November 8th, 2011

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John Barrowman, London Palladium

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I have just returned from seeing John Barrowman live at the London Palladium. As is happening with increasing frequency, I was not going to talk about this show at all but, having seen it, I really feel I must!

I booked to see this because so many people in the social networking world had talked about how amazing John Barrowman was live, and how delightful a person he was.

To summarise this show in a nutshell, it is the perfect antidote to the blues brought on by the current economic climate and the recession. It is a feelgood show. John Barrowman is of course a musical theatre superstar and so I had assumed that the show would be John Barrowman performing song and dance numbers. The truth is that this show is so much more than that!

John Barrowman does do the song and dance numbers, yes. But he also talks about his life, including as a gay man, his family; he speaks about all the people who are important to him. He uses a lot of personal photos of his partner Scott and his family generally. He tells stories from his personal life in a really engaging and touching and heartfelt way. He basically puts himself and his life up on the stage, warts and all, saying "I am what I am", take me or leave me.

Ruby Wax is currently on tour in a show where she talks about mental health and, specifically, her experience of depression. People say that she is brave to talk about her personal experience of depression. But what she has done is take her mental health issue and turn it into a stand-up routine. Some of it is true, some of it not. You cannot really tell how much of it is true and how much of herself she is giving away on stage.

With John Barrowman he is really revealing himself and all his strengths and frailties on the stage. He is centre stage, loud and proud, talking about himself, his personal stories, and his life. He is actually asking you to enjoy and celebrate his life with him. Good on him! I think it is the most honest thing I have seen on the stage and not at all what I was expecting. To reveal yourself on stage like that is a very brave thing to do and I admire him for it.

Being an honest person, honest with myself and others, and having a level of integrity is actually what I have been working on over the last year with my mentors. The results have been very mixed. I have had real stars come into my life, people who I thank God every day for; people who I am very lucky to have in my life full stop. But it has also resulted in several car crashes. Overall, I would argue that it has been worth it, but it is a long and a hard road to follow.

Finally, I must give out a shout out to John Barrowman's backing dance group and the whole of his band - they both made the show what it is.

Highly recommended!
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London Evening Standard Theatre Awards shortlist revealed

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The Evening Standard has now revealed the shortlisted contenders for the 57th Evening Standard Theatre Awards, in association with Vogue.

I am backing:

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch - Frankenstein, National's Olivier
This is obvious and a no-brainer. For me personally, one actor was streets ahead of the other in both roles in this production. That actor was Benedict Cumberbatch - Jonny played the Creature as a child in a man's body (an infant), Benedict played the Creature as an adult who had had his brains blown out and was relearning everything from scratch. I much prefered Benedict's interpretation - it was a much more intelligent reading of the playscript.

Best Play
One Man, Two Guvnors, Richard Bean (National's Lyttelton)

Ned Sherrin Award For Best Musical
London Road, National's Cottesloe
No contest in this category. The award just HAS to go to London Road!

Best Director
How in God's name did Nick Hytner not make the cut? Travesty!

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel on November 20.

Follow the link to view the full list of nominees and to read the full story:
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You Raise Me Up

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This is dedicated to a very special person, in a week that could have been, but for this person, highly significant for me.

He knows who he is - I have sent him the link! I have known him for many years, but it is only this year that it has dawned on me exactly how special he is. He is constantly blinding me with his light! He is also one of the few people who actually realise and appreciate fully how much, and critically why, Emperor and Galilean came to mean so much to me. The above photo means the world to me - I have dedicated it to him.

You Raise Me Up

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

The photo is NOT of Westlife - it is, of course, the four friends from Emperor and Galilean - Agathon, Peter, Julian and Gregory (left to right).
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One Man, Two Guvnors opens at the Adelphi Theatre today (8 November)

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I am running with the old branding because I prefer it to the new!

One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden and directed by Nick Hytner, opens at the Adelphi Theatre today, following its sell out run at the National. One Man, Two Guvnors is a new play by Richard Bean, based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, with songs by Grant Olding. One Man is Francis Henshall, and the Two Guvnors are Stanley Stubbers and Roscoe Crabbe. It runs at the Adelphi to 25 February 2012 and ticket prices start at £12.

For full details and to book tickets, follow the link:

My feature on One Man, Two Guvnors can be found here:

And here is the new branding: