As I have fallen so far behind in writing for my blog, especially in regards to my various trips to the theatre, I have decided to do a mini-series on all the shows I was fortunate enough to attend in 2018.
In this post, I shall be looking at and briefly reviewing all of the musicals I have seen in and around the London’s West End over the course of the previous twelve months.
In 2018, I was lucky enough to see 11 different musicals, all of which have varied in style, genre and length. Many have made me laugh, some even made me cry, and each and every one of them I truly did enjoy.
For my previous posts on Hamilton, Girl from the North Country, Kinky Boots, and Bat Out of Hell, please feel free to read my reviews via the following links:
- The Room Where It Happens (16/01/18)
- Girl from the North Country (29/1/18)
- Kinky Boots – 13th June 2018
- Bat Out of Hell – 18th June 2018
Now, let’s move on to all the other musicals I have seen…
Fun Home at the Young Vic (21/6/18):
A beautiful, moving piece of theatre, covering many issues, especially that of the lead character’s journey to understanding and accepting her own sexual orientation. I will admit, that, when I booked my ticket for this show, I had absolutely no idea about the plot, having booked it based on the incredible reviews it’d had from it’s run on Broadway. I am so glad I saw it, though, as it truly helped me to understand my daughter’s, and many of my friends’ journeys in coming to accept who they were and their sexual identity. Special mention, respect to, Kaisa Hammarlund, who played Alison Bechdel, for her stunning performance as the leading character, who is on the stage for the majority (or was it the entire) of the performance.
Eugenius! at the Other Palace (2/9/18 & 24/10/18):
Quirky, over the top and cheesy is the only way I can described this 80’s inspired musical, which I was fortunate enough to see twice, during its second run at the Other Palace. I missed out on seeing this during its first run at the theatre, all due to Charlie being admitted to hospital for a biopsy on the lump we had discovered on his back. So, as you can imagine, I was so happy to be finally get to see the show. The show definitely brought back a lot of memories from my own childhood, having been born in the early 80’s, though, it made me remember why I hate the fashion from that era. The best part of the two dates I went to was the fact it was Super Fan Sunday, meaning there was a Q&A with the cast after the show and a free exclusive poster for those attending that performance. Basically, after seeing what was an incredible show, we got to find out some pretty interesting things about it from the cast and writers’ perspective. I do hope that this show gets to transfer on to the West End, this year, as originally planned.
42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (9/10/18):
My exact words on Twitter, after seeing the show, were: “Who knew Tap Dancing could be so damn sexy?? I am absolutely floored by the sheer amount of talent on that stage!!!” With one of the largest companies on the West End, and a show full of some of the most intricate choreography I have ever seen in a Musical, each and every cast member had to be the best of the best to be able to keep up with the demands of the show. It made me remember just how hard Tap Dancing can be, having trained for many years, myself, in that style, and knowing my skills were never up to the standard of what I saw on stage. I was also absolutely delighted to see Bonnie Langford on stage, once again. She always blows me away with her talent as she is, for me, a true triple threat!
Wise Children at the Old Vic (17/10/18):
This was one of those shows that was not on my list of productions that I absolutely had to go and see. It was only thanks to a friend of mine that I ended up attending, after she informed me, and our group of friends, that there were seats available, on press night, in the Balcony for just £5. I certainly wasn’t going to say no to a ticket that cheap. I ended up absolutely loving the show as for me, it was so cleverly staged, scripted and performed. I have lot of respect for them having the courage to blind-gender casting as I felt just added to the brilliance of the show, itself. What I loved most, however, was the sheer number of theatre styles it took on throughout the performance, which created this stunning tribute to the beauty that theatre is.
Strictly Ballroom at the Piccadilly Theatre (22/10/18):
I remember watching the movie, when I was a child, with my mum and absolutely loving it. I had been quite excited about it coming to the West End, but, I was slightly put off by some of the comments and reviews I had seen about it. With the announcement that it was closing, I decided to just book a ticket and find out for myself what the show was like. And… it was so much better than I was expecting. It was definitely slightly cheesy and corny, but the dancing was just outstanding. The end of Act One, when Scott, and then Rico perform their Paso Doble was a standout moment for me. Also, seeing Zizi Strallen as a leading lady on the West End was just brilliant. After seeing her perform in Cats, a few years back, and being one of the standouts from an ensemble cast, she was simply incredible to watch in a leading role, making Fran’s transformation into a strong and graceful dancer completely believable. Kudos to Matt Cardle, as well, as he really impressed me with his Australian accent.
Company at the Gielgud Theatre (9/11/18):
When it was announced that Broadway Legend, Patti Lupone, would be coming to the West End to be a part of the cast of Company, I knew I would be booking ticket. It was so great excuse to see another well known musical I had never seen before. It was well-publicised that this production would see the gender of some characters changed, including the lead role of Bobby, and I certainly heard enough about why some people felt it was unnecessary and wouldn’t work, even in amongst all the critical acclaim and praise from those who had already seen it. As with every show I see, I went in with an open mind and immediately fell in love with the production and seeing myself in many of the characters who were married or part of long term relationship. Each and every cast member was simply incredible, but my praise has to go to Rosalie Craig for her outstanding voice and her phenomenal performance as Bobbie, to Patti Lupone for proving why she is a Broadway Legend and for just being so incredibly funny, and to Jonathan Bailey, who played the role of Jamie (or Amy in the original production) for simply stealing the whole show with his downright funny and amazing rendition of “Getting Married Today”.
Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre (14/11/18):
I have known many of the songs for years, I absolutely loved the movie, but I had never seen the stage musical. I can say with certainly that I definitely loved the stage version far more than movie. It was funnier, more over the top than the movie, and when you take into account how the stage musical doesn’t have all the big sets or fancy costume changes, I think that really says just how, sometimes, simplicity is the best way to go when putting on a show. Sarah Soetaert was incredibly funny and flirty as Roxie and Zoe Gappy, who was covering of Mama Morton was just fantastic in the role, especially when she sang my favourite song from the show, When you’re Good to Mama. It was great to chat to Josephina Gabrielle at stage door about the show and how much funnier it was than the movie, that it was supposed to be that way. Glad I caught this show before it closed.
It is a shame so many of these shows have closed or not gained a transfer to the West End, but that is the nature of theatre. However, even with these closures, there are many new shows and transfer to look forward to this year. I doubt my bank account is looking forward to it, even if I am!