Tag Archives: New Alexandra Theatre

Carousel – BMOS at the New Alexandra Theatre, BIrmingham

Earlier this week I went along to see BMOS’ production of Carousel to review for WOS.  As a fan of amateur theatre, being involved in it myself, I always have hopes for companies to push themselves to their maximum ability, but to also have realistic expectations and not to take themselves too seriously.  Whether or not BMOS fit in with my personal point of view n am-dram is to be decided.  The full review can be found on the Whats On Stage website here – but for a sneak peak follow the jump…

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Being Tommy Cooper (Review)

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Earlier this week I shuffled down to the New Alexandra Theatre to see and review a new play about the life of Tommy Cooper.  Only knowing Cooper through seeing clips on TV and hearing things from my Dad to base my knowledge of him on, the play provided a new insight into the sometimes troubled life of an entertainment giant.

Although not really my cup of tea, the play was really good with some brilliant performances from the small cast.  I think it would have been better in a smaller theatre as the audience only filled a very small percentage of the seats in the auditorium and it may have made certain parts of the production more effective, but would highly recommend the show to Cooper fans everywhere.

My full review can be found on WhatsOnStage.com (follow this link!) and here is a small snippet to wet those whistles:

 Williams’ performance as a drunk Cooper is sublime and the closing image of the play of him slumped in a drunken stupor alone in a hotel room is moving, even if the end of the play just seems to fizzle out.

It’s also lovely when people share the review – I got a smile seeing this tweet from Ben Richards (he from Footballers Wives, The Bill and currently in 9 to 5 the Musical sharing the review!)

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3 stars

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West Midlands Theatre This Week – W/C 3rd June 2013

WMTTWThis week I’d thought I’d try to start a new feature – hopefully I’ll remember to do this weekly – showcasing some of the fantastic array of productions gracing stages across the West Midlands.  Being Birmingham based I’m in a fortunate position (literally) to get to some great theatres hosting or producing theatre of all sorts.  So new month, new blog name, new feature – kind of makes sense!

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Review: LEGALLY BLONDE @ The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham (on tour)

First things first, this is a review – but you know me – I ramble.  Maybe skip to the end if you want a quick look at a score!

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I feel as though I’ve been on quite a journey with Legally Blonde – having been in New York around the latter days of it’s run on Broadway I avoided seeing it.  I thought it’d be a bit too cheesey and as I hadn’t seen the film at that point only knew the name and how pink it was.

Fast forward a year and it was announced that it would be coming to London with Sheridan Smith in the lead role of Elle.  Sheridan Smith is an amazing actress.  Having seen her in a variety of roles (mainly comedy) on TV I had grown to become, not exactly a fan, but interested in her work.  I liked the facebook page for the show and there was a competition to go along to the press launch at Cafe de Paris.  I entered… and I won!  I found myself in London with a friend of mine on a cold autumnal day queueing up along the outside of KFC next to Cafe de Paris wondering what the hell we were actually going to witness.  As it turned out we had an introduction from producer Sonia Friedman then had the newly assembled cast perform a few songs for us, including Sheridan Smith singing ‘So Much Better’ just a few feet away from us.  As well as mini handburgers and other snacks and drinks and a free goody bag, that was my Legally Blonde experience over for a while.

Skip forward 10months or so and I end up outside the Savoy Theatre ready to finally see the show which I will admit – I loved!! Any doubts I had about it went out of the window and I fell head over heels for Sheridan Smith.  So much so it’s the only show I’ve ever been to where I’ve been to the stage door after to get an autograph and photo (and she told me she loved my jacket – win!)

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SO when I heard the show was touring, I knew I wanted to go see it – but due to ticket prices, ridiculously high booking fees and an impending trip to London it wasn’t looking great.  Luckily (and I seem to be a lucky bugger accoriding to this post – I’m not by the way) I won a pair of tickets to the opening night on Twitter.

So you know that I love the show – and that hasn’t changed.  I’ve seen tour productions of productions I’ve seen the full London show for before and know that there will be changes to the set and possibly the show itself and so I was fully aware that there’d be changes.  Big changes include no Delta Nu house, but just a door way; Elle’s original entrance; Paulette’s smaller shop; and a lack of a caravan.  These changes don’t change the show and if you haven’t seen the original you wouldn’t know.  Talking of the set though (and we did have a few techincal difficulties the night we saw it – but it didn’t affect the show) I had one huge bug bear about it.  The flats which tradtionally would be black were red.  It didn’t look right, and at times stuck out when I guess they should have just blended in with the set.

