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stage tv

Pam Ann set to begin new UK tour

The Queen of the skies is all set to return to the UK’s shores to bring the British public a first class evening of wit, charm and brilliant observations on the realities of air travel.

Pam Ann, who has been lovingly brought to life by Australian comedienne Caroline Reid, has become well known for her own unique brand of comedy. She became an instant smash with the air crew and LGBT communities, and even went on tour with fellow LGBT icon Cher. Not one to shy away from controversy, she deftly navigates the flying taboos, stereotypes, and cultural differences that even the boldest of today’s comedians would rarely want to broach. Pam Ann’s ability to both rile and charm her audience is what keeps her flying high. Keeping things lively and nail-bitingly unpredictable, her shows are fast paced and takes no hostages, being both hilarious and frequently shocking. Likewise, her newest show is not for the easily offended.

Pam Ann Around The World jets in from sell-out tours in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Israel and sell-out shows at The Bloomsbury Theatre. Now the world’s favorite international airhostess touches down at London Heathrow before embarking on a UK leg of her latest and greatest tour. If you are currently waiting on standby and long to know when you could be off to take in this brilliant attraction we have included a handy list of the icon’s UK engagements.

2013 TOUR DATES:

6th February: Southend – Cliffs Pavilion (01702 351 135)

7th February: Croydon – Fairfield Halls (0208 688 9291)

9th February: Cambridge – Corn Exchange (01223 357 851)

10th February: Oxford – New Theatre (0844 871 3020)

12th February: Hayes – Beck Theatre (020 8561 8371)

13th February: Hayes – Beck Theatre (020 8561 8371)

16th February: Bournemouth – Pavilion (0844 576 3000)

17th February: Brighton – Theatre Royal (0844 871 7650)

20th February: Nottingham – Playhouse (0115 941 9419)

22nd February: Jersey – Opera House (01534 511 115)

23rd February: Jersey – Opera House (01534 511 115)

25th February: Woking – New Theatre (0844 871 7645)

26th February: Baskingstoke – Anvil (01256 844 244)

1st March: Manchester – Opera House (0844 871 3018)

2nd March: Manchester – Opera House (0844 871 3018)

5th March: St Albans – Alban Arena (01727 844 488)

6th March: St Albans – Alban Arena (01727 844 488)

8th March: Reading – Hexagon (0118 960 6060)

10th March: Birmingham – Alexandra Theatre (0844 847 2302)

 

If your idea of fun involves a night of comedy with a lady of class, elegance and delightful charm… you had best give this one a wide berth. If on the other hand you want to be rolling in the aisles and crying with joy then we urge you to call now and book your tickets while you still can. You can find more information about Pam Ann and her latest tour on her website.

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stage tv

Special Offer: Cheaper tickets to Loserville

‘Welcome to Loserville’, a mantra now familiar to the theatre-going public in the West End this season thanks to this original musical based at the Garrick Theatre. Now, So So Gay, in cooperation with milktwosugars is able to bring our readers yet another special offer in the form of cheaper tickets for this amazing show before it closes its doors in January.

To qualify for this great new discount, all our readers need to do is call 0844 412 4662 and quote ’1971′ or visit the Nimax Theatre website and enter the 1971 promo code when prompted.

The discounted price of £22.50 is valid on top price between 22 November and 22 December 2012, £32.50 between 24 December 2012 and 19 December 2012 and £39.50 between 31 December 2012 and 3 January 2013, when this amazing offer closes. If you only manage to see one show this festive season, make sure it is Loserville, and give this original show a proper send-off when it leaves the West End in January.

Go get yourself an early Christmas present during the season of goodwill and don’t forget to read our review of this show.

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stage tv

Review: The Boy With Tape On His Face (The Duchess, London)

It is difficult to review The Boy With Tape On His Face without merely giving everything away in all its joyful glory. The act is truly a unique one to say the least. This is a comedy act with a difference, there is no speech from the performer because, as the name suggests, he is muted by tape.

