Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Review: Greenday’s American Idiot



American Idiot is on its 10th Anniversary Tour and is in town at Milton Keynes Theatre this week until Saturday. We went along to last night’s performance for the opening night of this Tony and Grammy award winning show.

The story follows three boyhood friends on their search for meaning in a post 9/11 world. They live in ‘suburbia’, bored and frustrated with life and so they head out on their own to try and make something of themselves with quite tragic consequences. The show is based around Greenday’s Grammy Award winning album American Idiot and is in the style of a punk-rock opera with minimal dialogue. Songs include American Idiot, Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Wake Me Up When September Ends.

The show is quite niche – perhaps not something your average musical fan would enjoy so I went in with an open mind, as a huge fan of Greenday (I saw the band perform this album live at The MK Bowl back in 2005). This isn’t your typical All-American-Dream, glitz and glam musical, in fact it is the complete opposite with a fair amount of hopelessness, dark and dreary settings, anarchy, sex, drugs and rock and roll. I couldn’t help but feel the show did lack a bit of ‘soul’. To see punk rock bands live (or any live music for that matter), is unlike any other experience, the sheer energy and emotional atmosphere on stage and in the crowd cannot be matched in a theatre production and acting rebellious certainly isn’t the same as actually being rebellious. However, that is where we must remember this is not meant to be a Greenday gig. This musical is its own entity, theatre productions have a whole host of their own excitements and this show has plenty of them, fans of Greenday can still thoroughly enjoy the music, lyrics and epic guitar riffs. Likewise, musical fans can enjoy something completely different and experience a taste of Greenday’s catchy songs. The cast were brilliant and all had a great stage presence for their own characters, there’s no lack of talent in this cast, great singers and performers and they all looked awesome in their costumes.

The stage set was great and it really transported you to the grubby homes and lifestyles of the characters. Having the band situated on the upper level of the set as a permanent feature throughout the show was really effective – especially as a punk-rock opera where musicians are just as important to the show as the cast. The show and music are as relevant today as they were 15 years ago when the album was first released.


The show contains lots of swearing, drug use and sexual references, so certainly not one for kids! But I would highly recommend seeing this one. Tickets available on www.atgtickets.com and the show runs until Saturday 27th April.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat



Having seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at least three times already I feel as though I know the script! Obviously, I think it is a lovely feel good show that has all the perfect elements of an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. I like especially the fact that it is nothing but singing and dancing; there is no `talking` as such. The biblical story of Joseph, loosely interpreted of course, is narrated by the wonderful Trina Hill who holds the whole show together. Unlike some musicals there is actually a story to support the songs albeit a simple one! This is an ideal show to take all the family to.

Having seen previous incumbents playing Joseph, Jaymi Hensley is as good as it gets. He had a very strong voice almost operatic in its quality. The eleven brothers of Joseph were brilliant, bringing so much energy to their roles. They were both entertaining and humorous. There were also so many local children in the Joseph choir that I could hear several parents chatting about them during the interval. The children were an absolute delight and really enhanced the whole show.

The stage set up and lighting were of the usual high standard we expect from a musical at MK Theatre. We mustn't forget the Joseph Orchestra who were excellent. It`s good that live music is still being supported in our theatres. This is a show not to be missed. It`s going to be a sellout. Joseph is on untill Saturday 13th April.



Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Review: Glengarry Glen Ross at MK Theatre


Set in Chicago, America circa 1970s in a dog eat dog world of selling real estate. The story focuses on the salesmen who are driven to desperate measures to survive and be top of the sales leader board. It certainly  took a while to get in tune with the American accents.
The story has parallels with 'Death of a Salesman' but with a more earthly language that I found quite wearing. Does anyone really swear that much! It was also hard to stomach the casual racism of those days and the occasional disturbing line that was offensive.
Although it had comedy actors I wouldn't say this was a comedy although there were a few funny lines. Mark Benton played the main character Shelley and was at his very best. One couldn't fault the competence of the actors.
As a story that needs to be told, I am not sure. The story plays homage to Death of a Salesman but it's a hard call to surpass that classic play.

