Top 5 Show of 2016 

1 Sunny Afternoon


Our favourite show from this year is Sunny Afternoon, a musical telling the story and featuring the music of one of Britain’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands, The Kinks. Sunny Afternoon unfortunately closed in the West End on 29th October but is currently on UK tour.
https://westendblogsite.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/sunny-afternoon-harold-pinter-theatre/

2 Jesus Christ Superstar


Coming in second is the production of Jesus Christ Superstar which played at the Open Air Theatre in the summer. Choreographed by Drew McOnie, it was a spectacular and magical production of Webber and Rice’s controversial masterpiece. Due to popular demand, Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to the Open Air Theatre next summer from 11th August – 16th September.

https://westendblogsite.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/jesus-christ-superstar-open-air-theatre/
3 School of Rock


One of London’s newest musicals, the eagerly anticipated School of Rock was awesome, with catchy songs, and a great display of budding youth talent. School of Rock is showing at the New London Theatre, currently booking until 9th April.
https://westendblogsite.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/school-of-rock-new-london-theatre/
4 Miss Atomic Bomb


Miss Atomic Bomb is the crazy story of a country trailer girl, a posh fashion guru, an army runaway, an unfortunate hotel manager, a beauty contest and the testing of an atom bomb. It was a fresh and exciting production shown at the St James Theatre created by Gabriel Vick, Alex Jackson-Long and Adam Long and we hope to see it again soon.

https://westendblogsite.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/miss-atomic-bomb-st-james-theatre/
5 Guys and Dolls


This year’s production of Guys and Dolls, which originally opened at the Savoy Theatre and closed at the Phoenix Theatre in August, featured many stars of the TV and theatre world including: Rebel Wilson, Sophie Thompson, Simon Lipkin, Oliver Tompsett, Jamie Parker, and many more. It is a fantastic production of an old-school swing-style show.

https://westendblogsite.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/guys-and-dolls-phoenix-theatre/

Jest End – Waterloo East Theatre

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jest End is a musical by Garry Lake satirising and parodying some of the West End’s most popular shows. It has been labelled as the West End’s answer to Forbidden Broadway (written by Gerald Alessandrini). It generally runs for a few weeks just prior to Christmas each year, and this time, Jest End takes on Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar, School of Rock, and Hamilton, to name just a few.

This year’s cast are Jemma Alexander (The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Wicked, Rent), Adam Bailey (Edges, Pricilla Queen of the Desert, Starlight Express), Bronté Barbé (Shrek, Cool Rider – The Grease 2, Hairspray) and Daniel Buckley (Sweeney Todd, Eugenius, Christie in Love), all four of whom are wonderful, talented singers and have great comic timing.

Some of the show’s musical numbers were recycled from last year, including: ‘Girls All Over Me’ in the Billy Elliot section; ‘I Am Barrowman’; ‘Part Time Christine’, a parody of the actress who plays alternate Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera; and the Les Miserables section with ‘Stare’, ‘C***frontation’, ‘I’m So Old’ and ‘One Year More’. It would be nice to see some of these replaced with some new material, especially for Jest End devotees who return every year, but nonetheless, the show had plenty of new, current and energetic numbers.

Three shows which are closing soon were particularly memorable highlights of the show: the ‘Jersey Boys Medley’ was fabulous, particularly with Bronte Barbe’s vocals as Frankie Valli; the ‘In The Heights Medley’ was another highlight; and ‘They’re Not Taking Me’ was a wonderful parody of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s imminent departure from the West End and arrival on Broadway, performed by Daniel Buckley as Jonathan Slinger.

Some other new songs for this year satirised some of the West End’s newest arrivals and soon to be arriving musicals. Tyrone Huntley’s show-stealing performance as Judas in the summer run of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Open Air Theatre and Drew McOnie’s famously unusual yet genius choreography was fantastically parodied with ‘Olivier On His Mind’. Newly opened on the West End, a revised version of School of Rock’s ‘Stick It To The Man’, called ‘Unhappy Leading Man’, was brilliantly performed by Daniel Buckley. ‘A Million Reasons To Hate This’ (a version of Take That’s A Million Love Songs) by Adam Bailey as a mockery of Gary Barlow’s upcoming musical, The Girls, and its casting was hilarious.

