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THEATRE REVIEW: The Exorcist

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Forty-five years after William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel terrified an entire generation, The Exorcist has been unleashed onto London’s West End stage for the very first time in a theatrical experience directed by Sean Mathias and adapted for the stage by John Pielmeier.

The movie, which was released in cinemas back in 1973, is without a doubt one of the scariest movies of all time, and sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy. As the winner of two Academy Awards, William Friedkin’s powerful and disturbing work saw audiences petrified to the point of passing out and went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time.

Mention this memorable supernatural flick in conversation, and chances are you won’t finish the chat without a reference to head spinning, projectile vomit, or crucifixes being shoved where the sun doesn’t shine. French and Saunders would also more than likely get a namecheck.

As with any theatre interpretation or movie remake, the adaptation will always draw comparisons to the well known and much loved original which, for this particular West End production, is a bit unfortunate, because there is enough in Pielmeier’s creepy spectacle to stand on its own merits.



Adam Cork’s sound design genuinely adds to the atmosphere, offering some fun to the experience, which clearly wasn’t quite the same previously. Despite the movie taking a bit of time to build the story, the theatre show delivers from the offset with an almighty thunder crash, plunging us into complete darkness. Agitated audience members roar with laughter, comforting their friends with nervous chatter.

Philip Gladwell’s lighting techniques make it easy to become submerged in the storyline. The overall set design is also smart and attractive. The stage represents a house with many rooms as the set for all of the action. During scene changes, unused rooms are often blacked out to such an extent that you don’t see what’s happening elsewhere, making things seem more oppressive when the tiny areas are highlighted.

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The Exorcist – Jenny Seagrove as Chris MacNeil. Pic by Pamela Raith Photography

There are, of course, striking similarities to Friedkin’s movie. Jenny Seagrove is perfectly cast as actress Chris MacNeil who is living on location with her 12-year-old daughter Regan (played by Clare Louise Connolly). Within the first ten minutes we see Regan contacting a supposedly imaginary friend whom she calls Captain Howdy after playing with a Ouija board.

Every nuance of Seagrove’s performance is reminiscent of Ellen Burstyn’s terrific performance in the movie; her nervy talk, her erratic behaviour, and her slender look – which comes across as chic even when she crashes on her armchair in her nightgown.

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The Exorcist – Clare Louise Connolly as Regan. Pic: Pamela Raith Photography

When Regan begins acting strangely – making mysterious noises, constantly using obscene language, and exhibiting abnormal strength – things start to become a serious problem for Chris. After a bizarre carpet-wetting scene (yep, it was included!), Regan’s bed begins to shake violently, adding further to her mother’s horror. Chris then consults a number of physicians, but they find nothing physiologically wrong with her daughter, despite Regan undergoing a battery of diagnostic tests.



Credit must go to Clare Louise Connolly as Regan, who not only grapples the physical elements of the possessed young girl but the importance of her dialogue timing, which is crucial when Ian McKellen is providing the pre-recorded voice of her demon tormentor. No pressure! We see Regan with her arms outstretched, writhing and snarling like it’s a ballet-inspired dance routine, choreographed to precision.

One of my main concerns with this theatre adaptation was the decision to cast Ian McKellen as the voice of the demon. Casting aside the knowledge of his obvious skills, I was apprehensive about his unmistakable voice not sitting well with the evil he was to deliver. Would he be scary enough? The answer is yes, but probably not in the way you would expect.

Admittedly, McKellen’s Captain Howdy is not the same demon that the gravelly-voiced Mercedes McCambridge mastered so brilliantly in the film. But what made Director Sean Mathias’s decision so astute is that McKellen gives his character’s power a leering, lecherous quality, which is quite chilling to listen to.

“I want to touch you,” whispers McKellen in his well-spoken, very British tones. “Go on, let me touch you.”






Whilst the movie version is certainly a slow-burner, it did feature the product of logistically nightmarish skills of technical wizardry, which would be a red flag to any theatre producer contemplating the idea of transferring them to the stage.

