Cilla

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Edinburgh Playhouse
19th – 23rd September 2017

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As Summer turns to Autumn, Edinburgh Playhouse plays host to Cilla, The Musical.  A colourful and entertaining production brought to us by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, Cilla is the fascinating and true story of the rise of one of Britain’s most renowned singers, Cilla Black.  The set-design and stage-production combined seem to me to be one of the best artistic creations to have graced the stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Beautiful and realistic to every point, we are thrust back in time to a halycon age of music and change. The Cavern in Liverpool; Cilla’s family home; Recording Studios at Abbey Road and live American TV were all featured in this heart-warming show. Taking on the role of Cilla is Kara Lily Hayworth, who as singer and actress has an impressive back catalogue dating back to 1999.  With a strong cast, production and a 1960s wardrobe, this was sure to be an education as much as a musical. The journey begins in the early 1960s, with the song Some Other Guy done by the Big Three(the soon-to-be-Beatles. From the outset, it is obvious through the energy filling the room that this was a musical made for the people.  Direct in its approach and true to the life of Cilla,  this production takes a torch and shines the light on a courageous talented young girl who became a well-loved singer and household name until her recent passing away in 2015.

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If it is the Golden Years you are looking for, then this is the show for you. Spread out over two Acts and with 29 songs from Cilla herself, plus The Beatles, Mamas and Papas, John Lennon and Gerry and the Pacemakers… this near 3 hour extravaganza is a thrilling experience. Like a run away train this show never stops. Powerful and addictive it has you hooked.  The delivery of the songs, the cutting edge acting and the attention to detail was excellent. Cilla the Musical is full of colour, fun, energy, humour, laughs, thrills, music and emotion that is refreshing to see. Cilla offers up more than just a musical, however, like a Hollywood biopic it gives us an insight into the life and struggles of an ordinary girl who has a dream. With feet unable to stop moving and legs willing to dance this was a chance to be part of something special, a night out with Cilla and friends. Magical and endearing from start to finish it leaves you with happy memories of times past. Superb !!!!

Reviewed by Raymondo Speedie

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Grease

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Edinburgh Playhouse

September 11-16

Stagecraft: five-stars Book: five-stars Performance:four-stars.png

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Way back in 1970, Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey started penning a musical which looked back to their own teenage hijinkerie in 1950s America. Starting off in the draughty old former trolley barn that was the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago, within a year their baby was embedded on Broadway & by the end of the decade had been transformed into one of the greatest musical films ever made. Grease is an eternal, funthrobbing time-capsule of a classic, & it is great to see director David Gilmore touring Britain with a young cast of talented pseudo-American ‘teenagers.’ Watching Grease for the first time on the stage, I realised that Hollywood had taken liberties with the book, creating a topsy-turvy version that would please the filmgoer more. Thus, watching the pure version for the first time was a great sensation – a few lovely surprises tossed into the ever-familiar progress of a full academic year at Rydell High. As a kid myself, whomever got up first between me & my sister at the weekends got to pick the morning’s video. If it was me, it was Raiders of the Lost Ark, if it was my sister it was either Dirty Dancing or Grease – thus the entire script & score of Grease is embedded in my psyche!

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‘I don’t know why I ever liked you Danny Zuko…!’

‘Sandy….’

There was a genuine & lovely rapport between our leads, The Wanted’s Tom Parker as Danny – fresh into his first foray into Musical Theatre – & Danielle Hope as Sandy. In a recent interview with the Mumble, Tom – who heralds from Bolton – spoke of that chemistry’s core tenet, stating that Danielle was;

From Manchester as well, actually, so we share a common ground, we have quite the same sense of humour, or example, I really like Danielle, shes a total pro & I’ve learned a lot from her to be honest

Danielle, the ‘total pro‘ as Tom calls her, arrives on the Playhouse stage via a more formal route through the halls of Musical Theatre Academe – performing at the Royal Variety along the way – & some of her renditions of Sandy’s songs are simply sublime. The rest of the teenage wolf-pack were excellent too, with Alessia McDermott & her nimble dancing feet making a stand-out Cha-Cha, while Oliver Jacobson was a highly entertaining & bubbly Roger. I even, for once, enjoyed ‘Beauty School Drop-out.’ I always used to fast-forward the bit in the film with that song, but its natural set-piece home is of course on the big stage, & was delivered in Edinburgh with a sexy & caricatured ensemble of poppy pezzazz.

