Little Mermaid

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Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Lowry Theatre takes to the sea for its latest show at the Quays Theatre the Little Mermaid. Running until Saturday 14th April this brand new version, by the award-winning Metta Theatre, tells Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale with awe-inspiring acrobatics and hauntingly beautiful music. Through spectacular circus and spellbinding original folk songs, this much loved fable is reimagined for the whole family and Opening Night sent along our mini-reviewer Daisy Eagleton, aged 7 (and a half) to give it her verdict.

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Daisy:

The Little Mermaid comes to The Lowry theatre and it is inspired by the circus!

There’s not one but two actresses playing the Little Mermaid on different nights because the role is really physical and hard work. Rosie Rowlands and Tilly Lee-Kronick share the role.

The set is fabulous and has an anchor at the front of the stage to represent the sea. There’s colourful costumes and amazing sound effect with gulping seagulls and everything!

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I loved the acrobatics and the way the actors on stage also played their own musical instruments. The hoop work was spectacular and the cast didn’t run out of energy or get sweaty despite all of the incredible work they were doing.

There were so many different talents on display from trapeze, hoop spinning, dance, singing…the list goes on and on.

My favourite bit was the part when the Prince (Matt Knight) jumped from his balcony to go after the Little Mermaid and was caught by the actors below playing her sisters. The balcony was really high so there was a lot of trust in them to catch up. It was very exciting and made me gasp.

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Daisy chats with Matt King who plays the Prince in Little Mermaid

 

I would totally recommend this production. It was really enjoyable and great entertainment for all the family.

On at The Lowry until Saturday 14th April, tickets available here.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical

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Over 50 years in the planning and boy is it worth the wait, Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical explodes into life from the minute you enter the theatre, the looming set is immense, the transformation of Manchester’s Opera House to accommodate this ground breaking world premiere is astonishing. The set designed by Jon Bausor uses every inch of height available; it is vast, intriguing and innovative. If you weren’t sure before you certainly are now, Bat Out Of Hell is without doubt the biggest theatre event of the year.

Set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city we meet Strat (Andrew Polec) the forever young leader of The Lost, a tribe of wasted youth who will never grow old. Classed as mutants by Falco (Rob Fowler) the oppressive ruler of Obsidian, The Lost live for love, freedom and of course rock ‘n’ roll. Falco’s daughter Raven (Christina Bennington) gets a taste for life on the dark side when she meets Strat on the eve of her eighteenth birthday and from that moment on things will never be the same again.

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Telling Strat when he sneaks into her bedroom at Falco Towers, “If you don’t go ‘over the top,’ then how are you going to see what’s on the other side?” Raven and Strat begin their adventure and take the audience on the ride of their lives. The talent on stage is staggering, Andrew Polec embodies absolutely everything you would want from a rebellious, tribe leading, rock God, he is wild, wired, dangerous and utterly mesmerising. His performance is quite simply incredible, strutting and swaggering he draws you in and completely seduces you, the chemistry between him and Christina Bennington (Raven) is pure magic, their relationship a total meetings of minds. They perfectly illustrate the angst and heartache of forbidden love, Bennington’s vocals are heavenly, at first seemingly delicate and pure she soon morphs into the ultimate rock chick, the power in her voice is astonishing, we soon realise the wide-eyed innocent daughter of Falco and Sloane (Sharon Sexton) has been waiting to be corrupted as she discovers a whole new kind of freedom with Strat.

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Of course Strat and Raven’s relationship was never going to be accepted by Falco, who sets about destroying what they have found, trying to end things before they have even had chance to begin. Rob Folwer as Falco is exceptional, brooding and intimidating; he has great stage presence and a superb rock voice. Falco’s seemingly long suffering wife Sloane (Sharon Sexton) delivers a fine performance, constant cocktail in hand she is so bored with this life yet so tied to it she is lost in a seriously wretched place. Their scenes together offer some real stand out moments, Paradise By The Dashboard Light is a riot, raunchy, wild and superbly staged, they deliver the narrative exquisitely. Both give a deeply heartfelt performance of new song What Part of My Body Hurts the Most, emotional and moving the quality of the writing is so good even for a new song it feels strangely familiar.

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Danielle Steers and Dom Hartly- Harris as Zahara and Jagwire give knockout performances, powerful and emotionally charged their interpretation of Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad is insanely good, they really feel the music and deliver Steinman’s lyrics with real heart and grit. Their second act performance of Real Dead Ringer For Love is bursting with attitude and sass, backed up by a magnificent ensemble who give absolutely everything to this production.

