Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Wembley Park Theatre, London
Cast: Michael Ahomka-Lindsay, Bronté Barbé, Cameron Blakeley, Moya Angela, Matthew Duckett and Ross Dawes

Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of a ragged band of teenage newspaper sellers, who dream of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. These young newsies from across the city come together and rise up against the exploitation of wealthy publishing tycoons and fight for justice using the only power they have – solidarity. In an innovative and brand new exciting production, theatregoers will be thrust right inside the action.

Read all about it - Newsies has just opened in London, and it's one of those shows that needs to be seen to be truly appreciated. I have never left a theatre feeling as I did last night. The show is not only bursting with energy, but with unmatched talent too. Newsies has been a hit on Broadway for many years, and now it's time for London to see why! 

The story follows 17 year old Jack Kelly; a newsie in New York City, 1899. After a price hike of newspapers, thanks to the press giant Joseph Pulitzer, Jack decides to start a strike and the newsies of New York soon follow. It seems like a very timely tale, as we watch these young adults fight for better pay and equal rights.

While this is a musical and the music is phenomenal, the magic for me lies in the choreography. The choreography in Seize the Day was so fantastic that it received two standing ovations on my visit, and I've never seen a crowd reaction quite like it. From tap elements, to ballet elements, there are so many nods to varying dance styles and they all come together to display a level of choreography that I've personally never seen in London before.

The ensemble is huge and while the main plot line follows Jack Kelly and Katherine Plumber, the heart of this story lies with the entire cast. From singing and dancing, to sliding and jumping, swinging and rolling; I'm unsure how they manage to keep this level of energy every night! I would go as far to say as this is almost like an immersive experience. Wherever you're sat in this huge venue, they'll be ensemble members to the side of you, in front of you, behind you and even above you at some points! The idea of being so involved in the action definitely made me feel more connected to the story and the characters.

I was unsure how the staging and set would be in such a massive theatre and stage space, but the entire venue has been completely transformed; including before you even enter the theatre itself. Even down to the details in the toilets, the designers truly haven't missed a trick. From towering fire escapes, to the finer details like washing lines dotted around the seating areas - there is so much to take in. 

The music is not just phenomenal, but also very catchy - cue yourself humming Seize the Day for the foreseeable future once you've seen it! Carrying the Banner and Seize the Day were standout moments of the show for me, but I expected that to be the case. Something to Believe In is an understated song that is much needed in a time of chaos and uncertainty; and Michael and Bronté sing it beautifully.

While the relationship between Jack and Katherine is most definitely a sub-plot (and does feel a little unnecessary at times), the chemistry between Michael and Bronté is undeniable. Michael plays the charming, arrogant Kelly brilliantly and Bronté has Plumber's wit and determination down to a fine art. The pair seem to have been truly made for these roles.

Overall, there is very little I could find at fault with this production, which isn't something I say lightly. The entire cast exudes energy and passion like I've never seen and I really hope Newsies is here to stay, because the world should know about this show. What are you waiting for? It's time to seize the day! 

Book tickets to see NEWSIES at Wembley Park Theatre, until April 2023, here.

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