T birds. Photo by Paul ColtasPost La-La Land, musicals are cool again, but Grease simply has to be the coolest of them all. For this particularly silky-slick rendition, above the proceedings the band dished out music like a prostrate Showaddywaddy; sometimes funky, sometimes not quite on the pulse, but never lacking in vibes at any point. The sets were startlingly striking – like showbiz dynamite – cohesive & transportative, & the whole package when combined gives Grease 2017 an edge over many of its competitors. From the moment the T-Birds & Pink Ladies burst onto the stage in an explosion of life, sound & colour – with ‘Grease is the Word’ rebounding about the excellent acoustics of the Playhouse – to the vibrant medley at the end, one really could not take one’s eyes of proceedings, nor stop tapping one’s feet. Fantastic & universal stuff!

Reviewer : Damo

five-stars

An Interview with Tom Parker

Next week Danny, Sandy & the Class of ’55 come rockin’ into Edinburgh.

The Mumble managed to catch up with leading man, Tom Parker.


Hi Tom, so where ya from where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Bolton & I’m currently on the Magaluf Strip. I’m just here for a few days because we’ve got a week off at the moment. Its just been nice to get away for a little bit.

When did you first realise you were musical?
I would say at a pretty young age to be honest with you. I used to go on karaoke quite a lot when I was a kid. Then I went to secondary school & it kinda fell off – I didn’t really do anything until I was 15 when I picked up a guitar again. Yes, it was probably at 15 when I realized I wanted to do music full time.

You rose to fame as part of the boyband, The Wanted – can you tell us about it in a nutshell?
Do you know what, it happened pretty quickly. It was a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. We auditioned for like 9 months & then 9 months after we were in it we had a number one single & then two months after that we had a top 5 album… I was like ‘how did this happen’ – it was really quickly. Then we did 5 years travelling all over the world, we had the best selling song of the year in America in 2013. It was absolute chaos but I absolutely loved it.

What does Tom Parker like to do when he’s not being musical?
I like to go out, have a drink with my mates, just do normal stuff. Have dinner with my fiance. I kinda keep thigs as normal as possible. I like normality.

Moving on from The Wanted, you got into DJing right, collaborating with Richard Rawson on a track called “Fireflies” : what was your role in that?
I was the vocalist on it. I knew Fazer quite well, we used to do quite a lot of gigs together, & he just got in contact with me & said listen I’d love you to come & do some vocals on my record – & I listened to the song & said mate, that song’s amazing – yeah, I went in & vocaled it & it was like the first thing I did on my own. I love that record, its such a good song

Why the step into musical theatre?
Well that happened pretty randomly, to be honest. My name got chucked in to the mix to  play one of the other roles in the show- & then they asked me to come back & audition for the lead part to play Danny – again, that literally happened within 2 or 3 weeks – they  called me back & said look, we’d like you to play the lead in the show – I said OK.

Have you had to do some training & if so where ?
Yeah – so I didn’t train when I was younger, but obviously for this role we had quite an intense period, it was 3 or 4 weeks of us getting instructions in choreography & all that, yes, we did have some initially, we had pretty much a crash course, but now I can do it in my sleep

How is it going with Danielle Hope playing Sandy, hows the chemistry?
Well she’s from Manchester as well, actually, so we share a common ground, we have quite the same sense of humour, or example, I really like Danielle, shes a total pro & I’ve learned a lot from her to be honest

You’ve been on tour for six months now & are just about to bring Grease to Edinburgh. Have you ever been to the city before?
I actually played the Playhouse with The Wanted back in 2010. I’m looking forward to coming back. I really love Edinburgh, it’s a beautiful city.


