Category Archives: Musical

The Addams Family (4th and 5th performances).

Saturday 12th August 2017, finally the weekend has come, and the final chance to get a few performances of ‘The Addams Family’ in the bag. This brilliant comedy musical ends it’s two week slot at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay before moving on to another venue, on its UK tour. I must admit to a little sadness after tonight’s show, I’m really going to miss this production, it shocked me last week at just how good it was, I was not expecting it to be this good, but after 10 minutes I just fell in love with everything about it, to the extent I watched all three Performances last weekend, and could easily have watched loads more. Getting the CD starring Nathan Lane was even harder, thank god for EBay and an international seller, I finally managed to get a copy (well in about 4 weeks time that is).

Today has been another amazing day, arrived early, walked for miles around the Bay, taking in the picturesque scenery as I’m going, a show then another walk before finally seeing the show again.  To sum up the last two weeks and 5 performances, this class musical has been awesome, I can’t stop talking about it in work, (to the extent I’m now banned from ever speaking about it again), but when a show is this good, then all my mates and colleagues need to hear about it. 

Again today two fabulous shows, made me laugh (loads), made me cry (a lot), made me happy, made me sad, so many emotions but so brilliant to go with it. I love the soundtrack, the music, the singing, so many wonderful voices packed into two and a half hours of pure enjoyment. This is why I love the theatre, its magic unfolds in front of you, and leaves a lasting impression on your every being. So beautiful, can’t wait for my CD to arrive.

The Addams Family (3rd performance).

An added bonus to this weekend, its Sunday 6th August 2017, and I’m back in Cardiff Bay for a matinee performance of the superb ‘Addams Family’ comedy musical. Another real treat on these boring Sundays, I wish all touring company’s would do a few Sundays during extended runs, it really does brighten up the whole weekend, well it does for me anyway. As usual I arrived in the Capital early, had a three hour walk around the bay before lunch, building my step count up significantly, before the show this afternoon.

Having watched this musical twice yesterday, I just couldn’t wait to see it again. As I said in my last blog, the show was superb, so much talent and good music on show, with an excellent score to really admire. Today I’d like to mention the costumes and set design along with the lighting effects. 

Costumes for the show range from ringmaster to jesters, matador to ballet dancers, and gave a really authentic look to the proceedings. Mixing brilliantly with the kooky set and imaginative lighting designs, the whole thing comes together to make the show flow nicely from scene to scene. When you add on the fabulous voices of the lead cast and ensemble, (who, as usual were magnificent in everything they do), the show gets even better. 

Today was no exception, the more you see it, the more you want to see it just that one more time. I, for one, could watch this musical everyday, it never seems to get boring, even after 3 straight shows, that is a sure sign of a wonderful show, brilliantly done. Again I cried as soon as Carrie Hope Fletcher began singing, her voice is just fabulous, I must admit also to having shed a tear at quite a lot of the singing as well, especially with Festa’s moon song, it’s so beautiful, as are all of the songs in the whole show. So looking to next week, and the chance to see it again.

The Addams family (1st and 2nd performances).

Finally the weekend is upon us, after a hard week in work, it’s nice to be back in Cardiff Bay on this glorious Saturday (5th August 2017), for two performances of ‘The Addams Family’, live from the Millenium Centre. I’m having a great day already, with a 4 mile walk around the bay to get me passed 10,000 steps (hoping to reach 20,000 by tonight), taking in the magnificent views the Bay has to offer. When the sun is out, for me, this is just the best place in the world, there’s so much to see, take photos of, or just enjoy the surroundings, as you peruse this wonderful part of the City.

Then onto the next highlight of the day, my first ever showing of this musical extravaganza. So looking forward to this, with another chance to see and hear the truly incredible voice of ‘Carrie Hope Fletcher’ who plays Wednesday Addams. She has to be one of the best voices in the business, and to see her here at the Centre again is just fantastic. My day just gets better and better. 

Can I just say ‘Oh my god, what a fantastic show’, this has taken me by surprise, I never expected it to be so good, I literally fell in love with the show in the first 10 minutes. Carrie Hope Fletcher lived up to expectations, with her stunning voice. Samantha Womack and Cameron Blakely were also brilliant, in fact the whole cast were just excellent. A special mention, as well, to Les Dennis as Festa, a really fabulous performance, showing just how talented this man is.

