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Lindsay Harris
(19 Reviews)

Death Drop - Back In The Habit

Death Drop - Back in the Habit - Opera House, Manchester - Thursday 9th March 2023

On a cold snowy night we arrived at The Opera House to watch Death Drop – Back in the Habit. I had no knowledge of the show apart from that on my invite which promised ‘ The Sound of Music meets Scary Movie’, and that it stared some of  RuPauls Drag Race stars. It seemed like a good way to cheer up a miserable cold week and I was looking forward to seeing what it was all about. I do not watch Drag Race but my daughter that was with me did and knew of the big names on stage.

The story is set in St Babs Convent, The patron saint of Elastic bands, and sees the sisters trying to keep the convent open with a threat of closure from The Cardinal and his assistant Father Alfie Romeo who is also trying to find the treasure of The Ring of St Babs. There’s a missing Father Spankie, Murders, Zombies and ghosts amongst the mysterious St Babs Convent Hall.

The set was the arch’s of the convent and this doesn’t change throughout the show, though simple it is affective and all moving of props and furniture is done with amusing flair, the door becomes a hilarious addition to the set as it moved about and used to add to the comedic affect. The cast use tried and tested theatre techniques to show movement around the convent but not without informing us first and turning it into something worthy of a Morecambe and Wise sketch.

The Cardinal and Father Alfie Romeo open the show with an explanation of what is about to occur. Played by Corrinna Buchan The cardinal appears again as other characters throughout the show, Alfie Romeo played by UK Drag Idols first ever drag king was on stage throughout the show and somehow manages to keep Father Romeo serious with all the chaos going on around him.

The sisters that are the stars of the show are Jujubee as Sister Maria Julie Andrews, Cheryl Hole as Sister Mary Berry, Kitty Scott-Claus as Sis Titis  and Victoria Scone as Mother Superior. Fans of the show were treated to in jokes and we all had the pleasure of some of the best slapstick comedy that I’ve seen on stage lately, a pantomime like physical comedy prevails throughout the show and is perfectly timed for hilarious moments. The crude jokes and sense of humour aren’t really my kind of thing but I laughed all the way through this crazy show. The audience whooped and screamed and the at times the laughter was coming from the stage as well as the audience. I can’t pick out a stand out performance for me because every single one of them was amazing.

Fans of Drag Race will love this crazy, madcap, murder mystery with the stars that they know and love, it does not disappoint. Those that like me have never seen  Drag Race can enjoy it just as much and may become new fans. I will give a warning towards the language and the humour because it isn’t for everyone, It is definitely one for over 18’s and those with a relaxed sense of humour that aren’t easily shocked by a bunch of swearing, sex mad nuns.

It was a great night and the show is one I definitely recommend to cheer up this snowy week.

The Smeds and The Smoos

The Smeds and The Smoos - The Lowry, Salford - Tuesday 12th April 2022

Being a mum and a childminder Julia Donaldson books are a great favourite in this house so when I heard that the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book The Smeds and The Smoos was coming to town, I borrowed two of the little girls that I look after and we headed to The Lowry to see the Tall Story Production.

My two girls, both aged four, love the story. If you haven’t read it it’s a Donaldson style Romeo and Juliet, set by a loobular lake on a far off planet under a sqoon. One of my girls was a little nervous that the aliens might look scary on the stage but the characters were played by four talented humans, Dan Armstrong, Althea Burey, Tim Hibberd and Angela Laverick who, dressed up, acted as puppeteers, sang, danced and narrated. As expected it was all super child friendly and the audience of varying ages all seemed to enjoy it all.

The simple but effective set and costumes matched the book and the story flowed with the recognisable dialogue that the children were able to join in with, this was mixed in with some lovely songs and lots of audience participation which kept all of the children involved and interested. At 55 minutes long it was the perfect time too for little ones.

I’m going to hand over the rest of the review to the girls because they’re the important ones today.

I loved Bill best, because he had no hair and white spots and slept in a hole and jumped.

I loved the tickly aliens and the water squirting us, it was good.

It was good I wanted to stay there.

We should tell people where it is so they can go too.

I’m going to be Grandpa Smed, never trust a Smoo.

Never trust a Smed.

Can we go again?

So I think it’s safe to say that they enjoyed it.

It’s the perfect show for families and I highly recommend it.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Hound of the Baskervilles - The Lowry, Salford - Tuesday 1st February 2022

Well its been a long time since I watched the old movie so I had no idea what to expect with this show, particularly when I heard it was funny, but I definitely didn’t expect this.

As I read through the programme I saw that there was only 3 actors in the show and as the show opened to eery setting of the moors and the old Baskerville mansion the actor playing Sir Charles Baskerville showed off some of her clever miming skills before her character died in suspicious circumstances. The lights brightened and the three actors, dropped character and came on stage to explain that they would be playing all of the characters, minor and major throughout the show. As you can imagine this led to some hilarious and clever speedy costume changes, forgotten beards and wonky outfits. There was also the hilarious use of two dummies.

All three of the actors Jake Ferretti as Sherlock Holmes, Serena Manteghi as Sir Henry and Nial Ransome as Dr. Watson were incredible, they played their main parts and all of the smaller characters to perfection and the comic timing between the three of them was incredible. Jake Ferretti in parts reminded me of Rick Mayall. The aforementioned costume changes, the cheesy jokes and quick wit as well as the late sound affects and funny props and obviously the well written play led to a hilarious night at the theatre. The audience were in stitches and it obviously a hit with everybody there. The constant breaking of the fourth wall was brilliant in the smaller Quays theatre and helped to provide the laughs.