I was hoping that Mathias would have actually ditched the infamous head-spinning moment altogether as it's an obvious illusion to nitpick. He doesn't; yet despite the illusion being cleverly done, it is bound to disappoint those who wanted the see something akin to the technique in the 70's shocker (which, if we're brutally honest, still looks like a dummy's head on a spinning pole). Regan's make-up is also kept to a minimum, so you never get the true grotesque, visual disfigurement of Linda Blair's character. I'll spare you my thoughts on the state of that wig, too.



The famous projectile vomit scene also looks a little tame, with Regan listlessly shooting out vomit to the side of the bed and down the backdrop, like it was an afterthought. But then I can't really see how else they could have made it work.

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The Exorcist - Clare Louise Connolly as Regan and Peter Bowles as Father Merrin. Pic: Pamela Raith Photography

Although it courageously adopts some relatively complex technical procedures, the stage adaptation of The Exorcist is less about special effects and more about mood and human responses.

Adam Garcia is solid as the conflicted, bereaved Karras, and Peter Bowles is fine as Father Merrin, particularly when his figure is seen in silhouette and walking down the street, in a respectful nod to the iconic artwork on the movie poster. Mike Oldfield's memorable 'Tubular Bells' theme is also played out as the curtain comes down, which sends shivers down the spine.

As a stage show, The Exorcist is both unique and similar to the movie in equal parts. Whilst it might lack the threat and dynamism of Friedkin's shockfest, it does a really sterling job of getting under the skin.

• The Exorcist is running at The Pheonix Theatre

Did you like Under The Skin? Read Phil's review of the live orchestra screening.

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NEWSTheatre

Casting Announced For West End Premiere Of The Exorcist

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Forty-five years after William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel terrified an entire generation, The Exorcist will be unleashed onto the West End stage for the very first time in a theatrical experience directed by Sean Mathias and adapted for the stage by John Pielmeier.

Jenny Seagrove will play Chris MacNeil opposite Peter Bowles as Father Lankester Merrin, Adam Garcia as Father Damien Karras, Clare Louise Connolly as Regan, Todd Boyce as Doctor Strong, Mitchell Mullen as Doctor Klein, Elliot Harper as Father Joe and Tristram Wymark as Burke.

The Exorcist will play a strictly limited run at the Phoenix Theatre from 20 October 2017 to 10 March 2018.

Widely considered the scariest movie of all time, the film adaptation of The Exorcist sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy when it was released in cinemas in 1973. Winner of two Academy Awards, William Friedkin’s masterpiece saw audiences petrified to the point of passing out and went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time.

When the medical profession fails to provide answers to young Regan’s strange symptoms her desperate mother Chris turns to a local priest for help. But before Father Damien can tackle what’s before him, he must overcome his own shaken beliefs, as this fight is for more than just one girl’s soul…

Peter Bowles, star of stage, film and television, will play Father Lankester Merrin – the Exorcist of the title. Peter’s West End theatre credits include Hay Fever with Judi Dench at Theatre Royal Haymarket, Archie Rice in John Osborne’s The Entertainer (Shaftesbury) and several leading roles in classic plays for Sir Peter Hall. He is probably best remembered for playing the role of Richard DeVere in the hit BBC comedy series To The Manor Born as well as leading roles in The Irish RM, The Bounder, Rumpole of the Bailey and Only When I Laugh. Peter can currently be seen on ITV’s Victoria as the Duke of Wellington.

Jenny Seagrove, one of the UK’s most respected actresses, will be playing the role of Chris, the mother of Regan, who suffers emotional turmoil in the search to find help for her daughter’s ever increasing strange behaviour. Her prolific theatre career has seen her play the lead in almost every West End playhouse, with recent credits including Alan Ayckbourn’s How The Other Half Loves at the Haymarket, Brief Encounter, Volcano, Tennessee Williams’ Night Of The Iguana, David Rabe’s Hurlyburly and The Country Girl with Martin Shaw. Jenny recently appeared as Louisa Gould in the film Another Mother’s Son but perhaps is best known to TV viewers as QC Jo Mills in ITV’s BAFTA award winning Judge John Deed.

