Category Archives: Musical

Miss Saigon (3rd and 4th performances).

After a rather hectic start to the morning with 4 inches of snow in Rhymney, I’ve finally made it to Cardiff Bay to watch two performances of Miss Saigon at the Millenium Centre. Really can’t wait to see this fabulous production again, it’s lavish, beautiful, full of amazing scenes, great music played by an incredible orchestra, with a host of truly magnificent singers throughout.

A few cast changes for the Matinee with Joreen Bautista as Kim, and Vinny Coyle playing Chris, again both actors are just brilliant in their respective roles. The show seems to grow in stature every time you watch. You think it can’t get better, then it surprises you, and suddenly it does get better. I’m really lucky in that I get to see it once more today, this time with Sooha Kim in the role of Kim, (who just happens to be brilliant as well).

With all the shows I watch I never seem to get bored, in fact the more I see them the more enthralled I get, even when I watch two in the same day. The theatre has a massive influence on myself at the moment, so much so I’m approaching my 5th anniversary of watching amazing shows, mostly at the best theatre in the world (The Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay).

Today’s performances were again outstanding, so much passion put into each and every show. The scenes with Ellen, Chris and Kim in both acts really bring tears to my eyes, very powerful, tense drama. It’s also worth a visit just to watch Ryan O’Gorman and the Ensemble sing Bui Doi at the start of act two, again brilliantly sung and so powerful. A brilliant show worth watching again and again.

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Miss Saigon (1st and 2nd performances).

Saturday 2nd December 2017, and after the success of Tiger Bay – the Musical (which I only saw 8 times) it’s time for a change and another new show. Miss Saigon is touring the country and has made its way to the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for the next 6 weeks. Yet another show I have yet to see live, watching on dvd is nowhere near as good as actually being in the theatre, with all the atmosphere and the hype surrounding such a major musical work. I also cannot wait to listen to the amazing voice of Ryan O’Gorman, having watched him as Tom Collins in Rent, and realising what an incredible voice this guy has.

What can I say, fabulous show, stunning voices from a fabulous cast. Music at its best played by an incredible orchestra. The biggest set I’ve ever seen at the Centre, complete with a stunning lighting rig. May I also say the sound system was extraordinary, with speakers on every level, giving you the impression of having your very own speaker, with exceptional quality to go with it.

The shows producers have come up with two stunning actresses to play Kim. The matinee saw Joreen Bautista and the evening performance from Sooha Kim. An incredible performance from Red Concepcion as the Engineer with some fabulous singing from Ashley Gilmore (Chris) and Ryan O’Gorman (John). May I also add some outstanding voices from all of the cast, who really make this show so delightful to watch and listen to.

Most of the scenes in this production are incredible, with so many unforgettable moments, including the iconic helicopter scene, which, literally takes your breath away and has to be witnessed first hand to be fully appreciated, just incredible. Need to see this fabulous show again, hopefully more on the way next week.

Tiger Bay (8th performance).

Saturday 25th November 2017, and for my second show this at back to the Millenium Centre was n Cardiff Bay for my 8th and final performance of Tiger Bay – the Musical. I’m really going to miss this excellent show, with so much amazing talent on offer, it was a privilege to have seen this 8 times, I could have seen this many more times, and really hope that the Centre can get this brilliant production out on the road for a UK tour in the not to distant future.

Tonight’s last performance was amazing yet again, a tearfest at the end, with two weeks of sheer brilliance, I have to mention the orchestra, who have been magnificent throughout, under the Baton of David Mahoney. The cast have also been magnificent, with the show getting better on every performance. I have to say we have found two stars for the future in Ruby Llewelyn and Louise Harvey, who were just magnificent. The lead cast and ensemble were phenomenal, as they always have been and as I’ve said before, so much talent on offer, to make this show really special. For me it has been just brilliant.

Legally Blonde.

Saturday 25th November 2017, coming to the end of my show weekend with the first of two musicals today. Firstly I’m at the New Theatre in Cardiff for ‘Legally Blond’, which happens to be my 150th single show, another milestone in my watching career. With an all star cast including the brilliant Lucie Jones, along with Bill Ward and Rita Simmonds.Looking forward to watching this show, it has that feel good aura surrounding the production, and the Brilliant Lucie Jones should definitely bring that to the show. Looking at the show programme I see a few other names from previous shows with Liam Doyle (Fiyaro in Wicked), Mark Peachey (Mamma Mia and Lion King), I always look to see how other stars I’ve seen before, appear on other shows, it’s nice to see them back in different roles.