The Actors must have been exhausted by the end of the show, they worked so hard. I would love to seem them again in their next show, I predict big things! I was left feeling as though I’d seen a good old fashioned hard working show with some outstanding and hilarious actors. It was very cleverly written and produced and I would highly recommend it to anyone. There were younger audience members there too it would suit anyone of a high school age or above I’m sure. My 17 year old certainly enjoyed it.

It always feels difficult giving shows a score out of 10 as I am comparing huge lavish expensive productions to smaller shows but this smaller show with its three actors and amusing props deserves nothing short of a 10. Well done you put on a great show.

The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Monday 17th January 2022

It’s been about 15 years since I last donned my Magenta costume and went to see The Rocky Horror Show so I was very excited to be invited last night to the first night of the Manchester show. It was a night I’d remember for a very long time………

There wasn’t as many costumed audience members as I’d hoped but there were some great efforts made, the audience was a little quiet at first and there were several empty seats so I was worried that the atmosphere wouldn’t be as high energy as usual and I felt for the cast. However as Suzie McAdam belted out the opening number Science Fiction – Double Feature the audience began to warm up, her strong vocals certainly helped.

If you’re a Rocky regular you’ll know the importance of the audience participation and it was all there with some interesting ‘current affairs’ comments thrown in for good measure. I wasn’t disappointed. The narrator Phillip Franks was definitely the audience favourite, he was hilarious and responded to the audience perfectly with some very quick and funny ad libs. He had the biggest cheer of the night and it was certainly deserved.

Ore Odube as Brad and Haley Flaherty as Janet played their parts well and impressed with their vocals in ‘Damn In Janet’ and ‘There’s a Light Over at The Frankenstein Place’.

Stephen Webb was one of the best Franks that I’ve seen, belting out Sweet Transvestite in his fish nets and suspenders, he arrived on stage to cheers and applause and he played the audience perfectly, navigating the comments thrown at him with skill and again some fast ad libs.

By the time the first rendition of the Time Warp hit the stage the whole audience was on their feet and fully warmed up. I cannot praise the cast enough for turning around a quieter audience in a theatre that wasn’t full into a lively fully involved audience. Nothing lacked in atmosphere, and it was all down to the skill and energy of the cast with some amazing strong vocals and brilliant choreography.

It was as expected and hoped downright rude and not for a young audience, it was hilarious, great fun and a great night for all involved. As we left we saw some ladies outside still doing the Time Warp, I think everyone left having had a great night, I certainly did. Rude, hilarious, great tunes, amazing cast and the most fun you’ll have with your clothes on, well your fishnets. If you’re a die hard fan like me then don’t miss it and if you’ve never experienced Rocky before then do yourself a favour, get your friends together, dig out your fishnets, learn how to Time Warp and catch it before it leaves town. You won’t be disappointed.

Bat Out Of Hell

Bat Out Of Hell - Opera House, Manchester - Tuesday 14th September 2021

Well I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday……. well actually it was yesterday, It was my first theatre trip since pre-covid so it had to be a good one, it was bigger and better than I could’ve expected.

Being ‘of that age’ my teenage years were spent listening to Meatloaf's ‘Bat of Hell’ we could all sing along to the entire album, it was a rite of passage for girls of my age, so when I heard the show was coming back to Manchester I was first in line for tickets. I had no idea of the storyline, but knew that the Jim Steinman penned songs are operatic in their own right and they’d lend themselves perfectly to a musical.



We arrived at the Opera House to a red carpet of Harley Davidsons to set the scene. A quick mention to Covid precautions too, we had to show passports or have a quick temperature check, it was all very easy.
The curtain rose to a set of ‘The Deep End’ with some of the cast sat around on a Harley or on rocks. When the rest of the set burst into life with lights and music, there was so much going on I hardly knew where to look. The inside, of Falco towers, The Deep End, home to The Lost and a large screen which is used throughout the show. ‘All Revved up and no place to go’ was the big show starter, the cast immediately showing us what kind of a night we were in for, with all the audience clearly as impressed as me. It was real wow moment.



Glenn Adamson and Martha Kirby as leads Strat and Raven were believable and lovable from the start with amazing vocals. We follow these two through their journey of unrequited love as a rich, spoilt girl just turning 18 and a boy from ‘The Lost’ a gang that have been stuck as teenagers since a chemical war and living in hiding.  It’s tough to pick out a favourite song from these two as they were all fantastic but the title song ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ closing the first act was huge, the vocals, the passion from these two, the set, with lighting and pyrotechnics not to mention the story line around the scene was absolutely a favourite. ‘You took the words right out of my mouth’ as a favourite song of mine also more than lived up to expectations.



Ravens Parents Falco (Rob Fowler)  and Sloane (Sharon Sexton) provided the comedic aspect to the show, although the storyline gets darker around them as the show progresses. The two of them were a perfect casting, they play Ravens parents, Falco is the disapproving father and Sloane the cocktail loving mum. Their rendition of ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ was a definite highlight, a classic song brought to life with stunning vocals and choreography, clever use of the aforementioned screen made this another favourite for me. Vocals from Fowler and Sloane were showcased in other songs and were always met with appropriate audience response. These two were clearly audience favourites and for good reason.

