Archivo de la etiqueta: London

Interview with Farooq Beg, director of ISHQ, the brand new Sufi musical in English

From 7th to 9th September 2017, at the Sadler’s Wells you will be able to see ISHQ, a tale of two lovers and their feuding families and holds the same place in Punjabi literature as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This musical will be very special, so you shouldn’t miss it at all, because it will be a celebration of 70 years of independence and Pakistan-UK relations.

I was very lucky to interview Farooq Beg, the director of ISHQ, and here you can read it:


Musicals Are Great: What is ISHQ about, can you explain the plot to me a little?

Farooq Beg: ISHQ actually means extreme, unrequited love, a love that has no limits and is all consuming and is compared to divinity. A very difficult word to define in English!

The plot is in modern terms pretty simple, a girl meets boy love story akin to Romeo & Juliet. In fact, those who have read the script have all commented that perhaps the Shakespeare took his inspiration from the folklore tale.

I did not want ISHQ to be just another tragic love story though, Mushfiq Murshid’s script has given it a very pertinent and important twist by bringing out modern day issues faced by women making it so relevant even today.

Heer is a powerful character who challenges male domination and a patriarchal society that gave women no rights at all… She stands up for her rights as a woman as written in the holy book the Quran.

So ISHQ has numerous twists and turns. Can’t let too many secrets out!!!


MAG: The show is a combination of classical and modern dance, how is that going to be and what are we going to see on stage?

FB: We are very privileged to have two superb choreographers, Owen Smith and Suhaee Abro. Owen Smith is a veteran and it’s a delight to watch him train dancers in very unusual movements that defy gravity. Suhaee Abro is a young talent dancer and choreographer from Pakistan who is proficient in various forms of South Asian dance forms. I am sure they will create magic together.


MAG: This musical is about diversity and Pakistani culture within the UK, that’s a strong and important message, how is it transmitted in the show?

FB: Oh absolutely. You would be hard pressed to find a better example at this level. The mixing of cultures brought about through a whole range of nationalities on stage and the mixing of music and dance forms and more importantly the messages of love, the abhorrence of hate, the empowerment of women and the commonality of human values regardless of colour, creed and religion is such a powerful message to put across and its these issues that are threatening us and need to be driven home.


MAG: How has the process of creating the show been?

FB: Not easy! However we have experience of putting on big scale shows involving 2-300 actors which have been highly appreciated and lauded and above all we have a superb ‘ring master’ producer Huma who is an octopus and great at steering any ship in the wild seas and aptly supported by a diligent Associate producer, Tara Finney. So it’s going well and what would the stage be without its surprises!


MAG: Which kind of songs are we going to listen to?

FB: Brilliant ones. Four very talented musicians are working on the score. Ian Brandon who is the lead composer from the UK has written masterpieces that will go a long way, Lawrence Michaelosky is doing the orchestration and some pieces I have just listened to are very beautiful!

Emmu is a name in music in Pakistan and the leader of one of the most famous bands (FUZON) from Pakistan, his music brings out the best of Punjabi culture in the foot tapping Asian style and we have Kansia Pritchard, whom I call Gurujee, having travelled the world learning and sharing music styles from South Asia. She is also a great instrumentalist.

And in all this, stitching it all together is Owen Smith who is also the dramaturg and has done a great job at adapting my lyrics to suit Ian’s music.


MAG: Is there any other musical in the West End like ISHQ?

FB: I cannot answer that but all those working on it think so! I feel people will remember ISHQ for a long time!


MAG: What’s your favourite song from ISHQ?

I’m still trying to decide, the moment I like one another comes along!


MAG: Many thanks!



ISHQ, the brand new Sufi musical in English, to mark 70 years of Pakistan’s independence

Originally penned more than 600 years ago by the immortal Sufi Saint Waris Shah, ISHQ will feature specially commissioned music and choreography from across Pakistan and the UK. This is the love story that shook a patriarchal society, putting the empowerment of women centre stage.

ISHQ tells the tale of two lovers and their feuding families and holds the same place in Punjabi literature as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This exciting musical spectacle will feature a combination of classical and modern dance with a unique blend of poetry and fusion music.

