Georgina Butler photographed outside in a tranquil garden, during a classical ballet photo shoot. She is sideways on to the viewer, in a kneeling swan pose, with an arched back and her gaze directed up to the sky.

NEWS: Celebrate individuality with ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2022

 

Dust off your glad rags, step into your highest heels and pass it on that coming-of-age musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie visits Milton Keynes Theatre this month.

The show, which is about an openly gay schoolboy who dreams of being a drag queen, was inspired by the true story of sixteen-year-old Jamie Campbell. A 2011 BBC documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, chronicled the teenager’s experiences when he defied the bullies and attended his school prom wearing a dress.

The documentary highlighted that fierce drag queens have to start somewhere – the fabulousness of the contestants featured on RuPaul’s Drag Race is hard-won! Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jamie’s determination to celebrate his true self captured the attention of creatives Jonathan Butterell, Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae. The trio devised a musical inspired by the trailblazing teen’s lively spirit and personal battles. Then a film followed too.

In Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the misfit who comes out of the darkness and struts into the spotlight is named Jamie New. Supported by his loving mum and loyal friends, he stands up to the haters, decides to be happy and searches for a place where he can belong.

 

Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Layton Williams as Jamie. Layton is a mixed-race performer with close-cropped, bleached blonde hair. He is wearing a blue school blazer, blue-and-yellow striped school tie and black trousers and shoes. He is dancing alongside similarly dressed performers in a classroom scene.

 

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NEWS: Splash-hit musical ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ returns – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2022

 

Singin’ in the Rain, the classic toe-tapping musical that gave bad weather a good name, returns to Milton Keynes Theatre this month.

Hailed a success at Chichester Festival Theatre and critically acclaimed in the West End, Jonathan Church’s production is forecast to bring all the spirit of the beloved Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film to venues nationwide on its current UK tour.

The show will shower theatregoers in Milton Keynes with charming comedy routines, glorious songs and high-energy dance numbers from Monday 11 April, for one week only. There is a hundred percent chance of both sunny entertainment and rain – the spectacular staging means audience members at the front of the stalls should expect to get a bit wet!

 

The Singin' in the Rain company. Performers wearing black trouser suits and bowler hats pose with closed umbrellas tucked under their arms as water pours down from the rafters.

 

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REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s ‘Nutcracker!’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, February 2022

 

Life is sweeter when dance takes centre stage and the sugar rush from Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! certainly leaves audience members on a delicious high.

Bourne devised his dance-theatre interpretation of the fantasy ballet in 1992. It was his first full-length work and became the first big hit for his company, New Adventures. Now, almost a decade since it was last performed, Nutcracker! is back for its thirtieth anniversary. This makes the current production a revival and a celebration – sweet!

In the ballet, Clara falls asleep after her family’s Christmas Eve party and is transported on a dreamy journey to faraway lands. She helps good triumph over evil and is entertained by sweets from around the world. The story is about the magic of childhood, the power of dreams and awakening an appetite for grown-up experiences.

In Nutcracker! Bourne adds fizz and flavour for a refreshing twist. He retains the sense of innocence and wonder from the classical version but shakes up the scenario to depict the nightmarish reality and hedonistic dreams of an orphan named Clara. When a nutcracker doll comes to life and helps her escape from the orphanage, she follows him to Sweetieland and is caught in a love triangle. Will Clara find more than a momentary taste of happiness with her sweetheart?

 

Nutcracker! Matthew Bourne's New Adventures dancers as Clara and two angelic Cupids. The trio are dancing in front of a sign that has arrows pointing in two directions. One arrow indicates the way to the Frozen Pond, the other indicates the way to Sweetieland.

 

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NEWS: Matthew Bourne’s ‘Nutcracker!’ invites dance fans to Sweetieland – Milton Keynes Theatre, February 2022

 

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! arrives for performances in Milton Keynes from Tuesday 15 February and theatregoers can expect a feel-good treat.

Choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne’s whimsical dance-theatre take on the traditional coming-of-age Christmas ballet retains Tchaikovsky’s glorious score but adds some scrumptious surprises. Described by Bourne and his company, New Adventures, as a ‘show for all seasons’, Nutcracker! indulges the evergreen themes of self-discovery – growing up, dreaming big and falling in love for the first time.

The updated scenario rejects the festive family scenes used in the opening of the original ballet. Instead, plucky protagonist Clara is reimagined as a young girl who is incarcerated in a Dickensian orphanage. After a pitiful Christmas Eve party, she dreams of happier times.

Pull on your winter coat and follow Clara’s journey from Dr Dross’s gloomy orphanage, across a shimmering frozen pond and into the riotously colourful candy kingdom of Sweetieland.

 

Nutcracker! Matthew Bourne's New Adventures dancer Enrique Ngbokota as Cupid.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Dreamgirls’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, January 2022

 

Dreamgirls loudly and proudly delivers spectacular vocals, a reminder to let your soul sing and enough sparkle to brighten up the dreariest of days.

This glittering, award-winning musical uses gutsy performances from its stars to neatly depict what marginalised artists with showbiz aspirations dared to dream of in 1960s America. The characters pursue personal happiness, professional success and public recognition of injustices caused by racism and gender inequality.

Friends Effie White, Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson are a trio of young black female singers who enter talent shows together as “The Dreamettes”. Music means everything to them so they have high hopes that their distinctive harmonies will bring fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the white-oriented music industry is resistant to R&B and soul – pop reigns supreme.

After arriving late for a performance, the girls attract the attention of Curtis Taylor Jr, a conniving used-car salesman who manipulates events so that he can charm his way into becoming their manager. Curtis is keen to broaden the group’s appeal and ensure “The Dreams” (yes, he renames the act) cross over to the mainstream charts. Will his changes really be the best thing for Effie, Deena and Lorrell though?

 

Dreamgirls UK Tour. Three black women, wearing silver dresses, stand side by side, facing the viewer. They are posing with their arms up as if to announce their arrival.

 

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