Tag Archives: Musicals

Alex On The Beeb!

13 Apr

Alex is going to sing live on Radio Three on Monday.

That’s on THE BBC – OUR NATIONAL BROADCASTING SERVICE!  THE BBC! BBC RADIO!  He has to TRAVEL DOWN TO LONDON!  On a TRAIN!

I’m not at all excited.

No automatic alt text available.

I don’t have any details yet, except that he’ll be performing with Debra Finch, his singing partner in the last few Broadway shows he’s done; and it’s to promote their next show, Lerner & Loewe’s The Day Before Spring, which hasn’t had a full performance since 1953 – which is probably why the BBC is interested.

I’ll update this post with details when I have them.

In the meanwhile, picture me on Easter Monday, sitting glued to the radio all day – or TV, in this case, as everyone listens to the radio via their TV these days.  Or maybe glued to my phone, waiting for Alex to remember his doting mother, up in the northern wilds of Britain, anticipating that text which will tell her what time he’s going to be LIVE ON THE BBC (radio, admittedly; and not even the MAIN radio station, but STILL, it’s the BBC, you KNOW).

No, I’m not at all excited.

Don’t Miss This Train!

24 Jun

Given the results of yesterday’s referendum, a post about Departures seems apposite, so here’s my review.

I entered the theatre on Wednesday night expecting to like Departures: A Song Cycle.  I didn’t.  I loved it.

The theatre was intimate; the seating comfortable (always a bonus for the audience).  The station platform set was simple but effective.  The musicians were backstage but visible through an ‘exit’.  The music was by turns fun, energetic, moving; the themes were current.

Each story was revealed in song, with characters only really joining in with the ensemble as their particular tale was told, rather like a matryoshka doll in reverse. The songs varied in style and tone, just like the themes.  We were told of isolation and disappointment, but also hope and positivity; by the end there was a coming together as the characters were united by sharing the very things that left them feeling alone in the first place.

I must declare a bias: Alex Cosgriff is my son.  I’ve seen him in almost everything he has appeared in and I have watched him grow as an actor and performer, so I feel qualified to say that he gave a subtle and nuanced performance as Henry, a teenage schoolboy.   His solo Sad To Me was poignant and moved more than one person to tears.

Tom Williams’ solo I Choose Silence was simply beautiful; but mention must also be made of his ability to sit still and unnoticed for almost ninety minutes: not many actors would be satisfied with that but it definitely added to the show’s quality, for it was a physical manifestation of the underlying theme of those we ignore as a society.  I felt the song would have been more effective if it had occurred earlier on, but that’s a minor quibble.

*

In stark contrast came Billy (Will) Taylor’s vigorous characterisation of Trefor the Station Master.  He was hilarious whether moving or still, and often commanded our attention even when he had no lines.  He built a great rapport with the audience and is definitely one to watch.

The real stars of the show, however, were the fabulous score by Matthew Malone and lyrics by Joe Bunce, both of which showed a maturity beyond their authors’ years.  I pay Bunce & Malone the highest compliment I can: I was still thinking about the characters and singing snatches from the show twenty-four hours later.

I strongly recommend that you try to catch this while you can, tonight or tomorrow at the Pleasance, Islington.  No matter how you voted yesterday, this is one departure that will leave you feeling good.

 

Departures: A Song Cycle

20 Jun

No, I’m not talking about tearful goodbyes to Al, Grannymar and Barbara last week (though there were, of course; especially when they realised I was taking all the Maltesers with me), but about Alex’s latest venture: he’s appearing in Departures: A Song Cycle at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington in London this week.

I will talk about hellos and goodbyes in my next post, of course, but for now I want to publicise this fantastic new musical by Joe Bunce and Matt Malone.  You may recall that it won a ton of awards at The Edinburgh Fringe last year and The National Student Drama Festival this year, only four of which are mentioned in the poster, but one of which was The Cameron Macintosh Award…yep, that’s right: that Cameron Macintosh…  

The plot, according to the Pleasance Theatre website

Nine strangers stand at a nondescript railway platform on an unremarkable weekday afternoon. As their train is delayed further, they put down their crumpled Metros, pocket their bleeping smartphones – and begin to share their secrets, hopes and fears.

The cast in rehearsal:

*

The Sunday Times said:

The lyrics have the contemporary bite, and the music the tricky wit, of a new Sondheim; the cast sing beautifully and the band play immaculately.

When it appeared at the Fringe, the Edinburgh Guide described it as:

…an exciting, innovative, intelligently conceived and choreographed show. Dramatic storytelling with a sense of realism is the strength behind the emotional heart of this modern opera. Remember the names Bunce and Malone – the Kander & Ebb, the Lerner & Lowe, the Sondheim of Musical Theatre of tomorrow.

If you happen to be in London this week, get yourself down to the Pleasance Theatre; tickets are very reasonably priced and I promise you an amazing night – but there are only five nights, so get going.

Miss Liberty at Sheffield University

8 Dec

The songover is Alex’s voice

You readers must be wondering why this blog seems to have turned into an Alex Cosgriff fan page.  The problem is, the Hub does nothing; Wary Boy tells us nothing; I remember nothing.  Alex is the only one who does anything worth writing about.

I can tell you that I did something on Sunday that I did exactly a year ago, but without the defecation: I went to a brass band concert with my friend Alison.  I enjoyed it.  

That’s about as interesting as it gets; if you want the poo story, I suggest you re-read last year’s visit.

This week, Alex is singing in a concert – with some dialogue, including narration by someone from The Great British Bakeoff (not Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry) – of the songs from Miss Liberty.  The cast is singing with a 40-piece orchestra.

