A second Kinky year!!

On 13th August this year Price and Son opened its doors for its first shift with new workers. To celebrate the shows 1st birthday, on Thursday 8th September, they hosted a press night to welcome the new cast.

First to start their shift is Don (Alan Mehdizadeh) instructing the audience to turn off their phones. Mehdizadeh took on the role perfectly and shows real development of the character throughout the show as he learns to accept Lola (and Charlie) for who he is.

The hands of the factory are now left to David Hunter (Charlie Price). Hunter brings a new approach to the character, a loveable rouge. Hunter’s Charlie is very excited at the prospect of his new life in London, with FiancĂ© Nicola (Cordelia Farnworth), his passion to abandon the family business is soon thrown into turmal with the passing of his father and suddenly we see Hunter’s passion and excitement focusing on saving the family legacy. As Charlie takes over the reigns of the factory, worker Lauren (Elena Skye), begins to see a different side to him. Skye has great comical timing and during her solo number, History Of Wrong Guys, is able to show her incredible vocal ability as well. Her bashful approach to the character shows another side to Lauren. Hunter needs some work on the pace in which he is delivering his lines, especially in places where a pause is needed ‘who offered you a chance to make ….. Kinky Boots’, however the pair work brilliantly together and I’ve no doubt these little niggles will iron themselves out.

Female Factory workers Trish, Maggie, Marge and Gemma Louise are now played by Melissa Jacques, Charlotte Jeffery, Jane Milligan and (Original London Cast Swing) Emma Crossley. Chloe Hart remains in the role of Pat. Crossley, inparticular, is now a stand out as she is able to show off her beautiful voice when singing the Price and Son theme, after Mr Price’s passing. Jacques, Jeffery and Milligan have given new personalities to their parts and brought a fresh new feel to the factory. Milligan’s Milan Stage Manager being a particular hit with the audience!

Male factory workers Crispin (Harry), hooch, Simon Snr, Paddington/Richard Bailey and Mr Price continue to be played by original cast members Paul Ayres, Sean Needham, Robert Grose, Michael Vinsen and Alan Vicary with James Ballanger joining in the role of Mutt. The original cast members continue to maintain a faultless performance and keep the factory ticking over with no hiccups.

Matt Henry stole the show with his breath taking rendition of Hold Me In Your Heart and continues to strongly hold the show as flamboyant drag queen Lola, now accompanied with a gaggle of fresh faced Angels (Jemal Felix, George Grayson, Jon Reynolds, Ben Sell, Craig Thomas) and original cast Angel Philip Town. The new Angels are all showing excellent potential, however there are still some minor Choreography issues, which I’m sure will iron out over time. They are all enjoying developing their own character and putting their own little stamps on the parts. They have jel’d extremely well and work alongside each other perfectly. Grayson, who graduated from Laine Theatre Arts only this year, has stepped into “Splits Angel” position, his split are done with beautiful grace and he is really making his debut on the west end count! I can see big things in his future! Town, as the only original Angel to stay, rules the roost perfectly and continues to wow the audience with his flawless dancing and backflip!

Farnworth shows us a very different side to Nicola, than that of original cast member Amy Ross. Farnworth’s portrayal shows a more fierce side to the character, who is determined to achieve her dreams, with or without her childhood sweetheart. Her accent can slip in and out a little, however I’m sure this will settle.

New swings joining the cast are Suzie McAdam, Robin Mills, Simon-Anthony Rhoden and Jason Winter. The new additions join continuing swings Robert Jones, Catherine Millsom and Dominic Tribuzio. Due to the indisposition of Robert Grose since cast change, the role of Simon Snr has been played by new swing Simon. Jason Winter has played the role of Richard Bailey, Robin Mills has been on as Hooch and Suzie McAdam as Gemma Louise. All swings have taken this exciting opportunity to make the most of being part of an Olivier Award Winning show and the ones I have seen have been faultless.

I feel it is only right at this point to mention Original Cast Angel/2nd cover Lola, Arun Blair-Mangat, who, despite leaving the show on 13th August, stepped in to cover for Matt Henry whilst he took holiday from 31st August to 3rd September. Blair makes a beautiful Lola, his grace and elegance shine through the entire auditorium along with his mesmerising voice. He has made his own interpretation of the character and added personal tricks and quirks. During Hold Me In Your Heart it is as if Beyoncé herself has joined the show!

Catch Kinky Boots now at London’s Adelphi Theatre www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk now booking until May 2017! 