You can catch Tom Parker playing Danny in Grease

11th-16th September @ The Edinburgh Playhouse

ATLANTIC : America & The Great War

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Assembly Hall @ Mound
4th – 26th August 3pm

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Performing in the heart of Edinburgh, in one of the most iconic buildings to look over Princes Street, was the modern musical masterpiece Atlantic : America and the Great War. Born from a partnership between American Music Theatre Project, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Noisemaker, this was sure to be a production of high quality. Thus, my prediction came true, & I witnessed a new musical which offered up a concoction of singing, theatre and storytelling from a young cast of 15 actors. Atlantic is both voyage of discovery & a tapestry of truths and confused emotions, all of which leads down an unraveling road of unsuspecting situations. The practical stage-props were visually a piece of architectural genius…. a rope, some chairs, a few tables and boxes t0 carry the imagination through the waves and roads of America and Europe.

The central story-point of this moving musical presents us with a lost lady and her now much-worried sister, who embarks on a treacherous journey Telemachus-like to foreign lands ravaged by the battles of WW1. Along the way Annabelle learns as much about herself as she does about the fate of her sister. Travelling on trains, buses and ships she searches endlessly for one glimpse of hope in finding her beloved Jane.

This musical grabs the audiences attention like a total eclipse of the sun. With an American folkish musical score that is synchronised to create a connective purpose between actors and sound, Atlantic gives us a unique look at collective arts. Each actor has their part to play and without fail they preform with ease and grace. This is historical education as much as a musical in performance; rich in ideas it portrays the lives of those young souls lost at sea. Soft in its approach but decisive in its execution, the cast turned out a memorable performance. Bird-sweet voices sing you along a path of righteousness, unlocking the doors of perception, stirring up the deep emotions within us and leaving a very prominent tear in the eye. Sad, encouraging and magical, the true human spirit is alive in this musical. Tickets for this show are sailing away quicker then they can print them so cast your line and grab your seat for a Fringe special. Incredibly enjoyable!

Reviewed by Raymondo

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Thrill Me

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C – Too
12th – 27th (Not 14th)

Stagecraft: five-stars Book: five-stars Performance: five-stars  

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This theatrical masterpiece takes place in Chicago in 1924 and tells the true story of two young men who embark on committing the perfect, Nietzsche inspired crime through murder!!! Richard and Nathan are best friends but also tentative lovers. Chicago, in fact, is a unique place in which the first organization for homosexual rights in America was established here in 1924. This allowed the free flowing openness of their relationship to blossom. Fast-forward to 2017 & the stage is set out well, props are inviting to thought and transmogrify an eerie atmosphere about a full auditorium. The tension in the air is palpable to all present. Accompanying the actors is a well-written and devised musical score played out with incredible dramatic impact. Period clothes and haircuts set the characters on fire !!!! Then all is quiet…

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Nathan Leopold, Jr. & Richard Loe

Thrill Me is a piece of historical truth,  hardly known in 21st century Europe, but was once the ‘Crime of the Century‘ in America.  Any insight to the darker side of human nature always intrigues the willing minds of a curious fellow human beings. Thrill Me provokes you, twists you, bends you and at times catapults you into a world of unanswerable questions. With a splash of wit and humour tossed in to lighten the mood in pockets, the tension is slightly subdued but never gone. You become transfixed and thrown into a murky world of violence, love , betrayal, child killing and treachery.. Bad faith can wait…

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A musical piece of theatre with the art of storytelling at the center. With a flawless delivery and execution of the songs and lines, Richard and Nathan become more believable with every word. A dark tale of two obsessive men that are fueled by so much destruction, which evidently causes the ultimate fall from grace. If you wish to be tried and tested from a psychological point of view, “Thrill Me” will take you to that place. Explosive & intense  is a mere understatement. A play that leaves you speechless and gets under your skin can only be achieved through great research and acting, & Thrill Me offers this in abundance. Put aside the subject matter and you are left with a spellbinding & beautifully crafted take on a delicate story of death and love.. a must see at this years 70th Edinburgh Fringe.

