This was the first time I had seen a performance in the studio part of the Abbey Theatre. I must say I liked the intimacy this created. Allowing the audience to feel a part of the production, almost. The play is quite short, in two acts of 45-50 minutes or so and this felt right. All the dialogue and action had meaning and impact.
There are hundreds of would-be Sinatras and Bowies roaming the UK and earning a very good living but tribute acts playing the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a little thin on the ground. Even rarer is a group of musicians who are perfectionists and go to great lengths to recreate the impressive, tuneful rock music created by the singer-songwriter-musician from Gainesville in Florida. Petty died one year ago at the relatively young age of 66 but his music will live on for future generations.
Another strong production by The Company of Ten. Well acted and staged. High quality theatre. This is a play that The Company of Ten should be highly suited to and indeed they are! All the main characters are credible and well-acted by the cast. The costumes and scenery are spot on in achieving a look and feel of a pre-war English country house. A very enjoyable and entertaining evening. Highly recommended, running till October 20th.
The latest production by the Radlett Musical Theatre Company is one of the first amateur productions of the hugely popular musical ‘Cats’. The RMTC seem to be making a habit of choosing an eclectic range of material for their shows. Their recent staging of ‘The Producers’ was an inspired choice, with the emphasis on slapstick comedy and well-defined lead characters, with a great plot and spectacular set pieces. ‘Cats’ is a very different beast (no pun intended).
Reviewing a tribute band will always be difficult. Do they sound as good as the original? Do they look the part? Thankfully ABBA Forever came up positive on all these points and I believe the sold-out crowd at the Radlett Centre would back me on this.
I have been a fan of the film since childhood. Very much a period piece of the 1960s, with a career defining performance by Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock. So inventive, irreverant and outrageously funny. A lot for the stage show to live up to and on-the-whole, it did.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a local group was to perform 'Spamalot'. St. Albans Musical Theatre (previously known as St Albans Operatic Society) have been producing high-quality productions for some years now and I must say expectations were high. St. Albans is blessed with many high-quality amateur and professional performers (being located close to London being one of the main reasons), as well as directors and choreographers.
I never got round to seeing David Bowie live and of course I never will now, so the opportunity to see a highly-rated tribute act on my doorstep was not to be missed. The sound at the Harpenden Halls has been pretty ropey in the past, but from the first notes it was clear that this band had their own PA and had made an effort to get the sound right. The show consisted of two sets, with the first one comprising of songs from his great period in the early seventies - Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. The costumes and sound was pretty much spot on. The band were note perfect and classic after classic followed.
I've seen Think Floyd a few times now and they never disappoint. Of course playing the music of Pink Floyd means you have an amazing musical back catalogue to work through. And for the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd they did just that, playing something from each album. Personally I have little love for the very earliest and latest albums in their history, but it made for an opportunity to hear some pieces that I had long since forgotten. I could happily just have Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here back to back and go home smiling, so I suppose good to make me broaden my horizons.
I still have strong memories of watching Abigail's Party on the BBC back in 1977. I was a young teenager and alternately bemused, amused and appalled at what I saw and heard. It left a lasting impression and I have followed the work of Mike Leigh and Alison Steadman ever since. It is not the safest of choices for a local theatre, although it can be hilarious in places, the characterisation is very strong and the reputation of the original production is so strong that any new production has a lot to live up to.
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