Tommy Campe’s ‘Bring Back Chainmail!’

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another review! This time it is for something a little different but great and brilliant all the same.

I got the chance to go and see ‘Bring Back ChainMail’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester, and for those of you who don’t fancy a long read at the moment then it was one of the best things I have seen this year!

For those of you who fancy a long read, here it goes: Written, and starring Tommy Campe, comes the story of James, a normal teenager, who has an obsession and fascination with the medieval period. So much so that he has turned his bedroom into a medieval kingdom of his own. With help of his loyal friend Sophie or Bard as she is known to him played brilliantly by Megan Risley, he can bring his fantasy world to life!

James (Tommy Campe) is sitting cross legged on the floor wearing a blue medieval garment, playing the ukulele.

But there is a whole other reason why this kingdom exists, downstairs, James’ dad has to come to terms with the loss of his wife and James’ mother due to a terminal illness. Due to this, they are both further apart as a father and son can be. But through this play, they become closer as a family, thanks to James’ dad embracing his son’s magical world!

This show deals with the subject of death and grief and what it can do to the people left behind, and it captures all this beautifully. It has a lovely neutral progression, but can understandably be triggering for some.

This show is also in collaboration with Autism Anglican and I feel this show delivers a great representation of how someone with Autism might deal with the loss of a loved one, but also how loved ones around them can love and support them.

Bard (Megan Risley) is wearing a very colourful court jester outlet whilst smiling juggling some colourful juggling balls.

I went to a ‘relaxed performance’ of this show, where people were able to come and go as they pleased if they ever needed to, and people did, but this didn’t take anything away from the show, and was lovely to see a chill out area outside the studio with chairs and water should people need it, which was excellent to see. You could that they thought about people with autism and other disabilities.

I strongly believe that this show needs another national-wide run as well as schools, and maybe for those who struggle to get to the theatre, later on down the line, with maybe some more financial backing it would help make ‘Bring Back Chainmail’ bigger and better than it already is, and give it the springboard it truly deserves!

I am not sure, if or when this will happen, but it needs to so that more and more people experience the joy and spectacular of this marvellous show!

Until Next time!
The VI Critic

The Poster of ‘bring back chainmail’ with james, ina knights outfit holding a sword, his dad wearing a medieval king outfit and Sophie in her jesters outfit with a blue and orange background.

Mischief Production’s ‘Good Luck Studio’

Hi Everyone,

I recently got the chance to see ‘Good Luck Studio’ by Mischief Productions, behind the comedy shows ‘The Show Goes Wrong’ and ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ on the BBC. I wanted to see one of their shows live, and last night I got the chance so was excited! 

Ticket & Venue

I was kindly invited to The Mercury Theatre in Colchester for their press night of this show, and so was gifted the tickets for this show! Tickets range from £15 to £25, it is completely worth the money. A disabled ticket can also include a companion ticket should one be required. 

Seating

For this performance, I was offered seats in row D which are always an excellent view for anyone who is visually impaired as you are very close to the stage and was able to see everything going on from start to finish comfortably, with no eye strain whatsoever. So if you can get this row when booking your seats will have no problem here at all. 

Photo shows seating view of a cartoon setting with a castle, tree, and wall. with a backdrop of clouds and oranges. Surrounded by a tv like studio.

The Show

As I had seen this company’s production of other shows on tv, I went in with hopes being very high and they did not disappoint! The show had a dark theme, but also lots of laughter and comedy and I had a really good balance of both. You felt like you had a connection with each character and the audience felt for each of them as they were going through their struggles. The show had a real professional feel throughout which is something that I had expected coming from the company’s previous reputation. 

I can’t fault any of the cast at all, they really did put everything they had into their own performances and the passion bled from them during the whole show. A truly great performance done by all!  

shows princess pineapple in a yellow and orange pineapple dress. talking to a puppeteer holding a frog puppet.
Photo by Pamela Raith

Accessibility 

I need to start by saying that there is a content warning for this show including gunshots, a bomb threat and mock acts of terrorism. So that is something you need to bear in mind when considering booking tickets. There were multiple gunshots throughout the show, a few of them were in scenes and some were slightly muffled but it is there. For me personally, I think there were maybe too many gunshots, but at the same time some added to the plot, so I would say use your own judgement on this.