I could name all of the cast as I don’t think there was anyone that didn’t stand out but I’m in danger of being here all day. However, I can’t not mention Joelle Moses as Zahara, what a voice! I’d love to see her in other shows, Joelle and James Chisholm as Jagwire had a real electricity to their scenes.



The choreography, the unusual and striking set, the classic rock songs that we know and love as well as a few new ones written for the show, the costumes, the vocals, the acting, the lighting….. you get my point, there are really no words. It was a show that I could sit through again and again and that really doesn’t happen often. I have been singing the songs since I left last night and I’m going to check ticket availability and try and get back before the show ends.

The raucous applause throughout and particularly at the finale was no surprise, nor was the fact that we all spilled out on the Quay Street singing and saying how amazing it was and how much we had enjoyed it. The only tough thing was trying not to sing along and embarrass myself.



I cannot recommend it enough. If you know the music like me or if you’ve never heard it before but want to see a show that’s funny, sad, stunning and a great night out with the best score then get tickets quickly.
If I could give it more than 10 I would. Rock Musical at it’s very best.



Avenue Q - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Monday 21st October 2019

I’ve heard so much about Avenue Q about how funny it is, I was really looking forward to it but I’m always worried that shows won’t live up to their hype. Within the first two minutes we were all laughing and I instantly knew that I was going to enjoy it. The set was a small row of apartments with the Empire state building behind and they added bits here and there for scene changes, it looked great and worked really well, with opening doors to be able to see into apartments as needed. As I’d heard the show was ‘a kind of adult Sesame Street’ the puppets and humans, TV screens to do inset lessons, counting etc. and the general vibe of the show. It was very ‘adult’ in parts. With songs such as ‘Everyone’s a little bit Racist’ and ‘If you were Gay’. A very graphic puppet sex scene (yes there can be such a thing) to ‘You Can Be as Loud as The Hell You Want When You’re Makin’ Love’ and my personal favourite starting Trekkie Monster ‘The Internet is For Porn’ which had the entire audience screaming laughing, you can imagine the rude hand gestures etc. (I’m using the word etc. there to avoid offence). All of this I following the storyline of Princeton trying to find his purpose in life and navigate his relationship with Kate who wants to start her own Monstersorri school. Along with the stories of the people they meet including Rod and Nikki, Rod trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s gay. I’m going to try my best to explain the puppets. Before I saw the show I’d read that the puppeteers sometimes swapped puppets, sometimes had two puppeteers per one puppet and sometimes was voiced by someone other than the puppeteer. This sounded really confusing. It’s difficult to explain without seeing it but the puppeteer was very much part of the show. They wear black but their faces are lit and their facial expressions are very much part of the show because obviously the puppets don’t have expressions. You don’t ignore the puppeteers at all but they don’t take away focus from the puppets. Its very much as though they are part of the same character and even when the puppeteer suddenly changes it still seems right. Trust me it sounds more confusing than it is. It works really well and the skills of these amazing actors and singers that become the puppets is beyond amazing. Cecily Redman in particular who played Kate Monster as well as Lucy The Slut really shone, what an amazing voice. She played both puppets with such skill. As well as the puppets there were ‘fur free’ characters Saori Oda’s character Christmas Eve was bursting with energy and was a real star, her character creates a lot of laugh and managed to ensure that she wasn’t overshadowed by the puppets. Her husband Brian, Ellis Dackombe also played a brilliant part again full of energy and just the kind of character you’d find on a Sesame Street style show. The apartments Superintendent was played by Nicholas Mclean and was the character Gary Coleman, T.V’s child star from Different Strokes, I had to do a quick TV history lesson for Neve on that one, but there were lots of jokes about him suing his parents and the catchphrase ‘What’cha talking bout Willis’ The score was full of catchy songs the kind that you leave the theatre singing (appropriate or not) even if you’d never heard them before. The storyline was hilarious, sensitive and true to life (in a puppet kind of way) all at once. The entire cast was amazing. It’s an extremely well written show that will have you laughing, cringing and cheering as long as you aren’t easily offended and don’t children. It’s one of the few shows I’ve seen that I look forward to seeing again and again. Go and see it I cannot recommend it highly enough. The ultimate feelgood, children’s style adult puppet show! I’d give it way more than 10/10 if I could and that doesn’t happen often.

English National Ballet's Cinderella - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Thursday 17th October 2019

I’ve only ever been to a Ballet once before and I’m no dancer so forgive my non-technical review but I’d like to say that if you’re reading this as a ‘non-ballet’ person this is a really good one to go and see, you may find that you love it. It’s a familiar story, light hearted and beautiful. The introductory scenes of Cinderella and her family before her mum dies and of the young Prince playing with his friend Benjamin both introduce to the most amazing child dancers. The boys in particular bought across all of the fun and mischief in their characters and did a fantastic job of opening the show. As you’d expect for a show of this calibre Cinderella was perfectly portrayed Erina Takahashi and her graceful performance was nothing short of stunning, my favourite scenes being those where she danced with The Fates, whose performance was eerie and captivating. The way in which they performed with Cindrella was hauntingly beautiful. My favourite character was the Stepmother played by Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, who performed her drunk scene at the ball with a hilarity that I hadn’t expected to see in a ballet. Following that with her hangover and her determination to fit one of her daughters into Cindrella’s slipper. The Stepsisters too, added more clumsiness and amusement and were a delight to watch. This adaptation showed Cinderella being transformed for the ball by The Fates and the spirits of the trees and this was shown in a lavish scene showcasing the talents of the dancers, some strange giant dancing conkers and some even more strange huge headed gnomes (I think that’s what they were) and concluded with Cinderella riding on her carriage, triumphantly, Boudica style. We all know the ending but it was a wonderful wedding scene that ended the show for us and rapturous applause and a very deserved standing ovation to follow. There was an audience of all ages, children included and it’s fair to say that all looked captivated. As previously mentioned it’s the perfect introduction to a ballet and more seasoned ballet go-ers will most certainly love it. I can highly recommend this and give it a good 10/10.

Amelie - Opera House, Manchester - Tuesday 6th August 2019

Never having seen the film Amelie, I seem to be one of the few people in the country that have no idea what it was about at all. Excuse my ignorance! But it was good to go and see a film to musical show with no expectations. The opening scene of Metro station in Paris saw the cast on stage with their instruments, it was all so seamless and sounded so perfect that it took me a little while to realise that they were really playing the instruments, I had thought that there was an orchestra in the pit providing us with music while the cast sang and danced with fake instruments. The cast throughout the show not only sang, danced, provided the score and acted but were also responsible for the puppetry in parts of the show. What a multi-talented bunch they really are. The songs led us through the story of Amelie played by the beautiful Audrey Brisson. Amelie had led a sheltered life with her overbearing parents and then lost her mother, who became interred in a garden gnome, and her only friend a pet goldfish. Brisson does an incredible job of playing the naïve, under confident Amelie who lives incredible dreams but is too scared of live. Her dream of being Princess Diana lead to a crazy scene with Elton John (Caolan McCarthy) singing Goodbye Amelie. He did an amazing job and the audience laughed and cheered him along. Amelie goes on to do good deeds for people whilst falling in Love with Nino played by Danny Mac who has a bizarre hobby and works in a sex shop. I wont go into more detail about the story because if there is any body else out there that doesn’t know the story line I wont ruin it, but I will say that the final scene left the packed theatre silent as it was so touching. The set was very cleverly designed as Metro station and reused as the cafe, homes, streets and everything else it was required for. Lending itself beautifully to all of the above. Amelies bedroom was above the set and when she needed to go home she held on to a floating lampshade and was pulled up in the air to her apartment. It was very effective and worked well with the idea of Amelie being such a dreamer. There was a few parts that weren’t suitable for a younger audience and I have to say that there some parts that left me a little baffled and I did hear a few other members of the audience saying the same. Having said that it was very obvious that Amelie the musical has been a pure work of love for the cast and crew alike. It’s really very beautiful and amusing too, it raised lots of laughs and is a work of art.

The King and I - Opera House, Manchester - Wednesday 1st May 2019

The King and I has been on my ‘show bucket list’ since I was a little girl, so I was really looking forward to seeing it. It was good to see a more classic musical aswell as we have seen a lot of more modern shows lately. The gold curtain opened to the set of a boat sailing into the harbour of Siam where Anna (Annalene Beechey) and her son Louis were about to start their new life as widowed Anna was to become the governess for the children of The King of Siam. Opening with ‘I Whistle A Happy Tune’, we were treated to Beechey’s beautiful vocals. Michael Yeargan’s set was amazing throughout the show, mainly set in the palace it was oppulent and extravagent, beautifully designed to fit in with the show. The huge cast were outstanding throughout, the acting, the vocals and choreography were beyond anything else I’ve seen recently. The dance routine in ‘The Small House of Uncle Thomas’ was absolutely beautiful and was a show in itself. Using classic Thai dancing and costumes to tell the American story, it was a stunning piece of work. Jose Llana as The King was outstanding and his facial expressions throughout made his character so believable in his ‘puzzlement of Anna’. The chemistry between Anna and The King was beautiful and the famous scene ‘Shall We Dance’ brought about rapturous applause. The King's children and Louis were stars and looked as though the were enjoying every second of the show themselves, the smiles on their faces during the well deserved standing ovation were lovely to see. Everybody left the auditorium with a smile on their face. It’s a stunning show and carried off perfectly leaving the audience singing all of the popular songs as they left. It’s a real feel good show. I highly recommend The King and I and it’s a definitely 10 of 10 from me if I could give it more I would. Please go and see it you wont regret it.

Dirty Dancing - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Tuesday 23rd April 2019

We seem to have made a habit lately of seeing shows that have been remade for stage and they all seem to be films that I’ve enjoyed, which always makes me worry that they won’t be as good. Tonight though, despite seeing Dirty Dancing somewhere in the region of a million times, and having the DVD in French, English and the anniversary edition (I tell you this so that you know how big a fan I am), I wasn’t worried. I had decided that even if it wasn’t a great interpretation the music would make it good and I knew nobody would be as good as Swayze and Grey, so there were no big expectations.

Pre-show we read through the programme to see who was who and read about the cast, Penny played by Simone Covele had starred on the Moulin Rouge so we were expecting great things from her but both leads Kira Malou (Baby Houseman) and Michael O’Reiley (Johnny Castle) had much smaller bios than leads usually have and O’Reiley was making his debut as Castle.

