Review: School of Rock – 7/10 see me

School Report – Autumn Term 2016

Dear Mr & Mrs Lloyd Webber

Thank you for asking for an update on Andrew’s progress this term. Andrew is an extremely capable pupil and clearly enjoys the movie “School of Rock”, so we were very pleased when he decided to adapt it for the stage as his most recent school project. The whole school had very much enjoyed his earlier projects The Phantom of the Opera and also the one about the cats. Read more

Phantom at 30: Tears & Tragedies of the Original London Cast

Mystery and intrigue is not limited to the Phantom of the Opera’s lair – as we discovered when we began to investigate the whereabouts of Phantom’s Original Cast of 1986. As the show turns 30, it seems the current stars would do well to heed the Phantom’s instructions that Box Five is to be kept empty…  Read more

School of Rock flies in to the West End

Based on the hit 2003 movie and now adapted for the stage by Julian Fellowes, School of Rock The Musical follows failed, wannabe rock star Dewey Finn as he turns a class of straight-laced, straight-A prep school students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. Can this loveable, crazy buffoon get them to the Battle of the Bands without their folks – and the school’s strict headmistress, finding out? Read more

Sunset Boulevard’s Michael Xavier on making musical magic with Glenn Close

*Update – The Stage Review recently announced that Michael will be reprising the role of Joe Gillis on Broadway in 2017*

It’s the role every West End leading man wanted: On 1st April 2016 Michael Xavier will step onto the stage of the London Coliseum to play Joe Gillis opposite Hollywood Icon Glenn Close in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Sunset Boulevard. We joined this most charming of West End heart-throbs for lunch to talk Hollywood legends and life-changing moments. Read more

Douze Points: A West End Eurovision Love Affair

This weekend sees the 60th anniversary of the camp-fest that is the Eurovision Song Contest.

Laughter and Lycra....nothing beats the drama of a Eurovision final
Laughter and Lycra….nothing beats the drama of a Eurovision final

Vienna has re-phased its traffic lights in anticipation for a competition which started way back in 1956 when Europe was just a group of countries making cheese and squabbling over Poland. Since then, Europe has opened it’s arms to allow countries like Azerbaijan, Israel and anyone else with enough money to take part. This year, it’s Australia.

Austria's Eurovision crossings are anything but pedestrian...
Austria’s Eurovision crossings are anything but pedestrian…

Eurovision is unashamedly camp: Last year’s winner was Austria’s Conchita Wurst – part drag queen part bearded sausage. Before that we had Jedward singing about lipstick and Russia’s dancing grandmothers creating a decoy while the rest of the family invaded Ukraine. The West End has a long standing love affair with all this nonsenseso just how many West End performers have stepped up to “take one for their country”? Read more

‘Tis The Season To Be Jellicle

Welcome to Christmas in Theatreland! If you’re unfeasibly excited, up to your eyeballs in wrapping paper and overdosing on eggnog, you’re not alone. The nights may be long and skies dark and gloomy, but fear not – the lights of Theatreland burn bright at this time of year. You’re not short of choices either – White Christmas, The Snowman, Slava’s Snow Show…it’s quite possible to see a different Yuletide favourite on each of the twelve days of Christmas.

Love him or loathe him, nothing says Christmas like Aled Jones.
Love him or loathe him, nothing says Christmas like Aled Jones.

I feel like I should be wearing wings and hovering above a stable for this bit, for I bring glad tidings of great joy to you and all mankind – the arrival of a new star in the West End sky. There’s a certain shudder of fearful anticipation in theatre circles when it’s announced that a celebrity is cast in a much loved show; for every Catherine Tate (currently wowing in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory), there’s a Caprice Bourret (who mimed her way through so much of Rent that she became known as Marcel Marceau). So I’m delighted to report that Nicole Scherzinger is a whole different proposition – her acting is good and boy, can she sing!

Nicole, perhaps most famous for a stint alongside Simon Cowell on X Factor, joins a cast of West End singers and dancers for a much anticipated revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. We’re not sure it really needed reviving, but it’s keeping that wonderful old beast, the London Palladium warm and toasty over Christmas, so who’s complaining? It’s somewhat ironic that the Palladium only became available following the premature flop of Cowell’s own show, I Can’t Sing.

A word of caution – if you’re booking to see Cats this Christmas or New Year, it’s worth noting that Scherzinger doesn’t perform in every show.

From Pussycat Doll to Pussycat Diva: Nicole Scherzinger
From Pussycat Doll to Pussycat Diva: Nicole Scherzinger

Nicole appears until 7 February 2015 except at performances on 30, 31 December 2014 and 1 January 2015, subject to illness, diva moments, catsorcisms, and arguments with Lewis Hamilton.

If a load of mangy old cats wailing about in a giant litter tray isn’t your thing, here are a few other ideas to brighten up the Christmas Break:

FASCINATING AIDA AT THE SOUTH BANK

Fascinating Rhythms from a fabulous threesome...
Fascinating Rhythms from a fabulous threesome…

Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman are a comedy-cabaret trio with three Olivier Award nominations, three national tours and over ten million YouTube hits for ‘Cheap Flights’ (their infamous anthem to budget travel).

Fascinating Aida are cabaret royalty whose alumni include Russell Churney and Issy Van Randwyck. The show is filled with topical concoctions hot off the stove, along with treasured old jewels. Like a magnificent Stilton, these ladies just improve with age.

Charm Offensive, the fabulously decadent show from Fascinating Aida, returns to Queen Elizabeth Hall From 1st – 11th January 2015.

http://www.fascinatingaida.co.uk/

FROST FAIRS AND FROZEN FINGERS

London's South Bank is the place to be for some brilliant seasonal theatre.
London’s South Bank is the place to be for some brilliant seasonal theatre.

Between the 17th and early 19th Centuries, the magnificent river Thames regularly froze, giving birth to London’s magical Frost Fairs. It’s been a long time since anyone could walk on the Thames (barring Jesus or possibly David Blaine), but it’s still possible to continue the festivities courtesy of the southbankcentre’s wonderful winter festival.

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/winter-festival

Also on the Southbank, sandwiched between the Royal National Theatre and Borough Market, if Christmas is incomplete without a really good story told by candlelight you may still (if you’re very lucky) be able to snap up a ticket for Winter’s Tales:

http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/whats-on/concerts-by-candlelight/winters-tales

Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) reads Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Lady with the Little Dog’, Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) brings life to ‘The Garden Party’ by Katherine Mansfield and Roger Allam will read ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ by DH Lawrence. These and more are all read by romantic candlelight in the Globe’s magnificent new indoor theatre, The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!