Mad About the Musicals – M A Promotions – Louth Riverhead Theatre

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Billed as ‘Songs from the Greatest Shows of the West End and Broadway’; Mad About the Musicals was certainly a feast of Musical Theatre, with a mixture of well known favourites and lesser known delights.  The show, part of a UK tour, features Michael Courtney, from Lincoln; Jai McDowall, from Scotland and winner of Britain’s Got Talent in 2011; Rosanne Priest from near Sheffield, and Kerry Whiteside from Lancashire.

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The cast were supported by a wonderful live band, and despite only 4 members, Musical Director Michael Lovelock on Keys 1; Marc Hayes on bass guitar (who I believe was also part of the orchestra for the Lincoln Cathedral Production of Jekyll and Hyde in August 2017); Rich Craig on drums and percussion and Josh Weaver on Keys 2.

Some of the early numbers included Don’t Rain on my Parade from Funny Girl, and songs from Little Shop of Horrors and Song and Dance, but one of my favourites from the whole show was ‘This is the Moment’ from Jekyll and Hyde.  Having recently seen the Lincoln production (mentioned above) it was wonderful to hear an alternative live version of the powerful ballad, and Jai’s rendition was beautiful.

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Act 1 ended with songs from Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, then a medley of a number of musical favourites melded together wonderfully.

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Act 2 started with a lovely medley from Chicago and then some numbers one of my favourite musicals, Evita.  Rosanne Priest gave a stunning performance of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina which was a highlight for me.

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After a feast of other great musical theatre power ballads, including I Know Him So Well from Aspects of Love and Love Changes Everything from Chess, we were delighted with ‘It Sucks to be Me’ from Avenue Q, puppets included!

The whole show was brought together with some brilliant compering from Michael Courtney who linked the numbers with some funny comedy lines; breaking up the music with great banter.  The audience were thrilled with the whole show, and they weren’t left disappointed with the finale of a brilliant Les Miserables medley.

Vocals from all performers were spot on, the sound and mic balance was just right and the lighting effects all added to the professional performance.

There are tickets left for this evening if you are near to Louth and want to take advantage of a wonderful night of song; click here Louth Riverhead Theatre or visit:

Box Office

Telephone: 01507 600350
The Box Office is open for advanced booking every Monday to Saturday from 10.00am – 1.00pm.

The Riverhead Theatre
Victoria Road
Louth
LN11 0BX

Email: admin@louthplaygoers.co.uk

For details of the whole UK Tour visit Mad About the Musicals

 

 

(Photos from Mad About the Musicals Facebook Page)

 

 

 

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‘Fun Home’ – Kauffman Centre for the Performing Arts

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For my second show review during my visit to the USA and Canada this time I’m in Kansas and had the privilege to visit the Kauffman Centre for the Performing Arts and see the award winning musical, Fun Home.  The musical is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir and is the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Musical.  I’d only read a few snippets about the story and hadn’t heard of it before, but had been advised to buy tickets as it has been a very popular show on Broadway and now on tour.

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One of the things that struck me about this show was how different it was from anything I’d ever seen before.  It’s absolutely not your typical ‘happy clappy’ fun and happy ending kind of a musical – we had moments of laughter but moments of shock and extreme sadness…  we saw into the lives of an American family, torn apart by a dictatorial, controlling father, who is owner of a funeral parlour (nick named Fun Home) and an English Teacher, who loved books.

 

It was really interesting to see Bruce, Alison’s father’s life, open up in layers, over the years, whilst ‘Alison’ watched on as her adult self, reminiscing about her childhood and the happy times she had with her father.  We saw Alison ‘grow’ physically, with her role being played by small, medium and adult Alison; and growing in both learning about herself and in looking back, reflecting on choices she’d made, discussions she had, and wondering ‘what if’.  We saw her coming to a sense of self realisation and in sharing those intimate moments with the audience gave us very special and brilliantly portrayed scenes using both word and movements.

