Most of us know the story of Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples.
But have you ever seen a nautical depiction of this tale?
Fisherman’s Tail combines essentially all of Jesus’s life
story into one hour, filled with fun, music and plenty of fish.
While normally, as an agnostic, I would not necessarily pick
a show linked to religion, I was pleasantly surprised and came out feeling
pretty entertained and uplifted.
It may be based on religious stories, but it ultimately is a
story of friendship, forgiveness and definitely enough fishing jokes and antics
for all the children in the audience.
The live music, played on string instruments and percussion
is joyful, folk-like and catchy. It has a tiny twist to make the story fun and
not like the stuffy bible speeches we had in British primary schools. It feels
like a new story and it feels exclusive to us.
The performers all work in harmony, with little dances,
great interaction and with fully formed character’s. The only criticism I would
give is when doubling up, for me there needed to be more distinction – a change
of hat, a different stance, just something over the top to bring that new
character to the forefront for us.
Fisherman’s Tail is for everyone, religious or not. It is good fun, interactive, and a heart warming production.
At half 9 at night, the last thing you would be expecting to
see is a sock puppet show. I love a good puppet, but I equally love an usual
concept. Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (SFSPT) sure are the unusual.
Opened to the world of adult puppetry and it becoming more
familiar a concept, we have all heard of the adult themed ‘Avenue Q’ and a few
years ago, ‘Hand to God’. Even cartoons have become more adult friendly,
opening up a whole new world in performing arts.
And while I hesitate to compare SFSPT to such shows (a joke
in the performance itself reflecting this), it is agreeable that this concept
Is not as unusual as it may once were. Yet I was still pleasantly surprised and
Puppetry come comedy, the FSPT does not rely on humour alone
to get by. There is a theme, and it is ever changing (as we hear from its 15 or
so years of its presence). This round is Circus themed –with The Greatest
Showman being so prevalent in the last year, SFSPT draw upon this to create a
narrative, but feels free to go a little off course, ad lib where necessary and
it is all just as funny as the original plan. We are at times asked to use our
imagination, thinking of a sock puppet out of shot on a tightrope or completing
an another amazing feat.
They keep the information present – keeping to events and
news from the last year, even making jokes and making it clear that some of the
audience may find some too obscure, we cannot help but love it and definitely
With only one man, two puppets, and maybe around 5
character’s, it is a feat of genius and skill at set and ‘costume’ changes with
one hand- a magical experience we all wish we knew the answer to. He manages to
give each character its own personality, even with their interaction with one
another being quick. Of course there are times when a Australian accent is
suddenly Scottish and he soon realises it. But this only adds to the humour –
there is no masking mistakes, only inclusion of them.
The narrative went a little off course and dark humoured,
but you know what, I was not mad at it. I was sufficiently entertained, laughed
my socks off (pardon the pun) and had a really interesting and splendid time.
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is not exactly breaking theatrical boundaries, but my gosh was it a lot of fun. If you fancy something unusual, ridiculous (is a good way) and a good laugh, then this show is a total must.
The last thing you would expect in a city like Edinburgh is
to be swept away to the ocean.
But swept away, we were.
Ned and the Whale is the story of a nervous boy, obsessed
with facts to keep him safe who gets taken into a magical and fanciful world
inside a book, meeting exciting and interesting characters, helping each of
them along the way, and in turn, they help him to overcome his fears.
Flossy and Boo bring this story to us in the form of
puppetry, recycled props and costumes, musical interludes and comedy. Now, anyone
who knows me, knows I am obsessed with puppets and Ned and The Whale are no
exception. They are little things of beauty, and Anja Conti, (Flossy) and Laura
Jeffs-White (Boo) manage to move them with ease and such perfection, that we
even forget that there are real humans behind them.
But do not take that as they forget where they are – their facial
expressions mimic the character’s and shows that they are really invested in
their work and the story.
When not handling puppets, they are either other interesting
and hilarious characters such as the twins in a cave obsessed with slime and
parties with rocks, or a stranded pirate, missing his disappeared crew. Each
character I fully formed, well thought out and with their own clever unique qualities.
This isn’t Flossy and Boo, this IS the pirate, this IS the twins.
