Tag Archives: Bleu Woodward

Knights of the Rose – 3 Stars

Knights

Knights of the Rose

Arts Theatre

Reviewed – 5th July 2018

★★★

“The show did not give off a slick West End musical vibe, rather it radiated a pantomime like energy”

 

Knights of the Rose is a new musical created by Jennifer Marsden and directed by Racky Plews. The musical is a take on many of Shakespeare’s romances mashed together to 80s pop rock, set in a Camelot style kingdom, with the focus characters being members of the house of Rose. Royalty and knights alike.

I arrived with no expectations for this show. My first thoughts, was that it seemed laboured. The show did not give off a slick West End musical vibe, rather it radiated a pantomime like energy. With laughter arriving in unexpected places, I was unsure if it was supposed to be funny, or if the corniness of the music became too much for the audience. However the cheesiness of 80s pop rock, was matched well in some moments with the melodramatic Shakespearean style and narrative. The story mashed up all of Shakespeare’s great love stories, and threw in some Macbeth and Lord Byron. The literary references were a nice concept, however occasionally executed sloppily. An ailment that plagued a few different aspects of the musical.

I was surprised to find out after I’d seen the show, that it was created and directed by women. As the narrative was so male centric, and the most empowering moment for the three main female roles, was when they sang ‘Holding out for a Hero’ – a song about finding a man. However, the performances by the three main women, Katie Birtill, Rebekah Lowings and Bleu Woodward, who played Princess Hannah, Lady Isabel and Emily respectively were fantastic. All three had a brilliant presence on stage and very powerful voices. And despite my qualms about the song, it was one of my favourite moments of the evening.

Andy Moss, Chris Cowley and Oliver Savile were worthy counterparts as Prince Gawain, Sir Palamon and Sir Hugo respectively providing a dark yet charming aura to the piece. A special mention has to be made for Matt Thorpe, Sir Horatio and Ruben Van Keer, John, who both portrayed very endearing characters with beautiful voices. Thorpe was particularly powerful in his number ‘Always’

The performance by the cast, and musicians was fantastic. However it was let down by the fact that I didn’t know what it was trying to do. And I don’t think the show did either. It had a lot of ideas, and almost falls into the trap of being ‘too much’, especially in production value in this case. All said and done It was an enjoyable evening, even if it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test.

 

Reviewed by Charlotte Hurford

Photography by Mark Dawson

 

Arts Theatre link

Knights of the Rose

Arts Theatre until 26th August

 

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

 

Lizzie – 5*

 

LIZZIE

Greenwich Theatre

Opening Night – 24th February 2017

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“There’s blood, there’s gore and a mighty rock gig score”

So you thought ‘Bat out of Hell, the Musical’ would be your only chance to experience a top notch rock musical this year? Well think again, Lizzie’s in town!

Based around true events of the late 19th century, Lizzie tells the grim story of the Bordens, a well off Massachusetts family comprising Lizzie (Bjorg Gamst), her older sister Emma (Eden Espinosa), their father and stepmother.

The girls mother had died when Lizzie was small, but Emma (who was nine years older), remembered her well and despised the stepmother. When she starts to have more and more influence on their father, the girls become deeply concerned about this wretched woman’s impact on their lives. Deadly consequences would follow.

The musical doesn’t directly feature the parents (they ‘sort of’ appear but it would be a spoiler if I said more), instead it focuses on the two sisters, Alice Russell (their neighbour and close friend of Lizzie) and the family’s maid, Bridget Sullivan (Jodie Jacobs).

It’s a dark tale exploring not only the fateful events of summer 1892, but looking at the type of man their father really was and examining the kind of relationships Lizzie was having with her friend Alice (Bleu Woodward) and those around her.

There is a strong rock score throughout which may not at first appeal to lovers of more traditional musicals. Don’t be put off though, there are clever lyrics and the vocal performances of all four of the cast are electric. The songs themselves are all quite rocky in structure but range from ballad to all out headbangers. You’ll be a rock fan before you know it.

Simply staged (which works really well for this style of musical), with some rear projections and a few props. One of the best technical parts of the evening is the lighting (Martin Jensen), which is part rock concert part musical theatre and part awesome! Costume design is also excellent ranging from plain period smocks to sultry leather vixen outfits.

Lizzie is one of those rare productions where you cannot find a single member of the cast you’d describe as outstanding. That’s because in Lizzie they all are, as are the members of the accompanying band (unusually for the theatre they all got to join the curtain call which was a nice touch). 

Lizzie was a smash hit last year at the Fredericia Teater, Denmark and it looks like being the same again in Greenwich. 

 

Production Photography by Søren Malmose


Fredericia Teater

in association with

Aria Entertainment

present the UK premiere of

 

Lizzie is at the Greenwich Theatre until

Sunday 12th March

 

Click here to book tickets

 

 

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