Tag Archives: Waterloo East Theatre

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.

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“Steps” and “Pieces of String”, Waterloo East Theatre

30 Sep

This week, the Waterloo East Theatre shows five original musicals, which were written and produced as part of the Goldsmiths College MA Musical Theatre course. I went to see two of them, Steps and Pieces of String.

Steps has a book by Ruth Carter and music and lyrics by Jen Green. It is about a Latvian ballet dancer, Elissa (Hollie Cassar), who comes to England to join a ballet company, only to find out that the company has gone bankrupt. Not knowing what to do, she accepts the offer of another ballet dancer, Kim (Claire Sharpe) to stay with her and her family in Blackpool for a while. Kim’s brother Tom (Martin Lawson) and her parents (Sid Herbert and Maggie Robson) prefer ballroom dancing and Tom even has a job offer if he gets through a ballroom dancing competition. After his partner Joanne (Jennie Jacobs) leaves him, Elissa takes over and they manage to get through it and happen to fall in love as well. However, before the finale she gets a phone call from Latvia with the offer of a principal part in her old ballet company. Initially she agrees to go back, but then decides she wants to stay. Kim also gets another job as a ballet dancer and everyone is happy.

I did enjoy it, but for me, there were just too many clichés in it and the story was far too predictable. After a couple of minutes I could guess what would be happening, and then it really did. Non of the characters were particularly likeable, mainly because they were far too one-dimensional. I don’t expect fully developed characters, 45 minutes is just too short for that, but a little more depth would have been nice. There were some nice songs in it, which served the story well and the cast was good, too.

The second musical was Pieces of String, with book, music and lyrics by Gus Gowland. It starts with two soldiers who are questioned if they are homosexual, one of them denies, the other answers back. Then the focus moves on to a family: The grandfather, Edward, has just died and the mother, Jane (Anna Lindup) tries to pack all his things up as soon as possible. There is a song about moving on and how Jane hopes that she can just move on once her father’s things are gone, in which the two soldiers join in as well. Her son Ed (Sam Harrison) is gay, but afraid of showing this in public, which leads to problems with his boyfriend Harry (Greg Airey), as does Jane’s opinion that Ed is “just going through a phase“. They argue about it, with the two soldiers singing about that  it is “better to hide away, sometimes it’s best to stay ordinary“. While Jane is still packing boxes, much to the dislike of her daughter Gemma (Natalie Giacone), a strange woman, Rose (Maggie Robson) arrives, who wants to see Edward and learns he is dead. Jane disapproves of Gemma telling her “family secrets”, namely that Ed is gay and tries to send her away. Rose tells them that her brother, Tom (Billy Cullum) knew Edward during the war. This makes it clear that the two soldiers are Tom’s and Edward’s (Matthew Seadon Young) younger selfs. She finally leaves, after giving Jane a shoe box full of pieces of string, a diary and some letters. Among Edward’s things there was shoe box with the same strange content, which they sent to each other as a sign of their (secret) love. Jane has to come to term with the fact that her father was gay, as is her son, but there is no real happy ending. Not yet anyway. While Ed and Harry make up, she still “needs a minute“.

I loved the way the two stories were intertwined and, ultimately, how Edward and Tom’s story repeated itself with Ed and Harry, with one of them being more comfortable and open about being gay than the other, but with a happier ending.  The whole story just felt relevant and real,  the characters were very well-rounded and I was gripped by them right from the beginning. I thought the songs were lovely with some very moving lyrics. My favourite songs probably were Sticks and Stones, My War Story and Standing in the Shadows  (I don’t know the actual song names, so I just guessed what they could be called). The cast was amazing, both from an acting and singing point of view. Vocally, Billy Cullum stood out though, his voice is simply incredible, but the others were great as well.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening, but I definitely liked Pieces of String more than Steps. I asked myself afterwards which one I would go and see again if I could and my answer was clear: Pieces of String. It has everything a good musical needs in my opinion: An interesting story, some great songs and characters that move you.

Both musicals are shown one more time, namely tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM. If you haven’t got any plans, I’d urge you to go and see it. It’s worth the £8 for the ticket for sure!

One Fine Day, Waterloo East Theatre

24 Sep

One Fine Day is a one-man play by Dennis Lumborg and directed by Paul Taylor. After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe it transferred to the Waterloo East Theatre in London for only three performances.

It is about a father,Eddie,  who is accused of being inappropriate with his daughter and finds himself questioned by social services and the police. To keep the disruption to his children’s lives at a minimum, he leaves the family home, but misses them so much that he decides to just kidnap them and take them on a day out to the beach. Once there, he realises how much he has changed because of the wrong accusations and because he is afraid what other people might think of him.

This play takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. There is a lot of humour in it, often because of Eddie’s imitations of other people (from his children, wife, mother, friends, the family dog, to the social workers and the police). But the jokes become rarer and we get to see Eddie’s vulnerable side, his desperation, his helplessness and his frustration and anger because nobody wants to believe him. Even though there is sort of a happy ending with Eddie moving back to his family and his wife believing in him, it leaves a bittersweet taste, because it is clear that he will always be that man.

Jake Addley, who plays Eddie, gives an incredible performance. He makes you laugh and cry, hoping that it will somehow turn out okay for him in the end. One of the most powerful scenes for me was when he is in prison and talks about how he “lost his innocence” at the beach, because he can’t be a normal, loving dad anymore and cuddle them etc. The raw emotion he displays there (and throughout the play) is almost too much to bear.

It’s one of those performances (and plays) that will stay with me for a while, because it is so thought-provoking and moved me so much. There is only one performance left, but it is a play well worth of seeing. I for one am very glad I went.

You can book your tickets here.