Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Nutcracker – Theatre Royal Newcastle (Evening Chronicle)

Nutcracker is second only to Swan Lake, when speaking of world famous ballets. The traditional story, which starts at the Edwards’ family home at Christmas time. Excitement fills the home as Uncle Drosselmeyer unveils his magical powers, treating the hall to a dance by living dolls. Before he presents Young Clara with a wooden soldier nutcracker. During the night, unable to sleep, she returns to the dining hall where the uncle is again working his magic. Where what I encountered was a beautiful and magical set of events which left myself and the whole audience spell bound.

The musical score which runs throughout the production is utterly stunning. Unsurprising when you find out that it is down to the genius Tchaikovsky. The choreography has been crafted around this so the dancers are given a perfect platform on which to broadcast their vast talent. A perfect example of this is during the beautifully choreographed battle between the now living man sized nut cracker and his army of soldiers, and the mouse king and his minions. The physical interaction between the dancers combined with the passionate music creates a vivid living story.

The rise and fall of the score creates tension, building throughout the act before reaching a crescendo which causes the stage to explode into life. Whilst the staging and lighting added another dimension to the story, working as a living piece of the production, rather than a backdrop. The stage was host to a stunning display of dancers representing Arabian Princesses, Russian dancers and beautiful flowers amongst others, giving the whole production a larger scale.

The sugar plumb Fairy, played by Martha Leebolt and her partner Javier Torres who played the Cavalier stole the show during the second act. Their passion for dance was on display for all to see, and their skill and talent exceeded even that. The rest of the performers should be just as proud, with every one of them adding to a beautiful production.

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/entertainment-in-newcastle/theatre/2011/11/16/review-the-nutcracker-theatre-royal-newcastle-72703-29786101/

Tinie Tempah – Newcastle Metro Arena (Evening Chronicle)

TINIE Tempah is the biggest thing in the UK R’n’B scene right now.

Every song he lays down is becoming chart gold. His debut album Disc-Overy  was released to critical and public acclaim, heading straight to the top of the  UK Album Charts. Though its success hasn’t just been limited to the UK. Last  night I was lucky enough to catch the Newcastle show of his current UK arena  tour.

Tinie entered the stage, the same way he entered the UK charts, with a  massive explosion. Being fired up from below the stage, he flew straight into  the first track and sent the crowd wild. As usual he performed in his trademark  black glasses, and used every inch of the stage to play up to the sellout crowd.  I was surprised at first by the inclusion of a full rock band, to back the main  man. But the decision was proved to be a perfect one, within the first couple of  songs.

The new live sound gave a different feeling to tracks such as Frisky and  Wonderman – boy did they go down well.

Tinie’s stage presence is second to none, he is a supremely confident  performer who feeds on the energy from the crowd, he doubled it onstage before  exploding, sending shockwaves throughout the euphoric masses. The electricity which coursed through the crowd during his standout track, Written In The Stars,  was one of the best moments of the night. The pulsating dropkick broken beat let  the crowd know it was coming before the vocals began. This was followed by a  full-on rap choir, fronted by the Tinie himself who strutted around the stage he  now owned.

Part of the reason why Tinie’s songs are so popular are the collaborations  which have been made on various songs. Kelly Rowland, Ellie Goulding, Swedish  House Mafia and Eric Turner all featured on his debut album. Resulting in a much  larger public reach, and a much more commercial album, than what he would have  received if he’d set out to produce a pure rap album.

The album has thus far earned Tinie two Brit Awards, Two UK number ones and a  host of other hits and awards through the world. This is an amazing feat for a  first time album from a relative unknown. I am in no doubt that this is only the  beginning for what is a very talented young man. This is his first Arena tour,  but it definitely won’t be his last if he can keep up this sort of  performance.

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/entertainment-in-newcastle/music/2011/11/02/review-tinie-tempah-metro-radio-arena-72703-29705459/#ixzz1Wzo3tekU

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Grease Is The Word – Empire Theatre, Sunderland (Evening Chronicle)

GREASE is best known as the iconic film, starring John Travolta and Olivia  Newton John.

But it started and continues today as a theatre production, altered to  include the best loved songs from the film, so the tunes could be enjoyed  live. From Greased Lightning to Beauty School Dropout, they are all in there. This resulted in Grease being voted the number one greatest musical of all time.

For this production, the stage opened showing the live jazz band which was  going to be playing the music behind all of the tracks, and already had the  crowds toes tapping before a word is sung. Then the floor exploded into colour as the show began, the stage filled with  the greasers, girls and nerds of Rydell High School.

The cast are so good together. I wouldn’t have noticed that the leads were  played by understudies if I hadn’t been informed beforehand. It’s a testament to the quality and depth of talent within the cast, that I  can’t imagine the original actors could have done any better. Ricky Rojas, who played the ultra-confident lead man Danny, was genuinely funny.  His stage presence meant all eyes were on him, and his dancing skills during the  High School Hop were as exciting as they were technically awesome.

Lois Urwin, who deputised the part of Sandy for the night, played the part  with every drop of innocence and dignity. Her vocal talents on display during  the ballad, Danny, sent shivers down the spine. They both managed to portray two of the most well-known characters in cinema without seeming like theatre copycat versions.

Rhydian Roberts as Teen Angel is about as perfect a casting as you can get.  He provided the angel with all the over-the-top arrogance and confidence in the  world, which caused laughter throughout the crowd as he gestured to the  audience, before his voice blew the audience away. The man can sing, that’s for sure, bringing a note of classical almost  operatic tone to the song, High School Drop Out.

The dancing was choreographed to perfection, with the girls in their brightly  coloured dresses swinging around the dance floor in perfect unison. The dynamic lighting and staging in combination with pyrotechnics and an  orchestra of sound, brought a Broadway feel to the entire production. They have  gone the extra mile and it really shows.

The show has been polished to a vibrant shine. From young to old, whether  you’ve seen the film or not, it is exhilarating, toe-tapping, singalong fun for  the entire family.

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/entertainment-in-newcastle/theatre/2011/10/27/review-grease-sunderland-empire-72703-29673173/#ixzz1WznN913L

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