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The Theatre Links pages provide links to Theatre resources on the net, which either provide information on the UK theatre scene in general or which include information about Lyn Paul and the musicals in which she has appeared (Blood Brothers, Footloose and Taboo).
In 2011 Lyn Paul was invited to join the cast of a new musical, Rhinestone Mondays. Rehearsals began on 8th August at the Dance Attic in Fulham, three weeks ahead of the opening night at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester on 31st August.
The setting for the show is the bar of the Warbleswick Social Club, where the bar owner, Brian (played to great critical acclaim by Shaun Williamson), is desperate to drum up new business. Monday night is line dancing night, when dance teacher Annie (played by Faye Tozer) tries to get a motley cast of characters to 'toe the line'. The class consists of Ronald (played by Phil Pritchard), a film buff who insists on being called Clint when he's at line dancing classes; Duncan (played by Ian 'H' Watkins), a camp character who two-times at a tap class on Friday nights; Mary (Pauline Fleming), who can't quite keep up even with the help of baked beans; Carol (Ally Holmes), who's addicted to the 'Achy Breaky' but can't get the steps right; and "legs akimbo" Sophie (Lyn Paul).
The plot revolves around the "Will they? Won't they?"
relationship between Annie and Tom (Anthony Topham), a reluctant divorcee who is mentored in the art of seduction by barman Brian. The action spans five consecutive Mondays and is played out to a Country music soundtrack, including classics such as Ring Of Fire, Stand By Your Man and Crazy (all sung by Lyn Paul) and a few lesser-known songs such as Mindy McCready'sGuys Do It All The Time and Mary Chapin Carpenter'sDown At The Twist And Shout. The finale, by which time the audience has been given a line-dancing lesson and is on its feet joining in with the cast, includes the Steps hit 5,6,7,8 and Billy Ray Cyrus'sAchy Breaky Heart.
Cowboys - and girls - down the social
Review by Lynda Ford ****
"Lyn Paul, with her model girl figure and great voice plays vamp Sophie."
Now hold on there, pardner...
Review by Paul Marston
"Even with a guy in the cast who thinks he's Clint Eastwood, this musical comedy couldn't make my day... Only when Lyn Paul, playing club member Sophie, sang Willie Nelson'sCrazy in the second act, did the pace start to increase, but it was far too late."
Theatre Review: Rhinestone Mondays
Review by Andrew Johnston
"You know a show’s in trouble when a Steps song is the highlight of the night... The likes of ‘Crazy’, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Achy Breaky Heart’, ‘When You’re Hot You’re Hot’, ‘Stand by Your Man’ and, of course, ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ are duly trotted out, and to be fair the cast sing them well, particularly Lyn Paul, formerly of 70s group, the New Seekers."
Review: Rhinestone Mondays by Joe Graham at Colchester Mercury until September 10
Review by David Henshall
"This is one of those shows that ushers you out into the night with a smile on your face and, chances are, a song in your heart... Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the quality of the voices because the cast includes two members of the former top pop group Steps, Faye Tozer and Ian Watkins, and Lyn Paul from the award-winning New Seekers."
Review – Rhinestone Mondays, Festival Theatre
Review by Danielle Farrow •••
"Some characters manage fine singing at times (Paul in particular, along with Tozer) and give quirky performances, but... nothing can hide the fact that the plot is as thin as the sound of the pre-recorded music."
"Writer Joe Graham has created a series of stock comedy stereotypes rather than any three dimensional characters. A comedy grandmother, a nervous slipper-clad singleton, a camp tap dancing Welshman, an obsessive film fan, and a predatory cougar...
At the heart of the piece there is a workable stage comedy but, oddly, for a billed musical it would work so much better if the songs were ditched and more time spent on developing character and plot.
There is a – literally - show-stealing performance from Shaun Williamson as barman Brian, while Faye Tozer and Anthony Topham are vocally strong and try their best with the limited material as lovers Annie and Tom. There are also strong vocal performances from former New Seeker Lyn Paul and Tozer’s fellow Steps bandmate Ian 'H' Watkins..."
"Lyn Paul turns in some fantastic vocal contributions, which prove why she has been so widely acclaimed in her roles in stage productions that include Blood Brothers but Blood Brothers this is not... The main criticism of the piece is that it struggles with it’s own identity, is it a play with some musical numbers? If so then the musical numbers are too many. Or is it a musical? In which case, the musical numbers do not really link strongly enough to the storyline."
Mercury Theatre, Colchester by Michael Gray
"More than a touch of Girls’ Night Out... One of the best vocals of the show [Willie Nelson'sCrazy], not surprisingly, was from Lyn Paul, whose first big hit with the New Seekers was an incredible forty years ago."
Mercury Theatre, Colchester by Anne Morley-Priestman
WOS Rating: ***
"The central characters are Annie (Faye Tozer) and Tom (Anthony Topham). Their attempts at establishing a relationship – she’s a single mother and he’s gone through a traumatic divorce – flounder under the attentions of would-be seductress Sophie (Lyn Paul) and carpet-slippered Mary (Pauline Fleming).
It’s all very well performed... but, for me at any rate, in the end the joint was overcooked. ."
Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne, by John Dixon
WOS Rating: ***
"There is plenty to like about the show, especially the comedy, which in the main is in the safe hands of Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders) who plays the club barman, so desperate for business. The rest of the cast are extremely strong, with Lyn Paul (New Seekers) as well as Faye Tozer and Ian 'H' Watkins (from the soon to be reformed pop group Steps) leading the way."
Prior to Rhinestone MondaysAnthony Topham had appeared in stage productions of Mamma Mia! and The Rocky Horror Show.. His TV appearances include the lead role of Virgil in Casualty (BBC) and the almost-infamous Asan "Shower like a man" TV ad.
Faye Tozer described Rhinestone Mondays as "light-hearted, innocent, good fun... It's not Chaucer, you don't have to concentrate too much!" Asked by journalist Gordon Barr why she'd accpeted the role of Annie, she said: "I first said 'God no'. But when I read the script I saw this was really earthy, raw fun and because I'd done quite a few shows recently where I've been dying or something like that I wanted to do an uplifting show for myself." (Evening Chronicle, 23rd September 2011)
When he signed up for Rhinestone MondaysIan 'H' Watkins was no stranger to line dancing - his mum ran a line dancing club in Ian's home village of Cwm Parc in the Rhondda. His character, Duncan, was also a neat fit. With his tongue in cheek, he told journalist Dave Owens: "He's a little bit deluded and very camp, which as you can imagine is a bit of a stretch for me to play... It's a bit of a cliche but I was the only gay in the village!" (Western Mail, Monday, 3rd October 2011)
He was Barry in Eastenders and Barry in Extras, but insisted they re-named his character in Rhinestone Mondays. “When I read the script there were a couple of parts I quite fancied, one of which was Barry the barman,” he told journalist Neil D'Arcy-Jones. “He’s got some very funny lines, but I think I’ve played enough Barrys in my life already, so I asked them whether they could change his name, which they did.” (Daily Gazette, Sunday, 28th August 2011)