There was a great use of colour and lighting in certain scenes which were really helpful. There weren’t any dark moments which was a nice addition. The only dark moment came at the end of the first act, but that is expected. There were a lot of really bright colours as the mock tv show was a show for children so was easy to see who was who. There is a point where two different characters are wearing the same costume so I had to rely on the actors’ voices but that was only a handful of times.

shows 'Andy' (Adam Byron) wearing a bright green with purple dots dragon body custom, holding a yellow script.
Photo by Pamela Raith

There is an Audio Description performance available, if you have limited to no vision I would strongly encourage you to have the AD headset as there are a few visual jokes and tags throughout the show inducing one whole scene that is entirely visual. So take the option if you can. There is also a ‘touch tour’ available should you want that access too. The Audio Description and Touch Tour performance are on the 15th of October at 2.30 pm. 

Overall

In conclusion, I thoroughly recommend this show to adults and older teenagers. A really enjoyable night out, a great laugh with all emotions in one show! I highly recommend it for sure! ‘Good Luck Studio’ is running at The Mercury Theatre from 6th – 16th October 2022. Then running to other theatres in the UK. You can find tickets at The Mercury Theatre by clicking here, or the Good Luck Studio website here! 

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

a full shot of the whole set with the dragon dancing and jumping also with princess pineapple with bright lights all around them.
Photo by Pamela Raith

Colchester Operatic Society’s ‘Fame!’

Hi Everyone,

Back again with another review. This time the show was put on by a local drama society in Colchester! If you would like to know more, and maybe even get involved then you can find their website here. Go and check it out! 

Ticketing & Venue

So I was kindly given the tickets by The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! They were incredibly helpful! There is a wide range of ticket options available. You can choose either: a disabled person ticket, or a visually impaired ticket, or if you have an assistance dog, there is also an assistance dog ticket. There is a companion ticket option at £1.50 that can be added with any of those tickets. 

They are very geared up to helping people with all disabilities, not just blind or visually impaired people! All staff are able to offer sighted guided assistance should you require it! If you also have a Guide Dog then the front-of-house staff, are very accommodating and will happily look after your Guide Dog during the performance. If however, you would like your to be with you during the performance then that is something you can also do easily! 

Seating 

So in terms of seating, you are able to book any seat within the auditorium that you require. At this particular performance, I was given seats H 21 and H22. For me, this proved to be a little tricky when it came to certain darker scenes as I was unable to fully make out who was who. I was somehow able to do this due to do this as these scenes being in the second half of the show I knew which character was speaking as I had worked out which character was who due to their voice! If I had to recommend a certain row I would recommend row D if you have Low Vision, as this is close enough where you are still able at least I am able to see the performers’ facial expressions. Which is something I like to do, but you might be different. But if you have No Vision then anywhere in the auditorium you will have the same experience. 

The Show

Overall, the show was very good, You have to consider that all the actors in the show are not professional. But considering this, some of the cast had amazing singing voices! Sadly I am unable to mention certain cast members by name as on my particular evening the programmes were sadly not delivered in time, and at the time of writing this review, there is no cast list on the Mercury website. But you all really were amazing and you all should be really proud of yourselves! 

Throughout the show, there were some technical difficulties with microphones and such so was a little difficult to hear what some of the cast were saying at times, but this was opening night so I think we can forgive them for the odd teething problems! 

Accessibility 

In terms of accessibility for blind and visually impaired people sadly, it is very limited. Unfortunately, there is no Audio Description which I feel these days is a must and should be at least one per show that comes in. But looking at the website there doesn’t seem to be an Audio Described performance, hopefully, this is something that the Colchester Operatic Society can look to change for future performances, as this is disappointing to see. However, there are two captioned performances available. So check out The Mercury Theatre’s website for more details, click here to find out more!

