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    We Will Rock You… (Birmingham)

     Posted in Reviewed & The Arts at 23:58 on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 by Mr. Rant


    I expected that the musical written by Ben Elton would give everyone: A Kind of Magic and put everyone Under Pressure to enjoy the production until the hammer fell, alas the production didn’t.  As with most large scale productions there is a certain amount of pre-reviewing done by people who have seen the production before you.  I had heard everything about the show; good and bad.  Desperately trying to enter the theatre with a clear head and no pre-conceived ideas.  I managed it.  I sat waiting for the audience to settle down and for the show to begin.

    It did and a minute later was stopped by a major technical fault – you cannot make a review on a technical error so once again the slate was clean and the show started again after a break of about five minutes.  Once the scenery and flats were reset and the lighting had cycled back through the cues – the excitement in the crowd erupted as round two started with the infamous ‘Innuendo’.

    The lights circled the stage and the audience was lit with a bright white strobe light that shocked the crowd at the very beginning.  Kevin Kennedy was AWOL so the wonderfully welsh Pop played by Mathew Craig took to the stage.  A short introduction ensued and the show was well on it’s way.  From the outset I was somewhat bewildered by the staging, a short flight of steps with a hideously obvious video wall hung ludicrously over the stairs.  The ‘GaGa Girls’ opened with the first of twenty-four Queen songs; Radio GaGa – think prep girls or Alicia Silverstone and you get the idea of what they looked like; although I think the majority of men in the audience rather liked their outfits; clad as they were in short-shorts and high riding skirts.

    After their short and enthralling* song and dance enter our ‘black sheep’; Galileo who is promptly arrested for being free thinking and a dreamer: played well by Alex Gaumond – the arresting officer is Jonathan Wilkes – who is good but not that special.

    Sarah French-Ellis plays Scaramouche.

    Sarah French-Ellis plays Scaramouche.

    My top of the pops for this production is the ‘goth’ character Scaramouche played by the fabulous and stunning Sarah French-Ellis – I honestly think that she is one of the finest stage actresses I have seen in the a touring production: funny and exciting to watch she really is the full ticket.

    The show in typical musical style bumbles along introducing characters at a rate of knots that you can’t possibly remember at the time, frankly I spent the majority of the show and the time after saying I like that ‘whatshisname’ or she was good as that queen person.
    Elton doesn’t entirely make it a whirlwind production though.  You can understand the draw of the show, of course it’s about one of the finest bands that ever lived.  I think if you like a silly show; yes I am speaking directly to the Mamma Mia fans here; you will love it but if you like a strong and sustained three hours of entertainment you will leave feeling a little frustrated.

    I have to give full credit to the cast; they were fantastic, my adoration for them is high but it is not for the story, it’s weak, lulling and about as much fun as watching Aston Villa playing Liverpool.

    The show runs in Birmingham until 12th September 2009 and tickets are available by following this link.

    I have lots more to say about this but alas it is late and my eyes are closing; stayed tuned for Hippodrome Hitlers and the picture Nazis.

    *It was enthralling due to flashes of underwear that were readily visible, which was nice…

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    Update Status: Modified at: 11:53, on August 31st, 2009.

      Written By Mr. Rant.

    The Witches of Eastwick – Reviewed….

     Posted in Reviewed & The Arts at 23:30 on Monday, April 6th, 2009 by Mr. Rant

    The much anticipated UK tour of The Witches of Eastwick opened at Birmingham’s Hippodrome Theatre this evening; and to say there wasn’t anticipation over this production would be an understatement.  The air of excitement filling the auditorium was palpable; I got the feeling that the cast was the reason the excitement prevailed.

    Marti Pellow playing the devil being the reason that almost ninety percent of the audience were former Wet, Wet, Wet fans.  The show opened in standard expectation with the overture leading us into sound problems; the mix was off and the actress on stage could not be heard.  The cheap American accents added to the inaudability of the actors, it seems to be that the show was either under rehearsed or just not rehearsed this can be said of Pellow at least.  The supporting cast was able to carry the dancing and high movement light entertainment which Witches provides.

    The dancers were good, the sets were good, the lighting was good; the show was average at best.  Not for a moment were you transported by Pellows’ performance; at one point it was impossible to understand him as his accent wavered from deep south American to deep north Glasgow.  His sexual movements allowed his fans to shout, woop and whistle but for the average theatre goer did nothing but put them off.

    It comes to something to hear a sound technician speak during a show confessing his dislike of the production in three simple words:

    “This is shit”

    My sentiments exactly.  Witches is weak the story line is poor and Pellow is foolish in his role.  Wincing while watching a show isn’t something I like to do during a performance but this was the only way to cope with his outlandish and boring performance.  It really was embarrassing to watch.

    Verdict: If you like Marti Pellow and a bit of music then it’s worth seeing.  However, if you’re an avid theatre lover don’t bother, it’s a waste of three hours and rarely raises a smile.

    The Witches of Eastwick is on all this week at Birmingham Hippodrome.

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    Update Status: Never Updated.

      Written By Mr. Rant.