Tag Archives: musicals

Spice Up Your Life

Life is for living and to be enjoyed. And I think to be seen as a great big adventure. For me personally going out and having fun is a huge part of that. Therefore once again I have had a pretty busy couple of weeks. Doing lots of diverse and different things. As I do believe that variety is the spice of life.

For starters I had a brilliant night out with some very good friends of mine. Believe it or not it was the first time that we had all been in the same place at the same time this year. Which is impressive given that we are now half way through it. But we are all so busy, just getting on with our own lives. That finding a date when we are all available, is to say the least a challenge.

However we finally managed it. Meeting up at a local pub that was in a central location for everyone. For some food and a few drinks. I am always the first one to turn up to these things. I really hate being late for anything. So I normally turn up ridiculously early. I am not saying I was keen. But I arrived an hour before the agreed time. I have spent a shocking amount of time in pubs by myself waiting for people over the years.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The other three turned up. I had been pretty good and was only one drink ahead when they arrived. We made our way to the restaurant area. As we are grown up and organised nowadays, We had booked a table. We had a very civilised three course meal. Washed down of course with a few more drinks. A splendid evening catching up on all the current news. While taking the mickey out of each other. And as ever reminiscing about days gone by.

After dinner there was a singer performing with a guitar in the bar. We stayed and listened to him for a bit. Before heading up to the other end of town to try another pub. We had a couple more there before calling it a night. You really cannot beat spending time with friends. It is very good for the soul. But not that good for the head the next morning, sometimes.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see a fantastic new musical recently. Well I say new, but it has been in the West End since the end of January. And has won four Olivier Awards. But compared to the more established ones. It is still possibly, lesser known. It is actually set around the time of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9/11. It focuses on knock on side effects from the actual incident. That I must admit, I had not really thought about.

Based on a true story. It explains what happened to a small Canadian suburb. When seven thousand stranded air passengers from all over the world ended up there. After the terrible tragedy. All flights were grounded and American Airspace was closed. Gander International Airport in Newfoundland offered to house inbound flights coming from Europe. The whole community then came together specially to look after these weary and confused travellers. Many of whom are a long way from their planned destination.

It is called “Come From Away”. Because “Come From Away’s” is what the residents of the towns and villages, who took them in called their guests. The show itself is fantastic. It is wonderfully staged and very clever. The whole cast each play at least one of the locals and one of the visitors. But credit to them, as you always know which one they are in every scene. The songs are catchy and memorable. And are all performed in an Irish musical style.

There are so many layers to it. You have of course got the backdrop of the actual horrific incident. The story of how the locals cope with the population of the place suddenly being doubled for a week. Then there are the individual tales of the passengers themselves. Who are suddenly stranded. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was amazing. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would certainly recommend seeing it, if you can. It is well worth it. As well as being an interesting story. It will restore your faith in all human nature. Just in case it is lacking a bit at the moment. It runs straight through with no interval. Luckily though I was aware of this so I took a nice glass of Rioja in with me. “Come From Away” is on at the Phoenix Theatre in London. Go and see it!

Come From Away

A mate of mine took me to the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in London for the first time the other Sunday. He is a member there, so goes a lot. It was yet another place I had been wanting to experience for a while. And it did not disappoint. We arrived, put our jackets in at the cloak room. Then we were shown to our seats. Like a theatre show you buy tickets for certain areas. Either on the round tables right at the front of the stage or at the straight tables to the sides.

We were at the straight tables. But like all the others, they still come with a table lamp and waitress service. You order all food and drink from your seats. Then they bring you the bill at the end of the night. It was the Blues Explosion Band performing. Which is made up of great musicians, who have played and toured with many of music’s biggest stars. The songs were excellent. And the second half was a tribute to the great Blues legend Dr John. It was a quality evening. I look forward to going back there again soon.

Ronnie Scott’s

As part of my Dad’s seemingly never ending birthday celebrations. We had a night at Windsor Races. They have meetings there most Monday’s during the summer. Normally with some sort of theme. This particular evening it was their Irish Night. It was not a nice day weather wise. It had been raining heavily all afternoon. When we got there it was still throwing it down.

I was not convinced we were going to see any racing at all. And I was expecting the meeting to be abandoned at any moment. I had a curry to try to warm myself up. Before the first race. And a couple of cups of tea. It was such a dreary night. That sadly not many people turned up. Although all the racing still went ahead.

The races were quite exciting, possibly due to the weather. Mind you I did not have any winners. We left before the last race and the live music. To get home and dry out. I hope you are also making the most of the Summer, so far to.

Windsor races

I went to the Spice Girls first ever tour at Wembley Arena. I was at the 02 for the last reunion tour. I even went and watched the short lived musical featuring their songs called “Viva Forever”. I did all of these with my sister. Therefore we both just had to go and see their latest show, when it was at Wembley Stadium.

We went to the opening night of the three. That they were doing in the Capital. It was actually the first music concert. That I had been to at the home of the national team. I have of course been to countless football matches there in the past. I will admit the walk up from the train station was slightly different to that of a standard match day. It was a bit more chilled and relaxed. With the same amount of Union Jacks but a lot more leopard print around than normal.

Spice Girls

We got inside the stadium. It was impressive how many people had dressed up as their favourite Spice Girl. I say people, as there were a lot of men dressed up to. We had a burger and a soft drink. I am not turning into Paul McCartney but I did have the Veggie Burger. Which was delicious. I had managed to get us in the Bobby Moore seats. In my opinion these are the comfiest seats in the place. Plus they gave us a decent view of the stage.