Adam Garcia plays Father Damien Karras. Adam is a two-time Olivier Award nominee, was last seen in the West End in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s The Winter’s Tale (Garrick) and recently starred in the world premiere of Kevin Elyot’s last play Twilight Song (Park Theatre, London). Musical stage credits include Kiss Me Kate, directed by Trevor Nunn (Chichester/Old Vic); Fiyero in the original London cast of Wicked with Idina Menzel (Apollo Victoria), Chip in On The Town (London Coliseum) and Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (London Palladium). Adam gained international recognition for leading roles in films including Coyote Ugly and Riding in Cars with Boys with Drew Barrymore, and he appears in Kenneth Branagh’s forthcoming film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express.

Director Sean Mathias has worked at the National Theatre and many times in the West End and on Broadway, as well as extensively internationally. In 2009/2010 Sean’s production of Waiting For Godot played two seasons at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and toured the UK and internationally. In 2013 Godot played Broadway along with his production of Pinter’s No Man’s Land, the latter transferring to Wyndham’s Theatre in October 2016 starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and won Best Revival at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards that year.

● The Exorcist starts a strictly limited run at the Phoenix Theatre from 20 October 2017.

 

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REVIEWSTheatre

Theatre Review: Twitstorm at Park Theatre, London

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3 and a half stars

In a time of political uproar, and especially during an era of political correctness, Twitstorm is the sort of uplifting comedy we need in London. Over the course of 2 hours, we are presented with a racial slur, an ensuing crisis, and a swarm of opinions on the reality of living within a PC society.

Upon leaving Park Theatre; however, I wondered to myself – isn’t it ironic that in a play focused on political correctness, I’m not entirely sure if the minority characters were fairly represented.

To summarise without giving away too much information, Twitstorm – written by Chris England (An Evening with Gary Lineker) – is a play which capitalises on the controversy of being politically correct in 2017. Guy Manton (Jason Merrells) is our protagonist (or arguably, our anti-hero) who is considered a national treasure, and host of comedy-panel show, Arguing The Toss. He is married to Bex Manton (Claire Goose), an author steadily growing in popularity. Guy also works alongside Neil (Justin Edwards), long-time friend and ghost-writer on social media, and Rupert (Chris England), his manager.

After a bewildered Bex answers their front door to a grown-up-Ike (Tom Moutchi), a child Guy and Bex once sponsored in Africa for just the price of “a monthly direct debit”, he lives with them whilst becoming accustomed to English culture. Guy, dubious of his intentions, resents Ikes’ presence in his home, and at an end-of-season wrap party refers to him as a ‘chugger’ (charity mugger), and then repeats the insult whilst replacing a vowel so it sounds like a particular racial slur (for readers who need a hint, he replaces the ‘u’ with an ‘i’). Guy’s “innocent joke” finds its way onto Twitter, and within minutes the world has reacted, and inevitably taken offence.

Chris England, Claire Goose, Justin Edwards & Jason Merrells (l-r) in Twitstorm at Park Theatre. Photo by Darren Bell.
Chris England, Claire Goose, Justin Edwards & Jason Merrells (l-r) in Twitstorm at Park Theatre. Photo by Darren Bell.

If there is one thing this play cannot be faulted on, it is its comedic value. Moutchi possesses a naturally comedic presence as Ike, a refugee who appears to be clueless about every day culture in England. Delivering quips such as “You have… followers? Where are they?”, before proceeding to physically search for them. Ike acts as the innocent character full of wonder that can successfully create and deliver a joke in any sort of scenario.