When an understudy becomes the lead


Photo credit to @LucyJaneAdcock

So there has been a lot of talk about understudies recently and how they can be over looked and under-appreciated. I personally LOVE an understudy! I will often go out of my way to see an understudy, many of my favourite performers have come onto my radar because I have seen them covering a leading role and many people currently playing leading roles started their onstage journeys as understudies.
One person I would like to talk about in-particular is Lucy Jane Adcock. I originally knew of Lucy when I saw A Chorus Line for the for first time back in 2013. We went during previews and Lucy was one of a few covers on, she was covering, what is arguably the leading female role, Cassie. This was the first time Lucy had been on and I was blown away by her performance. Her energy on stage was incredible and she delivered the role perfectly.
As I didn’t have a comparison, I went again to see the show a few weeks later, hoping to see Scarlett Strallen, but once again Lucy was on covering the role, her second time playing the role. Once again I was left speechless with her performance. I went onto see her many times playing this role and each time she gave it her all. She played the role fragile when needed and pulled out the determined fiestyness needed for the confrontational scenes with Zach. Her dancing during The Music and The Mirrors was faultless and the passion she put into that role was incredible.

Lucy then went onto do Happy Days: A New Musical on tour, where she covered for 2 leading roles, Mrs Cunningham (Played by Cheryl Baker) and Pinkie (Playing by Heidi Range). Lucy got on for both of these roles at different points of the tour, at one show having to step in midway through. Unfortunately I only managed to see her playing Mrs C, but she did an incredible job of this, and from what I have read and heard she also did an equally impressive job covering Pinkie, despite some disgruntled fans at one particular venue.

She then returned to the westend and joined the cast of Matilda. In this show she, once again, covered 2 female lead roles (1st cover Mrs Wormwood, 2nd cover Mrs Phelps). She was lucky enough to get on a play both roles on several occasions.

Lucy then joined the cast of Guys & Dolls, as ensemble and first cover Miss Adelaide, opening first in Manchester before coming to the Savoy Theatre and then going off on tour. Although they then extended the westend run and moved to The Phoenix and most of the cast stayed with this production. During the run at the Savoy, Sophie Thompson was extremely reliable and didn’t take a single day off, meaning Lucy never got on, however when the tour cast was announced it was also announced the Louise Dearman (Tour Adelaide) would not be performing for the first Saturday of the tour and only doing it for around a month (although it was later announced Louise would have a months gap before returning to the show to finish the tour). Despite Lucy never actually being on to play the track the company had faith in her and asked her to go to Liverpool and cover for Louise on that Saturday. I have friends who were at the show that day and said she was incredible and performed like a leading lady and, had they not have known, they would not have said it was her first time. Baring in mind she was with a completely new cast than she had been use to performing/rehearsing with. Now to bring me back to title of this post ‘When an understudy becomes the lead’ Lucy is now playing the leading role of Miss Adelaide on tour.

Another example of this is Emma Hatton. I first saw Emma during her first year in We Will Rock You, when she was second cover Scaramouche. I saw her playing the role on her first performance and she was brilliant. She then went on to become 1st cover Scara and 1st cover Meat, playing Meat equally as beautiful. After leaving WWRY Emma went on to join the cast of Wicked as Stand-By Elphaba and is now currently playing the principal full time.

Also Amy Lennox, I saw her first as Margot in Legally Blonde, where she was 1st cover Elle Woods, a role I also saw her play. She was then given the role of Elle for 2 weeks, in Aberdeen on the tour. She is now playing a main role in one of the biggest shows currently in town (Kinky Boots for anyone that doesn’t know lol) And whilst we are on the topic of Kinky Boots, Killian Donnelly (Who was nominated for an Olivier for his role in Kinky, as was Amy Lennox) also started out as a cover, Les Mis being one of the biggest shows around and Amy Ross who was 1st cover Elle Woods on the UK Tour.
So basically my point is, when people are moaning about the fact they have to sit through the understudy, maybe they should remember a few things, 1. That person would not have been entrusted with being a cover for that role if they weren’t able to go out and perform the role. 2. One day that same person may just be the lead you are seeing in a show. 3. Sometimes the understudy maybe more to your personal tastes and you may actually end up enjoying them more than the person you thought you were going to see in the first place. 4. Think of that person who is having to go on and cover, especially if they are covering for a “name”, whilst you are tutting and booing in the auditorium and complaining all over social media. These people probably have a hard enough time knowing that people in the audience are going to be disappointed to not be seeing the “star”.

Just sit back, enjoy the show that is being performed in front of you and appreciate the performers who are on stage, instead of spending the whole show bitter about the ones that aren’t!