REVIEW: Ghost Stories ★★★★★ – Lyric Hammersmith

“…deeply terrifying…a masterclass in live horror

★★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

Ghost Stories is a play by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. It follows the story of Professor Goodman, a man who has dedicated his life to debunking supernatural experiences people claim to have had, telling the audience that there is a natural, logical explanation for everything. Yet, he admits to being unable to explain three cases.

The narrative flips between Professor Goodman discussing his beliefs and the re-enactments of these three cases, switching between the safety of a lecture hall and the heart-pounding terror of the ghost stories. But is the lecture hall really as safe as it seems?

The plot twists and turns as the terror unfolds and the drama mounts. What drives Professor Goodman in his work? What happened in his past which motivates him to seek the truth? What’s his own personal ghost story? The ending of the play is truly chilling – but you’ll just have to go and see this one to see for yourself…if you dare!

The cast comprises: Simon Lipkin (All In A Row, Nativity, The Wind In The Willows) as Professor Goodman, Garry Cooper (The White Devil, The Gentlemen of Verona, Henry VI trilogy) as Tony Matthews, Preston Nyman (Catch 22, Silent Witness, Doctors (TV)) as Simon Rifkind, and Richard Sutton (The Cow Play, Transmissions, Tall Phoenix) as Mike Priddle. All four give outstanding performances.

Thrilling, chilling, shocking and deeply terrifying, Ghost Stories is a masterclass in live horror – this decade’s The Woman In Black.

Ghost Stories is showing at the Lyric Hammersmith, extended due to popular demand, until 18th May (to book tickets, click here).

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Unexpected Joy ★★★★ – Southwark Playhouse

“…witty, sassy, warm-hearted, relatable, and, as the title promises, joyful.”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

 

Unexpected Joy is a musical created by Bill Russell and Janet Hood, a piece which they began writing before gay marriage was made legal in the USA, and it remains relevant today as battles for rights still continue to rage.

The story is centred around three generations of strong women: the eponymous Joy, a singer-songwriter hippie with a fun-loving, love-all approach to life; her daughter, the conflicted and confused Rachel, whose reaction to her upbringing has led her to a strong Christian faith, but yet her fundamental beliefs are at war with her desire for peace in her family; and Tamara, Rachel’s daughter, a sassy, freedom-seeking adolescent. The family reunion rapidly descends into chaos when Joy reveals she is going to get married again – to Lou, a female musician with views vastly different from Rachel’s, and this adds more feistiness and spice to the already heated situation.

Each of the four characters have undeniable flaws and difficulty in expressing their emotions, and they find security and certainty in passionately standing up for what they believe in, no matter how contrary it is to the beliefs of those around them. The four are each very different people, but they are brought together by love and their passion for music, and, in the end, acceptance of their diversity.

The cast of four comprises: Janet Fullerlove (Oxy and the Morons, Fiddler on the Roof, Shakespeare in Love) as Joy, Jodie Jacobs (Myth, Bananaman, Lizzie) as Rachel, Kelly Sweeney (professional debut) as Tamara, and Melanie Marshall (Jane Eyre, Guys and Dolls, The Infidel) as Lou. The four have fantastic, powerhouse voices and maintain an obvious chemistry while their very different characters go off in their separate directions.

Unexpected Joy is witty, sassy, warm-hearted, relatable, and, as the title promises, joyful. It’s wonderful to see a show with such strong female leads, and the uplifting story is accompanied by a delightful score, including, ‘Like A Good Girl’, ‘What A Woman Can Do’, ‘You Are My Worst Nightmare’ and ‘Unexpected Joy’.

Unexpected Joy is showing at the Southwark Playhouse until 29th September (to book tickets, click here). For more information on your visit to the Southwark Playhouse, read our guide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Little Shop of Horrors ★★★★ – Open Air Theatre

“…a colourful, camp riot of a show – bizarre, tongue-in-cheek, and a black comedic enigma”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

 

Little Shop of Horrors is a spoof musical by Howard Ashman, with music by Alan Menken, based on the 1960 black comedy b-movie of the same name. The musical debuted on Off-Broadway in 1982, where it ran for five years and became the third longest running musical and highest grossing Off-Broadway show in history. This production is the show’s second revival in London, following the original West End run at the now Harold Pinter Theatre (then Comedy Theatre) in 1983, and the first revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2006 starring Sheridan Smith as Audrey.