So to the show and a cast change with Lucyelle Cliffe as Paulette. Really fabulous first act, so colourful, funny and great singing from the cast. The costumes are excellent, really colourful and full of life itself. I have to say that Lucie Jones as Elle is absolutely fabulous, spectacular voice, and so full of beans, an amazing talent. I can’t say enough about this girl, she was fabulous as Maureen in Rent, and just incredible with this. Lucie made this show so amazing to watch, that’s the biggest accolade I can give, and she thoroughly deserves it.

Again the production team have assembled a really good cast, so many good aspects, good dance routines from the ensemble, really impressed with the end result. I loved the court scenes in the second act, so funny and fabulously choreographed. I felt like getting up and dancing along with them. Brilliant just brilliant. A massive thumbs up to the whole cast as well, just Superb.

The show is another one of those musical extravaganza’s you just have to see, it makes you feel so warm and happy inside, a little bit like Hairspray or Mamma Mia, wouldn’t mind seeing it again on its next tour.

Tiger Bay (7th performance).

Part of my long weekend of watching musical extravaganza’s, with another visit to Cardiff Bay and the Millenium Centre, for more of the absolutely brilliant Tiger Bay – the Musical. It’s Friday 24th November 2017, and a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a long walk around the Bay, another pastime I really enjoy, listening to some of my favourite songs on my playlists, just having a ball of a day so far, also taking in the stunning views, before tonight’s show.

Continuing on today with the music and songs for this amazing show. Act two now comes into focus, and again, this is full of wonderful pieces. We begin with the opening sequence and a reminder of the story so far. Moving onto the child cast performing the Rigging Class, I must say these kids are so talented and just add momentum to a scintillating score. Moving onto ‘Someone Else’ another beautiful song by Rowena and Themba, these two (Vicki and Dom) have such fantastic voices. The next scene is one of my favourite parts of the show, as Ianto and the Marquess (Louise or Ruby sing with the legendary John Owen Jones) continue with ‘My name is John’, a brilliant song with a touch of comedy to it and a twist built in as well. Another point on the subject, as I’ve said before the two girls who play Ianto, Ruby Llewelyn and Louise Harvey are brilliant, such young local talent, so much confidence, really impressed with both girls.

As the plot moves on with Ianto and the Marquess heading out into the bay, the scene changes again to Morgan’s Shop where we hear the iconic song of the show. Every musical has one and this is probably going to be the one to define this show. Sung amazingly, brilliantly in fact,by Vicki Bebb, ‘Who I Am’ is the song of the show. Every time I hear this song I have tears in my eyes, it’s so beautifully sung and brings a huge cheer from the audience. It also showcases the magnificent voice Vicki has, I could never get bored listening to this magical piece of music.

The show moves on again, with the ensemble taking over, giving us more great songs that ring out around the auditorium, until we move to another beautifully sung piece of music, ‘Taste of Home’, again the credit goes to Vicki and Dom for this fabulous song. This leads us to the finale scenes, with more superb songs and another twist in the plot heading our way. The whole cast just keep singing throughout the final scenes, with John Owen Jones adding his incredible vocal talent to the fray. I have to mention one more song sung by Klondike Ellie (Busisiwe Ngejane) ‘Just like all of you’, is yet another superb song, and with Busisiwe’s stunning voice we have a fabulous ending to an incredible show. As I’ve said before the whole cast are exceptional, with every member having such fabulous voices, that’s why this show is so good.

Tiger Bay (5th and 6th performances).

Thursday 23rd November 2017, another short week in work, enabling me to to attend more showings of the brilliant Tiger Bay Musical at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay. Having watched this amazing show 4 times last week, I need to carry on from there with another blitz of performances in its second week, starting with another two today. This musical just gets better and better, and because I watch from different seats all over the auditorium, I manage to get to see different aspects of the show literally every time. Today I’m in The raised stalls and the upper circle, changing the whole performance from matinee to evening. I love the fact that I’m able to achieve this, as it does actually enhance each show, as you notice things you wouldn’t have noticed before from each separate vantage point.

