Category Archives: Musical

Evita.

Saturday 1st September 2018, another weekend rolls into place, with an opportunity to watch one of the best musicals ever created, at one of the best theatres in Britain today. So I’m at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff for a performance of ‘Evita’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. I absolutely love this musical, having seen it previously at the New Theatre here in Cardiff, on many occasions.

Today’s cast has the absolutely amazing Lucy O’Byrne as Eva Peron, with Glenn Carter as Che, while Mike Sterling plays Juan Peron, who were also just superb in each role. Loads of great voices pack the Ensemble, including Oscar Balmaseda as Magaldi and Peron’s mistress played by Christina Hoey, who I’m so looking to see as she gets to sing one of the best songs in the show ‘Another suitcase in another hall’.

So many excellent songs through the performance, ‘ Oh what a circus, On this night of a thousand Stars, Eva beware of the city and Buenos Aires’ all follow on from each other and set the tone for the rest of the first act. The highlight of act two of course is ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ along with ‘High flying adored’, ‘Rainbow High’ and ‘The money keeps rolling in’, to name but a few. Although I have to say that all the songs are just superb, and sung brilliantly by the cast.

Getting onto the singing, I thought the standard was out of this world, I’ve mentioned Lucy already, but I need to reiterate just what an amazing voice she has along with Mike and Glenn, they added so much to this production. Whoever the producers cast on any given tour, give their all and it shows in the quality of these productions.

The dance routines were really good to watch as they took place throughout the show. I should also commend the Orchestra in the pit for their stunning portrayal of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s excellent music.

This musical is up there in my all time favourite top ten. It’s just superb and beautifully put together. It remains iconic in every way and will continue to watch on every tour possible, for as long as is humanly possible.

Let It Be.

Saturday 25th August 2018, and after a trip to Whitstable earlier in the week for a family wedding, (which was absolutely incredible), I’m back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for the Beatles musical ‘Let it Be’. Another musical I have yet to see, so this will add to my growing collection of shows. I’m quite looking forward to this, although I must admit to not being a huge Beatles fan, I prefer the band members solo careers, but knowing me as I do, I’ll probably love it.

The cast has Emanuele Angeletti as Paul, Michael Gagliano as John, John Brosnan is George, Ben Cullingworth as Ringo, with the fifth member the ‘musical director’ Michael Bramwell, who played all the other instruments the cast couldn’t.

These guys have actually blown me away, for me they are better than the original band, I’m loving this show, now that’s something I never thought I’d say. I love the little interludes between each set, showing different themes and songs of the period as the band progress through their timeline. I’d forgotten how many good songs these guys actually wrote, with the choice of playlist suiting this particular musical, only including their best songs, in my opinion anyway.

If the first act blew me away, then act two just sent me to moon and back. The imaginary concert was just superb, with loads of my favourite solo tracks played even better than the originals. I even had tears in my eyes at some of the songs, which I never thought I would for this musical. I have to mention the guitars during the show, played brilliantly by the onstage cast, in fact the whole session was jam packed full of magnificent musicianship (if that’s even a word) and amazing singing. A truly magnificent cast and only 5 people on stage.

I was a bit apprehensive about ‘let it Be’, but as usual I was wrong, it’s a absolutely fabulous musical extravaganza and definitely one to watch again.

Summer Holiday.

Saturday 18th August 2018, and after a three week break from the Theatre, I’m back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for the stage presentation of ‘Summer Holiday’ with the brilliant Ray Quinn in the title role. A film I may have watched hundreds of years ago as a kid, probably haven’t seen again for over 40 years, but if I’m honest, I’m actually looking forward to it, a chance to add another new show to my growing list and experience the wealth of theatrical talent that the UK has in abundance.

The one thing that determines a good show for me, is how I feel coming out of the theatre. Today I could have skipped around the Bay. I thoroughly enjoyed this musical, so much fun, some iconic songs brilliantly sung, the band in the pit playing their hearts out, great dance routines and a totally fabulous ending, getting the whole crowd involved.

Ray Quinn has such a fabulous voice, as does Sophie Matthew, although I was quite impressed with the whole cast, they all had great singing skills, put to the test in a classic stage remake of a classic film. I especially love ‘Bachelor Boy’ in the first act, also happens to be one of my favourite songs as a young lad growing up in the valleys. Along with a cracking duet of ‘The Young Ones’ in Act Two. Come to think of it, I was quite impressed with all the songs in the show, all sung brilliantly by a talented cast. Another musical I would watch again, if it tours again that is.

