On Friday 20th July, I went to see RENT at Frogmore paper mill in Apsley, which is put on by http://www.vivodarte.co.uk/index.htm.
As I've never seen RENT in any form, from the Broadway Stage Show, to the DVD Film, I wasn't sure what to expect; but had been warned that it was rather emotional and that I would cry; They were right!
The Story was fantastic; and told through gripping drama; what I loved about this production; it wasn't your sit in a theatre for 2 hours, and watch the drama unfold on stage; but being part of the drama unfolding around you; with the actors acting out scenes and performing songs around you; and being lead throughout the paper mill between different scenes, for example being part of a funeral for one of the characters who passes away during the show; which is hard hitting and very emotional.
The casting for this was spot on; and outstanding; A Big stand out for me was Aran MacRae who landed himself the lead role; We know Aran from Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, where he played a jealous teenager; in this production of RENT he is given his moment to shine with an outstanding vocal performance.
During this performance I forgot I was near Hemel Hempstead, and thought you were really there in the setting New York City; this is how amazing the performance really is!
Oh and Its very emotional; if you cry at sad things, then you'll cry your heart out at this; I had a cast member at one point stood next to me towards the end of the first half; and her voice was stunning.
This show has been extended and if you are in the area; or can get to there, I would strongly recommend seeing it; as its incredible and I was so grateful to see Aran play the lead.
After the show; being all emotional, we were stood outside in the bar area; where I was trying to compose myself; that didn't help with the choice of music that was played afterwards... As it added to my tears; however one of the cast members who we were chatting too, could see that I was emotional and asked what we thought of it, and I simply replied with "Loved It, Emotional wreak" over here right now; and got a massive hug of this lovely female cast member who, I later after putting an appeal out on twitter to thank this person, found out it was a french lady called Eva Solange Bortalis (click to see her twitter).
The whole cast were outstanding; and loved every minute of it; thank you to the cast for a lovely evening out; and thank you to my friends who came along to see it too!
Photo Credits, as show underneath each picture.
Thursday Night saw the official launch of a new West End Musical at the Arts Theatre the heart of London's West End,
"Knights Of The Rose" launched on 5th July 2018, with a red carpet and press event.
The cast include "Ruben Van Keer" who plays John (Previous roles include Cover Strat in Bat Out Of Hell The Musical). Andy Moss, (Hollyoaks) and Chris Cowley (Fiyero in Wicked).
Overall the show's first half was stronger performance wise than the second half. Don't let the bad reviews put you off though, as I enjoyed it and thought it was a wonderful night out at the theatre as the strong line up of actors makes up for a struggling storyline.
The first half has many songs, including Bonnie Tyler's "I need a Hero", and Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory", its a mix of songs from well known artists, hilarious comedy timing and beautifully narrated by Ruben Van Keer, who plays John, he delivered the story in a way that keeps you going along with the story, even if in parts you are wondering "what's going to happen next". Ruben has a very strong voice which if you've seen him in the 2017 run of Bat Out Of Hell, will leave you wondering why he didn't get a bigger singing role in this production... the songs that he does get to sing (including the occasional) rock song stands out big time with his impressive vocals.
A Stand out performance for me, was Chris Cowley, who plays "Sir Palamon", who is a bad guy, (pictured left), who randomly in the second half pulls out a rather modern electric guitar for a story which is set many years before such things were invited;
His Character, who sets up another character to die in the show with his evil revenge plan to get his true love; doesn't necessary go to plan, and for me, wanting to get up on stage and change the story... (If I say what I'll spoil it).
Chris has a very strong vocal performance in the show and is a stand out.
If you are a fan of Andy Moss, (who has another strong vocal) and love watching him on stage... He meets his fate rather early on...
Whilst Knights Of The Rose Officially opened on London's West End on Thursday, I feel that there is some work still to be done in the second half; there's parts where it doesn't work, and other scenes that need cutting down; and I think (even being the coolest venue I've been in), The Arts Theatre isn't the right size stage for this production; a bigger venue would suit it better;
Overall, its a show that's developing, and I enjoyed it and thought that the cast are working their backsides off to make sure this delivers on stage...
