Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Review: Sunset Boulevard at Milton Keynes Theatre



Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard is on its UK tour! With Glenn Close’s original West End Understudy Ria Jones as Norma Desmond. Ria had the chance to show her true colours when Glenn was taken ill and couldn’t perform. Audiences were wowed by her and now she takes on the role in her own right, visiting Milton Keynes this week and bringing a taste of Hollywood with her.

The story is quite simple, based on the 1950 Billy Wilder film, it follows a faded silent screen star who wishes nothing more than to be adored once again. Norma Desmond lives alone with her loyal Butler and upon a chance meeting with the runaway writer Joe Gillis (Danny Mac) she sees her chance to return to the screen. Norma is rich, terribly lonely and possibly a bit mad and you see her character change subtly throughout the show.

Ria Jones was terrific, her scenes and songs were perfect – emotional and funny - and the audience warms to her character as soon as she finishes her first solo. Danny mac was brilliant as Gillis and Adam Pearce, playing Max Von Meyerling (Norma’s Butler) was perfectly charming and a bit creepy at the same time! The music was superb, as to be expected by Andrew Lloyd Webber and was well played by the orchestra.

My favourite scenes were those of Norma and Joe, I did feel the rest of the scenes were fillers to keep the show moving and I didn’t care for any of the other characters. I’m not a fan of English attempting the American accent unless done perfectly and I’m not sure if they’ve quite cracked it. That being said, it was a great watch with a constantly moving stage set and a few projectors giving us snippets of old silent movies and newspaper headlines. The final scene with Norma, who has found her spotlight at last (although perhaps not how you might have imagined…) ended with an audience standing ovation. I’m also a little envious of Norma’s luxurious eclectic wardrobe.


For tickets, go to www.atgtickets.com - Sunset Boulevard is in town until Saturday 2nd December.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Review: Glyndebourne Tour 2017 in Milton Keynes




This week, Milton Keynes Theatre is graced with the Glyndebourne Tour 2017. We had the pleasure of attending Il Barbiere Di Siviiglia last night and will be attending Hamlet on Friday evening. A second performance of Cosi Fan Tutte is on tonight and another of Il Barbiere Di Siviglia on Saturday.

‘Founded in 1934 by John Christie and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay, Glyndebourne is committed to presenting opera of the highest quality, commissioning new work, developing new talent and reaching new audiences’. The group includes the usual Sopranos, Baritones and Tenors as well as the Glyndebourne Chorus and an outstanding Orchestra. You’re entering another world when you go to the Opera, they are classical, elegant, sophisticated and worlds apart from our modern-day musicals (which are fantastic in their own rights!) Of course, a lot of theatre productions and musicals today will have originated or taken influences from the classical shows, plays and music from throughout history and it’s wonderful to see and appreciate such talent in this particular discipline today.

The singers/actors and musicians have such refined skills, voices and talents, there were certainly a few goose-pimples when the amazing Soprano, Laura Verrecchia hit the high and very loud notes. The stage set was magical as were the sound and costumes.

The stories in Operas are usually quite simple and split between two acts, often with light humour and hints of tragedy in the form of heartache, a death or misfortunes. Cosi Fan Tutti (all women are like that) is a love story of sorts with young men playing games with their fianc├ęs to see if they will be unfaithful as women are ‘fickle’. Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (Barber of Seville) is another tale of love with star-crossed lovers trying to find a way to be together and of course Hamlet is adapted from Shakespeare’s classic play.


If you love Opera, theatre or have never seen an Opera, we would highly recommend heading to MK Theatre this week and see for yourselves, the appreciation and applause from the audience is unlike anything else you will experience. Tickets from www.atgtickets.com

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Review: Tango Moderno



Tango Moderno, the irresistible stage spectacular from tango superstars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 18th November. This week starring dancers, Pasquale La Rocca and Leonel Di Cocco in place of Vincent as he has sustained a back injury. Don’t worry, he is Ok and will back on stage as soon as he has recovered!

Put the music on and dance before you die! A line from the show and echoes the age old saying ‘life’s too short’. If you’ve always wished you could dance, maybe now’s the time to take inspiration and start a new hobby? Singing, Dancing, acting, playing an instrument – you could be inspired to take on any of these after watching Tango Monderno. As Flavia and Co dance their magic across the stage, illuminating their peers into their own dances and living their dreams.

A modern fusion of traditional Argentinian Tango, ballroom and Latin with street dance. An excellent performance from all the dancers with each routine exquisitely performed and I loved how the routines and songs showcased each situation and how each scene merged perfectly from one to the next. Narrated by Tom Parsons, a fantastic guitarist and talented singer, told us the story both poetically and through song. Supporting Tom, Rebecca Lisewski jumps from energetic dance routines into a belting ballad - her rendition of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was particularly spine tingling.

The same stage set was used throughout and was effective with the use of a few key props although I was a little disappointed that the musicians were hidden at the back – the music is so important in dance so I think it would be nice to show off the musicians - though the fiddler did pop out for a couple of solos and he was excellent!


Bla bla bla, cha cha cha! Not one to miss. For tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com