Snow White & The Seven Dwafs

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this review all year! As it is December and the run-up to Christmas, then it can only mean one thing…it’s Pantomime Season! This year I went to see ‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester, and this year like every year previous did not disappoint!

‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’ tells the story of a Princess, whose mother dies and her father remarries her evil stepmother wants the be ‘the fairest in the land’ and will stop at nothing to become so. It’s the classic fairytale of good and evil.

‘Snow White’ played by Megan Bancroft was very good in this role, and her singing voice was beautiful and I was very pleasantly surprised. Her singing was lovely to listen to. I went to look at her credits after the show and was surprised to see that she has not landed a major role in the West End. I honestly don’t know how she has not yet been picked up by one of the big shows!

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Photo By Robert Workman

Photo Description: Snow White & Robert sitting on a bench in front of bright green bushes

Like the previous two years, Anthony-Stuart-Hicks is back once again to play the role of ‘Nurse Nellie’ and as expected he did not disappoint! I was very happy to see him in the programme again this year! His humor and comedy left me and everyone in the audience in balls of laughter, making his own written jokes and playing with the audience in many ways! He was teamed up once again with Dale Supervillle, and these two working together is an absolute comedy dream! However, this year I was very disappointed to see that they did not have many scenes together, and were not on stage as much this year. The only criticism I have of the whole show was this. Please, please next year have these two have more time on stage and in much more scenes together!! After the show, Anthony said that he has already signed for next year, so please make this possible. 

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Photo By Robert Workman

Photo Description: Nurse Nellie & Muddles singing and dancing on stage in front of green bushes with red roses

I was a very good night overall and a MUST SEE this Christmas season! 

People With A Visual Impairment: The Mercury Theatre is quite small and the stage is very close to the audience so if you can manage to get a seat within the first six rows you will be more than fine. One thing to bare in mind is that throughout the show there, are a lot of bright and flashing lights.

People With No Vision: A performance with Audio Description and a touch tour is available (see website for further details) but if you can’t get tickets for that performance, then honestly you won’t have a problem. Sure there are the odd scene or two, which can be quite visual, but I don’t think it will affect your enjoyment or the show as a whole at all. 

‘Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs’ is running at The Mercury Theatre from 25th November until 4th January 2018! Get your tickets now, as they are selling very quickly! For more information, you can CLICK HERE!

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Photo Description: Me & my Guide Dog Blossom with the comedy duo Anthony-Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic!

 

Conor McPherson’s ‘The Weir’

Hi again,

Last week I went to go and see ‘The Weir’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! I know this review is a little late in coming as I went to go and see this show almost a week ago. But this show will not disappoint. 

The show I feel is a set of smaller stories, as each character tells a mixture of folklore, fiction, and ghost stories. This show has a  somewhat small cast consisting of Finbar, a man that came across to me as someone who is a member of the wealthy family of the village who had been living there for many years as he seemed to know a lot about the village. You then have Jack and Jim, who are regulars at the Irish pub,  Brendan the pub landlord, and Valerie a newbie to the village, and is on a local retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  

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Photo Credit: Mercury Theatre & Marc Brenner

I’m going to come out and be honest, after coming home from the theatre I was thinking that this is something which I wouldn’t normally come and see myself. However, as I’ve had a few days to think about it, I’ve changed my mind! This is definitely something I would happily go and see again. Natalie Radmall-Quike’s acting as absolutely brilliant! Her character had a scene where she was really emotional as the scene was of her child. But I felt that I had a real connection to her character. Jack played by Sean Murray, I really enjoyed his acting and accent! He provided the humor through the whole show and I think the audience enjoyed his jokes and humor, not just me. Don’t get me wrong, there were some serious scenes too, but there was a clear definition, and you could honestly feel the pain and emotion all characters were feeling. Would I go and see this again? Yes!! You got a real sense of Irland, the country, the Irish people and the way they live. 

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Photo Credit: Mercury Theatre & Marc Brenner
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Photo Credit: Mercury Theatre & Marc Brenner

People With A Visual Impairment: You will have no problems, go and see this!

People With No Vision: I normally would say to you, get Audio Description as this will be a massive benefit. However, with this show, I honestly don’t think you need it here. The story, emotion and acting from all characters and actors will get you through this show without an issue.

‘The Weir’ is now on tour throughout the UK so if you’d like to see when they are coming to a theatre near you, then click here for the English Touring Theatre!

