Avenue Q – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

Avenue Q – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

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The smash hit ‘Triple Crown’  Tony Award winning musical arrives in Eastbourne on the closing leg’s of its sell out 2019 UK tour and that’s good news for me as Avenue Q was always the ‘one that got away’, having missed its West End run.  So years of trying to catch this meant expectations were somewhat high as I sat down to see the Tuesday night showing at the wonderful Devonshire Park Theatre.  Did Avenue Q disappoint?  Nope.  Not in the slightest.

The story of a puppet called Princeton who wants to find his true purpose in life after he arrives on the titular New York street, Avenue Q is as rude & funny as it is uplifting and unforgettable… but then what would you expect from a musical that includes songs like “Everyone’s a little bit racist” and features former child TV star Gary Coleman as a lead character. Oh and don’t even get me started on the Big Bird riffing monster with a love of… well let’s just say the internet.  It’s not hard to see the DNA of Robert Lopez, who co-create The Book Of Mormon, firmly running throughout this.

As for this production, Cressida Carre delivers some first class staging, whilst the puppets are brought to life by the excellent human cast with sparkling delivery of the songs which range from sidesplittingly funny to touching and, ultimately, rather uplifting.  It may not be for everyone – for sure it’s probably one to avoid for children under 14 years old and those of a more prudish disposition as the content is more than a little mature and risqué at times. But see through that and ultimately you have a wonderful story about love, life and finding your true self that is as honest as musical theatre gets.

So after years of waiting to see Avenue Q it’s fair to say it smashed my expectations.  Yes it’s rude, yes it’s crude but it’s also oddly life affirming and it’s ultimate message is one that leaves you with a big goofy smile on your face.  And what more could you ask for Eastbourne in these troubled times…

Starring: Lawrence Smith, Cecily Redman,  Kate Monster, Tom Steedon, Megan Armstrong, Oliver Stanley.  Directed by Cressida Carre

Avenue Q is currently performing at The Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne from Monday 28th October to Saturday 2nd November 2019

 

 

 

 


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Amélie – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

Amélie – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

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Based on the five-time Oscar nominated film by french visionary Jean-Pierre JeunetAmélie tells the story of an extraordinary young woman who decides to intervenes in the lives of others to spread happiness and joy whilst in-turn struggling to find her own happiness.  Arriving at Eastbourne as part of a smash hit UK tour expectations were suitably high. Well I’m happy to say that Amiele is a real joy – a funny, charming and whimsical musical that revels in its quirkiness.   In fact it’s fair to say that You don’t so much watch Amelie as fall in love with it.

Jumping from one memorable tune to another, you quickly find yourself tapping your feel and exciting awaiting the next song. Also worth noting is Amelie’s unique staging, which very much sees the Orchestra as an integral part of both the show and cast. In all it just reinforces the dream like feel this musical has, as does the suitably bold, funny and smart direction.

The real win here however is Canadian lead Audrey Brisson who so perfect encapsulates the titular characters playfulness, leaping around the stage with seemingly boundless energy and excitement, that you almost could believe she was born to play this part.   As much as you quickly fall in love with Amelie as a musical, you certainly fall in love with Amelie the character first and foremost. Former Strictly star Danny Mac is also super charming as Amelie potential suitor and together the chemistry is nothing short of sparkling.  

So a combination of expert staging, captivating performances and catchy tunes make Amelie one of the most fun night outs I’ve had in ages, a show worthy of its considerable plaudits and expectations.  Highly recommended.

Starring: Audrey Brisson, Danny Mac, Sophie Crawford, Faoileann Cunningham, Rachel Dawson, Oliver Grant. Directed by Michael Fentiman

Amélie is currently performing at The Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne from Monday 09th September to Saturday 14th September 2019

 

 

 

 


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Deathtrap – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

Deathtrap – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

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Written by award-winning playwright and author Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives and Critics Choice) Deathtrap is described best as both a send up and salute to the mid- 20th century stage thriller.  It holds the record for the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway, and has previously been nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Play and now arrives in Eastbourne for a short run at the excellent Devonshire Park Theatre.

In short: Accomplished and celebrated playwright Sidney Bruhl is suffering from a bout of writer’s block and fading success.  But when he’s handed a once in a lifetime script for a gripping thriller from a student, Sidney sees a way out.  Could this be the play he needs to get back on top once again?

A play in two acts, Deathtrap is expertly performed, witty and sharply staged. It’s unexpected twists and turns both embraces and plays with tropes of the genre it resides in yet it’s never far from the demanded jump, surprise or scare.  Satire is often best when delivered so close to the truth and that is certainly true here. You can see why the play lapped up awards on its original runs.

Best of all the dialogue is sharply written and the cast are obviously relishing the opportunity to deliver such well written prose.  Special notes go out to Ross Waiton​ and Natasha Gray who manage to stand out from a uniformly excellent cast.

Deathtrap is not that play you expect.  It’s not even the play IT expects at times. No… Deathtrap is a razor sharp, playful put together mystery that surprises, delights and entertains in equal measure.  Highly recommended


Starring:
Ross Waiton​, Katy Dean, Natasha Gray, John Hester & Ewan Goddard. Directed by Phil Stewart

 

Deathtrap is currently performing at The Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne from Wednesday 10 July 2019 to Saturday 20 July 2019.

 

 

 

 


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Rocky Horror Show  – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

Rocky Horror Show – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

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Just to get this out of the way before we start… Rocky Horror Show is probably my favourite stage show of all time.  From its beginnings as a stage show to its cult film adaptation and back to a campy polished stage show, Rocky Horror in its various forms has entertained us for over forty years.  

 

So you’d think it would get a bit tired by now right?  Or it would loose some of that sparkle the eleventh time in… Wrong.  This 2018/19 touring production is as fresh, fun and over the top as ever.

 

The real revelation here is Stephen Webb.  A staple of numerous theatre & TV shows, Webb relishes the opportunity to turn it up to 11 as Frank-N-Furter unleashing his inner camp with relish and aplomb.  Now well into his tour of duty, Webb is nailing his Frank which is no mean feat if you consider some of the epic Franks that came before him ( David Bedella to name but one).

 

That said nowadays no touring version of Rocky Horror is complete without Kristian Lavercombe, who has logged over 1000 performances as Riff Raff across the globe yet delivers every line, song and snark like it was new.  He’s the heart and soul of this production and obviously still enjoys every moment.,

 

As for the rest of the cast… well for one it’s great to see Punt back as the Narrator, whose super comfortable in the role and knows exactly where to pause for the appropriate call backs and interactions (which came thick and fast). As always Rocky Horror is best enjoyed with a knowledgeable (and well turned out) crowd…



The songs, production and choreography are first class and you can’t help but be swept along in the breakneck pace on show here!

 

So strap on your heels, pull up your stockings and fasten that wig because Rocky Horror is by far the best time you will have this year!

 

Starring: Stephen Webb, Steve Punt, Joanne Clifton, Ben Adams, Kristian Lavercombe

 

The Rocky Horror Show is currently performing at The Congress Theatre in Eastbourne from Monday 27 May 2019 to Saturday 01 June 2019.

 

 

 

 


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