Miss Liberty is a forgotten musical by Irving Berlin.  As far as is known, it has never been staged outside of the States, and has rarely been staged there.  As a result, the concert at Sheffield University is creating noise here and in the US. There have been some radio interviews and articles on the BBCThe Stage, PlaybillBroadwayworld and elsewhere.

For the background story on why it is being staged, read here.

The concert takes place on two nights, including four songs for one night only:

…on Thursday 10 December 2015 audiences will have the opportunity to hear world premiere performances of four songs that were cut before the musical opened on Broadway in 1949. They were discovered by McHugh and Malone in Berlin’s papers at the Library of Congress and special permission has been given to perform them for one night only by the Berlin estate.

University of Sheffield News

Can you tell me, then, why I spent all of yesterday upending Alex’s room to find the two suits, one jacket, one shirt, several ties, and two pairs of trousers Alex simply MUST have if he’s going to appear on stage this week?  And why that was a complete waste of time when I couldn’t find half of them – the suits in particular – and Alex suggested I look behind the door…and there they were?  I’m not in it, so why is there so much work for me?  That boy is taking a liberty.

I suspect I’ll get payback in being able to poke fun at him, however: Alex, who thought the modern dancing he did in Godspell was naff (and read here for how I let that slip to the choreographer), is going to TAP DANCE without benefit of any training whatsoever, in front of a live audience.

I’m cringing all ready.

Hee hee hee.

Open Casting Call

24 Mar

beinvolvedfeatureimage

If you live in the Greater Manchester area you might be interested in this from The Tree of War website:

Now Casting Actors and Crew

The team behind September 2014’s show once again head up the production of this new, extended show. Composer Oliver Mills will return to Direct and Produce, whilst Writer Rachel Mann will share Production duties.

The show calls for a cast of 18+ performers and a 12-piece orchestra. There are backstage and crew positions in departments including, but not limited to, Art, Design, Set Building, Stage Management, Front of House, Publicity and Tech.

For Casting, there will be a number of Audition dates in the coming weeks. We welcome anyone of any age and experience to audition.

Rehearsals will take place throughout the summer. Involvement in the show may require commitment from April, and will require regular availability during August and September.

*

Check the website for more details.

Tomorrow Belongs To Spud

19 Nov

As I type this, Spud is appearing in a student production of Cabaret, as Cliff Bradshaw (the love interest – they do know he was my baby just two months ago, hey?).

The trailer above is from that production, but features only the Emcee (they do know that Spud is in it as well, hey?).  

The video below is from another production, and is not Spud.  I include it to show you the song he’ll be singing:

But I prefer this version:

Donny Still Makes My Heart Go Pitter-Pat

4 Aug

I have been shocked at how her parents have neglected my niece’s education; nay, appalled. Casual conversation between the Hub and the niece revealed that she had not – I barely know how to express it; I’m overcome. Just give me a moment…the niece had reached the age of eight without ever seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It gets worse: she had never seen or heard of The Wizard Of Oz. I thought every person in the western hemisphere had seen both of those films. Several times. At least. Though if it was averaged out, there’s probably some Scrooge in Stockport (naming no Hub names) who has only seen each film once and an enlightened wife in the same general area who has seen them 732 times and needs to replace her worn-out videos with brand-spanking new dvds if anyone’s listening.

The Hub and I huddled together and conspired to fix the deficit. It’s too late for the poor nephew; once you turn thirteen that’s it: musicals are seriously un-cool, as is saying the phrase ‘seriously un-cool’; but the niece is young enough not to be seriously impaired by her lack of musical knowledge, and we have had three girly nights in a row making good on parental neglect: The Wizard Of Oz to set the bar, followed by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. One film starts with a death and a celebratory song and has a child go off with three strange men; the other has the scariest nose in the ugliest suit I have ever seen and is guaranteed to give her nightmares about taking sweets from strangers, as well as making her think that offing the missus can be jolly good fun. I can’t believe she has never seen them.

I followed it up with The Sound Of Music – singing and Nazis; I might has well have put on Cabaret, old chum. She enjoyed them all but my stocks were running low because so many musicals are not suitable for eight year olds. I’m beginning to think that no musicals are suitable for eight year olds. Moulin Rouge – prostitutes and TB. Chicago – adultery, murder, miscarriages of justice. Even the seemingly innocuous early musicals are seething masses of misery: ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – kidnap, domestic slavery and liars, anyone?

Fortunately, she missed nasty undercurrents such as Dorothy the Opium Eater because she was too busy plastering me in make-up and seventeen colours of nail polish. When she gets her first Academy Award (TrademarkCopyrightLegalBlahBlahBlah) she had better thank her Auntie Tilly for starting her on the road to success (but leave out the bit about how she covered me in so many layers of foundation, when I stood up my face was too heavy for my body and I fell head-first into the carpet, undoing all her good work).

Tonight I put on Joseph but she got bored with it and cleared off, leaving Donny and me alone. I was relieved: Donny Osmond is the only heart throb of my early years who still makes me weak at the knees (so long as I don’t see him in flares; flares make me nauseous). He is the only famous person who, if I ever meet him, will have to wipe the drool from chin. I hope for his sake he never meets me. However, I carry a spare pack of hankies on the off-chance. I’m not one to spit in the face of fate. Here he is, doing what he does best:

Nicola Hulme Author

Exploring creative writing and learning every day

Worldly Winds

It's not easy being me!

Vivinfrance's Blog

mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.

Unpicked:Restitched

Where is the heart of Stockport?

Grains of Sand

notices and reflections in ministry

The Cvillean

The adventures of little read writing Hood

%d bloggers like this: