Sunday, February 15, 2015

ELAINE PAIGE .. AN EVENING WITH .. NATIONAL CONCERT HALL DUBLIN .. FEBRUARY 12TH 2015 ...

Originally scheduled as part of her UK tour last October, but after Elaine caught a virus from a backstage well wisher, the Irish leg of her 50th Anniversary Farewell was postponed. So it was a great thrill to finally see Elaine at the National Concert Hall for the second of her Dublin shows, she later went onto Limerick and Cork.. With a five piece orchestra , I suspect the show has been scaled down from it's original tour production.. Elaine was in sensational form with a set list of her signature hits, 'I Know Him So Well',  'As If We Never Said Goodbye', Don't Cry
For Me Argentina' & of course 'Memory'.. The set list was pared down from the original tour, with songs, 'All That Jazz', 'Summertime' & 'Luck Be A Lady' as well as two favourites from her hit show 'Piaf' , 'Je Ne Regrette Rien' & 'If You Loved Me'. On her last tour we were treated to a costume change to compliment each iconic song, however Elaine did not do any quick changes this time. As she
With Elaine after the show..
said herself it is hard to believe she has been in the business fifty years, one can certainly see why Elaine is the first lady of musical theatre.. Long may she continue to reign...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

AN EVENING WITH CHLOE AGNEW .. THE MILL THEATRE DUNDRUM .. JANUARY 29TH 2015 ..

Had a great night at the intimate confines of The Mill Theatre in
Dundrum town centre for the debut solo show of the fabulous Chloe Agnew.. After spending ten years as part of the highly
With Chloe
popular ensemble of 'Celtic Women', Chloe decided to leave the group and make a go of a solo career. This show is her showcase in lieu of a concert tour later in the year and if this show is a taster of what's to come, audiences around the country are in for a musical treat. She admits to still trying to find her genre, but going by the selection of songs performed, Chloe is as versatile as she is glamorous. From Celine Dion's 'Miracle' as a tribute to her mum,



With Chloe & Adele
the equally glamorous and legendary Adele King or Twink to the masses, to Mariah Carey's 'Hero', Chloe is up there with the best of them. One of the guests on the show were Chloe's dad David Agnew, a celebrated musician, whose expertise is the oboe, and who accompanied Chloe on a couple of numbers, including the wonderful 'Nella Fantasie', a song which Sarah Brightman adapted from Ennio Morricone's theme from 'The Mission'. Former 'Celtic Thunder' star Emmet Cahill, who is also going the solo route was another of Chloe's special guests and they had fun on a few
With Adele
numbers.. All in all the show was a great success and the audience who included broadcasting legend Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen Watkins gave a standing ovation and much applause. I look forward to the next show and I highly recommend that you don't dare miss it!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK .. THE BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME .. JANUARY 17TH 2015 .

One of the highlights of the Panto calendar is the spectacular productions mounted at The Birmingham Hippodrome which
With Duncan after the show
always attracts a stellar cast of stars and sell out audiences.. I have made it a mission to attend the Hippodrome show every year and glad to say this years production was another enjoyable showpiece of a show! Heading the bill this season is boyband Blue's frontman Duncan James who makes a dashing if not overly tattooed Jack and who certainly gives the teens plus the mums something to look at! Singer and tv presenter Jane McDonald plays The Enchantress in this her first foray into Pantoland and takes on the role with great
style and gets in on the fun and chaos.. Flying in on a silver half moon to spread her magic and to treat us all to her wonderful voice with a revised version of The Stylistics 'Betcha By Golly Wow' or 'Magic in the Air' for the purposes of the story.. She also sings 'This is the Moment' to herald the eruption of the beanstalk which emerges up from the bowels of the stage before the end of act 1.. The classic 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' get thrown into the mix to get the party started! Returning from last years
With Jane after the show..
production of 'Snow White' are the wonderful Gary Wilmot .. Gary reprises his ever popular Dame Trott role, while Matt Slack as Simple Simon, provides a high level of unpredictable slapstick humour, in the Brian Conley mode.. Paul Zerdin delights the
audiences with his sidekick the also unpredictable Sam.. All three certainly raise the laughter level with their madcap antics which never fails to have the audience in stitches.. Former 'Coronation Street' star Chris Gasgoyne takes on the villainous role of Fleshcreep, with suitable results to incite the boo factor.. Apart from the impressive Beanstalk erection, other notable effects
include a helicopter ride with Paul and Sam and a crowd pleasing 3d sequence.. All in all 'Jack and the Beanstalk' is another success for the Hippodrome and they now have to produce another sensational production for the next holiday season, which has been announced as 'Aladdin'.. Watch this space!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

LORNA LUFT .. ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE .. THE CRAZY COGS .. PICADILLY LONDON .. DECEMBER 13TH 2014 ..