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Punjab, ISHQ is a collaboration between Pakistani and British artists which will celebrate unity, diversity and Pakistani culture within the UK.

In 1947 Pakistan was carved out of undivided India under British rule. The country has since emerged as a dynamic young nation and this year celebrates 70 years of independence and Pakistan-UK relations. To commemorate this, ISHQ will celebrate the rich and diverse heritage and culture of Pakistan.

Don’t miss ISHQ:



Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Ave, Islington, London EC1R 4TN

The theatre is a short walk from Angel underground station (Northern Line), Islington. The nearest mainline station is Kings Cross station.



Thursday 7th – Saturday 9th September 2017
Thursday – Saturday, 7.30pm
Saturday, 2.30pm



Tickets are available priced from £20.
Available from and 020 7863 8000.

Interview with Adam Lenson, director of ‘The Quentin Dentin Show’ at the Tristan Bates Theatre

Following a highly successful run at Above The Arts, the cult hit rock musical, ‘The Quentin Dentin Show‘ is back to London at the Tristan Bates Theatre. As you may know, I love new musicals, because it’s the best way to see so many talented people. This is the case of Adam Lenson, the director of this interesting project. I had the amazing opportunity to talk with him and here you have a Q&A, I hope you enjoy it as much as me:


Cesar: Can you explain to me what The Quentin Dentin Show is about?

Adam: It’s about a couple called Keith and Nat who are in the midst of a relationship breakdown when a space robot called Quentin Dentin comes out of the radio and says he can fix their problems. But his intentions are hardly pure as it becomes apparent that they are just experimental subjects in his bombastic show.

In so doing he examines what it means to be human and what it means to be happy in a world that is rapidly going out of control.


C: There are not too many science fiction musicals, why is The Quentin Dentin Show a musical?

Adam:  The show purposely isn’t naturalistic. It is about the everyday things that affect us, but it shows what happens when they are pushed to extremes. Quentin isn’t a human being but is trying to learn why exactly we live the way we do. By doing this he shines a light on themes of capitalism, medication, organised religion and the flaws of modern domesticity.

My experience of science fiction has been that it uses a heightened, speculative frame to pose philosophical questions about situations we are dealing with in the here and now. Watching Star Trek as a kid I was always amazed at how it used the simplified frame of an alien planet to ask questions about situations that are obviously human.

I have long been asking why there is so little genre work onstage. Sci-fi, horror, mystery are all too rare in theatres but are hugely popular onscreen and in books. I hope Quentin will bring more sci-fi onto the stage.

Courtesy of Mihaela Bodlovic


C: What is the style of music?

Adam:  It could loosely be described as a rock musical but contains music from throughout that style. From punk to doo-wop, to new romantic, to electro-rock. Like Quentin, the music is eclectic, loud, charming and witty.


C: How do you think the audience will react to the show?

Adam: I think it’s a show that contains something for everyone. Its thoughtful, funny, provocative and above all, different. I hope audiences will leave feeling like they have had their minds expanded and like they have learnt something new about what it means to be human.


C: Quentin Dentin is willing to make everybody happy, what would make you happy?

Adam: I would be happy if there were more new British musicals. I keep hoping that musical theatre can become a more expansive medium that can tell new and unique stories without upsetting the status quo. Musical theatre seems very constrained at the moment to be the same thing over and over again. People hear the word musical and make assumptions about what it will be. But music can tell an infinite amount of stories and I keep wanting to push the form to make sure that music and text can be used to tell as wide a range of stories as possible.

Courtesy of Mihaela Bodlovic


I can’t agree more with you, Adam, thank you very much for sharing your time with me. I wish you all the best with ‘The Quentin Dentin Show‘.

Come on, don’t forget to book your tickets now at the Tristan Bates Theatre Box Office and or 020 3841 6611 or

Lucie Jones, del teatro musical hasta Eurovision

En los musicales, al igual que en todo, de vez en cuando aparecen actores, actrices, compositores o estilos que hacen un boom y aparecen hasta en la sopa. ¿Por qué da la sensación de que Lin Manuel Miranda está en todos lados últimamente, hay algo que no sepa hacer? ¿Y cómo olvidar Pasek and Paul? Pues parece ser que, en ese sentido, 2017 es el año de Lucie Jones.