An Officer and a Gentleman.

Saturday 30th June 2018, after a 6 week break with no shows, I’m finally back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, for two performances of ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’. Again this is one of those times where I never really took much notice of the film, in fact, I cannot even remember watching said film, so this is a new experience for me, and another show to add to my growing tally of theatrical entertainment.Firstly can I just say ‘Oh My god’ what a fantastic musical, I never expected anything like this, just superb from start to finish. The cast for today’s performances bring another set of new names to enthuse over. Once again superb singing from all the cast including Emma Williams, Jonny Fines, Ian Mcintosh ,Jessica Daley and Keisha Atwell, I love the way the production team have changed the iconic 80’s songs in the show, to match up with the scenes, and just how well the cast come up with superb renditions of each song.

As they sang ”I want to know what love is’, which just happens to be one of my all time favourites, I just had tears in my eyes, the same could be said for ‘Alone’ in act two, another one of my favourite 80’s songs, with the same outcome. Another song that took my heart was ‘Family man’ sung brilliantly by Ian Mcintosh. Every number in that show was sung just superbly, I couldn’t fault any of it, and wouldn’t want to. Even songs I never liked when sung by the original artists, I totally loved with this cast singing them, and for me that’s a major success for any given show. The vocal talent we have in the UK is just awesome, we get to see new singers every week who totally blow us all away.

The finale had me as well, sadness and happiness in the space of a few minutes and the whole cast joining in with with ‘Up where we Belong’ to enormous cheers from a full, gratified audience.

I was so impressed with the whole make up of this wonderful musical extravaganza, watching it twice is even better, the Orchestra in the pit really helped with some wonderful renditions of great songs, musically they were incredible, another I would watch over and over even on future tours. I’m so glad to be back watching brilliant shows at a fabulous theatre, I never want to leave it so long between performances again, six weeks is way too long.

The last Ship.

Saturday 19th May 2018, another glorious day, so I’m back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for Two productions of ‘The last Ship’, with music for the show written by Sting. I’ve heard good reviews for this musical, really looking forward to watching its last two performances at the Centre before it carries on with its UK Tour.

This show has been a complete surprise, thoroughly enjoyed it. The singing was just superb, fabulous voices and harmonies to die for. A huge set with fantastic graphics and images all over. Richard Fleeshman as Gideon Fletcher and Frances McNamee playing Meg Dawson are just brilliant, shining bright like the sun in the daytime sky, very impressed with these two individuals. Bring in Penelope Woodman playing Peggy White (Matinee performance), who has a stunning singing voice, and you have the makings of a great show with these alone. Joe McGann and Katie Moore (playing Jackie White and Ellen Dawson respectively) also impressed enormously, again fabulous singing voices. In fact some of the harmonies with multiple singers involved were enough to reduce me to tears, as they were so beautiful to listen to.

The influence of the music and lyrics from Sting were eminent throughout, played to perfection from the onstage band, and sang brilliantly from the entire cast (as I think I may have mentioned already).

A great storyline as well, with so many changing scenes, motivating the entire show, captivating the audience at every opportunity. A few tears in the second act, but I’m used to that now, I’d probably cry at Pepper Pig shows if I ever went to see one.

I have to say that for a new musical this could go a long way given the chance. For me it was superb, one to watch again and again, and luckily for me I get to watch the evening performance as well.

Titanic the Musical.

Saturday 5th May 2018, yet again another glorious and sunny day here in Cardiff Bay, and another visit to the most impressive Millennium Centre, for two performances of ‘Titanic the Musical’. Another musical I have yet to see, although reading a few of the recent reviews, I’m really looking forward to watching this production.

From the start of this amazing show I couldn’t believe what I was watching and listening to. I honestly never imagined just how beautiful this production was. The music combined with the amazing on stage voices was just phenomenal, I think I had tears in my eyes on every song throughout. So emotional from the very start, within minutes you felt for everyone boarding that doomed ship, and got to know them in a very short space of time. The writers of this musical really pulled out all the stops in this fantastic show.

The cast in this production are so good, I’ve mentioned how good the voices are, with so many different singing ranges to choose, from all the team players. Also so many great scenes to take in throughout the show, meeting the main characters at the start, to the way the different classes of people were treated, and (for me) a beautiful ending, so tastefully done, with more stunning singing to close the show. Above all this musical really surprised me as it was just so brilliant from start to finish.

Judgement day.

Saturday 28th April 2018, today I’ve no show, but i’m with my son Andy and Hannah, visiting the Principality stadium in Cardiff city centre for ‘Judgement day’, superb rugby between the four great rugby regions of Wales.

