Doom & Despondency amid the glitter

Cher Show is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 13th August.

If this story is to be believed, Cher has had hardly any light moments in her life. The signing of that first contract with Sonny was the start of a very downward spiral that just seems to have continued. Even the times that she hoped to win an Oscar but didn’t are made as big an event in the show as the time she did win one for her amazing performance in Moonstruck. The set is black and grey looking for all the world like a branch of Johnson’s Dry Cleaners with its racks and racks of costume bags on hangers. 

The use of many blasts of lights from a wall of coloured spots straight out from the stage certainly put colour onto the audience’s faces! One thing I didn’t know about Cher, she always had a set of dancers dressed as the campest row of sailors you ever saw!

I’ve just watched a clip online of Cher introducing her band, singers & dancers to the audience at one of her concerts – she was such fun, a million miles away from the Cher portrayed in The Cher Show.

The cast however, we’re top class, all of them. The three Chers: Babe (Millie O’Connell) gave us a good glimpse of the feisty young Cher, Lady (Danielle Steers) with possibly the closest to the sound of Cher’s voice and a special mention for Star played most convincingly on the night we were in by stand-in Samantha Ivey. Not sure when Samantha got the “You’re On” call but we’ll done that lady, not a foot wrong! Sonny (Lucas Rush) was such an accurate portrayal that those of us old enough to have seen Sonny & Cher perform had real memories brought back by Lucas’s skill.

Bob Mackie played with gay abandon by Jake Mitchell, put me in mind of the days of the GayLib protests against John Inman at his most flamboyant! 

If you prefer you musicals downbeat, this one starts at a low point in Cher’s life and slowly works it’s way down from there. If you are a fan of Cher’s songs then these are very acceptable cover versions of the real thing.  This show covers from when Cher was just 16 to where she admits to being 52 – that’s 36 years and still those camp sailors are still. Wearing the same outfits!

Conclusion: If you’re a fan of Cher, this is an eye opener, if you like her music then you’ll hear faithful portrayals of 35 of them.

The Cher Show is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, 13th August.

box office: 0844 871 7615 or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

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Dance routines wearing flippers? Mama Mia! Arrives in Milton Keynes in style!

Mama Mia!

The show with the best ever finale! A load of camp old nonsense? Well yes, it’s both of those things – but don’t underestimate this theatrically camp and maybe OTT offering! Even if you enter the Milton Keynes Theatre full of doubt (as I did) it’ll have you standing and cheering at the end, guaranteed! (As I was!)

Unfortunately there’s quite a bit of scene setting that needs to be done at the beginning. This takes place 3months before the wedding of Sophie (Jena Pandya) and Sky (Toby Miles), so we find Sophie showing her two mates Ali (Jasmine Shen) and Lisa (Mariella Mazzilli) her mother’s diary giving details of three of her boyfriends just before the time of Sophie’s birth. One of them is probably her father! Wouldn’t it be great to have her true father give her away? That’s as much of the plot as I’ll give away, but the scene – though absolutely necessary, does take a while and would be tough for a seasoned performer let alone 3 of the younger members of the cast. 

But don’t panic, after this slightly slow start, on bound Tanya (Helen Anker) and Rosie (Nicky Swift) who are soon joined by Donna (Sophie’s single mum played by Sara Poyzer)and things really start moving! As an ex three-girl singing group they certainly know how to perk things up and give it some welly!

From then on the very accurate renditions of ABBA songs flow almost non-stop, cleverly woven into the story. Even from the 3 Dads played superbly by Richard Standing, Daniel Crowder & Phil Corbett

There’s lots of fine choreography which though fitted the 70’s theme didn’t for a second feel dated. Praise to choreographer Anthony Van Laast for that. Good to have some (if augmented at times) live musicians in the pit under the direction of Carlton Edwards

The whole show is a lot of fun with plenty of good music. Plenty of laughs along the way – special mention for the hilarious routine with Rosie and Pepper (James Willoughby Moore). 

If you doubt the idea of taking one singing group’s music and weaving it into a story, some have tried and failed – but Mama Mia! will prove to you that it can work and work spectacularly!

Mama Mia! is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 6th August.

