I saw this production many years ago, 12th July 2014 to be precise! when it was last at the Bristol Hippodrome, and was delighted to see it returning for 2019 run here in the beautiful city of Bristol.
From what I remember of Rock of Ages last time around in Bristol it wasn't a great experience, Mum and I both attended, and it was a Birthday (albeit late) present from a family member... It was a Saturday night and the show were finishing its run in Bristol and several times during the performance they had to stop it due to a technical issue... And can clearly remember a cast member changing the lines to swear at his frustration of the interruptions...
However, today was outstanding, for a Wednesday Matinee the turnout could have been better! Specially being Easter break! But those which were there certainly didn't lack any enthusiasm in joining in and laughing at the right parts!
Bristol Hippodrome always has lasting memories on me for not having the greatest acoustics, but whatever they have done to the acoustics they need to keep it up!! Normally you go to a “rock” concert and get a headache of how loud it was… this was the right level with a great mix of vocals to go with it.
Sitting in row K of the Stalls it was almost bang smack in the middle, a good choice of seat with a clear view of the stage and access to the V.I.P Lounge, which I forgot I had booked until I checked the tickets when I arrived… a free drink at theatre prices can’t be bad and welcomed! The staff were incredible and looked after you from the moment you arrived… thankfully showing us to the seats as I can easily get lost.
The narrator for the performance was Lucas Rush, who checking out his actors profile on the website completely shocks me to how different he looks! His narration of the whole story and sometimes near to the mark jokes made the story shift along nicely, its not hard to follow story and he quite nicely ties in some missing links.
Lucas vocal performance is incredible, sat in the audience watching him perform numbers, is just so effortless, and makes you incredibly jealous that he can sing so blooming amazing!
If I am completely honest with you, I wasn’t a fan with Antony Costa the vocal just didn’t do it for me… I personally think there was parts where they could have let him have slightly longer in the spotlight which may have given him a chance to shine! Don’t take it to heart Antony!
Our leading actors, Luke Walsh, and Jodie Steele were outstanding… the moment they open their mouths to sing, I was in love with them!! I don’t think I’ve seen a touring production with two leading roles that have strong vocals for a long time so it was a fresh reminder of what incredible talent we have!
If you’ve not had the chance to see Luke or Jodie in Rock of Ages, I would strongly recommend following their journeys as they are to incredible performers with such amazing stage presents; You get a warm feeling from them that they were the right choice when casting for such incredible roles in this musical and a natural pairing if you ask me.
Luke’s vocal in the second half, where he holds that note for a long time at the train station scene! Is just WOW! I was smiling!
The chap eating his sandwich during that number on stage added the hilarious comical moments during the show; I won’t say what other comical moments there are in the show, as I don’t want to spoil it, but rest assured you won’t be disappointed.
The vocal performances from the rest of the cast including former Coronation Street Star Kevin Kennedy who famously played Curly Watts was incredible! I was surprised how incredible his vocal talent is and a superb casting choice!
If you want to see Rock of Ages in Bristol, you’ve not got long its only on until 20th April and tickets are selling very fast for these remaining performances!
You’ll laugh to the point of crying! Get emotional… and leave the theatre with a big grin on your face with the incredible talent that you have on stage in front of you!
I would love to return and see this fantastic show! It’s certainly one to catch whilst its touring! A Superb night out / afternoon out at the theatre!
On Saturday 30th March 2019 we visited to see Waitress The Musical; After seeing some really fantastic reviews and some good promotional material I was really expecting this to be good… however I was wrong
The Adelphi Theatre, in London’s West End (near Charring Cross Station), was busy and bubbling with life on Saturday afternoon, however the heat of the main foyer was very uncomfortable and unbearable, to a point where I asked for a glass of water as I thought I was going to pass out! Dangerously overcrowded and hot!
We were advised that the auditorium doors would be open 30 minutes before hand, it opened at 2.05pm, which wouldn’t have been too much of a bad thing, but the heat was a serious issue, I just wanted to sit down.
I showed the tickets to the lady on the door, whom was not very helpful, was told “right hand side”. No, “right hand side, right at the front sir” so I asked the chap, who was walking around and was extremely helpful which was good the other lady was concerned about scanning tickets;
We sat front row of the theatre; a beautiful theatre if I am honest, really could do with a lick of paint though, but there was a nice smell of something in the auditorium; of something cooking, I think it was a pie! What kind of pie? You ask, no idea…
The show started to a strong female lead vocal, from whom I think was in the Broadway run, Katharine McPhee who stole the show, her strong vocal performances were amazing! At certain points with her vocals, I had Goosebumps!
However, the first half was slow, and struggled to get going, with cast looking like they needed a shot of enthusiasm; as some of the performers made it look like it was an effort to even perform some numbers, David Hunter, who played the Doc, was outstanding, very funny with his comedy timings and extremely good facial expressions; David and Katharine really stole the show this afternoon.
The two other waitresses were casted just right, in my eyes, Marisha and Laura, really played their characters well and made you believe with their characters and laughing, and occasionally cringing at some of the jokes and facial expressions which were very clear being front row.
Jack McBrayer comedy timing and his acting ability was ok, though, he did get on my nerves; and at one point I did want to punch him, but I understand that he is playing the character, and this is his character, I’m sure he’s a nice person in real life…
Half time, curtain goes down, and shortly followed with a safety curtain, that really was in a desperate need of being cleaned and replaced. Though I’m sure it would still be efficient.
However, the temperature in the auditorium was unbearable, with me thinking I want to leave and not come back! I picked up an ice cream to cool down, to be shocked with the price of an ice cream £4.00! WOW! That’s expensive! But I did have a moan about the temperature in the room; and she replied with “We’re working on getting the air conditioning on and it should cool down” when I spoke to her, she advised that lot of the audience members were complaining, around 65% of the audience apparently!
Second half stars! It’s now very cool in the auditorium, well for a short period of time…
The vocal performances in the second half, just as strong as the first half with Katharine McPhee stealing the show with her incredible vocals; which in one part, gave me Goosebumps, one thing I found with this production, “Waitress” was even though it wasn’t the best of stories, or the acting wasn’t great… I was gripped with the show, and forgot where I was; so, it had the potential to be a lot better;
The songs weren’t memorable, although some catchy tunes performed very well… I couldn’t of the top of my head name one, without looking it up. However, the solos by Katharine were at some points harrowing as you really felt for her;
Highlight of the show…
The young girl at the end of the performance… she was adorable, really enjoying her moment to shine, with a lovely smile, that warmed the hearts of the room, including mine… being front row and stood at the end clapping away, I caught the little girl’s eye, and she smiled and waved at me, which I thought was adorable; seeing her walk of stage waving and proud!
Brought the end of the show to a happy ending…
1st half, needs rewriting to maintain a stronger storyline,
2nd half, strong storyline with some incredible moments, and songs…
Vocally incredible from the cast, though acting could be a tad better…
Would I go back and see it again? – No… once is enough for this musical I’m afraid… would I return to the theatre if it had something else on after “Waitress” … Maybe… perhaps in a cold winter, not in the sunshine as the theatre can’t cope with this!
To Contact in regards to this piece, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Monday night saw The Tom Talks Show presenter head off to London to see a new musical that is currently in workshop mode; being previewed and trailed at the London's "The Other Palace"
After checking into the hotel, (that was easier said than done), Tom headed off to find the venue for "The Other Palace", leading man and director Simon Gordon who is better know for his role as Strat in Bat Out Of Hell The Musical fronted the musical at the theatre on Monday night...
Now, I've read other reviews; and I think its unfair to say that everyone was on top of each other, as the venue itself was small and I liked having them all on stage together, it made it feel that little bit special; it gave a warm positive vibe that everyone who's been working on the musical is watching the master piece unfold on stage in an incredible way. - its called working with what you've got!
One thing that I felt let it down was the sound guys at The Other Palace Theatre, now I don't know if it was intentional or part of the way it was scripted, but every time that a member of the play sung, the microphones were turned on... occasionally they forgot too... now, if i was them, i'd of left the microphones on at all times, as some dialogue, for me was missed, specially some of the girls that were performing, as some of them were quite quiet.
Now overall the show is very well written and directed fantastically by Simon Gordon, and the script is so amazingly written by Tony Gibbs, this wonderful show has so much potential and look forward to seeing it develop...
One person I must mention that I was really impressed with was a chap called Tom Berkeley he played a character called "Bernie" and his character you sort of felt sorry for as he wasn't great with relationships, and that as much as he was trying to get at this young girls heart, it just wasn't working... the words were all coming out backwards, however (and without giving too much away), something delightful happens at the end and you feel so happy for him! Tom's voice suites the songs that he sings, and the character that he plays. His storyline was very easy to follow and understand.
The whole team of Twist and Turn The Musical; Should be extremely proud of themselves for a fantastic preview night; yes they were nervous, but that didn't show! - A Massive well done all round.
A Big thanks to Tony, Simon and co, for allowing us to play the music on the airwaves and give posters away to lucky fans!
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!