Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner!

You’re in for a delight at MK theatre this week, where you will be transported back to the summer of ’63 with the classic story of Dirty Dancing adapted for the stage.
The stage set was sublime – 3 key pieces that twisted and turned to transport you across the Kellerman Resort as we follow Baby, Johnny and friends on their whirlwind dancing shenanigans. Couple that with excellent lighting and some special effects you’ll be hooked from start to finish.
I can’t quite believe how perfect the casting was, the characters were uncannily like the leads from the original movie (Baby, Johnny and Billy especially). So many of us are fond of the movie, knowing the famous phrases and words to most of the songs, that it was great to be so familiar with the stage performance even though we hadn’t seen it before. And yes, she carries a watermelon!
A bit of eye candy for the ladies when we see more than we bargained for from Johnny and then the final scene where they make the lift perfectly had the audience cheering.
Dirty Dancing runs until 29th April at Milton Keynes Theatre

You will not want to miss this one. Tickets available from www.atgtickets.com

Thursday, 20 April 2017

REVIEW: Casanova at MK Theatre


A ballet by Kenneth Tindall, with music by Kerry Muzzey and performance by The Northern Ballet with The Northern Ballet Sinfonia at Milton Keynes Theatre 19th April 2017.

Giacomo Casanova 1725-1798, was born in Venice, however aside from his sexual reputation and his imprisonment in the Doges Palace, Casanova was a very well travelled and intelligent man. Living in Paris, London, Russia and travelling all over Europe he had various occupations during his tumultuous career:- a trainee priest, musician, a spy and a writer. He died at Dux Castle in Bohemia now the Czech Republic.

This ballet is played out in Venice for the first act and Paris for the second in the court of Madame de Pompadour.

We were unsure what to expect from our visit to MK Theatre as this is the ballet world premier tour, however the whole performance was exceptional. The combination of music, dance and story telling was quite extraordinary, it possessed an ethereal and lyrical atmosphere.
Led by Giuliano Contadini as Casenova all of the exceptional dancers carried the story with great ease and agility, ably assisted by the fine playing of the orchestra.

The costumes and stage set played an important part in the overall atmosphere of the performance and added greatly to this exceptional ballet. As usual the sound quality at the theatre was crystal clear and the volume just right.

We would heartily recommend this ballet to both lovers of more traditional ballet as well as those who prefer more new wave performances. We would certainly go to see it again in the future as there is so much to watch and listen to.

On at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 22nd April. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies).

Thursday, 6 April 2017

REVIEW: Lord of the Dance Dangerous Games at MK Theatre

Lord of the Dance Dangerous Games at MK Theatre

4th April 2017


Having only seen bits of River Dance when the show originally became famous, I was wondering how they would fill two hours with Irish dancing without the audience getting bored or the show becoming a bit repetitive.

The basic story of Dangerous Games is a tale of good versus evil. The Lord of the Dance represents all things good but has to fight against the evil Dark Lord and his Dark Disciples. This story telling seemed to be lacking in the first half of the show, which consisted of several dance scenes that didn’t appear to link together apart from the Little Spirit character that would appear now and again. There were also a couple of bits of singing, but again, these didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of it. The second half was better and seemed to tell much more of a story and it was easier to follow each dance act as they flowed together.

Despite the confused story telling, the performances from each character were very good and exactly what you’d expect from a Michael Flatley show with plenty of dancing and variations on the classic River Dance theme which kept the attention of the audience throughout.

The stage had no decoration, however a large screen filled the back of the stage and the images being projected onto this changed with each dance scene. Although the visuals looked dated, it gave more atmosphere and effect and portrayed the mood of the dances well.

Overall, a bit of a confusing start but it redeemed itself in the end.

On at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sunday 9th April. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

REVIEW: Shirley Valentine at MK Theatre

Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine. Starring Jodie Prenger. 

Milton Keynes Theatre March 27th 2017.

Having seen the film with Pauline Collins we weren’t sure whether this performance was going to be solo, as originally written, or with more cast members as per the film.

However, Jodie Prenger certainly stepped up to the mark with a solo performance that was par-excellance.

