Saturday, 28 November 2015

"Dick Whittington"
Nottingham Playhouse.

Written and directed by Kenneth Alan-Taylor, you just know that you're in for a whole lot of fun when the Playhouse panto kicks of the Christmas season, and "Dick Whittington" will not disappoint.

The glitz and glitter is in abundance as we start off with a Tyrolean dance section which brings us into the introduction of the panto family we all know and love, well if you're a regular that is. there are three new faces added to the Kenneth Alan-Taylor roster this year and they fit in like a comfy old slipper.

We all know the story of "Dick" but Kenneth seems to inject a certain freshness in the well worn story as do the wonderful cast of regulars and newbies.

Dick is played by Tim Frater, As usual bouncing with energy and energetic dance moves. Tim brings soul to the show. Instantly likeable, if you've not seen Tim before and a firm family favourite.

The gorgeous Rebecca Little is back as Fairy Bowbells, mixing her pantos up with an accent not unlike Babs Windsor, but that's probably where the Bow Bells come into it.

Sarah The Cook is in the capable hands and corset of regular Grand Dame of the panto, John Elkington. Once more giving his absolute all with that twinkle set firmly in his eye. His ad lib section where he interviews the kids before the big finale is as funny as the wonderful script he works from. He knows how to work the audience, holding them in the palm of his hand to the very end.

Another regular Anthony Hoggard is back as Florrie Fitzwarren. The facial expressions he produces are a dream to watch for. Comedy gold!

The baddie this year is played by Kevin MacGowan. King Rat hits just the right blend of nastiness and comedy. Just right so as not to scare the kids but enough to get them to boo and hiss in all the right places. A proper panto villain, and I love the way that he has a running catchphrase of sorts by adding "for those who don't know" when explaining himself. A nice fresh touch.

And so to the new family members. Alice, Dick's betrothed is played by the lovely Natalie Taylor-Gray. She has excellent theatrical roots as she is a graduate of the Sylvia Young School who has produced many well known faces from TV and film.

Jasmine White plays tallulah the Cat. Never have I looked at a cat and thought "Phwooaaarrr" before, and for those who don't know, that means she is hot stuff!. Lithe and very sexy with a long background of dance training and this really shows in her perfect balletic dance moves.

Last, but not least is Jack, Dick's friend played by Matthew Chase. Matthew, from the reaction he got on opening night, is also a firm favourite with the female theatre going audience. Fresh-faced and cheeky he sings and dances through the panto with ease and gusto.

The newbies take the professional "ad-libs" within their stride, unphased and with true professionalism.

A brilliant set, which never fails to impress. Big, bright and beautiful scenery which has the wow factor, as does the costumes for all involved, not just the dames. Just wait for the finale costumes and wait for your jaws to drop!

We've come to expect great sound and light and no failure there either, thanks to Adam P McCready and Jason Taylor respectively.

Classy and tight choreography by Adele Parry, and as previously mentioned, very energetic. The tap scenes are sharp and some nice ballet and "strictly" type moves in with the party sections.

Talking of which there's some great musical numbers, as usual something for everyone. Songs from classic musicals, George Formby style section, a few nautical songs, a Caribbean party and a few chart tracks to get the hands clapping and the kids involved.

In short, Christmas has arrived with one big party atmosphere. Full of fun, old and the odd new jokes, topical references from TV shows like "I'm A Celebrity" as well as TV commercials incorporated within. Booing and hissing, heroes and villains, fun music... well for those who don't know, it's a non-stop party for a couple of hours for the whole family that'll leave your face aching with laughter and the palms of your hands red from clapping.

"Dick Whittington" is on at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 16 January 2016.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Lady Killers" by Riverside Drama Company
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.

The classic 1955 Ealing comedy brought back to life on stage is a wonderful piece of comedy theatre and safely stays that way in Long eaton this week.

