‘Priscilla Queen of The Desert’ comes to ‘The Forum’ in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria from the 16th- 20th May. Don’t miss out!

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‘PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT’ is on at ‘The Forum’ in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria from Tuesday 16th May- Saturday 20th May. If you are a fan of feel good musicals, then this one is for you!


To book, call ‘The Forum’ on 01229 467498 or online at http://www.theforumbarrow.co.uk/events/b-o-d-s-present-priscila-queen-of-the-desert?spektrix_bounce=true.



Apparently S Club 7 are due to re-unite…….what are people’s thoughts ?

Ok so we all loved S-Club 7 back in the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s and to be fair they were successful and right for the music of the time. It made me cringe slightly when I saw that they were due to re-unite this summer for a tour and for two brand new albums. S Club 7 achieved four UK number one singles, a number one album and over 17 million record sales worldwide during their five-year stint.

So what did they do after leaving the group ? 

Rachael Stevens : After S Club were disbanded Stevens signed a £1.5 million solo four-album deal with Polydor Records and re-signed with Fuller. Stevens said that breaking out on her own after success with S Club was difficult: “I think we (S Club) ended up conforming to what people’s perceptions were. This one was the ditzy one, this one was the singer, this one was the dancer. And to come out of that and be a whole person has been a real challenge for me. I didn’t have my say, really, in the group. None of us did.”

Jo O’Meara : In her teenage years, O’Meara would serve food at her local pub in Ilford. It was there that someone from 19 Entertainment spotted her on stage and recruited her to join a new pop group S Club 7.

Her debut single, “What Hurts the Most“, was released on 26 September 2005, peaking at number thirteen on the UK singles chart, followed a week later by her album, Relentless. This, however, quickly fell out of the chart and sold poorly, peaking at #48. In February 2006 she took part in the BBC reality show Just the Two of Us. Her singing partner was Chris Fountain. The pair came third in the competition, failing to attract enough votes to make the final after their performance of “Never Had a Dream Come True“.

In January 2007 O’Meara appeared on Celebrity Big Brother. Along with Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd , O’Meara was accused of racist and bullying behaviour toward fellow “contestant” Indian actress Shilpa Shetty , resulting in a record number of complaints to “OfCom” , extensive national and international media coverage, and condemnatory statements from the British and Indian governments

Hannah Spearritt :  In early November 2005, she made her acting comeback in the BBC’s Blessed , an eight part sitcom. In Blessed, she played a minor role, appearing as a member of a fake girl band in two episodes. December 2005 saw Spearritt appearing in the unsuccessful West End  musical, Snow! The Musical, at London’s Sound Theatre. The musical was cancelled just three weeks into its run because of poor ticket sales – one show managed to attract an audience of only two people.In 2010 she made a cameo appearance in a short film, Bubble Wrapped produced by her partner. In late 2011 she performed The Belle’s Stratagem where she played the role of Lady Frances. In March 2012, Spearritt will take over the role of Pauline in a play called One Man, Two Guvnors in the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Tina Barrett : Barrett led some of the tracks on the groups’ albums, such as “I’ll Be There” and “Stronger”. Stronger was set to be a single, but was canceled when Paul Cattermole left the group. The six remaining members stayed together until 2003, when they split after releasing their greatest hits album.

Paul Cattermole : He has probably been the least successful member of the group. He was the first member to leave the group in June 2002. Cattermole split up with Hannah Spearritt, his S Club 7 band mate, in early 2006; after dating for six years. In the run-up to Christmas 2007, Cattermole and Bradley McIntosh  undertook DJ sets at the University of Winchester Christmas Ball (1 December) and at ‘The Old Firestation’.

He joined up with former band mates Jo and Bradley to form ‘S Club 3’ in 2008.Cattermole sang with his own band at a charity concert called ‘The Sounds of Summer’ at ‘The Lord Taverners’ club in London on July 27, 2011. He implies in a YouTube video interview promo that he is planning to launch more musical material.

Bradley Mc Intosh : In 2006 McIntosh starred in an MTV’s’ show, called Totally Boyband. Other people starring were members of disbanded groups. He became part of a boy band, Upper Street made up of ex-group members. The groups that each member was from were 911, Steps, Another Level and New Kids on the block . They released their first (and only) single, “The One”, in 2006, but it was a commercial disaster and charted at #35 in the UK Singles Chart. Also in 2006 he took part in Celebrity Sport Relief Boxing against Jack Osbourne.

Bradley has written for and produced songs with the likes of JLSGak Jonze and former SugababeMutya Buena.

Further to this, he regularly performs at top UK student nights, such as the nationwide weekly JUICED event – Every Friday at Wahoo Brighton and Chilli White Southampton and Keele.

Jon Lee : Jon was the youngest member of the group. He was only 16 when they formed. After leaving the group he went on to pursue a career in the West End and played the role of Marius in Les Miserables between 2003-2004. In 2006 he starred in the short TV series “The Sound of Musicals” alongside some famous stars such as Carrie & David Grant and John Barrowman. His latest role was the lead of “Frankie Valli” in Jersey boys from 2011 + . I have to say after seeing him live in Les Mis back in 2004 he doesn’t have the strongest of voices and is one of the weaker Marius’s. He’s also had small acting roles on soaps such as Casualty.

  (Back in the day) 

(The group after seeing Jon Lee star in Jersey Boys last year)

What’s next for them ? 

