Joesph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat

2)Joe McElderry in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (c)Mark Yeom...

Sibling rivalry has always made for a decent narrative tale: Cain and Abel, the Hound and the Mountain in the Game of Thrones saga, and of course the on-going feud between Noel and Liam Gallagher. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat goes one step further including a colourful coat, human trafficking and the slaying of a goat!

Director Bill Kenwright brings his version of the theatre classic to the Palace for a 6 day run this week as part of an extensive UK tour. The story centres on Jacob and his twelve sons of whom Joseph is his undoubtedly his favourite. Jacob bestows a multi-coloured coat to his number one son which somewhat irks his eleven brothers who sell their sibling to be a slave and inform their father that Joseph has tragically died whilst wrestling a goat. So begins Joseph’s long journey back to his father, not before he discovers a talent for dream analysis and meetings with a Las Vegas style Pharaoh.

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I must confess I hadn’t seen a production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat until tonight however on this basis I can certainly see why it’s still a fan favourite after 45 years.  It’s bright, it’s camper than an entire series of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and most of all its jolly good fun.

Star of the show Joe McElderry sparkles as Joseph, bringing warmth and charm to the role. He clearly loves being the face of this prestigious production and it’s clear to see he’s having as much fun on stage as the audience are having watching. His voice is smooth yet powerful, his performance cheeky and hugely likeable. Trina Hill more than holds her own as the Narrator and does a fine job, guiding us gently through the story. Both are supported by a hard working cast who are clearly having a ball and relishing their roles. A scene stealing turn by Ben James-Ellis as the Pharaoh is comedy gold. Special mention also must go to the children of Chester and Wirral Stagecoach who are excellent.

14)Joe McElderry in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (c)Mark Yeo...

There are toe-tapping songs from the opening ensemble number of Jacob and Sons, the earworm that is Benjamin Calypso through to the big tunes of Close Every Door, and Any Dream Will Do.  The costumes and set design are bold and vibrant, fully in keeping with theme of the show.

There were a few opening night nerves: faulty sheep, a dysfunctional stage curtain but these were minor quibbles. My main issue was with the sound, at times some of vocals weren’t quite loud of enough at the start of the song, small tweaks which I’m sure will be swiftly looked at.

Overall this fun feel-good show suitable for all the family and well worth a watch.

On at the Palace theatre until Saturday 21st October, for tickets head to www.atgtickets.com/shows/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat/palace-theatre-manchester/

 

 

 

 

 

Matilda announce tour cast

25 - Royal Shakespeare Companys Matilda The Musical. Credit Manuel Harlan

 

Today, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced the full adult casting for the first five venues of the Matilda The Musical 2018/19 UK and Ireland Tour, which includes a visit to Manchester’s Palace Theatre from Mon 18 September – Fri 24 November 2018.

Craige Els will reprise the role of Miss Trunchbull, having received rave reviews playing her in the West End for three years between 2014 and 2017. Craige will be joined by Carly Thoms as Miss Honey and Sebastien Torkia as Mr Wormwood as well as former West End cast-mate Rebecca Thornhill as Mrs Wormwood.

The rest of the adult cast are Joe Atkinson, Peter Bindloss, Oliver Bingham, Emily Bull, Matthew Caputo, Samara Casteallo, Matt Gillett, Michelle Chantelle Hopewell, Sam Lathwood, Steffan Lloyd-Evans, Charlie Martin, Anu Ogunmefun, Taylor Walker, Adam Vaughan and Dawn Williams.

The tour of Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s award-winning show will begin at Leicester Curve on 5 March 2018 before heading to Dublin, Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff. Further dates will be announced in due course.

Tickets can be booked for Manchester dates here www.atgtickets.com/shows/matilda/palace-theatre-manchester/ Tuesday 18 September – Saturday 24 November 2018

English National Ballet | Song of the Earth/La Sylphide

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By Nikki Cotter

English National Ballet delivered a spectacular double bill at Manchester’s Palace Theatre last night, the two works, both new to the company offered dance fans an opportunity to see both Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s, Song of the Earth and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide recreated by Frank Andersen and Eva Kloborg in one delightful evening of dance.

First performed in 1965, MacMillan’s choreography for Song of the Earth features three central figures, a man, a woman and a messenger, ‘the messenger of death’. The trio are supported beautifully by the corps de ballet in this powerful and emotive exploration of the journey of life and the ever present looming of death. Beautifully set to Mahler’s haunting song cycle, Das Lied von der Erde and performed live by the stunning English National Ballet Philharmonic with accompanying operatic performers Rhonda Browne and Samuel Sakker. Each of the six songs are delivered with precision and impressive sculptural beauty. Dressed in simple greys, whites and blacks the dancers make full use of the Palace’s expansive stage, as the messenger of death Jeffery Cirio tenderly seduces firstly the solid and strong man Joseph Caley then draws in the stunning woman Tamara Rojo until she is left with no other choice than to accept the relentless call of death.