I had never heard any of the music before, which was really impressive and, in places, extremely beautiful to listen to, and played brilliantly by the orchestra in the pit. I know when there’s something special on the go, that’s when I start to cry, and many times during these performances I found myself doing just that. I would have never guessed that a comedy from years ago, revived on stage, could be so wonderful to watch.

Grease (3rd and 4th performances)

Saturday 29th July 2017, back in the magnificent Cardiff Bay for two more performances of the hit Musical ‘Grease’. Getting here early has been a real bonus, as I’ve had the chance to walk around the bay, past the very impressive swimming pool and the white water rapids, crossing the walk bridge and along the Penarth side of the bay and the Marina, before heading back over the Barrage, to the Millenium Centre. A fabulous walk, with some stunning views of the whole area, making the perfect start to my ‘show day Saturday’.

Today’s first performance is at the slightly later time of 5pm with the evening performance starting at 8.30pm, which means another walk after lunch, this time around the ‘Wetlands area of the Bay’ and a few other places before show no 1. As well as watching brilliant theatrical shows and photography, my other pleasure in life is walking around this magnificent city of Cardiff and the Bay, really makes the whole day so special, every time I visit.

Getting back to the show and yet again I’m really impressed with how great this looks on stage, a superb opening, with all the cast singing the title song, (Grease, being one of my favourite songs from the whole show), from the middle of the stage, its Grease down to a tee. The singing and dancing as last week, was just sublime, with so much talent on show, the producers seem to find this endless stream of brilliant singers show after show. Not just Grease, but almost every show I get to see. As with last week, I totally adore the voice of Danielle Hope as Sandy, such an incredible talent and beautiful voice to go with it.

I’ve also seen two superb performances of Teen Angel, last week with an incredible performance from Landyll Gove, and this week with the ageless Jimmy Osmond, who, I must say, still has a superb voice. With both guys really hitting those high notes. Another amazing treat to see another big star here at the Centre.

The whole show has been brilliant from start To finish. Fabulous scenes made the show sparkle, the more you saw it, the better it got. Today has been so good, with two shows back to back, finishing off another fabulous Saturday in Theatreland. Grease is such a feelgood musical, you can’t help falling in love with this iconic show. I feel really privalaged to have seen this 4 times over the last two weeks, and probably would have seen it a lot more given the opportunity.

Grease (1st and 2nd performances).

Another weekend comes around, it’s Saturday 22nd July 2017, and I’m back at the Millenium Centre here in Cardiff Bay, for two performances of the hit musical ‘Grease’. I’m not a massive fan of the film, but I’ve seen the stage version before and found it a lot better than the film version, (although Olivia Newton John was practically perfect as Sandy).

I’m so looking forward to listening to Danielle Hope as Sandy. She is another really talented singer who has graced this Millenium Centre stage. Having last seen her in a touring production of ‘The Sound of Music’ playing Maria, she was just awesome, I would even go as far as saying her voice was just as good as Julie Andrews, maybe even better. 

The show is a happy, feel good musical, that gets everyone in the audience in a fabulous mood. The singing, from all the cast is once again phenomenal, so many superb voices ringing out over this amazing auditorium and the brilliant Danielle Hope leading from the front, with her incredible voice. 

Another stand out feature of this musical is the dancing, so well choreographed, it just wants to make you jump up and jive in your seat. Very accomplished routines done with precision, so crisp and sharp throughout, with all the cast getting in on the act. With exceptional music playing from the onstage band, your toes keep taping throughout.

I was also quite impressed with the set and lighting for the show. Very bright on the stage, with a great use of the spots to illuminate each section of the stage, at the times they were needed. I love the way they created ‘Greased Lightning ‘ (the car), a real crowd pleaser. Another section was the Teen Angel sequence, with great costumes, fabulous singing and so beautiful to watch on stage.

I didn’t think this show would turn out as good as it has, but I must say, can’t wait to see it again, just to make my day even better than it has been. Seeing it twice in one day was incredible as well. 

Funny Girl.

Saturday 8th July 2017, and after another long week at work, I’m back in Cardiff Bay for two performances of Funny Girl. Another musical I have yet to see, so once again I have no idea what to expect, although the reviews I’ve seen through various media sites have been very positive for this production. It’s also the perfect opportunity to watch Sheridan Smith playing the lead, everything she does seems to bring her fantastic reviews, and I must say say I have enjoyed watching her previous TV appearances, over the last few years. 

