Reviews

The Hardybutts Boys

THE recently-formed Little Giant Theatre Company mostly comprises former students from AUB, and they returned to their roots on Thursday evening with a performance of a play that has already seen considerable success this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe and at Hampton Hill Playhouse, Twickenham. 

Billy Elliot The Musical Live Broadcast

I really think that the person who first came up with the idea of having the ‘live from’ broadcasts that are beamed into venues direct from theatres in London, New York or wherever should be knighted, because to attend one of these is to have all the pleasure of the production with none of the hassle and expense.

Musique à Trois

WHAT a perfectly charming evening this turned out to be – a unique cabaret-style entertainment performed by the hugely talented trio of Bethany Jameson (vocals), Janet Beale (accordion, flute & saxophone) and Simon Newton (guitar & bass), in the  intimate surroundings of the delightful Shelley Theatre, a venue perfect for a show of this type.

 

Blackbird

LOCAL company Forward Thinking Theatre presented David Harrower’s play, written in 2005 and making a return visit by popular demand, to a mixed audience of locals and students. The company, formed just a few months ago, is made up of graduates of the University of Winchester and it is great to see the spark and enthusiasm of artistic director Stephen Love at the beginning stages of forming his reputation as a director. Winchester Discovery Centre is generous in supporting all kinds of local talent, which feeds an alternative programme of art, dance, film and theatre.

 

A Penny For A Song

BASICALLY, the premise for this show is Dad’s Army meets Napoleon. Here the Capt Mainwaring character, Sir Timothy Bellboys (Peter Burton) has been ousted from his CO role and decides that he alone is the last line of defence of Old England. He elects to “do his duty” in this by pretending to be the Corsican should the Frenchies land and so lead them into confusion – despite a shocking lack of language skills…. He is indulged in this fantasy by his long-suffering friend, Hallam Matthews (Colin Carter) and his pyromaniac brother, Lamprett (Jon Morgan), who is also the local fire chief. 

The Wedding Singer

THE Wedding Singer musical opened on Broadway in 2006, playing a relatively short run of 284 performances.  Based on the popular romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the musical failed to make the West End stage, and following a mediocre UK Tour, the rights for the production have been extended to amateur companies.  Bravely, Southampton Musical Society rises to the challenge and presents this fun, big hearted, bouncy musical comedy; a choice which I applaud.

HMS Pinafore

THIS year marks a first for Christchurch G&S in that Nigel Finch, the company’s founder, director and musical director, made a decision to take a back seat after over 30 years at the helm, bringing in a new director, David Putley, and musical director, Ieuan Davies, whose orchestra makes an impressive sound.

Collaborators

JOHN Hodge’s play is set in late 1930s Russia and concerns the relationship between writer Mikhail Bulgakov and Dictator Joseph Stalin.  It premiered at London’s National Theatre in 2011 and went on to win the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play.

Canvas

THERE is an old theatrical saying that actors should never work with children or animals, and the reason becomes patently clear in this production. Seven accomplished actors work their socks off for nigh-on two and a half hours, only to be upstaged minutes before the end by brief appearances from an endearing little blonde-haired boy, Jack Tarling, and a real live chicken. With a name. Feathers Miller. But of course.

Riverdance

DANCING its way on to the BIC Windsor Hall stage last night, Riverdance arrived in Bournemouth on its 20th anniversary tour. It's hard to believe that the show is only a little older than myself, developing from a seven-minute interval performance at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest into a fully fledged successful show. Exploring Irish ancestry with a mythological feel, Riverdance incorporates dance and music to create a West End worthy show.

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