Review: Come What May at Tyne Opera House
Come What May @ Tyne Theatre and Opera House – Sunday 26th March 2023
Happy World Theatre Day!
Luckily, I was able to celebrate this last night with the spectacular Come What May by Sweeney Entertainments and Sisco Entertainment over at my new favourite venue – Tyne Theatre and Opera House.
Before going, I did some research on the website and was left feeling very excited. Here is the promo from the site itself:
Experience a night of pure entertainment as we transport you to the dazzling world of the Moulin Rouge!
This incredible show features all your favourite hits from the iconic movie-musical, including “Come What May,” “Your Song,” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” But that’s not all – timeless hits from other modern movie musicals will really get your feet moving.
Join our children of the revolution and be swept away by the sultry, mysterious atmosphere of Paris. From the sexy and disreputable underbelly of the city to the glamour and glitz of the Moulin Rouge, you’ll be transported back in time to a place of dreams, adventure, and most importantly, love.
This high-energy musical extravaganza is a guaranteed hit with all audiences looking for a night of non-stop entertainment. So grab your friends and get ready to sing and dance the night away.
This is one show you don’t want to miss – get your tickets now and join us for a truly Spectacular, Spectacular evening of unforgettable entertainment!
What a Spectacular, Spectacular it was too! Now, as a huge fan of Moulin Rouge and any other movie musical in fact, this was right up my street. I did think it was exclusively going to be Moulin Rouge songs so when I read the programme and saw it was going to host songs from A Star is Born, The Greatest Showman, Rocketman, Burlesque and Bohemian Rhapsody I did an excited squeal. These are some of my favourite movies and I am a huge Queen and Elton John fan. The first act was mainly filled with the pop classics we hear in Moulin Rouge and of course the iconic, Come What May. The second half was host to some of the other iconic hits from the movies. Very well pieced together it flowed with ease and my two hours of watching this masterpiece just flew by. Always the sign of a good show when it seems like it is over before it has even begun.
As we entered, the theatre was packed with an eager audience and there was a lovely, gentle buzz. The playlist whilst we were waiting was brilliant and jam packed with great modern musical numbers from Mamma Mia, & Juliet, Moulin Rouge the Musical and Six. I found myself bopping and singing away before the show had even started. The staging was simple, glamorous and very effective. Huge, luxurious velvet curtains adorned the stage and there was a neon sign in the center. Apart from that, only a single chair, microphone stand and a top hat. This show truly needed no gimmicks with the staging as the talent spoke volumes.
Half past seven eventually arrived and the stage plummeted into darkness. You could hear the excited ‘ooo’s’ and ‘aah’s’ from the audience and they opened paying great homage to the show with Nature Boy and led straight into Lady Marmalade. They say sex sells and best believe it does. The dancers oozed sexuality and confidence and this was very apparent from the first note of Lady Marmalade. I felt transported to the Moulin Rouge with the incredibly glam costumes, breathtaking vocals and slick choreography.
Within the first two songs, we met our two main singers for the first time. Ron Remke opened the show and stunned with his vocals from the first note. Hailing from Las Vegas, you could tell he was every inch the showman. He took to the stage with great ease and I just felt comfortable listening to him sing. He certainly had great power behind his voice but also knew when to tone this down. He just gave so many of his songs such light and shade and brought them to life.
Alice Ellen Wright, also stunned with her vocals but I would have enjoyed listening to her pair this back a little more during Act One. I did feel there was a lot of belting at times and on one or two occasions missed the mark but alas, this happens in live singing and she sure carried on and nailed the rest of the notes. I particularly enjoyed her songs within the second half, as we got to hear the softer tones within her voice particularly during Shallow.
My favourite singer of the night however, had to be Ashley Cavendar, our Master of Ceremonies and Host. He had stage presence in abundance. Hilarious, engaging and not bad on the eyes either. I was so shocked with the power and tone of his voice- definitely an unexpected turn. He made a B-line straight for poor Paul on the front row and at times I felt as though I was watching a stand up comedian. He made many references to Newcastle and had the best fake accent I had ever heard. As we found out at the end as he started off the ‘TOON, TOON’ chant and tore open his shirt to reveal a Newcastle United shirt it wasn’t actually a fake geordie accent but a real one! He had us all cheering, interacting and tried his best to get the Sunday night audience in the mood for a party!
He introduced the ever charismatic and wonderful Robin Windsor, who spoke about his time on Strictly and believe it or not has been left the show for ten whole years! In this time he has not stopped dancing and this can be seen as he delivers choreography like no other. He must have the quickest feet and hips in the whole of dancing land. He is also incredibly strong and threw his dance partners around with such ease.
Come What May was delivered through the first half and I had the most amazing experience watching this. Stunning ballroom dancing from our dancers paired with effortless vocals from Ron. I had goosebumps everywhere and people all around me were watching on with awe. The little girl behind me, who can’t have been any older than ten, sang every single word as well as the older lady next to me showing this phenomena of Moulin Rouge transcends generations. It really was moving and left me with a tear in my eye at the end.
During Rhythm of the Night, it was a Latin explosion. The Samba work lit the stage on fire with passion, energy and lots of rolling hips. Truly it was incredible and the choreography was just so special. A huge congratulations to Scott Coldwell for his exceptional vision and delivery of the choreography not just for this number but throughout the entirety of the show.
The dancers for the evening just blew me away. I have been a member of local amateaur societies for years now and I have always been jealous of anyone who is able to dance. I love to dance but just do not have the coordination or the capacity to remember routines so I was truly flabbergasted when I saw the sheer amount of routines they had to remember let alone how high in skill and energy they all contained. The dances were led by Dance Captain Bethan Mitchell who delivered some of the most stunning ballroom work of the night. She gave me chills during Shallow where she performed a Rhumba- it felt so raw and passionate between her and Robin Windsor. Her movement was graceful and she glided effortlessly across the stage. She took part in many of the lifts of the evening and quite honestly, made it look easy.
Alice Rennie and Lowri Hamilton delivered great performances as well throughout the show and Lowri has to have one of the highest kicks I have ever seen. My particular favourite female dancer had to be Georgia McEnaney and it isn’t just because she is from the North East, I promise. I heard so many cheers for her in the audience throughout her time on stage- I am guessing family and friends were in the audience. She delivered every single routine with such vigor and had the most expressive facial expressions I have ever seen. She performed through her whole body and with every inch of her being. Just exquisite dancing and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
The male dancers Billy Lawrence and Reece Inches were strong, powerful and made everything they did look effortless. You could see they were both true perfectionists and worked perfectly as a pair, always in unison. I could have watched them all day.
The first act ended with the most wonderful Can Can. It was a true feast for the eyes especially when they sat on the front of the stage and did their handwork. I honestly do not know how they managed this and it left me mind boggled as they just continued to get quicker and quicker. The cannon at the end crossing their legs was just so slick too. Absolute perfection.
During the Elephant Love medley the performers encouraged us all to sing along making this a truly interactive experience. Could this have been even more interactive with song words or more time to sing with them? Just an idea, I think that would be really fun!
I was excited for the second half to begin and it started with a bang with the spectacular – The Greatest Show. In the second half, we got to hear even more of Ashley Cavendar’s voice and I adored Like a Virgin – just properly hilarious and so full of mischief carrying this over into La Vie En Rose which he sang so beautifully whilst being so silly. That is a real talent. A real ‘smorgasbord of fabulousness’ as he quoted.
Our local girl, Georgia took to the stage for Roxanne where she delivered the Paso Doble between the three male dancers. Yet again, she delivered with her whole being. It was powerful and gripping with sharp, staccato movement and the musical arrangements were just perfect. An eye popping, ear buzzing spectacle. A huge bravo to the musical arrangements throughout by James Doughty. I also really enjoyed the lighting throughout this performance – the red flashes gave it all the drama it needed. Miles Baldwin was the light designer and he also did a stellar job throughout. The costumes during Roxanne were so well thought out as well – ripping off the skirt to use as the matador cape- great use of costuming. The costuming throughout was just divine and fitted the Moulin Rouge perfectly. I have never seen so many feathers, ruffles and sequins in my life. I was obsessed. A huge well done to the costume seamstresses – Hannah Fitzgerald and Cecile Mia.
The second act ended with another Greatest Showman hit- Come Alive. This was delivered with a Quickstep and provided us with the energy we were looking for to end the show. The whole audience gave the well deserving cast a standing ovation – something which I haven’t seen in a while but there was no denying the sheer talent of what we had just witnessed. We all stood up for the Finale Mega Mix and joined in with the Can Can from our seats… I only wish I had been in the aisle to give it my best go!
A truly special evening full of joy, inspirational talent and pure happiness. I would truly go back and watch the next ten shows if I could. A huge success for the cast and creatives of Come What May- Bravo!
Venue – 5/5
Show – 100/5
Review by Robyn McGough (Gifted Tickets)