Abandoman’s Rob Broderick takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Rob Broderick is one half of the comedy Hip-hop duo Abandoman, who are well-known for their lightening quick improvised rap. Alongside his on-stage partner Sam Wilson, Rob is about to perform at Edinburgh and is writing a brand new show for the Soho Theatre in September. Rob took some time off from his preparations to take our Sugar Rush Quiz

What are you currently working on?

A new written Hip-hop musical that is going to be animated and, fingers crossed, a lot of fun.

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

Working with other people is the best thing. Comedy is very solo and I adore working with other people. It’s what makes the job fun and it’s what makes creativity easier.

What is your favourite Book?

Have Gun Will Travel: Spectacular Rise and Violent Fall of Death Row Records by Ronin Ro

What are you currently watching on TV? 

A Stephen Colbert show about Trump. Since Trump became president I’ve become addicted to Colbert. I watch it and hope he’s going to be impeached every day. It’s fascinating because it’s a real voice of the resistance but it’s also tragic. I still find the whole Trump thing quite weird and so Colbert is like my release valve to that world.

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

It’s a toss-up between the cinema and the theatre, depending on how good the narrative sounds to me. I like theatre when it’s quite modern. I come from a family that likes Chekov plays that are set quite a long time ago. I feel like if a play has a modern feel to it, I’m the most excited.

What’s your favourite sweet? 

Maltesers

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

A baker or a clown. With a baker I really didn’t imagine there would be much selling. I thought I’d be doing a lot of baking and then consuming my produce. I wasn’t interested in making cash; it was just the cake access.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child? 

I shouted at a man cleaning a window once and I don’t why. I think I wanted to show off to someone and afterwards I never felt more guilty.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

I have moments at festivals as a performer where I go, “This is great, and this is what I wanted to do as a teenager.” So there are moments when I acknowledge that my job is to rap and I’m very proud of that.

What’s next? 

I’m going to be focusing on writing as well as freestyling. For 10 years I have run from writing. I find freestyling is something I’m naturally capable at and I’ve never really had the patience to sit down and write. I don’t think I’ve never really given it enough time to blossom, so the next thing is trying to create a fun written Hip-hop musical.

Abandoman will perform Life + Rhymes at the Soho Theatre from 14th-16th September

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West End star, Helena Blackman takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Helena Blackman became a household name after her appearance on the BBC programme, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? The show led to a successful musical theatre career, which has included roles in The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, My Fair Lady and most recently Thom Southerland’s celebrated production of Titanic at the Charing Cross Theatre.

Next month Helena will be performing alongside fellow West End star Amanda Coutts in a special new cabaret show. Featuring songs from musicals, together with pop and diva classics, Musicals and Beyond will be staged at Above the Arts, part of the Arts Theatre in London’s West End, on Sunday 6 August 2017 and Sunday 27 August 2017.

Helena took some time off from her preparation for the show to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

Amanda Coutts and I are doing a two-woman cabaret, called Musicals and Beyond, at Above the Arts, part of Arts Theatre West End, which features an array of songs from pop to rock to musical theatre and Disney!

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

I guess a commitment to fulfilling the needs of the people I work with and wanting to be as truthful and committed in my performance as I can. I don’t want to let myself down and am not half-hearted. I’m also a problem solver and if something isn’t easily achieved, I will look at different ways. I try not to be too hard on myself and give myself a good talking too and don’t get wrapped up in the business and to just revolve myself around it. I also try and focus on myself and my health mentally and physically – good things and positive outcomes come out of me being on top of my game!  Lastly, I roll with the punches and except how my ‘castability’ has evolved and try not to control that.

What is your favourite book?

I’m currently reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. It’s on my iphone so I read a little at a time because it’s extremely thought-provoking and I don’t want to miss a beat, so make sure I’m in a focussed place when I read it. Self-help in my game is so important, and I try and remind myself to stay in the present and not the past or the future.

Another book I loved was Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

What are you currently watching on TV?

