Lucy Charlotte Bradford

'New to this' theatre blogger. I just have a lot of thoughts.

Something’s Coming, Something Good

So, a year ago now I started this blog all determined to keep it up to date, and hopefully turn it into something people would actually read. I managed one post. It’s crossed my mind every now and then over the last few months, and I’ve always thought ‘I’ll go back as soon as I have the time’, and I now have that time. So here we go again with attempt number 2. This time I really really want to stick with it.

To try and get the ball rolling with this, I’d thought I’d steer away from review posts (also because I haven’t actually seen anything recently), and opt for a few ‘list’ type posts instead. So here are a few things that are coming up in the land of theatre that I’m excited about!


‘Anastasia’ The Musical

This is opening at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway at the end of March. Given that it’s Broadway it’s unlikely that I will be seeing it anytime soon, but I am very much hoping for a West End transfer / to finally live my dream of going to New York. Generally I was a very devoted Disney child, but Anastasia was a film I always had time for and still do as an adult. This new musical takes a lot of the film’s material, whilst also adding new songs and plot lines. The main change appears to be a steer towards a more historically accurate account, ditching a ‘living dead’ Rasputin as the story’s villain, and replacing him with Gleb, a Bolshevik General. I was slightly disappointed to hear this, as from an aesthetic point of view, I always imagined a staging of Rasputin’s number ‘In the Dark of the Night’ could be really fantastic. However, it will be interesting to see a version that doesn’t shy away from tackling a slightly more realistic revolution, and as Gleb is being played by the always pleasing Ramin Karimloo, I think we have a lot to be excited about.


‘Angels in America’ at the National

Angels in America is probably my favourite play that I’ve never seen (it’s a toss up between that and Equus), so I was very excited that the National were putting it on, and even more excited that they had cast Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. I really hate ‘stunt casting’, but I don’t see this as case of that. This is just finding 2 really brilliant actors who are extremely suited for these roles. Throw in Denise Gough as Harper Pitt and Marianne Elliot directing and you’ve got yourself the perfect formula for what I’m sure will be a really brilliant production.


Les Enfants’s ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ 

I did some stage management work for Les Enfants last year on ‘The Game’s Afoot’ and absolutely loved the concept and the execution. Immersive theatre isn’t something I have much experience with, but is definitely something I’d like to explore more, and ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground (along with anything by Punchdrunk) are at the top of my list. I actually had a freebie ticket to Alice the last time around but ended up going to Florida instead (oops), so I’m really happy that it’s making a return and I get another opportunity to go. It’s on at The Vaults at Waterloo, supposedly a great venue that I’ve never been to before.


‘Mean Girls’ The Musical 

So I don’t know all that much about this, except that it’s musical version of Mean Girls, Tina Fey is involved in the adaptation, and it’s premiering in Washington towards the end of the year. But honestly that is all I need to know. It’s a musical of Mean Girls. That sounds pretty fetch to me.


‘Woyzeck’ at the Old Vic

I studied Woyzeck for A-Level Drama and really loved the depth and the madness of it, but have never had any opportunity to see it. Of course I heard nothing but amazing things about Punchdrunk’s Drowned Man (inspired by Woyzeck) and I heavily regret never getting a ticket, but as far as I’m aware there haven’t been any major, more traditional productions of Woyzeck in London for many years (please do correct me if I’m wrong). I was therefore very happy to see that the Old Vic are putting it on this May, starring John Boyega (of Star Wars fame). Jack Thorne has done the adaptation from Georg Büchner’s fragmented and unfinished script, and having seen (and adored) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I am extremely pleased with this choice.


‘Moulin Rouge’ Stage Adaptation

Okay so I know that this is only in works, and it will be quite a while before we get to see anything, but Moulin Rouge is my favourite film, so just knowing a stage show is on the way makes me so happy! Over Christmas I worked as an assistant stage manager on Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom at West Yorkshire Playhouse. I’m proud to have been a part of that production, and now feel safe in the knowledge that Luhrmann’s works do translate well onto the stage (not that we were ever in any doubt). Wherever and whenever this is happening, I have promised myself I will have a ticket.


‘Hamilton’ West End Debut

Because who isn’t excited about this one? I bagged myself tickets for the first preview and quite frankly, November can not come quick enough. Full disclosure, I am massive Lin Manuel Miranda fan (see my previous review of In The Heights), and with the recent closure of In The Heights, I think it’s time that London got a little more of his magic. I also know for a fact that Hamilton is attracting a lot of attention from people who are not usual theatre goers, and that can never be a bad thing. The casting so far looks great (I saw Rachelle Ann Go in Miss Saigon and her voice is insane), and I can’t wait for announcements on who will be playing the titular role and the comically villainous King George.