It's currently playing at the "Arts Theatre" but would double check, as Friday's show was abandoned due to cast "sickness", and has been cancelled the rest of the weekend; details can be found via http://knightsoftherose.co.uk/
Playing Arts Theatre until Sunday 26th August 2018.
The night started with fellow Bat fans meeting out side the home of Bat Out Of Hell The Musical; The Dominion at Tottenham Court Road in London.
Kyra (The administrator for @RobFowlerFans) and I then headed over to the theater to join in on a bit of pre Bat celebrations; with a sing song of classic Jim/Meat Loaf hits;
This video is the follow Bat Fan's who joined in the celebrations of the opening preview night and it was a special atmosphere amongst bat fans; Kyra and I are in the video somewhere! (10 points if you spot us!).
As we took our seats inside the theater, everyone was pumped ready for the start! - As the cast members took to stage the audience went crazy; then Andrew took to the stage and the audience stood up and cheered the leading man a warm welcome back to London! It was official Bat was back! - The good news for the cast it was a full house! - The Theatre completely sold out and there was no more room! The Bat Fans had turned out in their thousands!
Boom! Andrew started the show with a sensation opening (some changed content). During the performance, there was some very minor technical glitches, one including the house lights going up and down; I thought it was part of the performance with like a heartbeat...
Zahara played by the incredibly talented Danielle Steers took to the stage to sing "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad". A Personal favorite of mine in the first half, if I have to be honest with you as she delivers a performance that will have you saying "Oh.. My...God... That was awesome! Welcome home Bat".
It wasn't just a few new cast members making their debut on Monday night; an original returnee, who is Patrick's Sullivan's character Blake's understudy made his debut; Jonathan Cordin, took on the role as Blake, in fact it was his 270th Show, but 1st as playing Blake and he was awesome! Jonathan's performance was outstanding, on several times during the show he delivered justice; and has a strong voice; this is particularly clear when he performs "Objects In The Rear View Mirrors".
At the end of the first half; The whole auditorium was standing up and cheering after Andrew and the rest of the cast delivered an outstanding end to a first half of a West End Performance.
Second half, and this time it saw a very few minor changes but allowing Sharon Sexton's Character to really develop;
Whilst another new cast member had his moment to shine; this time in the second half was the turn of Alex Thomas-Smith who took over the role as Tink in this musical -
As you may remember TInk is one of my favourite characters in the show; A lot of people were overheard before the return of the musical saying he's got very big boots to fill and he did Tink's role justice; it was so lovely to see how he had made TInk his own character and how well developed Tink's character was; I felt that he had a bit more to say this time than in the London 2017 run. "Not Allowed To Love" is one of Leah's (a regular listener) and mine favorite song; and we were very impressed; I thought personally Alex's voice was very strong. So well done!
What Part Of My Body Hurt's The Most - One of the most powerful songs of the second half! Rob Fowler (Falco) and Sharon Sexton (Sloane) they were outstanding; Sharon's performance and Rob impressed me so much! - Some of you know, its the song I belt my heart out in the radio station studio's most weeks! (Call it warm up!)
Oh - and the bit that always makes me cry, Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through, On Monday night; made me tear up; you could tell the song was very heartfelt and the emotion was spot on. (Nasty Falco, for hurting Strat's Sole mate)
What an ending! - Minus the Bat's!
Oh OK, being the first night everyone was expecting a few hiccups, even the Bat's went on strike at the end of the night, but don't let that put you off the ending; As the cast took to the stage the audience went wild for the cast who poured their heart and soles into this show and did everyone very proud!
Being a review of the night; I didn't want to spoil it for those wanting to see; however wanted to share the outstanding moments that I thought were worth mentioning! - Hope those who attended and read this agree! - Now, time for stage door...
On arrival to the stage door; there was a lovely large queue waiting for the stars of the show; Firstly (I believe) Danielle Steers came out to a big applause, sadly due to the sheer volume of people Ms Steers was in undated with requests! - Perhaps next time!