As the Kellermans set was revealed on stage, I have to admit I was a bit stunned. It was one of the best sets I’d seen lately. The hotel, the cabin, staff rooms all had interior and exterior sets, and the forest setting was fantastic and really reminiscent of the film. Full credit to the set design team it really was better than expected.

There were some very funny scenes at the lake, which I had wondered how they’d recreate. They drew huge laughs from the audience. I’m not sure if they were supposed to but it added to the fun of the night and how else could they do the lake scenes? Malou’s Baby was made to look a lot like the movie character and she was doing a great job!

As Castle appeared on stage for the iconic scene where The Entertainment staff’ arrive, he had his shades on and actually looked a lot like Swayze. He had the swagger too. As a couple, they recreated the chemistry between Baby and Castle and I really believed in them. I didn’t miss Swayze and Grey at all in this show and that’s a big statement from me. Cast your mind back to the bedroom scenes in the movie - yes, it was all there in the show, even the cheeky bum shot!

As expected Covele’s Penny was a simply stunning dancer, with moves that would make your eyes water. They recreated Johnny and Penny’s dances perfectly and she played Penny admirably showing her despair at her situation. It was a fairly big cast and the standard of dancing throughout was extremely high. The swing and ensemble did an amazing job, as did the entertainment staff. As for the other big characters - Kellerman, Robbie, Neil and The Housemans, and in particular Lisa, all played their parts really well. Lisa’s Hula was brilliant and raised a great applause as well as a lot of laughs.

As for the show itself, I was surprised how close to the original film it actually was although it did feel a bit like a whistle stop tour of Dirty Dancing at points as it moved so fast. It was a lot funnier and more jokey than the film, particularly in the first half as Baby’s awkwardness was amplified. There were a few new scenes added and they discussed the race issues of the time, but it stuck to the majority of the original music and it looked as though the entire audience were enjoying themselves.

In THE scene when Johnny Castle ran up the aisle of the theatre and jumped on stage to deliver THE line, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner", I’m not entirely sure he actually said it, as the entire theatre erupted in whoops and cheers. I confess I had goosebumps and was whooping and cheering with the rest of them. As they had the time of their lives in the final number they pulled out of the bag the classic dance and it was pretty perfect to me. The lift? Dare I say it was better??

As I left the theatre, everybody was smiling and saying what a great time they’d had and I had the soundtrack on before I’d left the car park. I know I’ve gone on a bit on this review, but it was so good and I wanted the loyal movie fans like me to see that they wouldn’t be let down. Trust me you’ll love it. I had the time of my life! I’m even going all out and giving it a full on 10 out of 10 which I don't dish out so often. If I come out of the theatre feeling like I’ve had a great night and wanting to watch it again, then it's good enough for me.

Ghost - The Musical - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Tuesday 16th April 2019

Another Film to stage adaptation for us and having seen Ghost many many times I really wasn’t sure how it would translate to a musical so off we went to find out.

The beautiful stage curtain with the lyrics from unchained melody opened to the set of Molly (Rebekah Lowings) and Sam’s (Niall Sheehy) house as they were setting up home together and introduced us to Carl (Sergio Pasquariello) the ‘best friend’. There was good chemistry between the three of them and the set evolved really well into the developed home, it was very much like the film, though with the first song felt a little more light hearted.

The murder of Sam was cleverly shown and the desperation and panic he was feeling came across very well, the setting by Mark Bailey and lighting from Nick Richings  making him a very believable ghost.

Molly portrays her grief and confusion throughout the show convincingly and her beautiful voice on the emotional numbers, more notably ‘With You’ had the audience reaching for tissues.

Jacqui Dubois and her ladies burst onto set with a great number, great voices and choreography and introduce us to Psychic Oda Mae Brown. Dubois really made the show for me she was hilarious, made Oda Mae her own whilst being true to the films character. She interacted extremely well with Sam and the duo have such a believable bond it’s a joy to watch.

I have to mention Subway ghost Lovonne Richards as he was terrifying and played his part so well I wish we had seen more of him on stage. The special effects on the Subway seeing Sam thrown off the train and people and items being moved about was impressive.

The cast as a whole were very good and with some nice choreography pulled the show together really well.  

The finale as you’d expect was emotional and the sound of sobbing and sniffling overtook the theatre at this point. Sams Passing on was beautifully done.

It’s very hard to think of anyone other than Demi Moore and Patrick Sawyze as Molly and Sam but Lowings and Sheehy did a convincing job. The film translated well into a musical and it held all of the magic and emotion of the film. It’s a beautiful show to see but take tissues and be prepared for tears.

Hair The Musical - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Tuesday 9th April 2019

I haven’t seen Hair before but was aware of the background and knew it to have been shocking when it was released. Set in America amongst Vietnam protests  the Hippie culture of this group of teens would’ve been very different to anything else seen in that era.

The stage was bursting with colour, bright ribbons donned every inch of the set, the band were suitably attired and present on stage throughout the show. The cast arrived on stage via the auditorium and Jake Quickenden Playing Berger quickly removed his clothes, dancing around in his thong. The opening number Aquarius lead by the very powerful voice of Aiesha Pease was well received and great opener with choreography to match.

The vocal talents of the cast were well showcased and the excellent choreography continued throughout. There were some big recognisable numbers and the audience all enjoyed them.

