TROUBADOUR WEMBLEY PARK THEATRE
Newsies is based on a true story about a group of young New York newspaper sellers who go on strike against the owner of the ‘World’ Newspaper Joseph Pulitzer (Cameron Blakely) due to fall in paper sales, Joseph and his executives, come up with the idea of increasing the price that he charges the Newsies from 50 to 60 cents. But by doing this the newsies couldn’t afford to buy them for reselling.
During this time, New York City was in poverty with thousands of orphaned children living on the streets. Those who were caught were taking to reformed centres, where they were kept in awful conditions. The local The newsies would sell the papers to make a living. They had no choice but to make a stand against what was happening. A young new newsie Davey (Ryan Kopel) and his younger brother Les (Haydn Court), persuade the leader of the Newsies Jack Kelly (Michael Ahomka-Lindsay) to strike and drum up support from other newsies in different districts.
They all voted and striked! But as the show goes on the strike was not just for them but for all the vulnerable children who were being exploited by the rich and powerful at this time. eventually victory was accomplished and as the paper company backed down with the help og the New York City Governor got the paper company and its owner Joseph Pulitzer to back down. A good deal was struck with the owner agreeing to buy back any of the newsie’s unsold newspapers. The end.
There was a brilliant performance from Medda Larkin (Moya Angela) who ran a music all where Jack could hide and paint scenery for Medda. As she said a talented artist. Jack wanted a better life and had ideas to escape to Santa Fe. Medda Larkin’ wanted to help him. But Katherine Plumber had other ideas and so did the Newsies.
Once you work out where you can park (Red Car park by the way) the Troubadour Theatre looks as it is a big warehouse. You have a bar area, that was reasonably price and the seating is on three sides of the stage. You are instructed not to leave your seats during the performance and the actors run up and down the aisles and they did, along with swinging on ropes and light fittings! The show starts and the performers come on and boy what a show they put on. Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Alternative. If fact the lot!
Set designer Morgan Large has designed the stage with a moveable centre piece, that reflected life in New York City during 1899. The design of the staging and surrounding walls immersed you in the action with newsies all around. The auditorium was used to its full potential. The lighting was effective and added to the experience in a positive way.
There was big groups acrobatic almost dancing from the whole cast, touching moments like Jack Kelly, helping Crutchie (Matthew Duckett) to come to terms with life as a Newsie.
For me the dancing of the whole company, almost leaves you out of breath. The timing was spot on and if a prop was dropped by mistake another dancer would pick it up throw it back to its owner without missing a beat. A well-oiled machine. So good! Each ensemble member is named and quite rightly so, there was no weak performer amongst them and each had an opportunity for their own bow!
Matt Cole (Director and Choreographer) did a fabulous job, and should be up for more awards. supported by Rachael Nanyonjo and Jane McMurtrie. There are many songs in Newsies, but none which really stood out apart from ‘King of New York’ and ‘Seize the day’. The story is a typical Disney story. The story I felt was a little weak, almost predictable at times. But then again the program did give the story and it’s outcome.
The relationship between Jack and Katherine Plumber (Plumber being a reporters name for the paper she wrote for, which was the rival to her father’s Josephs ‘the world)’ was sweet, For me the dancing made up for everything. What a spectacular dancing show and one that will go down for many a year as one of Disney’s finest dance show musicals. How can you not like this show. A Must see. The dancing alone would be worth your ticket price.
The show is currently booking until April 2023, but if I were Disney, it could go a lot longer than that. As long as the cast can keep being so energetic!
The show runs at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre until the 16th April 2023.
4 stars out of 5 for me. But a must see.
Reviewer Mark Bilsby