SIX: “An unstoppable goldmine of talent”

SIX by Marlow and Moss, , Writer – Toby Marlow, Writer and Co-Director – Lucy Moss, Co-director – Jamie Armitage, Choreographer – Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Sets – Emma Bailey, Costume Designer – Gabriella Slade, Malvern Theatres, 2019, Credit: Johan Persson

If the ex-wives of Henry VIII were to form a girl band, they’d be SIX – an unstoppable goldmine of talent.

The musical returned to Edinburgh, where it made its debut at the Fringe Festival in 2017.

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the show’s writers, add to the history lessons we got in school by going into details of the wives by making them the focal point of the story rather than “just one word in a stupid rhyme”.

Taking song styling inspiration from Beyonce and Adele, SIX focuses on if the wives formed a girl group.

The musical explores the stories of how the wives ended up with Henry VIII, and how they ended up divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.

The Spice Girls’ infamous girl power feminist angle plays a strong part in the concert-style musical, as there is a heavy focus that there is more to their story than being a wife to the king.

Catchy pop hits make you want to dance along, which contributes to the atmosphere that you would find at a concert. This is thanks to the backing band The Ladies in Waiting, who are on stage with the queens.

It turns the pop musical into a full-on concert spectacle, complete with elaborate dance routines.

The standout performance of Anne Boleyn (Madison Bulleyment) brings the fun-loving and sarcastic performance of ‘Don’t Lose Ur Head’. Adding to this, the sassy one-liners about losing her head throughout the performance certainly make for the show’s biggest laughs.

With a running time of 70 minutes, shorter than most musicals, it makes for a more consumable show for everyone.

Million Dollar Quartet makes it’s Scotland debut at Edinburgh Playhouse tonight

Million Dollar Quartet features the infamous recording session between legendary rock ‘n’ roll stars, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

First performed in 2006, the show – highlighting the infamous 1956 recording session between rock stars Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins – has been a smash-hit in New York and London’s West End.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

It is the first time the show has arrived in Scotland following 11 years of success in London and New York

Created by Tony Award nominees Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, the rock ‘n’ roll experience features over 20 hits from the musical legends celebrating the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Sam Phillips for bringing the quartet together for one unique recording session.

Martin Kemp – formerly of Spandau Ballet – plays Phillips with Rhys Whitfield, Martin Kaye, Robbie Durham and Matt Wycliffe playing Presley, Lee Lewis, Cash and Perkins respectively.

It is the first time the show has come to Scotland following the success of the show in the States and in London for the last 11 years.

The Playhouse will open its doors for the next five nights before the Quartet finish their UK tour in Chichester and Ipswich.

Tickets are still available at milliondollarquartetlive.co.uk.

“Radical” LGBT+ play is thrusting into Edinburgh’s Lyceum this week

Love Song to Lavender Menace is a “radical, time-travelling, disco dancing, LGBT+ love story” that brings the legend of Edinburgh’s first queer bookshop to life.

Edinburgh playwright James Ley, founder of Village Pub Theatre, decided the story of The Lavender Menace is one that needed to be told.

From strange beginnings in the cloakroom of a nightclub, Lavender Menace became a full-blown queer bookshop, and now its story is on stage in Edinburgh from the 12th until the 21st of October.

The Lavender Menace opened as a bookshop on Forth Street in 1982, trading in gay, lesbian and feminist books and quickly became a hub of LGBT culture. Founder Bob Orr teamed up with business partner Sigrid Nielson to open Lavender Menace, which served the community for over a decade. In the age of Thatcher, the store brought people together and fought for acceptance with words.

Staged at The Lyceum theatre, the play stars Matthew McVarish and Pierce Reid as shop assistants on the eve of the shop’s fifth birthday, as they look back on the difference it has made.

The space was one of the first alternatives to the typical pub and club gay scene. Mr Ley spoke to many former customers, who said it took them a few attempts to step over the threshold. Deciding to finally go in was a big step for many people three decades ago. According to one Twitter user, the shop had a sign that warned heterosexuals of a “50p surcharge.”

 

The Lyceum Theatre is the first venue the show will appear at on its UK tour.

A successful Kickstarter campaign raised over £4000 to nudge the play into a full tour, and it begins its UK tour here in Edinburgh. This isn’t shocking though, with people from all over Scotland flocking to the quirky outlet throughout the 80s.

The show is selling out fast, but you can still grab tickets for the showings from Friday the 13th until the 21st here.

Check out Twitter’s response:

Brainstorm: What’s On in Theatres This Week?

Cirque Beserk @ The Festival Theatre until February 12

Showcasing tantalising talent in a theatre setting, Cirque Berserk brings the circus from the marquee to the stage. With a company of over 30 acrobats, aerialist, jugglers and stuntmen, Cirque Berserk promises to put your heart in your mouth and have you on the edge of your seat, especially with the most dangerous circus act – the motorcycle ‘Globe of Death.’

