Fun and Laughter from The Three Little pigs in Birmingham

It started with an X Factor style intro, and ended with a good old singalong between the sworn enemies the pigs and the wolf, and it was total fun and laughter in between. I’m talking about the fun new reworking of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ that has been playing at Birmingham Town Hall this week, with a star turn by Birmingham’s own Simon Webbe.

630x38.fitwithoffsetWe all know the story, but it is fun seeing it bought to life by the an engaging and talented cast. The piggies show their charactors early on, Daniel Buckley is clever and kind, Leanne Jones is concerned with the environment, whilst Taofique Folarin is strong in spirit and body, but a little short on brain power (missing out 2 when counting to 3…). When their mother (Alison Jiear) tells them their sty is too small and they need to find new homes, the stage is set for a showdown with the Big Bad Wolf who made bacon of their daddy.

The songs are funny and the lyrics certainly need to be listened to carefully as they are so witty, but the musical really comes to life when Simon Webbe hits the stage. He is fabulous, super funny as the Big Bad Wolf in search of a porky barbecue. His song about being ‘just misunderstood’ is just hilarious, especially with a Strictly Come dancing style interlude that sees the wolf dancing a ‘foxtrot’ with one of his backing singers, who also just happens to be an owl. The leather jacket, the inhaler that gives him a touch of extra ‘puff’ for blowing down a house made of bricks, and all the choice lines (describing two of the pigs as a Double Whopper, and all three as an ‘all you can eat buffet) all this makes this wolf super memorable, and should make Simon an absolute shoe-in come panto season.

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The Three Little Pigs is a lovely retelling of a classic story that works so well on the stage. Highly recommended viewing for adults and children alike.

Simon Webbe Breathes Life into The Big Bad Wolf in ‘The Three Little Pigs’

If you are looking for a highly original, family friendly show to watch this Summer, then you need to check out Stiles and Drewe’s ‘The Three Little Pigs’. Starring Birmingham’s own Simon Webbe as the Big Bad Wolf, the ‘Three Little Pigs’ promises to be a new spin on the story, with jokes and songs, and a chance to find out a little more about the snouty faced creatures who somehow manage to outfox the wolf.

Simon Webbe as Wolf in The Three Little Pigs

Simon Webbe as Wolf in The Three Little Pigs

As well as Simon, who I had the pleasure to grab a few words with earlier this year when he was in town for the Strictly Come Dancing Live shows, the cast is full of stars from The West End musical theatre. Simon will be joined by Alison Jiear (Olivier Nominated – Jerry Springer The Opera, On The Town, Britain’s Got Talent 2015), Leanne Jones (Hairspray), Wolverhampton’s Taofique Folarin (The Lion King, Avenue Q) and Daniel Buckley (Book of Mormon). The Three Little Pigs is another hit from the multi-award winning musical theatre song-writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins, Honk!, Betty Blue Eyes).

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Stiles and Drewe say: ‘‘Most children will know the story of THE 3 LITTLE PIGS, so our job has been to reinvent it in a theatrical way, with hummable, memorable songs that will appeal to the whole family. Our 3 Little Pigs – Bar who loves to exercise, Bee who is “green” to the core, and Q the insatiable bookworm – learn to work together as a team to defeat the Big Bad (but possibly misunderstood) Wolf. We love surprising and bewitching our younger audiences, some of whom will be visiting the theatre for the first time. We take it as a great responsibility to encourage and nurture audiences of the future, so we try to ensure their first experience of a musical is a memorable one.”

With a performance running time is 55 minutes with no interval. This is a lovely family friendly show that is a great way to introduce young children to live theatre. It is suitable for children of all ages from 3+.

‘The Three Little Pigs’ is at the Town Hall, Birmingham from Tuesday 28th July – Sunday 2nd August. For show times and ticket information, click here.

 

Strictly Come Dancing Live Wows the Crowds in Birmingham

I can honestly not think of a better way to spend a rather cold afternoon, than enjoying the endless delights of Strictly Come Dancing, performed live on it’s arena tour. For sheer glamour, fun and family entertainment, it is hard to beat, as a packed house at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena discovered yesterday.

Presented by the lovely Zoe Ball, and with a new judging panel that now included 2008 champions Camilla Dallerup and Tom Chambers (swoon and double swoon – read my previous post to find out why), the live show combines the best of the television series – the most accomplished dancers (in this case reigning champion Caroline Flack, the returning Rachel Stevens and Simon Webbe), the surprise packages (Mark Wright, Thom Evans and local favourite Alison Hammond), and those who never quite got it (poor old Scott Mills). All these elements go to make superb family fun, with memorable moments that never stop coming.

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The standout dance of the afternoon was the Argentine Tango, a sensuous, mysterious dance performed by Simon Webbe and his partner Kristina Rihanoff that totally raised the roof of the Barclaycard Arena, and had the audience jumping to their feet in a spontaneous standing ovation. Also popular was Caroline’s American Smooth, performed with new partner Tristan MacManus, and Mark Wright’s two dances, which had the female members of the audience swooning.

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Alison Hammond gave the show a sassy, disco edge and finally passed the fabled ‘7’ score when she was awarded a nine by the always charming Tom, whilst Rachel Stevens mesmorised with two dances that totally belied the fact she had only 6 days to learn them after stepping in for Frankie Bridge. Thom Evans showed why it was disappointing that he left the show so early – his ‘On the Town’ routine was another highpoint, and his partnership with Iveta showed real chemistry.

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And then there was Scott Mills, not a dancer by any measure, but totally entertaining, particular when he made his entrance dressed as a crab. His banter with Craig Revel Horward was another entertaining strand to an afternoon full of them. (I loved it when he asked Craig if he was ever happy, and then told him to try telling his face.)

Strictly is the epitome of clean, wholesome family fun, and the live show is totally entertaining from start to finish. The finale, which included the whole ensemble and judges performing, is like a 1930s musical coming to wonderful life.  I couldn’t recommend it enough.

For information on venues and tickets, click here.