Such a great week of proper good shows! Been quite a busy one as I was on annual leave. As well as these three fantastic shows, also managed to squeeze in a quick return trip to Bonnie & Clyde too which I have already reviewed here
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Running until: 17th July in London then one final tour stop in Canterbury
Ticket link: https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/fantastically-great-women-who-changed-the-world
I am SO happy that this joyous, kickass musical has made it’s way to London. After hearing so many rave reviews about this musical from its tour stops, I was so chuffed to get a chance to see this. Based on the books by Kate Pankhurst, Fantastically Great Women… follows a teenager called Jade who gets lost on a museum trip and meets iconic women from history. The show is all about being empowered and overcoming obstacles as Jade meets figures like Rosa Parks, Frida Khalo, Jane Austen and more.
This show was endless amounts of fun and though it’s geared to younger audiences, there’s definitely something in there for everyone. Writer Chris Bush has packed in a lot in this 90 minute single act musical that’s super fast paced and is never boring. The pop infused score created by the team of Miranda Cooper, Jennifer Decilveo and Chris Bush is super catchy and upbeat. The cast album for this just came out so definitely check out where you get your music. I do think some of the songs maybe sounds too similar to each other, but the music really helps enhance the upbeat nature of the show.
The brilliant 5 piece ensemble cast all give incredible performances, led by Kudzai Mangombe who is wonderful as Jade. I found it rather brilliant how Jade Kennedy, Renee Lamb, Kirstie Skivington and Christina Modestou were able to interchange between characters and have them all stand on their own. They’re all a very tight knit ensemble and it’s great to see everyone get their chance to shine. Highly recommend this wonderfully joyous musical and I hope this isn’t the last we hear of it. Very glad to have had this as my first trip to the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Frozen at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Booking until: March 2023
Ticket link: https://frozenthemusical.co.uk/
Last week, I revisited Frozen for the fourth time since it’s opening in the West End and realised I hadn’t actually reviewed it on here! I absolutely LOVE the film Frozen and was so excited to see this on stage. I’ve only seen a handful of Disney musical adaptations (Aladdin and Mary Poppins) but for me this is the most entertaining one for me. Is it flawless? No. But I think this production does such a great job on expanding the world the film has created and actually opening up the story.
Having now seen two different pairings as the central sister duo, this is a show that relies on the great chemistry between Anna and Elsa. I’ve been treated to Stephanie McKeon and Samantha Barks and last week I got to see both 1st covers Sarah O’Connor and Danielle Fiamanya. All 4 of these ladies are spectacular and have such incredible voices. Loved all 4 of these performances and very lucky to have got to see Sarah and Danielle on together.
This really is such a spectacle of a show with an incredible set design by Stephen Oram’s huge set design. The way the set interchanges throughout some scenes is really spectacular. Paired with Neil Austin’s lighting design and Finn Ross’ video design, it creates a real blend of animated projections and real life.
I only have a couple of gripes with Frozen. The whole Hygge number at the start of act 2 just does not do it for me. 4 trips in and it’s still the worst part of the show for me as it completely adds nothing to the plot. Which is a shame because most of the new songs actually do this. And I sometimes find the Kristoff/Anna storyline a bit rushed in terms of pacing. But overall, I do highly recommend seeing Frozen as it really is one to be seen to be believed.
Jitney at the Old Vic
Booking until: 9th July
Ticket link: https://www.oldvictheatre.com/stage/event/jitney
Tinuke Craig’s critically acclaimed production that originated at Leeds Playhouse of August Wilson’s seminal play Jitney has made it’s way to London and what a fantastic production it is. The play takes place in an unlicensed cab office following eight Black men and their friendships, ups & downs and their lives in 1970s segregated America. Incredibly moving, touching and full of twists and turns, this play is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. Combined with Tinuke Craig’s incredible direction, the whole production was a masterpiece that I’m very glad to have caught.
The play is on the longer side but August Wilson packs so many themes into his piece that the time absolutely flies by. There’s themes of gentrification, the economy and multiple forms of oppression. Throughout this, August Wilson manages to balance the tension with genuinely heartfelt moments and a few moments of laughter too. The entire cast were sublime but standouts for me were Will Johnson, Solomon Israel and Sule Rimi, seriously how do we give them all of the awards. The production also features really strong lighting design by Elliott Griggs and video projection by Ravi Deepres that help bring to life the time period, which I thought worked super well.
This truly moving play is a must see and you don’t have long left to go and see this at the Old Vic. If you’re looking for a fast paced, thrilling and suspenseful drama, let Jitney be at the top of your list.
What have you seen recently? Let me know!
Categories: On Stage