Another round up of shows I’ve seen recently, just while I get my ducks in order irl. t’s been a great couple of weeks for repeat visits but have managed to squeeze in a couple of new shows as well.
As soon as I saw the casting announcement of Aimee Lou Wood and John McCrea as Sally Bowles and the Emcee, I knew I had to see their performances for myself. One thing I do love about this production is that even up in the nosebleeds of the Playhouse Theatre, you still feel like you’re part of the experience. I also think their cast changes have been super interesting, it’s nice to see fresh blood keeping this pretty timeless piece alive. John McCrea as the Emcee did take a bit of time for me to get used to, but he had me over when the more sinister side came out during If You Could See Her. Aimee Lou Wood, however, she had me in the palm of her hand instantaneously with her immense stage presence. It was nice to see a younger Sally than the previous castings, as it made her naivety more believable, in a way. I also enjoyed that she toed the line between speak-singing really well, which was another major difference between the performances of Jessie Buckley and Amy Lennox that I had seen. Which shows how well written the character is because you don’t need to have Sally having an absolute breakdown while staying on pitch to fully convey the emotions. I was pleasantly surprised and wowed by Aimee Lou Wood’s performance and hope to see her in more musicals in the future. Cannot wait too see who the team at the Kit Kat Club cast next.
Marjorie Prime at Menier Chocolate Factory (gifted)
This was an absolutely fascinating play. Following 85 year old Marjorie, who is suffering from a dementia related illness (from memory, I don’t think this is actually specified what her condition is – happy to be proven wrong) and has a companion baring similarities to her husband reciting moments from her life to her. The play highlights the extremities of artificial intelligence and what is likely to come. But that’s really it. The play has a very short run time of about 90 minutes (no interval), so it does go really quickly. But I struggled to see what the play was trying to say. Beware? Watch out? This is what’s going to happen? That felt a bit unclear to me. However, the performances of Anne Reid, Nancy Carroll, Richard Fleeshman and Tony Jayawardena are fantastic throughout. I especially loved the movement direction within this, especially as the AI figureheads, which had such an uneasy feeling about them. Worth seeing, but I think this could’ve benefited from being slightly longer.
This was my 8th trip to the palace for Six, but my aunt’s first time as we went for her birthday. Always a classic, always a good time. So happy to see the show is still in such great shape and continues to fit very well into the Vaudeville theatre. We were very lucky to get 4 of the iconic swings/alternates team on with Monique Ashe-Palmer as Aragon, Esme Rothero as Boleyn, Danielle Rose as Howard and Leah Vassell as Parr, who were all fantastic. I was chuffed to see Claudia Kariuki as Seymour, as I’d seen them perform at Ben Rauhala’s gig earlier this year and thought they had an incredible voice. I also really loved Dionne Ward-Anderson as Cleves, such a different take on the character leaning into the more sarcastic/dry humour side. Had such a great time. Can’t wait for my next trip.
Killing the Cat at Riverside Studios (gifted)
I’m always interested by new musicals, because there’s so few of them around these days and this particular piece sounded very fascinating. The show is essentially asking the question of who is right in the argument of science vs faith, presented in the form of Maggie and Luke who meet while she’s on holiday. The musical asks, can you even be with someone who doesn’t share your beliefs? Which, to be frank, it doesn’t really ask until act 2. But I don’t think the musical is at all successful in answering this question. The set up of Maggie and Luke falling in love after what feels like 3 days, just felt a bit over the top for me. And the second half of the show is just them just arguing without a real clear resolution? I didn’t get what the show was trying to say. The cast are great and do a good job with what they’re given (Molly Lynch, in particular, steals every scene she’s in). But if it’s the interval and some of your audience still have no idea what the show is about, maybe you need to revise.
A Streetcar Named Desire at Phoenix Theatre
So, I was lucky enough to see this at the Almeida just before Christmas last year. But this was very early in performances and when the transfer was announced, I was interested to see how this played in a bigger space. Turns out, incredibly well indeed. I don’t want to review this properly as I’m unsure as to whether this will have an opening night/press reviews again. But I am so happy to see this production has generated such great acclaim. Glad to see Patsy Ferran more settled into Blanche, she’s an absolute superstar. With Paul Mescal and Anjana Vasan continuing to give brilliant performances too. It’s a fantastic production but it shouldn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to see. If you’re able to get a ticket that’s in your price range, do so.
What have you seen lately? Let me know!
Categories: On Stage
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