More theatre and dance memories? You impetuous thing, you! April to July 2008

  1. Nederlands Dans Theater 1 – Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, 5th April 2008

Always a pleasure to see any of the NDT dance companies – and this was a tour by their Number One group, comprising of Jiri Kylian’s Wings of Wax, followed by Lightfoot Leon’s Signing Off, and finishing with Kylian’s Tar and Feathers. This would be the last time (to date) that we have seen NDT1 – let’s hope it’s not for ever!

  1. James Son of James – Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 11th April 2008

This was a fun and inventive show from the now defunct Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, full of anarchy and lunacy but tremendously exciting theatre from a hugely talented group of dancers. Really enjoyed it.

  1. Billy Elliot The Musical – Victoria Palace Theatre, London, 3rd May 2008

An unpopular opinion here, but I think the stage version of Billy Elliot is vastly inferior to the original film. Superbly staged and performed, of course, but for some reason we just didn’t connect with our Billy – I don’t know which actor it was who played it on our performance, (although I know it wasn’t young Layton Williams, I would have remembered him) and I just felt rather let down by the whole thing.

  1. Doctor Dolittle – Birmingham Hippodrome, 11th May 2008

We took our nieces to see this show, starring Tommy Steele and with all the old familiar Leslie Bricusse songs from the original film. One of those productions that I’m sure was perfectly good but I cannot for the life of me remember anything about it – not even going to see it in the first place. I must be getting old.

  1. The Good Soul of Szechuan – Young Vic, London, 17th May 2008

We’d heard excellent things about this new production by Richard Jones of Brecht’s Good Woman of Szechuan – and those excellent things were correct! An excellent translation by David Harrower, with a fantastic central performance by Jane Horrocks, with great support from the likes of Liza Sadovy and John Marquez. Enjoyed it enormously!

  1. The Cherry Orchard – Festival Theatre, Chichester, 7th June 2008

Philip Franks directed this new version of Chekhov’s classic by Mike Poulton, and there were fantastic performances from a plethora of brilliant actors. Diana Rigg played Ranyevskaya, with Michael Siberry as Lopakhin, Natalie Cassidy as Dunyasha, William Gaunt as Gayev, Jemma Redgrave as Varya, John Nettleton as Simeonov-Pishchik, Maureen Lipman as Charlotta Ivanovna, and Frank Finlay as Firs, in what was I believe his final stage appearance. Immaculate and superb.

  1. Hairspray – Shaftesbury Theatre, London, 28th June 2008

The original London production had already been running for a good nine months before we finally got around to seeing it – and it was a total delight from start to finish. Michael Ball was Edna and Ian Talbot was Wilbur, with the brilliant Leanne Jones as Tracy, the excellent Ben James-Ellis as Link, and the fabulous Tracie Bennett as Velma. Many great stars of the future lurk further down the cast list, including Adrian Hansel as Seaweed, Sandra Marvin as Lorraine, and Michael Vinsen as Brad. The show’s popularity has never gone away, and why would it?

  1. Sail Away – Lost Musicals at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, London, 6th July 2008

Another of Ian Marshall Fisher’s fantastic rejuvenations of an old lost show, Noel Coward’s 1961 show is set in New York City, and this production included many of the Lost Musicals favourite performers, including James Vaughan, Stewart Permutt, Ursula Smith and Vivienne Martin.

 

 

 

 

  1. Twelfth Night – Oxford Shakespeare Company at Wadham College Gardens, Oxford, 12th July 2008

Bill Bankes-Jones’ hilarious production of Twelfth Night was perfect in the gardens of Wadham College, with brilliant performances throughout, although James Lavender’s Malvolio in particular was a superb mix of ridicule and despair.

  1. Eurobeat The Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre, 18th July 2008

The first of three times that we saw this particular version of Eurobeat – which is without question the original and best. Wonderfully funny presentation from Les Dennis and Mel Giedroyc, and ten fantastic parody songs; the winner that night (and on the third time we saw it) was the KGBoyz with Ice Queen for Russia, but the second time (which was the London Press Night) it was Ronan Corr’s La La La for Ireland, which remains my favourite song from this selection. A tremendous spoof, done with real heart and incredibly funny.

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2016 – Eurobeat, 24th August 2016

EurobeatHurrah for the return of Eurobeat! We saw the original production three times – once at Milton Keynes, once on its press night in London (get us) and once on a Eurovision fans’ party night. That production starred Mel Giedroyc and Les Dennis and it was exceptionally funny. So we can’t wait for its return, with a brand new set of songs vying to become the winner, and hosted by Rula Lenska and Lee Latchford-Evans. It’s on at The Grand @ Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, at 21:45 on Wednesday 24th. Here’s what the website has to say: “An irreverent, hilarious, sequin-soaked celebration of the international phenomenon Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s honour falls to Moldova, a country determined to present a fantastic new glittering contest against all odds. Ten countries compete for the coveted title and you hold the power by voting live to determine the winner at each exhilarating, high-energy performance. The evening is hosted by the glamorous former KGB agent Katya Kokov, and the three-time winner of Moldova’s Got Talent, Nikolae Nikovsky. Both desperate to make this a fabulous night to remember –Euro no matter what it takes. The party just got bigger!”

If this is anything like the previous incarnation of the show, this will be one of the best things we’ll see all year. Check back shortly around 11.30pm to see how brilliant it was (and who won!) and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too.

Post-show update:

Rula LenskaThis has got to be the most “West End” type show we’ve seen all week, with nothing held back on the costumes and choreography; however, sadly, the backing music was too loud for the voices and Mrs Chrisparkle had difficulty following the lyrics. Ten brand new songs to titillate our European fancies, all hilarious in either word, presentation or both. Eurovision fans will recognise Loreen, Ruslana, Sertab and Jedward (and many more I am sure). For our performance, Norway won with their staggering “We are Vikings” by Hammer of Thor. Wonderful tongue in cheek presentation by the frosty (maybe very slightly too frosty) Rula Lenska and the irrepressible Lee Latchford Evans. Oh and there are some surprising faces announcing the jury scores. Enormous fun!