Five diverse oddball criminal types are planning a bank robbery and their leader, Professor Marcus rents a room on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow, Mrs Wilberforce under the pretext that they are classical musicians. All is well and the robbery goes to plan until the fruits of their labour come to light.Mrs Wilberforce's law abiding ways get the better of her, even though she has been advised that she is an accomplice, and she decides to contact the police. Unbeknown to the five criminals, Mrs W is already known to the police, which turns out to be in her favour, especially after the criminals are dispatched in various and bloody ways!

Mrs Wilberforce is played wonderfully serene by Liz Turner and is an absolute delight to watch as she sticks to her guns without a shred of fear of those nasty men. Liz brings out the character of Mrs W which is depicted from the opening of the curtains.

Professor Marcus played by Paul Norris is again a master stroke of casting as the calm exterior of the leader of the gang slowly peels away to reveal a cold blooded murderer. great fun to watch and he has some wonderful lines to deliver and some wonderful acting, bordering on the ever so slightly eccentric.

Marcus's accomplices are Harry Robinson (James Billington), a brilliant comic character who has a bit of an OCD issue and loves cleaning. Louis Harvey (Dave Whyatt), the Romanian who hates old ladies, and we find out the reason for this just before his dismissal from the story. Louis would rather slit your throat than look at you and has a lovely way with his words with his misunderstanding grasp of the English language. A wonderful darkly comical part for Dave.

Major Courtney played by Mike Evans is one of the old war boys who has a penchant for ladies' clothes and is one of the more level headed of the gang but he does suffer slightly with his nerves.

And then there's the simple but strangely kind-hearted One Round, or Mr Lawson as he is introduced. Played by Martin Holtom, this is another character led role. One bullet short of an ammo round but protective of Mrs W to the end... and we mean the end!! Some brilliant facial expressions from Martin which brings out the comedy from Lawson's character.

The local bobby on the best, Constable MacDonald, who seems to be a regular visitor to Mrs W's home is played by Robert Osmond and the other character here, apart from the swarm of blue-rinse brigade gang, is Mrs Tromleyton, their leader, played by Amy cannon who made her on stage debut on Wednesday night.

Retaining all the great comedy of the original film, this production, directed by Lizzie O' Hara is a masterclass in comedy theatre. A brilliant two tier set also designed by Lizzie O' Hara and Bob Baron, not quite as lop sided as it could have been but it did the job perfectly well. Being very very picky here but some of the sound effects, namely the record scratching when the record player was knocked was slightly mis-timed, which caused the odd titter, but again, being very picky on my part.

Loved the costumes sourced by Mina Machin, (who also was in charge of the sound) along with the cast.

A wonderfully entertaining and fun night of black comedy, some places were really black, especially one scene with Marcus and Louis near the end, but most definitely worth getting a ticket for this classic piece of theatre.

"The Ladykillers" is at the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton until Saturday 28 November 2015.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

"Mack & Mabel"
Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Michael Ball is the king of musical theatre and shows it here playing Mack Sennett, silent movie producer. He is at first unrecognisable as he is still carrying some weight around his face but that does not disguise that wonderful voice he has. Powerful, tender with his rich tonal qualities, he wraps his tonsils around some lovely songs in this show; the most well known being "I Won't Send Roses"

It's the true story of Sennett who discovers Mabel Normand, played by Rebecca LaChance, and makes her a star of the silent movies. He eventually falls in love with her and an "arrangement" develops.When she wants more artist integrity by making more than a two reel movie, Sennett drives her away into the arms of his rival, William Desmond Taylor (Mark Inscoe), who splashes Mabel over the newspapers with his movies. Sennett lures her back with the promise of a "serious" film but when this doesn't materialise after three weeks, she goes back to Taylor and her drink and drug lifestyle.

Once again Sennett lures her back with promises of making the film she wants to make, "Molly", but before this can be done Mabel dies suddenly, leaving Sennett surviving on his celluloid memories.

A supporting cast of very strong actors with strong voices include a band of actors with a whole load of theatrical credentials including Gunner Cauthery (Frank), Timothy Quinlan (Mr Kessell), Rolf Saxon (Mr Baumann) and Jack Edwards (Fatty).