Today I’d like to talk about the music (written by Daf James) and songs (lyrics by Michael Williams) for this show. Again I’ve been so impressed with how surprisingly good this section of the Musical has been. Loads of catchy tunes, a few masterpieces that could one day become associated with this show, and a general all round wow factor, as these songs come at you thick and fast.

John Owen Jones starts us off before we begin to see the whole cast with the opening sequence. The songs at the start are lively, catchy and really singalongable if you’ve seen it as much as I have. We meet Rowena (Vikki Bebb) with a sweet song sung along with the Shop girls and mr Locke. Leading on to Rowena singing ‘There are moments in your life’, a beautiful song, which calms down proceedings a little after a brilliant and hectic opening. The pace then speeds again until we hear the excellent John Owen Jones with his song to his lover ‘Mary’, yet another beautiful piece of music sung to perfection. Another song I totally love is ‘Harbour Master of your heart’ sung by O’Rourke, Rowena and Klondike along with members of the Ensemble.

An aptly titled song followes with the cast performing ‘let the Brains Dark Run, which moves nicely, once again to yet another beautiful and moving song Shadowlands (for me, one of the best pieces in the first act). Act one’s finale is another highly rousing piece of music sung by the whole company, bringing down the curtain for a brilliant first act. Act two tomorrow

Tiger Bay (3rd and 4th performances).

Continuing my long weekend of watching theatrical shows, it’s Saturday 18th November 2017, back at Cardiff Bay for two more performances of Tiger Bay – the Musical, premiering at the magnificent Millenium Centre. Yesterday I spoke about the host of amazing voices on show in this musical, only getting as far as the Male cast, so in fairness I want to talk about the fabulous range of female voices.

I have to start with Vikki Bebb,extremely talented and a fantastic voice, such a pleasure to sit and listen to her belt out these songs in the best theatre in the world. I’d never heard Suzanne Packer singing before, but I was quite surprised just how good her voice was, and a real treat to know that a well know actor can actually sing, (reference to the abysmal Les Mis film with well known actors that could not sing). Moving onto Busisiwe Ngejane who plays Klondike Ellie, yet another beautiful voice, whose tones ring out over this magnificent auditorium.

As with yesterday and the Male contingent, the same things happen all over again, with even more fabulous voices heading our way, in the form of Zoe George, Lucy Elson and Elin Llwyd, with simply wonderful harmonies eminating from this trio. As usual it doesn’t end there, with Liz May Brice as the medium along with the remainder of the female members of the Ensemble, adding their vocal talents to proceedings.

Another brilliant aspect of this show is the casting of two local Welsh schoolgirls in the role of Ianto. Louise and Ruby just ooze talent, literally stealing the show at every opportunity. These youngsters will only get better and are at that age when shows like Matilda should show an interest.

I’ve heard a few reports that the music sounds like sections from other shows, (myself I can’t see that), so what, in the music world I’ve heard so many top artists nicking other peoples music and adding their own lyrics just to sell records. We never seem to complain about that, so why can’t we just leave this Superb show alone and just concentrate on the fact that it’s really good entertainment and has some of the most beautiful singing voices on offer, with every single cast member giving their all. I think we need to talk more about the positives on any given show than bringing up negative press, I think that’s why I love everything I see, I look for all the good things and disregard any not so good. There I’ve said it.

Tiger Bay – the Musical (2nd performance).

Friday 17th November 2017, another day off work enabling me to attend another performance of the brilliant ‘Tiger Bay musical’. I was so impressed with yesterday’s show, blown away in fact, so today I’m here in Cardiff Bay really early in anticipation of another fabulous days entertainment. As I have a bit more time to talk today, I think I would like to talk more about the superb voices on show for this excellent musical.