Box Office: 0844 871 7615 or online www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

Bat Out Of Hell rides into Milton Keynes

The perfect tribute to music legends Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman, Vicky Edwards catches up with Martha Kirby and Glenn Adamson from Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell – The Musical.

If you didn’t already know that Bat Out of Hell started life as a musical, it’s a fact that probably comes as no surprise – the songs are so theatrical and anthemic. Entitled Neverland and written by Steinman in 1974, the premise was a futuristic Peter Pan story.  But producers didn’t bite, so in 1977 the album was recorded instead, claiming an eight-year tenancy in the UK charts and turning Meat Loaf a global superstar.  

And when the show finally hit the stage in 2017, the result was pretty much the same: two sell-out West End seasons and a ‘packed-to the-rafters’ run in Manchester. Now, in the wake of Steinman’s death last year, and more recently that of Meat Loaf, it certainly feels like a fitting time for their theatrical legacy to be embarking on a national tour.

Glenn Adamson as Strat and Martha Kirby as Raven,

Ernie Almond’s review
The London Production of Bat Out Of Hell won all sorts of awards, from Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical to 8 WhatsOnStage awards including Best New Musical. Having now seen the touring version as it came screaming into MK Theatre starring local actor Glenn Adamson as Strat and Martha Kirby as Raven, I can honestly say that every one of those awards (& more) should be repeated for the touring production of the show. obviously a tour of a show as big as this has its own technical difficulties. For example, you cant push a whole car into the orchestra pit, so Raven calmly takes out the engine and throws that in!


Apart from the two leads i did enjoy Falco & Sloane (Jamie Jukes & Laura Johnson) but quite honestly even those little mentions are unfair because every person on that stage was faultless! Some good comedy sprinkled across it and some truly excellent dancing. But its the songs that we all loved Meat Loaf for that strike home so accurately. With the amount of special effects (I refuse to give any away) which were stunningly executed and the huge sets, I don’t see how this show can move into a theatre one day, have tech runs and open on the Tuesday with a wonderfully slick and polished performance! But ask anyone thats seen it and they’ll tell you its a show you simply must not miss! Apart from the cast, the songs, the sets and the effects, theres also a fine live band conducted by Iestyn Griffiths.

The perfect post-pandemic pick-me-up, Bat Out of Hell – The Musical also honours the memory of two brilliant musicians, Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. Grab your tickets. Paying your respects will be a total pleasure.

Bat Out of Hell is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 25 June.
Tickets are available from ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes

Cluedo opens its many doors in MK Theatre

A new British play, based on an American play that was based on an American film that was itself based on a British board game! Phew! Where would you start?

Well, lets begin with the set. If you can imagine a large single box set which needs nine (yes 9!) fully functioning doors, secret panels, hidden safe, folding walls to expose several other rooms AND a working – one way or another – chandelier, you need a truly top designer. Fortunately for the packed houses this play attracts, they found the perfect one in David Farley! No set wobble here as the doors start slamming! I was not surprised to see that the direction was in the more than capable hands of Mark – The Play That Goes Wrong- Bell. The same speed and precision are needed in this play as the other one.

The cast headed by Michelle Collins as the glamorous ”business woman” from Soho Miss Scarlett and Daniel Casey as Professor Plum were all excellent . Breaking the 3rd wall occasionally and generally keeping the whole thing moving (I mean moving too, he had to open and close those heavy walls to the other rooms!) and with a great raport with the audience was Jean-Luke Warrell as Wadsworth the butler. A lovely cameo as a fake French maid got plenty of laughs as played by Laura Kirman and the same could be said for the accident-prone vicar in the hands of Tom Babbage. I also loved the almost Joyce Grenfell like gangliness of politician’s wife Mrs Peacock (Judith Amsenga). The title of the most unfortunate person of the night I suppose goes to Liam Horrigan who plays three characters – all of which meet fairly horrific ends! Special mention must go to Harry Bradley standing in as Professor Plum on the night we went, the Professor didn’t put a foot wrong – well no more wrong than any of the other characters! Wesley Griffith as the slightly dim Colonel Mustard and Etisyai Philip as Mrs White (sadly “lost” 2 husbands already) made up the main characters in this very strong cast.