There are some wonderful dance routines here with some classy choreography, not least the tap routine which is straight out of 1930's Hollywood. this features the very talented Anna-Jane Casey, who has a wonderful voice and great tap technique. the song being "Tap Your Troubles Away".

Amazingly tight ensemble work with some lovely hand control end lines which really show off the upper body choreography rather nicely providing a very classy routine, not just in the tap scenes but throughout.A great job done by choreographer Stephen Mear.

The sets were amazing and you have to see how they get a full train and carriages as well as an ocean liner to be on stage. Bringing the old Hollywood magic to life on stage with this big production. Robert Jones is the set designer and also responsible fro the beautiful costumes as well.

A live orchestra completes the whole lush feel of the production and with their position, they complimented the actors perfectly. Another job well thought out and designed by Paul Groothuis.

This is based on a true story and while it may look good on the annuls of Hollywood silver screen literature, I just found the story to be not as strong as it either could be or as strong as other Hollywood behind the scenes romances. It was a good story, just not a great one and the final section, where Mabel died just seemed to be there and then end. No build up, it seemed as if they had run out of an idea to wind the show down and therefore just announced her death and that was it. The End.

Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing Michael Ball do what he does best, and he is a very convincing actor. He made me believe that i was watching Mack Sennett and not Michael Ball playing a part, but this really wasn't the strongest vehicle for his immense musical talents.

Well worth seeing though just for the legendary Mr Ball and the glitz and glamour spectacle. "Mack & Mabel" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 28 November 2016.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

"Business Affairs" by Beeston Players
Round Hill School, Beeston.

Written by John Chapman and Jeremy Lloyd this is a wonderful double-entendre laden farce.

To smooth the impending sale of their failing haulage business to a pair of European businessmen, Stanley and Norman arrange to complete the deal in a suite at a smart London hotel. At the request of the new buyers, Kurt and Sven, they even arrange for the services of two “sophisticated ladies of the night” to help the new owners celebrate once the deal is completed. But Kurt and Sven have other ideas and intend to knock down the agreed price at the last minute.

All appears to be going to plan until Norman and Stanley’s wives Hilda and Rose arrive unexpectedly at the hotel to wish them luck. Things are then thrown into chaos when the escort girls suddenly cancel, and Kurt and Sven mistake Hilda and Rose as the evening’s “entertainment”. With the sale of the business at stake, the wives decide to play along - much to the consternation of their husbands - so when the real escort girls arrive due to a change in circumstances, pandemonium ensues and an ever-spiralling series of deceptions and lies keeps everyone on their toes.

Dave Roberts plays Stanley, the brains behind the haulage firm and the more nervous of the pair of haulage sellers. His accountant compadre Norman (Mark Robbins) is the less intelligent of the businessmen and comically keeps saying what's on his mind, although it's what he should have actually kept just there, in his mind. It's these lines that create many comic moments.

The wives, Hilda (Nicola Adkin) and Rose (Alison Williams) play up to their roles as mistaken "hookers" marvellously. But it's just to make sure the deal goes through of course!!

The businessmen, who are stereotypical "Schwedes" are wonderfully over the top. Kurt, played by Rob Jackson and Sven played by Gary Frost. Sven sporting a luminous blonde wig and is his country's "Iron Man", full of stamina, as is the sex mad Kurt with his role play and fantasies.

The booked "escorts" are played by Abbie Maddison (Sabrina) and Sue Frost (Veronica). These two tease and tempt Norman and Stanley within an inch (ahem) of their lives. The conversation between the two real escorts and the wives are wonderfully bitchy at times and real comedy "tarts with hearts" roles.

There were a few too many forgotten lines that needed the help of the prompt (Trish Delderfield) throughout which broke the fluidity and the comic timing of the play. It also meant that some of the double entendres went over most people's heads, which was a shame because it is a wonderfully funny play. When the script flowed though it was a masterpiece in farce, smoothly delivered.