Song of the Earth allows ENB to showcase their strengths in this captivating piece, the two male leads deliver a dramatic and engaging opposition with Joseph Caley’s light and optimistic demeanour challenged by Jeffery Cirio’s dark and seductive dance of death. Tamara Rojo’s transition through the piece from playful innocence to tormented resignation is superb.


Part two in this captivating double bill is August Bournonville’s classic romantic ballet La Sylphide. Frank Anderson and Eva Kloborg stay faithful to Bournonville’s 1830s choreography as this charming piece introduces us to themes of love, infatuation and ultimately tragedy. In this engaging and joyous production we meet James (Issac Hernandez) on the morning of his wedding to Effy (Anjuli Hudson) as he wakes from a dream to see a mysterious and beguiling Sylphide standing before him, this sets off a fateful sequence of events which ultimately leads to tragedy and heartbreak.


With stunning design from Mikael Melbye we are transported by the corps de ballet to a jubilant wedding celebration in the Scottish Highlands. The festivities however are continually interrupted, firstly by the Sylph (Jurgita Dronina) who mesmerises and draws groom James (Issac Hernandez) in with her captivating beauty and secondly by the cackling and calculating witch Madge, portrayed wonderfully by Jane Haworth. The choreography is fast and perfectly precise, mixing classical steps with Scottish folk dance superbly. The Character acting is exceptional as this story is clearly and engagingly told. Moving from the thrilling scenes in the Higlands to the beauty of the enchanted forest La Sylphide captivates the audience entirely. Issac Hernandez is thrilling as James, strong and powerful he leaps elegantly from fling to forest. Jurgita Dronina enchants as the Sylph, mysterious yet magical.


These two exhilarating works allow English National Ballet to really shine and will undoubtedly delight both classic ballet lovers first timers alike, their commitment to making ballet accessible continues to impress, bold, dynamic and hugely entertaining.

 

Manchester Theatre Awards 2018

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The Manchester Theatre Awards in association with Target Live will be held at The Lowry’s Quays Theatre on Friday 9 March 2018, hosted once again by Manchester favourite, comedian and actor, Justin Moorhouse.

The annual awards seen by many as the most important theatrical awards outside of London has been an important fixture of the North West cultural calendar since it first began back in 1981 and is an opportunity to honour productions seen in Greater Manchester during 2017

From big receiving venues like The Lowry and the Palace Theatre and Opera House, via acclaimed producing houses such as HOME and the Royal Exchange to exciting fringe spaces like Hope Mill Theatre, over 20 awards categories recognise the exciting array of theatre on offer to audiences in the region and beyond.

In recent years the Awards have expanded to include a group of enthusiastic young critics who also choose an annual award from the city’s youth theatre productions.

Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, herself a previous multiple MTA winner, paid tribute to the awards and the importance of the Greater Manchester theatre scene, saying: “I love the Manchester Theatre Awards. It’s always such a lovely coming together of our artistic community in the best city in the world, and is a celebration of all things theatrical here: From the emerging raw talent of the burgeoning fringe scene to the bobby dazzler spectaculars in our main houses and from the internationally acclaimed cultural highlights of MIF to a couple of people in a tiny space above a Salford pub.”

Kevin Bourke, chair of the Manchester Theatre Awards, said: “Helping to celebrate the tremendous, passionate and creative work in the Manchester theatre world is not only a huge honour and privilege for my colleagues and me, but also great fun and genuinely exciting – just like the shows we try to spotlight”.

Further information on the awards can be found at www.manchestertheatreawards.com and @MTAwards

 

Teletubbies Live!

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Time for Teletubbies! Time for Teletubbies!

The World Premiere of the first EVER Teletubbies stage show will take place in Manchester this November!

Everyone’s favourite colourful characters, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po will take to the stage at the Palace Theatre in celebration of their 20th anniversary and we have all the details you need in order to join them!

Teletubbies Live promises to be a show filled with love, laughter and Teletubbies favourites including the Tubby Phone, Noo-ooo and Sun baby. Young audiences will be invited to join in the fun as they enjoy regular much loved features of the TV show as well as brand new songs by from BAFTA award-winning composer Mani Svavarsson.

Produced by leading children’s theatre team Fiery Light, in partnership with licensor DHX Brands and specially adapted and created by Richard Lewis, who has also created and directed the super popular Peppa Pig Live shows, Teletubbies Live is the perfect way to introduce little ones to the magic of the heatre as this colourful and mesmerising show plays out before them.

Teletubbies

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 28th June and the Palace theatre will be marking the event with a FREE family friendly launch party from 10am-12 noon where you can meet Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po! There will be giveaways, face-painting, photo opportunities, cupcakes and babycinos as well as EXCLUSIVE ticket offers!