The show is stripped back to basics, relying purely on the comic performance of ‘the boy’ (Kiwi mime artist Sam Wills) and his vast array of props and tricks. Heavily relying on audience participation, the show is filled to the brim with awkward moments from people being made to do the daft and wicked things not many performers could get away with. The ‘Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)’ has got to be a personal highlight purely for two unsuspecting volunteers reluctance to do as the song suggests.

The gags were extremely basic but hilarious to say the very least. From the Star Wars/Darth Vader tape measure light saber duel, to the staple gun western shoot off.  Wills has thought of everything in order to fill the very fast hour and a half set. Nothing feels exhausted or unoriginal and Wills throws in plenty of spontaneous facial expression to make the show feel fresh.

The Boy With Tape On His Face builds up throughout the show, counting down from a poor unsuspecting audience member pressing the ‘Do Not Press’ button, to a 99 red balloon trick which is visually impressive and involves everyone. In short, ‘the boy’ himself is able to carry the whole show on his back and uses nothing but the most rudimentary items, yet he is able to make it all feel like we are looking at the work of a pure genius. It was not hard to see why Wills’ act was able to cause such a stir in the fringe circuit, and even warranted a visit to the Royal Variety Show to give the whole nation a taste of this mans amazing comic skills.

The show is one not to be missed, going in with a broad mind the show left us feeling as though we had just endured a hardcore gym session from laughing so hard and feeling immensely uplifted. Wills is a natural born comic performer and deserves every success with his act.

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stage tv

Review : Christmas with The Supreme Fabulettes (Leicester Square Theatre)

While we aren’t averse to a bit of drag in the run up to the Christmas season, we know it isn’t always to everyones taste. Its because of this we approached The Supreme Fabulettes, like one would approach three hungry jungle cats. With caution, a little fear and perhaps a very big stick just in case.

While a majority of the capital’s drag artists perform solo The Fabulettes are a trio made up of Vicki Vivacious, Vanilla Lush and Maddison Lee. We were intrigued to see how this mixture would present itself on stage. Drag queens are notoriously bitchy and, So So Gay has seen Ms Vivacious perform previously so had some idea of what to expect.

The crowd in the audition was a good mix. Part gay, part straight, part press, part friends and family. As we were instructed to take our seats the atmosphere was buzzing, for this reason we found it strange that almost immediately during the opening Christmas medley, production staff felt the need to ‘whoop’ and ‘cheer’ as if forcing the already willing audience into a false sense of enjoyment.

Once all three singers were in front of us the campness ensued. A medley of songs from Sixties phenomenon Diana Ross and the Supremes was nostalgic and featured all the classics so that every member of the audience could sing along, whatever age.

A few more numbers and then the bit we’d been dreading; audience interaction. Fortunately for us, we were seated mid row so avoided the path of Vicki and Maddison as they weaved in and out offering mince pies and banter. One elderly bearded gentleman being referred to as ‘The Colonel’ and ‘Finger lickin’ good’! Cue blushing.

What followed this interaction was, for us, the highlight of the evening. Solo performances of well know ballads. When the bravado and over the top campness were removed the audience could really see that these ‘ladies’ could sing! No wonder The Stage referred to them as ‘one hell of an all-man girl group’ in initial reviews. Maddison Lee from the outset has the best voice, strong and echoing to the back rows, however, it was Vicki Vivacious who we could not take our eyes off. Never dropping character and strangely hypnotising; a true performer. One member of So So Gay‘s entourage even stating ‘I quite fancy that Vicki one!’

Following a twenty minute interval, a well rehearsed and entertaining sketch introduced the first single from the trio; You ruined my Xmas. Following the older more classic songs this track this truly lifted the atmosphere of venue and kept the audience giggling throughout; We still have the tune in our heads now.

The lovely ladies of The Supreme Fabulettes[/caption]Following were up tempo Christmas hits and more recent chart toppers – practice your Gangham style moves- before classic Christmas ballads. The show finally ended on a true high note with the audience all rising to dance to ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ before finally bidding a fond farewell to the ladies themselves.

So So Gay enjoyed the evening. Entertained by laughter and a good sing a long we left feeling happy and satisfied. One thing that did shock us was that we wanted it to be more camp and over the top with the vulgarity and foul language we were expecting never really bursting to the surface, and isn’t that what drag is all about? Well, maybe not at Christmas.