It was both thought provoking and a beautiful insight into family life and all the good and bad that comes from an uncomfortable level of dysfunction all brought together with clever, witty dialogue, using repetitive, rhythmic poetry and song, with the inclusion of some lyrics in a kind of semi-spoken verse.

I loved the music; the live band at the back of the stage were discrete, yet wonderfully powerful at times; the lyrics and movement of both characters and stage set were very cleverly composed and carried out.  I loved the use of the walls, furniture and intelligent lighting; it all set the mood perfectly, especially in some of the more poignant scenes.

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I can completely understand how this musical has won so many awards; the vocal score was brilliant and there was a couple of absolute stand out moments for me through the show.  “Come to the Fun Home” – John, Christian & Small Alison, the ‘siblings’, played by Henry Boshart, Luke Barbato Smith and Carly Gold were fantastic, the dancing the vocals and the choreography – they pulled it off with magnificence – well done!!

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What a way to end a show – very atypical of musical theatre, we ended with “Flying Away (Finale)” – Alison, Medium Alison & Small Alison.  A triumph of a trio, their voices blended in fabulous harmony, they sang with heartfelt emotion and I was physically moved.  Congratulations Kate Shindle, Abby Corrigan and Carly Gold, you were a sensation!

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If you get the opportunity to see this show while it’s on tour, I would highly recommend it, tickets are available from now until December 2017 in various US States with additional tour dates to be announced soon.

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ROBERT HABERMANN: HIS WAY – The Life and Songs Of Frank Sinatra – Louth Playgoers

Friday, April 28th was something new for me.  All of the shows I’ve watched and reviewed so far have been either musical theatre or a play so to see a show that was a purely vocal performance was a little bit different.  To be honest I didn’t know what to expect from the evening. I’m not a diehard Sinatra fan, although I have a few tracks on my iPod, mostly well known songs that everyone has heard of.  But I have to say, despite not particularly looking forward to the evening, and having a few traffic problems on the way which nearly led me to turn around and go home before even getting there, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Robert Habermann took to the stage with a fabulous pianist and Musical Director, Trevor Brown, by singing one of his own numbers about the horrors of ‘mobile phones’ in theatre; very comical and definitely made the audience reach for their bags and make sure they were silent!

I couldn’t possibly name all the tracks Robert covered but during the two acts he vocalised both the songs and the life of Singer Frank Sinatra, telling stories about his time as band singer to ballad and swinging singer, and building his own record label ‘Reprise.’ It was a pleasure to hear from Robert detailing some of the highs and lows of Frank’s life, together with his wonderful musical renditions, not only of the songs that Frank made famous, but a lot of songs from his early years that aren’t quite so well known.  It was obvious that Robert had done his research and is a big fan of Sinatra, there’d be no other way of retaining so much interesting and entertaining information (without any written notes), especially the snippets about his Christmas with Ava Gardner!

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The audience really warmed to Robert’s easy going style (representative of the Mr Sinatra style we all recognise I guess!), and they took advantage of the opportunity to join in as much as possible… even I joined in with some of the more well known songs!  It was a true delight to hear stories that gave a great insight into the legend, and with Robert’s sincere and genuine personality and beautiful vocal renditions of so many wonderful songs, the audience couldn’t fail to enjoy the evening.

Did Robert sound like Frank Sinatra? Well I shut my eyes a few times, and could easily have been transported to a little club somewhere in the heart of America in the mid 1950’s…  He has the smooth vocals, the easy style, and likeable personality that I can only imagine were typical of the Frank we are all familiar with.  Some of the songs Robert covered included Come Fly With Me,  Fly Me To The Moon, Witchcraft, You Make Me Feel So Young, Strangers In The Night , My Way, New York New York and many more.

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Robert performs many shows across the UK, click on the link here to get details of his up and coming tours and how to buy tickets.  I’ll certainly be watching out for Robert and a hopeful return to Louth Playgoers either later in 2017 or 2018, perhaps with one of his other shows, Broadway and Hollywood musicals, or MGM musicals – after all, I really have got quite enthusiastic about musical theatre!

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