Considering I had the audience member directly behind me who thought she should give a running commentary for those that didn’t understand and laugh at 100 decibels if any character so much as blinked, I think i managed to get all of the humour in the script and the physical stuff without being distracted too much,

The stylised form of acting and movement was certainly different if not exactly my cup of tea, but then, as the lady behind said in a loud voice for all the stalls to hear – not just once but at regular intervals ”this is SO fucking funny!” She obviously knows her stuff!

Cluedo is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 4th June

Box Office: atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

Steve Harley live at The Core

Widely considered one of the most charismatic performers on stage, Steve Harley continues to play to sold-out venues across the UK and Europe. 

For Steve, life on the road is more than just a job: it is almost his life’s blood. 

And with the February 2020 release of the all-acoustic CD, “UNCOVERED”, the original Cockney Rebel shows no sign of slowing down.

The Acoustic Band for 2022 will find Steve supported by long-standing violinist/guitarist Barry Wickens, and Oli Heyhurst on double bass, with Dave Delarre on lead acoustic guitar.

Steve has been playing Live shows around the world for over 45 years and the thrill of another night in another place to another audience has not dimmed at all.

“We have real adventures on tour, “says Steve. “I’ve seen the Northern Lights, the Midnight Sun and dozens of wonderful galleries, museums and great cities, all on my down-time. I have a great life as a Wandering Minstrel!”

“UNCOVERED” includes a re-recording of Steve’s popular song “Love, Compared With You” with a newly composed third verse, plus eleven other songs he’s always wanted to perform. The album features Barry Wickens on viola and acoustic guitar, Oli Hayhurst on double bass, Tom Hooper on percussion and the Roots Music Legend, Martin Simpson, on guitar. Steve also sings a duet with the amazing Scottish singer, Eddi Reader.

The acoustic sets for 2022 will include songs from the new CD, plus a selection from the vast and eclectic Harley Songbook. Mr Soft, Judy Teen, Sebastian and the legendary Make Me Smile will all be re-produced in the unique acoustic style.

Close-Up Culture stated: “It was an intimate night in the presence of a great musician. An individual whose passion for live performance and perfection (it shows in his face) remains undiminished.”.

Rod Stewart, who covered Steve’s song “A Friend For Life”, describes him as “One of the finest lyricists Britain has produced.”

MOJO said simply, “Harley creates rock songs that are proud, lyrical and full ofyearning.”  Steve has also been described as “A consummate performer at the top of his game,” and this show will bear that out.

Steve received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Acoustic Music from the Acoustic Festival of Britain in 2018.

Saturday 28 May                       CORBY – The Core @ Corby Cube

tickets from:

https://www.thegigcartel.com/Artists-profiles/Steve-Harley-Acoustic-Band.htm

Les Miserables is here!

Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of LES MISÉRABLES in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary it has taken the world by storm continuing to enjoy record-breaking runs in countries including North America, Australia, Japan, Korea, France and Spain. Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent iconic score of LES MISÉRABLES includes the classic songs, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master Of The House and many more. Several of its songs have become real life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom. Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, LES MISÉRABLES is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular and contemporary musicals. Cameron Mackintosh’s production of LES MISÉRABLES is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Orchestrations are by Stephen Metcalfe, Christopher Jahnke and Stephen Brooker with original orchestrations by John Cameron. The production is directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt, and music supervision by Stephen Brooker and Alfonso Casado Trigo.

Joining the previously announced Dean Chisnall as ‘Jean Valjean’, Nic Greenshields as ‘Javert’ and Katie Hall as ‘Fantine’ will be Ian Hughes as ‘Thénardier’, Will Callan as ‘Marius’, Nathania Ong as ‘Eponine’, Helen Walsh as ‘Madame Thénardier’, Barnaby Hughes as ‘Enjolras’ and Paige Blankson as ‘Cosette’.

Review

I’m convinced that this Cameron Mackintosh production of Les Misérables is the show of the year for the Milton Keynes Theatre and possibly the majority of the theatres this glorious cast will have visited by the end of their tour. Everything about the production is as perfect as I’ve seen. The sound and lighting are so good that you hardly notice them, the sets are huge, spectacular, complicated, realistic – and work like a dream! Brilliant work by director James Powell ably assisted I’m sure by resident director Jo Parsons, meant that there was never a moment with nothing going on and if you took a still shot at any moment you just know you’d get a perfect shot like a beautiful painting.