Well directed by Larraine Maddison and a special mention to the sounds and light department of Fiona Maxwell and Jill Griffiths. Some spot on timing of the phone ring sound effects. A smart set design which did actually look like it should be a hotel room, designed by Sam Williams.

There are more pluses than negatives in this play, In fact the only negative was the use of the prompt too much, but when this play swings, it really swings. Brilliant comedy lines and there's some lovely comic timing when the script is flowing, and that's when you feel most comfortable and able to take advantage of the funnies. Naughtiness in the style of the old seaside postcard humour is always funnier with a good cast, and that's what we have here.

"Business Affairs" is at Round Hill School, Foster Avenue, Beeston until Saturday afternoon, 21 November 2015.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

"Sister Act" by ESNA
Loughborough Town Hall.

It's wonderful when you can use history to look forward to something. Let me explain.I could have written this review of "Sister Act" without even seeing it because of history. I knew the orchestra would be good because I knew from past experience just how good Jon Orton is. He was musical director for the wonderfully crisp, clear sounding orchestra for "Sister Act".

I knew the lighting would be excellent because of the legend of lighting Tom Mowat was in charge. Having seen many productions where Tom has been at the lighting helm, I had every confidence that this show would be spectacular. And I was right.

So, we have the sound and light sorted, now for the cast. The lead role of Deloris Van Cartier is played by the uber talented and incredibly gorgeous Monique Henry. Revisiting the role she played at the Nottingham Theatre Royal, Monique lived up to, yet again, my every expectation in being just as brilliant as I knew she would be. She sizzled with sass, And that amazing voice was as amazing as ever. And what wonderful costumes! The final costume will take your breath away.

For those who don't know the story of "Sister Act", here's a teaser.... Deloris is a club singer who witnesses her boyfriend, Curtis, commit a murder. She runs away to the police and thanks to her old college friend who is a policeman, Eddie aka "sweaty Eddie", he hides her within a nunnery, and that's where the fun really starts when she starts to transform the once tone deaf nun's choir into gospel glory.

There are some brilliant performances here. Curtis is played by Jason Lang and is a really natural swagger about him, maybe playing nasty comes as second nature to him, who knows? What i do know though is that he has a great set of vocals on him. Just listen to him squeeze out every bit of malicious intent out of "When I Find My Baby".

His henchmen TJ (Benjamin Hardy), Joey (John Smith) and Pablo (Jarrod Makin) are a comedy triple delight. their tribute to 70's slow disco "Lady In The Long Black Dress" is a lovely send up of songs like "Float On" by The Floaters. Brilliant comedy song from the trio.

Eddie was played by Sam Hutchinson, and I was saying afterwards that Sam has a wonderful singing voice that encapsulates the 70's smooth soul era perfectly. He has a very contemporary vocal style which was very easy to listen to. A natural singer. Great version of "I Could Be That Guy".

And so to the nuns. Led by Mother Superior, Margaret Fardell, the staid head who, by the end of the play warms nicely towards Deloris, bringing out the human side of the nun.

One actor who has a voice that sent shivers down my back tonight was Susan Pascoe (Sister Mary Robert). her version of "The Life I Never Led" was just stunning and especially that long note at the end. So pure and so powerful is her voice.I loved it.

And for comedy you would have to go a long way to beat Sister Mary Lazarus. Played by Liz Bristowe, she rocked and rapped her way through some rollicking gospel stylied songs, drawing a round of applause immediately after her rap, which was half way through the song.

And then there was the lovely Claire Malpas who played Sister Mary Patrick, another wonderfully fresh performance.

One other smaller but equally comical role was from Neil Ledward who played the ever excitable,but oh so trendy Monsignor O'Hara, who ended up looking more like one of the Beastie Boys with all that gold and bling!

A wonderful ensemble who fleshed the show and sound out wonderfully well to create a big,brassy and brilliant backing to the show.