You can buy ‘You ruined my Xmas’ on iTunes now.

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stage tv

Competition: Win 2 tickets to see ‘The Boy with Tape on his Face’

The lead up to Christmas has hit fever pitch, but here at So So Gay we still have just enough time to bring you another brilliant competition; to win yourselves some tickets to a great show in London’s West End.

This time the show in question is the critically acclaimed Boy with Tape on his Face, which is currently enjoying the London leg of its tour at the Duchess Theatre. The show, which we reviewed ourselves last week, is a brilliant mime act which has had reviewers bursting with enthusiasm and praise. So what better way to get over the post-Christmas blues, than by going to see this amazing, original comedy act.

Tickets are selling like hot cakes, so if you want to be in with a chance of seeing this little gem, then fill out the form below and you might just be the lucky winner of a night which promises to have you in stitches from start to finish.

Sorry. This form is no longer available.

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stage tv

Soul Sister announces dates for 2013 tour

When we went to review Soul Sister back in August, we enthused about Emi Wokoma’s powerhouse performance as Tina Turner which managed to get the audience on its feet. Likewise other reviewers saw that we had something special on our hands and Soul Sister was the toast of the West End when it was released.

Now our readers from outside the city will also get the chance to see this amazing show, as it begins its new tour across the UK, leaving practically no stone unturned in its quest to bring the gift of soul music to the huddled masses. If you want to see when this hot show is coming your way, check the list below and dont wast the chance to take in this show which is simply dripping with all the songs any hardened Turner fan would love to hear live.

King’s Theatre, Glasgow: Monday 14 January 2013 – Saturday 19 January 2013 (0844 871 7648)

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen: Monday 21 January 2013 – Saturday 26 January 2013 (01224 641122)

Wyvern Theatre, Swindon: Monday 28 January 2013 – Saturday 2 February 2013 (01793 524481)

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield: Monday 25 February 2013 – Saturday 2 March 2013 (0114 249 6000)

New Theatre, Oxford: Monday 4 March 2013 – Saturday 9 March 2013 (0844 871 3020)

New Theatre, Hull: Monday 11 March 2013 – Saturday 16 March 2013 (01482 300 300)

New Theatre, Cardiff: Monday 18 March 2013 – Saturday 23 March 2013 (029 2087 8889)

Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells: Monday 25 March 2013 – Saturday 30 March 2013 (01892 530613)

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham: Tuesday 2 April 2013 – Saturday 6 April 2013 (01242 572 573)

Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth: Monday 8 April 2013 – Saturday 13 April 2013 (0844 576 3000)

Assembly Rooms, Derby: Monday 15 April 2013 – Saturday 20 April 2013 (01332 255800)

Grand Opera House, Belfast: Monday 29 April 2013 – Saturday 4 May 2013 (0289 0241919)

Royal & Derngate, Northampton: Monday 6 May 2013 – Saturday 11 May 2013 (01604 624811)

Regent Theatre, Ipswich: Monday 13 May 2013 – Saturday 18 May 2013 (01473 433 100)

Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury: Monday 10 June 2013 – Saturday 15 June 2013 (01227 787787)

Book your tickets now because this is not a show you want to miss.

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stage tv

The Pink Singers celebrate their 30th Birthday in style

The Pink Singers, Europe’s oldest LGBT community choir, are set to celebrate their 30th Birthday with a special concert at Cadogan Hall.

On Saturday 19 January 2013, you can join the group for a whole evening of entertainment, featuring some of their best songs from the past three decades. They will be celebrating their journey in style with this unmissable event, showcasing some of their best numbers by Sondheim, Mozart, Karl Jenkins, Massive Attack and many more.

Renowned for embracing a wide range of styles and genres, The Pink Singers have been delighting audiences since 1983, when they were formed to add music to that year’s Gay Pride march. Their mantra is to continue fighting stereotypes, whilst bringing a message of inclusiveness. They have grown and adapted to reflect a changing society, making their own kind of music in support along the way.

This is no ordinary concert however, expect song, dance, comedy, and a few surprises along the way. As they say ‘after all, it’s not every year you turn 30!’