Anyone who buys tickets at the event for Teletubbies Live will be entered into a free prize draw to win some fabulous Teletubbies merchandise! So don’t delay head down to the Palace Theatre, Oxford St, Manchester at 10am on Wednesday June 28 to join in the fun and be the first in line to get your tickets! For more information head to; www.Teletubbieslive.com

 

 

Thoroughly Modern Millie

TMM - Joanne Clifton as Millie and Company (c) Darren Bell - Copy

Thoroughly Modern Millie arrived in Manchester last night under the strangest and most difficult of circumstances, less than 24hrs before; a horrific act of terrorism ripped through the foyer of the nearby MEN arena and left the city in a complete state of shock and disbelief. There were multiple fatalities and many more serious injuries, even now concert goes remain unaccounted for. Despite this horrendous and cowardly attack on our city, Manchester did not shut down, Manchester did what Manchester does, we carried on, we helped each other, we looked after each other, we were and are, defiant. After careful consideration and advice from the relevant authorities, it was decided that despite the devastation and hurt caused by the terror attack, the show must and would go on.

Taking to the stage just before curtain up cast member Graham MacDuff made a beautiful and emotive speech, he then led the audience in a minute silence which in true Manchester style once the minute was over became a rapturous applause. Theatre goers whilst devastated were determined that fear wouldn’t keep them away and thankfully the cast and company of Thoroughly Modern Millie were the perfect tonic.

TMM - Graham MacDuff as Mr Trevor Graydon, Joanne Clifton as Millie and Company (c) Darren Bell - Copy

Joanne Clifton is without doubt at the top of her game right now, after lifting the 2016 Strictly Mirrorball trophy with Ore Oduba, she is a talent in high demand. Taking on a role made famous by the legendary Julie Andrews can be no mean feat; however Clifton undoubtedly makes it her own, she fizzes with charisma and literally oozes with talent as the sassy and sparkling Millie. Whilst audiences will be most familiar with her dancing skills she also delivers the iconic songs effortlessly and with great style, her acting too is on point as her perky determination to succeed has the audience rooting for her from the off.

TMM - Katherine Glover as Miss Dorothy Brown,, Graham Macduff as Mr Trevor Graydon and Joanne Clifton as Millie (c) Da

Millie arrives from Kansas determined to bag herself a husband and a glamorous new life in the big apple, things don’t quite go according to plan as she ends up broke and bunking in a dodgy flophouse run by an even dodgier Mrs Meers (Lucas Rush) who unbeknown to Millie is a white slave trader, shipping unsuspecting orphan girls across the seas to Hong Kong. The story is delightfully daft and superbly silly allowing for some truly genius comedic moments. Lucas Rush has audiences howling through his exaggerated performance as the menacing Mrs Meers, the switch from faux Chinese maiden to deep voiced convict is hilarious as he tires of the giggly girls he houses. Special mention must also go to Graham MacDuff, his performance as Trevor Graydon is a joy, the scene where Millie and Jimmy (Sam Barrett) find him roaring drunk after he thinks he’s been stood up by Dorothy (Katherine Glover) is an absolute hoot, tears of laughter streamed down my face as this riotous romp unfolded. Clifton and Barrett as Millie and Jimmy make for the perfect coupling, they bounce off each other brilliantly and their dancing is a really beautiful highlight in this great fun production.

Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie is a delight, funny, feel-good and flippin’ fantastic! With stunning costumes, dazzling dance routines, a beautiful score and brilliant book, quite literally has it all. We must thank and congratulate the cast and company for going ahead with the show in what must have been the most difficult of circumstances, you gave your heart and souls to Manchester last night, bringing joy and much needed laughter, a total toe-tapping treat from start to finish.

On at the Palace Theatre until Saturday tickets available here http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/thoroughly-modern-millie/palace-theatre-manchester/

Spamalot tour announced!

Spamalot

Selladoor Productions and Mercury Theatre Colchester today announced a new autumn tour of the delightfully daft and hugely hilarious Spamalot!  Opening in Blackpool on 11th September before embarking on a UK tour which will take in take in two further North West stops, Chester Storyhouse 30th Oct – 04th Nov before heading to Manchester’s Palace theatre 6th -11th November.

This brilliantly bonkers show written by Python legend Eric Idle tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the Holy Grail. There are corpses who refuse to die, a Black Knight who is determined to fight to the end despite losing pretty much every limb he has and the ridiculously funny Knights who say Ni for whom only the gift of shrubbery will suffice!

Selladoor Productions present Monty Pythons Spamalot

Featuring comic tunes including Brave Sir Robin, We’re Knights of the Round Table and perennial favourite Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Spamalot is  an absolute riot of a show!

Tickets available now!

Chester https://www.storyhouse.com/event/spamalot

Manchester http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/spamalot/palace-theatre-manchester/