It’s really difficult to single actors out in this show, as all of the cast are brilliant, with so many strong, powerful and even beautiful voices lingering throughout this musical. Just listening to John Owen Jones, as the Marquess of Bute, is worth the admission money on its own, probably the best Male theatrical voice you will ever hear, with great support from Dom Hartley – Harris (Themba Sideko), who, in himself has another stunning voice, worthy of gracing any stage. Carrying on with great voices we have Noel Sullivan (Seamus O’Rourke) and Ian Virgo (Arwen Jenkins), impressive vocal talent from both, and if that’s not enough then Rhydian Marc, Zolani Shangase and Luvo Rasameni come along to bolster the ever growing array of talented singers.

I have to mention the two young girls playing Ianto last night was Louise Harvey tonight was Ruby Llewelyn, and I have to say just how brilliant both girls are in the role, great voices for kids so young. A real treat to listen to this wonderful talent.

You would think it would end there, but, as usual the Ensemble then add another layer of singing perfection to the show, with even more talented singers bursting out all over the place. Then the kids come out and play an absolute blinder, and that’s just the Male cast members, I haven’t even got to the Female members yet. That will probably be my next instalment of Tiger Bay.

Tonight’s show was again just superb. Sitting a bit higher in the auditorium tonight has given me a different view of proceedings. I have to say that second time around the show just gets better and better.

Tiger Bay – the Musical.

Thursday 16th November 2017, a few extra days off work this week, as a treat for myself. Today I’m watching a performance of the ‘Millenium Centre production of Tiger Bay the Musical’. Boasting a very impressive cast, including the legendary John Owen Jones, Noel Sullivan, Suzanne Packer, Vicki Bebb, Dom Hartley – Harris and Louise Harvey as Ianto. I’m so looking forward to tonight’s show immensely. The last Centre production of Only the Brave was amazing, and from what I’ve heard from staff around the venue, this may well be another brilliant show.

Yet again another fabulous show, I was so impressed with the immaculate singing throughout the performance, with every person involved singing with passion and commitment for the role they played. This musical just flowed from scene to scene with ease, I couldn’t keep my eyes off it, taking joy from every moment I could. I heard a few of the critics not giving this show a good write up. Are they kidding, were they actually watching the same show as me. Well don’t listen to those so called professionals, for me this musical had everything I could have wanted from a show. I cried in so many places, laughed and just had a fantastic time watching this superb show.

May I also say, that the development team at the Centre were awesome tonight, with a few pre and after show get together put on for the worthy supporters of this amazing venue, thank you to all the team involved tonight, and for making us feel so welcome, a massive round of applause to all of you.

Beautiful (2nd and 3rd performances).

Saturday 4th November 2017, and I’m back at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for two more performances of the excellent Carole King Musical ‘Beautiful’. Today is another milestone for me as the matinee will be my 400th performance of a show in all theatres since December 2012 (for the record I’ve seen 148 single shows in that time). So a little bit of a celebration today, I might treat myself to a glass of Lemonade in the bar before the show.

For today’s musical extravaganza we have Bronte Barbe (who I last saw playing Princess Fiona in the touring production of Shrek, she was also brilliant in that as well) playing Carole. It’s brilliant that I’ve now had the chance to watch Leigh and Bronte play this role, and may I say how magnificent they both are, so impressive. Also in the show I have the chance to see the brilliant Amy Ellen Richardson as Cynthia Weil, who I last saw playing Kathy Seldon in Singin in the rain when it toured a few years ago, she was amazing then and is just made for this role at this time.

The music Carole and Gerry wrote was just phenomenal, along with Cynthia and Barry the two couples were trying to outdo each other for hit records for others to sing. The show revolves around them, until ‘Tapestry’, an album she wrote and sung all her own songs. ‘It’s too late’ just happens to be one of my all time favourite pieces of music, with the girls on stage singing it beautifully, so good it brought tears to my eyes, listening to them belt out this superb number.

I love the way the ensemble play all the top bands of the era and just how amazingly good they all are, of course the songs are legendary and will probably be played for a lot more years to come. I also love the end and the way Bronte and Leigh immortalise the songs I myself love from Carole’s repertoire. Again there were tears for It’s too late, You’ve got a friend and Natural Woman, which were performed brilliantly.

There are times when I wished I could have booked the week off work and came to watch all of the shows, this fabulous musical would have been in that bracket. It’s just brilliant. My life has been so enriched watching these superb shows, long may it continue.