As well as individual shows, Jest End also levels some general criticism at the current theatre landscape: celebrities and TV stars being cast in leading roles (Sarah Harding’s trials on the Ghost UK tour were hysterically satirised by Jemma Alexander’s caricature) ; low actors’ wages; and soaring ticket prices (‘Gotta Get A Ticket’ (a returning number)).

Overall, Jest End is a fabulous, witty, wickedly sharp show – it is a true theatre fan’s stagey heaven. Jest End is showing at the Waterloo East Theatre until 18th December and we can’t wait to see it back next year for another run!

 

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery – Criterion Theatre

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is a farcical play from the Mischief Theatre Group, written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, and it made its world premiere on 31st March 2016 in the West End’s Criterion Theatre.

It is set in Minneapolis, a town where everyone is a crook and the new interstate highway is causing crime rates to soar even further. The story follows one giant diamond belonging to Prince Ludvig of Hungary, which being kept in a bank with poor security and there are seven people trying to steal it.

Our crooks are: Caprice Freeboys, the criminally manipulative and flirtatious gold-digger and bank manager’s daughter; Mitch Ruscitti, the escaped prisoner on the run from the law, boyfriend of Caprice and mastermind of the operation; Sam Monaghan, Caprice’s love interest and the “innocent” pick-pocket who is involuntarily roped into the robbery; Neil Cooper, the show-tunes loving and amateur dramatics enthusiast; Robin Freeboys, the bank manager with a reputation for robbing everyone and a sketchy personal life involving sex therapists and indecent oil paintings; Officer Randal Shuck, the love-struck officer who entrusts the diamond to Freeboys’ bank; and Ruth Monaghan, Sam’s mother and bank worker whose favourite phrase is “everyone in this town is a crook”. Innocent bystanders in the plot are: Warren Slax, a long-serving intern at the bank and one of the unfortunate men under Caprice’s spell; and Freeboys’ nephew, the sleeping-on-the-job security guard.

Charlie Russell (Lights! Camera! Improvise!, The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong) gives a standout performance as Caprice. The three writers of the play, (Henry Shields (writer, The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Nativity Goes Wrong), Jonathan Sayer (writer, The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong) and Henry Lewis (writer, The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong)) are all fantastic starring in their own creation as Mitch, Warren and Robin.

The play’s comic essence includes wordplay, physical comedy and much more. There are countless misunderstandings resulting from the misinterpretation of words – for example “Robin Freeboys” is heard as “robbing three boys” and “Neil” being mistaken for “kneel”. There are scenes involving beds popping up and down and crooks swinging from the ceiling where timing is everything and the genius of the versatile set (designed by David Farley) comes to life.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is a hysterical farce revolving around several calamitous plots to steal the diamond. The whole play hinges wonderfully on perfect timing, misunderstandings and simulated disaster which look genuine every time – another smash-hit from the Mischief Theatre Company!

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is currently booking at the Criterion Theatre until October 2017 book tickets here. For more information on your visit to the Criterion Theatre, visit West End Theatre Guide’s website.

Disaster! – Charing Cross Theatre

Disaster is a musical by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick featuring ‘70s disco music including, ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Knock On Wood’. It is an onstage version of ‘70s disaster movies such as the Airport film series, Towering Inferno and Earthquake, parodying many iconic moments from each of the films. Disaster has enjoyed success both on and off-Broadway and made its UK premiere for two sold-out gala performances at the Charing Cross Theatre on 20th November 2016.

The setting of Disaster is “The Barracuda”, Tony Delvecchio’s new casino, floating on the Hudson River. Among his guests are: Jackie, a singer performing on the boat, and her two children, Ben and Lisa; Chad, a waiter for the evening; reporter Ms Marianne Wilson, who is hunting for a story around the suspect safety record of the boat; Sister Mary, who is trying to save the sinful guests from eternal damnation whilst fighting off the pull of her own sinful past; Professor Ted Scheider, who tries to save the guests from the many impending disasters; singer and once a big time star, Levora and her dog, Baby; an elderly couple, Shirley and Maury; and a wealthy couple.

Tony Delvecchio was played by Simon Lipkin (Guys and Dolls, Rock of Ages, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change). Lipkin makes the cost-cutting, lying, womanising casino owner charming and loveable, giving a true showman’s performance, and his rendition of ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’ was fantastic.

