It’s always interesting to see how a society will handle a show that has a large amount of physical movement at its core. Will they split the cast into those who can and those who can’t and never the twain shall meet, which lends itself to a somewhat lop-sided production where you can easily see the join and it all feels a little “us and them”? Or will they manage to put on a show with energy across the piece where everyone plays an integral part with so much vigour, verve, and enthusiasm?...Once again, it’s no surprise that with Centre Stage, it’s the latter…and in spades!

It’s not often that from the first moment you walk into a theatre that you know something special is about to happen. Usually there is a curtain, blackout, or some small staged distraction to provide you with some entertainment before the main show starts. However, in this instance it was different.

Centre Stage Proms is a musical theatre extravaganza with a large orchestra of professional West End musicians and a fabulous Centre Stage chorus showcasing the biggest and best orchestral pieces in Musical Theatre.

Exuberant energy and real feel-good emotion, combined with strong singing and knock-out dance skills – what more could you want on a Friday night? We also liked the classic 1950s tunes that played while we were waiting for the show to start – they helped set the scene for the show, and they were a lot of fun too – we could tell the audience was enjoying them, the women next to us were singing along!

NODA Review: Grease - The Musical

Exuberant energy and real feel-good emotion, combined with strong singing and knock-out dance skills – what more could you want on a Friday night? We also liked the classic 1950s tunes that played while we were waiting for the show to start – they helped set the scene for the show, and they were a lot of fun too – we could tell the audience was enjoying them, the women next to us were singing along!

NODA Review: MicDrop

Thank you all for extending a warm welcome to us and inviting us to your impressive and immensely enjoyable ‘Musical Throw-down’. The idea was an ingenious one, using a gameshow/voting format for a musical battle of the sexes enabling you to demonstrate not only the collective talent in your society, but also giving a well-deserved spotlight to your star performers. It is always a gamble to put on a show which has no proven predecessor as a benchmark or that has a different structure to the usual ‘musical’ or ‘cabaret’ evening - but this gamble definitely paid off thanks to the talent, energy, and enthusiasm of the entire company.

NODA Today: Love Happens Here - Winner of NODA London Region Councillor’s Trophy 2018

“Each year Dave and I are invited to lots of plays and musicals and sometimes we see a production that just takes our breath away. It isn’t necessarily the show that’s had the most money thrown at it, or in the biggest theatre or has the most lavish set. There is just an undefinable something that deserves to be recognised. For this reason I would like to present NODA London with this Councillor’s Trophy, in order that any future Councillor can do just that - recognise that special something that has given so much pleasure. This year, we saw a production entitled ‘Love Happens Here - an LGBTQI+ cabaret.’ A show about being who you are, being proud of who you are, and which had an important message of love and pride. I’d love to present this (award) to Centre Stage.”- Jacquie Stedman

NODA Review: Love Happens Here

Centre Stage has for many years had a strong relationship with the LGBT community and this show was a
joyous celebration of that relationship through a well thought out cabaret of songs. We were treated to a real
smorgasbord of very talented singers who all worked hard with both familiar songs and some lesser known
show tunes to give us an evening to remember.

NODA Review: Lysistrata

The classic ancient Greek story about women withholding sex to end a war was a fitting idea for a really solid musical theatre experience.  Re-imagined in to the 1940s and using songs from the period along with songs by modern artists, but in the style, worked extremely well and Ellie Cahill who developed this piece of original work must be congratulated on her drive and vision to bring this to the stage. I am always impressed with the range and standard of original work by our groups. It’s a real testament to their talent that means these shows work so well

Arthur's Seat Review: Fame: The Musical ★★★★

Bursting with energy, a healthy amount of cheese and showcasing vocals far superior to what you’d expect outside of the West End, Centre Stage London’s Fame The Musical is head over heels (and a split jump?) better than the trite script underpinning it.

West End Wilma Review: Fame: The Musical ★★★★

As well as the 1980 multi award-winning motion picture, Fame, has been performed in many theatres worldwide and has been made into a popular television series. This production of Fame: The Musical, is up there with the best.

Yeside Linney, 22nd July 2016

9 to 5:The Musical is the hilarious musical comedy based on the hit 1980s film that centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist boss. Whilst Dolly Parton isn’t in the show in person, her presence is clearly felt throughout the show, and certainly, she has a knack for good old-fashioned country story-telling, even if the premise is implausible.

This is a fast moving, infectious production that centres around three beleaguered secretaries Violet (Claire Linney), Judy (Gemma Zifras) and Doralee (Camilla Burnside). The three quirky characters find sisterhood in taking on ‘egotistical, hypocritical bigoted’ boss from hell, Franklin Hart Jnr (Luke Leahy) with unexpected consequences which really goes to show that 1980s ‘girl power’ can triumph over evil.

Natalie Blenford 17 June 2016

 

RAGTIME is a rarely performed piece that few people outside of the musical theatre world have heard of. And the question I kept asking after watching the triumphant opening night of Centre Stage London’s production at the Bishopsgate Institute, was why? 

Why is it not as loved as Les Miserables, as revered as Wicked or as well known as Showboat (which it reminds me of in more ways than one)? For its music is just as wonderful; its story just as emotional. And in this inventive devised production, directed by Toby Hine with great heart, the piece is given an authentic, powerful staging that makes it seem even more relevant today than it could possibly have been when it premiered on Broadway in 1996.

Sue Moore, November 2015

 

"Centre Stage's production, currently running at the Bridewell Theatre, is officially 'amateur-dramatics' but there is nothing amateur about this universally committed and talented cast, incredibly slick choreography (Natalie Demain) and direction (Matt Hudson). All supported by an excellent band."

 

"...this is an impressive production. It's slick, fast paced, energetic and committed. The Bridewell stage space is excellently utilised and the multi-tasking cast incredibly well drilled in all aspects of performance and production. This may be 'am-dram' but with West End professionalism and talent. And a cast that look like they are having the time of their lives!"

Tony Sweeney, November 2014

 

"The group continues to explore a wider variety of musicals which allows not only a degree of experimentation but also allows them to bring a broader range to the loyal following they have developed.  This was another sell out audience"

 

"This is a lively and spectacular show which demanded a wide range of talent not only singing and dancing but some strong acting skills.  Based on a true story the sub-plots and cultural background of the American Deep South gave us not only an excellent evening’s entertainment but also an interesting insight into wider social environment." 

Sarah Falcus, June 2014

 

"Matt Cameron as Jesus was wonderfully understated, radiating calm and serenity in the face of an increasingly hysterical crowd, which turns from extreme love to extreme hate. He sang strongly, hitting high notes with apparent ease, and with the confidence of a pop star."

"Robert J Stanex plays the tortured Judas with great empathy, allowing the audience to share in his growing fear for his closest friend, his agony over his betrayal and eventual breakdown. The sparkly title track was also a highlight, with pitch perfect, gospel style vocals.." 

 

"Jo Eggleton as Mary Magdalene was one of the standout performers. Every word was clear and sharp and she came across wonderfully as Jesus’ most loyal and only female disciple."

 

"This was an excellent, innovative production that all involved should be very proud of. Judging by the enthusiastic standing ovation at the end, I am not the only audience member that thought so."

Jacqui Marchant-Adams, June 2014

 

"The ensemble (all twenty-three of them!) were very strong, walking the line between brightly highlighting the main action and pulling focus from it."

 

"Technically, the production was mostly exceptional, with moving spotlights proving extremely effective, and some of the quickest quick changes I have ever witnessed."

 

"The overriding impression was that this was an extremely talented group of people working at the height of their powers. If this is typical of the scale and professionalism of a Centre Stage production, then I for one will certainly be back for more."

By Alice Anderson, June 2014

 

"For when this company does dramatic, they do it incredibly well." 

 

"Matt Hudson as Simon shone, thanks to his subtle, understated reactions in ensemble scenes and a strong tenor voice when he sung solo. Adrian Hau revealed a rich, soulful voice as Annas."

 

"When David Walker-Smith entered as Pilate to talk about his dream, the atmosphere tangibly shifted. Walker-Smith’s classy, unfussy performance provided a neat contrast."

 

"I felt sure I’d seen the best version of Jesus Christ Superstar you could ask for from an amateur theatre group. Prince’s direction was deliberate and effective; set changes were cleverly mixed in with the action so the pace kept moving; the design was neat and unfussy and performances were laden with passion and power."

Scott Matthewman, November 2013

 

"Throughout, the cast is led superbly by Eileen Donnelly as Tracy, with a performance that is both endearing and enchanting. Matching her for magnetic presence is Lotte Gilmore as Tracy’s precocious younger sister Dinah, successfully conveying the sort of babe out of whose mouths uncomfortable truths tend to flow." 

 

"Matthew Prince’s direction and Ian Thiele-Long’s set design work well to convey the opulence of an upper-class American mansion within the confines of the Bridewell’s space. Adeswua Gbinigie’s choreography is bold, confident and exuberant – exactly what this musical needs, and performed with exactly the right level of joyous gusto by an ensemble that is clearly having a ball."

November 2013

 

"The show was vocally very strong from all performers, with “True Love” in particular bringing a tear to the eye"

 

"Eileen Donnelly as the beautiful but remote heroine Tracy Lord gave a captivating performance."

 

"Dexter’s duet, “She’s Got That Thing” with the irrepressible Uncle Willy (played with clear enjoyment and delightful playfulness by David Walker-Smith)"

 

"effectively choreographed, and the cast obviously well rehearsed."

June 2013

 

"some great vocal performances from Emma Walton as Esta and Rosalind Parry as Pip. Kaytie Lee as Ishmael the narrator helps the show move along at a good pace. There is also a host of stellar comedic performances, worthy of note are Hannah Gibson as the cannibal Queequeg and Jo Taylor in her cameo as the local nutter Elijah.  The stand-out performance by several nautical miles though is that ofRob Dorey in his role of Headmistress/Captain Ahab, with on par vocals worthy of any West End stage and brilliant comic timing, he is a linchpin of this production."

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