Jukebox musicals come in all shapes and sizes, from the megahits of Mama Mia (Abba) and We Will Rock You (Queen) to the super flops of Viva Forever! (Spice Girls) and Desperately Seeking Susan (Blondie). Creating a show that uses the songs of an established artist is a sensible move. When those songs are part of a concept album with a strong narrative drive, even better. The appeal of pre-existing material, low costs (much cheaper to do it this way than pay for a full musical license) and an enthusiastic audience is understandable.
Hello Dolly is one of the Broadway classics that seems to be quite rarely done but BOST decided to this big show on and they did a good job at putting it on. They filled the huge stage at the Liverpool Empire very well which is no easy task!
To many people Arnold Ridley will always be the impeccably polite Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army, but before he made the catchphrase, ‘May I be excused sir?’ famous, he wrote more than 30 plays of which only The Ghost Train, penned in 1923, achieved notable success, running for 665 performances at St Martin’s Theatre and being adapted for cinema three times.
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and is one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
One of Liverpool’s newest and freshest theatre companies, Magpie Theatre, present William Shakespeare’s classic story of magic and mayhem, The Tempest. Directed by David Jones, assisted by Freya Howison, the play has been uniquely reimagined for a modern audience.
Be More Chill is currently one of Broadway’s biggest musicals so it came as a great surprise to me that Liverpool’s amateur theatre group What We Did Next has secured the rights to perform the show but they did and they did a wonderful job of putting this show on. Be More Chill tells the story of Jeremy and what happens when he takes a pill and gains a ‘Squip’, a kind of guardian angel telling him what to do.
Just so's you know, subtitle for this should be 'Give us a clue'... and it is usually interesting going to a play about which you know nothing, although there were rumours of headphones. Even more interesting if you're the lucky member of the audience plucked at random to be the main character – and wasn't it fortunate that he happened to be a trained actor? With this company, and this production, nothing is what it seems. No programme, and the press release doesn't even provide a cast list.
“That was the summer of 1963 when everybody called me Baby, and it didn’t occur to me to mind. That was before President Kennedy was shot, before the Beatles came, when I couldn’t wait to join the Peace Corps, and I thought that I’d never find a guy as great as my dad.” That first line of the iconic movie - Dirty Dancing, just sets me on edge every time.
The team who brought us Kitty Queen of the Washhouse, present Weave, the story of a scouse girl with possessed hair extensions. Written by John Maguire and directed by Margaret Connell, Weave is a hilarious one woman show which peeks behind the filter which we live our lives behind to expose the harsh reality beneath.
First published in 1741, the Goldberg Variations is a musical composition for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations and is considered one of the most important examples of the variation form.
‘My Fairfield Lady’ is the latest production from Liverpool's Royal Court. It’s a new play written by Kevin Fearon and based on the concept of a localised My Fair Lady with a twist whereby the posh, well spoken lady must become ‘scouse’ in order to be accepted. The story line was quite loose in its links to the original classic ‘My Fair Lady’ as the writer brings in more modern themes and although the concept is a funny one, I think there is more work to be done on this show before it becomes a big hit.
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