Trailer:

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

J.M.Barries ‘Peter Pan’

Hi Guys,

Welcome back another review! This time I went to go and see J.M Barries ‘Peter Pan’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! With it being Peter Pan, as expected there were a lot of children with their families which surprising added a nice atmosphere to the whole thing! I am assuming and guessing that most of you if not all of you have heard the story of Peter Pan a million times before, but for the odd person who is reading this who hasn’t let me give you a brief overview. Peter Pan (played by: Emilio Lannucci) is the story of a little boy, who decides that he never wants to grow up. He runs away from his family and goes to live on the island of ‘Neverland’. There he is met and surrounded by all sorts of creatures, from mermaids to Indians. He also meets the evil pirate Captin Hook (played by: Pete Ashmore), who wants to revenge on Peter, for cutting his hand off and feeding it to a crocodile. 

I am assuming and guessing that most of you if not all of you have heard the story of Peter Pan a million times before, but for the odd person who is reading this who hasn’t let me give you a brief overview. Peter Pan (played by: Emilio Lannucci) is the story of a little boy, who decides that he never wants to grow up. He runs away from his family and goes to live on the island of ‘Neverland’. There he is met and surrounded by all sorts of creatures, from mermaids to Indians. He also meets the evil pirate Captin Hook (played by: Pete Ashmore), who wants to get revenge on Peter, for cutting his hand off and feeding it to a crocodile. 

 

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Me with James Peake (Slightly), Emilio Lannucci (Peter Pan) & Nicholas Coutu-Langmead (Tootles)

 

A few years later, he comes across a house in London where he meets Wendy (played by: Charlotte Mafham), a thirteen-year-old girl who dreams of meeting Peter. They go over to ‘Neverland’ together and have big grand adventures. 

Now here comes the negative part of this show, in the traditional story there are three children Wendy, John (played by: Nicholas Coutu-Langmead), and Micheal (played by: Alicia McKenzie). But in this version, John and Micheal are only mentioned at the very beginning and end of the show. This is me, for a massive disappointment! I do understand why they company had to do it, due to a lack of cast playing multiple different roles, which in turn actually works really well. In my option, if you are going to perform a really well-known story like ‘Peter Pan’ you have to have the four main characters. 

 

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Me & Charlotte Mafham (Wendy)

 

Anyway, now I’ve got that off my chest and out the way, let’s move on to the positives, and there are many! First, there was a great use of lighting, whether it was on land or at sea the lighting really set the scene. This is something I don’t often see so it made a really nice change. Next, comes to use of musical instruments! Throughout the whole show, all of the cast would play an instrument to sing songs or set the atmosphere! This for me is always a great addition. I have only ever seen this is one other time, and that was when I went to go see ‘Wind in the Willows’ last year. I loved the idea then, and I still love it now.

Honestly, I could go on and on about all the lovely things they did during the show, but then I’d go on forever, but there is one more thing I have to mention. Tinker-Bell (played by: Alicia McKenzie) whilst watching the show, I thought was just come up with random noises and talking complete rubbish, but after speaking to some of the cast after the show, it turned out that what she was saying was actually her lines! She had been given a script which actually had lines for Tinker-Belle which I thought was just amazing!  

 

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Photo of the stage before the start of the show. Everything is covered in sheets and is light by blue lighting

 

Let us move to the rating:   

People With a Visually Impairment: You will have a problem watching this show. With this, I think it would be wise to go on a Touch-Tour if you would like a better understanding of what physically is going on stage. But in terms of understanding the story, you will have no problem. The great use of lighting will be of a massive help in understanding where the scene is taking place.  

People With No Vision: Honestly, due to the amount of visuals and lighting throughout the show Audio Description is a must here. But in terms of understanding the story, again you will have no problems.  

‘Peter Pan’ is running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 28th July until 26th August. This show is very family friendly so if you have any small children they are going to love it! If you would like to get tickets you can find the website to the theatre by clicking HERE.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Farm Boy’

Hi Guys,

Last night, I went to go see Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Farm Boy’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester. I’ve noticed recently that I have been doing a lot of reviews for The Mercury Theatre. But there’s no way I’m complaining, I’m obviously doing something right!

I should really start off by saying that this show is solely aimed at children around seven to ten years old. So this was something that I had to bare in mind whilst watching this. The story is about a farmer who has lived on his farm his whole life and enjoys the simpler things in life. Grandpa (the farmer) played by Gary Mackay tells the story of how he managed to win a race, going up against a top of the range tractor with none other than his trusted and favorite horses.  

As this show is aimed at children, the show talks about important human values, and how children should treat one another. Coming from a background where I have in the past worked with children myself. I can see how this show can be very beneficial to younger children today. Due to the modern lifestyle, we’ve grown accustomed to for younger children it can be very easy, to forget the basic human values. So for me, seeing this very small shows and companies going into schools and performing these hour long shows, can be very beneficial to children. For this, I give huge praise and more theatres and companies should be doing more of these types of shows.  

People With A Visual Impairment & People With No Vision: I have put these two ratings together this time because they are exactly the same for both. I believe you will have no problems seeing the show. As this is such a small company (two actors and one musician) the use of sound is key here, and it is used brilliantly. There is a great use of bright colours and senses to make the show more realistic. A great example of this, was when it came to the scenes with the horses, instead of having horse sound effects or something along those lines, all the actors did was tie some rope with tin cans tied to it to some wooden ladders. So you had a visual representation of horse but had some old fashioned sound effects to go with it. This is something you never see anymore so it was a very great thing to see! 

‘Farm Boy is running from 17th – 18th June at The Mercury Theatre. If you interested in purchasing tickets you can find the link by clicking HERE.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

 

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The ‘Farm Boy’ sitting on top of a green tractor with smoke coming out the Exhaust Pipe!

 

The Events

Hi Guys, coming to you with yet another review! Last night I went to go see ‘The Events’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!

Now this show was somewhat different, in the fact that this was not in the main theatre. This was performed in the Studio at the theatre which is a much smaller space. Initially, It was quite very cosy space but as time when on it became very cramped and I personally found it very difficult to move and in the end I was afraid to move, just in case I accidentally hit the person next to me. I personally think from someone with a Visual Impairment this is not the most ideal space to watch a show because of the very limited space to move. If you are a Guide Dog owner there is very limited space for your dog to sit let alone lay down.

Let’s move on the positives, the acting from both actors was really good, the acting from Josh Collins particularly stood out. The show was very audience interactive, because of the small space all members of the cast and choir would enter and exit the stage through the audience, and even some of the acting and lines were said in amongst the audience which I thought was a nice touch. 

 

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‘The Boy’ played by Josh Collins wearing all black clothing and headphones, looking into the distances and saying his lines.

 

Now, reading this you’re probably thinking: ‘Hang on, you haven’t told us anything about the story?’ and you’d be right I haven’t. But as always there is a method to my madness. The story, I found it very difficult to follow and understand. After spending some time thinking about this I think I have worked out why. Throughout the show, it was not very clear to me at least where the scene and characters had changed. Josh Collins, for example, played two different characters ‘The Boy’ and Claire’s partner Katrina. Now, this is nothing against Josh or any of the cast on their acting. But sadly it wasn’t until half way through a scene did I work out that this a new scene with different characters, and therefore this made it very difficult to understand the story.

But having said all that, the bits and pieces that I got about the story are as follows: ‘The Boy’ who to my knowledge has no name, wants to leave his mark on the world and feels that the only way he can do that is either through art or violence, and has he says he was not very much good at art. Therefore he decides to get hold of a gun and go on a murdering rampage and take out a whole choir and theatre teacher Claire. Claire is struggling with her own problems and trying to figure out herself and her faith. 

 

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‘Claire’ played by Anna O’Grady, wearing a brown and dotted dress looking into the distance with the choir in the background.

 

I personally don’t think this is a show for the average Joe, just someone who enjoys theatre. I think this show is for the more mature theatre-goer who enjoys a deep subject matter, and because of the very deep subject matter, violence and swearing throughout, audience members have to be at least 15 years or older to see this show. 

Onto the ratings then:

People with a Visual Impairment: Assuming the fact that you have booked yourself a close seat to stage you will have no problem watching and understanding this show. The only downside I feel is that there is very, very limited colour throughout the show, the only colour they show in the show is grey so that could produce a problem if you rely on colours.

People Who Have No Vision: I think you will have no problem with this show at all. You might have to concentrate a little harder in terms of understanding the story, but that’s the only negative I see.

‘The Events’ is running from 2nd – 17th June at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester Essex. If you wish to know more about the show and interested in booking tickets, then you can follow this link by clicking HERE.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic 

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Promotional graphic. A black and white photo of a young girl sitting on a seawall looking out to sea. Written in the sea: “The Event’s by David Greig”.

Monty Python’s ‘SpamAlot’

Hi guys, welcome to another review! I know this has been a long time coming but this show was worth the wait!

Last night I went to go see ‘Monty Python’s – SpamAlot’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester. Starring Bob Harms as King Arthur and Dale Superville as ‘Patsy’ tells the story of King Arthur, Camelot and the search for the ‘Holy Grail!’ Although, not as you’ve seen it before!

