Off With The Swallows

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THE MUMBLE TEAM

Has headed to warmer climes with the Migrating Swallows, but we…

WILL BE BACK WITH THE BIRDS IN THE SPRING

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Shrek: The Musical

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Edinburgh Playhouse 
19th December – 7th January 2017

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Reviewed by Ivy Oakman (aged 10)

A hilarious take on Dreamworks’ Shrek, based upon the original book by William Steig, this time transforming the piece into a wonderful musical with Stefan Harrri as Shrek, Laura Main as Princess Fiona, Samuel Holmes as Lord Farquaad, Marcus Ayton as Donkey, and Lucinda Shaw as the Dragon and Fairy Godmother.

The captivating story of Shrek the ogre who was left by his parents at the young age of seven, and Princess Fiona who was locked away since childhood in the highest room of the tallest tower of the feared Dragon’s Keep, is a love story with amazing musical turns, and overflowing with humour.

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 The acting throughout the performance I saw was compelling. Really convincing. Samuel Holmes stands out for me, not afraid to express the eccentric Farquaad. Villains are always fun characters to play, but I noticed that a lot of the audience agreed here, and there was something especially entertaining about his performance.

The musical, as a piece, I personally found to be a little song heavy, though – always well performed, but sometimes the plot got a bit lost in the songs. I preferred the storyline, especially conversations between Shrek and Donkey’s very opposing personalities, and would have been happier to see more of that. That said, I felt the singing to be excellent. Lucinda Shaw had a really beautiful voice.

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The costumes looked like something straight out of a medieval picture book with well illustrated backdrops to accompany them. Certain transitions were especially effective. The Pied Piper scene using mice-shaped shoes peeking out beneath the curtain to illustrate Fiona’s piping expertise stands out as my favourite. It’s definitely a musical for fans of all ages. Plenty of subtle Simpsons-esque references means that no one gets left out. I would definitely suggest seeing this.

five-stars

 

An Interview with Ashleigh More

The Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group (EUSOG) are bringing the classic musical, Oliver! to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh next week. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the Artful Dodger.


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Hello Ashleigh, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from the north of Scotland but now based in Edinburgh.

When did you first realise you could sing?
When I was given a place in my school choir.

Why musical theatre?
Because bursting spontaneously into song is a far too regular occurrence in my life.

What does Ashleigh More like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
I am the biggest bookworm.

You’ve just been washed up on a desert island with three good films & a solar-powered TV/DVD combo. Which would they be?
The Little Mermaid Oliver (Obviously) Any Potter film.

How did you get involved with the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group (EUSOG)?
I heard about EUSOG when they advertised open auditions for The Addams Family Musical and just went for it.

Can you describe the EUSOG in one word?
Glorious

You made your EUSOG debut in 2015 where you played the role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family Musical. Since then do you think you have progressed as a performer within the group?
EUSOG has now given me the opportunity the portray two very different characters. The jump from Wednesday Addams to the Artful Dodger has been an enjoyable challenge and has definitely pushed me as an actor. The challenge of switching gender has been particularly invaluable to my acting experience. EUSOG is definetly a key factor in the fact that I am able to do this professionally.

74DC2CC74E6D45A5BDB4A47367A30116.jpgYou will soon be playing the Artful Dodger in Oliver!
It was first performed by EUSOG in 1988 as the first non-Gilbert and Sullivan production by the company.

When it comes to musical theatre, when can you tell you are giving a good performance?
Like any other form of theatre; when the audience believe it.

What does 2018 hold in store for Ashleigh More?
The unpredictable life of an actor.


Oliver! will be running in Pleasance Theatre from Tuesday 28th November to Saturday 2ndof December at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee performance at 2.30pm. Tickets are £12.50 and concession tickets are £8.

