Monday 15 April 2024

Love in Slough: a new musical!

Love in Slough

A new one-man musical 

Written and performed by Alexander Williams 

Based on the songs of Phil Craddock

The Premiere Performance will be as part of the Watford Fringe Festival

at The Pump House Theatre, 5.30pm Friday 12th July 2024

Tickets available here!

Love in Slough is the story of Jack, a middle-aged man tied to an unfulfilling marriage, whose drab, directionless life is given an injection of vigour when he embarks on an unexpected affair. The funny, fast-paced script is bursting with wonderful jazz tunes which drive us through Jack’s journey of self-discovery as he traverses a new world of openness, intimacy and redefined relationships. Join us for the premiere performance of what promises to be an exciting and uplifting new musical!

Thank you to everyone who came to the workshop performance at The Bossanyi Studio on Saturday 13th April 2024! The feedback was amazing, here's a brief round up of some of the comments...

‘5 stars! A triumph!’

‘Beautiful songs set to a beautiful story. Captivated me from start to finish.’

‘A modern day Tell Me On A Sunday but with a jazz soundtrack and more jokes!’

‘Alex’s voice is stunning, and he brings the story to life with passion and charm. A born entertainer!’

‘Phil Craddock’s songs are terrific, embedded in the traditions of jazz standards while sparkling with originality.’

‘The story was subtle and complex, and Alex’s portrayal of the lead character Jack was both nuanced and moving. I’ll carry it with me for a long time. A hugely memorable night.’

‘Fun, fast paced and full of unexpected twists. Highly recommended!’

To listen to the wonderful music of Phil Craddock click here!

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Winner! WACA Innovation Award 2024

Thank you to everyone who nominated me for the Watford African Caribbean Association Innovation Award 2024. It was a genuine honour and surprise to win the award. The Association made particular mention of the work I do for Inclusion and Diversity in Watford, our Black History and LGBT+ History Month Dial Up Open Mic events, and the success of the What's On Watford Podcast. Thank you to everyone who's helped make these projects thrive!

Friday 5 January 2024

Happy New Year from The Dial Up!

Unfortunately our Garden Rooms Dial Ups won't be continuing this year, but I'm delighted as always to invite you to join us to our Diversity and Inclusion Dial Up events at The Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre. In October 2024 we'll bring you our Black History Month Special, but first...

7.30-pm - 9.30pm Saturday 3rd February:
LGBT Dial Up Open Mic!

@The Pumphouse Theatre and Arts Centre, WD17 2JP

Following on from the last two year's LGBT History Month celebrations, The Dial Up is delighted to be back at Watford's Pumphouse Theatre to fly the flag once more inclusion, diversity and community, so join us for a fantastic night of fun, frolics, music and merriment! 

Whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, curious, undecided or something else entirely, everyone is welcome to come along and join us for this landmark occasion! Share you music, your poetry, your passion, your stories... the stage is yours!

This is a free event supported by the Pumphouse for everyone to get involved in celebrating Watford’s wonderful diversity. For those who feel able, donations (suggested £5) will be gratefully received.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Cinderella @ Watford Palace Theatre


Everybody loves a panto at Christmas, and each year the Watford Palace Theatre comes up trumps delivering a fun-filled show stuffed to the gills with enough heart, humour and local references to keep all the family happy!

Under the capable direction of James Williams, Watfordians can once again be confident that this year's panto, 'Cinderella', lives up to expectations. From the moment you step into the auditorium you are greeted with a colourful, eye-popping stage celebrating a plethora of Watford High Street landmarks. From Gibson's Butchers to Jackson Jewellers, and from the iconic spiral car park to the Harlequin Centre (we'll never forget!), such careful thought and detail has been put into making the Cinderella story feel rooted in our town.

Terrence Frisch returns as our beloved dame, Fanny G in this incarnation, who seems a woman of many talents, running a market stall, spinning the discs as a DJ, and of course being Cinderella's fairy godmother! Frisch has a winning way with the Watford audience, building a quick, comfortable rapport and landing cheeky asides with confidence.