The support act was Jess Glynne. She is a fantastic artist. Who has had six number one’s in the UK herself. And sells out her own shows. But I thought she was the perfect choice for the gig. Her stuff is well known and upbeat. The right person to get things started and up and running. Although judging by the reaction when the DJ played C’est La Vie by Bewitched. May be they should have booked them. Joking aside, Jess was brilliant. And looked to be enjoying herself out there. Which was good to see. Great work!

Jess Glynne

Then we came on to the main event. The backing dancers came out nice and early. To get the crowd warmed up. The Spice Band appear and start playing. The big screens at the side of the stage kick into life. Then suddenly the four girls appear from nowhere right at the front of the stage. They launched in to Spice Up Your Life. And we were off and running. The party had well and truly started.

They then go through all of their brilliant back catalogue of songs. There are lots of outfit changes. These breaks in the action were often filled by their excellent dancers. Sometimes with individual routines. We got the usual onstage banter. You would expect from the ladies. Which was often hectic, lively and a little bit fruity. But which was also sincere, honest and real. Containing plenty of good humour.I felt it was all delivered in a very positive way.

Spice Girls

They are all older. They have all been through a lot. They are more emotional than they used to be. Which if anything shows how they have matured. After going off to rapturous applause. They returned for the encore. To perform Stop, Mama and of course the song that kicked things off for them back in 1996 Wannabe. We had fireworks at the start and at the end. It was a bright colourful and a thoroughly entertaining show.

They did of course reference the missing member of the band a few times. The same way a group of mates would, if one person could not make the get together. It was a proper big production. I am around the same age as the Spice Girls, well except Geri, of course. So we have kind of grown up together. Their concerts are just fun and full of lots of positivity. I do not think they try to be anything else. Just live in the moment. And have a good time. Top work all round!

Spice Girls

Next Sunday sees the start of the Tringe Festival. A three week long comedy event in Tring. It features lots of top comedians previewing their new show’s ready for this Summer’s Edinburgh Festival. Now in its tenth year. It is curated by Ben Moorhouse, Most of the events take place at The Court Theatre in Tring.

The first event however takes place across four pubs in Tring. I know this, as I have done it twice. Once in 2012 and then again in 2017. It is The Roving Comedy Night. A group of wannabe comedians work with the comedy guru Logan Murray for eight weeks. Doing weekly three hour sessions.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which I must say from my own personal experience are so much fun. Basically you spend the whole time laughing with new found friends. Then somehow at the end of it. You have five minutes of brand new stand up to perform to four different audiences on the same night.

The added bonus of this night for the upcoming comic is that you get to work with a professional comedian. You go around all the pubs in groups of three or four with your professional comedian. In each of the venues you all do your five minutes and then the pro headlines your little show. So not only do you get to do your first four gigs in one night. You get to see a seasoned performer handle four separate audiences at close quarters.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

The first time I did it. I had completed the course. And did my debut stand up performance going around with the great Tony Law. When I did it the second time round. It was a selection of comics from all the past classes. I was delighted to be able to represent my year. I Had so much fun both times, I did it. I would honestly recommend anyone to do it. Just for the amazing experience of it all.

Some of the comedians who have attended a Logan Murray course at the start of their career include Josh Widdicombe, Rhod Gilbert and Greg Davies. To mention but a few. In fact quite a few of the Roving Comedy alumni have gone on to win awards and perform their own show’s in Edinburgh.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

I am looking forward to seeing this year’s Roving Comedy “Trainees” in action. It is always a great night. And once again I hope to catch up with one of the stalwart professional comedians of this night. The marvellous Silky. And hopefully the legend that is Logan Murray to. This event is sold out.

But if you want to check out the other gigs on at the festival. Click on the link. https://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have once again been to Royal Ascot this year. It is always a fun and interesting event.

And a very good excuse to put a nice suit on. I will tell you all about my two visits next time we speak.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Lovely February

Hello again, how’s things with you? I am still trying to come to terms with reality again after my holiday. Although some people may well argue that has been a longstanding issue of mine. Nevertheless I am still sporting a slight sun tan. And I am trying to make the most out of the year so far. By that I mean I am experiencing as much as possible, while having a lot of fun along the way.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was a new David Bowie documentary shown on the BBC the other week. Which mostly focused on his early days. When he was still trying to make it in the music industry. A few days after this was on I found myself in a Cocktail Bar in Covent Garden. Which had just been given a new name and a total makeover inside.

It is called Blame Gloria. After a women who is alleged to have once owned a B&B in Covent Garden. With rumours and stories about her teaching David Bowie how to put on make up and of once dating Jimi Hendrix. Well I say alleged. As I think, it might be technically a character that has been invented to give the bar its theme. Although David Bowie did once dress up as a women to play a joke on his then band mates calling himself Gloria.

Anyway the place is actually pretty cool. They do a wide variety of Cocktails. A few of which I was familiar with. And many that I was not. Some of them are certainly originals. And their own special creations. The decor is very Bowie inspired. it is fair to say.

The music was brilliant. A really nice mix of sixties, seventies and eighties tunes. They also have a two for one happy hour between five and seven, every evening. Which may be worth keeping in mind if you happen to be in the area around that time. It is a chic venue with a relaxed atmosphere.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I popped in to see some friends on their daughter’s third birthday. I actually arrived there early. And they were still out somewhere. As it happened my mate’s wife’s Mum was there and let me in. When they arrived in the end. There was actually a small group of people there to welcome them home.

It was a little gathering. That I kind of gatecrashed. But it was nice to see all the birthday presents being opened and played with. I ended up helping with a little bit of painting. And laughing at my mate, as I watched him try to put together a big new toy that needed building.