Moutchis’ character is somewhat similar to Edwards’, whose character Neil breaks the fourth wall with lines such as “wouldn’t this whole fiasco make a great play?” during a time where guns are a-blazing (if you do see Twitstorm, you’ll understand exactly what I mean when he says the line).

Whilst acting as a source of great comedy, Neil is also the epitome of what it means to be reasonable and politically correct. After the ‘chugger’ incident, Guy refuses to apologise for what he believes is an innocent joke, especially as Ike initially doesn’t take offence. Bex and Rupert want Guy to publicly apologise in an interview with Daniel Priest (Ben Kavanagh), an influential blogger with a large following on social media, who in turn wants Guy to apologise to him personally. Neil however, is the only character who understands a mistake has been made and needs to be rectified, yet doesn’t expect it to be resolved with a simple apology.

Edwards’ portrayal of Neil is a convincing one, providing a much-desired element of reality in a cast composed of caricatured personalities. Whilst the theatrical skills of the cast are stellar, and characters such as Ike are treasures within Twitsorm, Englands’ story fails to portray minority characters as equal to their heterosexual, middle-class, white counterparts – a considerably important aspect of a play, especially when it revolves around political correctness.

Chris England, Justin Edwards, Jason Merrels, Tom Moutchi and Ben Kavanagh (l-r) in Twitstorm at Park Theatre. Photo by Darren Bell.
Chris England, Justin Edwards, Jason Merrels, Tom Moutchi and Ben Kavanagh (l-r) in Twitstorm at Park Theatre. Photo by Darren Bell.

Although Ike attains a level of superstardom and achieves exactly what Guy Manton has achieved, the success of his character is then faltered by the revelation that he is not a refugee and instead sells blood diamonds, perpetuating the villainization of minorities. This is similar to Kavanaghs’ character, Daniel Priest, who is initially described as this influential, forward-thinker in the realm of political correctness.

Priest actively demonstrates that clothes don’t have a gender (an idea which I fully support), and is presumably a member of the LGBTQ+ initialism. However, when we meet Priest, he is portrayed as a self-righteous, pretentious villain who is supposed to champion over the culturally aware generation – a slightly unfair representation of a politically correct being (again, thank you God/Buddha/Beyoncé for the legend that is Neil, for fairly representing PC attitudes somewhere).

All in all, Twitstorm was an enjoyable experience – one I would recommend to theatre-goers  in need of a light-hearted comedy. In regard to the criticism of inaccurate representation, Priest argues at one point that he would “support the controversial joke, if [he] found the joke funny”. If you can see the humour in places I couldn’t, then be prepared for a barrel of laughs. If not, then rejoice! England’s ability to captivate an audience through an engaging storyline, not to mention a gaggle of hilarious one-liners, will be more than enough to keep you sufficiently entertained for 2 hours.

Twitstorm runs at Park Theatre until July 1. More about: | Park Theatre

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REVIEWSTheatre

THEATRE REVIEW: La Cage Aux Folles at New Wimbledon Theatre

Bill Kenwright presents the highly anticipated first ever UK tour of the Tony and Olivier award winning La Cage Aux Folles.

John Partridge (EastEnders, Over The Rainbow) plays the iconic role of ‘Albin’, who moonlights as star drag act Zaza at the infamous La Cage aux Folles nightclub. Partridge’s extensive theatre credits include the West End productions of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, Cats, Starlight Express and Chicago.

Adrian Zmed plays ‘Georges’, partner of Albin and owner of the nightclub. Zmed co-starred with William Shatner as ‘Officer Vince Romano’ in the 80’s hit TV show T.J. Hooker, which ran for 90 episodes over 5 years. This will be his first stage appearance in the UK although he is no stranger to Broadway musicals having previously led the casts of Grease, no fewer than 3 times, Falsettos and Blood Brothers.

Written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman, and based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, La Cage Aux Folles follows the story of Georges, the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, and his partner, Albin, a drag artiste and the club’s star attraction. They live an idyllic existence in the south of France but behind the curtains of this sparkling extravaganza, all may be about to change when Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to the daughter of a notorious right-wing politician determined to close down the local colourful night-life.