We follow the story of Claude who has been called to draft and is torn between doing his duty and staying amongst the hippies. However the narrative is a little scarce at times as we jumped from one high energy number to another. It was a little hard to follow in parts and I have to confess that the hallucination scene, as expected, was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen on stage.

There is a lot of audience participation with many people joining the cast on stage at the end for the rousing encore of Let the Sun Shine. The cast were so energetic and passionate about the show that was it hard not to get drawn into that upbeat enthusiasm.

It wasn’t shocking for today’s audience, I  like to think we’ve come a long way in 50 years but there was the naked scene and it was full frontal so perhaps don’t take your granny, although granny may have been there 50 years ago and might quite enjoy the reminiscing.

I’m going to give Hair 6 out of 10, it wasn’t really for me mainly due to the fact it was hard to follow. But judging by the audience reaction there were a lot of people that enjoyed it and I do think the hard working, enthusiastic cast and crew along with the brilliant score make this a great fun, bright, hippie night out.

Wicked - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Wednesday 5th December 2018

On an extremely wet and miserable night in Manchester we battled through the traffic hoping that our first time watching Wicked would be worth the trip. We’ve been desperate to see it for years and joined the extremely excited audience in a cheer as the house lights went down and a monkey sprang from the orchestra pit.

Glinda the good witch, Helen Woolf, appeared on stage in her bubble supported by the cast who were celebrating the moment the Wicked Witch of the West was melted in The Wizard of Oz. Her opening line, ‘It’s good to see me isn’t it!’ showed she was going to be the comic. Belting out tunes in a high operatic voice that we come to realise matches her bubbly, ambitious, blonde character whose world revolves around being ‘Popular’.  The story then goes on flashback mode as Glinda tells the story of how her and Elphaba the unfortunate green girl who became the Wicked Witch of the West.

Elphaba played by Amy Ross had the most amazing voice, incredible range and I was literally blown away by every song from her. Defying Gravity was, as expected a simply stunning moment that had us all captivated. She sang and acted Elphaba in the most beautiful way that left us all fully invested in the character that as it turns out wasn’t actually wicked. I did expect her to fly out over the audience and I really wish she had but the way they made her fly on stage was still a fitting finale for the first act and for the song.

The duets between Ross and Woolf were the perfect showcase for these two strong voices and they were perfectly matched. I’d love to see more of these two working together.

The love interest Fiyero was played by Ex Eastender Aaron Sidwell and he held his own with the female leads making us laugh at him and with him and totally adore him.

The way the story leads us up to and through the Oz story that we all know and love is very clever and it’s a really beautiful story of friendship, love and life and there’s lessons to be learned about people being different.

The sets were big and bold as to be expected and the large cast were amazing, the singing the dancing the acting, all of it came together to be a show that warms the heart whilst being the big glitzy show that you’d expect. Big songs, amazing cast and a show not to be missed.

If you haven’t seen it before, or even if you have, I do recommend you get tickets fast and fight your way through the Christmas Markets to see it. It’s well worth the trip.

Rebus - Opera House, Manchester - Tuesday 30th October 2018

I am a fan of the Rebus books and have seen some of the TV series so I was keen to watch the stage play. It’s a little different from some of the shows we have seen recently but I love a good drama.

I was pleasantly surprised to see what a great Rebus Corrie’s Jim McDonald made, I think Charles Lawson should look at taking over the TV role, he captured the Rebus from the books really well and managed to show the torment that the haunted Rebus was under.

It was a good cast the ghostly girls played their parts well and Big Ger, John Stahl, brought a light heartedness to his gangster character that was actually likeable for someone that had caused so much damage.

I was a little disappointed with Cathy Tyson as I have liked her as an actress but I felt as though her lines were often a little over exaggerated but she did work well with Rebus.

A very simple dark set added to the mystery of the story and the story was one a mystery lover like me would enjoy, you see the characters go through the misery of being haunted by the past and the conflict they are suffering at trying to do what is right.

I was disappointed for the cast at the amount of empty seats so please if you like a drama or are a Rebus fan go and see it I’m sure you’ll love it. It’s the perfect haunting drama for this time of year.

Rock Of Ages - Opera House, Manchester - Tuesday 25th September 2018

As lovers of musicals of a more serious and dramatic nature I probably wouldn’t have expected to enjoy this if I’d known a little more about it. But honestly it was fantastic. The most fun I’ve had in ages and WHAT A SCORE!

I have seen the film but only once when it was first released and couldn’t really remember it but I know it was nowhere near as funny. And the musical makes a strong point of being a musical by doing things such as referring to ‘waitress No. 1’ as just that and mentioning the Ensemble, jokingly using toy cars and motorbike and cardboard cut outs. I knew within the first 10 minutes that I’d be giving it 10/10 and I’d give it more if I could. It was hilarious, had an amazing cast and as previously mentioned a great score, I found it extremely hard to join in and belt out the rock classics such as, Every Rose has  Thorn, We Built This City, Dead or Alive and so many more I can’t list them all. 

The show is all brought together by Lonny played by Lucas Rush who switches between character and narrator throughout the show. He was extremely suggestive (possibly an understatement) and hilarious with it I don’t think you’d find it offensive but I’d probably try and aim to take over 16s just in case.  He sings, acts as camp and glam rock as can be and the audience clearly all loved him. He narrates in a chatty, informal way and refers to ‘Musicals for Dummies’ to check how to end act one. He encourages loads of audience participation and  It wouldn’t be the show it was without him he’s a real star.