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Cabaret

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Edinburgh Playhouse
15 Nov – 18 Nov 

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I was unsure what to expect when I went along to see Cabaret with my wee bro on Tuesday Night. It was going to be his first time in a theatre and his first Musical ever. Would he like it? I wondered? would he have fun? To be honest I really wasn’t sure. We are both a little rough round the edges, rough diamonds you might say. Our sisters were laughing at the prospect of me taking my little brother along as he is more used to going to the football or a good night out up the town. I am pleased to say, however, that he absolutely loved it and thought it was hilarious! There were a lot of laughs in the show which were mainly instigated by Will Young who was simply superb.

Cabaret is the tale of an infamous club in 1930’s Germany where, as shown in the ‘bed scene,’ anything goes!  Life is basically one big party for the cast who generally have as good a time as possible, frolicking with anyone who is up for it! There is a lot of flesh on show and a few nudie bits which help add to the feeling of liberation and that anything is possible in Berlin. There are dark clouds looming, however, in the form of upcoming rise of the Nazi party. There are also other dark issues that the show touches on highlighting the inevitable consequences of so much carefree living. But mostly, & for our entertainment, Cabaret is more about having as good a time as possible and living for the moment!

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The set itself was authentic, if rather simple in parts, focused on the club and the living quarters of one of the protagonists. The young author, Cliff Bradshaw, was played impeccably by Charles Hagerty, who comes to Berlin in part to find himself and inspiration for a book. Cliff comes across as a rather likeable chap who basically just parties from the time he arrives in Berlin.  Cliff is a young man who is unsure of himself and his place in the world. A nice guy but a little naive. The redemption of Cliff’s character comes as he tries to help his friend/ lover Sally Bowes, played by the stunning Louise Redknapp, as she realises that there can be consequences to living a carefree Cabaret life.

Louise carries the show in several parts and raises it from being a decent show to a great one! Without Louise and Will I don’t believe this Cabaret would have achieve such critical acclaim. Louise added a touch of class & sass to which helped bring it to life for me. Will was completely believable in the role of Emcee and appeared many times in some weird and wonderful costumes as he narrated the story or belted out some of the big numbers. I must admit that I have never seen the 1966 film with Liza Minnelli or the original Broadway show which was a little before mine or my little brothers time. However, that did not matter in the slightest. We had a great night, the story was easy to follow, there were lots of laughs, the supporting cast were all very beautiful and skillful and the night flew past. I can highly recommend this to anyone; it will appeal to all age groups & guys and gals if you are looking for a fun night out in 1930’s Berlin, before the world became a much darker place, Cabaret can take you there!!

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An Interview with Bronté Barbé

 

Beautiful – the Carole King Musical is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 28th November through to 2nd December. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with rising star Bronté BarbéBronte Barbe Headshot.jpg


Is it exciting to be a part of Beautiful’s first ever UK and Ireland tour?
Extremely exciting! This show is so wonderful, I’m having the best time!

Would you say this is the biggest role that you’ve had in your career so far?
Yes, absolutely. Fiona seemed big at the time, but there is so much to this part. Playing someone who is a real person has unique challenges.

Many people might be familiar with countless classics that King wrote, but not necessarily her story. What would you say makes it so special?
It is so real and full of heart. I think so many people can relate to her story and will be surprised by her journey.

Had you been familiar with her and her work before landing this leading part?
I have had the album Tapestry on vinyl for quite a few years, but I didn’t realise quite how many huge hits she had written.

What did you do to prepare for taking on such an iconic role?
A lot of research. Her work is really brilliant, it gave me a great insight into how she might really be – lots of YouTube watching too!

Have you had the opportunity to meet Carole King herself?
No, I would absolutely jump at the chance to, however, I’d be a nervous wreck!

The show charts King’s years from schoolgirl to wife and mother, over a period of about 13 years. What is it like to portray the same character at key moments in their life?
A challenge! It seems like everything happens in such a short space of time. The costumes and wig changes definitely help.

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What do you enjoy most about this role and what has been the biggest challenge for you?
I enjoy singing the songs everything night! Probably pacing myself is a challenge. I get so excited at the start of the show, I have to remember to save some energy!

