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Review: Wicked

1st December 2017 | Theatre

Review: Wicked

The story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Good Witch of the South is perhaps one of the best known fictional stories in the world.

But, what isn’t as well-known is that Elphaba (the Wicked Witch) and Glinda (the Good Witch) actually used to be friends who shared a room in college and, ultimately, became entangled in a complicated love rivalry.

Well, it’s not as simple as that.

For 11 years, Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked has ruled over the West End – having won 15 awards in the city (including the prestigious Olivier “Audience Choice” award twice). It has consistently remained a “must see” in the city, despite the fact that it is constantly touring around the world, and it’s not difficult to see why.

Sitting in most West End theatres in mid-November on a Monday night, even the most popular show may be slightly emptier than usual. Unless you’re a fresh new import such as Hamilton (being housed next door to Wicked at the Victoria Palace), to put it bluntly, most shows would be dead. However, even after 11 years, the Apollo Victoria (where Wicked has been housed since it landed in London in 2006) is still lively and busy with an audience spanning generations.

For some visitors, this is their first time seeing the much talked-about production. For others, it’s their fourth or fifth visit. The references are globally known – based on the Wizard of Oz – but it’s how the story of Wicked builds on that which is what has kept it so relevant.

Some of the subject matters feel more relevant than ever – as Glinda and Elphaba first loathe each other simply based on nothing but a book-cover type perception, the musical touches on how…

James Gilmore saw 'Hair' with his parents

14th October 2017 | Theatre

James Gilmore saw 'Hair' with his parents

At The Vaults theatre in London lives a production of the award-winning musical, ‘Hair’.

For those not in the know, ‘Hair’ (first performed 50 years ago) follows a group of drug-fuelled hippies as they protest against war and demand peace with a message which is still crucial today.

Its comments on societies impression of young people along with drug taking and nudity has ensured that ‘Hair’ has always been seen as one of the shows that pushes the boundaries, and this production is no different.

However, here’s where it gets a bit awkward.

James Gilmore saw the new production of ‘Hair’ (an IMMERSIVE production, to be noted) with his parents despite warning that half way through the production the entire cast get naked on stage.

Entirely naked. No underwear. No socks. Fully naked. In an IMMERSIVE production. With his parents.

On his Friday radio show, James Gilmore spoke about how he totally wasn’t ready for this experience – but also how great the show is. It really is pretty good.

Broadcasted exclusively worldwide on W!ZARD Radio Station.

James Gilmore saw the musical Hair with his parents

and there was a nude scene which he can't get over... (6 minutes)

Review: Derren Brown's Underground

16th September 2017 | Theatre

Review: Derren Brown's Underground

If you are a fan of Derren Brown then chances are you will enjoy his latest show – ‘Underground’, at the Playhouse Theatre. If you are a super-fan then chances are you may end up feeling rather bored…

As ever, Derren kindly requests that audience members keep tight-lipped about the contents of the show. However, due to the nature of this Greatest Hits-style evening, we sort of can.

The show is made up of old material – all from previous live shows. It’s nothing short of impressive that Derren can churn out a brand-new show every two years. It’s therefore only fair he might want to take a break. But rather than going on a hiatus, he has selected a series of items which seamlessly flow into a mystifying and entertaining evening.

The show works brilliantly if you are relatively new to Derren. Or even if you have only seen him on TV. Aficionados will instantly recognise pieces from previous shows: ‘An Evening of Wonders’, ‘Enigma and ‘Svengali’ to name but a few. There’s everything you would expect: laughs, pure showmanship and moments of jaw-dropping dumbfoundedness.

Setting the production in a smaller theatre than usual – the Playhouse Theatre (seating 780 people) compared to the Palace Theatre (seating capacity 1,200 people) where his previous production ‘Miracle’ was set – meant that even if you had seen the routines before, you got a fresh look on them at a closer distance.

It also works as a good introduction to the performer. Having just made his American stage debut, the time is ripe for a new generation to be introduced to his talents. Here, they get the opportunity to see some of his best material.

We must admit it was a little dispiriting to…