So there you have it, just a few of the things that I’m looking forward to in the world of theatre. This is by no means an inclusive list; I’ll definitely think of many more productions as soon as I hit publish, but this covers a lot of the buzz currently going on in my  head. If you have anything you think should be on the list, please let me know in the comments. I’d love a chat about upcoming productions.

Thanks for reading!


Hitting the Heights

I always had a very bigger is better attitude to theatre, loving the arrival of a huge barricade, a falling chandelier, or a helicopter. It’s not that I suddenly dislike a bit of mammoth automation, nor that ever disliked simpler productions, but in the last couple of years I’ve really come to appreciate a show that can come across as massive, without actually being massive (production wise). ‘In the Heights’ does exactly this.

It is housed in the King’s Cross Theatre, a purpose built venue at the back of King’s Cross station, and is staged on a thin traverse (the audience sit on two sides of a long platform stage). I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a professional production staged in traverse before and was sceptical (in general I’ve always been a fan of the traditional proscenium arch) but here it worked so well. The show has a claustrophobic feel to it, set almost exclusively on a single street in Washington Heights that the characters seem unable to escape. The slim stage encased on all sides by either audience or set helped to create this enclosed feel. The set up became particularly servicable during the Act 1 closer ‘Blackout’, a crazily effective number that left me feeling so pumped for the second act. The low levels of lighting, complimented by the cast’s use of phones and torches, and eventual build to strobe lighting on choruses of ‘look at the fireworks […] light up the night sky’ created a brilliant, all encompassing atmosphere. My praises go out to lighting designer Howard Hudson.

The cast overall are exceptional, showcasing a mixed bag of singing, rapping and dance skills. David Bedella recently won the WhatsOnStage award for his role as Kevin Rosario and he certainly proved himself a worthy winner, and Jade Ewan (I’m always cautious when a former pop star is cast in anything) was a perfect Vanessa. The ensemble are extremely strong and their voices really fill the joint. In fact the one negative thing I can say about the cast is that I didn’t love Lily Frazer’s (playing Nina) voice, and I’m sure that is more of a judgement on me because that girl has lungs, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Of course, I couldn’t discuss this show without talking about how incredible Lin-Manuel Miranda is. I, like everyone else, am absolutely obsessed with the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack (when are we getting a West End transfer?!) and it was this obsession that made me curious about ‘In the Heights’. The two have a really similar sound, and I think you can obviously see where Miranda found his feet writing ‘In the Heights’, which led him on to creating something as incredible as ‘Hamilton’. That isn’t to say that the ‘In the Heights’ score is lacking in anyway. There are some really amazing moments of music, some highlights for me being the aforementioned ‘Blackout’, as well as ‘Inutil’, ‘When You’re Home’ and ‘Carnaval del Barrio’. I think the main reason the production had that ‘massive’ feel I was talking about initially was because of the score, which is so powerful and manic, hearing it live creates a massive buzz in the room. Essentially I’m just so glad that musical theatre has someone like Miranda in it. His work is fresh and original, and brings new vibes to the genre, whilst still recognising and remaining true to the traditional conventions of musicals. I think it’s impossible to question if musical theatre is getting outdated while ever there is someone as innovative as him around.

I think the thing that has always stopped me from engaging with ‘In the Heights’ before is that it never sounded like it was about much (the main reason I don’t like ‘Cats’). In some ways I was right, the plot line is hardly extensive. However the script and score make what is essentially a minimal story seem like a monumental narrative; everything the characters do you become invested in, and the message I personally took away is that nothing is meaningless, and in many ways your daily life, the things that we take for granted to just happen around us, are whats important. Maybe I’m reading too much into it all, but my point is, when the emotion and character development is all there, you don’t need a narrative as complex as ‘War and Peace’. Overall I left the theatre feeling upbeat and grateful, and isn’t that the main thing you want from your evening at the theatre?

I really would urge anyone to see this brilliant production. Luckily its run has just been extended so you all can! They’re also doing an offer at the minute where under 25’s can get tickets for £15 so there’s not much of an excuse to miss it. I’ll leave you all with the link to the website where you can buy tickets, or just learn more about the show.

Thanks for reading!