 This was my third visit to The Crazy Cogs to see the wonderful Lorna Luft, who has made the fabulous Picadilly art deco venue her London home.. As it's artistic director the equally wonderful Ruth Leon said, she had invited Lorna back this year, and the next and
With Lorna after the show..
the next! Lorna called this show 'Accentuate The Positive' as a tribute to Johnny Mercer a good friend to her family,, Lorna literally bursts into the venue through the audience with 'It's The Most Wonderful Time' as indeed it was. Continuing with a selection of Mercer tunes, then screening a clip of Judy Garland singing the song 'Lorna' which Mercer wrote for her.. I was with my friend Karen Cadle, who was actually there on the night the clip was filmed, as she had befriended Garland at that time. Other highlights were the medley

number ' Not Even Nominated' a selection of  now classic songs that were robbed of an Oscar nomination.. Lorna also mentioned a show she did which celebrated hit songs from flop shows called 'Panning for Gold' and then she sang songs from 'On A Clear Day You Can See Forever'.. Lorna rounded of the show with a selection of Christmas classics to celebrate the season.. As ever Lorna put on a sensational show and I look forward to another visit to The Crazy Cogs this holiday season to see her.. She will be touring with a new show celebrating the life and music of her legendary mother called .. 'The Judy Garland Story' throughout the summer .. I will be catching the show somewhere
in the UK, watch this space!



Saturday, December 13, 2014

CINDERELLA .. NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE .. LONDON .. DECEMBER 12TH 2015

Every holiday season I try and catch at least a couple of panto's, my decision made as a result of star casting and Linda Gray been my point of interest for this production. Although a regular to the Birmingham Hippodrome for their spectacular offerings, this was my first panto at The New Wimbledon and I must say I quite enjoyed the experience. Maybe not with the budget of a Qdos, who produce the Hippodrome shows, this First Family production had
it's share of spectacle. In her debut panto role, Linda Gray looks sensational as The Fairy Godmother and seems at home in pantoland and she told me after, she really was enjoying herself and despite the hectic show schedule, she was loving every minute of it. Also appearing were the hilarious team of Matthew Kelly and son Matthew Rixon who camped it up as the ugly sisters.. I last saw
them in another production of 'Cinderella' at The Mayflower in Southampton a few years ago, when the equally fabulous Stefanie Powers was the star... One of the highlights of 'Cinderella' is always the transformation scene and it was beautifully done here to the fashionable sound of the theme from 'Frozen' with a nod to the transformation scene in the film and snow rains down on the audience to complete the effect..  A thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all, with a standing ovation for the energetic cast..

Saturday, November 22, 2014

THE LADY BOYS OF BANGKOK .. RED HOT KISSES TOUR 2014 .. NOVEMBER 21ST 2014 .. THE OLYMPIA THEATRE DUBLIN..


I have caught the Lady Boys show many times over the years, the last time been in Manchester.. This was their first show in Dublin since 2001, where they cut short their Irish tour in the midst of the September 11th attacks.. This latest show continues the tradition of many costume changes and
lots of bawdy fun and tributes to many popular artists from Amy Winehouse, Tina Turner to Village People.. Audience participation are always part of the show and a couple of unlucky guys were pulled up on stage, thankfully I was in the circle! Always a fun night, the Lady Boys of Bankok continue to
delight audiences all over the place.. Catch them when you can!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

TELL ME ON A SUNDAY .. THE DUCHESS THEATRE .. LONDON .. MARCH 3RD 2014 ..

