We are John & Kayley, a North East based married couple who have a passion for theatre, film and TV. This blog and our Instagram/Twitter (@thestageycouple) are here to share our experiences and what we love about these things.
Our posts are mainly musical theatre based as that is what we love most. We visit the West End as much as we can so will be posting about London shows as well as UK tours!
Between all our theatre trips we love seeing new films and TV so will be sharing our thoughts on recent releases too.
Feel free to browse our blog. Our homepage is a collection of all our posts and you can navigate to different categories via the top menu. Thanks for visiting!
Good Evening Sunderland! It’s 1962 in Baltimore and Tracy Turnblad is waking up for another day of the same old life in a narrow minded town but still as optimistic as ever about it. An audition comes up for Tracy at a local TV dance show and she wants to take that opportunity to change the world for the better, which doesn’t sit well with some…
Read on for our five reasons why you should see Hairspray on its UK tour!
1. Katie Brace as Tracy Turnblad
Sunderland-born and bred Katie Brace makes her professional debut on this tour as the leading lady. The raucous reception for Brace throughout the show is so well deserved as she completely encapsulates everything Tracy Turnblad is about; beaming with excitement and optimism from the first beat until the curtain call. Brace is note perfect and delivers the comedy of the role impeccably too. An outstanding performance from a new name who is quite obviously having the time of her life up there. Definitely a name to look out for in the future!
2. There’s such energy from every performance
Hairspray is a fast and energetic show, and this tour does not disappoint with the effort that the cast out into the choreography. Almost every song throughout the show requires the cast to be dancing with a lot of enthusiasm, making the audience wonder how a cast can move so much and perform numbers so well at the same time. Whether it’s The Twist or The Mashed Potato, the cast have you itching to be on your feet and joining in.
3. The script is really funny
Every scene across the show is packed with little one-liners and puns that are delivered by many members of the cast. The jokes really complement the optimistic nature of the story and allow the show to flow so well keeping the audiences attention between each big number. A comedic highlight is the epilogue of ‘You’re Timeless To Me’ performed by Alex Bourne (Edna Turnblad) and Norman Pace (Wilbur Turnblad); not only do they have the audience in stitches but can barely contain themselves too.
4. The songs in this show are infectious
Many people will know the classic track ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ but this show is packed with timeless songs, each one being more of an ear worm than the last. Songs like ‘Welcome To The 60s’ and ‘You’re Timeless To Me’ will be stuck in your head for days. A standout performance with regards to musical numbers is Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle. Her numbers ‘Big, Blonde and Beautiful’ and especially ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ blow the roof off the auditorium as she belts out those notes.
5. The message of the show
The morals of Hairspray as a story are all about inclusion. Inclusion regardless of skin or body type and while this was set in the 60s where integration was just beginning, the message stands very much in this day and age too. If the audience can take home anything from Tracy’s story, it’s that no matter who you are or what you may look like, you belong in society and deserve to have a voice and be heard!
Hairspray is such a fun show, packed with great songs and hilarious dialogue. If you’re up for an evening out to forget the worries of life and enjoy a fun show, this is for you! Find remaining tickets and tour dates by clicking here!
Let’s do the time warp again! The Rocky Horror Show, everyone’s favourite cult hit musical that always seems to be on an endless tour is back around again, this time for us visiting Sunderland Empire. The sci-fi hit follows newly engaged Brad Majors (Ore Oduba) and Janet Weiss (Haley Flaherty) as they visit a castle for help after their car breaks down. From the moment the doorbell rings on the castle they (and the audience) are thrown into the wildest night of their lives, that they’ll remember for a very long time… Wether you’re a mega fan or a “virgin” (never seen the show before) you’re always in for a treat with Rocky Horror. Read on to find out our 5 reasons to see The Rocky Horror Show on it’s UK tour!
1. Philip Franks as the Narrator
After the opening scene, you are welcomed to the show by it’s narrator. A role that requires quick wit and a lot of audience control to deal with all sorts of welcomed shouting-out. Franks’ extensive career across television and radio means he’s no stranger to narration, but it’s the humour he brings to the role that really sets the bar. Encouraging heckles and shooting them back down again as soon as they are shouted, plus working in topical jokes and political satire into his script really help with feeling like you’ve not seen this act before. The audience adore Franks from the moment he enters the stage and it’s no mystery why.
