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Posts Tagged ‘British Theatre Guide’

British Theatre Guide: Jubilee Review

November 8th, 2017

btg17aOn 4 June 1976 at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall, the Sex Pistols played a gig voted (along with Woodstock and Live Aid) as one of the most influential of all time; thousands claim to have been in the 150-capacity venue, which was less than a third full, but some of those who were went on to form massively influential bands such as Buzzcocks, The Smiths, The Fall and Joy Division / New Order, not to mention Factory Records and The Haçienda.

A year later, the Queen had her Silver Jubilee in the year Never Mind The Bollocks was released (“God save the Queen / The fascist regime”), then in 1978 punk had its own Jubilee in the form of Derek Jarman’s film of that name, starring some major punk and alternative music figures including Toyah, Adam Ant, Siouxsie Sioux, Richard O’Brien, Little Nell, Jordan and Lindsay Kemp.

Toyah Willcox returns to the world of Jubilee but this time as Queen Elizabeth I, whose magician John Dee (Harold Finley) conjures up the spirit Ariel (Lucy Ellinson) – it gets quite Shakespearean in a few places – to transport her forwards in time, not to the broken, depressed streets of the 1970s but straight to the squat of Amyl Nitrate and her fellow residents, now translated into the 21st century.

• Continue reading at British Theatre Guide.

British Theatre Guide: Crime & Punishment: A Rock Musical

September 5th, 2016

A review, by Howard Loxton of the British Theatre Guide, of Crime and Punishment.

Phil Willmott has managed to cut Dostoyevsky’s novel down to a ninety-minute musical. Concentrating on protagonist Rodiom Raskalnikov, he has carved out storyline that presents the main plot clearly and uses Toyah Willcox’s songs (mainly old ones, some specially written) not as decoration but integrated so that they contribute to the storytelling.

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Philip Eddoll’s steampunk set, all cogwheels and smoking chimneys, has already been used for The Wawel Dragon (the evening’s earlier offering for a younger audience). Now onion domes are added to make it more Russian but, though the location remains St Petersburg, with the black-goggled cast slowly crawling all over it as the audience assembles, this surreal place could be any- and everywhere.

Toyah’s “We Are” opens the show with an eruption of confidence from the gathering of students: “we are the young ones, we are the chosen ones, we are the only ones!” before Raskolnikov (Alec Porter) declares that he is penniless and must give up his studies.

• Continue reading at the British Theatre Guide. (Photos © British Theatre Guide/Sheila Burnett)

Sleeping Beauty: ‘British Theatre Guide’ Review

January 10th, 2013

Another new review for Sleeping Beauty, now into its final 10 days at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. High praise for the production, and Toyah, by the British Theatre Guide.

As soon as ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ sweeps across the auditorium spreading its melodic happiness during the overture, the audience knows they’re in for a good time. Last year’s Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre was a resounding success, but somehow Evolution Productions has managed to top it with this year’s festive treat Sleeping Beauty.

Not only does the production boast an excellent Comic and Dame, it has one of the finest Villains in Pantoland in the form of Toyah Willcox’s Carabosse. An experienced pantomime performer, Willcox knows how to work an audience and ensure she gets the boos her character so desires. Her involvement in the schoolroom scene works well as she tries to think up ways to prick the Princess and a mysterious birthday card efficiently lures Beauty to her fate.

• Continue reading at the British Theatre Guide. Read more Sleeping Beauty reviews here.