Sunday, 26 August 2007

Commendation in musical awards

Tony Blair - the Musical received a commendation for best book in the MTM:UK Edinburgh Musical Awards - you can read details of the awards on their website, which also has a review of the show.

As the Fringe draws to a close with Tony Blair - the Musical still pulling in sell-out audiences, you can relive the opening of the Fringe with a clip of the cast performing at the Fringe launch party here.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Lo abbiamo incontrato e ci ha spiegato

Tony Blair - the Musical is written about at some length in Italian magazine Panorama; you can read the article online here, though you'll need some Italian vocabulary under your belt to help you through it.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Review in The Stage

The Stage has reviewed Tony Blair - the Musical and correctly identified James Lark as an exciting talent and Nathan Kiley as sleazy:

What a shame that the cast of this wonderfully entertaining and skilfully written musical are having to cram together on a stage the size of a table top at the Gilded Balloon.

The talent of the writing, however, manages to shine through. And what an exciting talent it is. James Lark and Christopher Munday have a real understanding of how to 'do' musical theatre. Their songs are well-constructed and thoughtful parodies of other writers - picked to fit the mood of the moment or the character singing.

Thus the opening song, sung by Britain’s pre-Blair, rag-clad suffering masses has shades of Les Miserable. Oh! What a Lovely War Against Terrorism speaks for itself, and there are shades of Noel Coward and Jonathan Larson to name two others.

Blair - a sleazy performance from Nathan Kiley - and Brown - a great impersonation and surprisingly sensitive performance from writer Lark - are an unrequited couple joined by an ideology. As Blair becomes tainted by power and influenced by others such as Alistair Campbell and George W Bush, so Brown becomes a heartbroken idealist still clinging onto the dreams they once shared together.

Tony Blair - The Musical needs to be seen by someone who can offer advice, guidance and cash in order to develop it into something bigger. The seeds are here for a much bigger production - here is talent to be nurtured.

You can read the review online here.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Lunch with the Hamiltons and celebrity cameos

Nathan Kiley and James Lark were guests in today's Lunch with the Hamiltons, in which they performed "Your politics come straight from the heart" before squeezing onto a sofa with the cast of Tony! the Blair Musical and being quizzed on their Blair knowledge by Neil and Christine Hamilton. (Christine Hamilton: "In which club did Tony Blair announce his intention to resign this year?" James Lark: "Stringfellows?") The show culminated in both Nathan and James being wrapped in toilet roll by members of the audience, almost too much excitement for a lunchtime show.

We continue to shmoose with celebrities this week as the show sees a couple of cameo appearances from Fringe performers taking on the brief but showstopping role of Michael Fish. Thursday's show will feature Australian comedian Andrew McClelland, currently performing in Andrew McClelland's mix tape, and on Friday Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen, currently performing in You Can't Beat a Bit of a Bully, will be taking on the role.

It remains to be seen whether Neil and Christine Hamilton can be persuaded to play themselves in the show's opening number...

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Orch's final performance in Edinburgh

Dear all,

Now you've read all the press coverage, and know that we've been on the sold out board several times (even above Rhona Cameron...), an update from the MD appears to be in order. Although the Daily Mail cites James and Del as the creative forces behind this show, I feel I have contributed a little. Even if that is just that the cast know where to put their final consonants.

At present I am sitting in the performers' bar at the Pleasance Dome, with others having gone to take part in a discussion/debate about musical theatre. Our show is being discussed, so I'm told, so we'll see what comes of that. Rather than go and be pseudo-intellectual, I have opted to drink, smoke and blog.

My last performance in Edinburgh is tomorrow (15th), after which I hope to hear Delyth's brilliant notes session. I'll be disappointed if there isn't one. I gave my "perfunctory" notes in the Gilded Balloon Library Bar this afternoon and felt like I'd destroyed everyone in spirit...
So, for tomorrow's performance, Nick is taking over from me, playing and conducting, as well as cue-ing all of the click tracks. He's a marvel. I'm going to be like Boffin in the Ball. I've tried to think of ways to explain that allusion, but I can't. Boffin is a hamster, and rolls around the kitchen in a ball. Figure it out for yourselves.

So, after this, the real world beckons. The real world of temping and earning money. And trying not to spend money. I'm almost missing my finance work...Almost.


Five star review and sell-out show

Tony Blair - the Musical is now officially a 2007 Fringe sell-out show, having been completely sold out for the last four performances - if you're hoping to come along you are advised to book early!

Please note again that if tickets are unavailable through the Fringe office then you may still be able to get them from the Gilded Balloon.

The media coverage continues and there have been many reviews over the last few days, including a four star review from Three Weeks which you can read here.

The show also has a five star review in the forthcoming edition of ScotsGay, reproduced below.

Io Theatre Company
Tony Blair - The Musical
Gilded Balloon *****

I was not sure whether to see this. I detest with every sinew in my body this vacuous war criminal. Was I about to attend a hagiography to the man? I need not have worried.

It is interesting to see what you can get away with about politicians. In 2001 Out of Joint did a show written by Alaistair Beaton called Feelgood which portrayed new Labour as unprincipled megalomaniacs who would stop at nothing to gain power. This year they did King of Hearts where it was perfectly plausible to see the then Prime Minister portrayed as a racist bigot.This follows on from there and was surprisingly popular - the room was just about full. We experience a Peter Snow that was perfect at election time, Tony Blair doing a "Not a day for Soundbites" song featuring soundbite after soundbite. The rhyming of education, education, education with mutual masturbation is one I will remember for a long time. We are lead into early legacies of this government, such as the Millennium Dome. We experience a manic John Prescott and female ministers who are clearly there because of their genitalia not their intellect or ability. Blunkett comes alive in a scene that is very simple, yet utterly ridiculing (I'll say no more). Then comes the war. I was reminded of Oh What a Lovely War with songs such as "We want a War" and "Bomb the Faggots". The Tories don't escape either, however I would criticise the treatment of the Lib Dems, who should either have been totally ignored or treated more seriously.

It ends with the death of Blair which is a combination of Shakespear's Julius Caesar and Hancock's The Bowmans. Writer James Lark and director Delyth Jones have developed a show anyone could be proud of; watch out Max Stafford-Clark and Alaistair Beaton you have competition. Oh I almost forgot, there is a web site that also had tears running down my face if not quite down my trouser leg. It is selling peerages.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Dance montage

Lise Smith, the choreographer for Tony Blair - the Musical, has put together a montage of some of the dance rehearsals for the show, which you can view here.