Jodie Jacobs (Rock of Ages, Carrie, Jest End) played Jackie, the gullible, not-too-bright singer looking for a new father for her twins. Jacobs has an outstanding voice, and her performances of ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘I Will Survive’ were sublime.

Young actor Bradley Riches (Annie Junior, Elf Junior, Oliver!) played both Ben and Lisa. He has a great voice, showcased beautifully in his rendition of ‘Ben’, and was hilarious switching between the twins.

Chad Rubin was portrayed by Oliver Tompsett (Guys and Dolls, Rock of Ages, We Will Rock You), a waiter at the casino who has just re-connected with his lost love, Marianne, who had stood him up at the altar. Tompsett was sensational in the role, performing a perfect opener to the show with ‘Hot Stuff’ and demonstrating his immensely powerful voice to perfection with ‘Without You’.

Marianne was played by Alice Fearn (Wicked, Into the Woods, Les Miserables), who gave an excellent portrayal as a strong career woman, particularly with ‘I Am Woman’, but then realises her love for Chad as the many disasters unfold.

Jennifer Simard (Sister Act, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Forbidden Broadway), reprising her Broadway role for this event, was hilarious as the guitar-playing nun, Sister Mary, admonishing the guests to mend their sinful ways, whilst warring with her own gambling addiction, and finally giving into this with her delightfully comic version of ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ which she sings to a slot machine.

Seth Rudetsky (The Ritz, conductor and pianist) starred in his own creation as Professor Ted, the voice of doom throughout the show, who predicts every over-the-top disaster ever featured in a ‘70s movie.

Levora was played by Sandra Marvin (Stepping Out, Showboat, Hairspray) who was superb in the role. She had an incredible voice, singing ‘Knock On Wood’ and ‘Come To Me’ brilliantly.

Sally Ann Triplet (Mamma Mia, Viva Forever, Guys and Dolls) and Paul Grunet (Oklahoma!, Kiss Me Kate, The Sound of Music) were excellent as the elderly couple, Shirley and Maury. They sang a lovely duet together of ‘You’re Still The One’.

The wealthy couple were portrayed by Drew Geraci (A Chorus Line, The Scarlet Pimpernel, La Cage aux Follies) and Ruthie Stephens (Hedwig and the Angry Itch, Les Miserables, A Little Night Music).

A particular highlight of the show was the group performance of ‘Sky High’, where the guests are expressing their anger to Tony for lying about the safety specification of his floating casino, and Chad berates Marianne about leaving him at the altar.

Disaster is a hilarious musical, a wonderful parody of disaster movies with fabulous music and a very talented cast. Clearly, all concerned had worked really hard to bring the production together and to make it the huge success it was. This performance was in partnership with MAD Trust (www.madtrust.org.uk), a charity dedicated to helping people with HIV and AIDS. We enjoyed Disaster immensely and hope to see it in the UK again soon for a longer run.

School of Rock – New London Theatre


School of Rock is a musical developed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Julian Fellowes and it is based on the 2003 film by the same name starring Jack Black. The show follows the story of newly out of work musician Dewey Finn, who impersonates his friend and flatmate, Ned Schneebly, in order to land a substitute teaching post at a prestigious school, Horace Green, where he forms a band with his class of schoolchildren and enters Battle of the Bands.

The show opens with ‘I’m Too Hot For You’, sung by No Vacancy lead singer, Theo, played by Cameron Sharp (Jesus Christ Superstar, Avenue Q, Rock of Ages). This number sets the tone of the show perfectly and ends with Dewey Finn (the lead guitarist) being thrown out of the band. Sharp is in his element, strutting across the stage with rock god style and magnetism – a truly fabulous performance!

David Fynn (She Stoops to Conquer, Romeo and Juliet, Mojo) plays the lead, Dewey Finn, but at this performance, Dewey was played by Joel Montague (Funny Girl, Urinetown, Rocky Horror Show). Montague gave a confident, energetic, charismatic performance, particularly with ‘When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock’.

Florence Andrews (Miss Atomic Bomb, Once, Wicked) gave an amazing performance as uptight, Stevie Nicks-loving school principal, Miss Rosalie Mullins, who is under constant pressure from demanding parents paying $50,000 a year for their child to be educated at Horace Green. Andrews’ vocals are out of this world and she excels particularly with ‘Where Did The Rock Go?’.

The children in the cast were all outstandingly talented young musicians and performers. They gave a heart-warming performance of ‘If Only You Would Listen’ which touches on elements of children feeling they’re not being heard by or being ignored by their parents. There are three young actors playing each child role in the musical and so they alternate between performances.

There are numerous standout numbers in the show, including ‘Stick It To The Man’, ‘School of Rock’, and ‘You’re In The Band’, all of which were performed by Dewey and the class of Horace Green during band practice and the Battle of the Bands competition.

Overall, School of Rock is a high-energy, head-banging, electric show, bringing the unlikely combination of classic rock and prestigious, traditional schooling together perfectly. School of Rock opened at the New London Theatre on 24th October 2016 (following success on Broadway) and is currently booking until 12th February 2017.

For more information on the New London Theatre, visit West End Theatre Guide’s page here.

27 the Musical – The Cockpit Theatre

27 is a new musical created by Sam Cassidy, co-directed by Arlene Phillips, with music by Matt Wills. It tells the story of wannabe rock-star Jimmy’s rise to stardom, his ambition and his willingness to risk everything to get what he wants, and, tragically, his all-encompassing addiction.

Jimmy takes on the persona of Orpheus (from Greek legend – musician, poet and prophet who could charm all living creatures and even stones with his music), and he seems to believe his own hype as he achieves everything he thought he desired, but he is soon adrift in a sea of drug addiction and fame, where he loses the people who truly cared about him -girlfriend Amy and band-mates Max and Jason – and becomes embroiled instead with Hades (head of Olympus Records) and Ms M, who promise him fame and fortune, at any cost. He comes to his senses and tries to redeem himself after losing his girlfriend to an overdose, but it’s all too late and his story is already written.

The musical has a strong fatalistic thread, with many Shakespearean references and ties to Greek myths. The story is one of darkness and destruction, with the magnetic, sinister, and all-powerful three Fates weaving the story that we know will only end in one way, and Hades and Ms M moving the tale along to its predictable climax. It is perhaps telling that these five are the powerful characters in the show. The human characters are all one-dimensional and under-developed: Jimmy/Orpheus starts and ends the show as an addict, a powerful portrayal, but we see nothing else of his character; Amy, Max and Jason are all weak characters who we never get to know at all. There is no twist; we know the ending. Whilst the story of addiction and love and loss might be one a lot of people can relate to, it lacks other character dimensions to relate to or identify with. Maybe this symbolises the eternal inferiority of the human race, mere pawns in the Fates’ game…

The cast were all phenomenal, with standout performances from the Fates – Jodie Jacobs (Oliver, Legally Blonde, Jest End), Eloise Davies (Cinderella, West End Heroes Bad Girls) and Maisey Bawden (The Sound of Music Live (TV), The Tempest, Little Shop of Horrors)- who all have spectacular voices and shine throughout the show.

Ryan Molloy (Jersey Boys, Godspell, Che Guevara’s Night Off) gave a spectacular, magnetic, enticing performance as Hades and has a great rock voice; and Lucy Martin (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Dirty Dancing) is scintillating as Ms. M, the dangerously seductive messenger between Hades and Jimmy, much like Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus.

Overall, despite some issues with characterisation and story that need to be ironed out, 27 is an enjoyable show, with moments of utter brilliance, and we’d love to see it on a bigger stage, where the fantastic choreography, costumes, lighting and set could be even bigger and better. The cast are all massively talented singers and actors; the ensemble dancers are all fantastic, performing Ryan-Lee Seager and Lucy Martin’s ingenious choreography perfectly; the music is excellent! The premise of the show, with its mythical and literary references, is very intriguing and engaging; it draws parallels to the fame-crazed society we live in, the public’s cruel love of watching people self-destruct and the indispensable nature of pop-stars. The overall message of the show is haunting – you can’t control fate

Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse…Orpheus… The 27 Club, all popular musicians who lived their lives in the limelight, all died as a result of drug/alcohol abuse, all at aged 27, all before their time, just another out of control celebrity, just another rock-star who self-destructs, just another name on the list…does anyone really care as the cycle repeats again and again? It’s a powerful, thought-provoking message, and 27 The Musical delivers it brilliantly.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change – Arts Theatre

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a musical by Joe DiPietro, with music by Jimmy Roberts (whose other works include Memphis), which, rather than following the same characters throughout the show, is a series of short vignettes on the various stages of relationships, from first dates, through marriage, kids, divorce and growing old, which allows the actors to really show off their talents as they move quickly from portraying one character to the next, often very different, one, but still managing to grab the audience’s attention and empathy even in such short scenes.

