Tag Archives: Danielle O’Shea

Review Cilla The Musical, New Theatre, Cardiff by Danielle O’Shea

 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
Cilla: The Musical follows the rise of Cilla Black from the small clubs of Liverpool to being a British icon. It demonstrates how large her impact was but this isn’t shown onstage but rather in the audience, who sang and danced the whole way through and hollered with every reference.

I am not a fan of Cilla Black and I would like to be upfront about this, but I do come from a family of them hence my going to see this performance. It seems that this was the main reason for my not enjoying it as it was solely a nostalgic whirl of songs of the time (from groups like The Beatles and The Mamas and The Papas as well as the songs of Cilla Black) strung together by a sometimes-flat performance.

However, there were positives. The performers were all musically talented and performed the rock and roll classics confidently and skilfully and the atmosphere of the New Theatre was warm and intimate yet again. But sadly this wasn’t enough to hold onto those in the audience who weren’t diehard fans.

Cilla: The Musical
New Theatre, Cardiff
November 2nd 2017
Running time: 2hrs and 42 mins
Director: Bill Kenwright
Design: Bob Tomson (co-director), Carole Todd (choreographer), Gary McCann (designer), Nick Richings (lighting designer), Dan Samson (sound designer), Richard Mawbey (wigs director), Scott Alder (musical director), Marc McBride (musical supervisor/arranger), Gary Hickeson (music producer and orchestral arrangement), Gabriella Ingram (costume supervisor), Helen Spall (company stage manager), Karly Hill (deputy stage manager), Erin Thomson (assistant stage manager), Paul Duffy (technical ASM), Steven Hoye (LX number 1), Freddy Marlow (LX number 2), Graham Burgess (Sound Number 1), Elliot Williams (Sound Number 2), Sarah Becs (Head of wardrobe), Rosie Daplyn (wardrobe deputy), Helen Williamson (Head of wigs), Claire Auvache (props supervisor),
Cast: Kara Lily Hayworth, Carl Au, Andrew Lancel, Pauline Fleming, Paul Broughton, Tom Dunlea, Billie Hardy, Amy Bridges, Gemma Brodrick-Bower, Bill Caple

Danielle O’Shea

Review National Theatre Live: Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika by Danielle O’Shea

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
You can read Danielle’ s review of part one at the link below
Extending on the theme of survival, the second part of Angels in America questions progress as a way for religion, society and humanity to survive.  Moving further from the domesticity seen in Part 1, hallucinations and prophetic visions become all the more common and fantasies, whether they be of Heaven or Antarctica. But despite this change in tone, emotions still run high due to discussions of more minor themes still relevant today such as healthcare and the justice system.

Overall, Perestroika is a deeper exploration of the themes of Millennium Approaches and it reveals that what is beneath the message of survival is one of hope even in the bleakest of times.
In its entirety, Angels in America is a magical, modern questioning of identity and change that takes the entire audience on a journey through dark and light times before leaving them with a message of overwhelming hope.
27th July 2017
Gwyn Hall, Neath
Running time: 4 hours 20 minutes with two 15-minute intervals
Author: Tony Kushner
Director: Marianne Elliott
Design: Ian MacNeil (Set Designer), Nicky Gillibrand (Costume Designer), Paule Constable(Lighting Designer), Robby Graham (Choreographer and Movement), Adrian Sutton (Music), Ian Dickinson (Sound Designer), Finn Caldwell (Puppetry Director and Movement), Finn Caldwell and Nick Barnes (Puppet Designers), Chris Fisher (Illusions), Gwen Hales (Aerial Director), Harry Mackrill (Associate Director), Miranda Cromwell (Staff Director)
Cast: Susan Brown, Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, Amanda Lawrence, James McArdle, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Russell Tovey, Stuart Angell, Laura Caldow, Claire Lambert, Becky Namgauds, Stan West, Lewis Wilkins

Review National Theatre Live: Angels in America by Danielle O’Shea

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Survival is central to the first part of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”. This can be seen in the consideration of the fight to survive illness and addiction but also by asking how far you would go to make a relationship survive or to survive oppression. As well as survival, themes of morality, religion and politics remain essential to the play and are used as tools for character development.
As mentioned in the pre-show interview with its director, Marianne Elliott, the play moves from domesticity to magical realism due to the hallucinations experienced by several of the characters which become more overwhelming as the play progresses.

