Wednesday, 28 September 2016

REVIEW: Sister Act at MK Theatre

Sister Act at Milton Keynes Theatre

 


Starring X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, this Broadway and West End musicial has finally come to Milton Keynes. Alexandra has come a long way from her X-Factor days, and gave a brilliant performance throughout. Set in the late 70s, the show was full of disco and motown songs which Alexandra performed effortlessly, her rich voice filling the auditorium with soul and funk.

Directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, this is musical adaptation of the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. It followed the original story, however none of the original songs from the film featured in the stage version. This didn’t detract from the performances though.

The set was well executed. The convent was a gothic style church interior with tall arches that doubled as a tacky nightclub with a clever tweak of the lighting. The big finale (without giving too much away) was also very impressive, which goes to show that a lot of thought has been put into the stage design.

The rest of the cast also performed well. A particular highlight was the characters playing the musical instruments on stage as part of their character. This added a whole new dimension to the show and made the music of the show really come alive. A slight hiccup when one of the characters’ microphones failed, but he soldiered on through. We were close enough to hear him without the microphone, however this could have caused problems for the people at the back.

My only negative was when the sisters were eating Christmas dinner. I understand that at this point in the show, they hadn’t had any musical advice from Deloris Van Cartier (Burke), however their screachy singing was a bit hard to understand.

Sister Act runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 1st October.
Box office: 0844 871 7652
Website: www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

REVIEW: Breakfast at Tiffany's at MK Theatre

Breakfast at Tiffany's at Milton Keynes Theatre





Firstly a hands up moment, we have not seen the iconic film with Audrey Hepburn, but felt that this would give us an unbiased view on the night’s performance, however we were aware of the story's content.
Sadly we were disappointed with the performances, especially having looked forward to at last seeing this play. 

Apart from Holly`s husband "Doc" who you could clearly understand, it consisted of a lot of mostly shouted dialogue, in rather poor shrill American accents, this was especially bad when several characters were talking at the same time or closely together and their words over-laid one another and it all got a bit confused.

The theatre is blessed with an excellent p.a. system and voices carry very well without the need to over act them. In fact over acting was probably a major problem with the whole performance, there was no great depth of characterisation involved and we didn`t feel much empathy towards them.

This managed to confuse any of the subtleties of the humour in the script and any nuances of emotion even in the sad hospital scene where she has miscarried her unborn baby.
We have watched Georgia May on Strictly Come Dancing and know she is a talented performer, similarly Matt in Downton Abbey so this again was a disappointment.

The stage sets were imaginative, and it has to be said that the cat was good too.
To summaries if the dialogue was taken at a slower pace and with less shouting we are sure this would improve theatre goers pleasure, hopefully this will happen as the actors settle more in to their roles.

The show is on until Saturday 25th September.
Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

REVIEW: Keep Dancing at MK Theatre

Keep Dancing at Milton Keynes Theatre

 


For those of us who love Strictly (and who doesn’t?) then it’s great to bring elements of the show to your local theatre. There are many spin offs from Strictly which bring the atmosphere of the dance in real life rather than watching it on television. However some spin offs work better than others! 

This particular show features the talents of Jay McGuiness and Aliona Valani, so definitely some eye candy for everybody. Certainly Jay is top of the amateur dancing tree but I can’t help but wonder if Jay was out of his depth in this show.



Really the best performances are from the professionals. Strictly favourite, Robin Windsor was really the star of the show along with Anya Garnis and the other professional dancers to make it an extravaganza of music and song.


Unusually there was no story to loosely wrap the singing and dancing around nor was there any attempt at keeping to a particular theme. This made the show more of a variety event showcasing different styles of music and dancing. Fans of Latin and ballroom will be impressed but the audience also loved the more modern and innovative dances. The dancing is certainly full on from start to finish with some of the best choreography in this genre on stage at the moment. There also couldn’t be a Strictly-type show without the marvellous costumes where sequins are the order of the day. So it’s not too late to get off the couch and experience the magic of dance right here in Milton Keynes.

The show runs until Saturday 10th September.

Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Thursday, 1 September 2016

REVIEW: Sunny Afternoon at MK Theatre

Sunny Afternoon at MK Theatre



 This sensational smash hit West End musical has finally come to Milton Keynes! Winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, this is a fantastic feel-good musical with brilliant storytelling and acting. It follows the ups and down fortunes of The Kinks, and explains how they rose to eventual stardom through some very stormy waters.