I’m afraid to mention the cast by name because right from the first few seconds when some of the boatmen had solos to sing, right to the finale you couldn’t fault any of them. But special mention must got to Will Barratt standing in on the night I went in the part of Jean Valjean with a faultless performance. Will Callan as Marius making his professional debut is quite a find and I’m sure will have a busy career from this show on. Playing the only character in the story that gets little sympathy from the audience but with a stunning solo ”Stars” that almost brought the house down was experienced singer/actor Nic Greenshields, a very fine and powerful foil for Jean Valjean. Always popular are innkeeper Thénardier and Madame Thénardier thank goodness Cameron Mackintosh persuaded Ian Hughes & Helen Walsh two of the best in the business to play these rascals. Just when you need a little light relief, along comes Master of the House taking the place by storm. Wonderful performances. But then we were treated to fine performances from every single person on that stage, I wish I had the space to mention everyone of this cast.

All in all, the best night at the theatre since the anniversary tour of Phantom of the Opera and I’m not at all sure that this production didn’t top that one! I can’t really believe there are people left who’ve not seen Les Mis yet but if you haven’t – or even if you’ve seen all the previous versions, get along to see this!
I don’t believe this production of Les Misérables will ever be bettered!

Ernie Almond.

Les Misérables plays Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 21 May with tickets from £13. General bookings: 0844 871 7615*; Access bookings: 0333 009 5399; Group bookings: 0207 206 1174, ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes*

Jersey Boys storm back into Milton Keynes!

Jersey Boys is the story – warts and all – of the Four Seasons both with Frankie Valli as a member and later as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Four Seasons’ fans will be thrilled to know that Jersey Boys is back at the Milton Keynes Theatre on its way round the UK. The show did very well in London running for 9 years from 2008 in the West End – and even better on Broadway where it lasted a brilliant 12 years on Broadway.

if you’re expecting a sort of tribute show to the group, forget it because this goes much deeper. The Four Seasons themselves were very harmonious onstage but not so off it. Michael Pickering played Frankie and he and the rest of the cast were all excellent both the sound of the Four Seasons and the arguing off stage were at all times believable and I think the Four Seasons sound was very accurately portrayed. The Frankie Valli voice is quite special as you might remember and quite where Michael Pickerning gets it from I can’t imagine – quite small in stature as was Frankie himself but a breathtaking moment once you hear that voice! We see the life of the group at its best and during it many down times. Co-author of the script Rick Ellis said ” It’s not so much a musical as a play about four guys who wrote music.” It’s about revenge, betrayal, and crime & punishment. We see the effects living for long periods on the road as a busy entertainer has on your life and especially your relationships. But, if you are a fan of the Four Seasons you will get a wonderful recreation of so many of their songs – there’s 34 musical numbers in the show and you’ll know every one of them!! We see the time that Barry Gordie joined the group and his talent for writing perfect songs certainly helped the group’s success but even his joining the group didn’t please everyone! It’s certainly a tough story, but its a real worthwhile thing to go and see! The sets work very well and are managed very smoothly with the lighting team and the stage crew working very much in sync. The sound – especially during the speech, needs to be really crisp or we don’t get every word if the actors are putting on American accents. During the songs all was well.

The show is a delight and received a well deserved standing ovation on the Wednesday night I was there.

Tickets: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or phone 0844 871 7615

The show runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until 5th March.

Dreamgirls arrives in Milton Keynes!

  • THE FIRST EVER UK TOUR OF THE DAZZLING, MULTI-AWARD WINNING WEST END PRODUCTION OF DREAMGIRLS HAS ARRIVED IN MILTON KEYNES!

Featuring the classic songs ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, ‘Listen’ and ‘One Night Only’, this sensational production of Dreamgirls had its critically acclaimed West End première in December 2016 at London’s Savoy Theatre, 35 years on from opening on Broadway.