There was also a birthday tea on offer. I thought it would be rude not to at least have some of the Peppa Pig Cake. Prior to that I did get stuck in to the cheese and biscuits. In the process discovering that you can get pickle with no bits in it. Who knew? I certainly did not. I had to ask what it was.

I think the star of the show enjoyed herself. Although when you asked her if she had, had a good day. She always answered no. But I am sure with a slight smile at least. It was a lovely afternoon. Which may have continued on slightly in to the night. As I stayed for a beer after the children had gone to bed. To catch up with the parents.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last weekend I was at another family house party. This time it was a surprise sixtieth Birthday celebration for my Auntie. My two cousins had organised it with military precision. They had taken their mum out for the afternoon. Leaving one of their husbands alone to get the house ready. And cook the party food. Then to be there to let all the guests in ready for when the birthday girl returned home.

We were all told we had to be there before a certain time. Everyone was there when they should have been. When we got a message to say they were running a bit late. Therefore the party started a bit before it was meant to. As we all had a drink while we were waiting.

We got word on when they arrived, so were all silent in her living room waiting for her to walk in. When she did we treated her to a rendition of Happy Birthday. I can honestly say, I do not think she was expecting it. As she did look quite shocked.

The food was amazing. One of my cousins is a very good baker. So there were about six different sweet options of which I tried at least five. They were all delicious but it was a tough night for the waistline. Her sister then hosted a fun selection of different games throughout the evening. The first a straight forward game of bingo. Then a quiz that was based on the year my Aunt was born.

Next we each had to write a memory of her down. My cousin read them out. And my Auntie had to guess who had written it. She got mine straight away. When I was a young child, she took me, my mum and my sister to a fireworks night where she worked. I spent most of the night trying to hide. As I was terrified of all the loud bangs. For the record I am a little better with them now.

There was also a quiz about my Auntie’s life. And one where we had to decide if you she was older or younger than a list of certain people or things. And lastly a photo round for us to identify my Auntie in. I did very badly in all of the quizzes. It was a good laugh, though. I had a nice evening catching up with the family. Some of whom I had not seen for a while. Once again I think the Birthday lady enjoyed it.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I had a great time seeing my friend Mike Sterling the other day. He has most recently been on tour with Evita. Which he was brilliant in by the way. He also appeared in the West End for many years. So knows his way around London. Which is where we met. Mind you I chose the meeting point. Which is why we started the proceedings off with a few pints of Guinness in Waxy O’Connors. I have said it before and I will say it again. It is my favourite pub in the capital.

We then decided to get some food. We chose to have a stroll around to Piccadilly. And got ourselves a table at The Terrace. It is a nice and classy place. They had a full jazz band playing. While we were eating. I had the Chilli Calamari for starters, a T-bone steak with Red Wine sauce for my main and cheesecake for dessert. The meals there were excellent. As was the Italian wine. We had on Mike’s suggestion.

Our final stop was at the Phoenix Theatre Bar. It used to be called the Wentworth Club. It was somewhere Mike used to visit quite a lot when he was starring in Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis in the West End. I had been there a few times before. But never this late in the evening.

In a back room they occasionally do musical singalongs. There is a piano with a pianist. And you can go up and sing any song from any musical that you wish to. The standard was pretty high for the hour or so that we were in there. I really like the place. It has a very show business and arty feel to it. I would definitely go again. Had a quality time catching up with a good friend.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

I managed to get some last minute tickets to see Ricky Gervias do a warm up show for his upcoming tour “Super Nature” in Aylesbury at the Waterside Theatre. I went with Andy Holmes. I also watched one of the very early warm up gigs for his last massive tour “Humanity” in London. That went on to become a huge success. If you are a user of Netflix. It is still available on there.

This new show he is working on at the moment has already been signed up by Netflix again. I am a big fan of his and have been since the days of The Office. Which was even more relevant at the time for me. As I was working in a small Sales office. With a few possible David Brent’s. I have seen all his television comedies. I will be honest I have not seen all his movies. But that is more down to my lack of ability to watch films, than anything else.

The show in Buckinghamshire was brilliant. I saw him on the second night of two that he did. Bearing in mind this was just a warm up gig. He sold out the theatre both nights. A lot of comedians would give their right arm to sell out an one thousand seat venue for a proper show. Let alone just a warm up one.

He does seem to have a lot of fans in England. He has never changed his stand up style. He has a lectern with some beer on it. And walks around the stage with a one of those head mics on. He had a support act with him called Sean McLoughlin. It was the first time I had seen him. I was very impressed. I thought he was great. I think he may be worth keeping an eye out for.

Ricky Gervais was funny as always. He has a unique way of attacking any subject and making it funny but not seem awkward. Which is not always as easy as it sounds. The finished version of this show. I have no doubt will be hilarious. Much of it I guess follows the same chain of thought of his previous stand up specials. And when he finishes the tour. May be he can do a series of TED Talks about the subtlety of offence. Another fun evening out at one of my favourite theatre’s.

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

I also managed to get myself a ticket last week to go and see one of the preview performances of the brand new Only Fools and Horses Musical. Well I say preview. It was the full actual show performed to a sold out paying audience. But they have not had their official opening press night as yet. I will be honest I had mixed emotions about seeing it.

I am a massive fan of the television series. I can still happily re-watch any of the episodes. And I guarantee it will make me laugh and in many instances cry. I really wanted to see the show, though. But I was worried that it would be odd not seeing the actors you instantly associate with those roles not playing them.

Only Fools and Horses Musical

It is on at the fantastic Theatre Royal in Haymarket. Where for this particular show. They do serve Del Boy Pina Coladas in the bars. Although slightly disappointingly I did not see anyone order one. It starts with a song. Which makes a lot of sense for a musical. But all through the opening number. I was just waiting to get a glimpse of Del and Rodney. They obviously do appear during it.

