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Talk of the Town with Laura


Mamma Mia is one of the best loved musicals out there. The timeless music of Abba appeals to both young and old, and the catchy lyrics are instantly recognisable. So it was with excitement that I channeled my inner dancing queen and headed to the Bristol Hippodrome to watch possibly the sunniest musical around.

Mamma Mia has been delighting audiences across the world since 1999, and has been seen by more than 65million people. Featuring many of the hit songs from Abba, the show follows the story of Sophie who, desperate to find out who her father is, reads her mums diary and invites the three potential fathers to her wedding. With toe tapping songs, energetic dancing and laughs galore it is easy to see why so many people love it.

The role of Donna must be a great one to play, and Sara Poyzer absolutely nailed it. She was a delight to watch on stage, filling the auditorium with her presence and energy. Together with Helen Anker and Nicky Swift, who played Tanya and Rosie, she had the audience in fits of laughter.
Mamma Mia Live!

For this performance the role of Sophie was played by Phoebe Roberts, who is usually a member of the ensemble. She certainly stepped up to the challenge, and her singing voice was impressive. In particular her rendition of the song I Have A Dream was wonderful. She was joined by another ensemble cast member standing in, Billy Downes, who took on the role of her fiancé Sky. His enthusiasm was clear to see, and their duet Lay All Your Love On Me was one of my favourite scenes.

The three dads were played by Daniel Crowder (Harry), Richard Standing (Sam) and another ensemble member standing in Luke Jasztal (Bill). They worked well as a threesome, and I really enjoyed the way they portrayed their characters. Watching their relationships with Donna and Sophie pan out was a real highlight of the show.


Mamma Mia is on at the Bristol Hippodrome
until July 2nd

I can’t complete this review without mentioning James Willoughby Moore, who did an amazing job as Pepper. I honestly laughed so much during Does Your Mother Know. He has a real comedic talent, and his dance moves were very impressive too! The whole audience were cheering along during the song, and you could tell that he was really enjoying himself.

Mamma Mia is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until July 2nd, and you really need to take a chance on it. I can guarantee that with a cast as talented as this one you won't be disappointed, and you will come away with the biggest smile on your face, The only problem is that you won’t be able to get the songs out of your head!

For tickets visit :

Talk of the Town with Laura


January can be a very depressing month. It’s cold, dark, and feels like it goes on forever. However the Bristol Hippodrome has just the tonic to perk you up, a magical, spellbinding evening spent in the company of flying beds, mystical talking creatures and enough laughs to really banish the blues.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks follows the story of the orphaned Rawlings children, who are evacuated during the war to live in the countryside. They are placed with the childless and stern Miss Eglantine Price, who does little to hide her distain of them. However their plans to run away are abandoned when they discover her amazing secret... she is a witch! What follows can only be described as a great adventure where, with the help of the eccentric but kindly Emelius Browne and an enchanted bedknob, they try to save mankind from war.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks

In an unusual move from me I am going to start by talking about the amazing ensemble, who quite literally became part of the set. They made houses blow up, trains move, beds fly and animals talk. Credit is often firstly and foremostly given to the lead actors, but this team really bought the magic to life. In particular the opening scene, where the Rawlings house is bombed, and the children are rescued and put on a train to the country. Without a word said, and all set to the sound of drumming, the ensemble portrayed the drama and sense of urgency of the situation, and I am sure I was not the only one in the audience watching open mouthed. It was a seriously impressive start to the show, and I knew straight away I was in for a real treat.


Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the Bristol Hippodrome until Jan 29th

The role of Miss Price was taken by Dianne Pilkington, who really suited the character. From the funny scene where she tries to ride a broom for the first time, to the underwater dance sequence, she really bought the quirky character to life, and looked like she was having a blast doing it! She had the perfect accomplice in the form of Charles Brunton, who played Emelius Browne. Together they were a magical partnership, just as Emelius hoped they would be in the story. Charlie Rawlings, the eldest of the siblings, was played by Conor O’Hara, who expertly captured the feelings of a 13 year old boy who had just lost his parents. By the end of the show his song, Negotiality really had me believing that with a little bit of faith I too could negotiate anything!

This show had me spellbound from the start, and was a truly splendid, breathing taking display of musical theatre. It was a seriously wonderful night at the theatre.

BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until January 29th.
For tickets visit :

Talk of the Town with Laura


The glitz and glamour of the 1960’s/70’s has hit the Bristol Hippodrome with a bang, in the form of the Dreamgirls UK tour. Glitter, sequins, mirror balls and dazzling voices and dance moves delighted audiences on opening night.

Dreamgirls tells the story of Effie, Deena and Lorrell, a black girl band trying to make it in the ruthless world of show business, where looks and popularity are everything. It centres on Effie, the feisty star of the band, who is left heartbroken when manager Curtis (also her boyfriend) swaps her to backing vocals in favour of the softer sounding Deena in lead. Friendships and family relationships are pushed to breaking point, with fierce competition over the charts.

There is certainly no disputing the star of this show, and that is the truly amazing Nicole Raquel Dennis, who plays Effie. Her voice was just breath-taking, and the whole audience were on their feet with applause during her heart-breaking ballad ‘And I’m telling you I’m not going’. It takes a strong singer and performer to receive a standing ovation during the first act of a show, but she completely deserved it.

Throughout the show she proved herself to be not just an incredible singer, but also a talented actor, bringing the wild and highly charged Effie to life, and even with her diva strops and sometimes childish attitude she manages to keep the audience rooting for her to succeed.

Every great star needs supporting characters to work with them, and a great amount of praise and credit goes to Natalie Kassanga, as Deena, and Paige Peddie, as Lorrell. They both gave life to their characters, making them stars in their own rights. Kassanga really drew audience support for her portrayal of Deena, especially over her relationship with husband and manager Curtis, and we were rooting for her to leave to follow her own dreams. Peddie shone as the sweet and cheeky Lorrell, and was certainly a firm favourite with the audience.


Dreamgirls at the Bristol Hippodrome until Jan 22nd

As impressive as the female stars were, the male actors also deserve great credit.
Dom Hartley Harris eludes charm and danger as car salesman turned band manager Curtis, while Brandon Lee Sears delights as the charming and popular soul singer Jimmy Early.

But for me, the male actor who really stood out was Shem Omari James, who played Effie’s writer brother C.C. White. His rendition of the song ‘Family’ had me almost in tears, as did the moment when he reunites with his sister after 7 years.
The amazing voices and acting were complemented by a dazzling array of costumes and props, and the dance moves of the ensemble added to the fast pace.

I highly recommend Dreamgirls to everyone who wants to add a bit of glamour to a grey January evening. You certainly will not be disappointed.

Dreamgirls is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until January 22nd.  For tickets visit