Tickets start at £12. The performance on 19 January 2013 begins at 7.30pm, at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.

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stage tv

Spotlight On: Darren Bell (Theatre production photographer)

Here at So So Gay, we love to go behind the scenes of anything and everything theatrical, so to kick off 2013 in style, we’re making it our mission to interview the people that make a theatre production happen. Each week we’ll be talking to some of the most important faces in the West End, and what better way to start than by chatting to the man who has the huge responsibility of making actors look pretty.

Darren Bell is a head shot and production photographer based in London, and has the unenviable task of getting that one elusive shot that will make an actor get seen for the casting that could change their life. He’s also recently branched out into taking photographs of big-scale productions. So So Gay had the opportunity to bend his ear about all things stage, and this is what he had to say…

So So Gay: So Darren, we take it you’ve always had an interest in photography?

Darren: I have yes. It’s taken me a long time to find out what I enjoyed though. I’ve photographed weddings, corporate work, parties, night clubs, children portraits and then recently started some West End work, which is where I’m most happy. It fills two of my life pleasures, photography and theatre!

What makes a good head shot for an actor?

Casting agents and directors look for something different every time. I think the best head shot is something that is honest and represents you. There is software that can remove all imperfections; change the shape of your nose, make your eyes bigger, remove freckles and even make you thinner, but I refuse to do that with headshots as your photo should be a true representation of yourself. I’m sure if you walk into an auditon looking nothing like your photo it puts you on a back foot. I’m also a massive fan of colour photography, because it shows you off and all your features. Black and white is an industry standard and I provide them as a matter of course, but colour is just real. It shows eye and hair colour, and there is much more feeling in the photo. But it’s all subjective.

Any real diva people you’ve worked with?

(Laughs) Yes! And she knows exactly who she is. But she is also one of the nicest, funniest and most talented girls I have ever worked with. She may have been in the recent production of Sweeney Todd in London, that’s all I’m saying!

Who would you love to get in front of the lens in your studio?

 

Darren took this. Let’s all say ‘Thank you Darren’.

I have three people I want to take photos of, mainly because I adore them in everything they do, and that’s Idina Menzel, Sheridan Smith and Dame Judi Dench.

You’ve recently moved into stage work; what’s the most exciting production you’ve photographed so far?

In the last three months I’ve worked on some pretty good shows, in the West End; Tommy, Seussical and Lift the musical. But I have to pick Seussical as my favourite, because I got to see my work turned into posters on the Underground. This has been one of my career goals, and was a total buzz when people were sending me pictures of it! It was an amazing feeling and so far a career high. I’m most excited about Lift, which is on at the Soho Theatre in February. I had to work with the director to create six images for the posters and the whole process was so much fun, I spent a total of twelve hours in a cold goods lift in an office block in the City, but I am really proud of the work the team of thirteen people created. It was a mental day!

What’s your favourite West End show?

I am one of those stagey Wicked fans. I think I’m on my 11th time of seeing it now!

And your least favourite show?

Ooh tricky. I will plead the 5th amendment on that one for fear of upsetting friends/clients/future clients. These questions are mean.

We can take a good picture on Instagram. Does that mean we can call ourselves photographers too?

This is a really good question, and everyone can be a photographer with iPhones, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I have seen some amazing work that has been done on iPhones – I even know one guy who did a fashion shoot on an iPhone to prove how good it was. I follow a lot of well known photographers on Twitter, have trained with a few and admire a lot from a distance, and I would call those guys artists. A camera is like a canvas and a paint brush, but it’s the artist that makes the photographer and if Instagram is helping people become artists then that’s a great thing. It just makes it tougher to compete in the business world as everyone wants to make money from photography. But a professional photogapher is probably 80% business and 20% photography, when you factor in the cost of professional level cameras and other things. For example, to work in a theatre you must have liability insurance, working in the streets taking photos you need that too in case someone falls over a bag or tripod – so many people forget about the small things. It isn’t actually that easy!

On a scale of 1 to Elaine Paige, how stagey are you?

I polled Twitter for this and the response was that I should change my surname to Strallen [After the famous Strallen sisters who are currently taking the West End by storm in various shows]. I was really flattered by that.