As do pretty much all the regular characters from the classic television show. It is actually quite good fun spotting them all as they walk out. The thing to remember I think is, it is very much a stand alone musical. But with many classic lines, sketches and moments from the timeless sitcom in it.

The songs for me all work. There are some very familiar ones. Which you will recognise from its previous incarnation. And some new ones written especially for this project. For me they are in the same style the show always had. It has a story to it of course. Which is kind of a mixture quite a few of the different things. That happened to the Trotters on our screens. The cast are all fantastic. Each one of them have got the character of the person they are playing to a tee. While still making the roles in this their own. The wardrobe and sets are brilliant.

The whole feel to it is quite nostalgic. It bought back a lot of great memories for me of sitting at home and laughing my head off at the television. It was an idea that the writer of Only Fools and Horses John Sullivan was working on before he sadly died. It was finished by his son Jim and the excellent Paul Whitehouse. Who plays Granddad faultlessly. And some of the additional songs  were co-written by Chas Hodges from Chas & Dave.

I really enjoyed it. And if you are a fan of Only Fools and Horses. It is certainly worth seeing, As you would expect from a project initiated by the shows creator. Nothing is missing from it. If I am completely honest. The only slight issue I still had was trying to come to terms with the fact Del, Rodney, Trigger and Boycie were not being played by David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Roger Lloyd-Pack and John Challis.

That is not a slight on the amazing cast. That is just my issue. As all those actors for me are so part of the DNA of those characters. This is of course something the production can do nothing about. It is a lovely warm overview of a great British Institution. That is played out in front of your eyes. And with that great writing. It is of course very funny. Lovely Jubbly!

Only Fools and Horses Musical

Tottenham Hotspur have been doing alright recently. Quietly going about our business and winning our Premier League matches. I have been at Wembley to see us beat, Watford, Newcastle and Leicester.

All of which have been tough games. Not made any easier by the fact we are still without Harry Kane and Dele Alli. I am enjoying things at the minute. But we will just see how the next few weeks go. I am not going to lie the match day experience is more fun when you win.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

The quality Radio 4 Extra weekly topical news comedy programme Newsjack has returned for a new series. Once again I will be busy writing jokes for it.

I will also be doing my own weekly news comedy podcast for the next five weeks. Which you can find on my You Tube channel or on Apple Podcasts.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Busy few weeks coming up. I am finally getting round to seeing the musical Blood Brothers. I know I am very late to the party on this one. But have heard nothing but great things about it.

And of course next Wednesday it is the BRIT Awards. Which is always a fun and interesting night. Plus I am going to my first ever immersive theatre performance.

School of Rock
School of Rock

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Check Mate

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I have to say I could not believe it, that my mate Ben Langley did not make it through to
at least the Semi-final stages of Britain’s Got Talent. Sadly exactly what I feared occurred. He was not selected in that last show where they have to whittle down all the people that they said yes to. To the actual number of places available in the live shows. That was despite him getting four yes’s and a standing ovation from the judges.

I was a little bit concerned that this might happen to him. The reason for that is that he was shown very early on in his episode. He was not interviewed before. They did not really give us any of his back story. But later in the same programme a few of the acts who also got put through received this treatment. Probably a total coincidence but at least a couple of these did make it through to the semi-finals.

I appreciate I might well be a bit biased with him being a friend. But I have seen him perform a lot over the last ten years. And I would say that he can offer a lot more variety and potential than some of the people who made it through. Mentioning no names Opera Cake eating lady. They always put a few quirky and odd acts through to the finals. It does make the show more interesting. Although it is a little frustrating when this is sometimes done at the expense of the talented individuals.

Ben Langley
Ben Langley

Ben has toured with Joe Pasquale, Cannon and Ball and supported Paul Zerdin on his one man show. He was in the Detectorists, albeit briefly and is on CBeebies. Therefore I concede that he is not exactly unknown. Which is may be what they think the show is about.

But Lost Voice Guy, who I love and who truly deserved to win it. Actually won the BBC New Comedy Award a few years ago,  so he was hardly plucked from obscurity either. That said I think he will be excellent at the Royal Variety Performance. I must also say well done to the ace Dec. Who did brilliant job hosting it. Those opening numbers that he was doing were epic.

It was nice to see Ben getting some encouragement and words of support from the legend that is Bobby Ball on his Facebook page. He is currently performing his Ben Langley show all other country. He will be in Pantomime again. As he has been every year since I have known him. Plus he may well tour the UK with his Ha Ha plays again. What I am saying is keep an eye out for him. If you get the chance go and see him in action. You will have a fun and entertaining time.

Ha Ha Hood
Ha Ha Hood

I have to confess owing to the fact I am genuinely so busy. I like to plan things in advance and normally have very structured weeks. I often know what I am doing months in advance. But occasionally something out of the blue and spontaneous will occur. Which is always great fun.

This happened the other week. I was at work when I noticed via social media. That one of my best friends and his wife were out in London at my favourite pub. I knew they were celebrating their 10th Anniversary. But I had not seen them both for a while, so I messaged them to see if they fancied a drink with me.

I finished work and had not heard anything back. I was walking to Marylebone Train Station. When my phone rang. It was my mate’s wife seeing where I was and if I was still up for a drink. The answer was yes I am and I am on my way to you now. Luckily I know a nice little pub just round the corner. We met up there and had a great catch up over a few drinks.

