After a rough few weeks, I’m feeling ready to get back to weekly blogging again, which is a great feeling! This one will be a bit of a catch up post as well, as I have seen some great (and not so great) shows over the past few weeks amongst other cool things too.
A couple of weeks ago, I did go and make my yearly visit to Les Miserables to see the new recruits. I booked instantly as soon as I saw Lucie Jones was back as Fantine and Stewart Clarke was joining at Javert. All in all, I thought this was such a strong cast. This was my 23rd trip to the show overall (in the past 13 years) but only my second time seeing the new staging, which I really love. The way the projections are done and how the barricade comes together, it’s SO so so cool. The cast were in great shape, both Lucie and Stewart were incredible. Also had the pleasure of seeing Dean Chisnall as Valjean, who I think I saw a few years back when the show had the old staging. Also thought Nathania Ong as Eponine was exquisite casting, I could feel the power in her voice all the way up in the nosebleeds. Truly wonderful, as always. So much so, I went back 3 days later to see it again. What a treat.
I did also catch Ain’t Too Proud last week too, which I won’t review fully as I don’t believe this has officially opened yet? But I had a great time watching this. I didn’t know much about The Temptations, apart from a few songs. But this was such an interesting story of the real highs and lows of showbiz. Sifiso Mazibuko is fantastic as Otis Williams, the narrator, along with Tosh Wanogho-Maud who is electric as David Ruffin along with Mitchell Zhangazha as Eddie Kendricks. Really great tunes and some truly fantastic performances.
This week, I mostly spent my trips to the theatre off west end to see some cracking new shows. First up was Worth at the Arcola Theatre, (ad – gifted) which follows a family who – hours before their mother’s funeral – hunt around her house to find the money. All the while, traumas, secrets and rivalries come to the surface as tensions really escalate. I really enjoyed this, I thought Joanne Lau’s script was so, so funny considering the subject topic was so dark. There’s themes of generational trauma, assault, drug abuse all throughout the play – but the comedy timing from both the writer and the actors was masterful. The performances were great as well, particularly Sara Chia-Jewell and Stephen Hoo as the youngest siblings who were so funny. The play is short and very fast paced, which made the evening go super quickly. But I really enjoyed this and think it’s worth checking out. This is currently at the Arcola until the 29th April.
I had the day off in the middle of the week, so took myself out for two shows. First up was to catch The Way Old Friends Do at the Park Theatre in its last week, before it resumes its tour. This is a wonderful new play by Ian Hallard about two friends who reconnect and start an ABBA tribute group in drag. This is such a lovely love letter to friendship and to ABBA and how being a fan brings people together. I thought this was really charming. There is an odd love triangle sub plot that is pushed, which I didn’t think was really all that necessary, but I still really liked this. Definitely recommend catching this on tour, if it’s visiting near you. And my second show of the day was to see Sap at the Soho Theatre. I was so glad to see this was on at the Soho Theatre after hearing many, many rave reviews about the run at the Edinburgh Fringe. And the praise is very well deserved. The play follows a young woman who tells a lie to her girlfriend that starts to get out of control. I won’t say more than that, as I went in knowing absolutely nothing and felt the effect of the plot twists. Rafaella Marcus manages to tackle so many themes including biphobia, sexual assault, violence into an hour and ten minute run time, which absolutely flies by. I was seriously impressed with how well the comedic and serious tones of the play are balanced, played so well by actors Jessica Clark and Rebecca Banatvala. Seriously thought this was fascinating, a must see.
I do also want to mentioned that I did also get to see Winnie the Pooh at the Riverside Studios. This is absolutely not geared towards me, I am far from the target audience. But I did have quite a nice time at this and the hour long run time flew by.
What have you seen in the last couple of weeks? I’m hoping to be back in a steady routine soon, but to be honest – I’m still recovering from the Jonas Brothers at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday.
Until next time
Aladdin- April 5th (my 2nd time); it was the US Tour and was exciting, funny, magical, and romantic
The other two musicals I saw this year were in January- one local the other a US Tour
So glad, my hometown has Blumenthal Performing Arts (the way we are able to have the tours)