TOUR DATES 2017
7 -11 March | Edinburgh Playhouse
14 – 18 March | New Theatre Wimbledon
21 – 25 March | Leeds Grand
9 – 13 May | Dartford Orchard Theatre
16 – 20 May | Birmingham Hippodrome
23 – 27 May | Bristol Hippodrome
30 May – 3 June | Grand Opera House York
6 – 10 June | New Victoria Woking
13 – 17 June | Salford Lowry
27 June – 1 July | Wolverhampton Grand
4 – 8 July | Liverpool Empire
25 – 29 July | Glasgow Kings
1 – 5 August | Sunderland Empire
8 – 12 August | Milton Keynes Theatre
15 – 26 August | Theatre Royal Brighton

La Cage Aux Folles


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NEWSTheatre

Dreamgirls – London Cast Recording

Sonia Friedman Productions has announced that the highly anticipated Original London Cast Recording of the new, hit West End musical Dreamgirls, will be released on Sony Classical mid-April.

This brand new double-album was recorded live last month at the Savoy Theatre. It captures the on-stage atmosphere of the original London cast of Dreamgirls, the 14-piece band and the audience, and features songs from the musical including ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, ‘I Am Changing’, ‘Listen’ and ‘One Night Only’.

The Dreamgirls Original London Cast Recording is produced by Henry Krieger and mixed by Andy Bradfield. This cast recording features Amber Riley as Effie White, Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones and Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson – making up the soulful singing trio ‘The Dreams’; Joe Aaron Reid as Curtis Taylor Jr, Adam J. Bernard as Jimmy Early, Tyrone Huntley as C.C. White, Nicholas Bailey as Marty and Lily Frazer as Michelle Morris and Michael Afemaré, Jocasta Almgill, Callum Aylott, Hugo Batista, Samara Casteallo, Chloe Chambers, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Joelle Dyson, Kimmy Edwards, Candace Furbert, Nathan Graham, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Gabriel Mokake, Siân Nathaniel-James, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

The UK premiere of Dreamgirls opened at the Savoy Theatre in December 2016 to widespread critical acclaim, 35 years after originally opening on Broadway and is Directed and Choreographed by Olivier and Tony Award®-winning Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Disney’s Aladdin and Something Rotten!), with Set Design by Tim Hatley, Costume Design by Gregg Barnes, Lighting Design by Hugh Vanstone, Sound Design by Richard Brooker and Hair Design by Josh Marquette. The Musical Supervisor is Nick Finlow, the Orchestrator is Harold Wheeler, with Additional Material by Willie Reale.

Dreamgirls transports you to a revolutionary time in American music history. Dreamgirls charts the tumultuous journey of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois called ‘The Dreams’, as they learn the hard lesson that show business is as tough as it is fabulous.

With Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen and Music by Henry Krieger, the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened in 1981 and subsequently won six Tony Awards®. The original cast recording won two Grammy awards for Best Musical Album and Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday’s ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.’ In 2006 it was adapted into an Oscar winning motion picture starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.

Dreamgirls – The Original London Cast Recording is released on April 14. Click on the link below to pre-order your copy.

Dreamgirls (Original London Cast Recording)


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Q&ATheatre

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

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Action To The Word’s award-winning, A Clockwork Orange hits London’s Park Theatre this week. This hugely physical theatre horror show aims to capture and transcend the spirit of Anthony Burgess’ original literary masterpiece, and puts its unique spin on Stanley Kubrick’s controversial film from 1971.

A Clockwork Orange lures its audience into the glass-edged nastiness of Manchester’s underworld. A playtime of orgiastic ultraviolence and sexuality, it’s the story of little Alex and his Droogs in their battle against the tedium of adolescence. We caught up with actor Jonno Davies who plays Alexander…

Jonno Davies | Pic credit: Matt Martin

PM: You portray Alex, a Beethoven-loving punk. Are you like the character you are playing in any way?

