Sunday 19th November

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Claire Machin, Sophie-Louise Dann, Joanna Riding, Claire Moore and Debbie Chazen in The Girls
Claire Machin, Sophie-Louise Dann, Joanna Riding, Claire Moore and Debbie Chazen in The Girls

The Girls – If you’re going to see one musical this year, it has to be Barlow’s!

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Hotly anticipated musical The Girls is now being performed at Phoenix Theatre until July 2017.  Based on the hit 2003 film Calendar Girls, Tim Firth (who wrote the film) and national treasure Gary Barlow have joined forces to return this heart-warming story to the stage.  In doing so, as Shannon Rawlins writes below, they have produced the best British musical since Billy Elliot.

Film, play, musical – Phoenix Theatre’s brand new production The Girls has been on quite the journey.  Now, in the heart of the West End, you can hear sung the true tale of a Yorkshire Women’s Institute group’s fundraising efforts of producing a nude calendar to raise money for a memorial sofa.

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Category: Theatre

Q&A with Richard Lyus: Bones of London

By Zara Paul

Ever since being introduced to the intricate sounds of ‘Bones of London’, Whats On London have eagerly awaited the opportunity to interview one part of the talented collective, Richie Lyus.  We were fortunate enough to catch up with Richie and talk influences, the journey so far and the pivotal question of what we can expect next from the London based collective.

A thick, black, paperback, dancing at the back of the attic’ reads the description on the Bones of London Twitter account. Using more than the 160 character Twitter limit, who are Bones of London?

“Bones of London consists of Tom Guy, who is a session musician and makes his own music too.  Me and in addition to that we are a collective really, of musicians. Fabio De Oliveira had been a big part of the music we’ve recorded so far. I think, Tom and I both want to be part of a group that is like a collective. Which draws inspiration from different people and sources.”

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Category: Music
Shrek and Fiona go head-to-head
Shrek and Fiona go head-to-head

Shrek The Musical at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Based on the 2001 animated film, ‘Shrek The Musical’ is an entertaining evening which will have both adults and children dancing in their seats throughout the whole performance. On the penultimate stop of a hugely successful UK tour, Shrek is currently at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

The title character is brought to life by Dean Chisnall, who manages to showcase both the aggressive and softer side to the ogre, despite not having the strongest singing voice. Sometimes a struggle to understand his mumbling dialect, Chisnall most importantly captures the warmth of the character.

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Category: Kids
Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre
Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre

Sunny Afternoon: The Kinks sends London swinging back to the sixties groove

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Sunny Afternoon rocked the Hampstead Theatre and its West End transfer has seen it raise the roof off the Harold Pinter Theatre. Sunny Afternoon is a triumph, effortlessly blending the musical hits of the Kinks, with a documentary-style production that thoroughly entertains. There are numerous shows of this ilk on the West End, from the Abba jukebox marathon that is Mamma Mia, to the gracious and elegant Jersey Boys, but now with Sunny Afternoon we have the grit, emotion, and rustic madness of the Kinks. Sunny Afternoon is a musical triumph of a bygone era of music.

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Category: Theatre
Villiers Quartet
Tamaki Higashi, James Dickenson, Nick Stringfellow, Carmen Flores

Villiers Quartet: New Works Competition

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As always, a treat to take in the gorgeous canal views from an outside sofa during a balmy Sunday at the wonderful King’s Place. The double whammy being the equal treat for chamber music enthusiasts of the Villiers Quartet New Works Competition. This only comes around once every couple of years and is not to be missed.

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Category: Music
Brian Charette

Brian Charette: Square One

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I was thrilled to get my hands on Brian Charette’s 2014 CD Square One. Having heard him play in ensemble at Jazz Club Soho earlier this year, he told me that he plays London too infrequently. His new recording is a treat for all Jazzers and a special offering for fans of Jazz organ. It may suffice until he returns to The Smoke.

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Category: Music
Tom Gamble at Jazz Club Soho, London.
Tom Gamble at Jazz Club Soho, London.

Tom Gamble: CD + London dates

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Classically-trained guitarist Tom Gamble recently played a solo set at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, going down a storm with the assembled literary crowd at the Playerist Comedy Night. He’s soon to leave these shores to further his studies abroad so catch him while you can. Meanwhile, music lovers will be more than satisfied with Mr Gamble’s fantastic début Jazz CD Rooftop Music. Recently graduating with a First from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in Greenwich, the maestro leads the Tom Gamble Ensemble at the South Bank Centre on August 8. He then departs with fitting flourish as Director of the Quiet Nights Orchestra at a very special gig at the National Portrait Gallery on August 22.

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Category: Culture
Kenesha
Photograph by Martin Slidel

Kenesha @ Alley Cat

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I rocked up at the great Alley Cat Club about eightish when unusually for live gigs the party had already started. In retrospect unsurprising as the popular Kenesha had not one but three top-level support acts. I made it in to the soulful yet gravely voice of Alex Bay for spot-on delivery of his David Gray-esque Love Never Dies. Next up was Blues singer Winston Skerritt whose gently styled speech-singing was matched by sensitive and rhythmic guitar. Terrific changes of tempo and dynamics included the slowed-down end of the hypnotic The One That Got AwayJoe Garvey’s clever and witty ramble Long Way to Fall boasted admirable articulation of otherwise tongue-twisting lyrics. This followed with what else but a down-and-dirty version of MJ’s Beat It.

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Category: Clubs