Tag Archives: Erica Birtles

The Lost Christmas, Waterloo East Theatre

14 Dec

The Lost Christmas is a new family musical by Laurence Mark Wythe, which is shown at the Waterloo East Theatre until

It’s the year 3999 and a robot feels that something is missing, a special day, but neither he nor his friend know what it could be. So they decide to travel back in time to year 2011 to ask the humans what it is. They arrive in the Henderson’s living room, where young Sophie is waiting for Santa to bring the presents. Shocked at the idea that there won’t be a Christmas anymore in the future, she decides that they all have to go to the North Pole to speak to Santa. After discovering that their daughter has disappeared in the middle of the night, her parents follow them too. Once there, it is up to Sophie to convince Santa that children still believe in him and the spirit of Christmas.

I thought the cast was great throughout. Erica Birtles shines as Sophie and has a lovely voice. Kate Brennan and Phil Pritchard as her parents have some lovely moments and Action Man is a real show stopper. Stephen Oliver-Webb and Natalie Law as Elfina and Elfaffa look wonderfully geeky with their glasses. Michael Hobbs as Twofour and Greg Herst as Threesix, the two robots, are great, both have very strong voices. Tim Heath as the disillusioned Santa and Natalie Morgan as his headstrong daughter Santina complete the cast.

The songs are all very catchy, I’m still trying to get Christmas Eve at the Hendersons out of my head. I also liked that every character gets their own special moment and a chance to shine. It’s a funny, heart warming and ultimately very entertaining musical. It’s also only about 70  minutes long, so suitable for younger children as well. Those around me were captivated all the way through and I left feeling all Christmassy. It’s the perfect alternative for those who might not want to see a panto.

The Lost Christmas is on until the 23rd December. You can book tickets online or by calling 0207 928 0060.

Nevermore, Courtyard Theatre

18 Oct

After seeing Notion Theatre Company’s first production (Edges, Landor Theatre) earlier this year, I was quite excited when they announced their second production, the UK premiere of Nevermore. Nevermore is based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe with music by Matt Conner and a book by Grace Barnes. It cleverly interweaves his poems and short stories with his life to a haunting and dark tale of obsession.

I didn’t really know anything about the musical, but right from the start I was sucked into the atmosphere of Poe’s dark world. The songs fit this musical (and Poe’s poems) perfectly. They are truly haunting and beautiful, and in a strange way, exciting.

The cast was excellent throughout. Adam Bayjou (Edgar) more than held his own in an otherwise completely female cast, great voice and acting. To My Mother was beautiful. He was completely believable as the troubled poet.  I loved Joanna Kirkland’s  (Mother) voice. Erica Birtles was very sweet as Virginia. She really brought across the innocence and naivety of a young girl. Kimberley Newell’s (Whore) voice was stunning, especially her Eldorado and Dreams. Ambra Caserotti was great as Muddy, loved her in Annabel Lee as well as her scenes with Edgar. Anna Simmons as Elmira was very strong, she has a lovely voice. Her duet, Fairyland, with Edgar, was beautiful.

Amanda Black, Gabriella Flowers, Bethan Foresy, Rebecca Hickey, Kay Victoria Hindmarsh, Katie McHardy and Tanya Stephens as Village Women were great, too. They added a lot to the atmosphere of the musical and when they all sang at the same time/joined in it was amazing, e.g. the reprise of Eldorado, To My Mother, Silence and Annabel Lee. My favourite song was the last one, Dreams. It sounds like a cliché, but it really sent shivers down my spine.

I was surprised at how big the stage at the Courtyard Theatre is (compared to other fringe venues obviously), but they used the space very effectively and I really liked the choreography by Ellie Rutherford and the lightning (Tom Cooper). It all just works together perfectly.

Nevermore only runs until the 23rd October at the Courtyard Theatre. I’d highly recommend this production to everyone. It is very intense, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s an exciting new musical with an excellent, young  cast (and one of the strongest I’ve seen in any  fringe production). There are so many talented performers out there and I’m glad that Notion Theatre Company gives some of them a chance to shine and they definitely do.

I have seen many great fringe production in the past year, but Nevermore is up there with the best of them, so go and see it while you can!

You can book tickets online or phone 0844 477 1000. You can also follow Notion Theatre on Twitter to keep up with their next projects.