The vocal talents of Luke Walsh as Drew were strong and believable for the rock songs. He played his part well. Danielle Hope as Sherrie was a more classical musical vocalist but in Harden my Heart and I wanna know what Love is really showed us what she had.

Zoe Birkett and ‘Waitress no. 1” both had extremely strong Rock style voices and I’d have loved to have heard more from both of them.

Quick mention to Rhiannon Chesterman and Andrew Carthy who both played brilliant parts. Their rendition of Hit me with Your Best Shot was glitzy and fun and very well done.

Manchesters own Kevin Kennedy was star too, never thought I’d see Curly Watts dressed like that and backflipping across the stage either! And the man can sing can’t he.

The set of The Bourbon Room was Huge speakers and a live band and it was very inclusive for the audience, dry ice and the flashing lights made it all part of the scene setting.

The act one finale was one of the best scenes and the audience were cheering as though it was main finale and when the grand finale did arrive we were all on our feet singing and dancing.

There is nothing serious about this show at all, my face hurt I laughed that much. It was loud, brash, rude and the best fun I’d had in ages. If you love a good Rock song, a great fun show or just need to let your hair down please go and see this you won’t be disappointed.  

A massive glitzy glam rock 10/10 from me and more if I could.

Miss Saigon - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Friday 23rd March 2018

Warning – gushing review ahead! I don’t know where to start with this it was stunning from start to finish.

I’ve wanted to see Miss Saigon from being about 12 years old so I was ridiculously excited to be seeing it but also worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. It did and more!

The opening number was big, bold and bikini laden! Just a little warning here that due to the nature of the story and setting it’s definitely aimed at an older audience, particularly the scenes in Dreamland There was so much going on during this first number that I didn’t know where to look, it was very well staged and I was definitely hooked already.

There were so many big unforgettable scenes that there are too many to list but a few that particularly stood out for me were, The Morning of the Dragon in which the choreography stole the scene, The Bui Doi which was emotional and heart wrenching, the singing in this scene was beyond words. And Kims nightmare which covered a flashback to the evacuating Saigon scene. The helicopter ‘flying’ in as the locals fought to get away was quite something.

Sooha Kim as Kim was a perfect casting she has the most beautiful voice and captured the innocence, strength and hope of Kim and you feel every moment of pain for her. She certainly reduced more than just me to tears.

Red Concepcion as The Engineer certainly stole a lot of the scenes, funny, selfish and mean but somehow likeable Concepcion added the lighter humor to the show whilst bringing it all together.

Ryan O’ Gorman stood out as he was able to show the personal journey John had been on and his singing was what made the aforementioned Bui Doi such a favourite.

The entire cast was faultless the ensemble didn’t put a foot wrong and each scene and number was played to perfection, involving the audience in the chaos of Saigon and Bangkok.

I can’t not mention Tam who stole every scene he was in simply by looking so cute and a bit lost. There was an audible ‘aww’ every time he appeared.

Boubill & Schonbergs music and lyrics and the huge Cameron Mackintosh production are as expected a sight to behold. And Miss Saigon is a big, bold and beautiful production that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. I guarantee you will not want to miss it. As ever I like to listen to other audience members as I leave and everybody, it seemed, was in as much awe as me and as emotional. I would definitely go back and see it again and again. Please go and see it you will not be disappointed.

I give it a 10 out of 10 and more if I could.

Flashdance - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Monday 12th February 2018

Well I’ve been looking forward to this one since I heard it was coming to Manchester. As a child of the 80’s, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched the film and ‘What a feeling’ is my karaoke classic. My main worry about seeing Flashdance was that I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut and I’d start singing along far too loudly and clear the auditorium.

I read in the programme, before we went in, that movie writer Tom Hedley wanted to write a stage show that ‘was not slavish to the movie but that didn’t lose the movie’ and I was a little worried they’d change it too much but I think they managed to pull it off brilliantly. I’d describe it as an ‘extended’ version of the movie. It gave the characters more back story and the story more life. It worked well. Particularly I thought in the case of ‘Glori, Gloriaaaa’ whos naïve, sweet character was played beautifully by the amazing Holly-Ann Lowe.

I don’t watch Strictly as rule but knew who Joanne Clifton was and honestly was blown away by her performance she literally was ‘dancing like she’d never danced before’. It was stunning to watch her routines and she clearly put everything into it, she must’ve been exhausted by the end. And for those wondering if she can sing or not I can answer that question with a resounding yes. She was brilliant all round.

Ben Adams more pop style voice was perfect for this role and honestly what a voice. He was in fine tune and played the role of Nick Hurley perfectly. The two of them pulled of the Alex and Nick relationship believably and with chemistry.

The set was very active moving quickly from, the steel works, to the clubs to apartments. It worked well and stuck to the industrial backdrop of steel city.

The soundtrack that we know and love from the movie was present with classics such as ‘What a feeling’, ‘maniac’ and the show stopper ‘I love Rock and Roll’ which I have to say was the highlight of the show for me, well done Demmileigh Foster for that one! There were several original songs that I hadn’t heard before the show but they slotted in with the 80’s set perfectly and I’m sure I’ll be singing along to them for years to come aswell. Neve had the soundtrack on in the car on the way home before we had even left the car park.