Rooted in 1985 New York during the AIDS epidemic, the harsh reality of each character’s situation is evident and is kept in mind through the use of three side-by-side mini sets so even as the play moves from one character to another, their set remains darkened but still visible. The neon lights bordering each set give an almost magical aura but initially act as barriers between characters before falling away and allowing characters to cross them.
The entire cast give incredible performances that portray characters vividly and in a way so that no matter their moral or political stance the audience still builds a connection with them. However two actors in particular captivate the audience, Denise Gough as Harper Pitt, a Valium addicted Mormon housewife, and Andrew Garfield as Prior Walter, a charismatic AIDS sufferer. Both characters act as bridges between fantasy and reality and their one scene together was charming and captured the attention and imagination of the entire audience.
As a whole, Angels in America is a stunning political portrait that remains extremely relevant today due to its discussions of American politics and the changing identity of America. It is an emotional roller-coaster that will keep you on the edge of your seat and I will definitely be seeing the second part.
National Theatre Live: Angels in America
Part 1:Millennium Approaches
20th July 2017
Gwyn Hall, Neath
Running time: 3 hours 40 minutes with two 15-minute intervals
Author: Tony Kushner
Director: Marianne Elliott
Design: Ian MacNeil (Set Designer), Nicky Gillibrand (Costume Designer), Paule Constable(Lighting Designer), Robby Graham (Choreographer and Movement), Adrian Sutton (Music), Ian Dickinson (Sound Designer), Finn Caldwell (Puppetry Director and Movement), Finn Caldwell and Nick Barnes (Puppet Designers), Chris Fisher (Illusions), Gwen Hales (Aerial Director), Harry Mackrill (Associate Director), Miranda Cromwell (Staff Director)
Cast: Susan Brown, Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, Amanda Lawrence, James McArdle, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Russell Tovey, Stuart Angell, Laura Caldow, Claire Lambert, Becky Namgauds, Stan West, Lewis Wilkins

Review National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night by Danielle O’Shea

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Twelfth Night is Shakespeare’s classical comedy about love, gender and things not always being as they seem. This story became all the more poignant considering recent discussions of gender and sexuality.
In his pre-show interview, Director Simon Godwin described his interpretation as being a comedy wrought with pain and this was evident throughout. Despite the humour which trails through almost every scene, it is undeniable that each character has their own pain – whether this be due to grief or unrequited love – and Godwin made sure not to shy away from this pain but instead to embrace it. The emphasis on character was drawn even stronger by the minimalist settings which centred around a staircase that was manipulated from scene to scene from boat to church to club and so on.
Each member of the cast was incredible and their passion for their role was palpable however two stood out for me. Tamsin Greig as Malvolia presented a stunning portrayal of the stern turned vulnerable steward who every member of the audience empathised with whether it be from her assumed romantic triumph to downfall. In addition, Daniel Rigby forced the character of Sir Andrew Aguecheek into the spotlight with an absolutely hilarious performance that left everyone in tears.
Overall, it was a marvellous experience which was incredibly inclusive in its staging leaving little room for those unfamiliar to Shakespeare to go astray. In Godwin’s interpretation, the political and social connotations of the show were celebrated which encouraged conversation both onstage and off that had previously gone unmentioned. Altogether, it was a show that united both audience and cast in spellbinding switch-up of the classic.

National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night
Gwyn Hall, Neath
April 6th 2017
Running time: 3 hrs 10 mins
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Simon Godwin
Design: Soutra Gilmour (Designer), James Farncombe (Lighting Designer), Shelley Maxwell (Movement Director), Michael Bruce (Music), Christopher Shutt (Sound Designer), Jeannette Nelson (Company Voice Work), Kev McCurdy (Fight Director), Alice Knight (Staff Director)
Cast: Tamara Lawrence, Daniel Ezra, Oliver Chris, Emmanuel Kojo, Brad Morrison, James Wallace, Tim Mc Mullan, Niky Wardley, Daniel Rigby, Adam Best, Doon Mackichan, Phoebe Fox, Tamsin Greig, Imogen Doel, Whitney Kehinde, Ammar Duffus, Claire Cordier, Mary Doherty, Andrew MacBean, Imogen Slaughter.

Review The Rocky Horror Show by Danielle O’Shea

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of an alien transvestite, the games he plays with his goody-two-shoes visitors and him creating his ideal man in a camp satirical comedy that will blow your mind.

