West Side Story

Chris is musical director for West Side Story at Theatre Royal Windsor.

WSS_685X420pxTheatre Royal Windsor launches its outreach programme with a brand new community production of the world’s greatest musical…

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet transported to New York City

The world’s greatest love story takes to the mean streets in this multi award winning landmark Broadway musical that is one of theatre’s finest accomplishments. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transported to New York City, as two young idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the American Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.

Brought to Theatre Royal Windsor by a professional creative team working alongside the best young talent in the community, this is a must-see. Follow us on social media to learn more about the project and the team’s progress leading up to the opening night.

CREATIVES:
Director – Damian Sandys
Musical Director – Christopher Peake
Choreographer – Ellen Jakubiel

jazzhands-min

Henry V tours UK

antic-disposition-henry-v-posterChris’s music for Antic Disposition’s production of Henry V made its second outing, touring UK cathedrals this year.

Marking both the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt and the ongoing centenary of the First World War, Antic Disposition presents a new production of Shakespeare’s Henry V.

England’s idealistic army marches to war, certain of a swift and glorious victory. France proudly rallies to defend her borders from invasion. But as nations clash, it is the common soldiers who pay the ultimate price in the bloody mud of the battlefield.

Performed by a combined cast of British and French actors, the uplifting production celebrates the rich and complex historical relationship between our two nations – from the Hundred Years War to the Entente Cordiale.

★★★★★
“Antic Disposition have put together a truly amazing production of Henry V which left me spellbound and speechless … Freddie Stewart is a wonder in the title role and delivers an outstanding performance as the young monarch.”
LondonTheatre1

★★★★★
“This full-bodied, full blooded First World War Henry has a new depth in the hands of this talented young cast and production company.”
The Londonist

 ★★★★★
“Freddie Stewart’s Henry V is exceptional. This ingenious production is not to be missed.”
The Upcoming

★★★★
“A beautifully crafted production. Powerful, shocking and deeply moving.”
Stage Review

★★★★
“A wonderfully imaginative and evocative staging of one of Shakespeare’s great histories, in a sublime location.”
Everything Theatre

★★★★
“Antic Disposition and directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero have managed to bring off one of the most impressive revivals of a Shakespeare play that I have seen in recent years.”
British Theatre

★★★★
“Antic Disposition have created yet another production that makes Shakespeare remarkably engaging and exciting … Poignant, perturbing and excellently acted.”
Ginger Hibiscus

 ★★★★
“A moving and thoughtful production executed by a skilful team of actors and creatives – catch it while you can.”
The Public Reviews

Tommy

Chris is Assistant MD to Robert Wicks on TOMMY at the Winter Gardens Blackpool.

TOMMY opens on 12 September and plays through to Saturday September 26. This multi award winning adaptation of the original chart topping album tells a powerful tale of a deaf, mute and blind pinball player who becomes an international messiah.

Starring Joe McElderry & Antony Costa

This smash hit Broadway and West End show will be directed by stage and screen star PAUL NICHOLAS who starred alongside Elton John, Roger Daltrey and Tina Turner in the 1975 film release of the show. The new show coincides with the 40 year anniversary of the film.
This colourful, exciting, imaginative and thought provoking new production will be enhanced by exhilarating choreography and will feature first class rock musicians. TOMMY was first performed by The Who in 1968 and was conceived by Pete Townsend and Kit Lambert with contributions to its development by John Enstwhistle, Keith Moon and Roger Daltrey.
It is not the first time that Blackpool audiences will be thrilled by The Who classics – the legendary rockers played the world famous Opera House twice in August 1964 and October 1961 to critical acclaim.

Review: A Christmas Carol – London Theatre 1

How do you make the perfect Christmas show? It’s easy really, you just take an old classic, put it in a truly awesome and appropriate setting, add an amazingly talented cast and suddenly you have Antic Disposition’s production of A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall.

