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Review: Memphis The Musical

7th April 2015 | Theatre

Review: Memphis The Musical

Memphis The Musical has been grabbing all of the big West End theatre awards so far this year – and for every award it hasn’t won, it’s been nominated for a million others. With music penned by David Bryan (of Bon Jovi fame), the Shaftesbury Theatre may just be the hippity-hoppiest club for you to swing by.

Loosely based on the story of Memphis disc jockey Dewey Philips, Memphis tells the story of one of the first white DJs to play black music on the radio in the 1950s. Starring in the lead roles are West End favourites Killian Donnelly (Huey) fresh off his show-stealing performance in sub-par The Commitments and Beverley Knight (Felicia) who just can’t do anything wrong.

Memphis resembles everything you would expect of a typical, high concept, West End show – lots of lights, big sets and even bigger voices. The acting is outstanding, the singing is on a whole different level and the visuals (set, costumes, etc…) really immerse you into the world of the 1950s, something that most teens definitely wouldn’t be able to ‘feel’ otherwise.

For the average theatre-goer, Memphis is a real treat. But, there’s the problem. For somebody who’s seen almost every show the West End has to offer right now, Memphis really is not special. If anything, it’s hugely irritating.

It’s easy to understand why a production such as Memphis would pick up/be nominated for so many theatre awards – it ticks all of the boxes: it’s high concept, it’s a real story, it has two famous faces, and the list goes on. But Memphis doesn’t bring anything new to the table. The songs sound very similar to the ones being sung not far down the road (i.e. IN ANY OTHER WEST END SHOW) and the…

Review: The Tulip Tree

7th April 2015 | Theatre

Review: The Tulip Tree

Enoch Powell is notorious. He is mentioned on average three times daily in the UK press. His observation, made in relation to Joseph Chamberlain, that “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and human affairs” is misquoted daily in a British newspaper.

When approaching a production in which Mr. J Enoch Powell is the central character, there is definitely an err of caution. A production taglined, “The Love Story of J Enoch Powell” definitely sounds intriguing, if not a tad worrying, but once ventured into, the result is nothing less than a thought provoking, engaging performance telling the story of Enoch Powell (played superbly by Alexander Shenton) and his lover, Barbara Kennedy (played by the elegant Helen Reuben).

Based in the attic-like performance space known as the Drayton Arms Theatre, this intimate performance is pulled off with near perfection, with all parts played with conviction. In a theatre where there are only four, short rows of seating, ‘intimate’ does go to a whole new level, but whilst watching ‘The Tulip Tree’ that doesn’t seem to be an issue. The closer to the characters you seem to get, the more real it seems.

Much needed humorous breaks are given by Tessa Wood in the role of Mrs Monckton (who has recently starred in Our Town at the Almeida Theatre). All of the performances are outstanding.

The experience can be summarised by the word ‘intense’. With a running length of only just over an hour and a half, you find yourself encapsulated in this world whereby Enoch Powell is not a ‘dangerous leader’ as we would know him in the political sphere, but more as a mate or an awkward associate.…

Live Blog: WhatsOnStage Awards 2015

15th February 2015 | Theatre

Live Blog: WhatsOnStage Awards 2015

This LIVE BLOG will launch at 6.00pm from the Prince of Wales Theatre, London.

 

18:39 We are here, live, at the Prince of Wales Theatre in the heart of London's West End for The WhatsOnStage Awards 2015. We'll be covering all of the gossip and award winners (and losers) live on here! Keep refreshing for the latest updates...

 

 

18:46 The audience are arriving in their droves! Some famous West End names have also arrived - including Kerry Ellis who is currently in Cats at the Palladium and West End Producer (#dear). Cast members from Jersey Boys, Miss Saigon and more are already seated as well.

 

 

18:56 And... West End Producer have just walked past us! We're shaking in our boots... #dear.

 

 

19:00 The tannoy has spoken and tonight's events are about to kick off! Here we go...

 

 

19:10 The first award for Best Supporting Actress is taking place right now!

 

 

19:15 The nominations for Best Supporting Actress are... Billie Piper (Great Britain), Gillian Anderson (A Streetcar Named Desire), Helen McCrory (Medea), Imelda Staunton (Good People) and Lucy Briggs-Owen (Shakespeare in Love).

 

 

19:21 We can hear all sorts of noises from inside the theatre here at the Prince of Wales! We have a feeling that our first winner may be on the way.

 

 

19:22 And our first winner of the night is VANESSA KIRBY for the Young Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire! Congratulations Vanessa - an interview with us is your next appearance!

 

 

19:23 Vanessa has thanked her team, Director Benedict Andrews and Gillian Anderson. She's self-proclaimed that her dressing room is like a bomb site! We've probably seen worse Vanessa, much worse.

 

 

19:25 Just before Vanessa comes up to us, it's time for the Best Supporting Actor in a Music Award! This one has gone to KWANG-HO HONG for Miss. Saigon

 

 

19:27 We've just realised we wrote the wrong…