Theatre

My Night With Reg

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My Night With Reg – originally written by Kevin Eylot and revived/directed now by Robert Hastie – features a six-man cast over three acts of hard-hitting, yet bittersweet, drama. Set in the 1980s, during a time where AIDS and HIV were a particularly prominent and life-threatening issue for the gay community, the play follows the friendship of Guy (Jonathon Broadbent), John (Julian Ovenden) and Daniel (Geoffrey Streatfeild): three gay men all entwined and emotionally connected to one another differently, yet all experiencing unique and heartbreaking love triangles with the illusive (and never seen on stage) Reg. It recently transferred to the Apollo Theatre following the success of its sold-out run at the Donmar Warehouse.

Although the story is centred predominantly around the complicated friendships of Guy, John and Daniel, the lighthearted element of this uncompromising, yet hilarious, play comes from unlikely lovers Benny and Bernie (Matt Bardock & Richard Cant) and young bartender-come-painter/decorator Eric (Lewis Reeves). Where the five older men share their life experiences of heartbreak, infidelity and holding secrets, Eric in particular brings an innocence and distraction to the group in both his youth and naivety.

In just under two hours, My Night With Reg breaks modern-day taboo and addresses the devastating impacts and life-changing ways that AIDS and HIV have effected – and still do affect – both the sufferers and those closest to them. The play is an entertaining and compelling watch, but for those with a low attention span and poor blood circulation the absence of an interval could be a little problematic.

Hilariously enough, whilst TfL have been frantically censoring the play’s ‘cheeky’ underground poster campaign, the audiences of the Apollo have been treated to a little more than a bum cheek or two each night, as Julian Ovenden and Lewis Reeves bravely don their birthday suits for a small segment of Act 3.

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Bare bottoms aside, seeing My Night With Reg is a worthy way to spend a night at the theatre – even as you’re nursing two dead legs shuffling out onto Shafetsbury Ave afterwards!

Jess

Another great night with the #LDNTheatreBloggers . Thanks Official Theatre and SeatPlan.

Wicked

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The prequel to well-known and much-loved classic ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has been a firm resident of London’s West End since September 2006, when it flew across the pond following incredible success on Broadway. Having played to packed audiences night after night at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon – and with a powerful score, dazzling set and magical script, it’s easy to see why.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, ‘Wicked’ tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz and the wonderful Wizard himself – before Dorothy, her flying house and ruby red slippers. Making clever reference to old favourites, including the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow, audiences are taken back to the adolescent years of G(a)linda the Good Witch and Elphaba the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’, when they were once the best of friends whilst studying at Shiz University. Coupled with a complicated love triangle, the witches are eventually torn apart by a difference in personal motives. Where one witch craves power and popularity, the other simply wishes to make a difference in a deteriorating Oz – but ‘which witch is which’ will come as a refreshing shock to those who know the classic Ozian tale.

Kerry Ellis’ surprise return to the musical, following Willemijn Verkaik’s untimely departure earlier this year, has been at the centre of West End excitement since it was announced back in July. Ellis is the original British Elphaba and her previous experience in the role and obvious connection with her green counterpart is clearly reflected from the outset in her portrayal of the misunderstood character. Like Elphaba’s strengthening personality throughout the story, she performs the part with a delicacy that gradually cresecendos into some great vocal talent. By ‘No Good Deed’, her vocal range is at its finest, though the build-up to this moment leaves a lot to be desired. Her performance is effortless, but seems to lack passion.

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However, it’s not all about Ellis. Flying in by bubble, Savannah Stevenson is a true diamond (or should one say emerald..) in the role of ‘good’ witch G(a)linda. Stevenson’s compatibility with her character is unrivalled by anyone else performing on stage, delivering witty one-liners and the show’s more comedic elements with comfortable expertise. It is clear from the offset that she loves to perform this role and she thrives as a performer because of it.

Wicked isn’t just a good musical, it’s a great one – like a fine elixir, it’s just getting better and better with age. The show is colourful, energetic and truly entertaining throughout. Whilst little ones will appreciate the magic of it all, adults will relate to the messages behind the story: namely, the importance of friendship and for standing up for what you believe in. Hop down the Yellow Brick Road (otherwise known as the Circle Line) and ‘discoverate’ this show for yourself – make your friends ‘hideoutiously’ green with jealously!

Jess

Find out more about Wicked and buy tickets for the show with Theatre Breaks.  

Photographs under the copyright of ViaJess. Previous Elphaba, Willemijn Verkaik, is featured. 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels | Digital Press Night

On Wednesday evening I, amongst several other #LDNtheatrebloggers attended the ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Digital Press Night at the Savoy Theatre. Hosted by the wonderful Richard Le Cocq, the evening gave bloggers and press the opportunity to not only review the show, but to learn a dirty, rotten dance routine on the Savoy stage with Associate Choreographer Darren Carnell AND the opportunity to ‘meet and greet’ the cast post-performance. Some might say we were spoiled ROTTEN.

Although I had good intentions, I found myself partnerless during the dance rehearsal and decided to turn my attention to capturing the other #LDNtheatrebloggers in action. Whilst some mastered rolling Robert Lindsay’s very own hat from their head to their toes, others were being thrown about by the strapping gents amongst us in an ‘Oklahoma?’ fashion (even the wonderful West End Wilma, who was a fantastic sport and managed to nab herself the dishiest dance partner available!). Witness Wilma and the other bloggers in action by watching my YouTube video below:

After a truly fantastic show, the meet and greet commenced. I managed to speak to Ian Knauer and congratulate him on a wonderful West End LIVE performance over the weekend (Ian filled in for Robert Lindsay as Lawrence on Saturday) and even have a chat and a photograph with Robert Lindsay himself!

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I also got to meet Lizzy Connolly who plays Jolene in the show. Jolene is my favourite character and I haven’t been able to get ‘Oklahoma?’ out of my head since watching Lizzy perform it on Wednesday. She only confirmed what I could already tell from watching her in the role; she is having the best time as Jolene and absolutely loves her part in the show!

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My full review of the show can be found here .

Jess

Follow ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’:

Twitter: @ScoundrelsUK

Facebook : Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Photo Credit: Rebecca Felgate of Official Theatre