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(L-R: Claire Sweeney (Paulette), Neil Toon (Warner), Faye Brookes (Elle), Iwan Lewis (Emmett), and Dave Willetts (Professor Callahan))

The cast were fantastic.  My heart willalways be with Sheridan for the role of Elle, but Faye Brookes was brilliant.  She was more Reese Witherspoon than Sheridan’s portrayal and she conveyed Elle’s innocence and belief that she could get where she wanted by citing love as the reason for her to get by.  Neil Toon and Iwan Lewis (Warner Huntington the Third and Emmett Forrest respectively) also did stirling jobs as the two central male roles and love interests with Dave Willetts impressing the audience as Professor Callahan.   Claire Sweeney was awesome as Paulette and provided some brilliant moments of comedy.   The rest of the ensemble were fantastic and noone lost any energy throughout the show.

The show was fantastic – though sadly the experience during the first act wasn’t.  Through no fault of the theatre, a couple were sat a couple of rows infront one of which was a drunk French man.  They spent much of the first half talking loudly and passing a wine bottle in a loud Sainsbury’s bag between each other.  After allerting the staff we then had a fantastic steward standing guard ready to shine her torch at them whenever they got noisy again.  She then offered to move us to another section of the theatre and was hugely apologetic.  Luckily the couple didn’t return for the second half, but I just wanted to make sure I included this into this post.  If this blog get’s hugely successful may even consider something to congratulate the great and mighty theatre staff of the land…

ANYWAYS, I love the show.  I would recommend anyone who can’t make it to London to make sure they see the tour.  If you can make it to London, bypass the tour and go straight to London.

4 stars

 

 

 

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Legally Blonde: On Tour is at The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until October 15th.

It then travels to Manchester, Torquay, Nottingham and Sunderland until the end of the year, beginning again in 2012 in Southend.  The tour continues through to June 2012.

More information can be found at http://www.legallyblondethemusical.co.uk/tour/

*Snaps!*

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Cooo-eeee

Hey everybody!

Had a bit of a summer break, but now that the wind and rain is battering at the windows I thought I’d better make a return.  Sadly my summer wasn’t filled with theatrical delights, apart from the one stunning evening in which I got to see Singin’ In The Rain at Chichester’s Chichester Festival Theatre.  If you follow my twitter you’ll have seen a very brief review which simply stated that it was fantastic – but I will explain why in a future blog.

So after spending my summer away from the red velvet curtains and the plush purple seats of the theatre, I’m preparing myself for several delights over the coming month or two.  I’m hoping to make it to an amateur production of Just So at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton (cast your mind back to my underrated blog a while back), seeing the touring production of Evita when it visits the Birmingham Hippodrome, and seeing the Judy Garland biopic End Of The Rainbow.  I will also be venturing down to London to attend a very special concert at the Royal Albert Hall by Idina Menzel and while visiting London will probably go see Ghost The Musical to get over my obsession.  I’ll also be venturing down to Chichester again in October to see Micheal Ball’s Sweeney Tood.  I’m also hoping to make it to the tour of Legally Blonde, the opening of The Crescent Theatre’s new season with Talking Heads, and if I’m able to find the time, the world premiere produciton of Top Hat at the Hippodrome.  

As long as I don’t forget the password (again) and don’t break my computer (my laptop went to PC Heaven over the summer) I hope to keep this blog updated regularly and with continuation of the features I started way back when… If you have any suggestions feel free to send my way (and that includes if you can get my hands on any nice, free, tickets!!)

 

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Other Theatres of Birmingham – The New Alexandra Theatre

The New Alexandra Theatre

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The New Alexandra Theatre isn’t a new theatre.  It somehow got given the ‘new’ to the name of it last December – no idea why, no reason why – but that’s against the point.  The Alex as it’s known locally, is Birmigham’s ATG (Ambassador Theatre Group) theatre.  99.9% of it’s shows are touring shows which have been to the other ATG theatres in the country so expect Grease, Colin Fry the medium, and those awful tribute act shows.  It’s a strange building, and you have to be careful as on more than one occassion I have been there and had a broken seat so spent the first act with my knees holding my body weight.  You might also recognise the blue painted interior from the ITV show, Britain’s Got Talent as it shares the Birmingham auditions with the Hippodrome.

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