The National Operatic and Dramatic Society (NODA) have reviewed the latest production by the Young Creatives Portsmouth - children's musical The Grunch at the New Theatre Royal. We've kindly been forwarded the details for inclusion here - read the review from NODA SE District 10 representative, Mark Donalds, on the show:
The Grunch is a fairly new musical, written for children and very much in the Seussical vein. It was inspired by ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ and features lots of bright, toe-tapping songs and colourful costumes. Rudy Grunch is a grumpy outsider who comes up with a plan to sabotage the school musical by stealing their set, costumes and lights. As disaster looms, he sees the error of his ways and returns the stolen items, ensuring a happy ending for all.
A musical about a drama club staging a musical is a gift for a drama club staging a musical, because it’s all within everyone’s experience and, under Marie Amey’s clever direction, the Young Creatives presented The Grunch with enormous vitality and pizazz.
As soon as the curtains opened we knew we were in for a treat with the top-quality, brightly coloured set that could have come straight out of a cartoon. Vivid costumes and fantastic wigs, plus clever lighting completed the picture and from the first words we were assured that the cast would live up to the promise of a great show.
This is very much an ensemble piece with lots of opportunities for individuals to have their moment to shine, and shine they did! The script doesn’t establish character names very well, so I won’t single out individuals for praise in case I get the names wrong! The only exception I will make is for The Grunch himself, played by Harvey Hill. “Grunch, you’re a natural” was a line that struck home with me because his acting and singing were top notch. His performance was so natural and, apparently, effortless. He has great stage presence and is surely a name to look out for in the future.
That is not to say that the rest of the cast did not match up – they most certainly did. From the oldest right down to the littlest, they all displayed amazing confidence and style, totally engaged throughout and really bringing their characters to life. The singing was excellent, both during the solo and the chorus numbers, and the dancing and movement were well coordinated and interesting. For my money, the choreography was at its best in “The Train to Whoover” (rather reminiscent of “Rock Island” in The Music Man). It was extremely well executed, really crisp, with everyone keeping strictly to the rhythm of the train.
Sadly, microphone problems let the show down a little at times, meaning that some of the smaller voices could not be heard easily – especially when speaking from behind the proscenium arch - and I think some of the humour of the show was lost as a result. However this did not spoil my enjoyment of the show one bit - nor that of the very enthusiastic, capacity audience around me.
This was a great introduction for me to The Young Creatives Portsmouth, and I went home humming the songs and looking forward to being invited to the next production. A huge “Well done” to everyone involved with the show.
NODA SE District 10 Representative
The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth is to receive a grant of nearly £1 million, making it a key National Portfolio Organisation for arts investment in the South of England.
Paid over four years, the investment will allow the Portmouth-based venue to further develop its work in coming years, focusing on four strands- the programme of work onstage, artist development, digital development and internationalism.
Speaking of the award, the theatre’s Chief Executive Scott Ramsay said, “The board, staff and volunteers of the New Theatre Royal are delighted to receive news of this investment into our theatre and its activities, which allows us to widen our impact across the city and wider region.
One of the best investments we make as a nation is in our extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sporting industries. £1 billion a year in associated grants adds a quarter of a trillion pounds to the UK economy, and it plays a crucial part in forming the leaders and innovators of the future.”
Chair of the New Theatre Royal Trustees, Judith Smyth said, “This award is a credit to the staff and board who have overseen the restoration of the theatre, and secured this grant, including Scott Ramsay our new Chief Executive. We are at a tipping point and Scott and the team will now work with our partners to continue Portsmouth’s development as a place that champions creativity and the arts.”
We're delighted for the New Theatre Royal who have become a key player in the arts and culture scene of Portsmouth and continue to facilitate and inspire creative talent in our local community.
The revival of Farm Boy, due to go ahead this Sunday at The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, has been cancelled due to "circumstances beyond our control".
Earlier today CCADS Theatre cancelled the event on Facebook, posting the following: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are cancelling this Sunday's revival of Farm Boy but we are already in discussions to bring it back next Easter at two brand new locations... watch this space!"