The New Theatre with its old-fashioned charm makes for a marvellous venue that helps Luscombe’s interpretation of the hit musical shine even brighter. As usual, the fans form a community that seems just as much as part of the show as the characters, even having their own witty replies to lines in the show. Spicing up the script, the insertion of topical jokes gives the script, which most of the audience had sworn to memory, an unexpected twist.

Philip Franks, as the narrator, takes the audience on a thrilling ride adding his own twists and turns through banter with the audience and makes what seems like a small part, one of the most significant parts of the show. As well as this, Liam Tamne made the character of Frank-N-Furter come to life and lives up to and sometimes beyond those who’ve portrayed the character before them. Altogether, the cast are incredibly talented and their love for the show was as visible as that of the fans.

Rocky Horror is a cult classic that’s as fabulous as ever! If you need anything to secure your faith in musical theatre, then this is it. A magical show that can be enjoyed with so many people and brings the audience together in the most incredible way. Reserve your tickets now because they’ll be flying away fast and you need to see this.


Review Shirley Valentine, Light House Theatre Company by Danielle O’Shea

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell is the story of a middle-aged woman escaping the mundane cycle of her suburban life and finding out what it means to truly be alive.

Evan’s interpretation of Russell’s modern classic was charming in its simplicity. The one-woman show has its desired intimacy due to the short distance between audience and actress as well as there only being two settings. However, sometimes this simplicity turned to limitation where certain elements of the settings gave the suspended reality of the theatre a run for its money.

The majority of the audience had been drawn to the performance by the 1989 film however in the confines of the theatre some attempts at humour struck as outdated rather than nostalgic. As well as this, the charisma of Shirley Valentine was missing leading to a different view of the main character which came off more as pitiful than the relatable pop-culture symbol that many have grown to love.

It was a pleasant performance but due to theatrical limitations as well as the burden of being the sole cast member. Despite this Sonia Beck gave a good performance especially considering the pressure on her. But it seemed to fall short.

Shirley Valentine
Gwyn Hall, Neath
21st November 2016
Theatre Company: Lighthouse Theatre
Author: Willy Russell
Director: Dee Evans
Design: Anna Kelsey (Designer) Tony Davies (Sound Designer) Jonny Rees (Lighting Designer)
Stage management: Lisa Briddon (Company Stage Manager) Naomi Turner (Deputy Stage Manager)
Lead Technician: Andrew Merrell
Cast: Sonia Beck
Running Time: 2 hours

Review ‘King Lear’ RSC Live by Danielle O’Shea


 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

King Lear follows the story of a king who loses power to two of his daughters after banishing his other, his realisation of the wrongs he has committed and his eventual fall into madness and wisdom. It is a timeless story of family, loyalty, how power corrupts and the definition of insanity.

Doran’s interpretation of a Shakespearean classic is ambitious from its minimalist setting to its total reframing of some of Shakespeare’s most iconic villains. As stated in his pre-show interview, Doran saw the play as more political and as a discussion of the human condition. This is evident when he sacrifices some of the family dynamic to give these themes more support; this can be seen when he portrays the characters as ideas rather than as complex individuals.

A talented cast all shone through in this production but particularly Nia Gwynne, as Goneril, who portrayed the character as far more sympathetic than any other performance has. Along with this, the live streaming of the event allowed for quick and easy access as well as the inclusion of events such as the interval feature on the costume design for the feature which reflected the lavish lifestyle and transitions that the characters go through stunningly.

All together a dazzling interpretation of a classic reimagined for such political climates as ours. However, in the first half there is a particular imbalance of light and dark as the attempts at humour often seem out of place but order is restored in the second half leading to a dramatic and satisfying finale. This seemed to be the perfect introduction to such an old and intricate tale.

RSC Live: King Lear
Vue Cinema, Swansea
12th October 2016
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Gregory Doran
Design: Niki Turner (Theatre Design), Tim Mitchell (Sound Design), Jonathon Ruddick (Sound Design)
Technical: Hannah Miller (Casting), Carl Root (Production Manager), Ed Parry (Costume Supervisor)
Cast: Anthony Sher, Nia Gwynne, Kelly Williams, Natalie Simpson, David Troughton, Oliver Johnstone, Paapa Essiedu, Antony Troughton
Producer: John Wyver (For Live from Stratford-Upon-Avon), Zoe Donegan (Creative Team)
Running Time: 3hrs and 30 mins
Danielle O’Shea