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/

The Wizard of Oz!

Well, its the start of the Christmas season in theatre as I went to go see ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at The Ipswich Regent Theatre.

Now everyone knows the story of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. But just in case you haven’t. The story is about a young farm girl called Dorothey Gale, who dreams of a better place “under the rainbow”. Once there is befriends a scarecrow, tinman and lion and they all go on a quest in search of The Emerald City!

Directed by Sam Horsfield and music based on the famous Motion Picture comes the famous story live on stage. Starring Charlotte Sheehan as Dorothey, Kelly Flecture as Miss Gulch/The Wicked Witch of the West and Martin Leigh as Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz.

The show overall was very good, the acting and singing was of a very good standard. There was a very good use of pyrotechnics throughout the show. However, I think the theatre should have said before the show started that bangs and flashes were going to be used. I personally am very sensitive to bright light, so being somewhat close to the stage, plus what seemed that the flashes were getting brighter and brighter. Didn’t give me the best experience I was having to wait for my eyes to to adjust after very time it was used. So if like me your sensitive to light you may want to keep this in mind before seeing the show.

It was nice to see a live orchestra playing all the songs during the show. This is something from experience is something you only get when you go and see a really highly budgeted show or London’s West End. So it was very pleasant to see this at a local theatre. This show is aimed very closely at families and children, although there is a hint of adult humour in there too, as well as one or two Disney references. If your looking to have a family night out, then I would say put this on your radar. Is it the best adaption of ‘Wizard of Oz’ I’ve seen? No, but like I said before, this show is very children focused so to some of the show is going to be very obverse to adults. But the story was written for children, so the show never shied away from that, which wasn’t a bad thing.

The only negative I would have, is throughout the show. The production continued to have microphone problems where they would cut out on a regular basis. So this is something they would need to sort out rather quickly.

The show is running from 23rd to 26th of November at The Regent Theatre in Ipswich. Website for the show can be found below.

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

Theatre Website: https://apps.ipswich.gov.uk/en-GB/shows/wizard%20of%20oz/events/3

Photo: A picture of a the yellow brick road, whilst in front is the title ‘The Wizard of Oz’.   

Sister Act!

Hi all,

Coming to you with yet another review. Last night, I went to go see ‘Sister Act’ at The Regent Theatre in Ipswich. I arrived around half an hour before the show was due to start, which is normally plenty of time. But sadly not on this occasion. When I arrived at the box office to collect my ticket, the box office staff originally thought I had already picked up my tickets according to their paper work. I explained that I had not done so, so they spent a little time trying to find them. Whist this was going on the the main entrance to the theatre was already starting to fill.

This was opening night, so it was kind of expected. However, once I got my ticket, the crowd got to the point where you could blearily move. This for me is never good, as I find a get very disorientated. I would have liked the theatre as they knew I was coming to maybe notice I was struggling and take me aside so I was out of the massive crowd of people. Whilst waiting for the doors to open, so that we could go to our seats, it was announced that the show was going to be delayed by twenty minutes due to technical problems. So I began to feel slightly more stressed than I already was somewhat feeling. In the end, overall the show didn’t start until thirty minutes after the original time.

The show ‘Sister Act’ starred Alexandra Burke famous for winning the UK singing contest ‘The X Factor’ in 2008. Deloris Van Cartier (played by Alexandra Burke) a disco diva’s life takes a turn for the worst as she witnesses a murder. She goes to the police, and for her own protection they send her into hiding at a Convent. The last place where anyone will think to look. The first act, I felt was slow, and I struggled to get into it. The second act was more up beat and therefore I enjoyed it more than the first. Alexandra’s singing was brilliant, and you could see why she won the singing contest. However, you could also see that acting for her is somewhat of a new thing. I think after a few performances she would get into her stride within the role.

Overall, it was a good night out. I think more organisation in terms of crowd control at the beginning of the show could have been a lot better. I think for an  opening night of a show, could have gone a little better. If you want a good night out and some fun, then go and see this show, but I don’t think it is a must see. I came away from the theatre slightly disappointed if I’m completely honest. But I guess, they can’t go all completely to plan can they.  

Until Next Time

The VI Critic

Trailer:

“Lift Your Razor High Sweeney!”

Hi all,

Back again with another review. This time I went to see ‘Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ at The Mercury Theatre.