¿No sabes quién es? No pasa nada, te cuento un poco. Lucie, con 26 años, es una actriz, cantante y modelo que saltó a la fama en 2009 cuando participó en The X Factor UK (aquel año también participó Olly Murs, este nos suena un poco más, ¿no?). Así como anécdota, decir que es amiga de Lauren Samuels, incluso tienen cierto parecido físico, ¿no es gracioso?

Lucie Jones representó al Reino Unido en el festival de Eurovision en 2017 con su canción ‘Never Give Up On You’. Su actuación a mi me encantó, en 3 minutos destacaba su teatralidad y su voz, con una puesta en escena muy vistosa y una canción pegadiza y que sonaba muy bien. Terminó la noche en la posición número 15, la mejor que ha logrado su país desde 2011 (España en última posición, no lo olvidemos).

Cuando Lucie terminó The X Factor se lanzó de pleno al mundo de los musicales, empezando, cómo no, con Les Misérables, interpretando a Cosette en el West End. Seguidamente, actuó en We Will Rock You y en American Psycho en el Almeida Theatre. Por si fuera poco, también actuó en Ghost the musical de gira por China.

Después de participar en Eurovision, Lucie Jones tiene varios proyectos muy destacados. Justo volver de Kiev regresó a la nueva producción de 20 aniversario de Rent (se ha celebrado tantas veces el 20 aniversario que estoy muy confundido), de gira en el Reino Unido, interpretando a Maureen Johnson.

Actualmente, está ensayando The Wedding Singer, de gira de nuevo en su país y donde participará desde el 20 de junio hasta el 19 de julio. Justo después, protagonizará la nueva producción de Legally Blonde, donde interpretará Elle Woods recorriendo el Reino Unido. Ella ya participó en este musical en el Curve Leicester, así que seguro que estará estupenda.

¿Qué le deparará el futuro a Lucie Jones? Mucho teatro y musicales seguro.


Interview to Katie Kerr and David Bardsley from ‘Pete ‘n’ Keely’ at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London

The European Premiere of the off-Broadway musical hit ‘Pete ‘n’ Keelyopened last week at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London.

Katie Kerr (‘Little Shop of Horrors‘, Menier Chocolate Factory; ‘Fat Pig‘, Comedy Theatre; ‘Sweeney Todd‘, English National Opera) and David Bardsley (‘Titanic‘, Charing Cross Theatre; ‘Guys and Dolls‘, National Theatre; ‘The Fix‘, Donmar Warehouse) will be performing every night until Saturday 20th May 2017. So, I truly recommend you to book your tickets now!!!

As you may know, I really enjoy talking to the actors of a new musical about how the rehearsals are going, how they are preparing for their new roles on the show and what do they like the most about musical theatre. So, here you have a new Q & A with the amazingly talented Katie Kerr and David Bardsley.

Cesar: How are the rehearsals of ‘Pete ‘n’ Keely’ going so far?

Katie Kerr: Fabulous, we are laughing a lot which bodes well.

David Bardsley: It’s the end of the first week. My brain looks like a potato which was put in a hot oven and forgotten about. Being a two-hander, there is a lot to learn. Fortunately, everyone involved is gorgeous, talented and funny. So it’s been fun. So far!


C: What can we expect from this musical, can you explain me a bit what is it about?

Katie: It’s 1968. America’s Swingin’ Sweethearts, Pete Bartel and Keely Stevens, are performing live on national television! The only catch? They haven’t spoken to each other in five years……

David: There’s more than one way to answer this question, but if you ask me, it’s about marriage. Or, if you like, relationships. The ups, the downs: the way in which time breeds both resentment yet mutual dependence. And, set in the world of showbiz, it’s also about ambition, success, disappointment, being famous, being no-one, etc. And it’s about not giving up; on life or each other. With songs.