The story revolves around a man-eating plant named Audrey II, which came to Earth following a “total eclipse of the sun” and is nurtured by the meek and mild, hapless Seymour, who works at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist, and who names the plant after Audrey, his co-worker and secret crush. Audrey II is played by drag queen, Vicky Vox, who has magnetic stage presence and both amuses and horrifies with the continual delivery of the plant’s catchphrase, “Feed me!”. The plant takes on a life of its own, blackmailing Seymour into feeding it more people after devouring Audrey’s sadistic, unhinged, dentist boyfriend, Orin (played by Matt Willis (Busted (band), Footloose, Wicked), in return for making Seymour and Mr Mushnik’s (played by Forbes Masson (Summer and Smoke, Big Fish, Boudica)) failing florist shop, famous and successful. Mushnik later adopts orphan Seymour as his son to ensure his loyalty to the business in the disguise of kindness and affection with musical number ‘Mushnik and Son’.

In addition, there is a cutesy, yet foreseeably ill-fated, romance between Seymour and Audrey, for which Marc Antolin (The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Into the Woods, Romantics Anonymous) and Jemima Rooper’s (The Norman Conquest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Respectable Wedding) overblown, animated caricature performances suit perfectly.

The setting for the story is Skid Row, a grungy, run-down part of New York, and Tom Scutt’s set design paints the scene of urban decay, city crowding and claustrophobia surprisingly well in the open-to-the-elements venue.

The trio of street girls, Christina Modestou (Six, Rent, Shrek) as Ronnette, Renee Lamb (Six) as Chiffon, and Seyi Omooba (Ragtime, Junkyard, Boxed) as Crystal, serve as the narrators of the show with their powerhouse vocal performances which shine through, never better than in the opening number of the show, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. The score includes many other songs including, ‘Grow For Me’, ‘Suddenly, Seymour’, ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ and ‘Skid Row’.

Little Shop of Horrors combines themes of horror, romance, sci-fi, and urban decay. Satirising each element, this production is a colourful, camp riot of a show – bizarre, tongue-in-cheek, and a black comedic enigma.

Little Shop of Horrors is showing at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 22nd September (to book tickets, click here).Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Eugenius ★★★ – The Other Palace

“…lots of fun, entertaining and truly the geek-power musical”

★★★

West End Theatre Guide

 

 

 

Eugenius is a musical by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins. This production at The Other Palace marks its world premiere. The musical follows the story of Eugene, a high school boy with a passionate interest in comics, and his two friends, Janey and Feris, who share his interest. Eugene writes his own comic featuring Tough Man and Super-Hot Lady as the principal characters. A visit to the high school from a Hollywood producer presents the opportunity to take Tough Man to the big screen, and what follows is a series of trials which teach Eugene to be his own hero, follow his dreams and, chiefly, stay true to himself.

It is, in a lot of ways, a stereotypical story of a naïve boy with an idea that gets picked up by an industry expert and the boy, too trusting and too grateful for the opportunity, allows himself to be guided and his work corrupted, despite his friends trying to tell him to stand up for himself and the integrity of his work. However, Eugenius does have an interesting twist when Evil Lord Hector, the villain from Eugene’s comic, shows up on the film set, with disastrous consequences.

As well as references to superheroes and comics, the show also features wonderful parodies of musicals, including Chicago, Les Miserables, and Flashdance (which co-creator Ben Adams is currently starring in the UK tour production of as Nick Hurley).

The cast of this production were all superb, with standout performances from Laura Baldwin (Big Fish, The Little Beasts, Peter Pan) as Janey, Daniel Buckley (Fiver, Dead Simple, Jest End) as Feris, Scott Paige (The Addams Family, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Made In Dagenham) as Theo, and Cameron Blakely (The Addams Family, Into The Woods, Oliver!) as Lex.

