YMT blog


Top 15 tracks to get you ready for anything - by Heather Welsh


“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” - Plato

Got an audition coming up? Not sure what to listen to on the way to that all-important interview? Heather Welsh researches the tracks that will put you in the right frame of mind. Believe in yourself and take advice from some of the lyrics too!

Here they are in no particular order… (click on the song title to listen.)

1. “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” – Daft Punk

“Work it harder, make it better, do it faster, makes us stronger;” – do what Daft Punk tells you and you’re sure to succeed!

2. “You Get What You Give” – New Radicals

This catchy track reminds us – you get out what you put in, so give it your all.

3. “Here Comes the Sun” – The Beatles

Sunshine and positive thinking is bound to get you pretty far in life; “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting”.

4. “The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World

This song is a lovely message from the US band to anyone who needs a boost. In fact, the whole song is dedicated to it; “Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.  It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on. Just try your best, try everything you can. And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away. Live right now. Yeah, just be yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else”.

5. “Beautiful Day” – U2

“It’s a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away”. – You can’t help but smile when you hear this belter…

6. “Home” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Such an uplifting ditty, and with the cuteness to match any love song, you’ll be in just the right place for whatever your day throws at you. “Laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night, never could be sweeter than with you”.

7.  “What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong

“I see trees of green, red roses too; I see ‘em bloom, for me and for you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” Listening to this, it’s easy to believe the world isn’t such a bad place really!

8. “The Show Must Go On” – Queen

With a title especially relevant to you actors, singers and musicians out there, this song reminds – you’ve got to keep going, be brave!

9. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana

Prep for that petrifying audition? Rock out like you mean business!

10. “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi

It’s YOUR life; grab your chances with both hands!

11. “Lose Yourself” – Eminem

Because sometimes losing yourself means finding yourself again.

12. “Beautiful” – Christina Aguilera

The ultimate song for picking yourself up after a fall – “words can’t bring you down….oh no; you are beautiful in every single way”.

13. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

A song about going to any lengths for someone you love, and who doesn’t feel more upbeat thinking about what people do in the name of love!? “Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you”.

14. “Get up, Stand up” – Bob Marley

“Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!”. That’s right, battle for what you want!

15. “Walking on Sunshine” – Katrina and the Waves

And finally, an optimistic song featuring the ultimate metaphor to shout out loud; “I'm walking on sunshine, and it's starting to feel good, hey all right now”.

Let us know what your favourite feel-good songs are in the comments section below!

Thriller Live Grand Opera York

Thriller Live - Review by Kelly Stocker


*** (3.5 Stars)

Grand Opera House, York - Monday 4 November, 2013

As a Michael Jackson fan, expectations were incredibly high for this show and it did not disappoint.

The musical tribute follows the life of Michael Jackson through his songs rather than them being turned into a jukebox musical, such as Mamma Mia! and We Will Rock You. Upon entering the theatre I was impressed by the set, which was quite spectacular for a tour.

The show starts with huge amounts of energy that immediately brought out a great reaction from the audience and this is maintained throughout the rest of the show. There is a lot of audience participation too, which really helps build up a good atmosphere within the theatre.

The stand-out performance of the show has to be Cleopatra Higgins, from The Voice UK, whose outstanding vocal is the highlight of the night. She also dances with style and has a great stage presence. Credit also goes to Lascel Wood, previously seen on The X Factor, for some soulful singing and to Sean Christopher for some unbelievable dancing including the famous moonwalk.

However, a couple of songs are performed a little too over-the-top for my taste, such as Jesse Smith’s rendition of "She’s out of my Life". The thing that really stands out is the high level of dancing: it is far above that of other tours - particularly in the songs "Dangerous" and "Smooth Criminal" where the iconic Michael Jackson moves get the audience cheering and dancing.

Overall, I would say this was a great feel-good musical, a fun night out and I could easily watch it again!

Thriller Live is playing at the Grand Opera House, York until 9 November. Get your tickets here: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/thriller-live/grand-opera-house-york/about

For information about the Thriller Live tour - check out their website: http://thrillerlive.com/ 

The Private Ear The Public Eye Theatre Royal York

The Private Ear The Public Eye - Review by Lauren Hall


***** (5 Stars)

Theatre Royal, York - Tuesday 29 October, 2013

Peter Shaffer’s comedy double bill from 1962 still has class and charm, holding the audience’s attention every second of the way. The two stories are compelling and lovely to watch; both quite different but with the common theme of love.

The Private Ear is set in a musky London bedsit where reclusive Bob, normally used to giving his full attention to his record collection calls in a favour from a savvy friend to help him treat his date, the beautiful but shy Doreen, to a slap up meal.

The Public Eye takes place in a swanky London accountancy office where uptight Charles is confronted by Julian, an eccentric private detective hired to investigate his young wife’s infidelity. Bob expects help. Charles expects proof. But in this darkly comic double bill, nothing is as it seems.