Following an immensely popular and critically acclaimed one-month run at Above the Arts in July 2015, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change was revived again by Kirk Jameson at the Arts Theatre for one day only, 15th August 2016, with the all-star cast reprising their roles for two shows.

Simon Lipkin (Rock of Ages, Assassins, Avenue Q), currently starring in Guys and Dolls alongside Rebel Wilson, is a master of ad-libing and his comic timing is perfection. His hilarious performance as a serial killer offering dating advice had the audience in uproar, but in a dramatic shift of character, another of his scenes saw him deliver a very tender, poignant and beautiful rendition of ‘Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?’.

Samuel Holmes (White Christmas, Spamalot, Kiss Me Kate) played a wide range of characters, from conveying the worries of a first-time father who has caught the “baby-talk” bug with ‘The Baby Song’, through to ‘I Can Live With That’ where he plays an elderly gentleman who has lost the person he spent his life with.

Julie Atherton (Avenue Q, Sister Act, Mamma Mia), who will be hosting a series of cabaret shows at Brasserie Zedel alongside Simon Lipkin this autumn, played quirky, zany characters throughout, including Rose Ritz, who makes a dating video after her husband leaves her for a “limping grandmother”, and delivered a beautiful performance of ‘I Will Be Loved Tonight’.

Gina Beck (Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Miserables), currently starring in Show Boat at the New London Theatre, displayed her outstanding voice, particularly with ‘He Called Me’, and her humorous performance of ‘Always A Bridesmaid’ was one of the highlights of the show.

There were also some magical duets, including Beck and Lipkin’s ‘Marriage Tango’ and Atherton and Holmes’ ‘A Stud and a Babe’, and the closing song ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ brings the show to an uplifting end, leaving everyone smiling and wanting more.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is an amazing, funny yet touching, show about the problems of love and relationships which everyone can relate to – the message of the musical is: “find someone to love, someone you think is perfect, and then spend the rest of your life trying to change them!” This cast delivered a scintillating show, clearly having lots of fun on-stage and their joy was infectious and uplifting. We hope this show is revived again soon, with the same cast, and for much longer!

Jesus Christ Superstar – Open Air Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The musical began its life as a concept album, featuring Murray Head as Judas, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan as Jesus and Manfred Mann’s Mike d’Abo. The show then made its Broadway debut in 1971 and West End debut the following year. This controversial musical follows the story of Jesus Christ leading up to his crucifixion.

In this production, Jesus was played by Declan Bennett (Once, American Idiot, Rent). Bennett is brilliant in the role. He portrays Jesus as an ordinary human being who is experiencing the pressures of being followed and worshipped. Bennett excels with ‘Gethsemane’ where Jesus questions his impending fate but uncertainly accepts it.

At this performance, Joshua Dever (Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Grease) played Judas, with Tyrone Huntley (Memphis, Hairspray, The Book of Mormon) playing the role full-time. Judas is the driving force behind Jesus, willing him on, but ultimately betrays him, taking silver to help the poor for disclosing Jesus’ location. Dever was spectacular in the role, giving a magnificent performance of ‘Judas’ Death’.

Anoushka Lucas (The Etienne Sisters, Klook’s Last Stand, The Lightning Child) played Mary. Lucas was sublime as Mary and her vocal performance of ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ was breathtaking and touching.

A standout number in the show is ‘Pilate and Christ/Herod’s Song’, performed by Peter Caulfield (One Man, Two Guvnors, Cinderella, Into the Woods). Caulfield’s flamboyant and comical interpretation of Herod sees him prancing around the stage, taunting and challenging Jesus to live up to the hype of his legendary abilities.

The ensemble are phenomenal throughout the show, performing Drew McOnie’s ingenious choreography perfectly.

Overall, this production is spectacular, with fantastic music and a talented cast. It tells the well-known, tragic story from an alternative viewpoint, delivering the overall message that Jesus was only a human man and yet he touched and inspired so many, making the ultimate sacrifice for them, and then asks the question: why? This production of Jesus Christ Superstar is celebrating the musical’s 45th anniversary, and is showing at the Open Air Theatre (its first outdoor performance in the UK) until 27th August, with rumours of a West End transfer.

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.

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/