One of Marti Webb's greatest success's began as a tv special in 1980 and was created for Marti by legendary award winning lyricist Don Black and Andrew Lloyd Webber.. After it's success
on tv it was decided to turn into a concert for theatre and then a second act was added starring Wayne Sleep as a classical piece and renamed 'Song & Dance' which was also a great success.. Cut to 2014 and the BBC staged a tribute concert for Don Black at the Royal Festival Hall with Marti as special guest, where she sang songs from 'Tell Me On A Sunday'.. A germ of an idea was conceived to bring 'Tell Me On A Sunday' back as a theatre concert with a live orchestra.. It opened at The St James Theatre and then transferred to the West End's Duchess Theatre to great success.. I was delighted to catch the show as I had not seen the original incarnation. Marti was as sensational as I am sure she was in the original and with a deserved standing ovation.
Although audiences were thrilled to hear the hit number 'Take That Look Of Your Face', many were thrilled when Marti returned at the encore to sing the dropped number from the original 'Song & Dance' .. 'Unexpected Song'.. A great night of musical memories in the company of a West End great...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

AN EVENING WITH BRYAN FERRY .. NATIONAL CONCERT HALL DUBLIN.. JULY 11TH 2013

Delighted to catch Bryan Ferry recently when he made a rare visit to Dublin to perform his new show 'An Evening With Bryan Ferry' which embarks on a UK tour in the Autumn. Due to Bryan and his orchestra's involvement on the soundtrack to the recent hit film 'The Great Gatsby', the first segment of the show features the Bryan Ferry Orchestra with tracks from the 'Gatsby' soundtrack and jazz versions of Ferry's hits including 'Avalon'... The remainder of the show featured many of Bryan's hit's including on't Stop The Dance', 'Oh Yeah', 'Slave to Love', 'Jealous
Guy' & 'Let's Stick Together'.. Must mention the two energetic backing singers, who also managed an entertaining Charleston in their gold fringed costumes. Was wonderful to chat to Bryan afterwards and for those in the UK, a great show is coming your way in the Autumn!

Monday, July 1, 2013

THE MOUSETRAP .. BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE .. JUNE 25TH 2013 .. DUBLIN...

 One of the West End's most enduring if not longest running shows is the now classic whodunit 'The Mousetrap' written by the Grand Dame of mystery and suspense Agatha Christie. First written in 1947 as a radio play to celebrate Queen Mary's 80th birthday, before finally hitting the West End stage in 1952, 'The Mousetrap' was destined to intrigue and shock audiences through the decades.

 
Set during a snowstorm at an isolated guesthouse, Monkswell Manor, a group of travellers arrive to stay and are greeted by the owners Mollie & Giles Ralston. A murder has occurred in the city and the murderer is still at large, when one of the guests, Mrs Boyle is strangled, it is soon apparent that the murderer is among the assembled. When Detective Trotter turns up he is determined to trap the killer! But whodunit? Well... I am sworn to secrecy!
This production of the play is a special 60th Anniversary Touring version of the show with a cast of familiar faces including 'Coronation Street' star Bruno Langley, Brush Strokes star Karl Howman, 'Eastenders' star Elizabeth Power and 'I Claudius' & 'Gandhi' star Graham Seed. Having attended a performance of the West End version at The St Martin's Theatre many years ago, I enjoyed this new Anniversary production just as much...



DEAR WORLD ... CHARING CROSS THEATRE .. MARCH 13TH 2013.. LONDON ..



Met the lovely Fiona Fullerton after the show
Have attended many shows over the last few months, but have been so busy to update as much as I would like.. Back in March I was thrilled to pop over to London to catch the wonderful musical 'Dear World' which played for a limited run at the intimate Charing Cross theatre. 
With Betty after the show...
Originally opening in 1969 on Broadway, written by Jerry Herman and starring Angela Lansbury, 'Dear World' has not been staged in many years. Bringing together Broadway legend Betty Buckley and equally legendary choreographer / director Gillian Lynne, this revival was a truly magical production. Staged at the intimate surroundings of the Charing Cross theatre, I found the show captivating as was the exceptional cast lead by the always sensational Betty Buckley. Popular star of the British stage and screen Paul Nicholas played the role of the Sewerman and portrayed the charming scallywag with ease.
Set in post war Paris 1945, Betty portrays the scatty but sensitive Countess Aurelia, who is seen as a madwoman but far from it! After a corporation discovers oil under the streets of Paris, the Countess, with her friends and the staff of the Café Francis, concoct a plan to foil their scheme and save her home and the beauty of the city from corporate greed.


Although the stage of the Charing Cross is very small, it most suited the production as it gave the intimate feel that Jerry Herman invisaged when he wrote the piece. The show only played a limited run and it was a shame that the hoped for West End transfer never happened, but I was thrilled to see the show and how wonderful it was....

With Betty & Gillian after the show..