Monday, 24 November 2014

Competition: Win a pair of tickets to see Slightly Fat Features in VARIETY SOUP at the Leicester Square Theatre

We are giving away a pair of tickets to VARIETY SOUP at the Leicester Square Theatre. To enter the competition, simply sign up to West End Frame's mailing list below.

The winner will be randomly selected at 10am on Thursday 4th December 2014 (entries after this time will not be included). The prize is valid until 4th January 2015.

Even if you already subscribe to West End Frame's newsletter you still have to input your details below to enter this particular competition. You will not receive our newsletter twice (assuming you enter the same email address). Please read the terms and conditions below.

Once considered the pinnacle of family entertainment, the Variety Show packed out theatres and had millions hooked to their television sets. But now, in this modern era of instant, flat screen, comfy sofa viewing, ‘variety’ only appears to exist on ITV1 ©Simon Cowell. Until now.

Guest Blog: Can theatre ever be up to date?

Dan Phillips
Earlier this year Nick Hytner and The National Theatre announced a controversial new production just days before its first performance. The play, Great Britain, penned by Richard Bean (One Man Two Guvners, Made in Dagenham) explored the phone hacking scandal and raised eyebrows as the issue was still ongoing. 

This is perhaps the most up to date production in recent history, cashing in on the subject of previous weeks to create a sharp and very present representation. However, could this have been done anywhere other than The National Theatre? 

Theatre is notorious for its inability to move quickly from pre-production to opening night. Only somewhere with the manpower, readily available space and money could put together a production like this in the time it took, and all under the radar. The issue of this, of course, is the regular development of the script and continuous ambiguity to the outcome of the story, creating what some see as a watered down or slapdash ending to the play. Despite Great Britain’s impressive ticket sales when at The Lyttelton Theatre, some critics couldn’t help feel that the piece felt a little rushed. 

Big Interview: Perry O'Dea

Perry O'Dea is currently understudying Pharoah in the UK Tour of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Back in October 2012, Perry was one of West End Frame’s first ever interviewees whilst still in training at Arts Ed. He went on to make his professional debut in Evita (UK Tour) before understudying Mickey in Blood Brothers (UK Tour). 

This Christmas Perry will return home to the Isle of Man to play The Cauldron in Puss In Boots (Royal Hall) and next year he will go back on the road with the new touring production of Oklahoma.

I recently caught up with Perry to discuss how he survives a ten show week in Joseph, why playing Mickey in Blood Brothers was a dream come true and what inspired him to get into musical theatre…

How is life in Joseph?
It’s fun! I’m loving it! I’ve never been part of a cast who have bonded so much. You become like a weird family because you spend so much time together. Usually you’re at the theatre from six until ten, but we’re with each other from half twelve to ten every day because of our performance schedule (Joseph has matinees on Wednesdays-Fridays and plays three shows on Saturdays). You get really close to everyone; it is like a dysfunctional family [laughs]. I have enjoyed it… but I am very tired!

What is your secret to surviving a ten show week?
Well I don’t know how I’ve done it [laughs]! You’ve got to be able to pick each other up and you’ve got to be a really good company member – have a laugh and have fun. Obviously, like with any show, you’re trying to tell a story… even though it’s a slightly wacky story [laughs]. We always have fun and try new things. 

Full casting announced for OKLAHOMA! 2015 UK Tour

Full casting has been announced for the new touring production of OKLAHOMA! 

The cast will feature Lucy May Barker as Ado Annie, James O’Connell as Will Parker, Paul Grunert as Andrew Carnes, Kara Lane as Gertie Cummings, Christopher D Hunt as Cord Elam and Barnaby Thompson as Ike Skidmore. 

Also in the cast are Simon Anthony, Christina Bennington, Robbie Boyle, Katie Marie-Carter, Lisa Dent, Emilie du Leslay, Ian Gareth-Jones, Hannah Grace, Ross Lee Fowkes, Perry O’Dea, Sasi Strallen and Gabriella Stylianou.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review: Louise Dearman & Tim Howar star in Bond & Beyond (UK Tour) at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Bond and Beyond (UK Tour)
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 21st November 2014

As the title suggests, Bond and Beyond celebrates the biggest and best Bond songs as well as a few other irresistible classics. 

With musical director Clive Dunstall on hand to give background info and trivia surrounding each song, The London concert orchestra sounded absolutely divine as they filled the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre with the most incredible music. Everyone on stage seemed to be having a great time which really rubbed off on to the packed audience who seemed to hugely enjoy the evening. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Big Interview: Laura Pitt-Pulford

2014 has been quite a year for Laura Pitt-Pulford. After starring in the The Light Princess at the National Theatre she went on to win rave reviews for her performances in Marry Me A Little (St James Studio) and The Return of the Solider (Jermyn Street).

Laura is currently starring as Maria in The Sound of Music at the Leicester Curve Theatre. She returns to the Curve having played Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly! and Toine in Piaf.

The Sound of Music opens on 3rd December (previews from 28th November) and runs until 17th January. Paul Kerryson directs, marking his final show as artistic director of the Curve, with choreography from Drew McOnie.

Just a few of Laura’s other theatre credits include: A Man of No Importance (Salisbury Playhouse), Mack and Mabel and Parade (Southwark Playhouse), title role in Sweet Charity (Belfast MAC), The Little Prince (Lyric Belfast), Guys and Dolls (the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, Clwyd Theatre and Salisbury Playhouse) and Copacabana (Watermill Theatre, Newbury).

I recently spoke to Laura about why she’s so thrilled to be playing Maria, her whirlwind year and why she’s yodelling on the bus… 

Roles don’t come more iconic than Maria! Was the part always on your list of dream roles?
It has always been on my dream list, I think it’s probably on most girls lists [laughs]. I used to watch the film all the time with my mum and knew it inside out. I always wanted to play Maria but never thought it would happen! I saw the Palladium production and then the one at Regent’s Park and they were both fantastic in their own way. So when I was asked to do this I was a bit like, ‘Wow! Yes please!’ It’s one of those roles that you want to be able to put your own stamp on. I’m really looking forward to finding my Maria.

GOSSIP: West End revival of Cats takes £6 million at box office

According to the Daily Mail, the West End revival of Cats has already taken close to £6 million at the box office. 

Baz Bamigboye reports that by the time the musical opens at the London Palladium next month, it will have taken £6.5 million which is hugely impressive for a limited twelve week run.

The newspaper suggests there is "talk" of an extesion. However, please note nothing is yet confirmed. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical opens at the Palladium on 11th December 2014 (previews from 6th December) starring Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella. It runs until Saturday 28th February 2015 (Scherzinger appears until 7th February).