All things being equal, I would have been reviewing new musical CASES at The Other Palace last night, but here’s some snippets of the show to give you a taster of what we can (eventually) look forward
“I’m frightened with the fear of not knowing”
Written by Dominic Powell and due to star Maiya Quansah-Breed, Sabrina Aloueche, Andrew Patrick-Walker and Adrian Hanse, CASES is a new musical “exploring the triumphs, heartbreaks and sacrifices involved in the pursuit of art, where the commercial world collides with the underground and fame becomes a high price to pay”. It premiered at the Phoenix Arts Club in 2017 but this new production, directed by Grace Taylor, features a new score and new songs and technology being what it is these days, we have a taste of two of them below, which should whet the appetite for when the show is able to resurface.
There’s two songs I could listen to for ages on the Original Cast Recording of The Prince of Egypt but I could easily leave the rest
“No power on earth can change that, brother”
There was a moment in the last couple of days as I listened to ‘Make It Right’ for the umpteenth time that I wondered whether I’d been a bit harsh to The Prince of Egypt when it opened in late February. I’d made the note ‘lovely duet’ at the time and on record, the sweet/strong combination of Liam Tamne and Luke Brady’s voices is an absolute winner as their fraternal connection is tested over soaring contrapuntal melodies and an orchestral backing that flows as effortlessly as the Red Sea
So too, the show’s most famous song (so much so that the publicity campaign basically centred on it) ‘When You Believe’ has a choral majesty that is undeniable. Alexia Khadime and Christine Allado lead the company with real style – the interplay of their voices in the middle chorus is spine-tingingly lovely – and the incorporation of the Hebrew-sung bridge (led by Mia Lakha) is a rare graceful moment of geo-specificity that works. Continue reading “Album Review: The Prince of Egypt (Original Cast Recording)”
The schedule has been announced for week 2 of Leave A Light On, a series of live-streamed concerts.
The shows will be live streamed as part of the Leave A Light on series of concerts produced by Lambert Jackson and The Theatre Café, which aims not only to provide financial support for the performers involved, but also to provide entertainment for people in self-isolation.
Tickets to watch the live streams are a bargainous £7.50, just click on the links to book.
New musical #ZoologicalSociety, written by Vikki Stone and Kate Mulgrew, gets a well-timed concept album release
“You’ve been here for one day mate, I’ve been here for years”
With a sense of impeccable timing, new musical #ZoologicalSociety launches with a concept album. The plan was to accompany the digital release with a live concert performance at BEAM 2020, the UK’s leading showcase of new British musical theatre but whilst that obviously isn’t happening, the album is now available for our delectation, thanks to Joe and Nikki Davison at Auburn Jam Music who produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the music.
The first of a series of entirely original musical commissions from Northampton’s Royal & Derngate, Vikki Stone and Katie Mulgrew’s #ZoologicalSociety takes its simple concept – animals going through the same societal pressures as humans – and fashions a rather winning musical comedy out of it. Continue reading “Album Review: #ZoologicalSociety”
Lambert Jackson Productions and the Theatre Café have announced the line-up for the first week of their Leave A Light On series. The series of intimate, piano vocal concerts streamed live from The Theatre Café will feature performances from Blake Patrick Anderson, Aimie Atkinson, Christopher Cameron, Alice Fearn, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Evelyn Hoskins, David Hunter, Cassidy Janson, Lucie Jones, Bradley Judge and Harry Cooper-Millar, Emma Kingston, Sarah O’Connor, Steph Parry, Danielle Steers, and Layton Williams.
A show I was really looking forward to and a theatre I love dearly – this mustn’t be the end for either DIVA: LIVE FROM HELL or the Jack Studio Theatre
“So sit down, shut up and listen to my story”
A musical riffing on All About Eve? Check.
An exciting performer fresh from a stand-out turn in Operation Mincemeat? Check.
An award-winning fringe theatre with some of the friendliest folk in town? Check.
Any show that refers to itself as eternal campy torment automatically goes to the top of my list and I had high hopes for DIVA: LIVE FROM HELL, a one-man musical with book and characters by Sean Patrick Monahan and music & lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen. Not least because it was going to give us another chance to see Jak Malone up close and intimately, his Hester having proven to be an extraordinary thing (well worth checking out if/when Operation Mincemeat returns).
For now though, the Jack Studio Theatre has suspended all performances until June 2020.
Together with book-writer Rhys Jennings, their adaptation of a short story by Ursula Wills-Jones has a bewitching quality that is eerily compelling and in the tradition of all the best fairy tales, has no problem in going very dark. Along with my mortal fear of eerily humanoid puppets, it makes for a much more chilling night at the theatre (for me, at least) but one which is ultimately beautifully human too, as Charlotte Westenra’s production reminds us why fables have endured for so long. Continue reading “Review: The Wicker Husband, Watermill Theatre”
With Ride at the VAULT Festival, I remain convinced that Bottle Cap Theatre are the future of new musical theatre
“I take a breath to keep me calm
And then it’s on to Vietnam”
At a moment where the inspiration for big new West End musicals can’t seem to look past the cinemascreen, Bottle Cap Theatre are here to remind us of the power and potential of fresh new voices in musical theatre writing. They blew me away at last year’s VAULT Festival with The Limit and returning this year with their new piece Ride, moved me more in 10 minutes than anything on Fifth Avenue or by the banks of the Nile.
This, writers Freya Smith and Jack Williams achieve, by once again finding inspiration from unsung sources. The Limit focused on neglected mathematician Sophie Germain and Ride looks to the first woman to cycle around the world – Annie Londonderry – to muse on the cult of celebrity and self-promotion, and ask what might give someone the drive and determination to get in the saddle and smash the patriarchy so. Continue reading “Review: Ride, VAULT Festival”
STAGES – a video game musical is a bold new musical pushing boundaries at the VAULT Festival
“How do you do this alone?”
Well the answer is you don’t, especially when the question is about new musicals. STAGES – a video game musicalarrives at the VAULTs as the first production from ALP, a company founded to develop and nurture artist-driven new British musicals with full acknowledgment that this is a show still on its journey, more than a work-in-progress but not yet the final product either.
Written by Christian Czornyj (Catch Me), STAGES draws inspiration from gaming to explore worlds of drama within the confines of its domestic context. At the heart of it lies neuro-diverse 16-year-old Aiden who loves video games, not least because they allow him a measure of control that he doesn’t have IRL. And as his mum has just been diagnosed with cancer, that’s a power he really wishes he possessed. Continue reading “Review: STAGES – a video game musical, VAULT Festival”