The entire cast was energetic and amazing, the dancing was truly a sight to behold and any dance fan would be mad to miss seeing it.

I have one criticism and this is from a die-hard Flashdance fan. I can’t understand why the audition scene was changed from that of the movie. It starts off the same and then the other dancers appear and join in. It was a great scene and the cast were perfect in it but I’d have liked to have seen it somewhere else. I can’t understand why the writers would mess with one if the most iconic movie scenes of the 80’s or maybe ever.

I finally got to have a sing along at the end when the cast came back out on stage and the audience all got on their feet to sing and dance along.

If like me you’re a fan of the movie, the 80’s, dance and the soundtrack then you’ll love this show. If you’re a fan of Strictly, you’ll love it and if you’ve never seen it before, you’re not sure if you’ll like it or not but you want to have a brilliant fun night then you’ll love it!

I’m giving it 8 out of 10! And I’m still singing ‘Glori, Gloriaaaaa’ this morning.

Nativity The Musical - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Wednesday 29th November 2017

What could be more heartwarming at Christmas than Nativity? Another stage show of one of our favourite Christmas films and if I’m honest we were tired and we’d battled through the Manchester traffic and weren’t exactly full of the joys of the season when we sat down to watch the show.  But as soon as Simon Lipkin burst onto stage as the loveable Mr Poppy we were laughing, five minutes in and ‘laughing’ doesn’t quite do it justice. The whole audience were in stitches. There were tears rolling down my face and we were actually missing lines in places because the audience were laughing so much. I can hand on heart say that he played Mr Poppy even better than the original film version. He is clearly very talented as he sang and played instruments too. He was undoubtedly the star of the show but the entire cast were amazing. Daniel Boys as Mr Maddens played his part flawlesly as did all of the other lead characters and support cast but I have to praise the children here. I have no idea how they managed to act so naturally, I know that the original film was on the whole unscripted and somehow this cast managed to pull off the same affect. It was very cleverly done. The children were confident, wonderful singers and actors and really took control of the stage. The finale, the night of the Nativity show was a brilliant showcase for their talents and they had us all singing along. Every single child really did Sparkle and Shine. I can’t move off the topic of the cast without mention the dog Cracker who stole the limelight herself a bit and is definitely the most chilled out animal I’ve ever seen.

The set was simple but effective with hundreds of stars and lights, the school background and Holly wood but the Cathedral during the finale was striking.

I don’t want to give anything away and I’d love to tell you more about the finale but I’ll just say ‘have your mobile phones handy’. It’s all pretty special.

I know that this review sounds gushing but as we left, both me and Neve said that it was possibly one of the best shows that we have ever seen and that’s a big claim! We weren’t the only ones, as the standing ovation, cheers and thunderous applause proved. It was lovely listening to everyone talk as we were leaving as well. I heard more than one person say ‘I want to go back and watch it all over again’ and I can honestly say I would too.

It’s perfect for all ages and it’ll be the most fun you’ve had in ages.

Elf The Musical - The Lowry, Salford - Tuesday 28th November 2017

Elf is my favourite Christmas film, so much so that I’ve been banned from watching it, so I was very excited to hear the stage show was coming to Manchester this year. However, I know I’m not the only one thinking this, “How could anyone compare with Will Ferrell?” So on a very cold and festive night this week, I went with my daughter to find out…

I hadn’t looked at the cast list beforehand and was pleased to see that Joe McGann was playing Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s dad. I like his work and he portrayed Walter just perfectly. Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten was Jovi, another great casting, as she has a lovely voice and pulled off the attitudey but likeable Jovi flawlessly. Santa was another well known face – Brookside’s Louis Emerick and he surprised me by being a great Santa. I’ll let him off for the joke about Liverpool beating Manchester United.

Buddys’ brother Michael was played by Lochlan White and he was a very confident performer. The only child in the cast, he really shone in his part and his solo song was amazing.

Now the big one – Yes, Ben Forster was fantastic, he played Buddy with every bit as much enthusiasm as Will Ferrell. He had us all laughing with his beautifully childlike excitement. He is a perfect Buddy.

The audience were all highly amused at the elves at the North Pole and their comical walk was the source of much laughter.

The sets on the show were amazing and the use of a screen in the background is a clever touch. The set for the inside of Macy’s at Christmas are spectacular with a huge Christmas tree and a whole truckload of sparkly tinsel. If you don’t feel festive when you arrive, you certainly will when you see the stage.

The show itself wasn’t as close to the film script as I had expected.  The general story is the same but there are different scenes added and obviously there were scenes not included. The stage show was made more family friendly as the film is probably targeted at a slightly older audience. With the addition of the songs, as well as some of the pantomime style double entendres, this stage production is a real family favourite for everyone young or old.

The big finale is what makes Elf so magical but I won’t give it away. You will leave feeling Sparkle Jolly Twinkle Jingling and super festive. The best way to spread Christmas cheer? Take the family to see Elf this year.

The only thing I’d change about Elf, as I do enjoy a good sing-a-long, I think it would have been nice if the song needed to help Santa on his way, was one the we’d know so we could all have joined in. I think they missed a trick there. It’s a really lovely show though and the audience gave a standing ovation.  It’s definitely one to take your family to enjoy.

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