I’m obsessed with TV drama, more than film or theatre. Particularly crime.  Standing out for me at present is Broken. Sean Bean is now one of my favourite male actors. This is due to his performance as a pain stricken priest.  However, I also love Suits – secretly I want to be a lawyer!

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

A restaurant. I love the intimacy and I can be anonymous and it’s not such busman’s holiday!  I switch off more.

What’s your favourite sweet?

American Twizzlers!

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A pop singer and an actress…always!

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

Wet myself on purpose! I was a pretty good kid.

What is your proudest achievement to date?

Lots of moments! Performing in front of millions of people, getting the job – any job! But mostly what makes me proud is that I still have a positive attitude in regards as to what I do and in life. I don’t blame anyone for my mistakes, I don’t pay attention to societal pressures and I take responsibility for my actions and my learning. Also, fundamentally, I am independent and reasonably objective and apply that to everything.

What’s next?

After Musicals and Beyond, who knows, that’s what’s exciting – anything can happen! I like to keep my options open and create and immerse myself in new experiences.

To book tickets to see Musicals and Beyond, please call the box office on 0207 836 8463. Or to book online, please visit: www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk.

West End star, Amanda Coutts takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Amanda Coutts became a favourite with West End audiences for her portrayal of Meat in We Will Rock you at the Dominion Theatre. The acclaimed stage star also played the role of Scaramouche when the show went on a tour of the UK and got her skates on to portray Pearl and Dinah in the German production of Starlight Express. Next month Amanda will join Helena Blackman for a review called Musicals and Beyond at Above the Arts but took some time off from rehearsals to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently rehearsing for Musicals and Beyond with Helena Blackman which we will be performing on the 6th and 27th August 2017 at Above the Arts, which is part of the Arts Theatre in London. Helena and I most recently appeared in the Musical Shout! together.

 

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

Working extremely hard and having a passion for the industry. I always knew I wanted to be in Musical Theatre and I knew I had to work hard to get there.

 

What is your favourite Book?

The Harry Potter books.

 

What are you currently watching on TV?

I love Versailles and Poldark.

 

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

I would choose a restaurant then onto watch a show/play at the theatre. So, both.

 

What’s your favourite sweet?

Chocolate Ice Cream.

 

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A dancer in a West End musical.

 

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

When I was about 3 or 4 years old I wanted to decorate my Mum and Dad’s bedroom as a surprise. I coloured in their wallpaper with felt tip colouring pens. Haha! My Mum spent the whole day scrubbing it off.

 

What is your proudest achievement to date?

Playing for the last time ever the role of Meat in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, London in 2014 and being the last person to ever sing that amazing song, ‘No One But You’. I was so proud of myself, the show and all my fellow cast members and co- workers. It was the saddest but the proudest day of my career.

 

What’s next?

Musicals and Beyond with Helena Blackman on the 6th and 27th August 2017 at Above the Arts, which is part of the Arts Theatre in London. Then I will be playing the role of Judy Bernly in the London Fringe premiere of 9 to 5 at the Gatehouse, London from 30th August – 1st October 2017.

 

To book tickets to see Musicals and Beyond, please call the box office on 0207 836 8463. Or to book online, please visit: www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk.

T: 0207 836 8463

Liza Pulman takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

As one-third of the irreverent singing trio Fascinating Aïda, Liza Pulman is well-known to London audiences for performing cabaret. Following the success last year of her solo Songs of Hollywood show, the talented singer is taking on a new challenge for 2017. Her new show entitled Liza Sings Streisand, sees her singing the hits of the revered film star Barbra Streisand and has been met with rave reviews.

Liza took some time out to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

I’m having a rest from working on anything for the future because I’ve just opened my Streisand show and my head is spinning.

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

A lot of amazing friends, perseverance and a lot of support

What is your favourite Book?

The Three Musketeers

What are you currently watching on TV? 

I’ve started watching House of Cards

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

Cinema

What’s your favourite sweet? 