It was brilliant to see them and we had a lovely time chatting and laughing. I did feel a little bit guilty about gate crashing their day. But I was there the first time they ever met. Therefore I felt that it was perfectly acceptable for me to be with them. We got the train home together. Then said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful impromptu way to end the working day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last week I went and saw the latest West End production of Chess. It was only on for a limited run, so I was pleased that I did manage to catch it. It is written by Tim Rice with music and lyrics also supplied by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame. It was first performed in London in 1986. This latest version was at the London Coliseum.

Chess
Chess

One of the main reasons I wanted to see this show was because of the cast. That they had assembled for it. I have been a long time fan of Michael Ball. But had never had the chance to see him on stage. He was playing one of the lead roles. Alongside a man reprising the role that he had played in the original production Murray Head. Ball plays the Russian and Head the American.

The two female leads were also great. One whom I had seen perform before and the other who I had been trying to see for a while. They were Cassidy Janson and Alexandra Burke. I saw Cassidy when she was playing Carole King in Beautiful and she was sensational in that. Alexandra had been on The One Show when I was there once. But she showed off her dancing not her singing that evening.

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Chess. The staging was very clever and involved a lot of video images on big screens with live cameras on stage to capture the footage. The music and songs are fantastic. As you would fully expect from the people who are behind them. The whole cast were totally amazing.

Michael Ball was exceptional. His voice is just immense. When he is on that stage belting out those songs. He is a truly terrific performer. Murray Head was brilliant to. In a role he has really made his own. I particularly enjoyed him doing One Night In Bangkok. A song he had a number twelve hit with in the UK.

Cassidy Janson was just ridiculously good. Her voice is like velvet and her acting is faultless. She is just such a good all round star. I love watching her on stage. Alexandra Burke also blew me away from her first song. She proved what a amazing singer and performer she is. It made the whole theatre sit up and pay attention.

I have already mentioned one of the two best known songs from this musical. The other is performed by the two ladies. The two original leading ladies had a number hit with it in the eighties. They were Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson. The song I am talking about is “I Know Him So Well. Which is immaculately performed by Cassidy and Alexandra. Real goose bumps and hairs on the back of your neck standing up stuff.

I enjoyed the show and I was impressed by how good the cast were. But the reason this show has not had the longevity of other musicals, like Phantom of Opera for example. Is possibly due to the story not being quite strong enough. And it not containing enough poignant dramatic moments. I thought it was great and I am sure they will bring it back again in the future. It is I think quite amusing that the main American character’s surname is Trumper. Just as it was in the original.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see James Acaster do a work in progress gig for his latest show at The Museum Of Comedy in London. It is a lovely little place. It only holds about eighty people. They have improved the bar area there recently. Which just makes it a bit easier to sit and have a drink before the entertainment starts.

As the name of the place suggests there are lots of historic comedy items and memorabilia dotted around the including a signed printed copy of the classic Two Ronnies “Four Candles” Sketch and an old Freddie Starr red stage jacket. Not to mention some Spitting Image masks and the back door from the Trotters three wheeler from Only Fools and Horses.

Museum of Comedy
Museum of Comedy

It was slightly odd when we walked into the performance room, as James was already on the stage waiting for us. I know it is a small venue and there is not a dressing room. But this is the first time I had experienced that. I am not sure if that was something new he was testing. Or if he could not be bothered to hide from us for the sake of it. Which I completely understand, to be honest.

He was trying out a lot of new stuff that may or may not make it into the finished and final polished show. He was also telling us about his weekend. To see if he could find any comedy value in it and get some future material from that. He is one of the top gigging comics around at the moment, really good.  His recent appearances on television panel shows have been brilliant to.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

It was a fun evening seeing some comedy rounded off with a trip to Byron Burger. Which is pretty much my default burger restaurant. When I am in London. You know exactly what you are going to get there and their burgers are tasty.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur have signed a deal with the Beavertown Brewery to be the official craft beer of their new stadium. Therefore I thought I better have a can of their Neck Oil Beer to wash my food down with. As an appreciation of the new connection with my football team.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I like most of the country on Bank Holiday Monday watched the last ever episode of Car Share. Peter Kay and Sian Gibson are both great in it. The story line works and makes total sense. The dialogue is top quality comedy. But as I have said previously. The thing I really love about it is the additional comedy from the radio station and the ace visual jokes. That have been getting better with every programme.

In the last show there were at least three things I spotted in the shot as the car was driving around that made me laugh out loud. Ranging from stickers on cars, to posters and shop signs. I would imagine that I missed lots of other gags. Some of those radio adverts are genius. I think he has ended it at the right time. As great creators and writers always do with these projects.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

Yesterday I had my six monthly hospital appointment for my ears. I have had problems with them for the last three years. I am not sure if it is as a result of years of wearing headphones or of too many loud music gigs. But they do get quite bunged up. Therefore twice a year I have to go and have them basically hoovered out.

They have a special machine that can shall we say remove any debris from the area. It does make a weird noise and give you a slightly odd sensation, when it is happening. There is also a camera attached, so you can see what is going on. But as I am so squeamish. I try not to look. I always feel happier that I can hear much better after having it done. l am already booked in for my next appointment in December.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Razzle Dazzle

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been busy with a lots of fun things going on. The excellent Tringe Comedy Festival has now just finished for another year. This annual event see’s many of the best comedian’s in the country head down to Tring to perform. Normally work in progress Edinburgh Festival shows.

Among the acts appearing this year were Sean Walsh, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and James Acaster. All of whom I have seen live. It does always attract a great line up of comics. And it is brilliantly organised and put together by the lovely impresario that is Ben Moorhouse.

Neil Quigley doing Stand Up
Neil Quigley doing Stand Up

Unfortunately I did not manage to get along and see any gigs there this time round. But the festival does hold a special place in my memory. As it was there where I made my stand up comedy debut. Every year they have a Roving Comedy Night. For people who want to try the dark art of comedy for themselves.