The hotly anticipated revival had recently been performed to high acclaim at the end of April. This reprisal was planned to give audience members who missed it the opportunity to see it again, and those who wanted to see it again another opportunity, with three performances originally planned.
Here at PortsmouthTheatre.com we're sad to not see it go ahead as planned but wish the company well with their future endeavours, one of which has just begun rehearsals.
"Right now, Carrie is in rehearsal and will hit the stage in a couple of months!" the company stated.
Carrie: The Musical is the musical adaptation of Stephen King's hit novel. CCADS Theatre are staging the production at the Hayling Island Station Theatre from the 5th of September until the 9th and it is recommended for ages 14+.
Tickets are available online now and, as with all CCADS Theatre shows, we strongly advise booking in advance. We've included a link to the box office below:
Following its successful run in April, and owing to popular demand, multi-award winning CCADS Theatre are bringing the acclaimed Farm Boy back for three final performances on one day.
In the atmospheric surroundings of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, Farm Boy is to run once more on Saturday 2nd July at 2pm; 4:30pm and 7pm.
The show is Michael Morpugo's sequel to the worldwide stage and screen phenomenon War Horse. In the piece, set fifty years after Albert and Joey fought their way home from the battlefields of World War One, Albert's son tells his own grandson more about the brave horse and the daring risks his family took.
It's a heart-warming piece suitable for all the family which played to a wonderfully warm reception when it was first staged by CCADS Theatre in April. It was, additionally, highly acclaimed by reviewer Alan Johns from the Southern Daily Echo during it's first run.
The show stars Peter Colley and Sean Ridley, pictured above. This really is your final chance to see this production, so advance booking is strongly advised.
Tickets are available by telephoning or texting Maria Pegden on 07834 367659. Payment is by cash on the door only and tickets are £12 or £10 (concessions).
Did you see the original run in April? Are you booking this time to see it for the first time? Let us know your thoughts! Comment box below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ahead of it's opening this July, we've had a sneaky look at rehearsals for South Downe Muscial Society's latest production, Alan Menken's musical Sister Act.
Opening on 5th July at Ferneham Hall, Sister Act is a riotous and fun musical from the pen of eight time Oscar winner Alan Menken, who wrote a great number of Disney's big hit musical numbers.
Similar to the film, it follows the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.
Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a Convent! Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music.
PortsmouthTheatre.com has this exclusive look at some older rehearsal photos (above), and the footage we've seen (which we won't share here for spoiler purposes) has been, as we've come to expect of them, incredibly tightly choreographed and powerful in vocal capability.
South Downe Musical Society do not disappoint when it comes to their musicals, and this follows a string of successful shows for the company including Calamity Jane; Grease and Hot Mikado.
The company will be promoting Sister Act at the Fareham bandstand from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 1st July and you currently also have the opportunity to win tickets via the SDMS Facebook page. We'd highly recommend booking early and not missing out on this high-energy; hilarious show - it's an old, overused pun we know, but this production is going to be Fabulous, Baby!
Sister Act: The Musical runs at Ferneham Hall, Fareham from the 5th July - 8th July with a matinée on the Saturday. Tickets are available from the Ferneham Hall box office. Online link below.
The New Theatre Royal are proudly staging Scamp Theatre's The Scarecrows' Wedding, based on the hit children's picture book of the same name.
Straight from London’s West End, this truly heart-warming adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling book is bursting at the seams with Scamp Theatre’s inimitable style (Stick Man, Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales) and promises wit, drama, and wedding bells as you’re invited to Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay’s glorious wedding day.
Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are excellent scarecrows (they scare a lot of crows). Harry loves Betty, and Betty loves Harry, so they decide to get married and Harry sets off to search for their wedding day essentials including a dress of feathers, a bunch of flowers and a necklace made from shells.
However, when the farmer notices he is missing a scarecrow, he replaces Harry with the devilishly smooth but dangerous Reginald Rake. Dashing, daring and ever so cool, can Reginald persuade Betty that he is the scarecrow for her? Will Harry make it back in the nick of time before Reginald ruins their special day?