I’m not a massive sweet person actually. I would rather have cheese.

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

I briefly wanted to be a fish doctor because I had a goldfish, which my father won for me at the fair. We called her Felicity and I remember seeing her floating corpse on top of the water. I was so traumatized by it that I thought perhaps I could do something to save the goldfish. It didn’t last long and then I wanted to be a singer.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child? 

I tried to get to my Christmas presents, which I knew my mum had stashed on the very top of some very expensive handmade wardrobes. I hung on the bar like a gymnast to pull myself up to see what was on the top and I brought the entire stretch of wardrobes down. My mum and dad were so unimpressed!

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

At the moment I feel like it’s this show, because I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done. Probably bigger than that, I learned to drive 18 months ago and I’m 48 and I passed first time, so I think that’s the proudest I’ve ever felt about anything I’ve done in my life.

What’s next? 

More Streisand stuff! We’ve had some amazing reactions so we are definitely going to book up some more. Then I want to do more singing with my band next year.

Liza sings Streisand is at the Crazy Coqs Cabaret on 12 June

Olivier Award winning playwright Jon Brittain takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Jon Brittain’s bittersweet comedy about gender and sexuality, entitled Rotterdam took home the prize for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre at the 2017 Olivier Awards. After acclaimed runs at both Theatre503 and Trafalgar Studios, the play is set to transfer to the West End this summer and will be presented later this month in New York as part of Brits Off Broadway.

Jon also has a sequel to his infamous comedy show Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho called Margaret Thatcher Queen of Games Shows opening at the Underbelly Festival Southbank next week, but the busy playwright took some time off to complete our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

A bunch of things! Rotterdam is off to New York before coming back to the West End, so I’m popping in and out of rehearsals and changing replacing any references to ‘trousers’ with ‘pants’ for the American audience. My show Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows which I made with Matt Tedford (who plays Maggie) is on at the Underbelly Festival on South Bank in May, June and July so we’re re-rehearsing that and waiting to see if we need to do any big rewrites because of the election. And then I’m also working on a new play for LAMDA, a musical with the composer Harry Blake, a couple of scripts for TV, and I’m directing John Kearns’s new Edinburgh show. It’s a busy time, but I’m very happy.

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

I’ve just kept on going. I started writing plays properly in 2009 but nearly all the shows that went on in the first few years, I put on myself. Of course luck is a huge factor; I benefitted hugely from taking part in things like the National Student Drama Festival and the 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic, I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by some very talented friends who I was able to collaborate with, and a couple of my ideas have turned out to be quite zeitgeisty. But genuinely, any success I’ve had has been because I just kept on going. I was sorely tempted to pack it all in around 2013, I wasn’t very happy with what I was doing, but something kept me going and that Summer I directed John Kearns’s first show and made Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho at Theatre503, which led to several other jobs and gave me the confidence to finish writing Rotterdam.

What is your favourite Book?

I don’t have a particular favourite as there are many I would happily revisit. But one that springs to mind that had a really big impact on me is What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe. I remember reading it for the first time in the Summer holidays when I was a teenager. It’s really informed my politics and I love how he experiments with form. The way he presents each chapter in a different style is something I’ve often wanted to replicate in my plays but have yet to find a satisfying way to do so. The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle are also great reads and I keep meaning to get around to reading Number 11. Aside from that, I’d also recommend DisneyWar to anyone who wants to read a 600 page book on Michael Eisner’s time as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

What are you currently watching on TV?

I’ve just finished the fourth series of Line of Duty, which was hugely entertaining. Alongside her brilliant performance in West World, Thandie Newton is having a great year. I’m also watching The Circus: Inside the Greatest Show on Earth, a weekly documentary series on Donald Trump’s presidency, and This Week Tonight with John Oliver. Veep and Better Call Saul are back so I need to start them again. And I’ve also been making my way through Silicon Valley, which I watch whenever I just need to switch off from the world.

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

It entirely depends on the play/film. I love a good trashy blockbuster but I also like checking out whatever is on at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. And I really like going to the theatre, but there’s a big difference between a fun, lively comedy and a hard-hitting drama about important social issues – you need to be in the right mood for either. However, I would probably combine one of those with dinner, as a restaurant on its own seems a little boring to be the whole evening’s entertainment (although obviously it depends on who it’s with).

What’s your favourite sweet?

Like, basically anything with chocolate in it. I know that’s boring. I wish I could be more specific. I just love chocolate. I love chocolate so much. It upsets me so much that it makes me fat. Why chocolate?! Why?!

What did you want to be when you were a child?

Actually, I always told my parents I wanted to be an author. However, I think I should qualify that by explaining that I did not really know what an author was. I thought the job would entail sitting in a church at a lectern writing in a large book with a feathered quill. In reality, it involves a lot more Red Bull and rejection.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

I used to bite my brother for changing the channel from shows I wanted to watch and I once picked my sister up by the neck. We all get on really well now though…

What is your proudest achievement to date?

That I’ve been able to make work with some of my best friends, and that we’re still best friends after making work together. That I think I’ve carved out a little niche for myself where I can write the sort of things I want to write, work on the sort of shows I’m interested in, and also do a bit of messing around in comedy on the side. And of course, even though awards are basically silly, and they don’t really reflect what is ‘best’, and even though trying to judge artistic things against each other is ultimately pretty pointless as taste is subjective… I am really proud that we won an Olivier for Rotterdam. I keep it above my toilet.

What’s next?

Rotterdam is playing at the Arts Theatre from Wednesday 21st June until Saturday 15th July 2017. 

Catch Margaret Thatcher Queen of Games Shows at the Underbelly Festival Southbank on 12-13 May and 28 June – 2 July. 

Songwriter extraordinaire Alexander Bermange takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

A stellar line-up of leading musical theatre artists are taking to the stage of The Hippodrome in London’s West End on Sunday 30th April to celebrate the comic songwriting of Alexander S. Bermange.

Last month, Alexander topped iTunes’s comedy album charts with Wit & Whimsy, a collection of his most popular songs performed by 23 stars of stage and screen (Simon Bailey, Lucy May Barker, Ian Bartholomew, Gina Beck, David Bedella, Tracie Bennett, Sanne den Besten, Christopher Biggins, Richard Carson, Anna-Jane Casey, Phil Daniels, Cassidy Janson, Amy Lennox, Sam Lupton, Miriam Margolyes, Craig Mather, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Nigel Planer, Ben Richards, Lauren Samuels, Oliver Savile, Gemma Sutton and Emma Williams).

Now, a number of the album’s artists – and an equally exciting selection of special guests, including Marianne Benedict, Kieran Brown, Stephanie Clift, Niki Evans, Sooz Kempner, Jemma Revell, David Ribi, Phillip Ryan and Rebecca Trehearn – are planning to join Alexander for a one-off show comprising highlights from the album and premieres of brand new material.

Alexander’s comedic musical creations range from portraits of crazy characters, to wry commentaries on contemporary life, to entertaining looks at aspects of musical theatre itself. Listeners to BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service will be familiar with his topical numbers on subjects ranging from general elections to cup finals to royal births.

What are you currently working on?

Wit & Whimsy – a live event featuring West End stars performing my comic songs

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

Luck

What is your favourite Book?

My rhyming dictionary

What are you currently watching on TV?

A box set of The Muppet Show

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

It would depend on the film, show or type of food!

What’s your favourite sweet?

Lindor Chocolate Balls

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A postman, then stuntman, then performer, then writer

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

Took an afternoon off school to go to a Michael Crawford album signing

What is your proudest achievement to date?

My album Wit & Whimsy reaching no. 1 in iTunes’s comedy album chart last month

What’s next?

A holiday!

Alexander S. Bermange and Friends will be appearing at The Hippodrome on Sunday 30thApril at 7.30pm. For further information and tickets, please call 0207 769 8888 or visit http://bit.ly/2p6EFt2.

