Being a big fan of both pantomime and the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (which is frequently referred to as one of the most beautiful theatres in the country) I was looking forward to watching Sleeping Beauty. I have seen both Ian Adams and Doreen Tipton previously and know how funny they are.
Myself and my son are both fans of Sooty and were also looking forward to seeing him with Sooty Show presenter Richard Cadell.
What I didn’t realise was how truly magical this panto was going to be. Richard Cadell is a brilliant magician who has been awarded the David Berglas Award for magic which has been previously won by Dynamo and Derren Brown! He transferred these skills to the stage with the aid of Sooty and performed tricks which delighted the audience!
Another amazing moment for me was the opening sequence where Strictly Come Dancing’s Debbie McGee performed magic of her own by flying high in the air as The Lovely Fairy Crystal! Oliver Ormson and Bethan-Wyn Davies were very likeable as Prince Harry and Princess Beauty and Julie Paton played the part of the wicked Carabosse extremely well and had an amazingly powerful singing voice.
What made this panto so special for me though was the truly hilarious script. In classic panto style the humour worked on both levels with something for children and adults alike.
Doreen Tipton as Nurse Doreen and Ian Adams as Queen Wilhelmina were fantastic and along with Richard Cadell (who had a much greater stage presence than I was expecting) had the audience in stitches. Debbie McGee also impressed us with her fantastic dancing skills.
There were also great special effects and music and the sets and costumes were a fantastic standard.
I highly recommend you catch this superb production, you definitely won’t be sleeping!
To whet your appetite, check out the trailer here:
(with thanks to Tim Thursfield of the Express & Star for the images)
Sometimes when you see a show you have seen on the TV adapted for stage it doesn’t quite work, but this is definitely not the case with ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’. I remember watching the show as a young child and finding it very funny. This is mainly down to the childlike appeal of main character, Frank Spencer, who Michael Crawford made iconic.
It must be hard to fill these shoes (and trench coat and beret!) but Joe Pasquale could not be a more perfect choice.
Since seeing Joe live many times over the last 18 years, I had a feeling he would be good as Frank, but couldn’t have predicted just how good! Unusually for Joe, he sticks to the script but does so in an extremely impressive way. As well as the inevitable funny lines and slapstick, there are of course the on stage disasters waiting to happen, and these are performed brilliantly with credit to Ian Horrocks-Taylor and Matt Haskins for their sound and light design.
What I also liked was how as an audience we warmed to all of the characters as soon as we were introduced to them. Sarah Earnshaw is equally brilliant as Betty (Frank’s wife) and there are some great lines from Susie Blake (of Russ Abbot Show and Coronation Street fame) who plays Frank’s long suffering mother-in-law!
The 70’s set is very impressive and there is a kind of innocence to the show which is rare to see in this day and age.
I can count on one hand the times I have actually had my eyes fill with tears of laughter and this is one of those times!
Act 1 is very funny and clever in its own right, but Act 2 builds up to a hilarious crescendo and whilst it is nice to watch comedy at home, you can’t beat the atmosphere of a live audience who, judging from the atmosphere, also loved this performance.
Whilst many people in the audience may remember the show from the TV, it was nice to also see a few younger faces, may be experiencing this kind of live humour for the first time.
I would fully recommend this show for the whole family, it runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 19th May, see this link for more details:
I have always been fascinated by the theme of different adaptations of ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ and was looking forward to this being brought to life on stage with the iconic Phil Daniels playing both protagonists.
In Act 1, the tension in the audience was so quiet you could hear a pin drop! This was no doubt intentional by the very talented director Kate Saxon.
This adaptation by David Edgar has a few tweaks to the original, mainly the addition of two women very key to the plot, Jekyll’s sister Katherine and maid Annie.
Perhaps the most sinister addition though is singer Rosie Abraham whose haunting vocals quite literally bridged the gap cleverly between set changes whilst keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.
A lot of thought has clearly been put into the lighting,costumes and props. This production doesn’t particularly rely on the special effects you would usually associate with Jekyll turning into Hyde, although it is very clear to the audience from Phil Daniels’ changes in stance and Scottish dialect which side he is depicting.
The theme of good versus evil is explored in a very intelligent, refreshing way and Phil Daniels’ impressive performances are enhanced by many other fine actors including Ben Jones as Dr Lanyon/Carew and Sam Cox as dry butler Poole. There are additional subplots with interesting twists and turns, particularly in Act 2.
Although the show felt it had been brought up to date in some ways, it still had the feel of a timeless classic and it was refreshing to be surrounded by a mesmerized audience which added to the eerie atmosphere.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is on at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 5th May 2018 https://www.grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/drama/dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde
Relax Listen (who often fall into the category of Easy Listening, but blend styles including Jazz, Pop and Rock) have a brand new album out called ‘Tonight’.
Although the Tonight album is not strictly a concept album; like my favourite Relax Listen album to date Through a Looking Glass, or the clever dREaM album, there is an ongoing theme throughout a lot of the tracks which to me conjures up a late night feeling of clubs in the 70’s and 80’s.
Here’s a track by track review of the Tonight album:
As a big fan of 80’s nostalgia, I was really looking forward to The Wedding Singer at The Wolverhampton Grand, particularly as it starred Ruth Madoc who I fondly remember as Gladys Pugh from Hi de Hi and Ray Quinn who I remember as Brookside’s Anthony Murray.
I have seen also seen the film version so I correctly predicted that a fun, light hearted experience was in store.
What first drew my attention though, was the set. Even before the show actually began, the audience were treated to trailers from films that were big in the 1980’s, like The Goonies and Rambo! The very start of the show whetted our appetite even more with a very clever ‘Back to the Future’ nod! I found this very impressive.
The production at the Wolverhampton Grand of Brassed Off was top spot of the trends on Twitter last night, following the opening Press Night performance!
The praise from the Tweets spoke volumes about the reaction of the audience of which I was lucky enough to be part of.
Having seen the film version only once, twenty years ago, I could only vaguely remember the bittersweet tale but knew I had enjoyed it. Also, I expected Jeffrey Holland to be great in the role as Danny (the role played by Pete Postlethwaite in the film) as I have seen him on the stage a few times (and fondly remember his role of Spike in Hi-de-Hi).
As the Small Fakers started their set it was immediately apparent how they have clearly mastered the The Small Faces band's presence and stage attitude. What I didn't expect is quite how much they physically resemble the band!
‘This Other World’ is the second album from Paul Harper and Andy Hubble (Harper n Hubble Music). It promises to take the listener on a journey, not only to Mars, but also to ‘This Other World’ of strained personal relationships; the tension of national and international relationships and that you will hear about the corruption of power and wealth as well as childhood memories being recalled.
This is my review of the 12 songs on the album:
Legendary bass guitarist and singer Bruce Foxton bought his outstanding ‘From The Jam’ show to The Robin 2, Bilston last night.