their unforgettable melodies have captivated audiences for over five decades.Featuring beloved hits such as Sherry, My Eyes Adored You, Big Girls Don’t Cry, and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, as well as the timeless refrain of Oh, What A Night!, this nostalgic journey showcases the very best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. With talented cast members from acclaimed productions such as Jersey Boys, accompanied by their live band, this show comes from the creators of The Barricade Boys.

Experience the enchantment of Musicals Live at Loseley, as West End Stars – including Aimie Atkinson (Pretty Woman, SIX), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Heathers, Les Misérables), Rob Houchen (Les Misérables, Titanic) and Emily-Mae (The BodyguardFrozen) – supported by the Guildford School of Acting Singers, grace the estate with their musical prowess, led by the 24-piece Bourne Musicals Orchestra conducted by Steve Moss (Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, Miss Saigon). Further top names will be announced. Prepare to be swept away by beloved hits from Les Misérables, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Chicago, SIX and many more. The principal singers, fresh from starring roles in iconic West End productions, promise an evening of unforgettable performances, delivering the magic of the stage to the heart of Loseley Park. The show will close with a spectacular firework display.

Led by the 32-piece Bourne Movies Orchestra, conducted by Steve MossMovie Soundtracks Live at Loseleywill be a spectacular evening of much-loved movie themes for the whole family played by some of the best musicians the UK has to offer. Expect to hear classic themes from blockbuster hits, such as Indiana JonesE.T, Star Wars and Harry Potter, accompanied by impressive laser light shows and a dazzling fireworks display to close the evening.

All three events are family-friendly and fully accessible. There will be buggies available to help those that need it get to their pitches. Please bring your own chair or blanket to sit on. No large umbrellas or parasols, gazebos or anything else that may impede the view of the people sitting behind you. No BBQs or naked flames. No dogs. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather and bring warm clothes for later in the evening. There will be high quality catering and bars on site. 

CNC Live’s goal is to bring exceptional quality shows to country homes and estates across the UK and believe there is no better place to start than Loseley Park in Guildford, Surrey. The company is comprised of Chris Elcocks and Nick and Charlotte Wyschna, who between them have over 30 years of experience in production and entertainment. CNC’s events will not only include orchestras and star acts but will also be wowing audiences with firework, laser and drone shows.

Visit: http://liveatloseley.com

Get Technical! Behind the curtain of MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL, plus new for 2024 – the Get Technical! Academy

Get Technical! Behind the Curtain of
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
on Tuesday 30 July

Plus, new for 2024, a brand new 10-week programme,
Get Technical! Academy
with Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Global Creatures, Producer of Moulin Rouge! The Musical announces the return of their hugely successful Get Technical! Behind the Curtain of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

On Tuesday 30 July the multi award-winning production at the Piccadilly Theatre in London will once again open its doors to give anyone aspiring to a career in theatre a glimpse behind the curtain of the multi award-winning production.

Following its debut last year,Get Technical! offers the chance to hear from members of the production’s backstage and technical teams, watch live on-stage demonstrations and learn more about what goes into the making of the West End’s leading musical Spectacular!

From wigs to wardrobe to sound to stage management, the event aims to motivate and inspire young people to consider a career in backstage positions in the performing arts industry. Attendees will be shown how the different technical departments work together to create the production and be given a sneak peek of some of the stage secrets and magic behind the show. 

Backstage and technical team members will also share stories from their own career journeys and give tips for getting into the industry.

New for 2024 in addition to the Get Technical! event on 30 July is the launch of theGet Technical! Academy – with Moulin Rouge! The Musicala 10-week free immersive technical programme aimed at 15–25-year-olds.

Sessions will take place at the Piccadilly Theatre on Tuesday afternoons 2pm-4pm from Tuesday 2nd July.

Participants will meet weekly and gain hands on training from Heads of Departments and industry experts and learn the ropes in becoming a West End technician. The programme covers lighting, sound, automation, stage management and working as part of a stage performance crew.

During the 10-week programme participants will have the opportunity to learn from Moulin Rouge! The Musical and ATG Entertainment West End Creative Learning to gain a rare insight into the backstage workings of a Tony Award-winning production. Those aged 18+ will be offered an optional additional week where they can meet members of the company management team to explore the soft skills needed to launch their technical theatre career.

Get Technical! and the Get Technical! Academyarepresented by Global Creatures in partnership with ATG Entertainment Creative Learning.

Cluedo 2 Review

Theatre Royal Concert Hall Nottingham – until 25th May 2024

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh

3***

I am a huge fan of a who-done-it and have been an ardent player of Cluedo since I could hold a die. I jumped at the chance to see the theatre rendition of the game and was doubly excited when I realised it was created by BAFTA Award winning writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, and directed by Mark Bell who directed the rather marvellous ‘The Play That Goes Wrong‘.