2. It’s the most raucous show you’ll ever be a part of
If there’s one thing about Rocky Horror, it’s not short of audience participation! So many people come dressed up in all sorts of sequins, corsets, glitter and suspenders, you’d feel out of place not in costume. Lots of people bonding over each other’s costumes and taking photographs makes it a real occasion. Once you’re in the auditorium, all sorts of responses to the show are shouted out – most of which are pure 18+ filth that has the audience in stitches. During the show everybody joins in with getting their torches out for “There’s a Light”, doing the “Time Warp” and going ballistic for the entrance of the infamous Frank-n-Furter. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the show before and don’t know where to join in, just follow everyone else!
3. There’s a very unique Frank-n-Furter in Stephen Webb
In previous productions, we’ve seen other actors pay excellent homage to the sensual Tim Curry in the 1975 film, while still putting their own spin on the character. This tour has Webb carrying the production with what feels like a fresh take on the character. A brash New York accent really stands out in Webb’s performance, his Frank-n-Furter hilariously thunders through scenes and his vocals give more of a ‘rock’ take on the way the songs are performed which really fits the ethos of the show. It’s worth also noting that you’re in the hands of Rocky Horror royalty in Kristian Lavercome too, who has played the role of Riff Raff in the show for over 1800 performances across the globe, he is absolutely outstanding.
4. It contains so many earworm songs!
Generally speaking, people just associate “Time Warp” with Rocky Horror and many folks couldn’t name another song. The show is packed with fantastic numbers from the witty lyrics in “Dammit Janet” to the trailblazing “Rose Tint My World” showcasing the talent of the entire cast through the varying tempos and styles of music that number gives. Almost every number is packed with energy and fun from the cast, and you’ll have so many of them in your head for days afterwards.
5. It’s as mad as it always has been
For anyone’s first experience, don’t expect to come out thinking you’ve followed that plot, especially in act 2. The way the show is completely random is absolutely hilarious, something you just have to go along with; even watching the film beforehand wouldn’t help much is understanding what is going on as the story unravels. Just get in there, take it all in and enjoy the cult classic that’s earned it’s place in musical theatre history. A usual response to the show is “I’ve no idea what was going on but I loved it” and this tour is no exception.
HOW VERY! After what feels like forever, Heathers The Musical is finally kicking off its pandemic postponed UK tour. The beginning of the tour is running simultaneously with the West End show, but now that is in its final week in London, we caught Heathers The Musical at Newcastle Theatre Royal!
Based on the 80’s cult classic film ‘Heathers’, the musical tells the story of Veronica Sawyer’s rise to high school popularity by making friends with the baddest bunch, the Heathers. New guy in town, JD sweeps Veronica off her feet, taking her whole world as she knows it from beneath her too. As things go from bad to worse it’s left to Veronica to try and put things right.
This was our first experience of the musical which made for an exciting night! We definitely came away honorary Corn Nuts. Read on to see our 5 reasons to see Heathers The Musical UK Tour!
1. It is really funny!
For a musical based on a film that is filled with murder, suicide and other adult themes, you might not expect a ‘laugh-a-minute’ show… well prepare to be proven wrong. Heathers The Musical is hilarious, from the book to the songs, to every character on stage, it is packed with gags. It was great to experience the comedy coming from almost every character on stage and still making sure that it didn’t become overstated, allowing the story and the drama to still hold their own.
2. The talent and energy of the entire cast
Of course every show has its main characters and its ensemble which Heathers The Musical is no different. What really stands out here is how much the entire cast have to do as so many members pick up multiple minor roles it feels like each cast member has hardly been off stage all night. The tireless energy the cast give in every scene and across numerous vigorously choreographed numbers is fantastic. This cast are working incredibly hard and it really pays off here.
The main characters of Veronica Sawyer (Rebecca Wickes), Heather Chandler (Maddison Firth), Heather Duke (Merryl Ansah), Heather Mac (Lizzy Parker) and JD (Simon Gordon) are all cast perfectly. The talent of these actors is amazing, each with their own characterisations and quips bringing the show to life. Another shoutout to our two loveable jocks Ram Sweeney (Rory Phelan) and Kurt Kelly (Liam Doyle) who are absolutely hilarious every moment they are on stage. We loved how even after their characters should traditionally not be on stage any longer after a story arc, their presence remains and is highly welcomed.
3. The songs are bop after bop!
It’s no wonder Heathers The Musical has such a large young fan base with the amount of excellent musical numbers it holds. Opening with ‘Beautiful’ sets the scene perfectly and showcases the talent of everyone on the stage. We are treated to ballads like ‘Seventeen’ and ‘I Say No’ later in the show that are met with raucous applause, which is seen again after act 2 opener ‘My Dead Gay Son’ blows the roof off the place! Every number felt like it owned its place in the show and felt different from the rest, keeping the entire musical flowing so well.