This is a piece that proudly showcases the talent on stage; Director Jay Scheib really has created something magical here. Cutting edge and dynamic choreography from Emma Portner compliments Steinman’s lyrics and Scheib’s direction perfectly and adds even more attitude to already explosive performances. Special mention also must go to Giovanni Spano (Ledoux) and Andrew Patrick-Walker (covering as Blake) who together with Dom Hartley-Harris deliver a strikingly heartfelt rendition of Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are.

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The staging of this production is truly something spectacular, designed by Jon Bausor, it’s a struggle to find words to do it justice, the set continually evolves to deliver more and more intricate layers and surprises you just didn’t see coming, add to this the innovative use of multiple screens and live filming projected over almost every inch of the set, it’s quite literally a multimedia masterpiece, it feels as if the set is alive, I’ve never experience staging like it, it’s such a visual feast. The beauty of this multi-layered, multi-levelled set is that it allows every person sat in any seat within the theatre to feel part of the production, in effect breaking down that third wall, you are scooped up into the action and fully immersed in the experience. Costumes from Meentje Nielsen combined with video design from Finn Ross and lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe further confirm the sheer quality of this production.

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Bat Out Of Hell is astonishingly good theatre, immersive, incredible and utterly mind-blowing, there is no doubt in my mind that Manchester has witnessed history in the making tonight. This is a journey that is only just beginning, the success of this show is unlimited, a stunning production with the most sublime of casts, a monster of a hit, which oozes world wide appeal. Spellbindingly epic, an absolute must-see!

Verdict: Undoubtedly 5 star theatre, bold, dynamic and sexy as hell! *****

Tickets available here; http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/bat-out-of-hell/opera-house-manchester/

 

Grease

Grease is the word Photo by Paul Coltas

Almost 50 years since it was first imagined by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, Grease The Musical still has huge audience appeal, for us oldies who share happy memories of dancing round their bedrooms pretending to be Rizzo mid ‘Sandra Dee’ to a new younger audience who simply can’t resist a bit of Greased Lightnin’.

The original 1994 London production has been revived by producers Paul Nicholas and David Ian ahead of a 10 month long UK and Ireland tour and boasts some big names on the bill, Tom Parker of The Wanted, Danielle Hope, Winner of BBC’s Over The Rainbow, veteran musical theatre star Darren Day and actress Louisa Lytton of Eastenders fame. Add to this direction from David Gilmore and choreography from Arlene Phillips and you have all the ingredients for an audience hit.

Danny & Sandy Photo by Paul Coltas

There were some nerves on show for Tom Parker who makes his musical theatre debut as Danny Zuko, next to cool as a cucumber Danielle Hope who made for an absolutely brilliant Sandy, Parker grew with confidence during the performance and is backed up by an impressive bunch of T-Birds with Michael Cortez giving a charismatic performance as Sonny, Tom Senior a suitably saucy Kenickie and Ryan Heenan and Oliver Jacobson delivering some great comedic moments as Doody and Roger. Of course where we find T-Birds we also find Pink Ladies, Louisa Lytton makes for a great Rizzo, full of attitude and sass her acting ability seriously impresses, while her voice isn’t as strong as the rest of her girl gang her feisty performance and slick dancing embody absolutely the rebellious Rizzo we all know and love so well. Pink Ladies Rhiannon Chesterman (Frenchy), Rosanna Harris (Jan) and Lauren Atkins (Marty) are all exceptional; they each deliver fine performances and suit their roles perfectly.

Grease Vince Photo by Paul Coltas

When the ensemble cast are on stage is when this production is at its absolute best, from bursting onto the stage full of confidence and attitude for Grease Is the Word right through to the classic You’re The One That I Want, Arlene Phillips’ choreography is slick and delivered with precision, the stage literally lights up with each of these brilliantly staged scenes. The school dance scene is particularly impressive with a great performance from Natasha Mould as the infamous Cha Cha. We also see Darren Day as both Teen Angel/Vince, Day’s vocals are strong and he has huge audience appeal however there’s a couple of odd moments where he breaks into a Jim Carey ‘The Mask’ impression then later Austin Powers, something I’d hope is ditched as the show develops it just didn’t fit with the production whatsoever.

Grease T Birds Photo by Paul Coltas

This is a production that delivers some brilliant performances, as the cast grow in confidence over the next ten months it will no doubt develop into a finely greased machine (sorry I couldn’t resist) with ensemble pieces really packing a punch, and sublime vocals from the seriously talented Danielle Hope, Grease is a fabulous fun night out that will leave you on a high, reminiscing about your very own days as a teen angel.

On at The Palace Theatre until Saturday 25th March tickets available via the link below;

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/grease-2017/palace-theatre-manchester/