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 of which 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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REVIEW: ‘Shrek The Musical’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2015

 

What do you get if you put a cranky ogre called Shrek, a wisecracking donkey, a feisty princess and a mini megalomaniac on stage; then add singing, dancing and heaps of humour? A MONSTER of a musical, of course!

The cast of Shrek The Musical do a ridiculously good job of bringing the weirdly wonderful tale of the swamp-dwelling recluse to life. Taking “ogre” Milton Keynes Theatre for a three-week run, this vibrant show proved itself nothing short of Shrektacular last night.

Based on the 2001 DreamWorks film, the magical musical premiered in the West End in 2011 and spent two years wowing London audiences. Now on the road, under the slick direction of former company member Nigel Harman, the touring production is enchanting theatregoers nationwide.

 

Shrek The Musical. Shrek and Princess Fiona. Photo by Helen Maybanks,

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REVIEW: ‘Les Misérables: School Edition’ – Stantonbury Theatre, Milton Keynes, July 2015

 

A cast of talented young revolutionaries stormed their way through the epic songs and struggles of Les Misérables at Stantonbury Theatre on Friday evening.

In a bid to demonstrate “what little people can do”, RARE Productions invited city students aged 8 to 21 to join their crusade to bring the timeless tale of broken dreams, unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption to the stage in a special School Edition.

The end result was an emotive, entertaining and engaging adaptation of the legendary musical.

 

Les Misérables School Edition. Stantonbury Theatre. RARE Productions. View Post