Eugenius is a little slow to start but, when it does get off the ground, it is lots of fun, entertaining and truly the geek-power musical. The musical’s biggest strength is the catchy score, which is indeed ingenious, including, ‘Who’s That Guy?’, ‘Hollywood’, ‘The No Pants Dance’, and the title track, ‘Go Eugenius’.

Eugenius is showing at the Other Palace until 3rd March (to book tickets, click here). For more information on your visit to the Other Palace, read our guide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: The Woman In White ★★★★ – Charing Cross Theatre

“…a thrilling, haunting story of a love triangle surrounded by greed, betrayal, deceit and misinformation”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

The Woman in White is a musical written by Charlotte Jones, with music from Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel, based on the novel by Wilkie Collins. The musical debuted in the West End in September 2004 and on Broadway a year later. This production, at the Charing Cross Theatre, marks its first West End revival since closing in early 2006.

The musical begins with Walter Hartright making his way to Limmeridge House where he has been commissioned as drawing teacher to the two young ladies who reside there, half-sisters Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie. On his way there, his journey is disrupted by “danger on the line” and a signalman’s eerie prediction of death, and he then has a spine-chilling encounter with a woman dressed all in white, who is fleeing from someone and who has a secret she can’t share with anyone. Confused and unnerved, Hartright arrives at Limmeridge and is instantly taken aback by the beautiful and talented Laura, to the dismay of Marian (regarded as the plainer of the ladies) who’s also fallen for him. Unfortunately, Laura is promised to another by her father’s dying wish, and she marries Sir Percival Glyde, but he and his best man for the wedding, Count Fosco, turn out to be anything but the wealthy, upper-class gentlemen they purport to be, and what then ensues is a struggle by the women, Marian, Laura and the wronged “woman in white”, to fight against the tyrannical and dastardly men, with the help of the honest and faithful Walter Hartright.

The overwhelming message of the musical is how women of the time were powerless against the hand of men, being expected to fall into line with whatever their husbands/fathers wished, and it also makes the important point that first impressions are not always what they seem, in both the cases of Glyde and Fosco, but also in the case of the mysterious “woman in white” herself.

The cast of this revival production are outstanding: Carolyn Maitland (You Know How to Love Me, Ghost, Groundhog Day) as Marian, Anna O’Byrne (My Fair Lady, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies) as Laura, Sophie Reeves (Les Miserables, Candide, Into The Woods) as Anne Catherick, Ashley Stillburn (The Phantom of the Opera, The Braille Legacy, Death Takes A Holiday) as Walter, Greg Castiglioni (Fiddler on the Roof, Titanic, Evita) as Fosco, Chris Peluso (Funny Girl, Death Takes A Holiday, Miss Saigon) as Sir Percival Glyde.

The musical score by Webber and Zippel is superb with standout numbers including, ‘I Believe My Heart’, ‘All for Laura’ and ‘You Can Get Away with Anything’.

The Woman in White is a thrilling, haunting story of a love triangle surrounded by greed, betrayal, deceit and misinformation, culminating in a chilling ending which brings the musical full circle, beginning and ending on the rail-track with the signalman’s prediction and the woman in white.

This production of The Woman in White running at the Charing Cross Theatre from 20th November 2017 to 10th February 2018 (to book tickets, click here). For more information on your visit to the Charing Cross, read our guide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Hair ★★★★★ – The Vaults

“…a beautiful piece of theatre, championing love, peace, and patriotism for the world”

★★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

Hair is a musical created by Jim Rado and Gerome Ragni who met in 1964 when they were both cast in an off-Broadway production of Hang Down Your Head and Die. They began writing Hair later on that year and, in 1967, Hair opened on off-Broadway. The musical was revised for a Broadway transfer and it opened three months later in late April 1968. During Hair’s transition period from off-Broadway to on-Broadway, civil rights figurehead Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, giving Hair’s message of equality and fighting for human rights even more poignancy.

Hair is widely regarded as a game-changer in the world of theatre, being seen as a show which pushed so many boundaries. The anti-war stigma, acts of flag desecration, drug use and nudity on stage were controversial in 1960s USA, and the West End production’s opening was delayed until theatre censorship was abolished in the UK in September 1968.