The story had lots of humor with plenty of modern references, including a massive twist to Lancelot I was not expecting at all! The singing by all the cast was brilliant although the voice of Sarah Harlington playing ‘The Lady of the Lake’ was stunning and she had a good strong voice! The sets of the show were brilliantly done, all the sets had a very cartoon texture about them, apart from Camelot which was the medieval version of Las Vagas!

I was lucky enough to go to the press party after the show, so I got to meet some of the cast after the show. Talking to them, you could really tell they were passionate about this show and you could also tell they were all very close friends by the end of rehearsals. 

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Me talking to Dale Superville aka ‘Patsy’
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Me talking to Bob Harms aka ‘King Arthur’

So using my new rating system of how I rate shows:

People with a Visually Impairment: The use of bright colours in the sets and the costumes along with the brilliant acting and humor you will no problem watching this show.

People who have no vision: When going to see a show having Audio Description is always going to be helpful, however, if you can’t seem to get an Audio Described performance for this show with the brilliant acting and humor I honestly think you will have no problem following this show. If you would like to see when they have Audio Described Performances then you can contact the theatre by clicking HERE!

To sum up, this is an absolutely brilliant show! If you have some free time in the three weeks then go and see this! ‘SpamAlot’ is running from 21st April to 13th May 2017! If you interested in getting tickets, you can find all the information by clicking HERE

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Trailer (2010):

Lord Of The Dance – Dangerous Games

When I researched the show, like I do for all the shows I go and see. This one seemed different. Last night I went to go see ‘Lord of the Dance – Dangerous Games’ at The Ipswich Regent in Ipswich. If I’m honest after researching the show I wasn’t entirely sure whether I would like it or not. But as you will find out later I definitely did!

‘Lord of the Dance’ is a show that tells it’s story solely through dance. There are no lines or acting involved. I’m going to go out and say this right from the start, this show is one hundred percent a visual show. Sadly you would need some form of vision to really understand this show fully. This is the one main down side, I found out that this show has toured many countries and completely sold out! I would like to think, on knowing how big this show is, they would adapt the show for people with Visual Impairments or someone with no vision. But this I can’t tell you for certain. The only downside of the actual show, I never really understood the story. You could tell there was one, in certain scenes like the fighting scenes for example. But apart for that I didn’t really get the story at all.

Moving on the positives, you could immediately tell the high level of dancing standard that is required of all the dancers in the show, because all were absolutely amazing! You could tell it took years of practice and it definitely showed. The high level of visuals were brilliant! They used two LED screens, one giant screen at the back of the stage and one more towards the front, which was used as a platform which the dancers could dance on. The high definition animations were breathtaking, and really made the show more beautiful.

Michael Flately who is the Creator, Producer and Choreographer, is world famous for his energetic and fast dancing and his shows are always sell outs world wide. I’m going to be honest and say that until now, I have never heard of him before. Now I have become a massive fan and I hope I get to see another one of his shows again. When I researched the show I found an interview that he done a few years ago and he said something that completely sums up the point I’m trying to make very nicely, he said: “I wanted to try and make tap dancing popular again!” and he has certainly done that.

If you have some free time go and see this show you will not be disappointed! For all information on the show and to buy tickets – Click Here.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Trailer Below:

Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical

Here’s to the start of 2017! Tonight I went to go and see ‘Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester. Having only heard of the two names ‘Jekyll’ and ‘Hyde’ I had no clue of the characters or the story, so I was going into this performance with a complete clean slate.
Dr Jekyll, played by Thomas Pleasant is a scientist is devolved to his life’s work in trying to separate the good and evil in people, into the hope to remove evil all together. Unfortunately, the General Hospital Board do not see Dr Jekyll’s same way of thinking. Therefore, Dr Jekyll has to result in conducting experiments on himself which as dangerous concerques. As a result his evil personality takes over, and turns into the evil Mr Hyde!
Starring Thomas Pleasant as Dr Jekyll, and Olly Medlicott as Mr Hyde. The use of lighting, smoke and darkness set the mood of the whole show. The transitions between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were expertly done! Even in some cases, both the actors being on stage at the same time. Mr Hyde lives a mad and darkened night life, completely different from Dr Jekyll and the difference is clear by how Olly portrays the character and this is brilliantly done! I couldn’t fault it!
The use of sound and microphones have been put to great use here, for example, when it came to Dr Jekyll talking the microphone was turned down a little a used a more soft effect to make the character came across gentle and calm. Whereas, with the Hyde character, the volume of the microphone was raised and more of a booming, powerful effect was used giving the effect that the character was in complete control!
The singing from the two female leads were outstanding, and the same can be said of the whole company. I came home feeling satsifed and happy that I got the chance to see this show on the closing night. I wish I had seen this sooner. I really look forward to what the Colchester Operatic Society come up with next! A truly brilliant show, and a great way to start 2017! Well done to all!
Until Next Time!

