REVIEW: ‘Footloose’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2016

 

Explosive rock and roll musical Footloose raises the roof with its infectious blend of eighties hits and youthful teenage rebellion.

The lyrics of the show’s signature song urge audiences to kick off their Sunday shoes and cut loose so what better way to start the week than by spending Monday evening at Milton Keynes Theatre, dancing in my seat?

Based on the classic 1984 film, the narrative stars Chicago native Ren McCormack who is forced to move to the sleepy Southern town of Bomont with his mother, Ethel, after his father abandons them. Unfortunately, Bomont does not have much to offer in the way of fun since a bylaw banning dancing and rock music was pushed through by the town’s grieving Reverend five years ago.

 

Footloose. Footloose the musical.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, September 2016

 

There are some sparkling performances in the production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s currently captivating audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre.

The classic tale of deliciously enigmatic New York good-time girl Holly Golightly, penned by Truman Capote in his 1958 novella and memorably portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in the iconic 1961 film, has been reinvented as a stylish stage play with music. American playwright Richard Greenberg returns to Capote’s original prose for this version, rather than basing his interpretation on the film’s script. Nonetheless, Moon River, the Oscar-winning theme from the movie, remains and provides the show’s most enchanting musical interlude.

Audrey’s name will forever be inextricably linked to Breakfast at Tiffany’s so it surely takes a brave performer to fully embrace the character of the troubled call-girl without inadequately imitating the film star. Georgia May Foote is making her theatrical debut in this touring production and in last night’s show — only the second performance so far of the nationwide tour — she proved herself to be suitably fearless. There is no doubt that Georgia is a plucky and polished leading lady.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany's. Georgia May Foote as Holly Golightly.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Fame the Musical’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2016

 

The kids starring in Fame the Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre this weekend will remember the magic of standing together on that stage for the rest of their lives.

Every cast member radiated sheer joy to be a part of the opening performance on Friday evening. Their enthusiasm was simply infectious. They lit up the auditorium with dazzling dance tricks; reached the high notes during all those unforgettable songs; and acted their hearts out to bring the trials and tribulations of the talented teens at New York City’s High School of Performing Arts to the stage.

After growing up dancing and performing — and finding my feet as a ballet teacher — I am all too familiar with the amount of effort that goes into putting any performance together. So I have nothing but admiration for the Creative Learning department at Milton Keynes Theatre. Fame the Musical is their fifth Stage Experience production and, once again, they have demonstrated how much oodles of hard work and an eager group of youngsters can achieve. All with just twelve days of rehearsals!

 

Fame. Stage Experience Fame at Milton Keynes Theatre.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Annie’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2016

 

Heart-warming musical Annie is spreading a little sunshine at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and you can bet your bottom dollar that the whole family will adore its all-singing, all-dancing antics.

The rags to riches tale is set in New York City during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Against this backdrop of extreme poverty, we witness the neglect of a posse of abandoned little girls being dragged up by the spiteful, gin-guzzling matron of the city’s grubby orphanage.

It’s a hard knock life for these mischief-making mites. They are sustained only by “mush” (indeed, some days they are denied “hot mush” and merely permitted a bowl of “cold mush” to choke down) and forced to spend long days scrubbing floors and slaving away at sewing machines. Still, even this Dickensian existence is not enough to crush the spirits of a feisty red-headed foundling named Annie (no surname, no siree, it’s “just Annie”).

 

ANNIE - Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan with Annie and orphans. Photo credit Matt Crockett

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REVIEW: Vincent Simone & Flavia Cacace in ‘The Last Tango’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, November 2015

 

A lifetime of precious memories is presented through a whirlwind of dance in The Last Tango, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s farewell theatre production.

The dazzling duo are bidding adieu to audiences nationwide with their last ever full-length, grand-scale touring stage show: The Last Tango. Hot on the heels of their two previous smash hits, Midnight Tango and Dance ‘Til Dawn (both shows enjoyed stints in the West End as well as visits to venues across the country), The Last Tango brings the couple’s foray into theatre to a captivating close.

Reluctant to change a successful formula, Vincent and Flavia have once again worked with Karen Bruce – the Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director – and they have also kept charismatic character artist Teddy Kempner as a central focus, tying all of the action together. The result is another breathtaking display of dance, expertly interlaced with music, songs, comedy and drama to weave a rich tapestry full of excitement, emotion and heartfelt storytelling.

 

The Last Tango. Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in The Last Tango (photo by Manuel Harlan).

 

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