30 November 2008

Reviews from Fran!

One of Siobhan's biggest fans Fran was lucky enough to see CSWY twice in the same week, including the final night! Here are her reviews of Thursday's and Saturday's show! ---

Hmmm, no flame retardant clothing was needed although there was a slightly batty guy sitting behind me in the second act singing away!....

I resisted the urge to: A/ Hit him and tell him to shut up B/ Laugh uncontrollably!....

Well THANK GOD! we had a full cast last night!....

I made a slight plank of myself as I was waiting by the stage door after the matinee to see if everyone (well one person) was present.... Saw her come out of the stage door (relief) but she didn't see me!.... Ahhh all ok so I thought why not pop to the pub on the corner for a bevvie whilst I'm waiting..... So I walked round the corner and there is no pub but a restaurant and as I'm doing so Siobhan is leaving in a car and sees me!.... Oh god! She probably thinks I'm stalking her!.... Bah!....

Anyways so after wandering off for a little while I return to the stage door wait for the cast to return.... Fran is first and then along come Chesney and Siobhan.... So I give her a little wave and she toodles over and says "What are you doing here?".... Erm.... Coming to see you?.... She didn't get my message!.... Anyways she was running late so she asked if I would be there later.... Er.... YEAH!.... I told her I was in the front row but to let Chesney know I wasn't wanting any of his "funny business!".... She was like ooooh I'm gonna tell him to come over to you!.... Eeeek!.... Not funny!....

Anyways I take up my seat in the front row.... Very nice, almost dead central....

Impressions of the show.... Very cheesy but some great singing by all the cast of the Manilow classics!.... Now we get to the part where Chesney is going to get beaten up.... Some fan gave him their phone number.... Their name?.... FRAN!.... I was like, hmmm is that supposed to be a name check?....

Anyways Siobhan's solo's were fab!.... But I was also impressed by Chesney and Fran (even though she doesn't have an awful lot of time in the show)....

Fortunately Chesney picked on an older lady in the front row a couple down from me to sing to.... Thank goodness!.... Maybe it was my nooooo! signals I was giving him!

Anyways show over and to the stage door I go!.... They all come out pretty quickly and Siobhan comes out from the stage door and says "Hello Darlin!".... Anyways we exchanged pleasantries and have a quick chat, including getting introduced to Chesney and then telling him my VERY embarrassing story of when I was 16 outside Radio 1 chasing his car down the road to get an autograph!.... Oooh the things you do when you're young!....

Anyways good news!, Siobhan has got financing for her album!.... An independent record label will release it sometime next year!.... She hasn't finished writing for it yet but it looks likely that none of her original material will make it to this new album.... She did say that on Alecia Dixon's new album there is a track on it that she originally recorded.... I'll have to have a look to see if I can remember which one!.... As she said it would give us an idea of the kind of stuff she's doing.... I asked her about the music going on MySpace and she said it will get done....

She said that she wants to concentrate on the album now so I think that's it for musicals for her, for the time being which is sad.... She did say that she has been asked to audition for some musicals but has decided against in favour of her music.... I asked about Can't Smile continuing next year.... Its possible but if Siobhan's concentrating on her album then I assume it could be without her....

I also asked about the neck incident for which I got a very strange answer!....Ok, what happened was Siobhan knitted herself an amazingly long scarf.... She was wearing it one day whilst driving but shut it in the door by accident.... I have no idea how but it got caught round the wheel of her car (Smart car) and nearly chocked her!.... Hence the reason why she was wearing scarves, to cover the burn marks on her neck!.... Oh my god!.... I'm thinking this could only have happened to Siobhan!.... Odd story but TRUE!, poor girl nearly killed herself....

Anyways chat over, the cast went off for drinks and I went off to the town centre to wait for my coach back to London.... The coldest 2 hour wait of my life!....BUT I'm doing it again on Saturday!.... Can't resist! Well who knows when we'll get to see Siobhan again singing on stage?.... Maybe at the O2?.... I wish her all the best in the persuit of her singing career!....


Hey all....

Suppose I should post something about going to see Siobhan at the final performance of Can't Smile....

I only got back this morning and felt like a train wreck, overnight coaches aren't a good thing!...

Well I got into Darlington yesterday at 18.30 and went straight over to the Box Office to pick up my ticket, the matinee was just kicking out when I arrived.... I went into the box office and got my ticket but as I was speaking to the staff Siobhan popped in and said hi.... She also had to give the box office staff a forwarding address for a package she hadn't received from Connie.... Had a quick chat about not an awful lot but said to her about Isadora Duncan which she knew about and said "but I didn't die!" To which I replied, THANK GOD!.... Or something along those lines....

