Tag Archives: Sarah Dearlove

Cinderella, Tabard Theatre

4 Dec

This musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II was originally written for television in 1955  and later adapted for the stage. I wasn’t very familiar with the musical before I saw it, I had only heard a couple of the songs before. The story, of course, is based on the well-known fairy tale Cinderella. The musical sticks very closely to the original and doesn’t really add anything new, but then, why should it.

Kirsty Mann is a simply charming Cinderella with a lovely voice. I thought she was just perfect for the part. Vlach Ashton as the dashingly handsome Prince Christopher was equally great, his voice easily filled the theatre. Their duets were a joy to watch (and listen to)!

Lydia Jenkins and Kate Scott as Cinderella’s (misleadingly named) stepsisters Grace and Joy are hilarious. Their facial expressions are wonderful.

Helen Colby plays both the Stepmother and the Fairy Godmother and is great as both, though I did prefer her as the latter. Her Fairy Godmother is quite unique and not really how you’d imagine her to be, which I really liked.

Josh Carter as the Prince’s stewart is quite camp at times, but never over the top, and there are some especially great moments between him and Cinderella’s Stepmother at the ball.

I really enjoyed Sarah Dearlove and Brendan Matthew as Queen Constantina and King Maximillian. They made a sometimes very funny, but always endearing royal couple and I loved their duet “Boys and Girls Like You and Me”.

Paul Dyke and Louise Gookey complete the cast and play various ensemble parts.

I thought this production used the limited space very well and I liked the staging a lot. I often complain about the sound levels, but (for the first time, I think) I found it pretty much perfect, I could hear and understand everything just fine.

Cinderella is simply a great piece of musical theatre, full of Rodgers’ sweeping melodies. The best proof of how good it is, for me, was the two-year old girl sitting in front of me, who was completely enthralled (and perfectly behaved) all the way through. So it really appeals to and is suitable for all ages. It’s such a simple story, but it’s got so much heart and just put a smile on my face. It’s perfect for a Christmas show and really puts you into a Christmassy mood. With this production, the Christmas season has definitely started now.

Cinderella runs at the Tabard Theatre (Chiswick) until the 8th January 2012. Tickets can be booked on their website. I’d really recommend this production to everyone, it’s the perfect Christmas entertainment for the whole family!

My Big Gay Italian Wedding, Above The Stag Theatre

2 Nov

My Big Gay Italian Wedding has been playing on Off-Broadway for several years now and was also shown at the Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to the Above The Stag Theatre in London. The play is written by Anthony J. Wilkinson and this production is directed by Paul Taylor Mills.

The story is quite cheeky with a little bit of romance and lots of laughs mixed in. Anthony (Ben Vivian-Jones) and Andrew (Robert Hannouch) want to marry, but planning a traditional Italian wedding is not as easy or straight-forward as it seems, especially with Anthony’s overbearing mother (Julie Ross), who refuses to give her blessing unless Andrew’s estranged mother does the same and insists on the ceremony being performed by a (Catholic!) priest and Andrew’s ex-boyfriend (Matthew Barksby), who wants to break them up, involved. Add to that a completely mad wedding planner (Andrew Beckett) and some (slightly less crazy) friends and family members (Paul Easom, Ceris Hine, Sarah Dearlove, Grace O’Malley, Lillie Collier, Jill Regan, Cassandra Harris and Rebecca Hickey) and chaos ensues.

The atmosphere of the play is set straight from the moment when the audience walks into the theatre, with the cast welcoming the “wedding guests” in character and mingle with them until everyone is seated. There is also some audience interaction during the play. The backdrop and the costumes are mainly all kept to green, white and red. It’s so simple, but works so well.

I thought the whole cast was great. Matthew Barskby and Andrew Beckett probably got the most laughs, but there isn’t any weak link in it. Ben Vivian-Jones and Robert Hannouch are very strong actors and have great chemistry as Anthony and Andrew (and they make a very sweet couple!).

It’s simply a hilarious, feel-good and brash play. I definitely enjoyed it a lot and couldn’t help smiling at the ending. 90 minutes of great entertainment, what more could you possibly want from a night out at the theatre?!

My Big Gay Italian Wedding runs until the 19th November at the Above The Stag Theatre in Victoria. Tickets are £15 and can be booked online or by calling 020 8932 4747.