Meet the Dreams – Effie, Lorrell and Deena – three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s, a revolutionary time in American music history. Join the three friends as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.

Dreamgirls stars Nicole Raquel Dennis as Effie White with Sharlene Hector performing the role at certain performances. Milton Keynes actress Natalie Kassanga will play the role of Deena Jones at Milton Keynes Theatre, her hometown venue

Dreamgirls is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sat 5 Feb

Box Office: 0844 871 7615 or

Online: ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes

I went along on Press Night and these were my thoughts:

Dreamgirls arrived in all its glory at The Milton Keynes Theatre – along with a fine 10 piece orchestra under the direction of Simona Budd.

This true-to-life story of a three girl harmony group in America in the 70’s had Sharlene Hector in the lead on that night as lead singer Effie White. She has a voice you could mistake for that of Jennifer Hudson and got a well deserved standing ovation for her rendition of “I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” – the song that most people talk about and one which quite frankly the first act truly needed.

The Other two girls, Deena Jones (Natalie Kassanga) the girl that not only stole Effie’s lead role in the group but also her man and the youngest member Lorrell (Paige Peddic) were both well cast I thought but needed a little more pezaz. I thought after they became successful the “Diana Ross” look of a top, very wealthy star might have been helped by a different costume and more bling.

This show is shortened slightly – we don’t really get the downfall of Jimmy Early (Played with loads of energy by Brandon Lee Sears – what a performer he is!) or the hard times that Effie went through as a single, out of work parent.

The show keeps its ensemble and musicians really busy with almost 30 original musical numbers.

Christopher Gopaul was Curtis Taylor Jnr on the night we went. He’s the nasty manager of the group and I felt his performance could’ve been stronger and nastier – I also got the impression he was having to play well above his true age which is always difficult especially if romance is involved.

Dreamgirls is a strong story of showbiz’s good times and the tough ones. Lots of good music into the bargain – you’ll have a good night out, if you can get a ticket!

Ernie Almond

Dreamgirls is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sat 5 Feb

Box Office: 0844 871 7615 or

Online: ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes

Diversity slays ’em at MKT!

They say if you arrive at the theatre in the wrong mood you will not enjoy the show no matter what! So I have to be honest and say that yes, I was one of the doubters. How could a dance troupe – even Diversity – be the stars of a pantomime? Pantomime is traditional fayre, with traditional routines and gags – not up Ashley Banjo‘s street at all!

I couldn’t have been more wrong! Not just Ashley but all the boys & girls joined in many of the comedy routines with gusto. “If I Were Not In Pantomime” being one that stood out that both I and Simon Trott (Pete Firmin) will remember for a very long time. Me because I laughed a lot and Simon because he’s having to spend the entire Christmas season being smacked in the face with a frying pan several times nightly! What a way to earn a living!

Daniel Boys was a particularly slimy Fleshcreep, the giant’s henchman and he kicked off the show with his own evil dancers perfectly. In fact Fleshcreep kept up the level of boos he recieved right to the end. Good baddy stuff!

The sets and costumes were proper panto glam and glitter. The giant actually appears and isn’t just projected onto the set, we see Jack cheating by flying a working helecopter to the top of the beanstalk, flying right out over the stalls in the process!  The script was sharp and witty, the songs fitted in perfectly and Jack and all his (Diversity) brothers’ routines are energetic, hugely skilfull and with the humour we’ve come to expect from this gang.

Pete Firmin as Simon was most likeable. He won the audience over within seconds and they loved him and his tricks. Such a good pro that I got the feeling that if anything untoward happened he would just carry on entertaining us until it was fixed – no problem!

I have a thing about Pantomime dames, I’m convinced that they should be the wrong side of forty (age & waist) and not be a female impersonator. Even the late great Danny La Rue  made sure he had Alan Hayes with him to fly the flag of proper panto dames. The dame in Jack & The Beanstalk at Milton Keynes is perfect! Dame Trott was played brilliantly by Jack Land Noble, a true expert! From a family steeped in show business, Jack knows exactly what he’s doing and the audience realise this very quickly and relax knowing all is well. His costumes are of course ridiculous but at the same time just right.

