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Some Like It Hotter is fast and funny

Some Like It Hotter, a touring production, reviewed at the Devonshire Theatre, Eastbourne (15-18 May). Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, the stars of the iconic film Some Like it Hot, are reunited in the afterlife. They have been restored to their younger, beautiful and sexy selves and find themselves in one of Heaven’s waiting […]

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Sondheim Society Performer of the Year

Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition 2013 and the Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Prize. Reviewed at the Garrick Theatre, London. When it was suggested to Stephen Sondheim that a song competition be formed in his name, he agreed only if it included new songs by young composers. For the seventh year […]

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Hutch is a story that needs to be told

Playing at the Riverside Studios, London until 8 June. Ruby in the Dust’s new play-with-music, written by Joe Evans and directed by Linnie Reedman, tells the story of Grenadian-born Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson who became one of the biggest cabaret stars of the 1920s and 1930s. He was also lover to both Cole Porter and Edwina […]

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A Phantom more human than the Webber version

Playing at the Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, Walthamstow until 31 May. “The greatest hit never to be produced on Broadway,” those are the words of veteran Broadway composer Maury Yeston (Nine, Titanic) when commenting on his show Phantom which receives its British professional premiere at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre. After their triumphant productions including Flora, the […]

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Evita tour allows Alberto to shine

Evita, a touring production, reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre (15-18 May). They say the old ones are the best and here we go again with another tour of the famous 1978 Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice collaboration that turned Elaine Paige from virtual unknown to superstar. Call it what you will – musical, pop operetta – […]

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Liza On An E welcomes you to the cabaret

Playing at the Vaudeville Theatre until 18 May. Life is definitely a cabaret at the Vaudeville as Trevor Ashley brings, straight from Down Under, his one-man, or should we say, one-woman show Liza On An E for the first time to the West End (and only for five nights). From the moment the multi-talented Ashley […]

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Kerry Ellis in Concert, sublimely enjoyable

  Kerry Ellis in Concert, reviewed at the London Palladium. It takes a big presence to host a concert at the London Palladium, one of the West End’s larger auditoriums, and make it feel like an intimate cabaret gig. Kerry Ellis uses the combination of a phenomenally powerful voice and self-effacing humility to do just that. […]

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Stuart Matthew Price, a leading man to be

Stuart Matthew Price – The Roles I’ll Never Play. Reviewed at St James Theatre Studio, London. Stuart Matthew Price, who is about to turn 30, made his London stage debut exactly six years ago in the Donmar Warehouse’s UK premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, where his stand-out tenor rang out over the opening number, ‘The […]

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Under the influence of Alison Jiear

Alison Jiear – Under the Influence. Reviewed at the St James Studio, London. After witnessing this somewhat exemplary vocal performance from Alison Jiear, it is hard to fathom why the actress and singer has only just released her third album. Not in a long time have I heard a voice of such versatility, clarity, tone, […]

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Lee Lessack on route from NY to Paris

Lee Lessack’s From Manhattan to Paris at The Crazy Coqs, London. First of all I must declare an interest – I have been a fan of American cabaret artist Lee Lessack ever since I first saw him at the late lamented Pizza On the Park plenty of years ago and his light baritone still floats […]

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Desperately Seeking the Exit, it’s therapy

Playing at the Leicester Square Studio, London until May 20. In 2007, after much publicity, a new musical opened in the West End called Desperately Seeking Susan, scored with songs from the back catalogue of 1970s New Wave band, Blondie. Based on the movie featuring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in her first major acting role, […]

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Bare, another stunning Union production

Bare, the Rock Musical, with music by Damon Intrabartolo and lyrics by Jon Hartmere (they also wrote the book), started out as a pop opera. It premiered in Los Angeles in 2000 and a newer version recently finished an Off-Broadway season in February. This is its professional European premiere. The show has similar themes to the […]

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Photo by Roy Tan

Merrily We Roll Along has a good thing going

Playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London until July 27. As a performer Maria Friedman has memorably interpreted the work of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim – she even played the lead role of Mary Flynn in the 1992 Leicester Haymarket production of Merrily We Roll Along – but there was no guarantee she would make the same impact in her directorial […]

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Pajama Game bustles with energy

