Tag Archives: Piccadilly Theatre

Reviewers’ Round-up

When not out reviewing for us, our team attend many more shows which they’d love to tell you about. Take a look at what they’ve been seeing recently

November 2019

THE LARAMIE PROJECT | ★★★★ | RADA GBS Theatre until 30th November 2019 | Seen by Ethan Doyle
The Laramie Project
An interrogative and harrowing verbatim piece on a despicable homophobic murder that explores the attitudes of the town in which it occurred with frankness, intimacy, and hope. The performances are sublime in their service of the text and there are some truly striking visual moments too. Just make sure to bring tissues – you will cry.
»»»«««
DEAR EVAN HANSEN | ★★★★  Noël Coward Theatre until 30th May 2020 | Seen by Flora Doble | Photo by Matthew Murphy
Dear Evan Hansen
The hotly-anticipated Broadway transfer of Dear Evan Hansen has finally arrived at the Noël Coward Theatre in London. Exploring mental health, suicide and the social media abyss, Dear Evan Hansen is a groundbreaking and powerful piece of theatre that will hopefully help facilitate important conversations about depression, anxiety and youth suicide.
»»»«««
THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE  | ★★★★★ | Bridge Theatre until 2nd February 2020 | Seen by Katre | Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg

THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE

A beautiful, magical production with superb puppets and an amazing multi-talented cast. A really special show..
»»»«««
SOLARIS  | ★★★★ | Lyric Hammersmith until 2nd November 2019 | Seen by Dominica Plummer | Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic

Solaris

A lyrical, thought provoking, but somewhat disappointing adaptation by David Greig, of Stanisław Lem’s classic science fiction novel. In the eerie presence of the sentient planet Solaris, an orbiting space station sent from Earth experiences the inexplicable. Greig updates this unforgettable story by adding a female protagonist to a crew trying to avoid madness a long way from home and from those they have left behind. Or have they? Enjoyed for superlative performances and a memorable set design that alternates between the bright clean lines of the space station and the moody seascapes of the planet below.
»»»«««
LUNGS  | ★★★★★ | The Old Vic until 9th November 2019 | Seen by Dominica Plummer | Photo by Helen Maybanks

Lungs

The Old Vic’s revival of Duncan Macmillan’s eco love story reunites Claire Foy and Matt Smith in a seamless two hander about a couple considering parenthood in a world on the brink of climate change. Macmillan’s script holds up well and Foy and Smith recreate the onstage chemistry that ups the stakes in this timely drama. It was a treat to see the traditional Old Vic create an intimate theatre in round so that everyone in the audience could feel that much closer to this conflicted couple and their story.
»»»«««
SHOOK | ★★★★ | Southwark Playhouse until 23rd November 2019 | Seen by Dominica Plummer | Photo by The Other Richard

Shook

Samuel Bailey’s Papatango prizewinning play is performed to great effect in a gritty, naturalistic setting about three young offenders who are also parents. Bailey’s play is an absolute gift to powerhouse performers like Josh Finan, Ivan Oyik and Josef Davies, with good support from Andrea Hall playing their empathetic teacher. Bailey’s tale may lack a satisfying denouement in this memorable portrait of prison life, but his talent for dialogue and characterisation will ensure him a devoted following for whatever he chooses to write next.
»»»«««
DEATH OF A SALESMAN | ★★★★ | Piccadilly Theatre until 4th January 2020 | Seen by Rebecca Crankshaw | Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg

DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Sharon D Clarke and Wendell Pierce give powerhouse performances in Arthur Miller’s classic drama.
»»»«««
GHOST QUARTET | ★★★★ | Boulevard Theatre until 4th January 2020 | Seen by Jonathan Evans | Photo by Marc Brenner

Ghost Quartet

An intoxicating, bizarre and sometimes baffling musical. The narrative threads weave themselves into knots, but the gorgeous score of this song cycle lines the show with magic. Magic that is matched by this impressive new venue in the heart of Soho.
»»»«««
ON BEAR RIDGE | ★★★★ | Royal Court until 23rd November 2019 | Seen by Jonathan Evans | Photo by Mark Douet

On Bear Ridge

Riveting, off-beat theatre that takes you to another place. Surreally dark, shone through with stunning performances. 
»»»«««
MARY POPPINS | Preview Performance | Prince Edward Theatre until 7th June 2020 | Seen by Chief Spy | Photo by Mark Douet