The good fairy character, in this production Mother Nature (Gina Murray) was much in evidence and unusually for this character had several songs which were all a delight. Similarly the beautiful Princess Jill (Laura Evans) with yet more dancers as her entourage made the perfect partner for Jack – even though he was head shoulders and chest above her, or so it seemed!

The songs, special effects, dance routines and standard Panto gags all just helped the story along and we – thats us led by our hero Jack won the day in the end and the Giant came crashing down!

Make no bones about it, this is the finest, most spectacular pantomime even Milton Keynes Theatre has had for a while as the rapturous, standing ovation proved! I’ve seen quite a few so far this year and without a doubt this one stands a mile out in front of the others!

Get a ticket – if you can!

Jack & The Beanstalk runs at the Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 8th January

Box Office: 0844 8717615 or online: www.atgtickets/miltonkeynes

 

Lost Boys found alive & well at The Chrysalis Theatre!

Peter Pan at The Chrysalis Theatre, Milton Keynes

THIS SHOW IS NOW CLOSED.


It’s good that Milton Keynes has a choice of panto’s this year since 1702 Productions have brought Peter Pan to the Chrysalis Theatre for this Christmas season. It’s been made purposely more affordable for families to come and enjoy this romp through (or close to) JM Barrie’s wonderful story of the boy who never grows up. Seasonal pantomime gags are added to a script written by Steven Gordon-Wilson which uses songs well known to the young audience from shows as far apart as Annie and Hairspray.

Lucy-Rose Rollason in the title role brings plenty of gusto to the part. She is from a thoroughly theatrical family (her brother Tommy J is currently in panto just down the road in nearby Dunstable). She flew across the stage as expected and managed to look comfortable in the process!

Leading the comedy was ventriloquist Steve Hewlett with his sidekick Arthur Lager as Mr Smee & Grandad Smee respectively. With or without the puppet, Steve’s experience and considerable comedic talent helped keep up the pace of the show.

Captain Hook was played by that EggHead CJ de Mooi. He was rather more snide than evil, though had there been a little more volume on his mic I think he would have sounded more powerful and the youngsters would be properly scared! He quite obviously revelled in playing this famous baddie and even managed to keep the audience glued through a song that almost went on as far as the third star on the right. (Maybe the director’s axe could descend cutting a few verses from some of the songs to bring the show down to 2hours including interval)

I think 1702 Productions have made a real find in Luke Byford as Mrs Smee. I’ve always believed that a panto dame needs to be at least 45-50 years old and slightly rotund but I’m pleased to report that young Luke proved me wrong entirely! He was funny, loads of energy, grabbed every opportunity to react to audience members and was always good fun and in character. He reminded me at times of Old Mother Riley and I can see him back next year as Widow Twanky or Dame Trott!

Children’s entertainer Kev Stevens as Starky could have been given more to do, I’m sure another trick or two here and there would’ve pleased the young members of the audience. Although they did wheel on the BooBox (whatever that is) but didn’t seem to actually get round to showing us what that was all about.

Other cast members included the children of course Wendy (Cara Bo), John (Alyssa Denehan) & Michael (Harvey Smith). Tiger Lily was played with some panache by local performer Lillia Grace who, on the night we were there, coped very well with her scenes downstage in the dark!

Eveey Ruth and her dog Pasha (playing the crew’s dog Fish) and the outrageous Jono Andrews did well considering they were rarely involved with the plot.

The older dancers from Rollason Stage School performed beautifully – as did the younger dancers, if only they’d appeared to be enjoying themselves. I think a couple more performances and they’ll know where they should be on each entrance.

Old favourite Mr Blobby makes several appearances, knocks the set and half the cast over and says “Blobby, Blobby Blobby” a lot! ….What more can I say?

The night we went to see the show was about the 4th performance and unfortunately for the cast and crew it suffered a few technical problems with lighting (or lack of it) and sound ( or lack of it), but I’m sure that will be sorted by now. So if you’re looking for a fun evening full of panto gags and that Peter Pan magic that won’t cost you the earth, then Peter Pan at the Chrysalis Theatre in MK is your best bet!

Peter Pan is at The Chrysalis Theatre, Milton Keynes until 2nd January

ticket link: www.peterpanmk.co.uk