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:

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