However, Cluedo 2 is a play divided. The backdrop set is stunning and some of the performances are spectacular, but the script and story are disappointing. A lot of the gags fall flat, they are repeated endlessly as are the chase scenes and there is little to no structure. Some characters have full backstories, others are fodder.

The flimsy plot, as far as I could make out, is that 1960s rockstar Rick Black gathers a group of people in his new, expensive country manor house to listen to his new album which will send him back to the top of the charts and boost his career. We get introduced to his supermodel wife, Mrs Peacock, his manager, Colonel Mustard, his roadie Professor Plum, his interior designer Miss Scarlett and the housekeeper who came with the house Mrs White. Arriving later is Rick’s former song-writing partner, the Reverend Green and Wadsworth the Butler who proclaims he is not a butler many, many times. There is also a chap called Mr Grey and blink and you might miss him, PC Silver.

The backstory for each character is unbalanced. I’m not sure why some characters are involved, perhaps this was the mystery? The narrative is confusing and disjointed and we bore witness to the least convincing love scene in the history of theatre. There is no way to solve the mystery as random things are thrown in all over the place. Its farcical, but for all the wrong reasons.

Again divided, the ensemble isn’t as coherent as it could be. Ellie Leach as Miss Scarlett is one note, offering no shades of light and dark as her character develops. I didn’t even realise Edward Howells was Professor Plum. This is not necessarily down to his acting but poor writing and costume design. Jack Bennett as Wadsworth the “I’m an actor, not a butler” milked this single joke until it became painful. Again, this was partially down to the writing. However, Dawn Buckland as Mrs White, was a joy to watch but it was Liam Horrigan who gave the play some redemption. Reminiscent of the late, great Tim Curry, he absolutely embraced every character he played, nailed every gag, verbal and physical and completely stole the show.

Cluedo 2 has so much potential, but in its current format, its messy. I’m sure there are some who will appreciate the surface level slapstick humour and cyclical gags, but I feel it’s currently coasting on the brand name

Don’t Take The Pith Review

The Drayton Arms Theatre, London – until 1 Jun 2024

Reviewer Alec Legge

4****

Following on from the very successful ‘An Absolute Farce of a Murder Mystery‘ Peter Rae and Helen Bang reprised their roles as Lord Sebastian Hardcastle and Lady Susan Bloom in another parody of an Agatha Christie type play, written by Peter and directed by Helen and, which, in a change of location from English country house to a Somerset Maugham type setting of a colonial tropical island called Not Borneo.

The story line is that the pair are sent by the Crown to investigate a tribes missing talisman, and the theft of a jewel. Once there they meet up with a diverse bunch of characters, Abigail Dawn as Maud Pauper a servant, David Furlong as Doctor Frenchman, Laura Morgan as Lady Fleur de Meur, Richard Rycroft as Lord Peter de Meur the island Governor, Ola Teniola as Kanaka First Minister to the Local tribe, Billie Vee as Adiratna a tribal queen. All the actors were obviously well rehearsed and delivered their lines impeccably and the timing was superb.

This is a small theatre with the open stage immediately in front of the seats. The stage was set with a chaise-longue, an armchair and a few other odds and sods, all with a scruffy appearance.. The dialogue could be easily heard with the cast projecting their voices loudly.

The storyline continued at a fast pace with all the elements of farce included. Many jokes and one liners, prat falls with lots of double entendres. In a nod to the title a pith helmet was produced which led to many jokes being told, many with double meanings of a blue nature.

If you are a lover of this genre then this I a show to see. It is very much of its time, early 19 Somerset Maughan, to quote from the play, so some of its parts could be upsetting although of course that was acceptable in the time and age the play is set in.

Romeo and Juliet Review

Festival Theatre, Malvern – until 25th May 2024

Reviewed by Courie Amado Juneau

4****

William Shakespeare. The very name rings down through history like a massive bronze gong. And then there is (arguably) his most famous work: Romeo and Juliet. We have all seen a version of this play, whether on stage or screen and so we believe we know the work intimately. Well, not this version…

Entering the auditorium it was immediately apparent that this was to be no ordinary reading. The stage was fully populated with all the actors in the production – 8 in all, 4 men and 4 ladies. All were masked and wearing the same sumptuous costume of black trousers, Dr Marten style boots and a sleeveless richly embroidered and coloured over-buttoned waistcoat. The atmospheric austerity of the stage with a three tiered platform and large white drapes hanging off a scaffold structure, lit starkly by brilliant white light, gave a mysterious air.

