Film & Theatre Review

Newsies

Strike strike strike!! The drivers are on strike – and now the newspaper boys are also about to go on strike.
No, this is not ripped from todays’ headlines, though it could be (train drivers, nurses and postmen are today’s reality), it’s the plot of the fantastic show ‘Newsies’.

‘Newsies’ (a 1992 movie musical turned into a 2012 Broadway show) makes a triumphant London debut in a theatre that’s perfect – a large auditorium space with high ceilings, dark, with catwalks, in a structure that resembles a printing press. The theatre is the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Don’t let the location put you off, it’s well worth the journey for a show that has everything going for it.‘Newsies’ is set in the late 1890’s and is about the boys (young men) who sell newspapers on the streets of New York City, all trying to eke out a living. But when the powerful New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Cameron Blakely) raises the price of the issues he sells to the newsies, they retaliate and go on strike and refuse to sell the newspapers, and then decide to form a union, with juvenile detention escapee Jack (Michaelahomka-Lindsey) elected as their leader.

But trouble lies ahead, the newspaper owners aren’t happy about a union being formed, and bullies are sent to rough up the newsies, with threats and physical violence, but all they want is to be treated fairly, and honestly. Further complications arise when Jack falls in love with Pulitzer’s daughter Katherine Plumber (Bronte Barbe), who is an aspiring journalist and who writes about the strikes for another newspaper under a different name, with a bias towards the newsies.

‘Newsies’ is a wildly big and fantastic show, and it’s a testament to director and choreographer Matt Cole that almost every dance number received a standing ovation on opening night. The boys (actors) all work very hard and are in tune and rhythm with each other for every dance number (there are about 20 newsies on stage at various times). And the cutest Newsie award goes to the character of Les, a character the age of 10, and played by various actors (Nesim Adnan on opening night). And female newsies join in too! And while not one member of the acting troupe really stands out, it’s all of them in unison that make this show a true winner. Kudos to Disney who own the rights to the show, and for taking a chance on the Troubadour to showcase it. ‘Newsies’ is a must, and there is plenty of time to catch it, as it plays until April 2023. Catch it before the rest of the world goes on strike!

Mother Goose

How wonderful is it to see Sir Ian McKellen, at the age of 83, wearing frocks and hamming it up, in all his glory, on the place where he belongs, the stage, where he’s now in a production of ‘Mother Goose.’

Yes ‘Mother Goose’, which had its premier at Brighton’s Theatre Royal, is panto, but this one is extra special because of McKellen. He’s such a joy to watch, and he delivers every line perfectly, hilariously, deliciously, caked in full makeup while wearing over the top frocks as he plays the title role – Mother Goose. And as a bonus we are treated to famous comedian John Bishop as husband Vic Goose. And the two are just perfect together.

Mrs. and Mr. Goose don’t have a whole lot of money and live a meagerly existence in Debenhams along with their coterie of animals (monkey, goat, bear, tortoise, penguin, bat, puss, cricket). But it gets worse when the energy company (the energy company!) demands more money so the Gooses are in a pickle – what do they do? Their adult son Jack (Oscar Conlon-Morrey) can’t do much as he’s not the brightest lightbulb in the room. But to the Gooses luck Cilla Quack (Anna-Jane Casey – who is superb and brings down the house with her number ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’) lays golden eggs which changes the Gooses’ lives immensely. But Mother Goose wants more, more, she wants to be famous, so she makes a deal with wicked witch Malignia (Karen Mavundukure) in exchange for Cilla Quack. Mother Goose gets her wish and attends the Oscars, the World Cup and fashion shows, but her family misses her so much, and Cilla is locked behind bars in the Kings castle. What’s Mother Goose going to do – she has everything she wished for, but it’s at the detriment to her family.

Why are you still reading this? Buy tickets NOW!

Set and Costume design is by Liz Ascroft, Choreography by Lizzi Gee.

‘Mother Goose’ is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Hunter Arnold, Seaview, Wessex Grove, Richard Winkler & Dawn Smalberg, Caiola Productions and George Waud for Groove International.For information on tickets, and to find out which cities ‘Mother Goose’ will be in, please click below. ‘Mother Goose’ is touring until April 1, 2023. It is now playing in London. https://mothergooseshow.co.uk

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