The play is directed by Eva Sampson. "I’m delighted that The Scarecrows’ Wedding will be heading out on tour again this year. It’s a great opportunity to bring the show to new audiences and share Harry and Betty’s epic love story!"
This promises to be a fun; colourful and exciting show and a brilliant opportunity for children to experience the magic of theatre. It's suitable for ages 3+ and is being shown on Sunday 2nd July at 2:30pm. Box office details below.
The Kings Theatre are staging a special event to commemorate World War One this July, with free tickets for school groups and children.
The Heritage Lottery and Arts Council funded Lost Plays of WW1 is being staged on Wednesday 12th July 2017 and features some very special performances from a wealth of local talent.
The event includes a short documentary film by St George's Beneficial School; a performance by Louise Jordan; Mayfield Secondary School and a performance from Lads In The Village, which premiered in the theatre 100 years ago, directed by Jack Edwards.
The tickets are just £5 for adults and the event is going to be an informative; moving and entertaining watch. More details on the specifics released from the programme thus far can be seen below:
You can book tickets online using the link below or contact the box office on 02392 82 82 82. As ever, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and your feedback following the production.
Set in the hundred days between VE day and VJ day, the play focuses on a group of Nottingham women left behind when their men are sent to war and, more especially, their response to the end of the war and the subsequent homecoming of the men.
One of the women, Sandra, has lost a child during the war – but not as a direct result of enemy action. Emotionally fragile, she makes a decision that will have far-reaching effects on both her life as well as the lives of the people around her.
Playing Sandra is Leila Millson in her fifth HumDrum show.
“Sandra spends a lot of the show close to the edge, psychologically. She’s always just one bad happening away from a complete breakdown – but under that fragility she’s sassy and savvy and knows what she wants – so she sets out to get it, regardless of the response of her nearest and dearest’.
Having previously appeared in two musicals (The Mikado and A Man of No Importance) a play (Arsenic and Old Lace) and a family Christmas show (The BFG) for the company, is this the most challenging part she’s played so far for HumDrum?
“Every part is what you make of it – you can be brilliant or awful with just two lines or appearing on every page of the script! What is challenging for me in this particular piece is the nudity required in one of the scenes. It’s completely necessary to the plot – as you’ll realise if you come to see it! – but this is my hobby, I don’t do it for a living, and striking a happy medium between the requirements of the script and what I feel comfortable doing was important for both the director and me. I’m happy with what we’ve come up with and the rest of the cast are so good and have been incredibly supportive. Rehearsals have been both exciting and very creative”.
The play runs at The Spring from 21st – 24th June with performances at 7.30.
Tickets are available from the box-office on 023 9247 2700 or online at http://thespring.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/touched/
Please note: This competition has now closed.
South Downe Musical Society have announced, via their social media channels, they are to be giving away tickets to their upcoming production of Sister Act over the next three weeks.
In the first of three competition giveaways, which are to be unveiled each Sunday, you can be in for a chance of winning tickets by liking and sharing their announcement of the competition on Facebook.
The post is on the official SDMS Facebook page, which we have handily embedded below so you can find it with ease. A simple like and share and you could get free tickets to this incredible musical!
The competition follows a recent post on Instagram showing pictures of the leading ladies (above). You can see and find out more by following it @sister_act_sdms. In addition, PortsmouthTheatre.com were lucky enough to see some rehearsal footage last week and we can honestly say the vocal performance and high standard of choreography make this one of our most hotly anticipated shows of the summer.
Much like the famous and acclaimed film, Sister Act tells the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.
Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a Convent! Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. It's a sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music, with songs by award-winning Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin).
The show is on at Ferneham Hall from Wednesday 5th to Saturday 8th July 2017. Tickets are available, outside of the competition, through the Ferneham Hall box office. Advance booking is highly recommended.
Competition entries (likes and shares) need to be completed by noon on Sunday 18th June. The winner will be announced at 7pm on the same day via their Facebook page. Another competition will also be unveiled next week. Terms apply and their decision is final. Good luck!