And then added to this, another dimension as Laura and Anja –
those who know this group will know how well a relationship they have on and
off stage, and how they play on this; calling out each other’s silliness, being
other funny and likeable characters. Usually these are as Flossy and Boo as we
know it, but this time around we know them as Anja and Laura, and love them just
Audience interaction is key for children’s shows, and this
is no exception. Child or adult, we all are given eye contact, smiles, no one
is excluded; we all get ‘slime’ put on our heads, we are all asked for
suggestions and we all love the whimsy and comedy.
Musical interludes are delightful, simple with acoustic guitars
or banjos, with beautiful harmonies and funny concepts. Personally, I could
happily sit with an album of just their music and walk away happy.
Ned and The Whale is a triumph of a production; fun, comical and magical, it still manages to teach us vital lessons of life and we leave the tent they are in, smiling and elated.
A review by Ann Davies from RCT Creative Writers Group on the topic of topic of Taste
What’s on the Menu?
What music do you like? Tastes can vary; they can be mood
shakers; a melody can bring a seemingly lost memory to mind. Emotions can be
laid bare. This was the night of Yeah Yeah.
Were we ready for this high octane enhancing performance?
I guess it all depended on your taste and the performing artists certainly lived
up to a life of their own. What was on the Menu? as the theatre group “Yeah,
Yeah” showcased their act in the lounge of the Park and Dare Theatre in
“Are you ready, Treorchy?”The Haka cry came amidst the burst
of strobe lighting and the throb of music every sound resounding off the
glistening disco ball overhead. Two people strode out, one male one female;
they each had a story to tell. They looked like trapeze artists one with an
enlarged Rod Stewart wig that looked as though it was plugged into an electric
socket. With a fitted costume, accentuating her nubile body, his female partner
embraced the music. Acrobatically and gymnastically the music and story was
revealed as the opposing tastes for musical theatre and rock music battled it
Adult humour laced with music and dance. Changes of
costumes – some more titillating than others were the ingredients for the
night. Their interpretation of known
songs from the musicals and rock classics were exemplary. It awakened deep
seated memories that you would never see or hear a song that you loved in the
same way ever again. It was an experience of tasting selections of melodies
like a club sandwich combining the savoury with the sweet.
During the interval, the duo presented their own adverts
over the lounge speakers.
There was Swan Lake on points overwhelmed with feathers
(now you know where the feathers have gone from your bed linen). The lady’s limbs
were used as an air guitar; the drum set lost its setting the motorbike that
raced to the music of Meatloaf. OMG was the revelation a Smorgasbord special. A
spicy concoction of a recipe, boiled but scrambled, culminating in a Crockpot
of creative juices that would have put Nigella to shame.
Morgan Thomas and Tori Johns were engaging in their tale.
It was colourful; it was crazy, different and an entire work out for your
laughter muscles. Many of the audience would still be laughing at their first
encounter with the company called “Yeah, Yeah”
A tasty dish to savour long after the evening was over.
‘Soviet’ and ‘Musical’ are two words you would not necessarily
put together. So imagine my intrigue of being invited to this show.
Space Junk is the biographical and musical-styled hammed up
story of the first man into space. Once he reaches his fame, he faces a harder
life back on earth and faces losing his love for space, his love for his family
and his love for himself.
The production itself has a full band on stage – I love
this. I personally think that live music really adds an extra tier to
performances and it was nice to have this option in this production. The music
was all based on David Bowie – another tick in the box, another great way to
interact with the audience (who doesn’t know Star Man? Space Oddity?) and well
themed – a great choice for Slipshod.
Now whether it was the room, the heat therefore the need for
a fan make noise or a tweak the company need to make, a lot of the speech was
missed. Projection was excellent from our main man, but the rest seemed to get
lost to the space, and this was a shame to miss some of the narrative.
However, the main character is played by a brilliant actor.
His projection is on point, he executes the right emotions and the right time,
and really makes his presence known on stage. He somehow salvages where the
sound goes missing and brings you back to date. But also makes you feel
heartbreak when needed and really throws his all into this production.
The production itself is full of humour, typical musical theatre over the top nature and some kick-ass music to boot. Space Junk is a lot of fun, and something recommended to see if you fancy sitting back, having a sing a long and not needing to decipher too much of a storyline.
Hi Christian, great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Born and raised by my maternal grandparents in Clydach, Swansea. I’m an actor, writer and director. I trained at Welsh College of Music and Drama and did what most graduates do after leaving college…moved to London! I missed Wales way too much and now live in Alltwen with my wife (Actress Michelle McTernan) my son Dylan and my dog Dodger.
This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to?
I LOVE MUSIC! There’s pretty much something playing all the time…whether it’s in the background or something I specifically want to listen to. My wife is going through a bit of a Nina Simone period at the moment so the house is pretty much a Simone Zone! I have to say I’m a big Nina Simone fan (I saw her live at the Royal Festival Hall…she was INCREDIBLE!) so that’s fine by me.
Left to my own devices my music tastes are incredibly varied and eclectic. I achieved a life long ambition recently and managed to see Nile Rodgers and Chic live! IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! So, at the moment I’m pretty much a disco devotee! Having said that I love songs that speak to you or capture a period in time…my son introduced me to a song called ‘Ban Drill’ by Krept & Konan and I found it really moving. It’s a great track. I’ve also discovered something about myself whilst compiling this list…I’m very ‘Riff’ led!
Music is also a big part of my professional career with the forthcoming tour of Peggy’s Song from National Theatre Wales. I was really drawn to this play for 3 reasons…written by Kath Chandler, directed by Phil Clark and the beautiful, bittersweet characters at the heart of it.
I play Danny Walkman, a local hospital DJ who loves him job. Music is so much more important to him that just songs…it’s his friend, his family, his passion and his life. He loves people and he truly believes they feel the same way about him…until he meets Peggy! Danny & Peggy have nothing and everything in common…they are two lonely people who only have each other… and the challenge to figure out Peggy’s Song!
We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?
1. Here Comes the Sun – Obviously I love the Beatles version but the Louise Dearman version has a very special place in my heart. We lost our son Harry in a tragic accident when he was just 5 years old. We played Louise’s version as Harry’s coffin entered the church. That song means a lot to me because it is intrinsically linked to my memories of Harry.
2. Sweet Home Alabama – I have always LOVED this track! As soon as I hear the counting at the top of the song I’m already getting excited about hearing the guitar riff! It is just AMAZING! It is also linked to memory for me. My father died a few weeks before his 52nd birthday…he loved this song and we listened to it on many car journeys! I remember the journey to his funeral. I was sat in front of the funeral car and even though I was deeply upset I was keeping it together…then…as the crematorium doors open I heard Sweet Home Alabama and burst into tears. Music does that.
3. Le Freak – It would be almost impossible for me to not include a Nile Rodgers and Chic song! I think Nile Rodgers is a bona fide musical genius! When I saw him live I couldn’t take my eyes off him! It was a real “You are my hero!” moment! The entire gig was totally magical and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. I was born in 1972 so disco was a huge part of my youth…I loved it then and I still love it now!
4. Superstition – Stevie Wonder is another one of those people that I think is a true genius! For me the guitar riff of Superstition is one of if not the greatest guitar riffs of all time! I could choose so many Stevie Wonder tracks but Superstition is a real classic!
5. Immigrant Song – One word…WOW! The first time I heard this track I felt like I already knew it! The riff (told you…Riff led tastes!) is the absolute epitome of rock, the vocal is incredible…it has it all! It’s only 2m 26s…I can’t listen to it just the once! Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are ROCK GODS!
Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?
This is tough. Very tough. They all mean so much to me for so many different reasons. I suppose I’d have to choose a track that I can put on repeat and be happy every time I hear it. I’m going to go with Sweet Home Alabama…I think it is an incredible track…it makes me feel happy. Yep! That’s the one!
Peggy’s Song tour Wales later this year. You can book tickets at the links below
Riverfront Newport – 25 September, 7.45pm BOOK NOW
Pontardawe Arts Centre – 26 September, 7.30pm & 27 September, 1pm & 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon – 1 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl – 2 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Theatr Hafren, Newtown – 3 October, 7.45pm
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea – 4 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Theatr Richard Burton, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff – 5 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Borough Theatre, Abergavenny – 7 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Blackwood Miners Institute – 8 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven – 9 October, 7.30pm BOOK NOW
Plaudits for this musical, based on the book by Harvey Fierstein and the 2000 British film, are thick on the ground – and deservedly so. Brash, bright and beautiful throughout, Kinky Bootstells the story of one Charlie Price. An unwanted inheritance from his father leaves Charlie running a shoe manufacturing company in Northampton and forming a partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola. When the business is threatened with closure and bankruptcy Lola saves the day by suggesting the manufacture of high-heeled boots for drag performers. Et voilà!
Some great songs, including those with a message and others
which are pure joie de vivre, pack a punch. Kinky Boots is so much more than just
another musical. At the heart of it –
and what a big heart it is – is a subject which nowadays is, for the most part,
treated empathetically, which was not always the case in some communities not
that long ago. I refer to transgender –
often in the news of late. The story
tackles it head on, with the occasional heartbreak yet with fun and verve,
dished out by an amazing cast who earned a standing ovation last night in the
Donald Gordon theatre in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
As Charlie, Joel Harper-Jackson proves, after a slow start,
that he can both act and sing, coming into his own in the second half with a
rendering of Soul of A Man which tugs at the heart strings. But it has to be said, it is Kayi Ushe’s Lola
that steals the show. Ushe gives a scintillating performance as the drag queen
and, equally telling, when he appears in male clothing. Lola’s singing of
Hold Me in Your Heart as the show nears its close is heart-rending.
Demitri Lampa cuts the mustard as Don, managing to steer
clear of the pitfalls of such a role i.e. portraying a so-called masculine
prototype with beer belly and a set of out-moded ideas. Adam Price as the
factory manager George makes this cameo role his own, although the joke wears a
bit thin towards the end of the show. Coronation
Street’s Paula Lane as the factory girl sweet on Charlie and Helen Ternent
as his erstwhile fiancée Nicola provide an extra fillip.
As for the Angels – the dancers at Lola’s club – wow! Brilliant and believable they sing and dance
throughout showing amazing talent and especially outstanding in What A WomanWants, sung with Lola, Don and factory girl Pat in Act II. Everybody Says Yeah, sung by Charlie,
Lola and the Angels with full ensemble, which brings the first half to a close is
another gem. You couldn’t wish for better.
All aided and abetted by great music, wonderful
costumes and David Rockwell’s atmospheric set.
Sit back and enjoy the magic that is Kinky Boots.
Get the Chance are working with new theatre company YEAH YEAH to support audiences to attend a sharing of an in development piece of work and then discuss their thoughts. The sharing will take place at Chapter Arts Centre on Saturday the 13th July at 7.30pm.
YEAH YEAH are a new Cardiff theatre company developing uplifting gig theatre. A crossover for those that might enjoy a musical, tribute band, stand-up comedy, or a touch of ballet.
The work in development (working title) ‘Magical Place’ is free to attend.
Expect iconic songs you know and love plus drums, keytar, lycra, laughs, dance and the biggest pyrotechnics they can afford, Magical Place is a new work still in development and the company welcome your feedback
Please note, that this is a sharing of a work in progress, and therefore not the complete anticipated production. Sections of the work will be performed, with the aim to gather audience feedback. Audience members participating in feedback will earn two Tempo Time Credits for volunteering their time.
“Tori is here to perform a musical, Morgan is here to perform a rock show.
So expect iconic musical and rock songs you know and love; comedy, dance, live drums, keytar and lycra.”
Duration: 1hr (which will include optional audience feedback)
The latest film Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis is an interesting and very amusing ‘what if?’ idea about everyone in the world forgetting about the songs written by The Beatles, apart from one man.
That man is Jack Malik, aspiring musician, who’s tried to make it big for over ten years and failed. Now the key to success is in his hands, the ‘poison chalice’ of fame and money is offered to him, but is he ready to pay the price for it when the price is his integrity, his self-respect and his true love?
Of course he is!
What follows is a funny, charming and well-made film, which makes some good points about how art becomes ‘product’, and how success changes people. There’s also some touching moments that avoid overt sentimentality (just), while still being very moving. Including one scene towards the end that’ll make you misty-eyed, but more on that I cannot say. You’ll know it when you see it.
There’s also a nice running joke about other things that have disappeared along with Lennon & McCartney’s music, and a decent cameo from Ed Sheeran. You can’t say fairer than that.
Boyle shows a visual flair, enhancing a script that is polished Curtis, giving it a more universal feel than the usual middle-class London scene, and it’s all the better for it. But it does have flaws.
Hamesh Patel is endearing as Jack, even though his motivation seems muddled at times. While Lily James as his longtime friend/love interest doesn’t really have a lot to do. And her surprise visit to Jack in Liverpool is so confusing to him (and us) that it makes you sympathetic as to why Jack never realised her true feelings.
There’s a good supporting cast, such as Sanjeev Baskhar as Jack’s dad, but Kate McKinnon is wasted as the stereotypical greedy agent, whose sole aim seems to be to buy up all of Malibu. I’ve yet to see her in a role that does justice to her talent.
The ending is also a little odd, and a good cameo from Sarah Lancashire hints at an interesting plot line that is never developed.
However, despite promising more than it delivers, there’s plenty to enjoy here. The film has an innovative idea at its heart, and the real star of the show is the music of the Beatles. Seen in one go, so to speak, you realise just how wonderful the songs are. Who can blame Jack when he decides to ‘re-discover’ them?
A Night at the Musicals landed at the Wales Millennium Centre, it was a fun-filled evening where Broadway/West-End alumni performed a range of musical theatre songs. But for me, the highlight of this show was the Novello Orchestra. Unlike many of the other shows I have seen the Millennium this show had the orchestra perform on stage which I thought was really great as often the orchestra is forgotten about but this show made it extremely difficult to not appreciate them.
It was fantastic to see the skill and craftsmanship required to play in a musical orchestra and allowed the audience to appreciate them fully. This was only added to as the Conductor David Mahoney was also the compere for the evening. David was charismatic and hilarious throughout the show but he seemed to take full advantage of his charisma more so in the second act. This again was great to see as often times I know from experience that many conductors become awkward when acknowledged in the bows but for David to be so confident and charismatic was a nice change.
This show had a star-studded cast of musical theatre icons who each had fantastic songs to perform but also really interesting stories and connections to one another. They did however constantly pander to the audience and talked about how amazing the center is and how awesome Cardiff is which did become tedious after a while. The show opened with David Thaxton (of Phantom of the Opera, Only the Brave) who performed superstar from Jesus Christ Superstar. This was fantastic however it did take David a little while to warm up and the latter half of this show was incredible. This song choice was unexpected however as when songs from Jesus Christ Superstar was advertised I assumed it would be Gethsemane as that is the popular, often time show-stopping number, that many musical theatre fans adore but this selection allowed people to experience a song they probably never appreciated before.
My favorite performer in this production was John Owen-Jones (from Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Tiger Bay The Musical) and as I had seen him in Tiger Bay I already had high expectations for his performing abilities and he managed to even surpass the already high standards I had set. His rendition of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables was incredible and was definitely one of the best performances of the night. John also constantly promoted his albums which did become a running gag after a while and did cause a lot of laughter from the audience and the rest of the cast.
Kerry Ellis (of Les Misérables, Wicked) was out of this world. Her performance of ‘She Used To Be Mine’ rivalled that of London’s west end and ‘Anthem’ was an emotional performance that had many of the audience in tears. What made her performance even more incredible was that Kerry had lost a loved one on the day of the show but she still managed to perform at such a high standard. I know I personally would not be able to do this and Kerry remained professional. I would like to send my condolences to Kerry and her family at this difficult time.
Danielle Hope (of Wizard of Oz, Rock of Ages, winner of the BBC’s Over The Rainbow) completed the line-up and performed an excellent duet with John. Again her vocals were flawless.
This show used a children’s chorus who were incredibly talented and there is definitely many stars in that school who have a very big future ahead of them. There was however a few microphone issues that affected one of the solo singers but apart from this, they performed fantastically.
Overall, this show was a celebration of musical theatre performed by the highest quality musical theatre icons. The singing was incredible, the banter between cast members was fun to watch and the fact they support local school and area was the icing on the cake. I would rate this production 4 and a half stars and you should make sure you catch the next performance in Cardiff which is ‘Movie Mixtape: Songs from the Silver Screen’ on the 17th November 2019 which promises to have an even more star-studded cast that this show and so it is one not to miss!
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