Let’s be honest, we all know the story. Evil moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge (David Burt) is in his cold, miserable counting house on Christmas Eve with only his Clerk, Bob Cratchit (David Hunter) for company when in rushes his nephew Fred (Alex Hopper) to wish him the joy of the season. After a bit of an altercation, Scrooge sends Fred away and shuts up shop for the night. When Scrooge returns to his home, he has a vision of his deceased partner Jacob Marley (Chris Courtenay). Later that night, the vision becomes a reality as Jacob visits Ebenezer and basically warns him to change his ways or else. In an attempt to help his former partner, Marley has arranged for Scrooge to be visited that night by three more spirits – The Ghost of Christmas Past (Katie Lovell), The Ghost of Christmas Present (David Anthony) and a third ghost whose details we won’t go into here.

Over the course of these visitations, Scrooge meets friends, including his old flame Belle (Victoria Hope), learns more about the Cratchit family – Bob, His wife (Andrea Sadler) and their children Martha (Kerry Loosemore), Peter (Dean Riley) and Tiny Tim (Harley Gallacher or Leo Mann) – and hopefully gets a better understanding of the true meaning of Christmas from his ghostly guides. Not to give anything away but the ending involves a giant turkey as big as the boy (Archie Stevens or Miles Roughly) sent to go and buy him.

A Christmas Carol Bob Cratchit (David Hunter) Tiny Tim (LeoMann)

This is the second version of A Christmas Carol I have seen recently and is the best live version I have ever seen. Every single aspect of this production was perfect right from the start. The adaptation by Ben Horslen & John Risebero has taken Charles Dickens’ original story and treated it with a real respect, ensuring that all of the elements of the original are in the final show as well as adding some marvelous touches – for example the use of well-loved Christmas Carols with more appropriate words – of their own. I loved every aspect of the story and even felt the same chills I had as a child when reading about the visit of the final ghost once more.

John Risebero’s set is not overly complicated but manages to convey every place required to tell the story. Taking place in the round, Directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero use every available inch of the performance space and even when the female characters are wearing those large Victorian hooped skirts, it never seems crowded and still retains a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. The music by Musical Director Christopher Peake was lovely and the four piece band really delivered a lovely accompaniment to the story.

Turning to the actors and I have to give full praise to David Burt who, from the moment he walks on and glares at the carol singers, is the definitive Mr Scrooge. David’s acting is so realistic. At one point, Scrooge was standing near me discussing the fate of Tiny Tim with the Ghost of Christmas Present and, as he turned round, there were tears in his eyes – which had the effect of starting me off again. The rest of the cast are equally as good. As well as their featured roles mentioned in the above paragraphs, they all played a variety of other characters and, for me the best example of this was when the Ghost of Christmas Present took Scrooge around the country to see how Christmas was celebrated in places as diverse as a lighthouse and a mine.

I know we are not really meant to talk about the theatre we see shows in but I have to say Middle Temple Hall was a perfect venue for this show. There is such a wonderful air of history and theatre about the place, even the walk from the auditorium to the bar was amazing.

I’m not sure what more I can say about this production of A Christmas Carol, apart from, to me it is the perfect Christmas show for young and old. No matter how jaded and fed up you may be with the whole holiday season, this production will not only lift you up but fill you with the warm glow of Christmas. I truly believe that this version of A Christmas Carol is now the definitive one – even eclipsing ‘The Muppet’s Christmas Carol’ – and I am already thinking about going to see it next Christmas.

Normally after a show, I will discuss it with my companion but in this case, as soon as it finished and the cast took their well deserved curtain calls, he turned to me and said ‘five stars’ and I am not going to argue with him. In fact, I’m going to end this review by raising a glass of mulled wine and wishing everyone reading this a wonderful Christmas. in the words of Tiny Tim, ‘God bless us everyone!’

★★★★★

by Terry Eastham, 24 December 2015

Review: A Christmas Carol – Musical Theatre Review

Middle Temple Hall allows an audience to step back in time and enter into the world of Scrooge with its site-specific stage space. Stepping away from the city’s busy streets, the theatre offers a calm serenity and a chance to embrace a time of hopefulness in 17th Century London.