What does 2013 have in store for you?

2013 is already getting busy with fringe theatre work and I’m also working on getting a lot more head shots taken. I would love to take a photo of any of the three famous ladies I mentioned earlier, so if anyone can make that happen I’d probably offer my hand in marriage. I’m also expanding work into ‘Actor Portfolios’, which means taking photos of actors in a staged environment that looks like TV/Film work – think of a model portfolio but for actors.

And finally, who’s your stagey crush?

Wow, this question has caused much debate over Twitter and Facebook, but I bravely warned him just in case this went into the article, but it’s a very handsome actor, Dom Tribuzio.

After a quick Google of Dom Tribuzio we can agree with you Darren. Shall we think about starting a stage blind date service?

 

Some of the theatre posters Darren’s photography has been used in.

You can book Darren Bell Photography for head shots and production work by contacting him through his website. The first ten head shot bookings for January and February 2013 will be at the reduced rate of £80. So hurry and book today.

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stage tv

Theatre Competition: My Big Gay Italian Wedding

Following its critically acclaimed UK tour, My Big Gay Italian Wedding is heading to The Greenwich Theatre for a strictly limited engagement, and So So Gay is excited to offer you the exclusive opportunity to win two free tickets to the Gala Performance on Friday 1 February 2013 at 8pm.

Come and join the congregation as this off-Broadway, and comic tour-de-force cult hit arrives in Greenwich. Andrew and Anthony are getting married – and everyone wants to ‘help’! My Big Gay Italian Wedding spins into a hysterical fiasco as everyone tries to have their way. Planning a wedding can be hell, but planning to ruin a wedding can be a hell of a lot of fun.

This music and dance filled extravaganza has been playing to sold-out houses in New York for years and is showing no signs of finishing the reception early. The show also features members of The London Gay Men’s Chorus. With the popularity of Channel 4’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Don’t Tell The Bride, this laugh-a-minute comedy couldn’t be more current. It’s set to be the wedding of the year!

Theatre review website Broadway Baby said, ‘The energy of the piece is phenomenal: there is not one moment in the show which does not make you howl with laughter’, whilst Scotsgay magazine called it, ‘the most fun I have had yet on this year’s fringe’.

The show is written by Anthony J. Wilkinson, and is directed by Paul Taylor-Mills, whose credits include Rent (Greenwich Theatre), which won the Broadway World Award for Best Regional/Fringe Musical, and Steel Pier (Union Theatre) which has been nominated for Best Fringe Production by Whatsonstage, as well as six Off West End Awards, including Best Director.

To win, simply complete the form below before 6pm on Friday 25 January 2013 to be in with a chance to see this hilarious musical that is guaranteed to have you rolling in, or down, the aisle.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding tickets

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stage tv

Spotlight On: Steven Dexter (Theatre Director)

So So Gay had the opportunity to sit down with Steven Dexter, the director of the West End hit Loserville. We loved the show, but sadly the curtain has come down on the James Bourne musical after it played for the last time on January 6. We grabbed Steven for a cuppa and a chat to find out what went wrong…

So So Gay:  We absolutely loved Loserville – congratulations on a great show. How long did it all take to come to light?

Steven: Thank you. Glad you loved it! We are very proud of what we have achieved. The show was first discussed with me four years ago. Elliot Davis [writer and composer] had the idea to use James Bourne’s Son Of Dork, Welcome to Loserville album as a basis for a show. He approached me and I listened to the music and loved it. We threw around many possible story ideas and then Elliot wrote the first draft. The show was then developed and presented with YMT UK, a fantastic opportunity to actually get the show up in front of an audience – a producer saw that version and took up an option. We then opened at West Yorkshire Playhouse and then went into the West End. This is fairly quick for a musical. Someone once said it takes seven years to get a show on from writing to production.

The public reaction to the show had been great, why did it have such a short West End run?

Not enough people bought tickets, is the bottom line. It’s so hard for a new show and a new title to compete against ‘brand names’. If someone is going to fork out their hard earned cash on theatre tickets during a recession, they want to know what they are going to get.