S Club 7 have signed a deal to reunite this summer, according to reports.The seven-piece will be performing a series of UK gigs and one-off appearances and have lined-up a possible two-album deal, the Daily Mirror said. A source told the newspaper: “The guys have been inundated with approaches and offers over the past three years, but always said no.

“But following a series of talks and meetings, they decided to go for it… It was a case of now or never… Everyone is really excited and frantically getting back in shape.”According to The Mirror, S Club 7 will announce their return shortly.”The guys have been inundated with approaches and offers over the past three years, but always said no,” a source told the paper.

What do you think ? Is it a good idea that they are re-uniting or should they just let the past lie and move on ?……

I’m so impressed by the 25th anniversary concert of The Phantom of the Opera

WOW! I have to say I’m really impressed and now I can see why it received such fantastic  reviews. I’m currently watching the 25th anniversary concert of Phantom of the Opera which was filmed live at The Royal Albert Hall in early October 2011. After the Les Mis concert I had my doubts but this is FAR superior.

Whilst the Les Mis concert was filmed at the massive O2 arena in London this was done on a slightly smaller scale at the Royal Albert Hall but it works far better. In the Les Mis concert they just stood at microphones, this is like the proper production of the show that has been filmed live with a WONDERFUL cast all of which are from the West End.

The Plot

The plot is exactly the same as any other version. A tale of a mad and twisted musical genius who ‘haunts’ the Opera house after he was brought there rescued by Madame Giry the ballet mistress when they were both just children. After Diva Carlotta storms out Christine Daae is cast as the new leading lady of the Opera Populaire and is delighted to find that her childhood friend Raoul now the Vicomte de Chagny is the new patron of the Opera House.Christine reminds Raoul about the “Angel of Music” stories that her late father used to tell them, and confides that the Angel has visited her, and taught her to sing. Raoul laughs at her “fantasies”, and invites her to dinner. He exits, and a jealous Phantom appears in Christine’s mirror in the clever guise of The Angel of Music.

Later on Raoul hatches a plan to use Don Juan Triumphant the Phantom’s own Opera as a trap to capture the Phantom. Christine, torn between her love for Raoul and her gratitude towards the Phantom , visits her father’s grave. The Phantom appears,  but Raoul arrives to protect her. The Phantom declares war upon them both.

Don Juan Triumphant débuts, with Christine and Ubaldo Piangi, the Opéra’s leading tenor, singing the lead roles. During their duet, Christine suddenly realises that she is singing not with Piangi, but with the Phantom himself. Christine tears off his mask to expose his hideous face to the audience, as Piangi is found strangled backstage. Seizing Christine, the Phantom flees the theatre, pursued by an angry mob led by Meg. Madame Giry tells Raoul about the Phantom’s subterranean lair—and reminds him to beware the Punjab lasso.

All three main characters unite in the “Phantoms lair” but ‘who will survive?’ and ‘what becomes of the Phantom of the Opera?’ will have to be questions which remain unanswered until you watch it !

The Cast

The company listing on the official website lists an incredible 99 ensemble members, plus 20 dancers and 19 principles (yes, I really counted). That’s 138 cast members, and goodness only knows how many techs !

Ramin Karimloo was cast as The Phantom. He has a great voice but compared to John-Owen Jones who I saw in the West end in 2010 he doesn’t really come close. Don’t get me wrong he’s a wonderful actor and singer, I’m just not sure about him as the phantom and I definitely wouldn’t describe him as spectacular. I have to say his performance improves throughout the show. During the first part of “Music of the Night” I felt that he was just very nervous or trying too hard.

Sierra Boggess does a faultless performance of Christine far superior to Tabitha Webb (the cover Christine I saw in London) her voice is sublime hitting all the high notes effortlessly and she covers her American accent extremely well. She captures the naivety and innocence of Christine Daae perfectly! I have to say that in my opinion she’s much more talented than the original Christine (Sarah Brightman) whose shrill voice makes me wince a little bit at times.

Hadley Fraser (probably best known for performances as Grantaire in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis and is now playing inspector Javert in the West End) makes a wonderful Raoul , again his voice is stunning and he sang extremely well for those who have seen the DVD. I couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing A LOT of eyeliner which I’m positive was applied at every chance- at the final bows he seemed to resemble a panda !!

Wendy Somerville as Carlotta is brilliant and was covering for Keira Duffy who was originally cast but had to pull out of the role due to a throat infection. I saw her in London, she’s perfect as the selfish, well-built and flamboyant ‘opera diva’ again with a great vocal range.

I love Madame Giry she’s very different in the stage version than she is in the film. In the film she’s kind but more mysterious in this she’ s a bit more of a ‘battle axe’ type of character.

At the end of the show a choral arrangement was sung including Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman the original Phantom and Christine. I got a shock when I saw Sarah Brightman she’s clearly overdone the plastic surgery or Botox as her face looked really bizarre !A choral arrangement of ‘The Music of the Night’ was then performed by Colm Wilkinson (original Canadian cast), the sensational John Owen Jones,  Anthony Warlow and finally Swedish pop singer and musical theatre star Peter Jöback, who I have since learned is to join the London production from March 2012 as The Phantom. Finally, Sarah Brightman and the men sang the title track live  and the show came to a close, Michael Crawford took a bow but didn’t sing.

Overall I loved the concert and I feel very fortunate that I have seen John-Owen Jones as the Phantom who I feel is superior to Ramin Karimloo in the role of the Phantom as his voice is more powerful and he puts more emotion into his acting. ( Don’t hate me – that’s just a personal opinion)