Fresh from a West End run several months ago, Wonderville has hunkered down to do its own residency at its own purpose-built venue at the former Planet Hollywood café in London’s Haymarket, a few minutes from Piccadilly Circus. Here for an open-ended run, there is a mix of magic and variety acts, playing on rotation.
This adaptation of the much-loved 1952 Gene Kelly film has had a very productive life as a stage musical, what with its catchy songs and tap dancing routines. This particular touring production by Jonathan Church previously ran in the West End and Sadler’s Wells so as expected, the dance has received a lot of attention. The lovely New Wimbledon Theatre where it’s on for this leg of the tour is one of the bigger theatres that lie outside of the West End on the edges of London.
Anne of Green Gables is one of those stories that will never lose its appeal. She is a charming, feisty orphan who gets into continuous scrapes, but is ultimately trying to do her best.
It’s far from a complex story, but there is a lot going on. Yet, telling the story through the medium of dance seems no simple feat. The London Children’s Ballet have accomplished this phenomenally. Director Ruth Brill ensures all children have a significant role to play, with different ages and abilities involved in multiple scenes.
Panto, as most British traditions, is a deeply weird thing but entertains many families over the Christmas period. Bad jokes, overblown costumes, and instinctive call and response catchphrases are all a constant and comforting part of the tradition. In this instance, the talented ‘Potted’ production franchise are doing their annual Christmas tradition of a performance of all seven panto staples in 70 minutes.
Audience members don’t always appreciate the time and effort that goes into making a West End or Broadway performance. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work. The months spent learning lines, choreography and music, lengthy rehearsals, techs and previews are only a small part of it.
This was certainly a rare treat in 2021: a packed-out West End show! Last year, the London Palladium was one of the venues to hold a pilot show when theatre was trying to work out the logistics of how to safely get audiences back. A year later, the stunning building hosts an extremely entertaining dance show in the West End after extensive touring in pre-Covid times.
It initially seems like a harmless premise – after a tween boy in early 90s New Jersey is embarrassed in front of the girl he has a crush on, he makes a wish that he was bigger on a fortune telling game at the carnival passing through town. On waking up the next morning, he discovers he’s still 12 years old, but in the body of a grown man. Though his mum chases him out of the house, his best friend Billy offers to help him track down the machine and reverse the spell.
“Fame!” – we all know the infamous song. The lyrics, “I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly, HIGH” are not well known just because of the original 1980 film, but because of the subsequent television series, film remake and musicals that followed. The title song is a good one by all accounts, however this revival of the 1988 musical serves up little else that’s at its level.
Nicholas is in pain. It is constant, all-consuming and prevents him from doing much of anything, and his parents don’t know how to help him. First he lives with his mum; then his dad and his wife and their newborn son, but the hurt is persistent, overwhelming and recognisable to those who have struggled with depression or poor mental health. This intelligent, young man’s agony is the pervasive focus of this well-made, family drama that, though formulaic and unsympathetic, captures the difficulties that ensue when mental illness has moved in.
West End Eurovision 2019 didn’t spare a speck of glitter or pulse of pink light for their ninth year at the Adelphi Theatre. Hosted by the sharp-witted Richard Guantlett, the evening brought together casts from some of the most popular West End shows, and battled it out in a Eurovision extravaganza.