Yet again another fabulous afternoon and evening theatrical masterpiece. Sheridan Smith is just brilliant as Fanny Brice, a fabulous actress and a superb voice to go with her many wonderful attributes, it was a real privilege to sit and watch a world famous star appear on stage at the Millenium Centre. I cried twice, on both shows in the same place, especially her renditions of ‘People’ and ‘Don’t rain on my Parade’. Just brilliant to listen to, and so well sung.

Another actor who greatly impressed me was Tom Partridge as Nick Arnstein. Tom is the understudy for Darius Campbell in the role, and what a performance he gave. Another brilliant voice lighting up the auditorium. But don’t let me stop there, the whole cast were magnificent, with the ensemble giving us fabulous song and dance routines, playing their part to perfection, as all ensembles in every show I’ve seen adhere to.

The music and lyrics for this show are also fabulous, with loads of songs known by almost everyone in the theatre. Credit to the Orchestra in the pit for supplying the music, again to perfection, to allow this brilliant musical to take shape. I would say that a week is not long enough for a show of this stature, a two week run would have been brilliant for me, so I could marvel at the musical again next week, but at least I get to see it twice while it’s here.

The show has everything, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s timeless and it’s brilliant. I must admit to having tears in my eyes for most of the performance (as usual), it’s getting a bit embarrassing, seeing a grown man cry at shows, but when it’s this good it takes you along with it, giving you a truly wonderful experience in theatrical magic. Yet another totally amazing show to add to my growing list.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Saturday 13th May 2017, with my second blog of the day. Another milestone for me this weekend,as it’s been one year since my first ever blog (WNO’s In Parenthesis on 14th May 2016). This afternoon and evening I’m back at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for three performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Another musical I have never seen before, so not sure what to expect. Although I think watching it three times should give me a good insight into the show. With the music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the lyrics from Tim Rice, it does show a great deal of promise to a first time viewer, and even though I’ve heard the music from the show (CD), you can’t really put it all together from that part alone.

With some well known celebrities taking the role of Joseph in the past, for this tour we have Joe McElderry playing the lead, who I must say has a fantastic voice along with Lucy Kay as the narrator. Lucy has such an amazing voice, so good. The singing in the show is phenomenal, with beautiful choral voices from the children of the choir (from the Bristol school of performing arts), mixed in with the brilliant voices eminating from the ensemble and lead cast members.

This show has so many different musical genres from Country music scenes, a singing Elvis as Pharaoh (played brilliantly by Ben James-Ellis), and a bit of Calypso music at the end of the show. Joseph is a real family fun filled show, it has great staging with a wonderful light show to add to its many attributes. The band in the pit are also magnificent, playing for the whole show, this fantastic ‘ALW’ score. Such a treat to watch this musical 3 times in one day. The dance routines scattered within the show were so crisp and sharp throughout all three performances.May I also add how surprisingly good the whole show was, I even cried in some parts, mainly due to the wonderful singing on show. An absolutely magnificent show which really impressed me totally, definitely one to see next tour.

There is one last thing I would like to add in an attempt to make audiences more in touch with the performers. I’ve noticed recently that not many shows are using a cast board to make people aware who plays who. As I write a blog for every show I see, it would be nice to know these facts, as more of the ensemble would probably get a bigger mention, and therefore more publicity, which could lead onto bigger roles and so on. So come on you show producers out there, get more cast boards on tour productions.

Sister Act (3rd and 4th performances).

The weekend is back upon us, it’s Saturday 29th April 2017, and I’m back at the Millenium Centre here in Cardiff Bay for the last two performances of Sister Act, before it moves onto another venue. Today will be the perfect opportunity to watch both leads. Alexandra Burke has been playing the evening performances with Joanna Francis taking over on the Matinee shows. I’ve already seen Alexandra twice, so it will be nice to watch a different actress with a different take on the role of Delores van Cartier.

For this afternoons performance Alice Stokoe will take over the role of Sister Mary Robert with the absolutely superb Sally Peerless returning to her role as Tina, also appearing in the Ensemble and playing her flute and sax to perfection, I really enjoyed all her performances I managed to see.