JD: Ha! If I was, I don’t think I’d publicly admit it! I think my strongest connection with him is his phenomenal passion for music. Although my tastes aren’t as classical as Alex’s, I like to surround myself with it and be inspired by it in the same way. Silence is a very rare thing in our household!

Your role is quite a vibrant one. How do you psyche yourself up to play such an energetic character?

Again, music! It’s such an invigorator. Also, every morning before rehearsals, we complete an hour-long circuit workout to help increase our stamina for the show; ensuring the ultraviolence never fades. The levels of testosterone flying around in that time is probably border-line dangerous.

Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 movie is still widely known as a controversial film. Have you seen it? Can you understand why it caused such a furore?

Yeah I purposefully didn’t watch it for the first two years of playing Alex, just to make sure my performance wasn’t subliminally influenced my Malcolm McDowell’s. However I did recently watch it with the director and I was surprised at how funny it was! I can see why it was banned, it sort of unintentionally glamorised violence to the point of inspiring copy-cats. There’s enough wrong-doing in the world without an army of wannabe droogs on the streets.

The film was deemed to be something misunderstood by many people. Do you think the stage adaptation will have the same effect?

I hope not. There’s a certain trademark ‘Action To The Word’ boldness to our piece that I suppose may divide opinion, but not necessarily mislead.

The novel by Anthony Burgess was first available in 1962. It’s a story of a nightmarish vision of the future. Do you think any parts of the story can be something relating to the age we now live in?

Absolutely. We still have generations blaming each other for the societal problems of today. The world is currently the most fragmented it has ever been and we have a psychopath who believes he’s saving humanity. It’s definitely not a coincidence that he’s orange.

Pic credit: Matt Martin

At the age of 24, do you like the challenge of working on a story that first came to light before you were born? Were there any elements you found difficult resonating with?

I think the idea with good art is that it resonates with the audience long after it’s established. Whether it’s The Beatles, Shakespeare or van Gogh, great art is timeless and I think I’d put A Clockwork Orange in that category, which essentially makes my job a lot easier.

You’ve previously appeared in theatre adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Shakespeare In Love. Was it the passionate and poetic style of this play that appealed to you?

Alexandra Spencer Jones (with a little help from Anthony Burgess) has established a real melody to the text and arc of the show. When you throw that in the mix with a ‘fictional’ dialect and an outright obsession with Ludwig Van, it provides so much substance for an actor to play with, so it’s extremely appealing.

What was the last theatre production you went to see?

Birthday Suit at the Old Red Lion by Pluck Theatre. One of my cast mates, Pip Honeywell, co-produced and starred in the show. He’d be in full rehearsals with us in the day and then jet off to perform at night. I’m not quite sure how he actually survived. Really impressive.

A Clockwork Orange at runs until 24 March at Park Theatre | Book tickets 

Check out EQ Music Blog’s review here

Watch Phil Marriott and Raj Rudolph reviewing A Clockwork Orange in the video below…

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INTERVIEWSMUSICTheatre

AMY LENNOX ON BOWIE AND LAZARUS

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There’s no doubt about it – 2016 got off to a pretty horrendous start when the world learnt of the death of David Bowie. Fortunately, as a small comfort, we are now able to enjoy some of his last works in the form of Lazarus – the musical inspired by Walter Tevis’s novel, The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Bowie previously starred in the 1976 adaptation of the same name, which was directed by Nicholas Roeg. In the London stage play, actress Amy Lennox stars as Elly, the assistant of Thomas Newton.

Never one to be typecast or boxed in, Lennox has already taken on a diverse number of roles in musicals such as Kinky Boots and 9 To 5, and movies such as Never Let Me Go and Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines.

I took the Aberdeen actress and singer to Rupert Street, a familiar Soho haunt, where Amy shared her favourite TV shows and movies from 2016.

Watch the interview with Amy in the video below.