The show starred Hugh Maynard as Sweeney Todd, famous for being cast in West End shows such as The Lion King and Miss Saigon and also starring Sophie-Louise Dann. Famous for castings in West End shows such as ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and ‘Made in Dagenham’.

Set in 19th Century London, the story is of the main character Sweeney Todd on the journey for justice and revenge. He returns after a life time of imprisonment to the dark and deserted streets of London, where he meets a lovely, but somewhat slightly mad pie shop owner Mrs Lovett. Together they plot a plan to help Sweeney with his individual goals, as well as helping Mrs Lovett’s pie shop get off the ground and stop her pies from being “the worst pies in London!”

Photo: Sweeney Todd holding high a razor, with Mrs Lovett in the background.

All of the cast throughout the show were fantastic, however I have to mention this next point. The chemistry between Hugh and Sophie was amazing! Watching them both on stage together, you honestly got a sense of the two characters having a close relationship. The singing from Hugh, Sophie and all of the cast was first class! Acting was second to none, and the use of lighting and steam/smoke made the sets feel so realistic.

The set itself was brilliant and something which I personally have never seen before on any stage. The only way I can best describe it, is a massive 3D cube, with a quarter of the wall removed, a platform forming Sweeney’s barber shop with Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop underneath. With each side of the cube representing a different part of London.

Even if your totally blind, you will still get a kick out of the show. The Mercury Theatre offer multiple Audio Described Performances on certain Matinee performances depending on how long the show runs for. The package includes a ‘Touch Tour’ before the show, and then audio description headsets during the performance. This is something which I have experienced a few times at The Mercury and I honestly can’t fault it!

Photo: Me and the two main leads Hugh Maynard and Sophie-Louise Dann.

This show is defiantly in the Top Five shows I have seen so far this year, and yes I know there is more to come! Why this show and exact company are not performing this in London’s West End I don’t know, cause I sure would pay the money! If you have time in the next couple of weeks to go see this show, trust me you will not be disappointed!  

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Trailers:

Footloose – The Musical

Hi,

This week, I got the chance to see Footloose – The Musical starring Gareth Gates, Maureen Nolan and making her professional debut Hannah Price. Footloose is the story of Renn, who years after his father left his mother and him to fend for themselves they decide to leave the American city of Chicago and move to a small town called Bomont. Where there after a tragic death of four young teenagers have made it illegal to dance.

So, Renn along with his friends decide to change the law, so they can have a end of school year dance. The staging, lighting, music and vocals were excellent! You feel like you had a real connection to the story.

The theatre this time, was a lot bigger in terms of space, so was not very difficult to get around. I noticed whilst walking around that they had a few extra spaces for wheelchair users which was a nice thing to see. When I arrived, I was greeted by the manager who organises the press tickets at the theatre, he was really polite and friendly, and it felt like he was happy to have me there which is something I always like to experience when I arrive.

The service at the theatre was of a professional standard and I was sure that if I asked for help from a member of staff they would have been more than happy to. On this particular visit, I didn’t have a need to, but it was nice to know that the option was there. The only downside I would have with this particular theatre, is that there was not a massive choice in terms of food and drink. You had the usual alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, chocolate/sweets and crips (chips if you live over the pond). I felt there was very little choice in terms of options. Maybe the theatre would consider having some type of hot food available?  

Overall, it was a very good and enjoyable evening. Would I go and see the show again yes, would I rush to go see it…I’m not sure. I’m not saying the show was at all terrible because it honestly wasn’t, I just feel that maybe certain parts of extra things that come with going to the theatre could have maybe been a little better.

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

(Please note: Trailer is from 2011 and not the current cast!)

Made in Dagenham – The Musical

Hi,

Back again for another review of a local theatre show. This time, it’s going to be a little difficult to cram everything into one review but I’ll certainly give it a go.

This is the second time I’ve been back to this theatre, since last week, when I went to see ‘All or Nothing – The Mod Musical’. If you haven’t seen that review, then trust me it’s worth a read. Anyway, this show is something completely different. Set in 1968, ‘Made in Dagenham’ is about a factory worker and mother Rita O’Grady played by Daniella Bowen. Who along with other fellow women workers including Beryl played by Angela Bain, who is shall we say, not afraid to say what she thinks in a whole manner of ways, decide that enough is enough and want to be paid the same amount as the men, and to have sex equality enforced.

