20th June 2015 | Theatre
Joey from @WarHorseOnStage is... on stage!…
7th April 2015 | Theatre
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…
7th April 2015 | Theatre
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.…