Overall

This was a really fun show to watch, you called tell that all the company thoroughly enjoyed their time on stage and you could really feel the passion they all had for performing, I think some could really go far if they kept at it! The show is running from 10th – 18th September multiple shows a day so this is definitely a watch if you would like to see some up-and-coming talented and you could say you saw them first! 

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

Mercury Theatre’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’

Hi all and welcome to another review! This time it’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!

Adapted by Mike Kenny from the classic book by Lewis Carroll comes the classic children’s take, but with a slight twist! Alice is a modern school girl about to her final exams, but something goes wrong and she ends up in Wonderland, with all the characters that you come to expect!

There was a mixture of live music, comedy, dancing and laughter! The show had a nice modern spin on the tale which is brilliant for today’s audiences, but it also catered for older audiences too who are very familiar with the classic story. There was a great use of both costume and props throughout. Alice was in the same outfit throughout the show, so was easy to distinguish her from the other characters. There was also a great contrast between what was going on stage compared with the background, so was very clear and easy to follow. I loved the interactions with the audience, and the characters going through the auidence are various points and talking and talking to them. It gave an up close and personal look at the individual costumes of almost all the cast, which is something I always love and enjoy! 

All the characters had bright and colourful costumes so was easy to pick out who was who from a crowd scene. All of the cast were amazing and you could tell they thoroughly enjoyed their roles and acting with the rest of the cast! Sadly the original Alice came out with Covid before the show was due to open. So Beth Mabin stepped into the role with as little as three days’ notice, and what an amazing job she did! Even though the audience was told this before the show started, you would not think that this was the case at all. Beth did an outstanding job, as well as did the rest of the cast. 

Having been to a number of shows at The Mercury now where the cast has also played live music to the songs of the show, and once again this did not disappoint! This made the show more fun and enjoyable to watch! The use of set design was as usual at The Mercury on point. I have Low Vision and everything was clear and recognisable with great use of colour and contrast. The songs were easy to sing along to, proof of this came when at the interval, a number of the audience were still singing the song of the final number for act one. 

I felt like the final act was a little short, and would have been nice if they added on an extra ten or twenty minutes, but I also understand that this is also aimed at children as well as adults too. So for that reason was the right amount of length. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this show for all the family this summer! There is an Audio Description performance on Thursday 11th August at 2.30 pm with a Touch Tour available also at 1 pm on the same day. Although tickets are selling very quickly for all performances of the whole run, so get in quick! 

‘Alice In Wonderland’s running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from Thursday 4th August until Thursday 14th August 2022. You can find the Mercury’s website. there to find tickets and all about their accessibility options and performances by clicking here.

People With Low Vision: I think you will have a great time here, there’s not a lot you won’t miss! There is the odd visual jag here and there that you may miss, but you are not at all missing out on the story or the plot.

People With No Vision: Story-wise you will not miss out, as there are little to no visual story elements. However, there is the odd visual representation of the story and plot you will miss if you do not have Audio Description or a sighted companion going with you. So either one of these things is a must. But if you know the story well beforehand then you should be fine. but this being an adoption there is the odd change to the story, that you might be familiar with. 

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

photo shows a green garden with a hedge, with two legs in blue and white stripped socking in converse shoes with a pocket watch, and a bottle which asa label that says 'drink me' on it. With big words in red that say; Alice In Wonderland'
Photo By: Pamela Raith

Mercury Theatre’s ‘Blackmail’

Hi all,

Here we are with the first theatre review for 2022! To kick things off with a bang, we have a murder!

Okay, not a real murder, I recently went to go and see ‘Blackmail’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! This version is an adaption of the original play written in 1928 by Charles Bennett. Retold by acclaimed playwright Mark Ravenhill tells the story of Alice (Jessie Hills) a little shop girl and her not to be messed with Mother (Lucy Speed), who run a popular shop in Chelsea. Along with Alice’s fiance Harold a Metropolitan Policeman. One night something goes wrong and all their lives are turned upside down in the space of one night.

I have to say first that I thoroughly enjoyed this play! I am a real sucker for crime documentaries and shows so after reading up on the show when I got the invite I knew I was going to enjoy this show. But there are a few things that I would like to touch on here in this post that I thought made it an, even more, enjoyable experience. 