Hair is a timeless piece in that its references to equal rights for women, racial and ethnic minorities, and gay and lesbian communities still resonate in today’s society and are still being fought for. The spectre of the Vietnam War in the show and fears over nuclear weapons and nuclear war are also starkly relevant now.

Whilst this musical is about the youth of the 1960s, the themes echo through all subsequent young generations, who feel they are regarded as lacking in responsibility and want older generations to hear their voice. Indeed, the show directly invites parents to go home and “…make a speech to their teenagers and say: Kids, be free, no guilt, be whoever you are, do whatever you want.”  There were some modern-day references to Trump and Obama added into this production, but as they were only passing comments that didn’t then really go anywhere, it felt unnecessary and didn’t really fit with the 1960s hippie vibe. There is, however, in this production a strong relevance to today’s society for all people, of all ages, as people become increasingly disillusioned with politics and the Establishment, and it’s all too easy to relate to Hair’s story and to see elements of it being re-played in real-life time and again.

This 50th anniversary production brings together a fantastic cast to perform Galt MacDermot’s diverse genre score (with lyrics by Ragni and Rado), including ‘Aquarius’, ‘I Got Life’, ‘Let The Sun Shine In’ and ’Hippie Life’.   There were standout performances from Andy Coxon (Yank!, The Last Five Years, Beautiful) as Berger, Robert Metson (The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Bear, I’ll Be Seeing You) as Claude, and Shekinah McFarlane (Tommy, Parade, The Lion King) as Dionne.

Hair is a beautiful piece of theatre, championing love, peace and patriotism for the world, not just for one country. It is a timeless theatre classic which will never lose its relevance, and whilst some of the messages are serious, the cast leave their audience uplifted with a really fun end of show party.

This 50th anniversary production of Hair is showing at The Vaults until 13th January 2018 (to book tickets, click here). For more information on your visit to The Vaults, read our guide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Working ★★★★ – Southwark Playhouse

“…beautifully captures everyone’s yearning for leaving a legacy”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide

 

Working is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, with additional music from selected composers (Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Taylor, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Craig Carnelian and Micki Grant).  It was inspired and based on Studs Terkel’s oral histories and books.

In 1952, Studs Terkel began his weekly broadcast ‘The Studs Terkel Program’ which aired for 45 years.  On his show, Terkel interviewed a wide variety of famous guests (including Martin Luther King, Bob Dylan and Tennessee Williams) and also ordinary working people.

The musical spans from the mass manufacturing era, when working conditions were poor, exploitation high, and workers’ rights non-existent, through the height of workers’ unions and those then being crippled by the politicians of the time, and also the loss of manufacturing jobs due to foreign competition and technology.  Through all of these changes and transitions, one thing was constant: that people often define themselves by what they do for a living.

The musical is presented in a series of sketches, where workers, in the words of Studs Terkel’s show subtitle, “Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do”.  From “Satan bosses”, driven executives, frustrated interns, delivery boys and waitresses delighting at the words “keep the change”, call centre workers, housewives, steelworkers, from those starting out in an industry, to juggling work and family, and the anti-climax of retirement, Working strikes a chord with every worker.

This production was cast with the purpose of having six experienced actors and six actors entering show business for the first time.  The whole cast were outstanding, with Krysten Cummings (Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Descent Part 2), Peter Polycarpou (Follies, City of Angels, The Pajama Game), Izuka Hoyle (debut) and Huon Mackley (debut) giving standout performances.

The musical score covers a wide range of genres, including country, with ‘Brother Trucker’, theatrical, with ‘It’s An Art’, and rhythm and blues with ‘Cleanin Women’.  The musical’s closing message beautifully captures everyone’s yearning for leaving a legacy in something they’ve built, something they’ve contributed or created – something to point to that makes their life worthwhile.

This production is showing at the Southwark Playhouse from 2nd June to 8th July (to book tickets, click here).  For more information on your visit to the Southwark Playhouse, read our guide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Whisper House ★★★★ – The Other Palace

“…subtly spine-chilling with a sinister atmosphere”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide London

 

Whisper House is a ghost story written by Kyle Jarrow with a musical score by Duncan Sheik (American Psycho, Spring Awakening).  It is set in a lighthouse on the East Coast of America at the height of World War II when German U-boats were active on the coastlines and lighthouses were used as a key weapon of defence.