Award-winning company Antic Disposition’s choice of theatre has a direct link to Charles Dickens himself. While a full-time student studying Law at Middle Temple, the author wrote A Christmas Carol in just six weeks. The location is also featured in many of his stories, indicating that he held quite an emotional bond with the residence. The building was also a familiar to venue to Shakespeare – the first recorded performance of his masterful comedy Twelfth Night took place there.

Dickens’ novella is brought to the stage by directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero, while the music – which includes the most classic of Christmas carols – is moulded by composer Christopher Peake. As designer, Risebero adds a minimalistic approach, subtly bringing the performance together.

David Burt takes on the misery of Ebenezer Scrooge, exuding humbug and gloom towards the festive season. His captivating character unfolds as we see him step back with The Ghost of Christmas Past to his childhood and we begin to see why he is such a wretched character.

While watching Scrooge’s journey to past, present and future, the piece encourages us to feel an empathy for this anti-hero and an understanding as to why he is the way he is. Burt masters this perfectly.

David Hunter gives a sweet performance as Bob Cratchit. His caring and humbling nature is displayed in his love for his children and care for Tiny Tim.

The Christmas carols are performed flawlessly by the ensemble, with Kerry Loosemore, Katie Lovell, Alex Hooper, Victoria Hope, Dean Riley and Andrea Sadler all leaving an impression. The younger cast members include Harley Gallacher and Leo Mann (Tiny Tim) and Miles Roughley and Archie Stevens who alternate as ‘Turkey Boy’.

The performance space allows members of the audience to feel involved, especially when Scrooge stands directly in front of them, taking in his Christmas past. The lighting (Tom Boucher) adds to the the eerie atmosphere as the ghosts come to life.

It is a great tradition to revisit Christmas tales during the festive period and each story helps to show what the season is all about. A Christmas Carol reminds us of our moral obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves, to be compassionate and giving, and not just at this time of year. Valuing family, friendship and love heeds the Christmas message of hope and joy.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

by Molly Kerrigan, 29 December 2015

Review: A Christmas Carol by BritishTheatre.com

Surely any Christmas without at least one visit to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, could not really be called Christmas. Such is the extent to which Dicken’s Christmas ghost story has been woven into our culture, that it has seen several production staged across London this year alone and has been adapted for film several times including the beloved Muppet Christmas Carol.

Once again this year, Antic Disposition have bought their formidable skills to staging this festive classic at Middle Temple Hall, a venue associated with Dickens himself. Atmospherically, you realise upon entering this hallowed hall that you are in for a very special staging indeed and the audience were not short-changed.

Antic Disposition founders John Risebero and Ben Horslen have combined with Musical Director Christopher Peake, to create a new version of A Christmas Carol with a slick script and familiar carols with new lyrics that really packs a punch.

Antic Disposition presents A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall

David Hunter and Leo Mann in A Christmas Carol. Photo: Scott Rylander

David Burt takes on the formidable role of Ebenezer Scrooge, full of humbug and bluster, he perfectly inhabits the Lord of humbug and misery, oblivious to the happiness of others over the festive period he is a man whose past has lead him to be miserable in the present. His transition following the visit of three ghostly spectres is revelatory. You can literally see the shadow of misery lift as he visits occasions past, present and future early on Christmas morning.

David Hunter is a perfect Bob Cratchit. He is as caring and loving a father as Tiny Tim, Martha, Peter and Mrs M could want. The company for this production take on many parts each to inhabit this cautionary tale. There are wonderful performances from Alex Hopper s Fred, Dean Riley as Peter Cratchit, Andrea Sadler as Mrs Cratchit, and David Anthony and Chris Courtenay as The Ghosts Of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Jacob Marley Respectively

Scrooge’s overnight journey is perhaps no more powerful that when we are shown the future of Tiny Tim if Scrooge fails to amend his ways. Leo Mann’s Tiny Tim is a delight and Bob’s sorrow at his passing palpable.

