As a fan of Monty Python, having been brought up on their diet of anarchic madness, I approached this production of Spamalot with some trepidation.
I needn’t have worried. The show, which is basically a stage adaptation of the 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is a superb tribute to the comedy team. It will certainly satisfy the die hard Python fans and will introduce a whole new generation to the genre.
The style of humour won’t be to everyone’s taste and it sounds ludicrous that a group of people slapping each with fish and a King entering the stage on an invisible horse to the sound of coconuts can be funny – but it just is. Read More…
Sunset Boulevard is one if the classic film drams of the twentieth century and the return to stage of Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation could not be more timely.
The story of a fading film star of the silent era thrown onto the scrapheap by the emergence of the talkies – attempting to make a combat and cling on to her youth through an affair with a young writer, is remarkably prescient.
There is no casting couch in this story, but the message is clear that long before the Weinsteinns of this world polluted the movie industry, one only needed to gently scratch away the glitter of Tinseltown to find something deadly dark underneath, where every barman, waitress and young wannabe would do anything to get their big break in pictures.
Brought to life with incredible staging, the show faithfully recreates the movie magic made famous by Gloria Swanson and Joseph Cotton; and the Phantomesque theatrics and dark music, courtesy of Mr Webber are extremely effective.
Danny Mac also delivered as the struggling writer held in the thrall of ageing star and Adam Pearce is superb as the devoted butler, Max von Meyerling, with a pitch-perfect performance.
But central to the show was the stunning Ria Jones as the desperate and maniacal Norma Desmond. The standing ovation was entirely deserved and the close to tearful curtain call indicated the emotional investment in the role.
Runs till Saturday October 28
And as the show returns to the Palace this week there is no sign that those numerous performances have made the X-Factor winner jaded in any way.
McElderry’s performance is just as strong, delivered with the same energy that has made this version of the Lloyd-Webber and Rice classic such a winning formula.
McElderry is excellent as Joseph,showing why he won the X-Factor but also that musical theatre is his natural home. He is comfortable on stage delivering the comedy as well as the music.
But it isn’t all about Joe. A very strong cast throws everything at the audience with an energy and enthusiasm which is instantly infectious. Trina Hill is excellent as the narrator and Ben James-Ellis is a hoot as the Pharaoh. Read More…
This is a superb celebration of the songs of Dusty Springfield held together with an original and convincing story.
Son of a Preacher Man is not a juke-box show purely for die-hard Springfield fans, although the excellent delivery of those classic tunes by a very strong cast is sure to please. Read More…
Dirty Dancing returns to the Palace this week as part of its 2016-17 tour and it is nothing short of sensational.
Not one member of the incredibly strong cast puts a foot wrong in this lastest rendition of the tale of forbidden love, passion, class divide and dance.
The story centres around middle-class “Baby” Houseman, who has ambitions of bright future and changing the world, on a family vacation in a mountain holiday resort, where she encounters working class dance instructor Johnny Castle.
Johnny is not the kind of guy nice girls like Baby are supposed to mix with. He’s the kind of man protective dad Dr Houseman has fought to save her from. But Baby has other plans and love breaches he class divide.
Lewis Griffiths is excellent in the role of Johnny. From the moment he opens his mouth he owns it. Obviously an accomplished actor who gets the tone just right, the boy can dance too.
But it’s difficult to pick out anyone who really stole the show, such is the strength of this cast – Katie Eccles delivers as Baby and Carlie Milner as Penny also excels putting her considerable ballet experience to good use.
And of course, there is that great music and fantastic dancing in a production which makes full use of all staging possibilities with some clever set design and scene changes.
Director Russ Spencer has served up a real treat. It’s like an all-American burger, with plenty of musical theatrical meat topped topped with just the right amount of cheese.
The combination of that beautiful Dublin twang, a gritty but unapologetically feel-good story and those timeless soul classics is what has made the Commitments a great film and now a hugely enjoyable stage show.
And there is little to disappoint fans of the show in this Manchester Palace production which sees Andrew Linnie in the role Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into Dublin’s “hardest working band.”
Linnie gives a creditable performance as Roddy Doyle’s iconic creation and Brian Gilligan also does well as the uncouth but gifted singer, Deco.
The show also sees Corrie legend, Kevin Kennedy in the role Jimmy’s Da who maintains the laughter but whose slips into the Manc when he has to say more than a couple of sentences.
After a fairly sedate first half the show builds to a fabulous crescendo with appreciative audience rocking in the aisles by the end.
Coronation Street legend, Kevin Kennedy, is to star as Jimmy’s Da in the UK tour of the critically acclaimed musical The Commitments written by Roddy Doyle, which comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from Monday 27 March to Saturday 8 April 2017.
The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, from his original novel. Directed by C Jay Ranger, The Commitments is packed with more than 20 classic soul songs performed live on stage including: Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Save Me, Mustang Sally, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood, I Can’t Turn You Loose .
Runs till April 8
Voted the “Number One Greatest Musical”, Grease begins a national tour at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.
It’s the original high-school musical featuring a host of favourite characters – Sandy, Danny, the groovy T Birds, the sassy Pink Ladies and the whole gang at Rydell High – and all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’.
But for the show is to completely live up to audience expectations, there is some definite room for improvement if it is to make the grade. Read More…