Wednesday, 28 September 2016

REVIEW: Sister Act at MK Theatre

Sister Act at Milton Keynes Theatre


Starring X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, this Broadway and West End musicial has finally come to Milton Keynes. Alexandra has come a long way from her X-Factor days, and gave a brilliant performance throughout. Set in the late 70s, the show was full of disco and motown songs which Alexandra performed effortlessly, her rich voice filling the auditorium with soul and funk.

Directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, this is musical adaptation of the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. It followed the original story, however none of the original songs from the film featured in the stage version. This didn’t detract from the performances though.

The set was well executed. The convent was a gothic style church interior with tall arches that doubled as a tacky nightclub with a clever tweak of the lighting. The big finale (without giving too much away) was also very impressive, which goes to show that a lot of thought has been put into the stage design.

The rest of the cast also performed well. A particular highlight was the characters playing the musical instruments on stage as part of their character. This added a whole new dimension to the show and made the music of the show really come alive. A slight hiccup when one of the characters’ microphones failed, but he soldiered on through. We were close enough to hear him without the microphone, however this could have caused problems for the people at the back.

My only negative was when the sisters were eating Christmas dinner. I understand that at this point in the show, they hadn’t had any musical advice from Deloris Van Cartier (Burke), however their screachy singing was a bit hard to understand.

Sister Act runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 1st October.
Box office: 0844 871 7652

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

REVIEW: Breakfast at Tiffany's at MK Theatre

Breakfast at Tiffany's at Milton Keynes Theatre

Firstly a hands up moment, we have not seen the iconic film with Audrey Hepburn, but felt that this would give us an unbiased view on the night’s performance, however we were aware of the story's content.
Sadly we were disappointed with the performances, especially having looked forward to at last seeing this play. 

Apart from Holly`s husband "Doc" who you could clearly understand, it consisted of a lot of mostly shouted dialogue, in rather poor shrill American accents, this was especially bad when several characters were talking at the same time or closely together and their words over-laid one another and it all got a bit confused.

The theatre is blessed with an excellent p.a. system and voices carry very well without the need to over act them. In fact over acting was probably a major problem with the whole performance, there was no great depth of characterisation involved and we didn`t feel much empathy towards them.

This managed to confuse any of the subtleties of the humour in the script and any nuances of emotion even in the sad hospital scene where she has miscarried her unborn baby.
We have watched Georgia May on Strictly Come Dancing and know she is a talented performer, similarly Matt in Downton Abbey so this again was a disappointment.

The stage sets were imaginative, and it has to be said that the cat was good too.
To summaries if the dialogue was taken at a slower pace and with less shouting we are sure this would improve theatre goers pleasure, hopefully this will happen as the actors settle more in to their roles.

The show is on until Saturday 25th September.
Tickets from or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

REVIEW: Keep Dancing at MK Theatre

Keep Dancing at Milton Keynes Theatre


For those of us who love Strictly (and who doesn’t?) then it’s great to bring elements of the show to your local theatre. There are many spin offs from Strictly which bring the atmosphere of the dance in real life rather than watching it on television. However some spin offs work better than others! 

This particular show features the talents of Jay McGuiness and Aliona Valani, so definitely some eye candy for everybody. Certainly Jay is top of the amateur dancing tree but I can’t help but wonder if Jay was out of his depth in this show.

Really the best performances are from the professionals. Strictly favourite, Robin Windsor was really the star of the show along with Anya Garnis and the other professional dancers to make it an extravaganza of music and song.

Unusually there was no story to loosely wrap the singing and dancing around nor was there any attempt at keeping to a particular theme. This made the show more of a variety event showcasing different styles of music and dancing. Fans of Latin and ballroom will be impressed but the audience also loved the more modern and innovative dances. The dancing is certainly full on from start to finish with some of the best choreography in this genre on stage at the moment. There also couldn’t be a Strictly-type show without the marvellous costumes where sequins are the order of the day. So it’s not too late to get off the couch and experience the magic of dance right here in Milton Keynes.

The show runs until Saturday 10th September.

Tickets from or telephone 0844 871 7652 (booking fee applies)

Thursday, 1 September 2016

REVIEW: Sunny Afternoon at MK Theatre

Sunny Afternoon at MK Theatre

 This sensational smash hit West End musical has finally come to Milton Keynes! Winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, this is a fantastic feel-good musical with brilliant storytelling and acting. It follows the ups and down fortunes of The Kinks, and explains how they rose to eventual stardom through some very stormy waters.

The music of Ray Davies was carefully crafted throughout the story. The musical is full- on loud at times as they reenact scenes from their heyday to the most gentle renditions of heartfelt songs that took your breath away with the emotion and pathos of it all. They say Ray Davies wrote from his experiences in life so there was nothing contrived about how the songs were interwoven through the show. It really was a step into the past for the audience and for those of us who were there and who remember the sixties! Do you remember when the Kinks first played on Top of the Pops and their American tour? It’s all here on stage in MK!

The singing in this performance is brilliant, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed hearing all the iconic hits, including You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, Lola, All Day and All of the Night, and many more! It`s easy to forget how talented Ray Davies was and actually what a prolific song writer he was.

If you are a Kinks fan then this is a show not to be missed.
There is still time to catch it.

Running from: Tuesday 30th August – Saturday 3rd September
Box office: 0844 871 7652