The Alban Arena is a venue with a rich history of welcoming touring acts, some of which have gone on to world-wide fame - such as Dire Straits, who played there in 1978. I saw the legendary Rory Gallagher there in 1988, more recently The Waterboys and The Gorillaz have graced the stage. It is maybe a sign of the times that more tribute bands than original artists perform there these days. So when two of the UKs most respected musical artists were coming to the Alban Arena it was likely to be an evening not to be missed!
Arriving at the Radlett Centre, there is a buzz of excitement as fans of all ages; including, parents, children and their grandparents, hang out in the auditorium waiting for the event to begin.CJ is one of the most experienced, dedicated and well-respected Michael Jackson tribute artists and he perfectly captures the electrifying energy of Michael Jackson’s live performances with the look, the voice and the moves!This evening, CJ, with his band, backing singers and incredible dancers, recreated a spectacular performance of his favourite Michael Jackson songs with great lighting display, visual imagery and audio clips taken from Michael’s professional life.
There was a real family affair at the Alban Arena on January 20th. Friends, family and fans of the late great rock musician Jim Rodford gathered at the theatre to pay tribute to a local hero. At the side of the stage under a spotlight was a poignant reminder of the musician who had died in St Albans 12 months earlier – his bass guitar and hat.
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.
Michael Jackson might be gone but his wonderful music lives on thanks to performers like CJ who brought his show-stopping production to the stage of the Alban Arena on Friday, October 26. The spectacular show, a kind of cross between a Michael Jackson concert and a stage production, is truly sensational. CJ has the not-inconsiderable support of four well-drilled girl dancers , a top-class four-piece backing band, plus dazzling lighting effects and video footage shown on a big screen and keeping everything in context.
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.
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