Bat Out Of Hell
Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell is blasting the roof off London's Coliseum on a nightly basis. The show is mad, loud and brilliant. The classic songs are given a fresh lease of life with a cast that are just incredible. Andrew Polec leads the show as Strat, leader of the Lost, and he is a revelation on his UK debut. His voice is stunning and he hits all the big notes, especially those towards the end of the title song "Bat Out Of Hell". Strat's love interest, Raven, is played by Christina Bennington who like Andrew has a huge voice. The pair are show-stoppingly good. The duet of "For Crying Out Loud" is a standout. Raven's parents are played by Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton, they are just a joy together. "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" is easily the best moment of the first act. Dom Hartley-Harris was my favourite in the show, his vocals in particular in "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" are beautiful. There is fine support by Giovanna Spano, Patrick Sullivan and Danielle Steers. All 3 are brilliant, in fact, the whole company are brilliant, find me a better sounding company you won't. The stage is a visual treat and the use of cameras is clever. The show is littered with huge songs, "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", "Dead Ringer For Love" and What Part Of My Body Hurts The Most". It's a show that you simply won't forget and I highly recommend it.
|Photo by Specular|
Half A Sixpence
They joyful musical Half A Sixpence plays at London's Noel Coward Theatre. It opened to rave reviews in 2016 in Chichester before its London transfer. The musical based on H.G. Wells novel Kipps is given a fresh revival by the team who brought Mary Poppins to the stage. Downtown Abbey creator Julian Fellows has written the book, British songwriting duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have added new songs and re-orchestrated some of the classics by David Heneker. The music is fantastic, "Pick Out A Simple Tune" is one of the best new songs in any musical in recent years. The classic "Flash, Bang, Wallop" is sensational.
|Photo by Manuel Harlan.|
Half A Sixpence runs at London's Noel Coward Theatre until September 2nd. For more information click here.
As part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Rome Season, Vice Versa, a hilarious comedy by Phil Porter lovingly ripped off from the Roman comedies of Plautus. The whole production is hilarious. The jokes are perfectly pitched and the humour is clever. The company of actors are excellent, their comedy timing is superb. Felix Hayes is excellent as General Braggadocio, he is a highly talented actor and he does comedy roles so well (I previously saw him in the Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night at the RSC). Sophia Nomvete steals the show as servant Dexter, she runs the show and her energy and performance is of the highest quality. Steven Kynman and Byron Mondahl give hilarious turns, especially as drunks in the second act. I generally don't think I have laughed at a performance in quite a long time. I highly recommend it.
|Photo by Pete Le May.|
La Cage Aux Folles
The fabulous La Cage Aux Folles is currently on a UK Tour which is nearing its end. The show follows Georges and the dazzling drag artiste Albin, star of La Cage Aux Folles, who live an idyllic existence in the heart of St Tropez. But behind the curtains of this sparkling extravaganza, all may be about to change. The show is great fun and with a fantastic heart. John Partridge gives a sensational turn as Albin/Zaza and his version of "I Am What I Am" is majestic. Adrian Zmed as Georges and Marti Webb as Jacqueline. The show's Cagelles (The Drag acts) are just stunning. They all look and sound wonderful. It's a show you'll leave with a huge grin on your face and feel a lot better when you come out. "The Best Of Times" is a song that sums up everything joyful about this show.
|Photo by Pamela Raith|
The Wind In The Willows
If you're looking for a show for the family this summer look no further than The Wind In The Willows at The London Palladium. The show is full of charm. Again the team behind Half A Sixpence have a hit on their hands. Jullian Fellows has done the book for the show, giving Kenneth Grahame's classic story a new lease of life. Song writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have again written some unforgettable songs, "The Amazing Mr Toad", "The Wild Wooders", "The Open Road" and "We're Taking Over The Hall" are my favourites. The show is a visual spectacle to with great costume and set design.
The acting company are first class too. Rufus Hound, who is always a treat to watch, is excellent as the mad cap Mr Toad. Craig Mather brings great heart to Mole. Simon Lipkin who is another actor who is always just a treat to watch and steals nearly every moment he's on the stage, he has a great charm and wit about his performances and a fine voice to match. There's fine support from Gary Wilmot as Badger and Denise Welch as Mrs Otter, also Emilie Du Leslay as Portia. The villain of the show is Neil McDermott's Chief Weasel and his great and has two of the shows best songs. The audience on the performance I attended was mixed with the older generation to large groups of school kids, everyone lapped up the pure charming entertainment.
The Wind in the Willows runs at The London Palladium until September 2nd. For more information click here.
That's my five picks on the must see theatre shows this summer but whatever you see theatre is hugely important and hugely enjoyable. The joy that the theatre can give you is unrivalled from any other form of entertainment.