So what’s next for Loserville, are there plans to take it on tour?

We are all due to meet this week to discuss the future so I can’t say any more at this point. I have heard there is interest from abroad.

What other shows have you been involved with during your career?

 

Steven directed the world premiere of the musical Honk!

I directed the world premiere of Honk!. Again, like Loserville, Stiles and Drewe [the writers of Honk!] approached me before it was even fully developed into a full show, so I was involved from the start. I love moulding a show into shape with the writers. Subsequently, I directed a production of Honk! in Israel and then a revival at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, where the show first started. I have done a huge amount of new musicals here and around the world. New writing is my passion. I also co-wrote and directed a jukebox musical called Mary Lou which ran for four years at the National Theatre. It looks like a revival of that is going to happen this year.

Which show in the West End would you love to get your hands on and direct?

Well I’ve not seen it, but having read the reviews it sounds like Viva Forever! could do with some hands on it. I don’t watch shows and think ‘I wish I could direct that’, I enjoy what is up there. Having said that, I always felt that Blood Brothers could have done with a better production. The show that ran for so long at the Phoenix Theatre, was a tour that just happened to come into town and then stayed and stayed…

Who’s your favorite stage performer?

I would say that it depends on the role. When I was in my teens I saw a fantastic musical called Flowers For Algernon at the Queens Theatre with Michael Crawford. I saw it three times and although it had a score by Charles Strouse, who wrote Annie, it flopped because of the subject matter, I would say. Crawford’s performance was incredible. Years later whilst I was at Drama School, I worked front of house at the Victoria Palace Theatre where Barnum with Michael Crawford was on – showing my age there! I then later worked on Phantom Of the Opera, again with Michael Crawford. Seeing his performance day after day was inspiring, as his dedication and commitment is second to none. I’m a big Caroline O’Conner and Josie Walker fan too! Both I have had the pleasure of directing. I also think Eliza Hope Bennett, our leading lady in Loserville is pretty special too!

How did you come up with the theme, design and styling for Loserville? We’ve certainly never seen anything like it before.

 

The energetic cast of Loserville take to the stage in one of the most creative productions we’ve ever seen.

It was a combination of ideas and circumstance that led to the concept. We had a cast of thirty-five in the YMT production and, as the script was already written, I knew I had to find a way of keeping everyone busy. So I thought, ‘what if the cast were somehow the scenery?’. I wanted the show to have a comic book feel to it – as a kid I grew up reading Archie book comics and the types in Loserville reminded me of those characters. I also wanted the show to shift locations and move very quickly, almost cinematically, cutting from one location to another. I looked at 70s art and saw the repeated images Andy Warhol used. I then started thinking about stadium events where the audience hold cards and flip them to create animation. I then thought about giant note pads with doodles from the mind of a geek inventor. The idea was born and developed. I love theatre to be theatrical. I also love to keep a company busy during a show. They never stop in Loserville!

Do you have any say in the casting of your shows? What do you look for in an audition?

Of course I have a say. I have the final say! Casting is the most important part of a director’s job. Cast well and you have a relatively easy ride as a director. It depends on the production as to what one looks for. For Loserville, we were looking for a very specific type of ‘raw’ performance. Vocally, Loserville is a hard sing and requires a certain vocal quality. The energy and exuberance of the cast is what makes the show what it is.

How stagey are you on a scale of 1 – Elaine Page?

Love this question! Well when I was in my teens I would say I was closing in on Elaine. Now I am a sensible six and a half…maybe seven.

Finally, what does 2013 have in store for you?

I have about six new musicals in various stages of development and production. One is a musical currently called Salsa Sisters, we did an hour version last year in Plymouth with YMT. It’s based on the true story of a Cuban family of sisters who formed the first ‘girl band’ in 1958. It has the back drop of the revolution and is a tale of family and ambition. A sort of Fiddler On The Roof meets Dreamgirls. Follow me on Twitter and you will hear of them as soon as I can tell you!

We love Steven, and we also hope that Loserville will be touring to a city near you soon. It would be a travesty if this little gem of a show gets laid to rest in the West End grave yard. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, and our Busted albums under our pillow at night.