Stunt Casting is Becoming an Issue in the UK.

Stunt Casting is Becoming an Issue in the UK.

Everyone loves seeing a “celebrity” in their local theatre, this could be the person in question featuring in a musical, play or even a pantomime. However, in recent years stunt casting has become an increasing tactic used by producers to increase ticket sales. Is this tactic stopping new talent being showcased within the UK’s theatres?

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Review: ‘Be My Baby’ at the Leeds Playhouse

Review: ‘Be My Baby’ at the Leeds Playhouse

The Leeds Playhouse Pop-Up Season is almost drawing to a close, and as the theatre moves towards the completion of its major refurbishment over the coming summer months, it is welcoming audiences for its final Pop-Up production. Featuring the female members of the Leeds Playhouse Ensemble, and produced in association with Mind the Gap, Amanda Whittington’s play ‘Be My Baby’ is the final major play of the theatre’s current season.

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Review: ‘Blood Brothers’ at the Leeds Grand Theatre

Review: ‘Blood Brothers’ at the Leeds Grand Theatre

Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’ has well and truly become a classic of the British musical repertoire, and has been moving audiences around the world for over thirty years. After spending twenty-four years in the West End and touring nationally and internationally since, I looked forward to seeing the musical in its current guise, produced by Bill Kenwright, at its stop at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

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Review: "Rock of Ages" (UK & Ireland Tour)

Review: "Rock of Ages" (UK & Ireland Tour)

One thing that musicals lack, is a shift in structure. Mainstream musicals mainly always follow a linear plot structure, which have a very Stanislavskian style.  “Rock of Ages” completely tears that expected formula apart. Till Saturday 4th May, the UK and Ireland touring production is playing Edinburgh’s answer to the west end, the Edinburgh Playhouse.

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Review: ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ at Leeds Playhouse

Review: ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ at Leeds Playhouse

The refurbishment of the Leeds Playhouse is well underway, and as the theatre accelerates towards its completion later this year, its Pop-Up Theatre space is now playing host to its most physical production yet: ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, adapted from Jules Verne’s novel by Toby Hulse. Directed by Alexander Ferris, I looked forward to seeing this production’s take on the classic novel.

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Review: ‘Kinky Boots the Musical’ at the Leeds Grand Theatre

Review: ‘Kinky Boots the Musical’ at the Leeds Grand Theatre

Julian Jarrold’s 2005 film ‘Kinky Boots’, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, was a hit with audiences after bringing a heartwarming story of acceptance to the screen against the backdrop of an unusual setting. Eight years later, the film was adapted into a musical and premiered in Chicago before transferring to Broadway and beyond, building on the film’s legacy and becoming a hit in the process. Now, a new regional tour is making its way around the UK, and I managed to catch the show on its stop at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

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Review: ‘Rough Crossing’ at Leeds Grand Theatre

Review: ‘Rough Crossing’ at Leeds Grand Theatre

Playwright Tom Stoppard has penned some of the most sparkling comedies and dramatic works throughout his career, including perhaps his most famous works ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ and ‘Arcadia,’ and has also penned the screenplays to ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Parade’s End.’ Now, one of his lesser-known comedies, ‘Rough Crossing,’ is receiving a revival by Bill Kenwright Productions after two major productions in the last thirty years. Currently, on a national tour, I caught the show during its stop at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

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Review: ‘The Full Monty’ at the Leeds Grand Theatre

Review: ‘The Full Monty’ at the Leeds Grand Theatre

Peter Cattaneo’s 1997 film ‘The Full Monty’, written by Simon Beaufoy, has gone on to become something of a cultural phenomenon, becoming one of Britain’s most successful and memorable films. Now over twenty years later, during which time the film has been adapted into a musical and seen a renewed surge in interest thanks to more recent films like ‘Magic Mike’, Beaufoy’s 2013 play based on his original screenplay has made a return to the stage. 

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Review: ‘Benidorm Live’ at Leeds Grand Theatre

Review: ‘Benidorm Live’ at Leeds Grand Theatre

ITV’s beloved television series ‘Benidorm’, now over twelve years old, really has become a smash hit sitcom phenomenon. After its humble beginnings as a short series following the idiosyncratic mishaps of the Garveys, a northern family who venture on numerous holidays in an all-inclusive Costa del Sol resort, the series continued to evolve over a further ten seasons. Now, as the show is available to stream on Netflix, creator and writer Derren Litten has adapted his series for a new medium: the stage. Featuring some of the show’s mainstay characters, I was intrigued to see how the show had made the transition to a live setting, now entitled ‘Benidorm Live’.

