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 and Princess Fiona in 'Shrek The Musical'.

 

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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.

 

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REVIEW: ‘The Sound of Music’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, May 2015

 

There is nothing quite like a musical for perking you up and The Sound of Music is the drop of golden sunshine currently inspiring optimism in audience members at Milton Keynes Theatre.

The tuneful tale of the von Trapp family and the exuberant novice nun who simply cannot suppress her urge to sing became one of the world’s favourite things when Julie Andrews immortalised the iconic role of Maria in the melodic 1965 movie. Fifty years on and The Sound of Music continues to climb mountains – breaking records in ticket sales, album sales, length of runs and audience attendance.

Songbird Danielle Hope is the present touring production’s leading lady whose “heart wants to sing every song that it hears”. Her crystal-clear vocals and onstage warmth saw her deliver a pitch-perfect opening night performance, bringing the auditorium alive with all the irresistible songs from the unforgettable score.

 

Steven Houghton as Captain Von Trapp with Danielle Hope as Maria in The Sound of Music. View Post

REVIEW: ‘Jersey Boys’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, February 2015

 

There is something about men in suits who sashay in sequence while belting out a parade of pop hits. Perhaps it is their “silhouettes” or each individual’s ability to “walk like a man”, but the quartet starring in Jersey Boys at Milton Keynes Theatre seem too good to be true as they side-step, sway and strut behind their microphone stands.

Jersey Boys has been seen by over nineteen million people worldwide and is the winner of fifty-five major awards. Firmly established as one of the West End’s longest running and most popular shows, the original London production opened in 2008. Seven years on and it continues to play in the capital, currently raising the roof of The Piccadilly Theatre. Understandably, theatregoers have been clamouring for tickets to see the touring production during its current run here in the new city.

The jukebox musical is the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The world loved their songs but, until this show, knew very little about the lives of the blue-collar lads who sang them. Divulging the secrets of a forty-year friendship, Jersey Boys recounts the experiences of four sons of Italian immigrants who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey.

 

Lewis Griffiths, Tim Driesen, Sam Ferriday and Stephen Webb in 'Jersey Boys', the UK tour.

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REVIEW: ‘Dirty Dancing’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, October 2014

 

Out of that corner and onto the dance floor as Dirty Dancing returns!

 

Tantalising new choreography ensures dynamic dance drives the production of Dirty Dancing currently thrilling audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre.

This smash hit adaptation of the classic coming-of-age film is full of even more sizzling hot moves than the last time it visited the new city. The irresistible combination of pounding music and provocative dancing is guaranteed to set pulses racing during the show’s three-week stay.

Eleanor Bergstein’s timeless tale is set in the summer of 1963 at the Kellerman’s resort. Here, daddy’s girl Frances “Baby” Houseman, a naive 17-year-old, falls for handsome, bad-boy dance instructor Johnny Castle. We follow Baby as she experiences the overwhelming rush of first love, in a script which is also peppered with issues of class, family, loyalty and standing up for what is right.

 

Dirty Dancing the Musical. UK tour, October 2014. Johnny and Penny teach Frances "Baby" Houseman to dance.

 

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