First was how realistic everything was. Thought the show the character would always like cigarettes with matches, pour cups of tea or glasses of water, cut slices of bread amount other things and this was done right. When they pour they poured the tea out of the teapot actual tea would pour out, when they turned on the tap you could hear and see water splashing into the sink! This is something I feel that shows just don’t do enough of. By performing shows in this way it makes them as accessible to the audience as possible. 

photo shows the huge two story set on stage with Alice's mother Ada (Lucy Speed) looking out the side door whilst Harold is standing in this police uniform contemplating in the small kitchen at the back of the shop.
Photo By: Pamela Raith

The use of lighting was excellent, you could see everything that was going on stage very clearly, there was some during the night scenes which were a little tricky to see, but that’s okay, as there were no major actions scenes so I didn’t feel like I was missing much. Even if you have no vision you wouldn’t miss out either as the show is mostly dialogue. My only suggestion would be is to have better contrast with the characters’ costumes between each other and the light, there were times when I struggled to pick out Alice because of the colour of her dress colour in some of the night scenes. But all of the actors’ voices are all different and unique to the character, so if you have no vision you will be able to remember who is who very easily, plus every character’s name is mentioned a good three or four times at least throughout the show, I can’t imagine it would be too much of a problem to keep track of what is going on if you have limited vision.

Photo shows Alice (Jessie Hills) and Ian Tracey (Patrick Walshe McBride) in the back kitchen having a heated confrontation, with Ian Tracey holding a bread knife in a threatening way, whilst keeping th door to the upstairs rooms shut.
Photo By: Pamela Raith

All of the cast were excellent, you could feel the emotion, stress and anxiety of all of them at various points, and you could tell that they all knew their charters very well and connected with them. It is a small cast of only four so trying to remember visually who’s who isn’t too difficult. Each character’s costume is unique to them so that will also help. 

As I said at the beginning, I thoroughly enjoy this show and would happily go and see this again, and a highly recommend you could and seat whilst you can. It has a very limited run at The Mercury Theatre from Thursday 10th March until 19th March 2022. Tickets for the show can be found by ticketing the link here. Hurry up and buy your tickets, you won’t want to miss out on this!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic 

Andrew Pollard’s ‘Aladdin!’ at The Mercury Theatre

Hello everyone and welcome! 

I know this post has been a little time coming as I’ve not been to as many shows this year (as you can imagine with the world the way it is).  But hopefully I will be able to attend and review more shows in the coming year.
Watching a pantomime at Christmas as a theatre-goer is my favourite thing to do and this year was no exception.

Widow Twankey, Humphrey the Camel & The Emperor of Colchestaria are all sicking on a bench looking all worried and scared.
Antony Staurt-Hicks – Dale Superville – Minal Patel
Photo By: Marc Brenner

A brief overview of the show:
A young Aladdin desperately wants to become a famous rock star. 
He meets Jasmine the Emperor’s daughter, falls in love with her and resolves to find a way to become so rich that he can marry her.  Meanwhile, our antagonist the evil ‘Fabra Cadabra’ believes that she deserves all the power in the world.  Jasmine is then kidnapped.  Hoping that the ‘power of rock’ will protect him, Aladdin goes on a quest with Genie and his friends to save Jasmine from Fabra Cadabra in the “Land of the Mummies”.

Now the review!

I have been in the audience of every Mercury Theatre pantomime since 2016 but for me, this has to be the best pantomime I have seen.  So much fun, frolics and fantastic acting! This is not one to miss!
It has everything a great panto needs: sing along songs, dancing, comedy and so much laughter from start to finish.
James Hameed who plays Aladdin is a super star with a truly amazing singing voice. 
There is great chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine (Danielle Kassaraté), as with all the cast as a whole.
I am certain that the players had a blast performing the show and this really translated well to the audience.
It was so easy to be swept up in the performance. 