The tight musical ensemble under the direction of Christopher Peake was able to create a suitably eerie soundscape and gave the acting ensemble backing for some wonderful choral singing throughout that really gave the piece atmosphere aplenty.

Antic Disposition presents A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall

Chris Courtenay and David Burt in A Christmas Carol. Photo: Scott Rylander

I have to admit that the uncredited Ghost Of Christmas yet to come gave me chills as it glided across the floor leading Scrooge to a gravestone that would untimately prove to be his own.

I would dare anyone not to be moved by this wonderful Christmas offering. It certainly gave this reviewer goosebumps and comes highly recommended. Listening to the news today and hearing about current states of homelessness in London at Christmas, it is good to be reminded that compassion and charity are important to society no matter what the year.

This production really is a must see this Christmas.

★★★★

by BritishTheatre.com, 23 December 2015

Review: A Christmas Carol by The Reviews Hub

A Christmas Carol is probably the second most famous Christmas story – behind a slightly more influential tale about a baby, three wise men and a stable – and the reason that it has lasted so long is that Dickens cleverly unites the notions of charity and benevolence, which is a key feature of the festive season, with the very human need to reassess our lives as another year closes. Antic Disposition have reprised their musical version of this ghostly story of redemption and salvation in the delightful surroundings of Middle Temple Hall to remind us, as that other great philosopher Kylie once said, “it’s never too late”.

In the evocative surroundings of this 16th-century hall this version of A Christmas Carol takes on a delightful and at times enchanting new aspect that fits perfectly with the festive season. The tale is a familiar one, a miserly Scrooge loathes all kinds of Christmas celebration, charity or any other forms of humanity, but on receiving a warning from the ghost of his dead business partner and a visitation from three spirits that take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future, he finds redemption.

Most impressive in Antic Disposition’s musical version is the believable way in which they show Scrooge’s slow self-realisation; it’s not a sudden change of heart but a slow warming as he revisits happy memories of the past including his boyhood enthusiasms for Robin Hood and Ali Baba, as well as his love for his early business experience at Fezziwig’s. This is interlaced with Christopher Peake’s music which cleverly rewords familiar carols which help to maintain the Victorian flavour of the piece. In the early sections, a new version of God Rest Yea Merry Gentlemen is used to give a hint of the conditions of the poor in London as Scrooge pounds the streets, which has a Les Miserables-like flavour. Later Bob Cratchit has an emotional future moment to the tune of In the Bleak Midwinter which is beautifully placed.

David Burt is excellent as Scrooge bringing a gruff and growly tone as he snarls at everyone from his clerk to the charity collectors who come to his door. Amid ‘tidings of humbug and gloom’ Burt is the perfect miser and sets the tone nicely for what is to come. This is tempered by a subtle melting as Burt allows his Scrooge to become lost in past moments, making his ultimate change of heart seem natural and meaningful. Good support also comes from David Hunter as a happy-go-lucky Bob Cratchit who in this version clearly uses that essential goodness to tolerate his employer. Alex Hooper plays a likeable Fred a character that is usually a bit annoying, as well as the young Scrooge which is good piece of casting, as is doubling-up on the jovial characters of Fzziwig and the Ghost of Christmas Present which David Anthony makes buoyant and cheery.

Many of the small cast seem to have been chosen for their singing abilities, sometimes at the cost of the acting, but that rarely matters in a production that creates some many lovely scenes including carollers with projected snow, the atmospheric and sinister future, and the embracing charm of the Cratchit’s home. Arguably the Cratchit’s could look slightly more poverty-stricken and ragged than they do here but that falls aside as the cast sing a bewitching version of Silent Night while Scrooge sees miners and lighthouse keepers celebrating Christmas.

There are a few versions of Dickens’s famous tale available at the moment, but this is the one to see. The beautiful setting of Middle Temple Hall fits perfectly with John Risebero’s design and lends an ancient feel to this much-told story. This version of A Christmas Carol is a charming seasonal treat that should convince even the most cynical to wish everyone a merry Christmas.

★★★★

by Reviews Hub, 24 December 2015