2009 July to September



On the stage – for five days – LAZYTOWN – LIVE! THE PIRATE ADVENTURE. Hot on the heels of the phenomenally successful first ever LazyTown Live! comes a new show that’s guaranteed to make super-heroes of the audience. With star-jumps, power-moves, laugh out-loud fun, sing-along songs and dancing in the aisles with “LAZYTOWN LIVE! THE PIRATE ADVENTURE” at the Mayflower. A high-energy story full of parrots, pieces of eight and buried treasure. What’s more, you’ll be joined by your favourite LazyTown friends. So shout ‘Ahoy there!’ to Stephanie and Sportacus – even Robbie Rotten who, given half the chance, would have Sportacus walking the plank so laziness could rule in LazyTown. Come aboard and help Sportacus save LazyTown today!

Magnus Scheving is the creator, producer and star of TV sensation, LazyTown, Scheving knows a certain amount of responsibility comes with the territory. He also remembers the crushing disappointment of meeting one of his own heroes. ‘When I was a little boy I went to a show starring a guy who was an icon for kids in Iceland at the time,’ recalls Scheving. ‘Afterwards I waited a long time in the freezing cold to see him, but he just walked straight past and didn’t even look at us – I never forgot it.’  Starting life as a series of books and live shows in Iceland, LazyTown the TV show has gone on to air in over 100 countries, while last year’s live production was the best-selling children’s theatre show in the UK and sold out faster than U2 in Mexico City. Despite such global success, Scheving stands by his philosophy that it’s the children, not the stars, who matter most. When 44-year-old Scheving first launched LazyTown in 1991, he had already carved out a successful career as a medal-winning athlete and fitness club owner.

In LazyTown Live: The Pirate Adventure. The devious Robbie Rotten has made the heroic Sportacus lose his memory. So that rather than promoting ‘sports candy’ (fruit and veg), Sportacus thinks he’s an ice-cream salesman. With the help of Stephanie, the kids of LazyTown and, of course, the audience, Sportacus remembers who he really is. For girls LazyTown is a music show and for boys it’s an action show,’ says Scheving. ‘While for parents it’s a tool to help them raise healthy kids. So it means different things to different people. I’m very proud that the audience is made up of 50/50 boys and girls – that was a real challenge and took a lot of homework.’

A promotional video

6th September – JETHRO

On the stage – for one night – JETHRO – is the stage name of Cornish stand-up comedian Geoffrey Rowe. Originally a timber man in a tin mine, he joined the St. Just and District Operatic Society and, in addition to his bass voice, locals found he had a talent for making an audience laugh. He began visiting the pubs of Cornwall to sing and joke and was quickly hailed as Cornwall’s top comic. Jethro made his TV debut on the Westward Television programme ‘Treasure Hunt’ playing a pirate co-host and from 1990 made a record nine appearances on TV shows hosted by Des O’Connor. He also has appeared five times on Jim Davidson’s Generation Game show, twice giving a demonstration of how to make a Cornish pasty. Jethro was also involved in one of the show’s longest sequences of out-takes, removed due to his and Davidson’s uncontrolled fits of laughter but later shown separately; it involved the story of Hans Brinker, “the boy who put his finger in the dike”, with a pun on dyke. Davidson has said that he regards Jethro as his favourite storyteller, one of his great stories being Train don’t stop Camborne Wednesdays. In December 2001 he appeared in front of Queen Elizabeth II for the Royal Variety Show. Aat 61 he returned to the Mayflower for his 19th appearance.

A typical story from Jethro

7th September – QUADROPHENIA

Live on stage – for six days – QUADROPHENIA – is a stage musical based on the 1973 studio album by English rock band The Who and the 1979 film of the same name. The album was the group’s second full-length rock opera, and the story reveals social, musical and psychological events from an English teenager’s perspective. The music and songs were composed by Pete Townshend and the story is set in London and Brighton in 1964 and ’65. The title is based on the term “schizophrenia” as dissociative identity disorder, which reflects the four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the story’s protagonist, as well as the personalities of the four members of The Who.

In November 2005, the first theatrical version of Quadrophenia was performed in Los Angeles. Then in February 2007, students from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama staged a production of Quadrophenia that was blessed by Pete Townshend. This production has been reworked, recast and expanded by Director Tom Critchley and playwright Jeff Young into this successful full-scale UK Tour which launched in Plymouth in May. The four Jimmys were played by Ryan O’Donnell, Rob Kendrick, Jack Roth and George Maguire. Actor Ryan O’Donnell received a 2009 nomination for “Best Performance in a Musical” from the TMA Theatre Awards for his performance as Jimmy in this production.

A look at the stage musical ‘Quadrophenia’
Pete Townshend attends a perfromance at the Mayflower

13th September – SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR

Live – In concert – for one night only – Soweto Gospel Choir. It was quite a coup for the Mayflower to host a performance by THE SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR which was formed in November, 2002 and in December of that year they recorded their first album “Voices of Heaven” which went on to reach the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s World Music Chart within 3 weeks of its release in the US. This success was followed when they won a 2003 American Gospel Music Award for “Best Choir”. In October 2006, the choir performed as invited guests for their Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 75th Birthday Celebrations. On 11 February 2007, Soweto Gospel Choir received its greatest accolade, a Grammy Award for their second CD “Blessed”, in the category “Best Traditional World Music”. In February 2008, the choir was awarded a second Grammy Award for their third album “African Spirit”, in the “Best Traditional World Music” category. The choir has toured the world extensively, performing at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, the Nelson Mandela Theatre and Royal Festival Hall in London.

Soweto Gospel Choir received its third Grammy nomination in December 2008, this time in the category Best Contemporary World Music, for their album, “Live at the Nelson Mandela Theatre”. The song “Down To Earth” from the blockbuster Wall-E movie, their collaboration with Peter Gabriel, won a Grammy in the Best Movie Song category. In February 2009, the choir became the first South African artist to perform at the Academy Awards, when they sang “Down To Earth”, the Gabriel/Newman Oscar-nominated song, with John Legend.

The Soweto Gospel Choir performing at the 2009 Mandela Day concert

14th September – THRILLER! LIVE

On stage – for six days – THRILLER LIVE is a two-and-a-half-hour concert revue celebrating the music of The Jackson 5 and the solo work and life of Michael Jackson. The show was conceived by Jackson family friend and author Adrian Grant. It had already been performed in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia before its West End opening at the Lyric Theatre, on 21 January 2009 where it was scheduled to run until 16th May 2009 but was extendwed for a further twelve months. This UK touring production had played the Mayflower earlier in the year.

A promotional for the show

20th September – ONE NIGHT IN VEGAS

Live on stage – for one night – ONE NIGHT IN VEGAS – MARTYN LUCAS: this show delivered everything that was promised – powerful musical numbers, live big band swing, beautiful dancing girls and a voice that will move you. Martyn Lucas started the evening with Elton John’s Piano Man and continued through numbers associated with all the greats that have appeared in Vegas with the showgirls in a dazzling array of costumes.

Martyn Lucas – performing in One Night In Vegas

22nd September – SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

Live on stage – for five days – SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – – If you never knew SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN was a forerunner of the now ubiquitous jukebox musical: Arthur Freed asked writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green to dream up a new musical based around his old songs. (So that’s why the plot’s so ropey!) both the film and the later London stage version opened to poor reviews. Sadly, we already know the perils of transposing hugely successful films, no matter how suitable, to the stage.

Don Lockwood (played here by Tim Flavin) and dippy co-star Lina Lamont (Amy Griffiths) are huge silent movie stars. The arrival of the talkies both threatens their star status, and gives Don and his new-found love Kathy Selden (Jessica Punch) the chance to shine. But the plot’s hardly important. It’s the songs, the iconic dancing, and the overriding sense of fun that makes Singin’ In The Rain one of the greatest musical films ever made. This production seemed to be missing a huge slice of that intrinsic fun. Despite a great performance from a wonderfully smiley Jessica Punch as Kathy, much of the show felt flat. “Make ’em Laugh” is one of the memorable songs from the film. “Bore ’em with Overlong Set Changes and Too Much Projected Film” isn’t. Sadly Tim Flavin’s dancing failed to convince us that he was the happiest man in the world. There was none of the leaping reach, the stretching physicality of a man who is simply unable to stop dancing because he’s so overjoyed to be alive. Somehow, Flavin’s too straight, too closed, too quiet, and too cold to win our hearts as the leading man.

Some shots from this production

29th September – THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Live on stage – for FOUR weeks – THE SOUND OF MUSIC – An Andrew Lloyd Webber production which opened at the London Palladiumin 2006 and ran until February 2009, produced by Live Nation’s David Ian and Jeremy Sams. Following failed negotiations with Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson, the role of Maria was cast through a UK talent search reality TV show called How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? The talent show was produced by (and starred) Andrew Lloyd Webber and featured presenter/comedian Graham Norton and a judging panel of David Ian, John Barrowman and Zoe Tyler.

Connie Fisher was selected by public voting as the winner of the show. An alternate Maria, Aoife Mulholland, a fellow contestant on How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?, played Maria on Monday evenings and Wednesday matinee performances. Simon Shepherd was originally cast as Captain von Trapp, but after two preview performances he was withdrawn from the production, and Alexander Hanson moved into the role in time for the official opening date along with Lesley Garrett as the Mother Abbess. After Garrett left, Margaret Preece took the role. The cast also featured Lauren Ward as the Baroness, Ian Gelder as Max, Sophie Bould as Liesl, and Neil McDermott as Rolf. Other notable replacements have included Simon Burke and Simon MacCorkindale as the Captain and newcomer Amy Lennox as Liesl. Summer Strallen replaced Fisher in February 2008. The revival received enthusiastic reviews, especially for Fisher, Preece, Bould and Garrett. A cast recording of the London Palladium cast was released. The production closed on February 21, 2009, after a run of over two years and was followed by this UK national tour, which visited more than two dozen cities before ending in 2011. The cast in Southampton included Connie Fisher as Maria, Michael Praed as Captain von Trapp and Margaret Preece as the Mother Abbess. Kirsty Malpass was the alternate Maria.

A montage from the production
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