You go on an eight week course with the legend that is Logan Murray. Then you are let loose on the good people of Tring. Performing your newly written five minute set in four of the town’s pubs. With a headline professional comedian with you. To close each of your mini shows. That night I got to work with the genius that is Tony Law. Who was totally brilliant!

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

If you have ever wanted to try stand up comedy. I would recommend this course and the Roving Comedy Night. It is an amazing experience. The buzz I got from that night lasted for about two weeks after. Plus I got to meet some great and very funny people. In fact the night of my very first gigs. I got to give the wonderful Silky a lift back to his hotel.

He was a finalist in the first ever BBC New Comedy Awards. He runs his own very successful comedy clubs. And is a top bloke. So night one and I was already giving fellow comics lifts. I still do plan to return to stand up at some point in the future. It is really good fun.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Like a large majority of the country. I only really seem to get excited about Tennis during Wimbledon. Whenever that comes on the television. I find it always makes me want to dig out my Andre Agassi racket from the loft. And find a free court to play on. It is a sport I do enjoy playing but do not think about for most of the year. I did go through a stage of playing quite regularly with a mate. But I kept beating him and then strangely the offers to play games suddenly seemed to stop.

I did manage to watch a fair bit of this year’s Wimbledon. Including the Men’s Single’s Final. I was delighted to see Andy Murray win his second All England Club title. He is such a dedicated and hard working sportsman. And therefore deserves all the success that comes his way. He has earned it. And that win easily makes him the greatest British Tennis Player in my life time, certainly.

Wimbledon
Wimbledon

I was very jealous of my Uncle and Auntie who managed to get Centre Court tickets. For Ladies Semi Final day. So they got to see the powerhouse that is Serena Williams in action. What an athlete she is.

That is very much on my to do list. To go and witness the tennis live at Wimbledon. Ideally on Centre Court. May be I can be there when Andy Murray wins his third title there next year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a brilliant night the other week watching the stunning Chicago. At one of my favourite venues. The wonderful Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. This was a show that I had been wanting to see for sometime. So I was really looking forward to it. And I have to say it did not disappoint.

After seeing her at one of the Celebrity Juice recordings I was at. I also really wanted to see Hayley Tammaddon playing Roxie Hart. She was hilarious on the show that night and brilliant on stage in that role to. She really did make it her own. And put her own stamp on it. She has a fantastic singing voice. Which I guess, always helps in a musical.

Aylesbuy Waterside Theatre
Aylesbuy Waterside Theatre

The whole cast were excellent. It was very well put together, the staging, sound and choreography were all fantastic. The character I think I can relate most to, is of course Billy Flynn. Who was perfectly portrayed by John Partridge. He was so good from start to finish. And he can hold a note for such a long time. I reckon he would seriously give Bill Withers a run for his money.

The orchestra are actually on stage and fully in view. They really do get involved and add to the fun and enjoyment. In fact I think a few of them may be a little bit crazy. There are some nice surprises in it. A very enjoyable show. Performed by a great company. I am very pleased I went along to see it. Great fun night.

Beautiful The Carole King Musical
Beautiful The Carole King Musical

It has been a theatre packed fortnight for me. As I also went and saw Beautiful The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre in London. This was another show that I had heard great things about. And had been wanting to see for a while. It was brilliant. It is really fast paced and very slick. And it tells the amazing story of her life and career. In a very clever and direct way. But the best thing is the amount of excellent songs in the show. Most of which of course were written by the subject of the story herself.

These songs by the way are all brilliantly performed by the fantastic cast. It is just huge hit song after huge hit song. Mixed in with the different stages of the great singer and songwriter’s life. Cassidy Janson is sensational in the lead role. And totally nails all of the amazing songs. That she gets to sing. It was again another lovely night out at the theatre.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live
Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

I love live performances. So much more engaging and fun than just watching stuff at home on the television. I like to think that I know quite a lot about music. But even I had moments a couple of times during the night when I was thinking “I had forgotten this one was a Carole King song”. She does have such an amazing back catalogue of classic songs.

And bearing in mind a lot of these came out of. In effect a music factory style environment. In many ways makes that more astonishing, I think. Some bands go away for years to write their albums. She and her writing colleague’s had to deliver songs. Like they were working at a car plant. Virtually on a daily basis. Her debut solo album Tapesty was huge. And packed full of timeless classics. She was in a way the 60′ s and 70’s answer to Adele. Great night out. Seeing yet another excellent West End show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Staying with musicals. I am very excited that I am going to see Sheridan Smith star in Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre in London on Monday. I have been a big fan of hers for years. I have always wanted to see her perform live on stage.

So I can’t wait. I have been following her career from the start. All the way from the Royale Family, Two Pints of Lager, through to Gavin & Stacey and her excellent portrayal of Cilla in the ITV biopic of the singer’s rise to fame. I will report back on the show next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

One of my former radio stations Mix 96. Just happened to be in the town where I live. As part of their Summer Tour last week. So I thought it would be rude not to pop along and say hello. Over the years I have spent several spells working there.

And it was actually where I had my very first taste of a radio studio. When I did a week’s work experience there. When I was at Aylesbury college. Funnily enough one of the presenters who I met that week Max Hailey is now the Managing Director.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few years after that initial visit. I was back helping out on the Saturday Sport Show. Phoning up the local football teams to get the scores. And then reading out the results on air. From here I progressed to doing the Sports Show myself.

Before that though my first ever show on the station was a one hour show on a Sunday morning. Which I covered for just one week. Which was equally exhilarating and terrifying but great fun. That was really my big break in radio.

Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley
Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley

The next step was to cover a few weeks worth of the Evening Show. Then this eventually led on to me doing six months on the Drive Show. Before then doing three months on the Morning Show. I then just dropped back to doing Saturday Sport at the station for a while.

Before a year later returning to do the Morning Show for another six months. Then after five years in Somerset. I returned initially for a Saturday Afternoon Show. Which then led to me doing the Evening Show. For a couple of years before leaving the station.

Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video
Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video

Anyway it was really nice to catch up with someone I have known for many years. As he has been at Mix 96 for quite some time himself now, Nathan Cooper. Good to have a chat and see him in action. We have done a few outside broadcasts together over the years.

And it was also nice to see Darren Scott. Who I worked with during my last spell there. Mix 96 is a excellent radio station. So it was nice to see them out and about doing their stuff. It was a good giggle to see everyone.

Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride
Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride

I am really enjoying working with the BBC in London. Being around such talented and dedicated people is fantastic. It is fun and very fulfilling being involved in the production of some excellent programmes. There is also the added bonus of you never know who you will bump in to. Everyday while you are there.

Plus thanks to The One Show studios being there to. You also never know. Who might just be performing live outside the building. For example last week as I was on my way home. Bryan Adams was performing his latest single with his band. And for the record he sounded sensational. Previously James Bay was serenading me as I was leaving.

On the way to BBC New Broadcasting House
On the way to BBC New Broadcasting House

I recently tried my first ever gluten, wheat and dairy free health bar. Which although I appreciate that it was probably very good for me. I must admit I personally thought it tasted horrible. If you are unable to eat these food groups. You have my sympathies.

It confirmed what I already know. Despite the fact I do try to keep fit and healthy. And also eat quite well. I do really love bad food and the things we shouldn’t eat. They taste so good.

Health Bar
Health Bar

Tomorrow afternoon I am going to a family party. Which is taking place in a pub beer garden with a BBQ and some live music performances. That is basically my perfect Sunday. Hopefully the weather will be nice.  You will never find me complaining that the weather is too hot. I do like it nice and warm.

During the year we have enough cloudy and wet days. So anytime the sun is out and the temperature is high. I am very happy. Plus I am a great sleeper, so no matter how cold or hot it is. I still sleep fine. I have two settings in life. I am either on (awake) or off (asleep).

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.

Shows and Tells

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have as ever been very busy with lots going on.I mentioned last time that I went up to see a mate of mine in Liverpool for the weekend and that he had a two year old daughter. Well apparently since I left she has been randomly asking after me quite a bit at various points during the days. Including when she was at Nursery. So much so that one of the staff there actually asked my mate’s mum who Neil was when she collected her one day. She said she didn’t know so unfortunately for my mate and his wife it now looks like everyone at the nursery thinks his wife is having an affair with some bloke called Neil. I have apologised several times to my friend but it is still happening. He actually sent me a text last night saying she was found in a room by herself shouting for me earlier in the day. His daughter not his wife that is. I’m very surprised by the impression I seem to have made and yet at the same time I am thinking about employing her as my agent.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live
Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

A few Saturday’s ago I went to the Cadogan Hall just off Sloane Square in London to see my mate Mike Sterling performing in Stars of the West End. It was the first time I had been to the venue. Which has recently been refurbished. It is a fantastic building to watch shows in with really nice and helpful staff. For somewhere that is right in the heart of London the place weirdly has a really lovely community feel to it. The show itself was absolutely fantastic. It featured Mike alongside fellow West End Stars Shona Lindsay, Tom Soloman and Jayne O’Mahony performing songs from many great musicals backed superbly by the West End Sinfonia led by the brilliant Toby Cruse. Mike who has played the lead roles in both Les Miserables and the Phantom Of The Opera heroically sang the big anthems from both of these great shows in the breathtaking finale’s to each section of the performance. The whole cast were great and it was a really enjoyable night out being entertained by some truly talented people. I happily did manage to catch up with Mike Sterling for a very quick drink after the show. I am so showbiz! It was really good to see him in action on stage, chat to him and hear what he has been up to. It is always nice to see people you know doing well.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was once again lucky enough to be working behind the scenes at the last NFL International Series Game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium. The game was yet again played in front of a sell out crowd. Who were treated to an on stage performance by Little Mix as part of the pre game show. It was a fun day. There is always a great buzz about the place when the American’s are in town. My roles included escorting various VIP’s to the Field area to watch the players warm up before the game then showing them back to their seats before the action got under way. After the match I was helping to direct the Detroit Lions back to the team bus. They were all very friendly and really nice. Mind you they had won the game with a last second field goal, which I am sure helped their mood some what. I ended up watching the exciting finale to the game on a television in the players tunnel. That had about a five second delay on it. So we heard the cheer then had to wait to see the pictures on the screen before we could be totally sure exactly what had happened.

There is always quite a good celebrity turn out at these NFL events. Guests at this one included Tim Lovejoy, Joey Barton, Alexandra Burke and of course Mr American Football himself Vernon Kay was there. Vernon plays for the London Warriors American Football team. I did happen to have a conversation with one of his team mates. The training regime and food intake required for players of the sport is pretty impressive. A fact highlighted by the way the NFL players leave the stadium with giant pizza’s all to themselves to eat.