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Review: "Ghost The Musical" - UK & Ireland Tour

Review: "Ghost The Musical" - UK & Ireland Tour

Overall, this musical is good for audiences looking for a fun and lighthearted evening/afternoon of entertainment, however, for the “Ghost” motion picture super fans, this may not be for you, as it is definitely directed in a different tone while keeping with the same story. This show does however, showcase some fantastic talent, who put their all in to providing you, probably the best production of this musical in recent years.

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Review: "Jersey Boys" - UK & Ireland Tour

Review: "Jersey Boys" - UK & Ireland Tour

“Jersey Boys” Is a musical which has been touring the UK time and time again. It is one of the most iconic stage musicals of the 21st century and audiences have been lapping up the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons for fifteen years. And unbelievably, I had never seen the musical until this evening (Wednesday 20th February), in Edinburgh’s answer to Broadway, the Edinburgh Playhouse. So, did this hyped musical live up to expectation?

The story of “Jersey Boys” follows the bandmates of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. It shows the roots of the bands, the trials they endured (literally), their personal life and of course how they created the iconic music that the world has come to love.

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Review: “Six the Musical” - SEC, Glasgow/Arts Theatre, London

Review: “Six the Musical” - SEC, Glasgow/Arts Theatre, London

“Hamilton the Musical” is currently taking over the planet, being a contemporary musical with an incredible score, while also educating the world about how America was established, with some messages on diversity and race mixed in there too. Unfortunately, due to some of us being too busy and broke to see Hamilton, there has been whisperings of a low-costing ticket alternative, which has the potential of being just as big a hit.

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Instructions From An Expat

Instructions From An Expat

Okay... As some of you may know, I recently uprooted myself from the good ol' US of A to move to Ireland. Why? To study, of course. I am now taking classes at an acting school. For many people, moving usually involves finding a place to live, a new job (sometimes), acquainting yourself with your new surroundings, making friends, etc. For actors, it often involves something else that's even harder: integrating yourself into the new theatre scene. This here post is to help you find someplace to start when you find yourself someplace new.

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Everyone Knows Everyone in This Industry

Everyone Knows Everyone in This Industry

Being a critic, and also having worked (VERY minorly) in the acting industry, I have met many people and have established contacts with actors, writers, directors, runners, stage techies, producers, and critics, many of whom have gone on to do great things. One of the things you find out fairly quickly, especially in training, is that everybody knows everybody in the entertainment industry. To become a big fish in a small pond, you need to remember that it’s essential to have a pretty good, professional, relationship with everyone you work with, or word will spread fairly quickly about your reputation, which could cause some significant problems for your career. The same can most likely be said in London, Broadway and Hollywood, I imagine word spreads reasonably quickly when someone gets called out for being rude to a colleague or even a fan.

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Review: ‘Shrek: the Musical’ at Leeds Grand Theatre

Review: ‘Shrek: the Musical’ at Leeds Grand Theatre

The ‘Shrek’ franchise is one of the most successful in the animated film industry. With memorable characters and a great crossover plot and concept, it was only a matter of time before it would receive a musical stage adaptation. This Christmas, audiences that haven’t seen the show in its previous incarnations will get the chance to see it at the Leeds Grand Theatre, where it completes the menu forming the backbone of the city’s seasonal theatre offerings. 

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Are Theatre Audiences Changing?

Are Theatre Audiences Changing?

Many people go to the theatre to escape the hustle and bustle of modern society and want to be taken on a journey, different from the life they live in. A vast percentage of those who go to the theatre enjoy to watch their evening/afternoon’s performance without the disruption of people talking, rowdy crowds, loud eaters and most of all, the bright screens of mobile phones. However, recently, regular theatergoers are finding themselves encountering more and more disturbances during performances, thanks to audience members around them. This raises the question, are theatre audiences changing?

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Review: "Kinky Boots The Musical" (UK & Ireland Tour) - Edinburgh Playhouse

Review: "Kinky Boots The Musical" (UK & Ireland Tour) - Edinburgh Playhouse

Kinky Boots The Musical” is an amazing show which not only entertains but conveys an uplifting message to never let anyone stop you from being you. If you are looking for a hell of a lot of joy this Christmas season, then... Ladies! Gentlemen! And those who are yet to make up their minds! Get yourself to “Kinky Boots” one of the greatest musicals to play the Edinburgh Playhouse.

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