Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Editor's Blog: Christmas telly picks + odds & ends

Turkey? Check. Presents? Check. Stagey TV planned and set to record...?

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some stagey TV. Highlights on Christmas Day include Kiss Me, Kate at the Proms (BBC2 / 14.45) starring Ben Davis, Tony Yazbeck, Alexandra Silber and Louise Dearman, as well as The Sound of Music Live (Channel 5 / 12.35) which was originally broadcast live on US TV. It stars Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Christian Borle and Audra McDonald.

Louise Dearman in Kiss Me, Kate at the Proms

If you're looking for a classic musical movie there's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Channel 5 / 15.25) or documentary-wise there's Frozen at Christmas (Channel 4 / 20.00) and Tim Rice - A Life In Song (BBC2 / 22.30).

The fun doesn't stop there! On Boxing Day you can catch Singin' in the Rain (BBC2 / 13.50) and War Horse at the Proms (BBC2 / 17.25). Finally, Tim Rice's musical From Here To Eternity, which was filmed during its recent West End run, is being shown on Saturday 27th December (Sky Arts 2 / 20.00). The recording has also been released on DVD.

In other news, earlier this week I headed into London for the final time this year to see Here Lies Love at the National Theatre. Quite frankly I have never experienced anything like it! I was seated in the gallery, looking down upon audience members standing (and dancing) in the 'pit' where they got to experience the action from every angle.

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's musical has transferred to London fresh from New York. It tells the story of Imelda Marcos - the First Lady of the Philippines. Natalie Mendoza is absolutely sensational as Imelda Marcos with stand out performances also coming from Mark Bautista and Martin Sarreal. Dean John-Wilson was also terrific with his vocals dazzling throughout. The entire cast really were remarkable. Here Lies Love cleverly manipulates its audience. I hope this isn't the last we see of it in London.

Natalie Mendoza as Imelda Marcos / Photo Credit: Tristram Kenton

Finally, I recently returned to the Victoria Palace Theatre to see Billy Elliot for the first time since the live cinema broadcast. Ruthie Henshall was on fantastic form as Mrs Wilkinson whilst, as usual, the entire cast brought the audience to their feet at the end of the night. Chris Jenkins particularly stood out as Tony, his portrayal is tough but Jenkins also allowed the audience to warm to the sometimes unlikeable character.

I can't believe that all the theatre-madness is over for another year! I'm currently attempting to put together my Top Ten Shows of 2014 list which will be published at some point over the next few days. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their incredible support this year! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

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