The music of Ray Davies was carefully crafted throughout the story. The musical is full- on loud at times as they reenact scenes from their heyday to the most gentle renditions of heartfelt songs that took your breath away with the emotion and pathos of it all. They say Ray Davies wrote from his experiences in life so there was nothing contrived about how the songs were interwoven through the show. It really was a step into the past for the audience and for those of us who were there and who remember the sixties! Do you remember when the Kinks first played on Top of the Pops and their American tour? It’s all here on stage in MK!

The singing in this performance is brilliant, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed hearing all the iconic hits, including You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, Lola, All Day and All of the Night, and many more! It`s easy to forget how talented Ray Davies was and actually what a prolific song writer he was.

If you are a Kinks fan then this is a show not to be missed.
There is still time to catch it.

Running from: Tuesday 30th August – Saturday 3rd September
Box office: 0844 871 7652
Website: atgtickets.com

Monday, 8 August 2016

REVIEW: Stage Experience: Fame the Musical at MK Theatre


 Stage Experience: Fame the Musical – Review



Milton Keynes Theatre’s popular youth musical theatre project, Stage Experience, has returned in the form of Fame the Musical! This brilliant production follows the story of students at New York City’s famous High School for the Performing Arts, and the 100-strong young cast gave a fantastic, confident performance.

With well-known, feel-good classic tracks, such as ‘Fame’, the audience really enjoyed the performance.

One part that really stood out for me was when Serena Katz played by Mille Burlace sung her solo. She came across as confident and accomplished.

The costumes were also brilliant, with the theatre group looking very enthusiastic and happy to be performing. The set was relatively simple but this worked well as it didn’t overshadow the fantastic acting and singing from the youth theatre cast.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

REVIEW: Rocky Horror Show at MK Theatre


The Rocky Horror Show at MK Theatre

Any production that ends with a full audience standing ovation – clapping, cheering and dancing – is not to be missed! Since June ‘73, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show has become the world’s favourite Rock N’ Roll musical. It has now been performed worldwide for over 40 years in over 30 countries, and translated into more than 20 languages with a huge cult following.

The cast is a fantastic mix with the likes of X Factor finalist, Diana Vickers, in the role of Janet Weiss; S Club 7 star, Paul Cattermole, playing the role of Eddie and Dr. Scott; The Voice star Liam Tamne in the iconic role of Frank N Furter; and TV’s Norman Pace as the narrator. Also, following his huge success in over 900 performances of the 40th Anniversary Global Tour of The Rocky Horror Show, Kristian Lavercombe returns as Riff Raff!

This musical extravaganza features all the famous tracks, including Dammit Janet and The Time-Warp and the production still continues to break box office records worldwide.

The audience engagement is like no other you will experience – men and women dressed in brilliant costumes of corsets, fishnets and feather boas. With witty jeers from the audience, dancing and even some with props, you feel part of the show. The musical is a tale of two college kids, Brad and Janet, who meet Dr Frank N Furter when their car breaks down. They go on to have a very extravagant and risqué adventure full to the brim with timeless songs, over the top costumes, hilarious moments and amazing singing! The stage design and costumes are fantastic bringing the timeless classic to life with modern twists. Great work from the orchestra which you can see situated above the stage – this was a nice touch to bring them into the show and a big shout out to MK Theatre staff – they dressed the part and made the evening an unforgettable experience.

Be warned… There are some rude parts too!

Running from: Monday 25th – Saturday 30th July
Box office: 0844 871 7652
Website: atgtickets.com

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

REVIEW: Guys and Dolls at MK Theatre

Guys and Dolls at Milton Keynes Theatre

 


 
Guys and Dolls first premiered on Broadway in 1950 and captured the optimism and energy of post-WWII America.This show set in the 1950’s will appeal mostly to an older audience. 

Featuring some of Broadway’s greatest songs including Luck Be A Lady and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat, it’s a fun, feel-good show with an all-star cast including Richard Fleeshman (Coronation Street, Midsomer Murders and Call the Midwife), Maxwell Caulfield (Emmerdale, Casualty and Grease 2), Louise Dearman (Wicked) and Anna O’Bryne (Love Never Dies), this was a fantastic production.



 
The costumes were realistic and reflected the era well, as did the dancing, which was very well choreographed. The set was sumptuous and atmospheric particularly during the Havana scene where the rhumba was the order of the day.



The show has a large cast of talented dancers and singers with the most amazing buzzing energy to be seen on stage. It's a dazzling show that it would be a shame to miss.

Tickets still available.
Running from: Tue 14th – Sat 18th June
Tickets: visit atgtickets.com or call 0844 871 7652.