Blessed with a most brilliant and witty script her comic timing was spot on, and properly carried Willy Russell’s excellently observed narrative of a woman’s life, from the circumstances that he had observed during his time working and then running his own ladies hairdressing salon in the 1970’s.
The play is set in two scenarios:- Shirley’s kitchen at home, where we learn about her history and how trapped she feels with her current circumstances as a wife whose family have now left home, living with a similarly trapped husband who has a strict regime for his home life (i.e. it’s Thursday so it must be steak and chips night and will not deviate from this).

The scene is then moved to on to the beach in Greece, where she has escaped with a friend, without telling her husband. She feels that here she has at last got away from her ritualistic life and found freedom and the person she was before her marriage. To the point where she has jumped out of the check-in queue to return back to the UK, and she now has a job in Costa’s bar with whom she had a short term fling just after she arrived in Greece.

As we leave her, she is sitting on the beach waiting for her husband to walk by, as he has now arrived in Greece to find her.

Jodie portrays Shirley with great enthusiasm and a vibrant personality and makes this a most entertaining performance. A great evening. 

On until Saturday 1st April. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Welsh National Opera’s La Bohème at Milton Keynes Theatre

Well I’m an opera convert! I honestly didn’t think it would be my thing but went along with an open mind, being my first visit to an opera and enjoyed every moment start to finish.

La Bohème tells the tragic love story of bohemians Rodolfo, Mimi and their friends living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840’s. It’s Christmas Eve and Rodolfo meets Mimi unexpectedly when she needs help with her candle. It’s love at first sight and each act takes us through their journey, all the while Mimi’s sickness progresses.

The opera is in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini and based on Scènes de la Vie de Bohème by Henry Murger. I cannot compare to other Operas or other versions of La Bohème, however the performance from last night’s Welsh National Opera was outstanding. The stage sets, lighting and costumes really transported the audience to Bohemian Paris and had a touch of modern technology projecting a backdrop of the smoky Parisian skyline and falling snow. Awesome work by the orchestra too and the music was captivating.

Matteo Lippi, Tenore and Jessica Muirhead, Soprano performed the leads. The full cast was fantastic but the singing from the leads really gave us goosebumps!

Can’t wait to see WNO’s Madam Butterfly on Friday evening now – if there are tickets left, you’ll want to grab some quick for an alternative Friday or Saturday night of culture and charm.

Tickets available on www.atgtickets.com

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

REVIEW: The Play that Goes Wrong at MK Theatre

The Play that Goes Wrong at MK Theatre 

As the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society show us their acting skills they can only put on a brave face when all around them is chaos as the play descends into farce. Even when the set starts to fall around them the actors continue to act through it all to keep up appearances of a professional show.
We’ve all been to amateur dramatic shows where things go wrong, lines are forgotten and stage sets fail. Well the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society takes this to new levels. The play quickly descends into farce with a touch of the Vaudeville theatre thrown in for good measure.
The energy and commitment of the actors was amazing with excellent delivery of lines and great comic timing. The play makes you laugh from beginning to end. What a joy!
The Play that Goes Wrong saw its first inception at the Edinburgh fringe before going to the West End and is now touring the UK. It was cleverly written by Henry Lewis, Johnathan Sayer and Henry Shields who first met at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and are the core members of this innovative company called Mischief Theatre. We are sure to see much more from this talented theatre group.
The Play that Goes Wrong is winner of the Laurence Olivia Award for Best New Comedy so to see what all the fuss is about get yourself a ticket to see this show while they last.
On till Saturday 18th March. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox at Milton Keynes Theatre

‘We are all different, but there is something kind of fantastic about that, isn’t there?!’

This play, adapted for the stage by Sam Holcroft was charming, witty, silly and brilliant, I’m sure Roald Dahl himself would love it. Great fun for all the family with just the right amount of naughtiness, peril, guts and gore that kids LOVE.

The story follows Mr Fox and his friends as they find ingenious ways to outsmart the horrible, stinky farmers trying to catch them. It explores the theme of greed versus sharing and how being kind and working together will ultimately save the day. With a few drops of adult humour thrown in, it really was a wonderfully funny play to watch with some catchy songs and a few relatable modern anecdotes.

The stage set was superb, really interactive with lots going on and the costumes were perfect, quite funny and highlighted the characters personalities. Brilliant performance from the whole cast acting, singing and dancing and to entertain kids and big kids alike, they played their characters skillfully well.

Can you outfox a fox? Hurry along to Milton Keynes Theatre this week to catch them before they dig their way out! The show runs until Saturday 11th March - grab your tickets now from www.atgtickets.com