Unfortunately there was no programme available. I’m not sure if this was a deliberate thing – I.e. an attempt to not single out any person and to highlight a company ensemble ethos – but it does make reviewing rather difficult. With that in mind…

Our leads, Romeo and Juliet were both rather fine, bringing much raw emotion especially in the final death scenes. The love “dance” was also highly effective, with a charming sensuousness and believability.

Of the other characters, I particularly enjoyed Juliet’s mother as she conveyed convincing authority alongside some passionately wrought acting especially the anger that she unleashed at Juliette’s stubbornness over marrying Paris and when discovering her daughter dead. The nurse was another standout performance – eliciting most of the laughs of the piece.

Overall I found the production a bit of a tricky watch, with so much motion on the part of the players (they rarely stood still) it was like watching modern dance with dialogue and was at times a little distracting. Audibility of the dialogue was another issue, especially when actors were leaping between metal platforms and the landing obliterated all other sounds. On the plus side, such physicality did mean the fight scenes packed a menacing punch.

There was a fair amount of singing and it was done rather well and to great effect at key moments. I was, however, longing to know what they were singing (it being in Italian) as I’m sure the music was carefully chosen with a purpose in mind. Again, a programme to read at interval would have given some welcome insight. The highlight of the music for me was Juliet’s solo as a backdrop for Romeo’s final angst ridden visit to the Friar.

There are many I’m sure who will love this stylized account of this classic tragedy. It appeared as faithful to the original source material in script as it was innovative in its thoroughly modern staging. It didn’t quite do it for me in that latter regard, although I did come away with an appreciation of the staggering effort the actors had gone through to put it on; so there was much to enjoy (even for a Shakespearean philistine like me). If you like your Bard brought thoroughly up to date with muscular direction and full blooded commitment from those on stage then this will give you much pleasure.

The Kite Runner Review

YVONNE ARNAUD THEATRE, GUILDFORD – until 26 May 2024

REVIEWED BY REBECCA LOBB

4****

The Kite Runner starts in the 70’s and spans across 3 decades, telling the story of a childhood friendship that helps shape a lifetime of events. The play is based on Khaled Hosseini’s novel, ‘The Kite Runner’ and is separated into two acts. The story follows the main character Amir (Stuart Vincent), who is from a wealthy Pashtun family, and his friendship with Hassan (Yazdan Qafouri) – who is a servant and a Hazara. Vincent and Qafouri play very likeable characters and from the first scene you are invested in their friendship.

This play deals with very difficult subject matters, however the set design, music and the actors don’t make these topics feel decrepit. Matthew Sprangler has adapted this story with sensitivity, allowing the actors to give thought provoking performances.

Act 1 focusses mainly on Amir and Hassan’s friendship, and Amir’s need to impress his father ‘Baba’ (Bhavin Bhatt). Hassan is a kite runner for Amir, and this narrative is interlinked in the scenes. As the story unfolds personal relationships are tested, and it becomes clear Amir’s struggles with the differing classes, religion, and the bullies who surround him become too much – with Hassan suffering the brunt of this and their friendship ending for good.

Act 2 focuses more on Amir and Baba’s escape from Afghanistan, settling into life in America and depicting them as lower class – a world away from their previous lifestyle. Amir meets his wife Soraya(Daphne Kouma), and his father’s friend Rahim Khan (Christopher Glover). Amir tries ‘to be good again’ and wants to correct the mistakes he has made.  This leads him on a journey back home to Afghanistan, via Pakistan, to meet Hassan’s legacy.

Vincent’s character Amir narrates the play, often dipping in and out of the action to add more accuracy and explanations. You must credit him for his delivery, as he is in almost every scene without a break! He is very believable as Amir, and even at times unlikeable. For me the outstanding performance is by Qafouri. He plays both Hassan, and in part 2 Sohrab. He delivers a strong, touching, and brave performance. You are really routing for his character, and a lot of the heartache you feel is for what he goes through.

Giles Croft has not shied away in directing this play. He clearly depicts the harsh reality of life in Afghanistan, highlighting class divides and cultural ‘norms’. The play portrays hard hitting scenes of death, rape, and physical assault – which are handled sensitively. However, my only reservation is I felt too much was packed in. You don’t really get a chance to take stock of what is happening. And although scenes moved fluidly, at times I felt like I needed to catch my breath. The book clearly has the scope to handle all these difficult topics and transitions, but in the play some scenes felt either too rushed or dragged on.

The set design is clever, especially when there is a change between Afghanistan and USA. You feel the cultural shift. I was especially impressed with the instruments used, and the musician Hanif Khan adds a wonderful element of storytelling.

This is a poignant play that is visual and has good musicality. If you see this you will be taken on a heartbreaking journey of love, loss, and the power of loyalty. I think this play is a wonderful tribute to Hosseini’s book.