She said she had to go but asked if I would be about later.... I said that Beej would be down from Edinburgh to see the last show too so we'd catch up with her later.... I also saw Chesney at the Stage Door before he left and he remembered me and said "Hi Fran" which I thought was nice.... Incidentally the name check was for me the other night!.... Funny!.... Ooh and apparently the matinee was complete carnage!.... Siobhan asked me if I had been to see it but I couldn't get there on time.... She said that a couple of times she couldn't stop laughing, too many pranks to mention specifically but she said it was funny....

Anyways after our chat I trotted to a pub to have a bevvie and keep warm.... I then went back to the theatre before the show to meet up with Beej....

Anyways we take out seats for the last show, Chesney is off so the U/S Richard Taylor Woods was on.... He was actually very good.... Chesney sounds more like Barry Manilow when he sings but RTW was a good all rounder.... I thought that Richard and Siobhan were a good pairing and they sounded great together.... Siobhan's solo's were perfect, she just sounded amazing!.... Would love to be able to get my hands on an audio!....

Well after 27 Manilow songs it was all over!.... Siobhan genuinely looked a bit emotional at the curtain call and they all got a good standing ovation which was lovely!....

After the show Beej and I took our place at the Stage Door to wait for the cast.... Beej managed to get a couple of posters from the show, nice one!.... I had asked on Thursday but was told no!.... Some people just have luck!....

Anyways Siobhan comes out and heads over.... I really have no idea what we talked about.... Maybe something to do with all the wine I had drunk!.... All I can remember is Beej and I telling her that it would be a crime for her to go back to handbag designing, she needs to sing!.... Plus we were sad she wasn't going to do anymore shows for a while.... She's definitely going to concentrate on her music, and has said that if the record company wish she may do some live promotion gigs once the c.d is released.... So that's kinda good news to hope for!.... Anyways after a few minutes she was off, so we wished her well and off she went....

Who knows when we'll see her about again, hopefully in the not too distant future that's for sure.... Her voice is too special not to be heard!....

29 November 2008

The Final Night!

Siobhan's last show of Can't Smile Without You is today and I just want to wish her the best of luck! Not just to do brilliantly, (which won't be a problem!) but not to hurt herself on stage because she really doesn't need anymore accidents!! LOL

This is probably a really special day for Siobhan because she doesn't know when she will be tackling musical theatre again. She wants to focus on getting her album out now and who knows when she will be in a show again, if she ever is! Which is a scary thought! She needs to sing live as much as possible in her lifetime.

I for one am very excited for the album, and after waiting 2 and a half years, I don't mind how long it takes for her to release it! (well, sometime before the next school year please! haha)

If you are going to tonight, I envy you! I really wish I could be there! Siobhan you doing anything in April? lol

27 November 2008

Another Lovely Review!

OK, I'm speaking the truth this time; I actually like this one!

It's short and isn't very keen on Chesney Hawkes but she seems to have loved Siobhan, which I am totally fine with!

It is such a great feeling to read some nice compliments (unlike others!) towards the end of the show. Her final night is this Saturday, November 29th.

WHAT: Can’t Smile Without You

WHERE: Darlington Civic Theatre

WHEN: Until Saturday

VERDICT: Disappointing male lead but superb support from cast

THERE ARE some excellent elements to this musical but unfortunately the male lead isn’t one of them.

Chesney Hawkes, although much better looking than Barry Manilow, just doesn’t have a strong enough voice to do justice to an international superstar.

It’s easy to see why he was chosen for the role. He has similar colouring and there are times when he does sound like the man himself.

However, all too often he seemed to struggle for those high notes.

He was outshone in spectacular fashion by Siobhan Dillon, a runner-up on the BBC’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria.

Her voice is a joy to hear. Her presence on stage is mesmerising.

The harmonies from the cast are as tight as you could ever hope to hear. The band is great and Howard Samuels injects some much-needed comedy into the show.


26 November 2008

Darlington CSWY Review

A wonderful, just absolutely lovely review of Can't Smile Without You has landed on the web and it's something that should not be missed!

The One and Only one-hit wonder, Chesney Hawkes teams up with ‘reality’ rejects Siobhan Dillon (How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?) and Francesca Jackson (I’d Do Anything) to star in this contrived musical based around the songs of Barry Manilow.

Hawkes plays Tony Lowiman (notice the ‘witty anagram’), an aspiring young musician who is offered the chance to participate in a reality TV talent contest and become the next pop sensation. However, before he can realise his dream, he is caught up in a tragic sequence of events which leave him fighting for his life.