Reviewer : Raymondo

five-stars

The Marriage of Kim K

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C Venues
Aug 11-15, 17-22, 24-28 (21.50)

Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!
A unique and very clever stage production bubbling Andy Warhol Art Pop Panache. A love Story told in three parts that coexist together through the medium of Opera. With a String quartet and a Hip Hop band, blending classical music with funky electronica, this is a feast for senses, that is at once lovely to witness. The cast are all extremely good looking and the genius of the book and stagecraft is nothing less than entertainment at its very, very best. Like a sailor to a siren I had been drawn to the beauty of The Countess singing her part in The Marriage Of Figaro on The Royal Mile after afternoon prayers in Saint Giles. The Countess had a face that was equally as beautiful as her voice. but it was her voice that stole me. So I pleaded with the Mumble editor to arrange for me to review this magic piece work. What I witnessed in this capacity  was not what I was expecting. But this made things delightfully entertaining.

It all begins with the heroes of the show settling in on the cuddle couch. Amelia has just secured a job as a Lawyer and Stephen is a struggling composer, both are at the end of a busy day & Amelia wants to watch Kim Kardashian’s televised 72 day marriage with NBA Basketball Star Kris Humphries , while Stephen wants to watch The Marriage of Figaro. At first compromise with the remote control for the telly is workable. Now this is when the stagecraft bursts alive and the switch between Rhythm and Blues and a chamber orchestra becomes palatable. When the remote control was pressed by Amelia, her choice was represented on the left side of the stage. Kim all figure hugging pants and lace sexiness, with the passion of a new married couple, Kris all butch muscular testosterone with one thing on his mind and it wasnae basketball.

When Stephen takes control of the box we are taken back in time to the Marriage Of Figaro. The Count is being a bit of a canute, wooing Wwmen with his literary skills, The Countess gets wind of this and this is where the problems start. Both the Count and the Countess looked fantastic. All period frills and elegant ball gowns. It was right up Divine’s street, Once a New Romantic always a New Romantic. So on the right hand of the stage a fully blown opera. With the Countess giving a mesmerising performance (Divine was awestruck) this is when the stage lighting was brought into full effect. Two marriages on the brink of collapse and one relationship struggling because of telly choices. All sung in fine voice. Sexy & marvellous & sexy entertainment indeed.

Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

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Douze

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C Royale

Aug 3-13 / 15-28 (20.30)

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Douze is a high energy and highly entertaining look at the world of The Eurovision Song Contest. From an Irish angle, of course, & in an earlier interview with the Mumble, its musical male lead, Anthoney Keigher, described the origins of this madcap adventure.

I had just finished a show in Ireland, and someone quite well do-to in the theatre scene asked me…’What’s XNTHONY doing next?’. And I replied…completely off the cuff…’Eurovision’. He said it was a good idea…and I got to thinking…We then brought it to Dublin Fringe Festival..followed by a European Tour and BANG! Here we are!

With Ireland in the running to wipe the board clean at the contest, the trio that is Xnthony, Hannah and Tiffany are on the road looking to gather support for their trip to Europe. With more gold than you could dig out of an African gold mine and enough sparkle to light up the night sky, their choice of costumes was not just dazzling but endearing too. Like two American cheerleaders and a bouncy Andy Bell, these young guns were heading to Lisbon in 28 days and we had to vote for their song that would take them to the top.

From start to finish you will be hooked! This is a full-on, hour-long show of dancing, singing, movement and laughter. As Douze rolls on like a champagne-dizzy dilletante, the madness of Tiffany becomes apparent, a whirlwind of facial and body movements that you didn’t think possible from any human being was unleashed upon us like monsoon rain. That girl needs help. With her compadre, Hannah, trying her best not to stumble and fall every 2 minutes over her own feet, this was a true laugh a minute comedy. But, with Xnthony taking front and centre, it was obvious who wears the trousers in this trio, or should I say tight gold hot pants.

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Douze is a well-crafted, glitz-garnished piece of musical comedy magic. The audience was in stitches at songs like Numbers and Invincible and delivery of all three performers was excellent. Allowing the audience to be part of the show is always a good move. Firing questions at them, clambering over seats and spreading their sweat drips among the bewildered crowd, I soon found Xnthony seating on my lap, like a gold statue of Buddha. Turning themselves into gold glitter like Jelly Fish, the show closes with the appropriately named song ‘Glitter.‘ This show has bundles of joy, fun, hysteria, laughter, madness and love all contained within one larger than life Irish Pop band…  Lets help take “Douze” to the Eurovision Song contest and go see this show.

Reviewer :  Raymondo 

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