Sunset Boulevard star Michael Xavier takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

West End leading man Michael Xavier is currently taking Broadway by storm. The acclaimed actor is reprising his role as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard opposite Hollywood legend Glenn Close, but we wanted to get to know a little bit more about Michael, so challenged the charismatic performer to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

1. What are you currently working on?

Playing Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard on Broadway opposite Glenn Close.

2. What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful?

Support from my family and a healthy dose of fear!

3. What is your favourite Book?

I loved The Book Thief but also a fan of horror so Stephen King’s Misery is up there too.

4. What are you currently watching on TV?

House of Cards and Damages (I know, I’m way behind).

5. Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out?

Theatre! Always theatre! There’s nothing like live performance!

6. What’s your favourite sweet?

Chocolate. Anything chocolate!

7. What did you want to be when you were a child?

I went from a Policeman or fireman to an actor. For a short time I was obsessed with becoming a forensic scientist.

8. What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

We were on holiday in Spain and I pushed my brother in the swimming pool fully clothed. It didn’t go down well Haha!

9. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Winning sportsman of the year at school. And I suppose being nominated for two Olivier Awards in the same year has to be up there too.

10. What’s next?

I’ve had an offer for something but can’t announce it yet.

Judy! star Lucy Penrose takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Following a hugely successful run at Southwark Playhouse last year, a show celebrating the life  and career of Judy Garland will transfer to the West End next month. Entitled simply Judy! the show will once again star a trio of talented performers who portray the icon in an overlapping story of three ages of Judy. Lucy Penrose is playing Young Judy, an innocent girl filled with hope and excitement as she heads toward her life-changing performance in The Wizard of Oz. Judy! marks Lucy’s West End debut and so we thought we would get to know her a little better by challenging her to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

1. What are you currently working on?

I am currently playing Young Judy Garland in Judy! On at the Arts Theatre in the West End from 16th May – 17th June

2. What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

I think I’m too young in this industry to use the word successful as you never know what can happen, but what has helped me so far, has been to keep a grounded work ethic. I’m definitely a ‘geek’ and in high school could be found in the library at lunch times. I’ve always enjoyed working hard.

3. What is your favourite Book?

Sabriel by Garth Nix. I love the way that Garth Nix writes fantasy action, and that the lead kick ass character just happens to be a woman, a great role model for young girls.

4. What are you currently watching on TV? 

I’m a big Netflix fan. I just finished watching Hannibal, I’m a big fan of true crime and crime shows, I am fascinated by human psychology, and Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal is pure genius.

5. Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

I know this is controversial considering I’m an actor, but I have to say a restaurant is my idea of the perfect a night out, but the theatre and cinema are in very close second. I’m a sociable person and due to everyone’s mad schedules I don’t get to see my friends as often as I would like, so I cherish that time. Also people watching can be one of the most useful tools as an actor when developing a character.

6. What’s your favourite sweet? 

I’m more of a chocolate girl, but I will never say no to the strawberry Fruit pastels. 

7. What did you want to be when you were a child? 

I know this is dull, but I wanted to be an actor. I used to learn all the words to a film and then perform it to my teddies, speaking along with the movie whilst it played in the background.

8. What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child? 

My sister was always the naughty one, I’m sure she will agree with me. I have to admit I’m  a goody two shoes, I’ve never even had a detention. But I once ate a bit of raw cake mix, my mum saw and being a nurse told me about salmonella, to this day if my housemate is baking and she asks me to try the mix, I have to tell my mum. Like I said goody two shoes, (my housemate finds this hilarious).

9. What is your proudest achievement to date? 

The opening night of Judy! (then called Through The Mill) at the Southwark Playhouse at the bows, we had our first of many standing ovations. I can’t describe it but will cherish that feeling for the rest of my life.

10. What’s next?

Who knows, hopefully it will involve more stage lights and line learning.

Judy! will run at the Arts Theatre from 16th May until 17th June 2017.