Glengarry Glen Ross is on at MK Theatre until Saturday 6th April
Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Friday, 29 March 2019

Review: WNO’s The Magic Flute at MK Theatre


Review: WNO’s The Magic Flute

Milton Keynes Theatre

Thursday 28th March 2019



This week, the Welsh National Opera has arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre and we went along to see last night’s fantastical production of Mozart’s timeless classic, The Magic Flute. This Opera is a Singspiel (a German-language music-drama) however is sung and spoken in English which was a nice change to see an opera performed in English, though the subtitles certainly help you to understand the story! The mysterious Queen of the Night coaxes the Prince Tamino to rescue her beautiful daughter Pamina from the grip of the evil (or is he?) enchanter, Sarastro in exchange for her hand in marriage. With only a magic flute, a set of magic bells and a funny bird-catching sidekick for protection, he sets off on the long, perilous journey and they must overcome a series of challenges to complete their quest and find true love.

The Magic Flute first premiered in 1791 at Schikaneder's theatre Freihaus-Theatre auf der Wieden in Vienna and still enchants audiences around the world to this day. This irresistible production transports you to a dream world, combined with a witty story and Mozart’s sublime music and includes many colourful characters including anthropomorphic creatures and a fish bicycle! The very surreal stage set and costumes are inspired by Magritte (early twentieth century surrealist artist known for challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality) so don’t be too surprised by floating heads and a sense of endless nothingness behind the doors!

The orchestra were brilliant as were all the cast on stage and in particular, The Queen of the Night’s aria, performed by Samantha Hay was incredible. The audience’ applause was wild after that one! Amongst the sophisticated seriousness and playfulness of the opera, this show also includes a touch a good-old-British panto-esque humour, so there really is something for everyone in The Magic Flute. Of course, expect pitiful damsels in distress and frustratingly melodramatic decisions to the slightest mishap, but opera wouldn’t be opera without it.

An unforgettable opera for all ages, you can still catch The Welsh National Opera in tomorrow night’s performance of Robert Devereux and Sunday afternoons performance of The Magic Flute. For tickets visit www.atgtickets.com or call 0844 871 7652

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Review: The Bodyguard, The Musical



This month, The Bodyguard is running at Milton Keynes Theatre starring the wonderful Alexandra Burke in the lead role as Rachel Marron. I went in with an open and unsure mind as (if you can believe it!) I have never seen the super famous movie of the same name which stars Whitney Houston and where some of the most well-known songs in the world shot to fame including ‘I will always love you’, ‘I’m every woman’ and ‘I wanna dance with somebody’.

The show was brilliant. From the dazzling opening number with great lighting and giant flames (mum and I looked at each other and said ‘oo, that was warm!’), the thrills and tensions of Rachel’s stalker getting ever-closer to her to the big finale and perfect rendition of ‘I will always love you’. Alexandra Burke’s vocals and stage presence are completely captivating, she sure can sing and the audience was wild for her. She made the role her own, with a modern and younger take on Whitney’s original Rachel. Supporting her, with another great voice and vocal range is Micha Richardson who plays Nicki Marron, Rachel’s sister. And of course, the Bodyguard himself, Benoit Marechal as Frank Farmer. His attempt at karaoke was really funny and although he’s playing a stern and strict character he is equally loveable.

The story and music fit nicely together and the tension gradually builds throughout the two acts, with lots of power ballads in between. A big well done to all the cast, the ensemble, the choreographers, musicians, lighting technicians and everyone else that make this such a memorable show. I would definitely see it again.



The show runs until 23rd March 2019. Grab tickets while you still can at www.atgtickets.com

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Review: The Band at Milton Keynes Theatre this week!



I think the whole audience resonated with the story of the Band. 25 years ago most of us, me included were dragged along to a Take That concert in some enormous arena where we mostly watched the show on a TV screen. To be honest I thoroughly enjoyed it but my ears were ringing for days after; thankfully with health and safety being what it is there’s no danger of that at MK Theatre!

The story of The Band then catches up with the loyal group of girl followers 25 years later when they are settled into their more mundane lives, have put a bit of weight on and are settled into domesticity. They arrange to meet up to see the band reform in Prague.

The story is interwoven with the songs of Take That with a newer and younger group of lads who have their own style and charm. This is not a tribute band at all. The audience absolutely loved the show and were singing along, up on their feet and waving their phone torches to the various ballads. It was just like the old days! For a moment we all felt a lot younger!

The show will appeal to both an older audience who remember back in the day and those younger who have been introduced to the music of Take That since their resurrection. Believe me the older tunes are the best!
It was a packed house so if you want to see this show then hurry for tickets. They won’t last long.
On at MK Theatre until Saturday 9th March.
Tickets from www.atgtickets.com/Miltonkeynes or telephone 0844 871 7652

(booking fee applies)