The talent on stage is amazing, with yet again, all the cast being totally fabulous. Joanna Francis is a brilliant Delores, and such a great stand in for Alexandra, keeping up the pace of the show, as if she has been doing it all year. Alice Stokoe is another actress with a fabulous voice, and being really new to the musical didn’t show at all, again, it looked like she had been there all along. All the leads in this production are so good, with a massive help from the Ensemble, really bringing the music and harmonies to life, from start to finish. I must admit to some tears falling at certain stages, mainly due to the incredible vocals in the show, (I must have mentioned that at least a hundred times already), but when a show can make you laugh, cry and say Wow in all its entirety, then that is the sign of a great show, in my eyes.

For the evening performance we have Alexandra Burke back as Delores,who was just brilliant, as usual. Again yet another fabulous show, two in the same day and both phenomenal performances, every person seems to put in so much into each and every show, making the audience love every minute. For me watching brilliant shows like this really helps and just makes the whole weekend come alive. 

One more thing before I end. April has been an incredible birthday month for me, with 18 performances of shows over the period. Dirty Dancing, Cirque Berserk, Rent, The Commitments, The Play that goes wrong, Sister Act and Caroline Sheen. Quite a lot to put in over 30 days. I loved every show I watched, but I have to say that Rent was just Brilliant, probably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Caroline Sheen was Magnificent. Also Alexandra Burke and Sally Peerless from Sister Act have been immense on the performances I’ve seen so far. Wouldn’t it be brilliant to see Caroline Sheen, Christina Modestou and Lucie Jones, with backing from Andrew Hopkin (Piano) and Sally Peerless (Vocals and Sax), and a guest appearance from Alexandra Burke, appear in Ffresh Caberet bar for a few evenings, now that would be a classy evening’s entertainment. Although I think I may be dreaming a little bit, but you never know, stranger things have happened.

Sister Act (2nd performance).

Saturday 22nd April 2017, and would you believe it, I’m back at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for my 2nd performance of Sister Act. This has been a phenomenal weekend for me, with the superb vocal talent of Caroline Sheen on Friday, (who I’m still raving about to anyone who will listen), a show I will never forget in my lifetime, have I mentioned just how brilliant Caroline’s show actually was, and that voice, fabulous absolutely fabulous. On to tonight and the vocal talents of Alexandra Burke and Sally Peerless, three superb vocalists in the space of two incredible days.

Sister Act is another ‘feel good’ show, with again some fabulous singing from a Fantastic cast. With most of the cast playing the instruments live on stage, the backstage band covers the times we don’t see the on stage musicians. The set is designed to maximise the space on the stage, with a balcony area for the musicians to assemble for the big numbers, along with a glamorous, party-like finale to the show, where all the stage areas are used to their full potential. 

So to tonight’s Performance, and as usual, the singing was outstanding, from all the cast. The scene where the Nuns enter, playing their instruments and singing horribly out of tune, bring laughs galore to the auditorium. Although it must be so hard to sing that badly when you know yourself, just how good you can sing. The music is definitely 70’s style, with that disco feel to the proceedings, and I must admit to loving the music of the late 70’s and early 80’s, so this is right up my street.

I have to mention Just how amazing Alexandra Burke and Sally Peerless were in tonight’s show. Both have beautiful voices and use them so well. If Caroline Sheen was also in the show, it would have been absolutely superb.

Sister act.

An unexpected extra birthday treat today (Monday 17th April 2017), with a visit to the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for a performance of Sister Act. This musical has Alexandra Burke (in the lead role), as Delores van Cartier and is directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood. So it promises to be another feel good show, to round off the Easter holiday weekend.

One of the changes for tonight’s performance sees Sally Peerless as Sister Mary Robert. I remember a few years ago watching Saturday Night Fever which featured Sally in the cast, she played a mean saxophone live on stage, and was brilliant,just thought I’d mention that. One other thing to add, what a fabulous voice she has to go with her musician skills.

Alexandra Burke is fabulous, her voice is just heavenly, and she has great support from all the other cast, who also have some really amazing vocal ranges to choose from. Aaron Lee Lambert as Curtis was also brilliant. Another part of this show I really like is that most of the cast play the instruments live on stage, which add to the party so much, making you realise just how talented this assembled cast must be. 

I was very impressed with this production, very funny, brilliant music, fabulous singing and a very colourful set with a tremendous light show. Definitely one to watch again, which I probably will biting its two week run at the Centre.