REVIEW: ‘Dirty Dancing’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2012

 

HAVE ‘THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE’ AT DIRTY DANCING THE MUSICAL

First Dance, First Love…

 

“It was 1963, when everybody called me Baby and it didn’t occur to me to mind” says Frances “Baby” Houseman as the auditorium lights go down and the curtain goes up on Dirty Dancing at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Brought to the stage and now touring after a fabulously successful run at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End, the blockbuster 1987 dance film is a firm favourite among women of all ages.

Tickets to this coveted show were the perfect birthday treat. As my mum and I queued to enter the auditorium, it was clear that the audience was largely made up of groups of eager women. These same women would later squeal with excitement when the male lead uttered that immortal line – “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”.

*

Dirty Dancing the musical.

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REVIEW: Northern Ballet’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2012

 

Stunning storytelling and fairytale escapism from Northern Ballet in Beauty and the Beast

 

It is always a cause for celebration when a new ballet is choreographed and even more so when the story is Beauty and the Beast, a magical tale that we are all familiar with.

Northern Ballet always offer great storytelling but their latest offering in particular has such a strong narrative flow that the glossy printed programme is simply a lovely souvenir, rather than a necessity to follow the plot.

Beauty and the Beast incorporates a distinctly less challenging storyline than the Company’s previous show, Cleopatra, and the production embodies the fairytale with a romantic eloquence. This a classic story, one that balances the forces of good and evil and emphasises the overarching theme that love can conquer all.

*

Northern Ballet dancers Kenneth Tindall as Prince Orian and Martha Leebolt as Beauty in Beauty and the Beast. Production photography by Bill Cooper.

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REVIEW: ‘Shrek The Musical’ – Theatre Royal Drury Lane, March 2012

 

An enchanting “Shrektacular” at Shrek The Musical

 

Shrek The Musical is based on the 2001 DreamWorks film, a firm family favourite. Capturing the magic of animation, the show begins with sets that open up like the pages of a children’s storybook. Directed by Rob Ashford and Jason Moore at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the production brings the unforgettable film characters to life and explores their underlying feelings and motives.

A trip to theatreland is always magical but never more so than when the unlikely hero is a green ogre who finds himself caught up in a rescue mission more suited to a handsome knight in shining armour.

Settled into a brilliant front row seat, I sat back in ready anticipation as a green glow was cast onstage and Shrek ambled out from the wings, keen to tell us his story and describe the persecution he has faced.

*

Shrek The Musical: Dean Chisnall as Shrek, Richard Blackwood as Donkey and Kimberley Walsh as Princess Fiona.

*

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REVIEW: ‘Top Hat’ World Premiere – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2011

 

TOP HAT IS TOP ENTERTAINMENT

 

World stage premieres are normally the preserve of the West End but Milton Keynes Theatre can boast that musical extravaganza Top Hat is making its global debut as a new stage show here in the new city this month.

Top Hat is a 1935 screwball comedy musical film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers which has been lovingly crafted for the stage, encompassing the original classic songs by Irving Berlin and a further ten from the Berlin back catalogue.

Holby City and Strictly Come Dancing star Tom Chambers (pictured, below, with me) and experienced musical theatre performer Summer Strallen take the title roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont – the leads played by Astaire and Rogers in the movie.

*

Top Hat will sweep you off your feet: Leading man Tom Chambers dancing with Georgina Butler at the press launch for Top Hat at Milton Keynes Theatre

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REVIEW: ‘Legally Blonde The Musical’ – The Savoy Theatre, June 2011

 

Broadway smash hit Legally Blonde The Musical is a ridiculously enjoyable show. It opened at The Savoy Theatre in December 2009 and has been playing to packed audiences ever since. What’s more, it won the award for Best New Musical at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards in March.

After months of promising myself I would go and see this bubbly show, I made a visit to The Savoy Theatre part of a girly trip to London back in June. With perfectly manicured fingers painted a shocking pink in honour of the occasion, I clutched my ticket and entered the gorgeous West End auditorium.

Every theatre has its own vibe and the overwhelming feeling I was getting from both the building and the assembled audience was one of excitement and enthusiasm.

*

Legally Blonde the Musical. Savoy Theatre, West End, London.

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