Francesca Jackson plays Lucy, his girlfriend who is, surreptitiously, romantically involved with his best friend and fellow band member, Scott (Edward Handoll). Siobhan Dillon is Mandy, the abrasive PA of Jeff (Howard Samuels), a smarmy TV executive.

Tony falls for Mandy but doesn’t want to hurt Lucy, Lucy wants Scott to reveal the truth about their affair to Tony, Jeff wants to make a star of Tony but not the rest of the band . . . it all gets rather complicated!

After a gig one evening, Tony is given a note from a fan which offers her name and telephone number. Without having even met the girl, he is accused by her boyfriend of attempting to steal her from him. This results in him being beaten up by the boyfriend and two other thugs in the most unconvincing fight scene in the history of musical theatre.

The plot is as thin as a size-zero supermodel and to say that the acting is wooden would be an insult to Pinocchio. The biggest fault lies with Tim Prager’s writing, which is banal and predictable at best and contains enough corn to keep the Jolly Green Giant supplied for the next decade. However, the cast do little to redeem themselves, too.

Although Chesney Hawkes has a decent enough singing voice his performance lacks the passion that is necessary to completely engage with his character. This could also be said of the two leading ladies. Both seem desperate to prove themselves as legitimate actresses and singers, rather than just reality show runners-up. Each tries to out-sing the other, particularly in the duet and trio numbers, until their pitch only becomes audible to dogs and dolphins. And Siobhan Dillon’s New York accent didn’t so much wander - it ran away.

Howard Samuels as Jeff was more camp than a row of pink tents as he flounced around the stage, gesticulating as though he had an itch in a place that he dared not to scratch.

The setting was basic, using little in the way of real scenery, although the dropcloth, which depicted a New York and London skyline, was used throughout, despite the fact that certain scenes were supposed to be taking place in New England, Monte Carlo, Saint Louis, Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The addition of overhead signs to explain the scene setting added to the feeling that the audience was being presented with theatre-by-numbers.

The undoubted stars of the show were Manilow’s songs and Can’t Smile Without You includes more than thirty of them. Unfortunately, direction from Bill Kenwright and Keith Strachan and choreography by Carole Todd cannot do anything to save this lame bird. This is one turkey that even Bernard Matthews would have trouble off-loading.

Steve Burbridge.


Well as you can see I was obviously kidding, it is the worst review CSWY has had so far. But I'm not taking it seriously, it actually makes me laugh!

21 November 2008

Smile? Siobhan is grinning like...

SIOBHAN Dillon nearly knew how to solve a problem like Maria, won a record deal, a role in Grease, and another record deal in America...

Now the 24-year-old is touring as the female romantic lead in a brand new musical love story featuring 30 of the songs of Barry Manilow.

Next stop Darlington, she plays Mandy opposite Chesney Hawkes of The One And Only fame at the Civic Theatre for the week from Monday in CAN’T SMILE WITHOUT YOU, a show fully endorsed by Mr Manilow himself.

Siobhan was 21 and a fashion design student at London University when her life was changed by How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

The winner of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first TV show search for a West End star would land the lead, played on film by Julie Andrews, in the new production of The Sound Of Music.

Siobhan came third but was told on live TV by Andrew that she had a record deal to make an album with his company. Her showbiz career took off and she never returned to university.
Siobhan, from Lichfield in Staffordshire, has been singing for most of her young life.

“I used to do Barry Manilow’s I Write The Songs. I used to sing it all the time when I was eight or nine.

“I had two years of singing lessons at ten and made a demo record at 14, then I did Michael Parkinson’s charity ball at Bray in Berkshire for three years in a row from 15-17.”

The chat show maestro’s son Nick had heard her sing and first asked her to appear.
“I used to drive people mad singing so, after A levels, decided I wanted a change. I thought fashion was calling me but I was getting withdrawal symptoms from not being able to sing.”

That is when she heard of the hunt for Maria. She got to the semi-final but she became ill, her voice was affected, and she was eliminated ... but the show had not heard the last of her.
One of the last three dropped out, and she found herself in the final which Connie Fisher won. The pair are now best friends.

After making her album, she was cast in another new West End musical revival, Grease. She stayed for a year, playing Patty Simcox, the cheerleader with a crush on Danny, and understudying the female lead role of Sandy.

“I left in June and went straight to America to write and record songs in Nashville for the new album I want to release next year.”

She had won the role of Mandy before she left.

“I came home from America on the Sunday and went straight into rehearsals for this in August. After three weeks, we were off on this massive tour, my first tour.”