• Lazarus – David Bowie Musical – is now running at London’s King’s Cross Theatre until 22 Jan.

More about: | Lazarus 

Lazarus (Original Cast Recording) [Explicit]


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MUSICTheatre

Grammy Award-Winning Artist Sheena Easton To Make West End Debut In 42nd Street

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For many, singer Sheena Easton will either be remembered for her shiny jumpsuits, singing a Bond theme, some decidedly dodgy 80s pop videos (one featuring her dressed as Blanche from Golden Girls on a steam train), or being the subject of Esther Rantzen’s 70s reality TV show, The Big Time.

Of course, there is much more to Sheena Easton than all that. In 1987, Easton appeared with Prince in his movie, Sign o’ The Times, which spawned the terrific duet single, ‘U Got The Look’. Helped by the suggestive, ‘Sugar Walls’ from 1984 (which Prince also penned), Easton’s image went from girl-next-door to seductive diva temptress.

Easton’s last album, Fabulous was released in 2000. Since then, she’s appeared in movies and done the odd voiceover job, but last year saw her touring Australia with her Greatest Hits show. 2017 will see her treading the boards in the West End production of 42nd Street. 

Here’s the official press release blurb:

42nd-streetSheena Easton – the Grammy Award winning artist who has sold over 20 million records around the world – is to make her West End debut in the forthcoming production of 42nd Street.

Easton, who remains the only artist in history to have top five records on five major Billboard charts, will perform the iconic role of ‘Dorothy Brock’ in this new production of 42nd Street, the dazzling and romantic homage to the world of musical theatre.

The role of ‘Julian Marsh’ will be performed by Tom Lister, who played ‘Carl King’ in Emmerdale for 8 years and has recently been starring as ‘Wild Bill Hickok’ in the UK Tour of Calamity Jane. Clare Halse, who most recently appeared in the acclaimed production of Gypsy as ‘Marjorie May’ at the Savoy Theatre, will play ‘Peggy Sawyer’.

The production will be directed by the show’s co-author Mark Bramble (whose other hit shows include Barnum, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers The Grand Tour) and director of many award-winning previous productions of 42nd Street on Broadway and around the world.

42nd Street is the song and dance, American dream fable of Broadway and includes songs such as ‘We’re In The Money’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, ‘Shuffle Off To Buffalo’, ‘Dames’, ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, and ‘42nd Street’.

42nd Street arrives in London with an all-singing, high-kicking cast of over 50, ready to explode on to the West End’s biggest stage. The confirmed cast are:

Jasna Ivir, who will play ‘Maggie Jones’, Norman Bowman as ‘Pat Denning’, Stuart Neal as ‘Billy Lawlor’, Graeme Henderson as ‘Andy Lee’, Christopher Howell as ‘Bert Barry’, Bruce Montague as ‘Abner Dillon’, Mark McKerracher as ‘Mac/Doc/Thug’ and Emma Caffrey as ‘Annie’.

The ensemble comprise Clare Rickard, Victoria Hay, Leah Harris, Jasmine Kerr, Millie O’Connell, Katy Riches, Gabrielle Lewis Dodson, Daisy Steere, Karli Vale, Sophie Camble, Christina Shand, Courtney George, Zoe Rogers, Jessica Keable, Sara Bispham, Lisa Dent, Katharine Pearson, Kirsty Fuller, Rebecca Herszenhorn, Charlene Ford, Dylan Mason, Philip Bertioli, Luke George, Ronan Burns, Eddie Myles, Ryan Gover, Sam Murphy, Freddie Clements, Zac Watts, Greg Bernstein, Kristen Gaetz, Charlotte Anne Steen, Gabrielle Cocca, Kate Ivory Jordan, Josh Andrews, Martin McCarthy.

42nd Street is presented in London by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade together with The Global Group of Companies for Gate Ventures with Executive Producer Johnny Hon. 

• 42nd Street will play the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London from Monday 20 March 2017 

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