NFL at Wembley
NFL at Wembley

Due to the fact there were a few very slight complications the sequel to my Root Canal treatment at the dentists has now been turned into a trilogy. As all the best movie franchises are. I went back for the second phase and discovered there was actually still a slight issue and outside risk of infection relating to one of the three roots of the troublesome tooth in question. So my dentist had to dig out a little more of the root. Which was about as much fun as it sounds. But once again fair play to her it did not hurt at all and I suffered no after effects. It just means I have to wait another week before the procedure will be finished. As part of the visit I saw my first ever x-ray of a tooth, as she explained to me the situation. Strangely I quite enjoyed looking at it and it gave me a good understanding of what was going on. Plus as I am not a parent that was as close I have ever come to seeing a personal scan relating to me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Monday I went for the first time to the ITV London Studios on the South bank. Some of the television shows that are broadcast from this location include Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away, Good Morning Britain and The Jonathan Ross Show. I was there to see the latest It’ll Be Alright on the Night being filmed. Outside the building there is a wall of hand prints of lots of the stars who have presented shows from there. Including Lorraine Kelly, who according to this display does have ridiculously small hands. Then as you walk in to the studio itself there are lots of great pictures on the walls showing stills from many of the different shows that are produced there. I have always been a big fan of the out takes clip show, for just about as long as I can remember. From back when it was hosted by Denis Norden and his clipboard. The current host is now of course Griff Rhys Jones who has fronted the programme since 2008.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Once everybody was sat down and in position. The first thing that happens when they are ready to get going is that the warm up man comes out to tell the audience any information that they need to know about the recording, check audience levels for the sound department and get the crowd ready for a night of laughing, cheering and clapping. The man charged with this role for the evening was a bit of a legend himself. It was none other than Ted Robbins. Who as well as being a hugely experienced comedian and warm up man, also appeared in both series of Peter Kay’s comedy Phoenix Nights. So as you would expect there were several big screens up so we could see the clips and then react accordingly to them. I quite liked the idea of being one of the first people to see all these brand new bloopers before anybody else.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

Before we got started Griff came out and had a bit of a chat to the audience. He was really good from start to finish, he’s very good at what he does. Then it was time to get the recording started. Ironically there was a slight technical fault at the start of the show so they had to re-shoot the opening twice in the end. It was great fun to watch. And there are as ever some very funny moments during it, featuring the great and the good from the world of television. There is no confirmed date for this latest episode to be broadcast as yet but it is expected it will be on our screens either during December this year or January next. Either way keep an eye out for it so you can see some more examples of when television goes wrong. And to see if you can hear my unnaturally loud clap or even catch a brief glimpse of me on the screen.

London
London

Last week I spent the day in London doing a couple of different tours. That were both taken by friends of mine. The first one was called The City Square Mile Walking Tour. Which as you would expect from the title involved walking around a section of the city. That was historically the original centre of the capital. It was truly fascinating learning about which businesses were originally based there. How lots of the streets got their names. Plus all the information about the old and new buildings on view. And discovering how many Roman remains can be seen right in the heart of London, if you know where you are looking. Towards the end of the tour the guide took us to a new shopping centre. Which seemed a bit odd at first until he took us up in a lift to a viewing area at the top, which gave us a great view over London.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

The second tour I did on the same day was at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Now I have to confess I did not study the great Bard at school, so I do not know much about him. But in my defence it seems that nobody really knows that much about him and a lot of what we believe is calculated guess work. The Globe opened in 1997 and it is an exact replica of what it is believed the theatre looked like that the Chamberlain Players and The King’s Men performed Shakespeare’s play’s in during the 1600s. It is a brilliant place. I really like the way they try to put the performance on there in the manner and style that they would have been performed it in. Back when these plays were new and being shown for the first time. It was a very interesting tour, during which we got to try out several of the different seating areas for size and learned lots about the theatre. Plus the customs and behaviours of the people during that period in history. Having been there I now really do want to go and see a Shakespeare play performed there. I think that would be amazing. It is on my to do list for next summer when their new season of plays start.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

My mate Ben Langley’s play Ha Ha Hood makes another appearance in Buckinghamshire this month at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury this coming Wednesday 12th November. I saw it in High Wycombe earlier in its UK Tour and I have to say it is brilliant. It is just a good old fashioned variety comedy show with plenty of big belly laughs guaranteed from an amazing cast. It stars Tommy Cannon, Bobby Ball, Su Pollard, Andy Pickering and the man who also wrote it, the man himself Ben Langley. The show tells the story of Robin Hood twenty years after where we all left the original story. And it is fair to say things have not necessarily worked out how we would have expected them to. If you saw the latest episode of the new BBC Four Comedy Detectorists you would have seen Ben make a brilliant cameo appearance as a deliver driver towards the end of it. I am very much looking forward to seeing the show in Aylesbury for the second time. And hopefully I will get the chance to catch up with Mr Langley while he is in town. If you fancy a fun and crazy night out then go and see it. You can find more details about the show here http://www.hahahood.com/

Ha Ha Hood
Ha Ha Hood

I can finally tell you a little bit more about the new quiz show that I was helping to do a little bit of research and development with earlier in the year. For starters I can now reveal the name of it. It is called Smart Ask and twists the conventional quiz format on its head. As the contestants are the ones who write and compile the questions in the hope of baffling a team of experts in to giving the wrong answers. The more questions they get wrong the more money the players can win. A pilot was shot in London last weekend hosted by Robert Webb. They are hoping to film the first series of it at the start of next year. Which is still something I might be involved in. You will see quite a bit of publicity about it when it is launched, as it will offer a top prize of half a million pounds.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am again very much looking forward to working at Wembley this weekend behind the scenes at the final NFL International Series Game for this season between Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. It is as ever bound to be a star studded affair. And being the last one of the year I believe there are some pretty spectacular things being lined up before and after the match to mark the occasion. Normally it is only the home team who bring their cheerleaders over for the game but I have heard some rumours that both team’s troops will be coming to England for this game. Which for the record I am perfectly fine with and have to say this seems like an excellent idea. I will let you know how it all went next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.