Only the sound, or at times lack of it from the microphones plagued the show, but this was opening night and these things happen and there's not a lot you can do if things like this go wrong. After all, it must be a nightmare to mic up 30 plus singers and expect it all to go to plan on day one.

The whole group worked well together and this showed when one of the microphones failed when a son was being sung and Jon, conducting the orchestra seemed to pull the volume down a notch to make it easier for us to hear. A conductor who is in tune with what's going on, on stage. Not many in the audience may have noticed that but I did.

"Sister Act" is a wonderful, warm, happy show and in the hands of Esna Players, a massive hit to add to their already vast repertoire of successful shows.

"Sister Act" is on at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 21 November 2015, but don't hang around because Tuesday night was practically full up.

Monday, 16 November 2015

"The Pitmen Painters" by Lee Hall.
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre.

Even I had heard of this story before tonight and what a wonderful story it is. A group of miners from Ashington, just north of Newcastle join an art appreciation society, not quite knowing what they are looking for. Definitely not expecting what they found. Under the tutelage of Professor Lyon they develop their art and from little acorns mighty oaks doth grow. They go on to great acclaim and their paintings are exhibited in some of the most prestigious galleries of their time.

The joshing banter of the miners is richly comic, while their determination to learn and make the best of their harsh lives proves deeply affecting. As in Billy Elliot, Hall insists that culture should be available to all and that there are more worthwhile things in life than getting bladdered down the pub or sitting slumped in front of the telly. Why should the working classes be forced to make do with rubbish?

A believable cast, although some of the Northern accents were sometimes a little exaggerated and at other times not even noticeable, but on the whole quite realistic. I soon forgot to listen out for the recognisable dialect and concentrated on the warmth and the humanism of the play. There's plenty of comedy here and the lines are very natural to the characters.One of the best comic scenes come when a life model turns up to pose but as it's not in the regulations, it didn't happen, much to the disappointment of the two younger members of the class!

Speaking of naturalism and believability, Professor Lyon's character was brilliant, played by Oliver Lovley, but then again all the characters were so well played Colin Treliving as George Brown, the leader of the group, Fraser Wanless was brilliant as Oliver, the painter who had the most attention from the art luvvies with his paintings, Thomas Willis as Jimmy Floyd, James Green as the youngest member who only joined as he had nothing else to do and had no job. I love character driven roles and Geoff Longbottom had a wonderful role as the elder statesman of the group, harry Wilson. Not a miner but a dental mechanic who repeatedly reminded us that he had been gassed in the war, Wonderful piece of characterisation.

The "life model" Susan was played by uth Page and the art aficionado Helen Sutherland was played beautifully ever so slightly aloof by Jane Pyke. The other secondary character was the artist Ben Nicholson played by Sean Radford.

Brilliantly cast and wonderfully acted. Even though the sets were minimal it didn't matter, the story and the individual characters of the miners carried this play through. Heart warming and full of hope this play is a very upbeat piece of theatre.Beautifully and skilfully directed by Beverley Anthony and produced by John Anthony this is well worth seeing.

"The Pitmen Painters" is on at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 21 November 2015.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

