Monthly Archives: July 2014

Review – Annie Get Your Gun

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Aylesbury is in for a treat this week as the wild west rides into town. Although it’s been 70 years since the world premier, the feel-good factor and thigh slapping fun has not faded away in this new production of Irving Berlin’s popular musical Annie Get Your Gun.

It tells the story of Buffalo Bill’s female sharp shooter Annie Oakley (Emma Williams) and her romance with Frank Butler (Jason Donovan), after she joins his popular one man shooting show… soon to be a one woman shooting show. As it turns out the only thing they are shooting for is each other’s hearts!

The leading lady Emma Williams (Annie) is without a doubt the star and talent of the show. You can not help but warm to her character straight away as she’s bursting with enthusiasm, as well as having the perfect facial expressions and voice for the role, with songs like “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly” and “Anything You Can Do” you’ll find yourself listen to every crisp word, it’s like the songs are written for her; especially when she wowed the audience by holding a note for at least a minute, possibly two.

Jason Donovan is clearly the face of the show, pulling in the women into the audience which was apparent by the applause he got when he appeared on stage. He obviously has the right look to play Frank, a handsome man with confidence and swagger but his performance was in the shadow of Emma Williams and it was disappointing that at times his voice was weak and his accent was wobbly.

Norman Pace (Buffalo Bill), Kara Lane (Dolly Tate), Lorna Want (Winnie Tate), plus all the other cast members and musicians deserve a huge shout out, as combined their performances and colourful costumes shone through and oozed off the well designed stage. The tremendous red and white circus set combined with having the live grand orchestra on stage completed the show perfectly.

If you love musicals, then saddle up and grab your tickets to this one. You’ll be humming “There’s No Business Like Show Business” for days to come. Yee-Haw!

Myself, Emma Williams and Dez.

Myself, Emma Williams and Dez.

Review – Evita

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Evita is certainly going to win over Aylesbury.

Being the huge Evita fan that I am, of both the stage and the Oscar winning film version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. I was slightly concerned that I would naturally compare productions.

Evita, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, first came to the stage in 1976 telling the story of Eva Person, wife of former dictator Juan Peron.

Maria Eva Duarte is a girl form a small Argentinian village who travels to the bright lights of Buenos Aires, where she becomes an actress (slut) and basically sleeps her way into high society before capturing the hearts and minds of the nation as the country’s first lady; before dying of cancer at the young age of 33.

Unfortunately, I didn’t warm to Madalena Alberton as Eva right away. I felt she wasn’t young enough and her voice was a little to trying, possibly too whiny to pull off being a 15 year old girl. As the show went on she perfectly balanced the softness yet strength of her voice winning me over. Her stage presence shone as she gave everything she has to the powerful role. Some say “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” is the song of the show, for me “You Must Love Me” and “Eva’s Final Broadcast” were the ones that choked me emotionally.

Marti Pellow (Wet, Wet, Wet) plays Che who reflects the voice of the Argentine people. He’s naturally breathtakingly handsome and looks the part. I’m not sure if his microphone was too loud, which could just be an opening night glitch, but there was a certain something missing in capturing such a strong character. Maybe its simply because he isn’t Antonio Banderas! Although he also grew into his role as the show went on.

The mistress, Sarah McNicholas makes the most of her moment with a stunning performance of “Another Suitcase in Another Hall”. She had an innocent aura and looked the age that I felt Eva should have look at the beginning of the show.

The stage and lighting with marble staircases, pillars and moving platforms works perfectly.

This tour is a musically suburb piece of theatre taking Evita to new highs. Although falling in love with the film has actually spoilt it a little for me and knowing it word for word I question if I would follow the story line so well if I has not known it.

All in all it’s a great evenings entertainment. With tears streaming down my face and the standing ovation from the audience the only things wet, wet, wet were my eyes… Kleenex please.

Grab your tickets while you can because Evita will always be high flying, adored.

 

Review – Rock of Ages

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If Carlsberg made jukebox musicals…

If I could leave this review here, followed by a link for you to buy tickets I would.

Remember the 80’s? If you’re a lover of the 80’s fashion and musicals packed with, well everything, then Rock of Ages direct from the West End is for you.

Set in 1987 where you would think life was a little quieter than today on the Sunset Strip on Sunset Boulevard. Where life is actually fast and full of colour. Where big crimped hair, mini skirts, thigh high boots and shoulder pads were exploding onto the scene. Where life was hugely about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll…

The stars of the show Drew (Hear ‘Say star Noel Sullivan) will blow you away with the strength of his voice, I don’t think I have ever seen someone hold a note for as long as he did! Sherrie’s (Cordelia Farnworth) performance is also outstanding as we watch them follow their dreams in LA, a place where anything seems possible. It’s a typical love story where boy meets girl, boy loses girl and boy wins girl back, but that doesn’t stop you getting emotionally involved as the story unfolds.

Rock god Stacee Jaxx (Ben Richards) absolutely sparkles on stage, along with the saucy dancers, there’s no shortage of eye candy here. This is definitely one for the boys! For me the star of the show is Lonny (Stephen Rakman-Hughes) the narrator with his non stop hilarious humour, expressions and one liners. It could be said that he possibly crosses the line at times but he is guaranteed to have you in stitches from beginning to end; I’m still laughing now as I write this.

I went along thinking this was going to be just another jukebox musical and that I would only know a handful of songs. I’m not a huge rock fan, more of a 90’s pop gal, but with hits like Don’t Stop Believin, Can’t Fight this Feeling, We Built This City and many more, you can’t help but sing and clap along with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.

The band set on stage completes the perfect vibe, leaving you feeling like you’re at a gig with a storyline. Rock of Ages has one of the most ridiculously talented and energetic casts I’ve seen, it certainly won’t disappoint.

For me Rock of Ages stands out from the rest. It’s totally rad and up there with my favourites! – Just leave the kids at home.

Rock Of Ages runs at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday 5th July 2014.

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