Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wonderland at Milton Keynes Theatre – A whole new adventure for the Alice in us all.




A superb modern day retelling of the children’s classic Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It’s absolutely bonkers, as you should expect from this story by now.

Hailed by critics as ‘nothing short of spine-tingling’, I must agree! The essence of the original story is there, from Alice bored of her normal real-life dreaming of the desired make-believe world to the White Rabbit and friends, this musical brings everything to life beautifully. The powerful vocals of the leading ladies enchanted the audience and carried us through the plot. The cast was outstanding and I especially enjoyed Natalie McQueen as the Mad Hatter – my what a set of lungs she has!!

The story is modernised with Alice, single mum and her daughter living in a towerblock, disillusioned, not knowing what to do or how to change. The musical takes us on an adventurous exploration of who we are, with a few hilarious transformations through the looking glass and a few topical jokes as well.

Look out for a groooovy caterpillar, flares and all and a curiouser and curiouser stage as we’re tumbling through the rabbit hole, the visuals were stunningly executed and captured the wonder of this tale perfectly.

I have finished my jam tart!

For tickets, go to www.atgtickets.com

The show is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 22nd July

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

REVIEW: Jane Eyre at Milton Keynes Theatre


Jane Eyre at MK Theatre

10th July 2017


It’s been a long time since I read the story of Jane Eyre so was delighted to see this modern re-enactment of the story under the theatrical direction of Sally Cookson.
The whole play was outstanding. I particularly liked its use of drama conventions for example the voices in the head of Jane telling us her diverse thoughts on any given situation.
For those who may have forgotten the story the tale tells of a poor Jane Eyre, an orphan who was a feisty child and given little love. Eventually she becomes the governess for the child of a strange but powerful man that is Rochester. They soon fall for each other but as in all romances on stage It’s not going to go smoothly as he hides a terrible secret.
The ten actors played multiple parts which were seamless in their enactment although Nadia Clifford who played Jane Eyre only played her own character effortlessly from child to adult. What an amazing feat.
The stage set was minimal as the skill really rested with the music, lighting, sound and of course the actors. The audience could use their own imagination to fill in the rest. The team of actors was exceptional and the story was held together by the strong vocals of Bertha Mason with her haunting melodies.
I'm not sure if we were supposed to laugh at the actor who played the dog but he certainly got my attention. I think it was a delightful distraction from the grim storyline.
If you want to see theatre at its very best then do go to see this production.
Jane Eyre is on at MK Theatre till the 15th July.
Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Dreamboats and Petticoats



Hey baby won’t you take a chance? Say that you’ll let me have this dance…well let’s dance! Dreamboats and Petticoats is here at Milton Keynes Theatre until 8th July.

A new musical, inspired by the million selling album with hits such as Let’s Twist Again, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen and Let’s Dance, this shows brings to life the wonderful era of Rock & Roll. Set in 1961, primarily at the Youth Club, we follow a group of teenagers as they deal with life’s troubles, love, ambition and writing their own music. They’re truly inspired by the pop music explosion over the last decade with dreams to become the next big pop sensation themselves.

The set was nice and simple showcasing the Youth Club with a few tweaks, turns and signs to take you into different scenes. Bright lighting and loud music will pull you along with the characters as they compete to win the song writing contest.

Excellent hairstyles, costumes and make up and the whole cast had brilliant voices and dance moves – our favourites were definitely the leads, Bobby and Laura, played by Alistair Higgins and Elizabeth Carter, they were cast perfectly. The show is also really quite funny and was very enjoyable to watch! Suitable for all ages and anybody that appreciates swishy petticoats as they spin and shiny, neatly greased hair that would make Elvis proud.



To grab some tickets, head to www.atgtickets.com

Thursday, 1 June 2017

REVIEW: Billy Elliot the Musical at MK Theatre

Review: Billy Elliot the Musical

 


Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

In Milton Keynes there are four talented boys who play the role of Billy Elliot. On my visit to the theatre the role was played by Haydon May aged 12. What a talented young man! I look forward to seeing him again in future roles. 

Another key character was Henry Farmer aged 12 whose talent and enjoyment on the stage was a pleasure to see. Italia Ross aged 11, played Debbie, the slightly neglected daughter of the dance teacher. It was amazing to see so many talented children in dancing and acting roles all enjoying themselves. The adult actors took great delight in working with these young professionals.

The dance routines were lively and energetic combining a mix of ballet, tap and contemporary dance. The miner's strike is cleverly woven through the story of Billy with some powerful scenes.
The stage, lighting and sound effects really enhanced the show showing the rawness of the miner's strike with all its aggression and the gentle nature of Billy with his love of ballet. An unusual combination of ideas.

Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by nearly 11 million people across five continents and is the recipient of over 80 awards internationally, including ten Tony Awards and five Olivier Awards. We all said how great it was that Milton Keynes is attracting such a high calibre of shows.

The show will run till Saturday 17th June so it would be a shame to miss it. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Four Bubbly Billy Elliots




Billy Elliot, the multi award-winning smash hit Billy Elliot The Musical started yesterday at Milton Keynes Theatre and runs until 17th June.

We caught up with the four boys cast as Billy Elliot; Adam, Emile, Haydn and Lewis during their jam-packed day to talk about their experiences so far, rehearsals, the show, school and even passing on some zealous advice to others their age keen to get into musical dance and acting. Here’s what they had to say:

What do they love most about musical theatre?
The atmosphere from the audience! It’s not something normal kids do, starring in a musical and that feeling of getting on stage after doing all the rehearsals and seeing everything and everybody come together on stage at the same time, is great!

Why musical theatre?
Getting to go on stage every night and see the audience’ reaction – on TV/film you don’t have anything to feed back on and we love seeing the audience. On film, if you’re having a bad day you can do it over and over again to get it right – in theatre you can’t do that, if it goes wrong then it goes wrong and that’s the fun of it! Theatre is never perfect! (We love their drive and confidence)

If not musical theatre, what would they be doing?
They’re musical, dancing actors through and through – a bit of athletics and acting on TV thrown in but they seem completely at home on the stage.

How do they find school with working at the same time?
Sometimes it’s difficult but when they’re working/touring they have a small class of about 8 students and a tutor. They have 3 hours of school a day followed by rehearsals then a show in the evening, managing to get all of their school work done in those 3 hours and can even take time off if they’re caught up (or vice versa if they’ve missed some school hours!) They can often each be studying a different subject at the same time which certainly keeps their tutor busy but they get much more focus and attention than they would in a class of 30+ and they feel they learn more.

Their advice to all kids their age no matter what they want to do?
Try hard, don’t give up. If you give up then you’ve lost your chance (if we’d given up during auditions we wouldn’t be here now). Just do what you love and if you love it, carry on with it. If anyone tries to bring you down, don’t listen to them and carry on. Probably many of the kids here on this show have had somebody at the school try to bring them down, but look where we are now? Those people are likely at home playing on their Xbox.


It’s wonderful to see how proud they are of themselves and what they’ve achieved in their lives so far – it really goes to show how hard work, dedication and passion for something can make your dreams come true. For tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com