Mary Poppins

The all time classic returns with its incredible score, magnificent staging and an outstanding cast including the legendary Petula Clark. You’re guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face.
»»»«««
DEAR EVAN HANSEN | Preview Performance | Noël Coward Theatre until 30th May 2020 | Seen by Chief Spy | Photo by Matthew Murphy

Dear Evan Hansen

The winner of six Tony Awards finally arrives in the West End and the wait has definitely been worth it. Steven Levenson’s book combined with Pasek & Paul’s outstanding score make this the show to see. This performance had Marcus Harman in the lead role proving he’s an exceptional alternate Evan.
»»»«««
A WOMAN ON NO IMPORTANCE | ★★★★  | Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until 2nd November 2019 | Seen by David Woodward

A WOMAN ON NO IMPORTANCE

“The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable” just one of many typically Walden witticisms that sparkled like fireworks at this performance. Perhaps no surprise that it’s deeply sympathetic to the eponymous character, well-played by Liza Goddard. There’s a hint of grimly controlled madness about her performance, with her off-kilter stance and dress, with some real poetry in her speeches. To the audience’s satisfaction, she turns the tables on her nemesis. Directed by Dominic Dromgoole. Roy Hudd and Isla Blair also appear in this witty and thought provoking show.

 

 

 

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Heartbeat of Home

★★★★

Piccadilly Theatre

Heartbeat of Home

Heartbeat of Home

Piccadilly Theatre

Reviewed – 11th September 2019

★★★★

 

“audiences will love the upbeat energy and the showstopping artistry of these outstanding performers”

 

Billed as a show about people leaving their home in search of a brighter future, the producers of the Irish dance sensation Riverdance now bring us Heartbeat of Home. Playing at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End, this almost two hour dance extravaganza brings not just a high octane group of Irish dancers, but representatives from the dance traditions of flamenco, Latin, and street dancing as well. Add to that a vocalist, backed by a gospel choir, and a terrific group of onstage musicians, the danger is that this show has too much talent and not enough of a narrative to bring it all together in a coherent way. 

It is left to the cyclorama to present the story of these dancers, and it must be said that this one works to spectacular effect. It portrays mostly sea scenes in the first half of the show, including a ship leaving the shores of home, and a scene of a dazzling storm at sea. In the second half, which focuses on the lives of the emigrants in their new home, the cyclorama focuses on a variety of cityscapes, but also one impressive trip across the rugged scenery of the western United States. One cityscape in the show pays tribute to the iconic photograph of iron workers taken by Charles Ebbets. Here the choreography and set projections on the cyclorama come together seamlessly to present death defying dancing that really does look as though the dancers are performing on a beam high above New York City. In Heartbeat of Home, the whole effect is a bit like being at an IMAX theatre with live music and dancing. The talents of lighting designer Peter Canning, set designer Alan Farquharson, set projection designer David Torpey, with additional set projections by David Mathias, are all used with mesmerising effect.

Not surprisingly, the main reason audiences will seek out Heartbeat of Home is for the dancing and the music. It is a treat to watch the dancers enjoy showing off not only the moves of their own traditions, but bringing off a few moves from each others’ traditions as well. But this “fusion dance” style works better in the second half than the first, as one might expect. And if the time on stage is always weighted heavily in favour of the Irish dancers, their breathtaking sequences are what keep the show moving forward, and the audience cheering and applauding. Ably assisted by featured dancers Maggie Darlington and Bobby Hodges, Irish dance Choreographer John Carey delivers the goods, and anyone who enjoyed Riverdance will not be disappointed by Heartbeat of Home. The dancing is admirably supported by a band of highly talented musicians who work together flawlessly to play composer Brian Byrne’s lively music. Under the direction of drummer Mark Alfred, the music is as varied as the dancing, but once again, it is the Irish soloists who put on a stunning display of virtuosity. Patrick Mangan plays like the All-Ireland fiddle supremo he is, and Cathal Croke is another champion on the uilleann pipes. Robbie Harris on the bodhrán drum holds the audience spellbound, and the dancers in constant motion.

Heartbeat of Home is more of a hybrid than a true descendant of Riverdance, although it has several recognisable features in common. Nevertheless, it offers a hugely enjoyable evening in the theatre, and audiences will love the upbeat energy and the showstopping artistry of these outstanding performers.

 

Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Darren Bell

 

Heartbeat Of Home

Heartbeat of Home

Piccadilly Theatre until 13th October

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Austentatious | ★★★★ | January 2018
Strictly Ballroom | ★★★★ | April 2018

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews