I'm rather stagey (hence the blog), and an avid fan of Geography, cute things, crisps and anything Disney.
Performance: Saturday 1st March, one of three performances, first of the ‘extra dates’, second ever performance of the show.
Well, I booked tickets for this when I was 19. I’m now 21. The tickets for the original ‘only night’ at the Bournemouth International Centre went on sale and sold out within an hour. She subsequently added an extra date (the performance I saw) which sold out in about 15 minutes. By some unexplained miracle, I got tickets for row B - I WAS MERE FEET AWAY FROM MIRANDA HART.
Without doubt, it is one of the most hilarious shows I’ve ever seen in my life. I had a perfect view of Miranda and all her little gestures and facial expressions, (although for those at the back, there was a big screen that enlarged her every move, which I ended up on at one point - claim to fame!) and there was even a camera off to stage right so she could do her signature ‘camera turns’ to utter her thoughts.
She made a very grand entrance - first announcing over the loud speaker that a “very talented, utterly sexy and beyond famous television personality” would be the host for the evening. “Yes, that’s right, it’s ME!” She appeared on stage to thunderous applause, and galloped into position. Within mere minutes she had the audience erupting into uncontrollable laughter, and emphasised the “cocoon of trust” within the audience, allowing her to share her most embarrassing moments with us, from a flatulent first date, to a mishap with a 5 year old girl and a 41 year old dwarf. She stated she was also “with Buffet”, before a buffet table and single balloon rose proudly from the floor - those of us in the front two rows were lucky enough to partake! Although, she did chuck out a bag of Doritos to the audience and say “take one pass it on”……there were four thousand people to share the bag!
Audience participation was aplenty, with a sing a long to “I Will Survive”, a dance session to a song from “her youth”, and we even created a “posh party” whereby the people at the back mumbled “yup yup, yup yup yup”, people at the sides mumbled “hmmmmm. mmm. yes. mmm.” and us lucky lot at the front got to do the posh mumble - well known from her sit com. Some lucky (?) front row audience members got persuaded to do solos that included a link to a wooden-leg related story she’d told, and a woman shouting “anyone for sherry?” It was all very exciting.
After accidentally coming on to a 14 year old in the front row (“in her defense he looked a lot older!”) and just before the interval, along with many many other audience interactions, Miranda asked for single boys and girls. Two were chosen and were coaxed onto the stage - they were both 16, bless them. She then proceeded to set them up on an ‘interval date’. She made the poor souls hold hands, and gallop off into the wings for the duration of the interval. At the top of act two, they came back out, and a slide show of romantic images that were taken of them on their ‘date’ were shown, which included roses, and Miranda playing the violin! If they thought they were humiliated enough, they were wrong - they were asked to rate each other out of ten, and then kiss in front of a four-thousand-strong audience. It was utterly terrific - for us anyway! Just make sure you know what you’re in for if you’re visiting another stop on the tour! I VERY NEARLY volunteered as a single man, and almost certainly would have been picked, being in row B….IM SO GLAD I DIDNT!
The finale (that came around all too quickly) was incredible. There was a video montage of Miranda doing some of her ‘resolutions to awkward situations’ that she’d talked about during the show, and it turned out that Miranda was doing a costume change whilst that was playing. Linking to an earlier reference in the show, she appeared for the bows in full Beyonce outfit - gold top, mini-skirt and gold trainers, with huge great whooshes of on-stage fireworks (X Factor Style) whilst thousands of pieces of gold and white confetti rained down on the audience. It was a truly spectacular moment. The audience gave a standing ovation within seconds. It was truly incredible, and a moment I will never forget.
(Not my pic)
One thing I will say though, is take a LOT of money if you are intending on buying any of the merchandise. Pens £4, Posters £5, Programmes £10, Onesies £50……..it is all very cool stuff, but very pricey! They also had other things on sale like tote bags, hoodies and Miranda’s book “is it just me?”. I bought a programme and a poster, and although pricey, the programmes are very good quality, with activities in them, interviews with Miranda, ‘The Peggy Diaries’ (her dog!) and lots of photos from Miranda’s childhood, among other things, so it’s more of a miniature book than a programme.
The show was absolutely incredible, especially for such a huge Miranda fan like me, and was well worth the almost-two-year wait. It has all Miranda’s well known trraits, includes some bits from her book and sit-com, and brand new material too, and of course, it’s stand-up so something different happens every night, making each show unique. I would say definitely definitely go, but I think most of the tour destinations are sold out - Bournemouth was sold out on the day of release back in 2012! Fear not, the show is coming out on DVD, and I will most definitely be adding it to my collection!
Hilarious, relatable and side splitting with something for all ages. DEFINITELY not one to be missed. Such fun!
Performance: Sunday 2nd February 2014 - one night only.
Last night was the much anticipated one-night-only Southampton performance of Rent in Concert at the Mayflower - I booked tickets for this almost a year ago, and got great seats - Row L of the stalls, which is the first tiered row, giving us a perfect view over the heads of everyone on the flat floor! The picture of the view isn’t that great - this was one of those annoying shows where they didn’t have a nice, well lit curtain to photograph!
The show has a great all-star cast with some very familiar faces (if you are an avid west-endy!) Most notably, Kerry Ellis, leading lady of the West End and Broadway, starred as Mimi, but Ian Stroughhair starred as Angel (he also has a hilarious cabaret show at the Hippodrome as his alter ego Velma Celli, which I’m itching to see!), Rory Taylor as Roger, who was runner up in the search for Andrew Lloyed Webbers ‘Jesus’ for Jesus Christ Superstar. Tim Prottey-Jones, also a ‘Jesus’ finalist was in the ensemble too. Although I hadn’t heard of him, Kenny Thomspon starred as Benny, and he’s been in the West End version of the Lion King among other things, so a pretty notable name I guess.
The show was great, although if I hadn’t watched the film prior to the performance, I wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on! Rent has a confusing plot line anyway, and having the show reduced to a concert version would have made it particularly difficult to follow, so it was definitely one for people that already know what’s happening!
Aside from that, the talent was brilliant - the cast were so good and each were so well suited to their parts.
Kerry Ellis obviously got the biggest reception - Roger was singing in spotlight, and Kerry cam on from stage right in the background, in complete darkness because she was just “getting in position”, but the audience erupted with cheers and woops all the same, which was pretty magnificent! Kerry is obviously a superstar, and she was brilliant in this, but it’s a bit of a shame she didn’t have any ‘belting’ songs to really show off her voice!Her most confusing scene was her ‘death’ scene, whereby she seemingly dies and then comes back to life again having been down a long tunnel towards a light - that’s the script’s fault though, not Kerry’s, and it was just as odd a moment in the film!
One of the ensemble members (Beth Humphries) was the absolute spitting image of Kerry, and her voice was almost exactly the same - she got plenty of cheers throughout, and I still don’t know whether it’s because people thought she was Kerry!
Ian Stroughhair as transexual Angel just stole the show for me - he/she was absolutely hilarious but not in a tacky way at all. It really fit with the character and the tone of the production. Angel’s death scene was really touching too. Being used to seeing him/her done up in outrageous wigs, heels and skirts, it was really touching to see him stripped back to a white t-shirt and jeans with bare feet, which really brought home his illness and how ‘raw’ he felt. Bravo Ian!
The other cast member that shone for me was Ruthie Stephens who played Maureen. She was brilliant, and had just the right amount of energy and “wackyness” for the character. Never before have I been asked to Moo with 2300 other audience members before. It worked really well! ;) We also got to see her bare bottom when she flashed Collins, which was a bit of a surprise as I thought they’d have removed that for the stage version! During her moo-ing scene she also thrust herself so dramatically towards the front of the stage that her sunglasses flew off and into the orchestra pit which was a hilarious moment!
The song that was most well received was actually the shortest song, Seasons of Love, which was performed at the top of Act 2. The whole cast took to the front of the stage to sing it, and I have to say, it was a beautiful moment. Tim Prottey-Jones even managed to showcase his signature high pitched ‘Jesus scream’, for which the audience went wild! At the end of the song, there was a thunderous applause — the loudest of the show, save for the finale.
For the finale, Ian/Angel re-joined the cast on stage to thunderous applause - the entire audience was on it’s feet without a single person left sitting which is something I’ve only ever seen once before, and that was at Rachel Tuckers last performance in Wicked! People were leaning over the dress circle and screaming and cheering, which was quite bizarre but brilliant all the same. After the first applause, the cast sung “Your Eyes” encouraging everyone to clap along, which was followed by yet another session of bows, which once again got every single audience member on their feet.
Overall, I really enjoyed the show - it exceeded my expectations for a “concert” version, and the cast were just brilliant. Most of them sounded very similar to the film cast, and were so talented. It is for that reason I’ve rated it four stars, with the fifth star lacking due to the confusing plot line, so although a fantastic show, the concert version is definitely for those that already know what’s going on!
Rent is touring the country for the next week, with a different venue each night, and if you are a fan, definitely go and see it! And now, thanks to seeing Ian in the flesh, I want to see Velma Celli even more…;)