The whole cast are incredible and characters are played to their full potential. Steven Blakeley particularly deserves a mention. In both acts it is easy to feel connected with his character: the first was Bob, who you couldn’t help but feel sorry for, and the second Julien who was an absolutely hilarious character with a realistic personality and sense of humour.

As well as the acting the set is pretty impressive, especially when changing into the next play at the start of the second act (you really saw the magic of theatre at that point!). The costumes are stunning and very fitting for the period of the play and the feel-good music really compliments the piece. From Ted dancing around to the radio to Bob conducting his record player!

I absolutely loved these two pieces and would have happily paid to see them again and again!

You can follow The Private Ear The Public Eye on Twitter: @PearPeyetour

Charlotte Ritchie

An interview with Charlotte Ritchie


Actress and YMT alumna Charlotte Ritchie chats to us about her experience with YMT as well as what it's like working in television.

Charlotte appeared in YMT's production of Red Hunter back in 2005 and can now be seen on Channel 4's comedy series Fresh Meat where she plays Oregon. Since leaving us, she has gone on to receive a degree in English and Drama at Bristol University as well as being part of the pop-opera group All Angels (who have sold over a million records).

Tell us about your experience of YMT

I distinctly remember the auditions being terrifying and fun at the same time. At the time I found it quite scary, the idea of meeting and working with people I’d never met before, but you really get into it if you throw yourself in, and end up having such a good time.

Did YMT help you at all, and if so in what ways?

Yes, it did. I just finished doing my first professional play and I only realised when I started the dress rehearsal how useful all the preparation before -  in organisations like YMT - had been. I didn’t go to drama school, so YMT was my preparation and I have learned a lot about stage craft from the creative teams there.

Do you still keep in contact with any YMTers?

I do! Every now and again we meet up, and I often bump into ex-YMT members on new jobs.

What have you done since YMT?

I went to Bristol to study Englsh and Drama. I fell into music after YMT, singing in a group called All Angels for 6 years, during my A-Levels and Uni. I got properly back into acting professionally a couple of years ago, just as I graduated and started Fresh Meat.

Could you tell us about how you got your role in Fresh Meat?

I auditioned for the programme about 3 weeks before they started filming – I was really lucky to get in at the last minute. The audition came from my agent at CAM. I got my agent after being seen in a short film I acted in when I was 15.

What’s it like working in television?

It’s very, very different from stage, both in the way you act and in the way it's made. I love doing both, I think! TV is great especially because of the speed you work, and the extra production values that you come into contact with like cameras and crews. And the free Lunch is a real bonus...

Who would you love to work with?

I’d love to work with…. Lots of people! But possibly one of the pythons from Monty Python? Or someone like Julie Walters. You’d learn so much just from being in the room with them.

What is your dream role?

My dream role would be to go back in time, change sex and re-shoot Back to the Future where I could play Marty McFly!

What advice would you give to our young people interested in a career in television, film, or theatre?

I would just say get as much experience as possible. The more you act, and sing and train - even in a non-professional environment, or with a brilliant organisation like YMT - the better you’ll be when you get a role you audition for. In addition, put on your own work if you can, at fringe venues, with your friends, and invite people along to see you. The main thing is just doing as much of it as you can.

We wish Charlotte the best of luck with the new series of Fresh Meat, which is on Channel 4 on Mondays at 10pm!

The Recruiting Officer Salisbury Playhouse Photo: Keith Pattison

The Recruiting Officer - Review by Alice Wordsworth


** (2 Stars)

Salisbury Playhouse - 2 November, 2013

The Recruiting Officer is a Restoration Comedy written by George Farquhar and was first performed in 1706. It is a bawdy comedy of bed-hopping and meddling servants, set in the military town of Shrewsbury at the beginning of the 18th century.

The production captures the style of Restoration Theatre, incorporating period instruments to entertain the audience during the scene changes. Similarly the costumes mirror the era: the men in extravagant wigs and the ladies all bust and bustle. The production uses a multi-functional set with revolving sections that could be adapted for each scene. However, the simplicity of the set did not enhance my understanding of the plot line and although the costumes mirrored the era, the actors did not embody them to full effect.

This style of theatre and period of writing is challenging to a young audience and it is sometimes difficult to follow all the twists and turns in the plot. However, the audience clearly understood the raucous jokes. Confusion was exacerbated by the fact Plume dropped the end of several lines, thus leaving me further mystified to the plot’s progression. The production lacks pace and energy and unfortunately the night we attended Kite had to be played by one of the creative team who stepped up to the task at very short notice and I feel this must have affected the overall pace of the performance that evening. 

Nevertheless, the actors worked well off the audience, Emma Williams in particular capturing the excitement of Melinda's character, without falling into the trap of exaggerating or becoming too flamboyant – a common issue with this style of theatre. The cast did capture the eccentric nature of Restoration Theatre, yet a more exciting set and diverse direction was needed to maximise the comic potential of the script.   

The Recruiting Officer is at the Salisbury Playhouse until Saturday 23 November, 2013 - tickets can be purchased via the website: http://www.salisburyplayhouse.com/page/the-recruiting-officer 

Photo: Keith Pattison