The VI Critic 
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‘Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical’ Logo

Dick Whittington

Hi, back again with another panto review! This time I went to go see Dick Whittington at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! I was especially looking forward to seeing this one as I had seen Aladdin there the previous year and that was brilliant!

For those who don’t know the story, Dick  Whittington is of a young boy who tries to seek is fortune in the mad streets of London, there he meets a young girl called Alice who’s father owns a herb and spice shop. Looking for a job, Dick rushes to the shop and begs Alice’s father for a job. After this, things go a bit sour for Dick and his feline friend, so they are banished for all of London. After a mad adventure of twist and turns, they all end up back in London safe and sound!

Photo: Dick Whittington (Glenn Adamson) looking out into the distance singing!

Starring Glenn Adamson as Dick Whittington, Dale Supperville as Jack and Anthony Stuart-Hicks as Dame Sarah the Cook. This is an absolutely brilliant show! There was plenty of laughs and comedy throughout! Anthony Stuart-Hicks as the Dame was absolutely hilarious! The first time I saw him perform when he was in Aladdin last year. Tonight he completely stole the show, I sat there in stitches at times and just thinking to myself: “Please stop making me laugh for ten minutes so I can breathe!” I could easy sit there and just watch a show with just him for two hours! I was luckily enough to get the chance to meet him after the show, and he was telling me how he does the producing side of theatre for most of the year and only really preforms in shows at Christmas. Which personally I think is a real shame. Anthony if your reading this, honestly no words can describe how good your were, and you honestly deserve more praise than I can give you!

Photo: Sarah the Cook (Anthony Stuart-Hicks) and Jack (Dale Supperville) in the ships kitchen joking around with the audience.

This show as absolutely fantastic! Seriously people, after reading this review go and buy a ticket! This is a MUST SEE (capital letters) for sure this Christmas! I have seen a lot of shows and Pantomimes over the years I’ve been going to theatres and this is so easily in my Top 3 Pantos I’ve seen! Just please leave a couple for me as I will be going back to this again! The show is family friendly and is for children all ages, and the adults too will get a massive kick out for it!

Photo: Selfie of Me, Anthony Stuart-Hicks and PA Mandy after the show!

Their is a touch tour and Audio Described version of the show on Thursday 7th December, for those of you who are interested! I have ran out of words I can use to praise this, so I am going to stop writing cause their is nothing more I can say!

Theatre Website: https://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

Sinbad – The Rock & Roll Panto

Well, Christmas is officially on the way which can only mean one thing…it’s Panto Season!! If you are a regular to this blog, you will know how much I love theatre! Therefore, this is my favourite time of the year!

Photo: Donna Souvlakia Sidbad (Graham Hent) and cast looking somewhat seasick!

Tonight I went to go and see Sinbad – The Rock and Roll Panto at The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. The story is of a sailor called Sinbad who has travelled the seven seas and is said to have a wife in every port! When he returns to his home land, he happens to bump into the Caliph’s daughter Princess Pearl and she instantly falls in love with him. However her father forbids this and she stowaways on Sinbad’s ship The Saucy Sausage as he attempts to find the lost treasure of Nirvana.

Photo: Sinbad (Steve Rushton) with Jade and Princess Pearl in pirate disguises!

The starred Steve Rushton as Sidbad, Graham Hent as Dame Donna Souvlakia Sidbad and Dan De Cruz as Sinistro a magician. The musical numbers throughout the show were performed brilliantly, and had all the member of the audience (and yes, including me) clapping, laughing, cheering, booing and dancing at any chance they could. For an opening night, I don’t think the cast could have done it any better. As this was an Audio Described performance, there theatre offered me a audio headset, and that said that I would be the first member of the public to use their system, so I therefore have decided that I will be this private and tell them of my thoughts directly. However, please don’t take this as a negative, I am doing this for the benefit of the theatre.

Photo: The evil magician Sinistro in a very purple robe and hat looking very evilly happy with himself with green lightly and smoke in the background! 

I think this is a show which is a Must-See this Christmas, and is a real fun and enjoyable night for all the family! The comedy is both hilarious for adults and children. There is not a dull moment, as all member of your family will thoroughly entertained. The show is running at The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and is running from 24th November until Saturday 28th January! So hey, why not go see it more than once! Link to the theatre website and information will be below.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Theatre Website & Information: https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/sinbad/