And make sure and keep an eye out for the award-winning clown Tweedy!

 

 

Cirque Berserk is at the Festival theatre until February 12 before continuing the UK tour in various theatres throughout England throughout the rest of February. Tickets available here.

 

RENT @ The Festival Theatre February 14 to February 18

 

Set in East Village Bohemia, New York, RENT follows a group of young creatives on the trail of creating the one song, or film, or performance that will help them pay their rent that year. Drugs, sex and AIDS rule large and the musical offers a colourful commentary of the social problems of the time.

The 1996 Tony award winner by Jonathan Larson celebrates its 20th anniversary with a UK tour.

 

 

RENT is at the Festival Theatre from February 14 to February 18 before transferring to the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. Tickets available here.

 

Rambert: Ghost Dances @ Glasgow Theatre Royal February 9 to February 11

 

The masterpiece of Christopher Bruce’s career tells a story of victims of oppression in South America. ‘Ghost dancers’ interrupt the daily lives of ordinary people, with references to the ‘day of the dead’ to the rhythms of traditional Latin tunes.

 

Rambert present Christopher Bruce's GHOST DANCES, for the first time in 13 years, at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Credit: Jane Hobson.

Rambert present Christopher Bruce’s GHOST DANCES. Credit: Jane Hobson.

 

Rambert School of Dance presents Ghost Dances for the first time in 13 years, at the Glasgow Theatre Royal, from February 9 to February 11 before transferring to Eden Court, Inverness. Tickets available here.

 

Bianca Del Rio: Not Today Satan @ The Usher Hall February 11 and the SEC Armadillo February 12

Season 6 winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio, brings her raunchy comedic exploits to the Armadillo this week after touring throughout Australia and North America. The final few dates of this hilarious show are on the docket throughout Britain this week, so don’t miss Hurricane Bianca before she blows out of town.

 

There are still tickets left for both dates of Bianca’s tour, if you don’t want to miss the show that has sold out auditoriums around the globe. Available here.

Brainstorm: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Review

Joanne Clifton as Millie Credit: Darren Bell

Joanne Clifton as Millie Credit: Darren Bell

 

The curtain lifts to reveal country bumpkin Millie Dillmount, played by Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton, pulled from Kansas and thrust into 1920’s New York. The story follows Millie’s first week or so in the city, staying in the Hotel Priscilla run by the baddie of the day Mrs Meers, played by Eastenders’ Michelle Collins, and planning to seduce her new boss to marry up.

Clifton’s performance was zealous enough that her dance and song breaks were almost a welcome relief, that’s not to say she wasn’t good, just that it felt pretty forced. Collins as the hotelier and, get this, white slave driver, was hard to watch in the first instance. Her pidgin English and “oriental” dress came across quite offensive, as well as her side-kicks and pet kidnappers Ching Ho and Bun Foo, played by Damian Buhagiar and Andy Yau respectively.  However in some scenes she really came into her own when she let her true identity come through, and gave a convincing performance as a pantomime villain.

The stand out performance of the night came surprisingly from the undercard Muzzy Van Hossmere, portrayed by Jenny Fitzpatrick. An A-lister that Millie stumble across whilst courting her real love interest of the show, Jimmy Smith played by Sam Barrett, Fitzpatrick exuded, and complimented,  all the glitz and glamour afforded to the play, with its Gatsby-esque fringed dresses and bobbed haircuts, with her guardian angel role to the lead.

The set was impressive, with a small number of large set pieces depicting a small number of locations in which the show takes place, Morgan Larges work is one of the saving graces of the show, however the cast is so compact that even the big cast-heavy scenes left the stage looking a little empty.

Racky Plew’s direction was awkward to say the least. A large chunk of the dialogue made for painful watching. Any attempts at humour were all but lost on the audience. Set in the prohibition era, alcohol runs throughout the play out as a sub plot, however the first and second act provided starkly different portrayals. The second act ‘drunken’ scene, played out largely by Graham Macduff as Trevor Graydon, was musical theatre’s equivalent of whacking your funny bone, painful, frustrating and altogether not funny.

On the contrary the drunken scene of the first act was a delight. Set in a speakeasy, the scene was all singing and all dancing, and one of the few scenes that really filled the stage and filled the theatre with fun. It was exactly what a musical theatre scene should be.

Fun but not funny it showcased excellent dancing prowess and some stand out vocal performances, but it was almost instantly forgettable, and not all that recommendable.

6/10 stars.

 

Thoroughly Modern Millie is at the Kings until Saturday February 11 before transferring to the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, tickets available here.

PODCAST: The Importance of Theatre in Scotland + Interview with Leith Theatre

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Jessica Mercer talks the arts scene in Scotland, the future of Scottish theatre and more with Ian Webb, venue manage from Leith Theatre.

 

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