Wow what a fabulous day we had, plenty of food, booze, and great friendship from all we had the pleasure of meeting. It’s so great to go out with my kids and their respective partners to witness life’s great adventures at first hand. I’ve forgotten how much I love my kids, and actually spending the time to get to know them and their loves as well. This day has been a brilliant chance for me to get back to the days of old and embrace my love of what means the most to me, and that is the happiness of my and my children.

Shrek the Musical (number 21).

Sunday 22nd April 2018, I’m back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for a rare Sunday Matinee, this week its ‘Shrek the Musical’, on it’s last day in the Capital before moving venues. I always like to catch the last show at the centre if possible and have done so on many occasions during my theatre visiting history, over the past 5 years or so.

For this afternoon performance we have Steffan Harri alongside Amelia Lily in the title roles, with Samuel Holmes and Marcus Ayton as Farquaad and Donkey respectively. I’ve mentioned before how brilliant Lucinda Shaw is as the voice of the Dragon, I also need to praise Jemma Revell as Gingy, so impressed with her voice too, as Gingy happens to be one of my favourite characters in the show. I remember how brilliant Nikki Bentley was in the role on the last tour, she is now wowing audiences as standby Elphaba in Wicked uk tour, we may even see Jemma doing the same in the next few years.

Yet another impressive performance from a talented cast of actors, it’s gone so quick these past two weeks, it’s amazing to have the chance to watch this show so many times over these two tours, and especially at the best theatre in the world, according to me anyway.

Shrek the Musical (number 19 and 20)

Saturday 21st April 2018, another glorious weekend in the making, so I’m back in Cardiff Bay to watch two performances of one of my favourite shows, ‘Shrek the Musical’, at the Millennium Centre. As you can see from the title, I’ve seen this show a few times over two tours, I never get bored watching it, the show is perfect for kids and adults combined. Both of my sons have now seen this, having grown up watching and loving the film, and I’m happy to announce they thought it was really good.

Today I get the opportunity to watch another actress playing the role of Fiona. Last week I got to see Laura Main, this week is the turn of Amelia Lily as the feisty Princess. Both were just brilliant, and may I say, have excellent singing voices to go with it. I also have the chance to watch Stefan Harri playing Shrek, again another lead with a great voice. (last week it was Micheal Carolan in the lead role). I have to commend the alternative cast members who are brilliant at what they do, as they add a different perspective to the part they play.

so many great things I love about this musical. Some amazing songs and music powerfully sung throughout, especially the Dragon scene (superb voice), the end of act one with ‘Who I’d be’ and also ‘Freak Flag’ in act two. The scenery, lighting and special effects also add to the spectacle that this show offers, to everyone in the auditorium. The comedy aspects of the show are also impressive, with most of the laughs arising from Lord Farquaad and his scenes. This spell in Cardiff has gone so quickly, with the final performance on Sunday, before the tour moves on.

Shrek the musical.

Saturday 14th April 2018, back at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay on this glorious sunny day (finally), for a performance of the utterly brilliant ‘Shrek the Musical’. Tonight’s show will actually be my 18th in all, over two tours, with a new cast to go with it. This happens to be one of my favourite musicals, although I love everything I see, but there are a few that stand out for making me feel so good about myself, this is one of them. It’s so funny with fabulous songs, you walk out of the theatre with a huge smile and feeling contentment throughout your whole self (if that makes sense to anyone but me).

The cast for today’s show consists of Michael Carolan as Shrek, with Laura Main as Princess Fiona, Samuel Holmes as Farquaad, Marcus Ayton playing Donkey and Joseph Dockree as Pinocchio. I must say the voice of the Dragon (Lucinda Shaw) was absolutely outstanding, as Candace was on the last tour. If I’m honest all the cast were again just brilliant,as usual. Another surprise was just how good was the voice of Laura Main, having watched call the midwife for so many years, I never realised she could sing, but was I really proved wrong with an excellent performance tonight.

Another favourite role in this show tonight would be that of Lord Farquaad (Samuel Holmes), he is hilarious, with great songs and quirky dance routines to aid him and his ensemble in supplying the big laughs throughout the show. Talking of the ensemble, who I mention on every occasion I can, were superb again, they perform every day with such precision and rarely get a mention, so it’s up to me to sing their praises.

On my birthday weekend I’ve had such a great day, watching one of my favourite musicals along with my son (Andy) his Girlfriend (Hannah) and my Mum (Hilary).