Do you have a favourite scene?
Yes! You’ve Got A Friend – I love it!

Kane Oliver Parry plays opposite you as King’s husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin. What’s it like to work together and portray such a hit song writing team?
It’s a lot of fun! We trained together at Mountview and have been friends for years. It’s awesome to play opposite him.

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You last performed in the Scottish capital when you were touring with Shred, what are you looking forward to most about returning to Edinburgh?
Everything! Edinburgh is one of my absolute favourite places to visit. I love the Grassmarket, the views of Arthurs Seat and the food!

What do you think audiences will take away from Beautiful?
I hope they leave in the best mood! The ending is a lot of fun, we hope to have them all on their feet singing along!


Book tickets for Beautiful here

28 November 2017 – 02 December 2017 : EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE

12 December 2017 – 06 January 2018 : MANCHESTER PALACE THEATRE

09 January 2018 – 20 January 2018 : DUBLIN BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE

23 January 2018 – 27 January 2018 : ABERDEEN HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE

31 January 2018 – 03 February 2018 : BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

06 February 2018 – 10 February 2018 : SHEFFIELD LYCEUM THEATRE

13 February 2018 – 17 February 2018 : GLASGOW KINGS THEATRE

20 February 2018 – 24 February 2018 : MILTON KEYNES THEATRE

27 February 2018 – 03 March 2018 : WOKING NEW VICTORIA THEATRE

06 March 2018 – 10 March 2018 : SUNDERLAND EMPIRE THEATRE

27 March 2018 – 31 March 2018 : MARLOWE THEATRE CANTERBURY

03 April 2018 – 07 April 2018 : BRISTOL HIPPODROME

17 April 2018 – 21 April 2018 : IPSWICH REGENT THEATRE

24 April 2018 – 28 April 2018 : REGENT THEATRE STOKE ON TRENT

01 May 2018 – 05 May 2018 : LIVERPOOL EMPIRE THEATRE

08 May 2018 – 12 May 2018 : NEW THEATRE OXFORD

22 May 2018 – 26 May 2018 : NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE

29 May 2018 – 02 June 2018 : LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

05 June 2018 – 09 June 2018 : DARTFORD ORCHARD THEATRE

12 June 2018 – 16 June 2018 : WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE

19 June 2018 – 23 June 2018 : BLACKPOOL WINTER GARDENS

 

Million Dollar Quartet

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Edinburgh Playhouse
Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th October 2017

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MDQ-944-EDIT.jpgPulling in one of the most historic moments in Rock ‘n’ Roll history, the Million Dollar Quartet unleashes upon us the one and only night that some of the worlds best known Rock ‘n’ Roll artists were to come together. This musical is set in the summer of 1956, when Sam Phillips,’ the founder of Sun Studios, had already delivered to the world Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and not forgetting the one & only Elvis Presley. For one session only, Sun Studios played host to four of these heavyweights together, an encounter which was either a coincidence or a well-worked plan by Sam Phillips, & one that would never happen again. With so many unique and diverse musical characters merging in one small recording studio, I wondered what the out come was to be; perhaps an extravaganza of songs, hilarity, bickering and conflicting attitudes. It is difficult to imagine the energy that was present in that studio on that monumentous evening. As the huge curtain slowly rises upwards, you are welcomed with the sweet sound of guitar riffs and lyrics that transport you back to the iconic era that was the rocking 50s.

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Sam Phillips’ recording studio was recreated with some excellent  craftsmanship, & beautifully adapted set design was perfect. With the added delight of Martin Kemp playing the famous Sam Phillips, the show was a sure winner. As proceedings commenced, it was clear to see the time and effort that was made in the search of the cast to play each of the musical legends, the resemblances were uncanny. With each individual bringing their own personal touch to their chosen idol, at times I forgot I was watching a musical and not the real thing.