"He Wore A Red Hat"
by New Perspectives Theatre Company..
An alternative festive offering from New Perspectives, the theatre group who brought "Hood" to the Theatre Royal. The story is one of Josh Rogan, a poet who wanted to be a local sleuth, out to solve the issue of several loosely-based Christmas themed crimes in the area, but failing to curry favour with the local police force. Unperturbed he decides to go it alone, along with his protege, and along the way a strangely behaving woman called Gwyne who arrives in a strange unorthodox way!
I'm not going to say any more of the plot because it may spoil it for anyone who sees the play.Also, quite an integral part of the tension and atmospheric building, is Josh's, hired from Gumtree, sound technician (don't ask, just go and see), who wears a couple of masks all the way through. Apart from applying the sound effects, she creates a bit of the humour as well with the choice of sound bites.
A cast of three (not counting our mysterious sound person) appear in the flesh, Gerry Howell (Josh), Mufaro Makubika (protege), and Kate Kordel (Gwyne). There are several other actors who make appearances through the power of cinematography.
The cast set the play in Sneinton, Nottingham where I saw it, but, as they will be touring the play, it will be set in whichever area they will be in at the time. A nice localised touch I thought.
Some really nice sound and lighting effects from Alex Stafford and Adam McCready respectively and directed by Jack McNamara, I just felt there was a page that I had missed here and I don't know why that is. New Perspectives pride themselves on presenting new and different pieces of theatre but this may be just a bit too different for me. I'm not saying there was anything wrong at all because I loved the concept of the storyline but maybe it was the "bare-bones" approach of the production that just didn't grab me, I don't know.
A good story, written by Jack McNamara, and really well acted but I just felt that it lacked.....something, I don't know what. Saying that I'd really recommend anyone wanting to see it to do so. There's a lot of comedy in there and some very well timed sound and light effects which will make you jump and create, at times, quite an eerie atmosphere. Great acoustics as well in the St Christopher Church Hall.
To find out where "He Wore A Red Hat" is touring near you, or to find out more about New Perspectives Theatre Company, go to

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

"An Inspector Calls"
Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley, it is one of Priestley's best known works for the stage and considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th century English theatre.

The play is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in April 1912, focusing on the prosperous upper middle-class Birling family, who live in a comfortable home in the fictional town of Brumley, "an industrial city in the north Midlands" The family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith (also known as Daisy Renton). The family are interrogated and revealed to have been responsible for the young woman's exploitation, abandonment and social ruin, effectively leading to her death.

Inspector Goole has a great deal of knowledge about the death of Eva Smith, even though the death was that day, and by his own admission, he never spoke to the dead woman, so how did he know so much about the run up to the suicide? All is revealed at the end of the play but there could be clue in his name!!

Apart from the main storyline there are several sub messages bubbling under. From the composite actions of the individuals and their affect on people, to class separation it's a very clever play and production but can sometimes be a little too busy in the undercurrents to take fully in.

The play is studied in many schools and this was reflected in the amount of school students in the theatre.

Liam Brennan plays Inspector Goole. Not your normal Inspector from the set era, 1912, who controls the continuity of the play, the story and the Birling family's continual questioning. Like a dog with a bone, he doesn't give up, but where is he getting all of this knowledge of the deceased and her relationships with the Birlings from?

Loved the character of the matriarchal Sybil Birling, played by Caroline Wildi, and her downfall is a joy to behold.

Tim Woodward plays the father, Arthur Birling. He's a straight talking Northern businessman whose iron rod ruling of his family slowly starts to melt under the red hot questions of Goole. While his family's downfalls are revealed like the peeling of a banana, he too is far from innocent.

Gerald Croft (Matthew Douglas), is the fiance of Sheila Birling (Katherine Jack) and it's at their engagement party that this all starts, and it's Croft who starts to put together, or pull apart the whole mystery of the Inspector.

The younger son, Eric, who may be one of the original Hooray Henrys, is played by Hamish Riddle and it's not until later in the play that his wild ways are revealed. An alcoholic who is also an integral role in the downwards spiral of Eva.

There's also the maid, Edna, played by Diana Payne-Myers,The character has a limited contribution in the play; however she is the only person in the play that can provide an insight into the life of Eva Smith, a character to whom Edna has a similar background (working class). It is she who opens the door to allow the Inspector into the Birlings' lives,

A brilliant set design and special effects which in parts will have your eyes widening and your jaw dropping.Brilliantly directed by Stephen Daldry, this is a very technical piece of theatre which makes for a visually exciting night out. A wonderful piece of classic literature which translates to the stage rather well, which it always has, but this particular production has all the modern edge to make it a treat for all ages.

There's a bit of artistic licence taken in the play though as the first red telephone box wasn't seen in the UK until 1924, but this play was supposed to have been set in 1912. Also the first radio for entertainment wasn't used until 1920, but is shown in this play.