The show has turned Siobhan into a Barry Manilow fan.

“Since doing this show I’m converted and love the songs very much. I can’t get them out of my head.”

The tour ends just before Christmas.

“It might go into London’s West End next year,” says Siobhan. “That would be nice and, if they asked me back to do it, I would - but I’m hoping to go into films now. I’d really like to be on screen.”

Can’t Smile Without You:

Civic Theatre, Darlington Monday, Nov 24-Saturday, Nov 29, details 01325 486555.


11 November 2008


Ahh the 3rd live show, well it was definitely fun and upbeat and I watched it quite a few *cough cough* too many times. But, if I had to pick a least favorite performance, it would be Jump. Not that I'm saying Siobhan did poorly in it at all, I thought she was fantastic as always. It was just the song, I couldn't take it seriously. It was just a pop song that didn't have any real depth so it's not a performance I would watch over and over again.

But it's not like this performance doesn't take home any awards. It sooo wins for best ever in the world facial expression! I mean seriously!! Look at that picture!! AMAZING! LOL

Well let's see, it started out with her interview about how everyone is pictured. Everyone knew Leanne was untrained because we were told 24/7 but Siobhan wanted people to know that she was as well. I'm glad that that wasn't the case though, because in the end it kinda hurt Leanne with Andrew calling her "Baby Maria." Siobhan was practically maybe a year older than Leanne so the same could've happened to her. She also felt that she wasn't as good as the rest of the Marias, which goes to show how stressful these competitions are. Crying everyday, constantly thinking every which way. That's why you really need to be confident in yourself and not care what others think of you if you want to survive, or at least still be sane by the end of it.

But even when she's feeling vulnerable she is still able to throw in a good joke! "And Leanne has got this confidence thing, that just oozes out of every pore! I don't know where she's got it from but I want whatever she's taking!" LOL ..oh good times!

Some of my favorite parts from the song or maybe just one favorite part was when she first said jump and she actually did in those heels! She almost slipped and you could see John absolutely going wild in the background, it was just one those "Oh!" moments.

The comments weren't particularly great but at least Zoe made her sing once more, which was so high every time I listen to it I feel like I'm going to fall off my chair! Even Andrew payed attention which can be difficult for him sometimes. He said she originally planned to do "Your so Vain" by Carly Simon, which I would've really preferred. If she did it right, then it would have really shown a comedic side to her, AND at the same time she could have made fun of David Ian! That's like a two for one deal there! She said why she decided not to sing it, but I couldn't make out what she was saying exactly. And Andrew was half satisfied.

Note to self: I'll say this episode wins for worst costuming/make-up/and hair out of all 3 shows! Hmm indeed!

Get Well!

Word has it that Siobhan will be out of 'Can't Smile Without You' for a little while because she is feeling under the weather. We don't know how long she will be out for, but all we can say is get well soon Siobhan and hope you feel better!

9 November 2008

New Video Section!

Tada! Now the site has all of Siobhan's performances in .wmv format, for anyone who is interested who does not yet have Siobhan in nice HDness, then your free to download for days!

The video section will continue to grow over time with group songs, the christmas special, and other tv clips.

4 November 2008

Nottingham Says Yes!

Review: Can't Smile Without You, Theatre Royal
Tuesday, November 04, 2008

MAMMA Mia has a lot to answer for. Take a band's back catalogue, throw in a perfunctory story and stir. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't (Shang A Lang anyone?).

If you adopt the same thinking to Barry Manilow songs, just how far up the cheese-ometer will it go? Thankfully, not that far, because if you want a thoroughly escapist night out with some fine musicianship, top singing voices and a knowing glint in its eye, I urge you to beat a path to the Theatre Royal this week.
Can't Smile Without You, does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a night of pop tunesmith Manilow magic.

There may be a story about a singer meeting a girl on a his stag weekend in New York, falling in love, and coming back to Blighty, only to be injured in a fight in which he loses his memory.

But it's only a device to get us thinking about when the next hit will be played – and whether true love will find a way.

Chesney Hawkes takes the lead role of Tony Lowiman (crossword fans should be able to work that one out!) and he is more than ably accompanied by Francesca Jackson as fiancée Lucy and Siobhan Dillon as television executive PA Mandy (cue for a song perhaps?)

The band, under the musical direction of John Maher, are extremely tight, with some of the arrangements enhancing what Manilow has already given us.
The Theatre Royal audience for opening night lapped up this piece of musical theatre with many suggesting on the way out a return later in the week.
It's the next best thing to a concert by the man himself. What better endorsement do you need?