So the women decide to go on strike, and the fight begins to stand up for what they all believe in. Performances by Daniella, Angela and all of cast were exceptional! You felt like you had a real connection with the characters, and even hated some characters on the odd occasion. The singing and musical performances from cast and band were outstanding! I even had the odd tear in my eye whilst watching certain scenes, I felt like you had a real connection with the shows. All the songs were catchy and really enjoyable. I even looked up the shows music on my phone during the interval so I could by the soundtrack at a later date.

Photo (above): Group photo of me with some of the cast!

The use of lighting and sound was good, I really liked the fact that the cast played the songs of the shows themselves. Seeing women, being the main focus of a musical, is something you sadly very rarely see so it was a nice change. The story was very easy to follow, which helped with the right level of humour made it even more enjoyable.

I got the chance to meet some of the cast after the show, and they were all really kind and friendly. A few signed my programme, then one of them ran off with it and got the rest of the cast to sign it for me, which was really nice so if your reading this thank you!! :). Sadly I didn’t get a chance to meet the leading lady, as she had to go home as she wasn’t feeling too well after the show, so if you too are reading this, I hope your get better and recover soon!

To end, I would go so far to say, this is probably the best show I’ve got the privilege to review! This show is a must see for sure! At the end of the show, the cast got a standing ovation and it honestly couldn’t have been more deserving! Absolutely brilliant!

Until next time!

The VI Critic

Trailer to the show:

All or Nothing – The Mod Musical

Hi,

I will start by being completely honest with you. When I first watched the trailer before going to see the show tonight. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure if I would like it, but after seen the complete show for myself my views on the show have definitely changed.

The show ‘All or Nothing’ is set in the swinging sixties in the East End of London. The show is based on the rise and fall of a well-known and popular band of the time ‘The Small Faces’. ‘The Small Faces’ consisted of four young men: Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Jimmy Winston later replaced in 1965 by Ian McLagan.

Steve was not exactly a “goodie too shoes” at school and played up. With a passion to pursue a musical career, he got a job working in a music shop where later he met Ronnie, Kenny and Jimmy. They formed a band called ‘The Small Faces’ and started playing local gigs. As they grew in popularity, they started playing on TV shows like ‘Top of the Pops’ and touring around the world. But sooner or later the fame got to them and the band fell apart in 1969.

Having personally never heard of ‘The Small Faces’ before, watching the show felt like you went back in time and witnessed the musical culture of the sixties. All the music was played live, which was a nice touch. Both acting and vocals were excellent by all the members of the cast. The story was easy to follow, and the music I quickly got into, so at which point become very enjoyable and I couldn’t wait for them to start singing again.

Photo (above): Me and Tim Edwards, main leading man after the show!

It was narrated by Chris Simmons (famous for acting in TV shows, such as The Bill and Eastenders.) The way he performed his lines was outstanding whether he was on stage or in one of the chairs in the audience. He made the story very easy to follow, with the odd bit of humour thrown in here and there to make it more fun. But the acting overall from the whole cast was again brilliant! The use of lighting and staging were truly on par.

Photo (above): Me and Chris Simmons after the show!

The staff at the theatre were great! They even gave me a free t-shirt! Which I honestly wasn’t expecting. As well as free drinks at the interval. The hospitality at the theatre was really good. I couldn’t fault it in anyway. I could tell just by them talking to me that they had some previous experience helping people with a visual impairment, but at the same time you could always tell that they were not completely sure on what to do in certain situations, like helping me find my seat for example. This is something which maybe they could work on a little more. But I’m just nick picking here, so just something I thought I’d mention.

Photo (above): The ‘All or Nothing’ t-shirt they gave me!

I would highly recommend this show, you don’t have to know anything about “The Small Faces’. I didn’t and I was still able to follow the story with no problem. The music was catchy and vibrant, and you could easily sing along to them (unless your like me and didn’t know the words!) So if you have some free time, go and see this show. It is honestly great fun and a really enjoyable night out.

There was only one down side though…we did manage to get the car locked in the car park! Luckily some came out to let us in. Ah the extra experiences of going to the theatre!

Below is the trailer for the show!

Until next time!

The VI Critic