Les Miserables – Queen’s Theatre

Les Miserables is a musical by Alain Boubill and Jean-Marc Natel, with music by Claude-Michel Shoënburg, and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It follows three intertwining story lines: the rivalry of ex-prisoner, Jean Valjean and officer of the law, Inspector Javier; the people’s rebellion with the boys of the barricade; and a love story between Cosette and Marius.

Jean Valjean was played by Peter Lockyer (South Pacific, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon). Valjean is on the run from the law throughout the musical, despite rising from slavery to become a respectable factory owner. Lockyer is phenomenal in the role, with his powerful voice conveying deep emotions. He delivers ‘Bring Him Home’ with a soft, tender tone.

Jeremy Secomb (Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, Lend Me A Tenor) played Javier, whose strict interpretation of the law clouds his judgement and leads him to believe that people can’t change or be reformed. Secomb is brilliant in the role, delivering a memorable performance of ‘Stars’, the moment when the walls crumble for Javier and he realises the error of his ways.

Rachelle Ann Go (The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Miss Saigon) featured as Fantine, Cosette’s mother, a very tragic character who gives everything to her daughter so that she can have a chance of a better life. Ann Go sings the iconic ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ with beautiful vocals and great emotion.

At this performance, the role of Cosette was played by Charlotte Kennedy (Curtains, A Chorus Line, Romeo and Juliet), with Zoë Doano (Sweeney Todd, The Grand Tour, High Society) playing the role full time. Kennedy gave a fantastic performance, particularly with ‘A Heart Full of Love’.

Craig Mather (Sweeney Todd, Tonight’s the Night, Spring Awakening) played Marius, who recently joined the cast, replacing Rob Houchen. Mather plays Marius with a confused boyish quality, as the character struggles between standing with his friends on the barricade or following the path of love.

Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon) starred as Éponine, having recently taken over the role from Carrie Hope Fletcher. Noblezada gives a memorable performance, delivering a spectacular performance of ‘On My Own’. Noblezada will be making her Broadway debut, reprising her role as Kim, in the revival of Miss Saigon in early 2017.

Overall, Les Misérables is a magical show which is both inspirational and heart-breaking. It has been performed in 349 cities, in 44 countries and has been translated into 22 different languages. It is one of the most iconic musicals of all time and it certainly lives up to its name.

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The Bodyguard – Dominion Theatre 


The Bodyguard is a 1992 movie by Lawrence Kasdan featuring the music of and starring Whitney Houston, with Kevin Cosner featuring as her bodyguard, Frank Farmer. It has been adapted into a stage musical by Alexander Dinelaris. The story follows singer and actress Rachel Marron’s journey in her bid to win an Oscar and her battle to avoid the grasp of her mysterious, obsessive stalker. The musical adaptation of the film gives a different take on the story, telling it from Rachel’s point of view instead of Frank’s and there are also differences in the plot.

Beverley Knight (The Bodyguard, Memphis, Cats) reprised her role as Rachel Marron (she played Marron in 2013 as her stage debut at the Adelphi Theatre). Knight’s voice is nothing short of spectacular, singing Houston’s vocally-challenging songs with ease and grace and delivering a knockout performance. Knight excels with ‘Queen of the Night’, which is the perfect opening for the show and demonstrates the crowd-pleasing and diva side of Rachel’s character. The audience also sees a softer side to Rachel, particularly when she is with her son, Fletcher.

Ben Richards (Aladdin, Rock of Ages, Hollyoaks (TV)) starred as Frank Farmer. Richards is brilliant as the strong, handsome bodyguard and Marron’s protector. He also gives the audience a comic moment when Richards pretends he can’t sing and performs ‘I Will Always Love You’ at a karaoke night, which is then followed by Knight’s breathtaking performance of ‘I Have Nothing’.

Rachel John (Memphis, Rent, We Will Rock You) played Nicki Marron, Rachel’s older sister, who harbours intense jealousy of her sister’s career success. John is fantastic in the role, singing ‘Saving All My Love’ perfectly and also performs ‘Run To You’ as a beautiful duet with Knight.

The ensemble are also outstanding, delivering high energy and exciting dance numbers, particularly with ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘How Will I Know’ and ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’.

‘I Will Always Love You’ is a standout number in the show, along with ‘One Moment In Time’, which is fabulously performed by Knight and builds to the dramatic climax of the musical.

Overall, The Bodyguard is a great show, fantastic fun with powerful music and a talented cast. The story is slightly weak, but the spectacular performances of Whitney Houston’s much-loved hits more than make up for this. This production of The Bodyguard is currently showing at the Dominion Theatre for a limited run until 7th January 2017.

For more information on your visit to the Dominion Theatre, visit West End Theatre Guide’s website:
http://www.westendtheatreguide.london/west-end-theatres/dominion-theatre/

Guys and Dolls – Phoenix Theatre

phoenix-theatre-guys-and-dolls

Guys and Dolls is a musical by Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser based on ‘The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown’ and ‘Blood Pressure’, two short stories by Damon Runyon. It follows the story of New York City gamblers in pursuits of their luck-made fortunes and ladies.

Simon Lipkin (Miss Atomic Bomb, I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change, Rock of Ages) plays Nathan Detroit, who runs illegal crap gambling games, to the ignorance of his fiancée of 14 years, Miss Adelaide. Lipkin is sensational in the role, playing Detroit with great comic ability and timing, delivering a particularly touching performance of ‘Sue Me’.

Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect (TV), Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (TV), Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (TV)) makes her West End debut as Miss Adelaide, Nathan Detroit’s long-suffering fiancée and dancer in a club, the Hot Box.

Sky Masterson is played by Oliver Tompsett (We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages, Wicked). Masterson is a gambler with a reputation for making crazy bets who falls in love with Sarah Brown, a missionary leader, after taking her to Havana on a bet. Tompsett is phenomenal in the role playing the cool, slick gambler with charm, delivering ‘Luck Be A Lady’ fantastically, a highlight of the show. Seeing Lipkin and Tompsett together on stage again is a particular delight, reliving the duo’s Rock of Ages success.

Siubhan Harrison (I Call My Brothers, The Armour, From Here to Eternity) plays Sarah Brown, a local missionary worker, who although she believes she knows who her ideal man will be, singing ‘I’ll Know’, reluctantly falls for Sky Masterson. Harrison delivers spectacular vocals, particularly with ‘If I Were A Bell’.

Gavin Spokes (One Man Two Guvnors, 1984, She Stoops to Conquer) played Nicely Nicely Johnson, and leads the cast in the standout number of the show, ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat’. Spokes also performs ‘Guys and Dolls’, a fabulous duet with Jason Pennycooke (Memphis, La Cage Aux Folles, Kiss Me Kate), who plays Benny Southstreet.

Guys and Dolls features many high energy, slick dance numbers. The ensemble are all spectacular, with Selina Hamilton (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Rock of Ages, Dirty Dancing) standing out, particularly in ‘Havana’.

Overall, Guys and Dolls is a marvellous show with swing-style music, brilliant dance numbers and a gangster vibe throughout. The musical is currently showing at the Phoenix Theatre. Lipkin, Wilson, Tompsett and Harrison will finish their runs in August, with new cast to be announced, booking until January 2017.

For more information on the Phoenix Theatre, visit West End Theatre Guide’s website: http://www.westendtheatreguide.london/west-end-theatres/phoenix-theatre/