Driven head-on into this catalogue of memorable songs, you are catapulted into a mayhem of infectious dance and rock ‘n’ roll moves. The stage is awash with some of the best, crisp guitar chords I have heard in a long time, a double bass that has your Adam’s Apple bouncing up and down like a yo-yo & vocals that are truly fitting to the time. We are given Jerry Lee Lewis behaving like a character from Men Behaving Badly, which I must say was executed with great acting skills and humour, & the elegant walk and talk of Elvis Presley. Throw into the mix, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Dyanne the girlfriend of Elvis, who, by the way, can sing real good, we have a delightful education as well as a tribute to some of the best artists to have graced the planet. On an entertainment level, Million Dollar Quartet has it all excitement, humour, fun, laughter, music, love, sadness…  but most of all hope.

Reviewer : Raymondo

five-stars

Claire Sweeney’s Goin’ Crazy

CRAZY FOR YOU. Claire Sweeney 'Irene'. (2) - SMLJamie Wilson and Gavin Kalin are delighted to announce that actress, singer and TV personality Claire Sweeney will take over the role of ‘Irene’ in the national tour of the Watermill Theatre’s acclaimed production of Crazy for You. Claire joins Tom Chambers who plays ‘Bobby’ and Charlotte Wakefield who plays ‘Polly’ from January 2018. Claire Sweeney has a television and theatre career which spans over 20 years. She is probably best known for playing the role of ‘Lindsey Corkhill’ in “Brookside”.  Other television credits include “Clocking Off” and “Merseybeat” along with a presenting role on “60 Minute Makeover” and a panellist on ITV’s “Loose Women”. Claire’s West End roles include ‘Roxie Hart’ in “Chicago” and ‘Miss Adelaide” in “Guys and Dolls”. Claire previously played the title role in “Educating Rita” at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory and prior to that, played ‘Paulette’ in the UK tour of the award winning “Legally Blonde”. She most recently appeared as ‘Baroness Bomburst’ in the National Tour of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

Tom Chambers created the role of Jerry Travers in the West End musical “Top Hat”, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In 2008 he won the 6th season of “Strictly Come Dancing”. He can currently be seen in the hit BBC drama “Casualty” and his other TV credits include “Holby City” and “Waterloo Road”. His recent stage credits include “Private Lives” and “White Christmas” in the West End. Charlotte Wakefield made her West End debut as ‘Wendla’ in “Spring Awakening”, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award. She played ‘Maria’ in the critically acclaimed production of “The Sound of Music” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre receiving nominations for Best Actress in a Musical at both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards. Her other theatre credits include ‘Sophie’ in “Mamma Mia!” in the West End, ‘Truly Scrumptious’ in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and Laurey in “Oklahoma!”, both on national tour.

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The cast is completed by Arthur Boan, Daniel Bolton, Hollie Cassar, Neil Ditt, Kate-Anne Fenton, Cristopher Fry, Stacey Ghent, Matthew James Hinchliffe, Kieran Kuypers,  Kate Milner-Evans, Emma Jane Morton, Kate Robson-Stuart, Ned Rudkins-Stow, Seren Sandham-Davies, Mark Sangster and Abi Casson Thompson. High energy, high kicking and gloriously glamorous, “CRAZY FOR YOU” is the ultimate feel-good musical with a fabulous score from the Gershwin brothers’ songbook. Mistaken identities, plot twists, heartbreak, happiness and a wealth of memorable tunes, including I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Embraceable You, all feature in this exhilarating celebration of the great Broadway musicals.

Crazy For You is directed by The Watermill’s Artistic Director, Paul Hart, with musical arrangements by Catherine Jayes (The Color Purple, Broadway). It is choreographed by Nathan M. Wright (High Society, Old Vic) and is designed by Diego Pitarch (The Addams Family). Lighting design is by Howard Hudson (In the Heights) with sound design by Tom Marshall (Legally Blonde). Crazy For You has Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, Book by Ken Ludwig, co-conception by Ken Ludwig and Mike Ockrent. It is inspired by material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan. Crazy For You was originally produced on Broadway by Roger Horchow and Elizabeth Williams. Original Broadway Choreography by Susan Stroman.