Aladdin, wearing a golden and white hasten clothing, smiling holding Jasmine, who is wearing a green hasten costume.
Danielle Kassarate & James Hameed
Photo By: Marc Brenner

Once again the comedy duo that is Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Supervillie were on fire. 
Not being on stage for two years has not stopped them at all!  They had the whole audience in stitches.
I am so happy to see them both together again. They are an absolute joy to watch, making the night even more special!  I personally can’t wait to see the duo again, maybe in next year’s panto? (Hint hint!)

There was a great use of light and colour throughout the whole show.  Each character had their own unique colour and style, so even if with limited vision I was still able to make each character out. 

Despite my limited vision, I could not miss Widow Twankey with her over the top yet fun costumes and hairstyles.
I also found each song in the show recognisable and very easy to sing along with. 

Fabra Cadabra wearing a red glittering costume, is holding a glass ring looking all amazed.
Leonie Spilsbury
Photo By: Marc Brenner

Accessibility

Even if, (like myself) you are someone with very limited vision, I think you will have a wonderful time! 
There are some parts of the panto which rely upon visual gags but I think the show tries to make sure that you hardly miss anything, including jokes and the storyline. 

I am not sure about a touch tour this year due to health and safety regulations but I did not contact the theatre to ask.
I would like to see more audio described performances. The show is running for a few months and I feel that one is just not enough.

As I said at the beginning of the review, I have seen so many pantomimes performed at The Mercury and this is the best I have ever seen!
Tickets are selling fast, so get yours soon from The Mercury Theatre’s website: here


Aladdin is running from 27th November until 16th January 2022

Trust me when I say, go get your tickets now!

Until Next Time

The VI Critic

Ken Ludwig’s ‘Baskerville’

Hi everyone!

I am so happy to be back in the theatre again after so long out of one! As well as be able to review shows for you again!


The Sherlock Holmes stories are a collection of stories I have been a huge fan of since I was a child. I have watched and read most of the main stories and I do have my personal favourites. There is just something about Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson that just attracts them to you as any long life fan of the duo would know. can be anything from the action and suspense, to be in awe of Holmes’ genius and brilliant mind!

So When I got the option to go and review at Sherlock Holmes show I was shall we say a little excited…? Okay, I was very much excited! The story that Ken Wen Ludwig went with was the iconic Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Hound Of Baskerville’. If you talked to any Sherlock Holmes fan and ask them to name their top five stories I can guarantee this would be one of them!


‘Baskerville’ has tried to keep too original sorry as possible, however, it is slightly adapted as this show is a comedy version. Now hold your horses Holmes’ fans, I had the same thought as you originally of ‘oh dear, what have they done.’ But actually, I was pleasantly surprised!

Imagine of Holmes in a purple blazer holding a black and silver cane, looking concerned, with Waston just behind him looking at Holmes expectantly.
Photo Credit: Pamela Rath

A quick review would be, from beginning to end I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The show is very light-hearted and caters for everyone and anyone including families and children, being the story that it is, there are some scary bits here and there and there is a lot of talk of crime, murder and death as you would come to expect, but being a comedy it tackles these subjects very well even for young children and makes enormous fun of them, but there are some serious moments in there too.


Before beginning to end the show will have you in stitches both children and adults alike! The acting from all the cast was amazing and keep in with the style and mood of the show they were going for, Richard Ede played an excellent Sherlock Holmes’ he made the character his own, not as serious and in some cases cold as I believe Sherlock Holmes to be but light-hearted and welcoming which was brilliant as it set with the rest of the show brilliantly.


Dr Waston played by Eric Stroud kept the audience well informed with the story and what was going on as Dr Waston should! He came across as more down to earth and open than Holmes, but that is as it should be. Both Eric and Richard looked great together as the famous duo and bounced well off each other! You could tell that all the cast had a close bond which is always so nice to see!

Imagine shows Holmes and Waston on the Baskerville moor at night with lanterns walking through the fog of the moors looking very alert!
Photo Credit: Pamela Rath

The use of sound was expertly done, in particular scenes which involve the hound, there were times where it felt like the hound was either behind or the side of you! That’s something I haven’t seen in a long time so well done! There was a great use of costume, during the show Dr Waston has to walk in some very strong wind so his customer was very dramatic and over the top, both for the scene and comic effect which was a great laugh. Other small comic moments make the show I real pleasure to watch and is a great night out for all the family!

