Tag Archives: Thomas Hewitt

Austen the Musical – 4 Stars


Austen the Musical

Bread & Roses Theatre

Reviewed – 16th January 2018


“Edith Kirkwood manages to embody both the warmth and ferocity of Jane with commanding presence”


Despite being one the greatest romance writers of all time Jane Austen didn’t have the most successful love life, and in this ninety minute musical Rob Winlow examines the highs and lows of her dating history.

Playing Miss Austen is Edith Kirkwood, who manages to embody both the warmth and ferocity of Jane with commanding presence. Thomas Hewitt demonstrated an impressive vocal talent in his many roles, and although his portrayal of Jane’s first love interest Tom Lefroy felt a little flat he more than made up for it in the characters that followed.

Jenni Lea-Jones was a real standout as Mrs Austen, her clipped and lovingly judgemental tone was very reminiscent of Mrs Bennet and her voice was as strong as her characterisation. Adam Grayson was very warm and likeable as Jane’s father and one could really sense the bond between the two.

A particularly enjoyable scene depicted Mr Austen receiving rejections for his daughter’s works from snobby publishers (played excellently by Hewitt and Lea-Jones). Apart from another scene where Jane is bombarded with story suggestions from the public, there isn’t a lot about the response to her works. It would have been nice to hear more about her professional accomplishments, interesting as her personal life was.

Timothy Trimingham Lee’s direction allows the cast to navigate around the small stage area well, in particular during an amusing scene in which Jane attempts to escape from the hilariously creepy Reverend Blackall (Hewitt) during a ball.

The pace does feel uneven at points, particularly during a long dialogue between Jane and Dr Preston (Hewitt), but overall the writing feels grounded in reality despite the musical elements. The score has some powerful moments, particularly when the cast’s vocals are layered together. The duet between Tom Lefroy and Jane blended the actors’ voices together beautifully.

Arlene McNaught plays both the role of musical director and Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister. Given that so much of what we know about Jane comes from letters between the sisters it felt very fitting that she would be ever present at the back of the stage. McNaught plays the piano and observes events silently, only interacting with the cast when she comforts Jane after their father’s death.

Though the final song, sung by Mrs Austen moments after Jane has passed away, was touching I was surprised that the show ended there. Perhaps a song about Jane’s legacy and accomplishments would have created a more positive impact on the audience rather than the slightly sombre mood we were left with.

This show is a great experience for anyone who’s curious about Jane Austen’s life, made even more enjoyable by the musical numbers and spot-on characterisation.


Reviewed by Ella McCarron


Austen the Musical

Bread & Roses Theatre until 20th January



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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.