"An Inspector Calls" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 14 November 2015.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

"American Idiot" by Streetlight Theatre Arts.
Derby Theatre

Directed by Matt Powell
Produced by Ollie Turner

There are musicals, and there are musicals. Once in a while a musical comes along which has the same effect on you as the ice bucket challenge (remember that). It refreshes the parts that other musicals can't reach and slaps you round the face. "American Idiot" is such a musical.

From the very start this wakes you up, shakes you up and doesn't stop until the full 90 minutes is up. It's ironic that opening night fell on Bonfire Night as this show is a cracker, it makes you spin like a Catherine Wheel and there's not a damp squib in sight.

While this rock opera made up of Green Day songs doesn't tell a story through the song lyrics the story is of three men and their different directions life takes them, all three going away to discover their lives have been enriched in their experiences when they all come back together.

It's all music and this highlights what wonderful melodies as well as the great rock music that Green Day have produced over the years. The music in the show provided by an excellent live band, directed by Dave Adey, as well as some brilliant solo guitar work from the cast.

Talking of which, I better start telling you what an amazing cast Matt and the production team amassed for the Streetlight final show.

Johnny, who is the main character, is played by Kyle Lamley. Kyle has a great rock voice, which really doesn't come as a surprise as he is also the lead singer with local rock band Theia. This also explains the wonderful guitar work on stage as well. Johnny is lured by drugs and there's a very vivid part of the show which shows him and his girlfriend taking drugs, which is quite harrowing.

Now the man responsible for this irresponsible behaviour is St Jimmy, played by Oliver Wheddon. If you've seen Ollie in anything in the past, then you may not recognise this character because St Jimmy is pure evil. It's a testament to Oliver's acting that I started to really hate the character. Dressed all in black, and with Ollie being so tall, he dominated the smaller in stature Johnny, making his character all the more dangerous. If you can remember the skeletons in that old film Jason and The Argonauts then this is the sunken faced image that St Jimmy projects. A nasty piece of work and a real turnaround for one of the nicest, most unassuming blokes I know.

Tunny, who decides to go off to war and conforms is played by another man with a brilliant voice, Mitch Gamble. Again another very different role to what I've seen him do in the past, but a very refreshing and different side to his acting, And we also get to see his guitar playing which is another string to his musical bow.

The third person in the trio is Will, played by Andrew Bould. The character of Will isn't quite as prominent as he has to give up on his freedom to stay at home with his pregnant girlfriend but his frustrations at doing this are clearly shown. Another strong voice in a company of strong voices.

The main characters are all male but there are some very good female roles in this musical, especially from Katy Freeman (Heather), Aine O'Neill-Mason (Whatsername), no that really is the character's name, Alana Moran (Extraordinary Girl) and a whole ensemble of fiesty women who rocked out.

Talking of which, the choreography was spiky, spunky and great fun to watch. I was worn out just watching the energetic dance routines put together by Charlotte Richo.

The acting is amazing, there's some choice language, only to be expected from the storyline and content, and some brilliant songs. Loved the attack of "American Idiot", "Holiday" was a brilliant ensemble piece which made you feel like punching the air, "Favourite Son" has a brilliant comedy element and one for the ladies as Ben Jones appears in just his boxers. "Last Night On Earth", "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" (sung solo by Kyle amazingly well) which almost went into a gospel tinged ending, "21 Guns", "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "Time Of My Life" were all highlights for me and these showed what amazing songs they are and what brilliant versions created for the band and the singers to perform.

A massively enjoyable show and one that Streetlight can be so so proud of to end on.

Imaginative set design by Richard Heappey and some brilliant lighting designed by Kevin Greene and operated by Neil Jones and Joe Lammond.

"American Idiot" is on at Derby Theatre until Saturday 7 November 2015, but if Thursday night is anything to go by, you better get your ticket fast because the standing ovation they had was as far as I could see 100% of the packed auditorium and you know that word is going to spread just how good this show is.