C: In this show, there is a lot of tension and repressed feelings between the two main characters. How can you deal with that and not take it to the personal atmosphere?

Katie: Myself and David are aware that we are acting and we don’t let ourselves get to involved with that. We play the truth but never let it get on top of us!

David: It’s called acting, darling! I have plenty of drama at home. Theatre is only pretend. Even ‘Pete ‘n’ Keely’!


C: What do you like the most about the 50’s and 60’s?

Katie: The hair!

David: 50s – American culture. 60s – The Beatles.


C: Which song is your favourite from ‘Pete ‘n’ Keely’ and which one is the hardest to perform?

Katie: The Crosscountry Tour! It’s a beast.

David: We’re still learning the score, so it’s a little early to answer that question. But the score certainly is tricky!


C: Both of you have been performing in several musicals, which show are you willing to perform, which one would be like a dream come true for you?

Katie: I’d love to play Fanny Brice in ‘Funny Girl‘…Or Effie White in ‘Dreamgirls‘ but unfortunately that really is a dream.

David: I love Sondheim. I’d like to play ‘Sweeney Todd’ and Ben in ‘Follies‘ before I die. But if I don’t – I’ll live.


C: What song from a musical on your playlist do you never skip? Also, which duet would you love to perform together?

Katie: ‘One Second And A Million Miles‘ from “The Bridges of Madison County” – it means a lot to me. I would love to perform anything ‘Sweeny Todd‘ with David! Would love to be his Mrs Lovett.

David: ‘In Buddy’s Eyes‘ from ‘Follies‘. ‘Too Many Mornings‘ from ‘Follies’


Thank you very much for your time Katie and David, I would like to wish you all the best!!!



Don’t miss ‘Pete ‘n’ Keely’ at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London

Hello everyone, I have some interesting news for you!

The European Premiere of the off-Broadway musical hit ‘Pete ‘n’ Keely‘ comes to Tristan Bates Theatre  this spring! Katie Kerr (‘Little Shop of Horrors‘, Menier Chocolate Factory; ‘Fat Pig‘, Comedy Theatre; ‘Sweeney Todd‘, English National Opera) and David Bardsley (‘Titanic‘, Charing Cross Theatre; ‘Guys and Dolls‘, National Theatre; ‘The Fix‘, Donmar Warehouse) lead this award-winning musical, featuring unforgettable renditions of the era’s popular favourites.

It’s 1968. America’s Swingin’ Sweethearts, Pete Bartel and Keely Stevens, are performing live on national television! The only catch? They haven’t spoken to each other in five years. Through a non-stop parade of song hits from the 50s and 60s – highlighted by elaborately staged flashbacks – Pete and Keely relive the roller coaster ride that got them where they are today… divorced! Pete and Keely have some unfinished business and the tension bubbling beneath the show’s glitzy surface threatens to boil over at any moment in a confrontation that will definitely not be ready for prime time.

As the inevitable blow-up gets closer, the songs become increasingly double- edged. History repeats itself, live and in full colour, as Pete and Keely head towards a conclusion that’s at once uproariously funny and surprisingly touching.


Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP

Is located in the Actors Centre. The nearest underground stations are Leicester Square (on the Northern and Piccadilly lines) and Tottenham Court Road (on the Northern and Central lines). The nearest rail station is Charing Cross.


Tuesday 2nd – Saturday 20th May 2017
Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday matinees, 2.30pm



Tickets are available priced £20 (£18 concessions)

You can book your tickets at the Tristan Bates Theatre Box Office and or 020 3841 6611 or

Do it now!


Also, don’t forget to check the Twitter of this company:

@PetenKeely, @Wallflower_UK, @DameKatieKerr

Interview to Lauren Samuels, currently performing in ‘La Ronde’ at The Bunker


Lauren Samuels is one of the most recognised actresses in London. She was one of the favourites on BBC’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ with Andrew Lloyd Webber (I’m sure all of you remember how she smashed ‘Popular’ from ‘Wicked’ with Danielle Hope). After her participation on the competition, she has developed a successful career and has achieved many roles in the West End such as ‘Vanities: The Musical’, ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and ‘Grease’.

She is now stepping outside of the realm of musical theatre into a sexuality charged role in ‘La Ronde’ at The Bunker (London’s newest underground theatre). Collaborative Artists’ new bold reimagining of Arthur Schnitzler’s ‘La Ronde embraces life’s game of chance as a roulette decides the cast’s roles every night and throughout the play. With over three thousand different versions of the show, four actors play the cast of ten in a gender-neutral adaption that distils the beating heart of London’s sexuality.

Samuels is pure inspiration and passion. I was very lucky to see her twice performing in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and I was amazed by her voice and hard work. I’d like to share with you my interview to Lauren Samuels, that she accepted to respond for me. We talked about ‘La Ronde’ and musicals, of course:


Cesar: How are the performances of ‘La Ronde’ going, so far? How is the audience reacting?

Lauren Samuels: It’s going wonderfully thank you. The audiences have been great and what is fantastic is that many audience members are returning again and again to see the different variations of scenes with different actors.


C: There are three thousand versions of the same show, how can you be prepared for that?

LS: Well the main thing is obviously just knowing the script inside out. I can tell you that backstage in the dressing room before every show, we are all sat there going through the script over and over again!


C: Every night will be a new experience for the audience and for you. It must be very scary to begin the show without really knowing what’s going to happen. How challenging is that for an actor?

LS: It’s very scary and extremely challenging, yes. The nerves certainly don’t ever stop with this show! In a “normal” show you are able to slowly get more and more comfortable in the role you play, but with this there isn’t ever a moment to relax. Which of course also makes it incredibly exciting!


C: The concept of this show is that you can play any role. Why you don’t have your own role and perform it every night?

LS: Because how dull would that be 😉


C: The original play, written in 1897, is about how sexuality transgresses boundaries of class. Max Gill’s new version is set in London in 2017. I’m sure that the perception of sex has changed in 120 years, but do you think there are some ideas or prejudices that have been maintained?

LS: I think we’re much more open when talking about sex and our bodies these days, but I think this also means there is now much more anxiety about what is “normal” and “acceptable” sexually. How do my sexual activities define me for example, and indeed, do I want them to? There is much more freedom of choice these days it seems.



C: You have been performing in many musicals but, this time, in ‘La Ronde’, you don’t need to sing. Do you miss it?

LS: I love singing and will always find much joy from it, but also as an actress I’m always searching for the next challenge, and this was certainly it!


C: And speaking of musicals, which show are you willing to perform, which one would be like a dream come true for you?

LS: I recently saw ‘Waitress‘ in New York, if that ever comes to London I would LOVE to play Jenna.


C: Last year you performed at the Olivier Awards with Natalie Dew, Sophie-Louise Dann and Natasha Jayetileke. How was the experience?

LS: Oh it was such an amazing experience. ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ had closed the month before so it was lovely to be back with some of the cast and creatives celebrating our musical. I miss the show a lot.



C: What song from a musical on your playlist do you never skip? Also, which duet is your favourite?

LS: Since seeing my wonderful friend Lucie Jones in ‘Rent’ I’ve found my love again for the soundtrack. It’s so beautiful! I love the whole album. So I’ll also choose ‘Take Me Or Leave Me’ as my current favourite duet 🙂


C: Apart from ‘La Ronde’ at The Bunker Theatre, which show do you recommend seeing in London? Is there anyone that you haven’t seen yet but can’t wait for it?

LS: I missed the chance to see ‘Yerma’ with Billie Piper when that was here, so I’m thrilled that it’s returning to London and I cannot wait to see it this time!


C: Thank you very much for you time. I wish you all the best in ‘La Ronde’ and in your career. You truly are an inspiration and an example of hard work, passion and talent. I hope to see you soon in a musical in London and I can’t wait to see where your career will take you in the future.

LS: Thanks for having me 🙂


I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as me. I would also like to say thank you to Suzie, for all your job and help.

Don’t miss Lauren Samuels and the rest of this extraordinary company performing every night ‘La Ronde‘ at the Bunker Theatre, until the Saturday 11th March 2017. Book your tickets now here: The Bunker