People Who Are Visually Impaired: I think this is a great show for you to go and see. The use of light and colour is expertly done and I don’t think you will have any problems here. If you have very limped but some vision you might miss some of the small comic moments during the show, but these don’t take anything from the story so you wouldn’t miss anything. I would recommend either sitting in rows D or E for the best view. But if you need to sit closer to see then by all means do.

People Who Are Blind Or Have No Vision: I think you will have little problems with this show story-wise, as all the important parts of the story are narrated by Dr Waston, and most of the show has very little action. But if you would like the full effect and no to miss any of the comedy be it big or small I could recommend you book an Audio Described performance, these will include a touch tour before the show as well so you will get the full experience. Details of this can be found on The Mercury Theatre’s website under the ‘Access For All’ section. 

‘Baskerville’ is running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester, from Friday 6th until Sunday 22nd August 2021! Book your tickets now, you won’t be disappointed! 

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. 

 

Josh-Collins-The-Events-Photography-Robert-Day-2-800x530

‘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. 

 

Anna-OGrady-Community-Choir-The-Events-Photography-Robert-Day-3-800x530

‘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 

TheEventsLandscape-800x530

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”.

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:

Wind In The Willows

Hi,

The story of Wind in the Willows, is a story that I’ve heard about but never actually read. So when going to see this show at The Mercury Theatre, I went into the show with a complete open mind.

I got lucky enough to go to a touch tour before the show in the afternoon. For those who don’t know, a touch tour is part of the access element which most shows and theatres offer even if it’s a local theatre or London’s West End. A touch tour is where disabled audience members get to experience a full feel of the show, getting to see/feel the sets on stage and costumes that the actors and actresses wear. In today’s case, The Mercury Theatre did this very well, each actor/actress came up to each person individually and allow them to touch their costume and whilst I was doing so, the actor/actress described the item in question e.g. the item’s colour, texture and where and how it was used in the show.

They did the same with the musical instruments and some were very different and some which I had never seen before e,g, various pots and pans you would use when cooking. After they showed us the instruments, they then played a sample of a song in the show showing how the instruments are used. After that we had a questions and answers section, but no one actually asked any questions so it just ended early.

After the touch tour had ended, I then went to the ticket office to collect the tickets for the show later that afternoon. I was also lucky enough that the also gave me a discount on food and drink. Now I am not sure if that was because they knew I was press or it was part of the disabled access, but either way it was a nice touch so I will never turn that down so other theatres reading this take note! :).

The show was overall very good. The acting was of a good standard, the use of setting and lighting added to the atmosphere of the whole show. I really liked the fact that the cast played most of the songs in the show themselves, which I rather enjoyed. Every song made me smile whenever they start singing so thats always a good sign. Their was a lot of audience participation for example during the chase scene, the cast would run through the audience so to heighten the atmosphere and as a audience member I really wanted the good character to get away. Throughout the show, all the cast would use the auditorium doors as a way of entering and exiting a scene, so it made you feel like you were part of the story.

Photo (above): Photo of the stage and some of the audience before the show started.

I felt that the first half of the story during the first half of the show was a little hard to follow and understand, but the second half of the show, I had a much better understanding of what was going on story wise. The cast increased the audience participation, so in terms of that alone by the end of each scene I felt like I was part of the show, and up there on the stage with them. However, the nicest touch I felt was at the end of the show, where the cast allowed members of the audience to come up and dance with them! As soon as they announced this, most all of the kids in the audience (and I must say some of the parents) ran down the stairs and went on the stage and loved being with the cast! This is something which I believe should be encourage within shows everywhere, not just local theatre.

I would highly recommend going to see this show! If you have young kids I strongly recommend you see this show with them, they will love it! The show is very family focused, both children and parents will find moments of the show hilarious! So if you are finding it difficult to find things to do this Summer, go see this show! If you are interested in seeing the show for yourself, I will leave the website to the theatre below!

http://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/event/wind-in-the-willows/

Trailer:

Photo (above): Theatre graphic of Wind In The Willows

Until next time!

The VI Critic