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David Porter » Entries tagged with "musical theatre"

Bugsy Malone

Bugsy Malone at East Point Academy, Lowestoft Bugsy Malone is one of those marvellous creations – a piece of fun-filled, light-hearted, joyful nonsense that’s stood the test of time (it was first around as a film in 1976) and is accessible to all ages. In the hands of the production team led by the indomitable Jo Gilbert, East Point Academy did a wonderful job in bringing sheer entertainment to large and enthusiastic audiences. Set very loosely in the speakeasies and alleys of Prohibition-era Chicago, it revolves round rival gangsters, hoodlums, undesirables, loose women, death dealt by cream pies and splurge guns and a couple of incompetent cops. It packs some favourite songs, such as ‘My Name Is Tallulah’, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘So You Wanna Be a Boxer’, ‘Down and Out’, ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’ and the … Read entire article »

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Urinetown

Urinetown by Sound Ideas Theatre Company, at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 8 April 2016 Urinetown is an unlikely, even unfortunate, name for a musical, but this show addresses the price of water after a disastrous drought, state-supported big business raising the cost of going to the toilet and how people finally rebel. It absolutely fizzes throughout, revelling in a postmodern setting with the exuberant company in mixed period costumes. The well-played music is eclectic (jazz and gospel among genres), songs are fiery and punchy and the whole thing is a gigantic parody of musicals, love stories, politics and theatre itself. The inspirational Sound Ideas Company have secured the East Anglian premiere for this wonderfully dark tale with a moral. Jon Bennet is the sinister, leather-clad police officer/narrator; Mark Wells … Read entire article »

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Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors by the Seagull Rep at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 7 April 2016 The spoof, B-movie musical Little Shop of Horrors is a joyfully ridiculous tale set in a Skid Row flower shop where a rare flesh-eating plant is nourished. The Seagull Rep excelled themselves with their take on it. Director John Hales and the Seagull team worked talented, top-notch performers from principals to company round the clever set with a first class band rocking above the action. Michelle Long, the romantic-at-heart Audrey, was an outstanding singer and actress, with John Jones playing her nerdy love interest. Jimmy Atkin as the flower shop owner was spot on and the three chorus/do-wap girls (Amanda Wisher, Claire Welham and Alisha Giles) captivating. The evil dentist Daniel Hughes … Read entire article »

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Phantom of the Opera

Norfolk Youth Music Theatre, at Norwich Playhouse Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 12 April 2014 The increasingly ambitious, hugely talented Norfolk Youth Music Theatre team excelled in their magnificent, confident Phantom, which is a big show by any definition. Whether in the dramatic solos and duets or the entire ensemble on stage, this was a smooth operation allowing the music, singing and Marina Bill’s tight choreography to drive the emotions in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s dark love story. Never easy musically, the orchestra under Mark Sharp’s expert baton sounded so good somebody near me thought it was a professional backing track. Norwich School of Dance delivered glorious ballet routines. Adrian Connell, stage and musical director, should be proud of his performers and know that he is guiding many future stars. Hyoie O’Grady donned the … Read entire article »

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Puppets and Performers on Stage Together Creating Reality

Even when actors manipulate puppets in front of audiences, the puppet comes alive, absorbing, compelling, believable. It’s a powerful dramatic device. ‘Puppet’ has been a useful English language word for centuries. Some kind of political leader installed by a more powerful force is often referred to as ’puppet government’ or ‘puppet regime’. The term, broadened out, means simply anyone weaker controlled by somebody stronger: a puppet, pulled by strings at the behest of a controller. Some have it that ‘poppet’, meaning a term of affection for another, as in ‘pet’, ‘doll’ or ‘dear’, is from the same root. It is a representation of a person, a kind of surrogate human-being, which on stage can be extremely moving, unpleasant, sinister or comic. Puppets are, in fact, a very ancient theatrical form. Historic, Cultural Puppet … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Norfolk Youth Music Theatre at Norwich Playhouse Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 13 April 2012.   Stephen Sondheim’s ground-breaking, musical revenge thriller is heavy with gore and bodies. This Norfolk Youth Music Theatre production puts some professionals to shame. Adrian Connell directs a highly talented ensemble. Callum Bicknell plays the barber with an amazing voice, towering morosely over victims and innocents alike. Harriet Millsopp is just outstanding as the amoral Mrs Lovett, turning bodies into pies. High soprano Emily Stangham, as Todd’s daughter, and Emma Hume as his tragic, lost wife, are superb. Fraser Davidson (the love-lorn Anthony), Daniel Herman (the depraved Judge Turpin), Jack Edwards (his accomplice), Alex Salzado (the rival barber) and Marland Barsby (the young, simple Tobias Ragg) are all exceptionally strong singers and actors. This is extremely challenging musically. Mark … Read entire article »

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There’s No Success Like Failure in Musical Theatre

Musicals can flop with critics, but hit at box offices, or vice versa. Happy is the show that appeals to both. Yet neither guarantees longevity in showbiz. In Love Minus Zero/No Limit (1965), Bob Dylan sang: ‘She knows there’s no success like failure/And that failure’s no success at all’. But in the mixed-up world of musical theatre, failure can mean success; success can be fleeting. A critical panning often makes audiences flood in, to disagree. The musical The Producers (2001) from a 1968 film, featured two producers who deliberately sold shares in a Broadway flop, but it became a hit. That’s the musical world, often topsy-turvy. No Success Formula Musical theatre is an art form integrating dance, drama, song and music to tell a story. Lighter tales or heavier sagas, they can be comic … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Musicals Are Made From Any Subject Matter, However Unlikely

No theme is too tired, weird, wacky, bizarre or downright unusual, that it can’t be set to music, choreographed and performed on a stage somewhere. Many stage musicals across the world in the past hundred years have featured unexpected settings, stories, places and events. Murder, rape, incest, betrayal, war and politics have become staple fare of the musical adaptation. Treatments of Shakespeare (West Side Story; Kiss Me Kate), Victor Hugo (Les Misérables), Dickens (Oliver; Pickwick), Robert Louis Stevenson (Jekyll and Hyde; Treasure Island) and George Bernard Shaw (My Fair Lady); mixed-race relationships (Show Boat) and the game of chess as US-Russian politics have established themselves in the cannon of traditional musical theatre. Cabaret (1966), set in 1920s Berlin as the Nazis rose to power, incorporated sleaze, corruption and music; The Sound of Music … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

The Boy Friend

Phoenix Opera at The Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 8 October 2011 1954, when this comic pastiche musical was first produced, was an optimistic period, like the 1920s in which it’s set. It’s a timely revival, as clear-cut roles, flimsy plot and light songs are an antidote to these darker contemporary times. Director Sheila Duffield has her cast work hard making the most of space and bathed in Riviera sunshine. The romance of Polly (enchanting Rachel Goodchild) and Tony (dashing Will Arundell), is matched by the enthusiastic company of youngsters who all get engaged, led by the lively and talented Lucy Short. There is further romance between finishing school headmistress (Pip Jenkinson) and Polly’s father (Christopher Speake), while Tony’s parents (Pat Tegerdine and Andrew Barker) add hilarity played to the … Read entire article »

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