Tag Archives: Cassidy Janson

Monday Night at the Apollo

Monday Night at the Apollo

★★★½

Apollo Theatre and Live Stream via Thespie

Monday Night at the Apollo

Monday Night at the Apollo

Apollo Theatre

Reviewed – 24th May 2021

★★★½

 

“all the great parts will gloriously shine through and you’ll be left helplessly beaming”

 

Live theatre’s back! After the year we’ve had, it certainly feels good to type those words. Even watching online, the buzz and glee was palpable from the audience and the performers. As an overture for all that we’ve missed and all that’s to come, Monday Night at the Apollo definitely sets the mood.

All in aid of Acting for Others, a theatrical charity organisation, Monday Night at the Apollo marks the first of three live and live-streamed intimate concerts from the Apollo Theatre. This one featured a stellar cast of Aimie Atkinson, Lucie Jones, Cedric Neal, Julian Ovendon, and Cassidy Janson, with Greg Barnett on hosting duties letting the performers share anecdotes and stories between songs – as well as plugging their upcoming projects, of course.

It all made for a lovely laid-back evening – the cast seemed to be totally relaxed and having a great time, which made it easy and enjoyable to hear them tell you about their lives as if they would a friend, although Barnett seemed a little uncomfortable at times in his role, as though he didn’t always know what to say in response to what someone was sharing.

However, you don’t come to a concert for the conversation, and the songs certainly don’t disappoint. Played with aplomb by the four-piece band, the setlist opens with each actor performing a song of their choosing, which subsequently leaves it feeling very ballad-heavy, but after that there’s a great variety on offer. Atkinson gives phenomenal performances of ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’ with her astonishing voice, there are magnificent duets in the form of ‘All the Wasted Time’ (Ovendon and Janson) and ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing’ (Jones and Neal), and a host of other powerful solos such as ‘So You Wanted to See the Wizard’ and ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’ from Neal (hip-shaking and tear-jerking respectively) and ‘She Used to Be Mine’ from Jones – a particular favourite since she brought all the gravitas from her time in Waitress into her performance here. The closing number, a rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ with gorgeous three-part harmonies from Atkinson, Jones, and Janson, is also absolutely beautiful.

Monday Night at the Apollo isn’t quite perfect, with its slow opening and slightly stilted hosting, but it’s live theatre with a live audience and if you’ve missed that as much as I have then all the great parts will gloriously shine through and you’ll be left helplessly beaming.

 

 

Reviewed by Ethan Doyle

Photography by Danny Kaan

 

Acting for Others

Monday Night at the Apollo

Apollo Theatre and Live Streamed via Thespie – further shows on 14th June and 5th July

 

Reviewed by Ryan this year:
Shook | ★★★★★ | Online | February 2021
In Pieces | ★★½ | Online | April 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Man of la Mancha
★★★★

London Coliseum

Man of la Mancha

Man of la Mancha

London Coliseum

Reviewed – 30th April 2019

★★★★

 

“the real star of the show, is Danielle De Niese …her voice soars and enchants with a lilting sweetness and strength”

 

Man of La Mancha is set in a Detention Centre and begins with the arrival of two new prisoners, Cervantes and his manservant. They have a trunk with them, and the inmates are keen to plunder it. The Governor, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, wants to put Cervantes on trial and confiscate his belongings if he is found guilty, and Cervantes makes his defence in the form of a play; Don Quixote. The Don tilts at windmills and falls in courtly love with Aldonza, a serving girl and part time prostitute in a roadside inn, who he sees as a perfect woman and names his Lady Duncinea. Cervantes casts the other inmates in various roles, and the Governor plays the innkeeper, giving Lyndhurst the opportunity to switch from forbidding to gently incompetent, which he does with skill and evident enjoyment. Cervantes’ manservant and Don Quixote’s squire Sancho Panza are played by Peter Polycarpou, and he is one of the show’s delights. He is funny and touching in his devotion to the eccentric knight, and to his ‘real’ master.

The other delight, and the real star of the show, is Danielle De Niese who plays Aldonza/Dulcinea. She is fiery, strong and vulnerable, angry at Quixote’s refusal to see her for who she really is, coping with the rough muleteers in the inn, who eventually brutalise her, and very touching at the end when she accepts the name Dulcinea for the first time and starts the spine tinglingly beautiful cast version of The Impossible Dream. Her voice soars and enchants with a lilting sweetness and strength, and her acting is powerful and compelling.

It is Kelsey Grammer’s misfortune to be surrounded by a cast of hugely talented singers. His Cervantes/Quixote is engaging and hugely characterful; on the acting front he doesn’t put a foot wrong, but his voice doesn’t stand up well against virtuoso talent such as De Niese. His rendition of ‘Dulcinea’ felt insecure and in his solo ‘Impossible Dream’ he seemed to be bracing himself for the top notes. When the muleteers sing ‘Little Bird’ it is evident that there are some fabulous voices in the ensemble; this is a very strong cast. Emanuel Alba deserves a mention for his lovely comic turn as the barber, and Eugene McCoy’s Duke has a nice touch of the Lucius Malfoys when we first see him.

As you would expect of the Coliseum, the set, lighting and sound, by James Noone, Rick Fisher and Mick Potter respectively, are superb. Rebecca Howell is the choreographer, and she has created some exceptional work, such as the electrifying gypsy dance, for this piece. Fight Director Kate Waters produced a lovely comedy fracas at the inn, and Fotini Dimou’s costume design allows for some impressively quick changes and helps create a convincing world within Noone’s set.

The story of Don Quixote is a love song to the imagination and Man of La Mancha takes us into a double world. Do we prefer the reality or the fantasy? Each of us has to decide for ourselves, but Quixote’s fantasy world has a purity and beauty that entices and enchants.

 

Reviewed by Katre

Photography by Manuel Harlan

 


Man of la Mancha

London Coliseum until 8th June

 

Last ten shows covered by this reviewer:
The Dame | ★★★★ | Park Theatre | January 2019
Boots | ★★★★ | The Bunker | February 2019
Gently Down The Stream | ★★★★★ | Park Theatre | February 2019
Inspirit | ★★★★ | Vaulty Towers | February 2019
10 | ★★★★ | The Vaults | March 2019
The Thread | ★★½ | Sadler’s Wells Theatre | March 2019
Yamato – Passion | ★★★★★ | Peacock Theatre | March 2019
Hell Yes I’m Tough Enough | ★★½ | Park Theatre | April 2019
Little Miss Sunshine | ★★★★★ | Arcola Theatre | April 2019
Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare: The Taming Of The Shrew | ★★★★★ | Leicester Square Theatre | April 2019

 

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