Tag Archives: Lyric Hammersmith

Joe Stilgoe: Christmas at the Movies

Joe Stilgoe: Christmas at the Movies

Lyric Hammersmith

Joe Stilgoe: Christmas at the Movies

Joe Stilgoe: Christmas at the Movies

Lyric Hammersmith

Reviewed – 10th December 2018


“Stilgoe is a natural entertainer; a real music-man: talented, funny, engaging and blessed with a wonderful gift”


Joe Stilgoe is one of those performers that makes the audience feel completely relaxed the moment he steps onto the stage. It is a rare talent: his mix of stand-up humour and virtuoso musicianship make for an enthralling evening. Add to the mix his abundant charisma, decorate the icing with a top-notch selection of guest artists and sprinkle with a finale of fake snow and you have the perfect recipe. Stilgoe’s show; “Christmas at the Movies” represents that pivotal moment in the year when you know that the festive season has truly started. Featuring some of the best-known Christmas music from films, Joe’s eclectic selection is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas.

Stilgoe opens proceedings by announcing he is his own warm-up for the night. As the gig is being recorded for a special Radio 2 broadcast on Christmas Day, he feels he wants to get the crowd in the mood first. “Don’t ‘ooh’ and clap at the same time otherwise they won’t be able to use it” he instructs, before he elicits three different varieties of applause from us to ‘edit in later’ if necessary. This self-deprecating style is his motif which adds to his charm. A charm that hasn’t diminished in the slightest despite the spiralling success of his career over the last few years.

Backed by his six-piece band he launches into a medley of Irving Berlin’s “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz” before bringing on his first guest; West End star Louise Dearman. A trio of festive favourites that highlight Dearman’s peerless voice is capped by Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

Jess Gillam, the second guest, is totally transfixing on saxophone, performing Itturalde’s “Pequeña Czarda”. A ridiculously difficult piece she cloaks the sheer technical wizardry in passion and an emotional warmth that leaves us quite breathless. Stilgoe’s piano accompaniment is quite something, clearly revealing the breadth of his own skills.

The first act closes with ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ from “Meet Me in St Louis” (again with Gillam on saxophone) followed by Stilgoe’s self-penned “Mr Panettone”. My only gripe is that Joe did hint that there might be some complimentary panettone waiting for us in the bar at interval. There wasn’t. Yet nobody cared, as we were all itching to get back into the auditorium for Act Two.

He opens the second half asking for trouble. Inviting requests from the audience, he rather foolishly promises to deliver. Among the titles thrown back at him are “Fairy-tale of New York”, Wham’s “Last Christmas”, “Nessun Dorma” and Handel’s “Messiah”. Yet he effortlessly merges the suggestions into a faultless impromptu medley. A skill replicated later during a set with his next star guest: Rob Brydon. Between the two of them they ask members of the crowd for their worst ever Christmas present, which produces a delightfully absurd ad-lib Blues duet. Brydon then sings “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” morphing from Bing Crosby to Michael Caine and back again.

After a couple more of Joe’s own compositions the show concludes with “White Christmas” and “Let it Snow”. Flecked with hilarious tongue-in-cheek moments this is a show of serious musicianship. Joe Stilgoe is a natural entertainer; a real music-man: talented, funny, engaging and blessed with a wonderful gift. Make it your gift for Christmas by tuning into the broadcast on Radio 2 on Christmas Day.


Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography by  Scott Rylander


Joe Stilgoe: Christmas at the Movies

Lyric Hammersmith




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Fantastic Mr Fox


Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Curve and Lyric Hammersmith have announced that, following a successful UK tour, their production of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox will return for a second run at Lyric Hammersmith this summer. The production, adapted for the stage by Sam Holcroft, directed by Maria Aberg with original music by Arthur Darvill, runs at the Lyric Hammersmith from 26 July to 20 August, after it completes its national tour.


Fantastic Mr Fox at Nuffield Southampton Theatres. Jade Croot (Kit), Greg Barnett (Mr Fox) and Lillie Flynn (Mrs Fox). Photo by Manuel Harlan

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Sam Hodges said; 

“I am very pleased that our hit production of Fantastic Mr Fox is coming back to London, following the last sell-out run. This is a terrific adaptation of a special story and this return to the Lyric marks a well-deserved finale to a successful tour.”

In a joint statement Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said;

“We are thrilled that even more families and young people will be able to experience our successful co-production of Fantastic Mr Fox. Audiences across the country and internationally have all had a wonderful time watching this ‘fantastic’ Roald Dahl classic be brought to life live on stage.”

Artistic Director of Lyric Hammersmith, Sean Holmes, said;

“We are delighted to welcome back Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox after its sell-out success here at the Lyric earlier this year. A great treat for all the family this summer”


“You know as well as I do: no-one outfoxes a fox!”

Boggis, Bunce and Bean, three greedy, smelly, horrid farmers hate the cunning Mr Fox.

Mr Fox is smart, clever and rather fantastic, but he doesn’t realise how determined the farmers are to get revenge. Can he hatch a plan to save his family and friends? Can they outrun the diggers and outsmart the farmers, and can rabbit shut up long enough not to give the game away?


Fantastic Mr Fox at Nuffield Southampton Theatres. Greg Barnett (Mr-Fox). Photo-credit-Manuel-Harlan.jpg. Photo by Manuel Harlan

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox is family fun at its finest. A juicy tale of greed, pride and the power of friendship which promises a Dahlicious theatrical feast with live music and songs.



Lyric Hammersmith

Wednesday 26 July – Sunday 20 August

Box office: 020 8741 6850






Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Curve in association with Lyric Hammersmith present

Roald Dahl’s


Adapted for the stage by Sam Holcroft

Directed by Maria Aberg; Designed by Tom Scutt; Music by Arthur Darvill

Lyrics by Arthur Darvill, Sam Holcroft, Al Muriel and Darren Clark

Sound Designer: Claire Windsor; Lighting Designer: Lee Curran

Movement Director: Ayse Tashkiran; Music Director: Richie Hart; Casting Director: Annelie Powell

Cast includes: Richard Atwill, Greg Barnett, Patrick Burbidge, Jade Croot, Lillie Flynn, Sandy Foster, Gruffudd Glyn, Richie Hart, Thomas Hewitt, Edward Hole, Kelly Jackson, Tanya Shields.