Whisper House follows the story of young Christopher who has been sent to live with his Aunt Lily, who runs the lighthouse, with the help of Japanese immigrant, Yasuhiro.  Christopher soon hears the whispering voices of the two resident ghosts who haunt the shadows of his new home, and his fear is heightened by the local Sheriff, who regales him with the tale of the unfortunate passengers who lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast of the lighthouse.

The story powerfully depicts WWII xenophobia in a time when President Roosevelt’s 1942 executive order made it mandatory for immigrants from Japan, Italy and Germany to register with the government and declared that certain areas were to be restricted and immigrant-free.  This order paved the way for the later deportation of these immigrants to camps.  This xenophobic note continues through the piece, seen through the treatment of Yasuhiro, who despite proving himself to be loyal and caring, is still punished for his nationality.

Simon Bailey (Jersey Boys, I Can’t Sing, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamboat) and Niamh Perry (Exposure, Mamma Mia, The Beautiful Game) played the ominous, sinister ghosts and performed Jarrow and Sheik’s musical score brilliantly.  Simon Lipkin (Guys and Dolls, Miss Atomic Bomb, I Can’t Sing) gave a menacing performance as the xenophobic and dutiful sheriff.

The musical score is excellent, with ‘The Tale of Solomon Snell’ being a standout number.  Lipkin, Bailey and Perry’s performance of this number was spectacular and haunting.  The recurring song ‘Better To Be Dead’ is also memorable and very fitting.

Whisper House is subtly spine-chilling with a sinister atmosphere that thrills as the darkest secrets surrounding the lighthouse reveal themselves.

Whisper House is showing at The Other Palace until 27th May 2017 (to book tickets, click here).  For more information on your visit to The Other Palace, read our guide.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Lizzie ★★★★★ – Greenwich Theatre

“…a thrilling, chilling, electric interpretation of the Borden murder-mystery legend set to an incredible rock score.”

★★★★★

West End Theatre Guide London

Lizzie is a musical by Tim Maner, Steven Cheslik-Demeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt. It tells the story of the infamous, sensational American axe murder case of Lizzie Borden, with a cast of four incredibly powerful actresses/singers, backed by a fantastic band and a really strong rock score.

On 4th August 1892, in the town of Fall River, Massachusetts, Lizzie Borden allegedly killed her father and step-mother, but despite conflicting testimonies on the part of Lizzie and other witnesses, the burning of a dress a few days after the murders, and Lizzie’s want of prussic acid a few days before, she was acquitted at trial on 20th June 1893. The case remains to this day one of the world’s most famous unresolved mysteries, and Lizzie herself continued to reside in Fall River until her death.

The musical begins with the timid and shy young Lizzie facing abuse from her father, and with her sister, Emma, on the edge of murderous rage due to the sisters’ now disadvantaged position in their father’s new will now that he has re-married. Her only support seems to come from the housekeeper and a neighbour, but after several hints, prods and suggestions, the already unhinged Lizzie is sent over the edge when her father kills her beloved pigeons in the barn, decapitating them with a hatchet. By the end of act one, she is provoked into committing the deed, decapitating first her step-mother and then her father in splatters of blood and pumpkin guts.

There is an ingenious contrast between her fragile, disturbed, unbalanced character in the first act and her strong, uncaring and rather joyously unhinged character in the second act after the slaughter, giving a sense of liberation from her oppressive and cruel father and controlling step-mother.

Emma Borden, Lizzie’s older sister, is painted as the more angry, enraged and potentially vengeful sister, one of the driving forces behind her sweet little sister’s act of parricide, bringing out Lizzie’s pent-up rage and realising both of their fantasies. The housekeeper, Bridget Sullivan, is also portrayed as a pot-stirring puppet-master, subtly suggesting and quietly encouraging Lizzie to carry out the murders. In contrast, Alice Russell, the next-door neighbour and suggested lover of Lizzie, is the opposing character, cautioning against such drastic action and is reluctant to lie about what she’s seen to the police.

