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Hello!

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!

Drop us an email at thestageycouple@gmail.com

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Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘Heathers The Musical’ (2021 UK Tour)

Newcastle Theatre Royal, 07/09/2021

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!

Photo Credit: The Stagey Couple

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!

Images from West End Cast. Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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.

Images from West End Cast. Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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.

Images from West End Cast. Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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.

The final bows. Photo Credit: The Stagey Couple

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!

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Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’

Newcastle Theatre Royal, 20/08/2021

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!

Photo Credit: Disney

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.

Charles Brunton and Dianne Pilkington in rehearsals – Photo Credit: orchardtheatre.co.uk

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.

Dianne Pilkington as Eglantine Price – Photo Credit: Will Walker/NNP/Disney

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!

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Theatre Spotlight

Printable Colouring Sheets!

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!

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Theatre Spotlight

‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ Carole King – Syndicated Interview

Image credit: beautifulmusical.co.uk

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!

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Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘The Prince of Egypt’

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).

Moses (Luke Brady). Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

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.

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Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘Be More Chill’

The Other Palace, London. 18/02/2020

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!

Photo credit: Matthew Crockett

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.

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Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical‘ (UK tour)

Newcastle Theatre Royal, 17/02/2020

Image credit: Darren Bell

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!

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Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘The Sound of Music’ (UK tour)

★★★★

Sunderland Empire, 11/02/2020

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!

Image credit: Ste Murray
Categories
Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘Mamma Mia’ (UK tour)

★★★★

Newcastle Theatre Royal, 30/01/2020

Mamma Mia, how can we resist it? The smash hit musical with millions of fans across the globe is currently on it’s 2020 UK and International tour and has stopped off in Newcastle upon Tyne at the Theatre Royal! We were invited to an exclusive backstage tour and chat with the cast before seeing the show. We have a vlog out too at the bottom of this page!

Sharon Sexton (Donna) and the cast. Photo credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

The story of Mamma Mia is notorious. Sophie Sheridan (Emma Mullen), a young bride-to-be who lives on a Greek island with her single mother, Donna (Sharon Sexton) invites three men to her wedding who she thinks one may be her father after finding her mother’s old diary. Simple solution really! We thought the show was fabulous, filled with an excellent cast and such a treat. Read on for our five reasons to see it…

Categories
Theatre Reviews

5 Reasons To See ‘Cabaret’ (UK tour)

★★★★

Sunderland Empire, 28/01/2020

“Willkommen! And bienvenue! Welcome!” The revival of Cabaret from Kander and Ebb (Chicago, Curtains) with the book by Joe Masteroff (She Loves Me) is in the middle of it’s second UK tour, where we were invited to see it at Sunderland Empire. Bill Kenwright’s production stars John Partridge (Chicago, La Cage Aux Follies) as Emcee, Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla The Musical) as Sally Bowles and Anita Harris (Stepping Out, Cats) as Fraulein Schnider. In 1930, American novelist Cliff Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) arrives in Berlin and spends his first night at the Kit Kat Club where he meets the infamous Sally Bowles (Hayworth) as she takes to the stage. Their acquaintance grows amidst the birth of the Nazi party as politics begins to reveal the cracks in relationships of the residents of Berlin.

Photo credit: The Other Richard

We absolutely loved the show and felt it was totally entertaining and really dramatic too. This UK tour is not to be missed! Read on for our five reasons to see Cabaret!