Soleil Quarless as Cinderella and Samuel Wolstenholme as the Prince were nicely matched as our romantic couple, her evident poise and kindness seeming a perfect fit for his more awkward 'nerdiness' (but nerd in a good way, as Cinderella remarks!). Of the two it's Wolstenholme who really gets to interact with the audience. While Quarless gets shouted at during the 'they're behind you' scene (the intensity of shouts on the night I attended was testament to the engagement of the adults in the audience as well as the children, what a roar!) it's the Prince who gets to wow them with his dancing and super-speed flossing!

The most original element of this Cinderella tale is the inclusion of her best friend Furby (played by Mark Pearce), a fluffy pink 90s throwback who had the kids squealing with delight. The story is set on New Year's Eve 1999, so lots of retro-references are included which help keep the adults entertained. The idea of a human size Furby might terrify mums and dads, but the kids were enchanted by his playful innocence, especially when he cheekily played with favourite words like 'fuzzlebum'. I imagine many households are gearing up to hear that particular word repeated endlessly over the rest of the festive season!

The ugly sisters can be difficult to cast in our more sensitive age, but here were played hilariously by Luke Farrugia as Christina and Lucia Vinyard as Britney. More 90s references to enjoy of course, but cleverly their singing styles actually matched their pop princess namesakes. Farrugia was a particularly impressive vocalist whose runs and riffs would have easily earned him a place in any 90s pop group.

I went with my 4 year old nephew who, I'm delighted to report, was captivated with the story and characters, and whose favourite bit was watching Cinderella fly off to Pinner Palace in her Peasy Jet plane. He did get restless toward the end and I wonder if the 2 and a half hour running time is a bit long for younger audience members, but he certainly left singing the songs (of the retro soundtrack, the more up to date Harry Styles 'As It Was' turned out to be an audience favourite!) and full of smiles.

Overall, a highly recommended festive treat for all the family!

Tuesday 10 October 2023

The Black History Month Dial Up!

The Watford Pump House Theatre was proud to host a special Dial Up Open Mic in celebration of Black History Month as the final show of this year's Watford Fringe Festival. Inclusion and Diversity are central values at the Pump House, and I've been delighted to work with them in bringing the Dial Up's philosophy of celebrating community and creativity to the stage twice a year as a way of promoting that. Alongside our BHM event in October, we also host an LGBT History Month Dial Up at the Pump House each February. For dates and details click here.

It was a pleasure to welcome such a range of talent, as the photos below (kindly taken by Amy Hart) demonstrate. Whether you Black, White, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Mixed or differently identified, performers felt supported to share their stories, their talents, and their truths. Watford really has an amazing abundance of creativity and love, and it was palpably visible on the stage tonight. I look forward to hosting many more of these events in future years!

Our next Dial Up is 4pm on Sunday 26th November at The Garden Rooms on Market Street. I hope to see you there! Much love, Alex

Above: Bon Siu on saxophone, Matt Wakefield on piano and host/ singer Alexander Williams

Friday 29 September 2023

Watford Fringe Festival Is Here!


7.30 -9.30pm Monday 9th October

Black History Month Celebration Dial Up! @The Pump House Theatre and Arts CentreLocal Board Road, Lower Watford High Street, WD17 2JP (2 minutes from Watford High Street train station)

The Watford Pump House is proud to be hosting a Dial Up Open Mic in celebration of Black History Month as part of the Watford Fringe Festival! We want to throw the doors of the Pump House wide open so this is a FREE EVENT with a suggested donation of £5 at the door for those who are able to pay. As ever, we will be celebrating community and creativity in all their forms, so whether you are Black, White, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Mixed or however you identify, we welcome you to join us for this joyful occasion! Share your music, your poetry, your passion, your stories. The stage is yours!

I'm also reviewing many of the shows, so please do join the critical conversation by reading my reviews here!

Love in Slough: a new musical!

Love in Slough A new one-man musical  Written and performed by Alexander Williams  Based on the songs of Phil Craddock The Premiere Performa...