4. It’s so slick!
The way that the songs all fit so seamlessly into the show and tie in so well with the book and the pace really shines in Heathers The Musical. The energetic performances and not a single moment of pause really keeps the momentum up of the show and the evening is over in an instant. The audiences attention is held throughout both acts as drama and comedy build to the finale getting everyone on their feet. The use of the entire stage and sometimes breaking the fourth wall all adds to the engaging atmosphere of the performance, keeping the audience in the palms of the performer’s hands.
5. Rebecca Wickes as Veronica Sawyer
As our leading lady, Rebecca Wickes gives an outstanding performance as Veronica Sawyer. Her vulnerability and empathy at the beginning sheds away perfectly as her character is caught up in the whirlwind of events that engulf her personality, showcasing some great character development. Her voice is absolutely outstanding as she tackles the hardest notes in the show with ease. Comedic timing and nuances really add to Wickes’ performance too as she has the audience in stitches between their adoring applause. Wickes really is a star.
Heathers The Musical is a fantastic, fun show that doesn’t take itself too seriously but is executed so professionally, you’d struggle to not leave the theatre with a smile on your face searching for the cast recording to listen to on the way home. Don’t miss out on this wonderful show, tickets and remaining dates are available by clicking here!
Theatre is BACK! It feels like such a time for celebration; not only is it back but we are already being treated to brand new shows across the country. Newcastle Theatre Royal has the honour of hosting Disney’s newest musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks on it’s first week of performances so we had to make sure we saw it!
Having seen the 1971 film for the first time last year, it felt exciting to be witnessing a new stage adaptation of an original film that we weren’t too precious about. Bedknobs and Broomsticks tells the story of the orphaned Rawlins children who have been evacuated from World War 2 London to the countryside and are sent to live with the mysterious Eglantine Price (Dianne Pilkington). Their new life quickly reveals itself to be quite the unexpected as they go on an adventure they will never forget – aboard a flying magical bed! The show was a lot of fun, packed with the classic songs you love amidst new ones, stage magic and an adventure for the full family to enjoy. Read on to find out our five reasons to see Bedknobs and Broomsticks!
1. The impressive illusions
Anyone who has seen the film or has any knowledge of Bedknobs and Broomsticks at all will know that a magic flying bed is a pretty integral part of the story. The execution of the bed movement really is a spectacle and looks so effective, one that will really blow the younger audience members minds!
Alongside the magic of the bed, we also are treated early on to a very charming and funny scene involving Eglantine Price (Pilkington) and a new broom – without spoiling anything this scene is one to watch out for as another incredibly impressive bit of stage magic tied in with some great comic timing. The tricks used for the larger set pieces as above really added that touch of Disney magic that feels key to this story.
2. The Ensemble
As with any show, the ensemble will always play a key role and this is no different for Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Scene changing, set movement and the backbone of the storytelling is all done by the ensemble on top of the roles they are already playing. Some of the cast even get their time to shine across the show as characters the protagonists meet along the way, which each in turn feels like a special moment. The movement of the set is quite unique in how much is done manually by the cast; clouds, trees and reeds are all brought on by the ensemble which really helps to create that seamless feel to a show that doesn’t have the grace of a big budget.
3. There’s a perfect lead cast
Following in the footsteps of Anglea Lansbury, Dianne Pilkington takes to the role of Eglantine Price like a fish to the briny sea! Her mannerisms, wit and humour all excel in the part allowing the audience to be in the palm of her hand throughout.
Charles Brunton’s take on Emelius Browne is quite different to that of David Tomlinson, giving us a more eccentric and child friendly entertainer who’s stage presence is a delight too.
Finally, starring in his professional debut in arguably the third main role is Conor O’Hara as Charlie Rawlins. His energy on stage and evident joy to be there is wonderful. The endearing way he works with and guides the younger cast members too is really heartwarming. It only feels a bit unfair for him that the line was kept in where he has to claim he’s 13 years old – around 7 years less than he looks. Regardless, a fantastic performance from a new face!
4. Integration of new songs
As someone who has only experienced the film once, it was a welcome feeling to find difficulty in making out which parts of the score and songs were new to Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The score really felt like it tied in all the numbers well and you could easily mistake the new music and lyrics for the classic Sherman Brothers creations. The score is as beautiful as you’d expect with a Disney musical, guiding you on the journey you take with the characters.
5. It’s such a great nostalgia trip
For fans of the film, it’s wonderful to see an old favourite from the silver screen brought to life through a range of new material, some great puppeteering and excellent characterisation from the cast. The show stays true to the overall story arc of the original film, whilst making some slight changes and cutting some parts that just wouldn’t work on stage (the football game isn’t in, which feels like the right decision). Some changes to the story may be unwelcomed by some but can be easily overlooked as they have added more emotion to the show too, allowing it to appeal further to a wider age range.
In summary, whilst Bedknobs and Broomsticks may not have the production value or budget of the bigger name Disney musicals, it still manages to portray the original material with humour and heart. There are parts of the show that would benefit from a bit more money thrown at it but don’t let that take you away from this classic tale. This incredibly hardworking cast deserve to be seen! All tour dates across the UK can be found by clicking here!
Thanks so much to everyone already for the response to the colouring sheets! While we loved emailing them to you individually, it all got too much on the second design and we couldn’t keep up with the emails so have created this page for you to get the prints instead!
Ahead of our press night visit to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical for the first time at Sunderland Empire next week, we have been given this wonderful syndicated interview to share with you all. It’s all about how the legendary Carole King feels about the biographical musical and her thoughts on it’s UK tour. Enjoy!
In what seems like the first of a few “movie to musical” adaptations coming to the West End (Frozen, Moulin Rouge and Mean Girls all awaiting transfers), The Prince of Egypt is a new musical that hasn’t already ran on Broadway (albeit a few other productions across the globe, this version boasts new set, costumes and song “Footprints on the Sand”). With music and lyrics by mastermind Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked) who wrote the songs for the 1998 film, the music alone is bound to be worth the trip.
The show tells the biblical story of Moses (Luke Brady) from his birth until he frees the Hebrew people from the Egyptians and his brother, Ramses (Liam Tamne).
As fans of the original film and Stephen Schwartz’ work, we expected great things. Our experience was mixed as we were stunned by the ensemble but felt the emotional impact of characters didn’t quite hit right at times – overall though, the show was very impressive. Read on to find out our five reasons to see The Prince of Egypt.
Ok, so we have some mad, gigantic feelings for this show! Be More Chill, the newly transferred broadway cult hit with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, book by Joe Tracz and directed by Stephen Brackett who directed the broadway production has opened at The Other Palace in London. We were invited along to press night which we were so excited about as we can’t get enough of the cast recording. The show tells the story of high school ‘loser’ Jeremy Heere (Scott Folan) who just wants to be popular and impress his crush Christine Canigula (Miracle Chance) so goes about it as any normal high school student would and buys a performance enhancing technology pill for $400 and lets a “squip” take over his brain!
We really enjoyed the production. It was so stylish and full of talent, catchy songs and great comedy, it cannot be missed! Keep reading to find our five reasons to see Be More Chill.
Hold onto your wigs and tuck up tight, Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical UK tour has rolled into Newcastle Theatre Royal, fashioning the most fantastic wardrobe, covered with glitter and glamour. We were invited to the press night of Priscilla and had no idea what to expect as we had never seen the show, or the 1994 film it is based on (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert); only that it was a drag jukebox musical and that was enough to perk our interests being big fans of TV hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Priscilla tells the story of two drag queens, Mitzi-Mitosis (Joe McFadden) and Felicia-Jollygoodfellow (Nick Hayes) with Mitzi’s transgender friend Bernadette Bassenger (Miles Western) who take a troubled road trip across the Australian outback in an old bus (Priscilla) to do a series of performances for the benefit of Mitzi (McFadden). The show was full of hits, colour and drag queen humour and is just a really fun night out, especially for fans of drag shows! Read on for our five reasons to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert!
The hiiiills are aliiiiveee with The Sound of Music UK tour coming to Sunderland Empire! The classic musical based on memoirs of the real Maria that has since been adapted into a beloved film has just started its 2020 UK tour and we were invited to see it at the press night! Set in Austria in the late 1930’s, a young postulant Maria is sent away from the abbey she resides in to look after 7 children of a widowed Captain. Upon finding that the household is ruled in a regimented manner, Maria soon imparts her love for music into the home to bring joy to this disjointed family. As we both love the film (how can any musical fan not?) and the songs are timeless, we expected good things. The show was a great example of classic musical theatre that can bring in a sizeable audience of loving fans year after year. Packed with talent from all ages and those unforgettable tunes, we really enjoyed the performance. Read on for our five reasons to see The Sound of Music on it’s UK tour!