Bjorg Gamst (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Little Mermaid, The Three Musketeers) reprises her role as Lizzie from the original Danish production, and her interaction with Bleu Woodward (Oh! What A Lovely War, Kinky Boots, Hairspray), as Alice, was fantastic. Eden Espinosa (Wicked, Rent, Brooklyn the Musical) excels as elder sister Emma, particularly with ‘Sweet Little Sister’. Bridget is played by Jodie Jacobs (27, Carrie, Rock of Ages) who has outstanding vocal abilities and adds some very comic moments to the show.

It is a strongly feminist musical with an underlying “girl power” message throughout. Lizzie takes charge of her own destiny, refusing to suffer any more abuse and unhappiness. There is also a suggested romance between Lizzie and Alice in a time when lesbianism would have been considered scandalous. The cast of four women are all outstanding, with immensely powerful rock voices. The musical score is superb, with standout numbers including ‘Somebody Will Do Something’ and ‘The House of Borden’.

Lizzie is a thrilling, chilling, electric interpretation of the Borden murder-mystery legend set to an incredible rock score.  It is a must-see and we’d love to see it transfer.

Lizzie is showing at the Greenwich Theatre until 12th March (for more information and to book tickets, click here).Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

REVIEW: Jest End ★★★★ – Waterloo East Theatre

“…a fabulous, witty, wickedly sharp show – it is a true theatre fan’s stagey heaven.”

★★★★

West End Theatre Guide London

Jest End is a musical by Garry Lake satirising and parodying some of the West End’s most popular shows. It has been labelled as the West End’s answer to Forbidden Broadway (written by Gerald Alessandrini). It generally runs for a few weeks just prior to Christmas each year, and this time, Jest End takes on Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar, School of Rock, and Hamilton, to name just a few.

This year’s cast are Jemma Alexander (The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Wicked, Rent), Adam Bailey (Edges, Pricilla Queen of the Desert, Starlight Express), Bronté Barbé (Shrek, Cool Rider – The Grease 2, Hairspray) and Daniel Buckley (Sweeney Todd, Eugenius, Christie in Love), all four of whom are wonderful, talented singers and have great comic timing.

Some of the show’s musical numbers were recycled from last year, including: ‘Girls All Over Me’ in the Billy Elliot section; ‘I Am Barrowman’; ‘Part Time Christine’, a parody of the actress who plays alternate Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera; and the Les Miserables section with ‘Stare’, ‘C***frontation’, ‘I’m So Old’ and ‘One Year More’. It would be nice to see some of these replaced with some new material, especially for Jest End devotees who return every year, but nonetheless, the show had plenty of new, current and energetic numbers.

Three shows which are closing soon were particularly memorable highlights of the show: the ‘Jersey Boys Medley’ was fabulous, particularly with Bronte Barbe’s vocals as Frankie Valli; the ‘In The Heights Medley’ was another highlight; and ‘They’re Not Taking Me’ was a wonderful parody of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s imminent departure from the West End and arrival on Broadway, performed by Daniel Buckley as Jonathan Slinger.

Some other new songs for this year satirised some of the West End’s newest arrivals and soon to be arriving musicals. Tyrone Huntley’s show-stealing performance as Judas in the summer run of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Open Air Theatre and Drew McOnie’s famously unusual yet genius choreography was fantastically parodied with ‘Olivier On His Mind’. Newly opened on the West End, a revised version of School of Rock’s ‘Stick It To The Man’, called ‘Unhappy Leading Man’, was brilliantly performed by Daniel Buckley. ‘A Million Reasons To Hate This’ (a version of Take That’s A Million Love Songs) by Adam Bailey as a mockery of Gary Barlow’s upcoming musical, The Girls, and its casting was hilarious.

As well as individual shows, Jest End also levels some general criticism at the current theatre landscape: celebrities and TV stars being cast in leading roles (Sarah Harding’s troubles on the Ghost UK tour were hysterically satirised by Jemma Alexander’s caricature) ; low actors’ wages; and soaring ticket prices (‘Gotta Get A Ticket’ (a returning number)).

Overall, Jest End is a fabulous, witty, wickedly sharp show – it is a true theatre fan’s stagey heaven. Jest End is showing at the Waterloo East Theatre until 18th December and we can’t wait to see it back next year for another run!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr