Friday, 8 June 2018

Review: Matilda The Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre



I’m sure there are few people who don’t know the story of Matilda. A gifted child whose parents despise her, is sent away to a school with a scrupulous head teacher that demands children should follow strict rules and that learning should should be approached by not necessarily having their heads in books but rather with punishing ‘phys-ed’. That is until Matilda arrives for her first day of class.

This stage show really sticks to the original story, written by Roald Dahl and first published in 1988 and then remade for Hollywood in 1996. It’s a story that despite being 30 years old can still be relatable to today, with good overcoming evil.

The show itself was brilliant from start to finish. Sometimes when stories are remade into musicals, I feel that they put songs in for the sake of it, however Matilda didn’t suffer this fate and each song fitted and portrayed the mood of the scene perfectly.

The stage and lighting were also fantastic. Although at first I feel the scenery and stage edging was a bit busy and a bit of a distraction from what was going on, the story soon gripped me and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The changes in lighting and music really emphasised each scene and gave an immersive experience that dragged the viewer into the story.

The acting, most of which was done by children, was amazing. But my best character from the performance was Miss Trunchbull, the mean head teacher, played by Craige Els. Despite being a man playing a woman, he was no pantomime dame and delivered a great performance that was both scary and hilarious.


Overall, the whole show was great and I would definitely go and see it again and I recommend you do the same. It’s running at Milton Keynes Theatre until the 30th June. Tickets are available from www.atgtickets.com/shows/matilda/milton-keynes-theatre. Be quick though as this is going to be a popular one.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Review: Legally Blonde



Blondes, fashion, nails, Chihuahuas, law school, pink, pink and more pink! Legally Blonde is in town at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and it sure is fabulous. For fans of the 2001 hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon, you will not be disappointed and for those of you that haven’t heard of Elle Woods, well get ready to meet the wittiest, sassiest cliché-but-you-can’t-not-love-her blonde, pet Chihuahua Bruiser and her flock of fashionista sorority sisters.

‘The musical delivers a universal proverb of not judging a book by its cover, because appearances can be deceptive’. Ready to marry her true love, Warner Huntington The Third, Elle finds herself dumped rather than proposed to because she’s deemed to be not serious enough and sets out to win him back. She successfully applies to Harvard Law School and enrols to fight for a spot on Professor Callahan’s next internship along with a ragtag crew of other students – including Warner’s new uptight girlfriend, Vivienne.

Learning as she goes, and gradually becoming one of Harvard’s best law students whilst staying true to her love of all things girly, Elle takes on the case of defending Fitness Guru, Brooke Wyndham accused of killing her husband but has a guilty secret of her own. Elle is surrounded by support from her sisters back home, fellow law students including new love interest Emmett and her new-found best friend Paulette from the hair salon. There is also much cuteness from canines Bruiser and Rufus!

The show was brilliant from start to finish, with an ever-changing, impressive and brightly coloured stage. Excellent singing and choreography and filled with laugh-out-loud humour. The audience particularly loved the UPS guy’s entrance! Very funny.

Although the full casting was perfect and an excellent performance from them all, I must give particular mention to Rita Simons as Elle’s friend Paulette. She stole the show in my opinion – especially with the Irish solo! Excellent American accent and an awesome voice that took over the whole theatre.


To bend and snap up some tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Review: The Case of the Frightened Lady



A classic thriller is in town this week at Milton Keynes Theatre. Adapted from Edgar Wallace’s original classic mystery, brought to us by The Classic Thriller Theatre Company and produced by Bill Kenwright, you’re in for a sophisticated night of murder, chills and great acting.

When Inspector Tanner is called in to investigate a murder at Mark’s Priory, the grand ancestral home of the Lebanon family, he quickly discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. As Tanner moves closer to the heart of the mystery he uncovers a shocking and closely guarded secret. You’ll meet various members of the Lebanon family as well as their servants and butlers and will discover snippets of their secrets throughout the play as the story unfolds.

It was a fantastic performance from all the cast and I especially loved to see Oliver Phelps as Detective Sergeant Totti (aka George Weasley, a Harry Potter obsessive through and through!). I believe this was his theatre debut and although a shame he didn’t have a bigger part with more dialogue, it was a great performance.

The stage was a simple but perfect ‘courtyard’, a central hall within Mark’s Priory between the main house and the servant’s quarters where all the action takes place. The walls are adorned with many coats of arms showing the history of the family and an old dresser to highlight the family’s secrets. A few tricks of lighting tell you another day has passed. There were also some fantastic costumes of the 1930’s era which is when the play is set (1932).

With a couple of spine-tingling screams and claps of thunder thrown in, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of classic whodunit.


For tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com