Playing at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester until June 8. For the first of its two summer musicals Chichester Festival Theatre has unearthed another neglected little gem. Richard Adler and Jerry Ross’ 1954 musical The Pajama Game is given a rare outing. There was a London production in 1999, this time it is director Richard Eyre’s […]

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Klea Blackhurst is welcome back any time

An Evening With Klea Blackhurst, reviewed at The Crazy Coqs, London. Nobody ever accused the lady of being soothing or subtle, but you get what it says on the tin with Klea Blackhurst, a disciple of the Ethel Merman school of belters for whom, in a room holding just 66 at a warmly glowing and […]

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Spice Girls musical Viva Not Forever

Producer Judy Craymer has announced that Viva Forever!, the musical inspired by the songs of the Spice Girls, has posted closing notices at the Piccadilly Theatre for June 29, 2013. In a press statement Craymer said “It is with a heavy heart that we’ve had to make this very difficult decision to post closing notices […]

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The Universal Machine is a code hard to break

Playing at the New Diorama Theatre, London until May 11. The life of Alan Turing as explored in The Universal Machine is more full of incident than many other academics’. A philosopher and mathematician who predicted the rise of mechanical ‘thinking machines’, his work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War directly led to […]

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Rooms – A Rock Romance makes emotional impact

Playing at the Finborough Theatre, London until May 18. A boy-meets-girl-with-ambition love story set during the dying days of punk, Rooms – A Rock Romance may be billed as a rock romance but it also has some mighty power ballads at its heart. It’s fun to see Cassidy Janson’s Monica and Alexis Gerred’s Ian rocking […]

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The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes wins us over

Playing at the Hoxton Hall, London until May 10.   Since first appearing in 1887 we’ve seen a wealth of Sherlock Holmes’,
including a teenage incarnation and two bang up to date 21st century
sleuths. With their boisterous production of Leslie Bricusse’s The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes, Morphic Graffiti give us the music hall version. Bricusse’s musical […]

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Hot Stuff dazzles, sizzles and giggles

Playing at the Curve, Leicester until May 26. There is an insatiable appetite in Leicester for the rock musical Hot Stuff, an audacious, impudent, high-energy re-working of the Faust legend in which Joe Soap abandons his sweetheart, Julie, on the dance floor and sells his soul to Lucy Fur for fame and fortune as a rock singer. […]

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Olivier Awards, a taste of the glamour

Click on any image for a larger version. It was a glamorous night at the Royal Opera House for the 37th Olivier Awards. While all those associated with musical theatre winners Top Hat, Sweeney Todd and Billy Elliot had much to celebrate, plenty of other performers played their part too. Actress Heather Headley may not have […]

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Olivier Awards – winners revealed…

Top Hat, Sweeney Todd and Billy Elliot were the big musical theatre winners in the 37th Olivier Awards (hosted by the Society of London Theatre and sponsored by Mastercard), held at London’s Royal Opera House and compered by Sheridan Smith and Hugh Bonneville. Top Hat, currently running at the Aldwych Theatre, was victorious in three categories – […]

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Sleeping Arrangements delivers humour and romance in spades

Running at the Landor, London until May 12. It was really only a matter of time before chick-lit, or to perhaps give it its official title of light romantic comedy, began to be considered for adaptation to the stage. Admittedly Helen Fielding’s hugely popular Bridget Jones’ Diary appears to be languishing in development hell at […]

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Geek! A New Musical, predictable but charming

Running at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London until May 18. When a musical’s title fails to deliver once, it can be disappointing. Twice, and it starts to look deliberate. Geek! A New Musical is not really about geeks. And while it’s technically a new musical, it treads such familiar ground that it hardly feels original. […]

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The Three Little Pigs entertain young and old

Reviewed at the Greenwich Theatre, London. Written by the Olivier Award-winning team that bought young audiences Honk! Just So, Mary Poppins, Betty Blue Eyes and Soho Cinders, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s European premiere of the well-known children’s story The Three Little Pigs is a sweet and simple tale, complemented by a sophisticated and appealing score […]

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Liz Robertson Sings Her Favourite Songs

Reviewed at The Crazy Coqs, London. Forty years on from making her showbiz bow as a cabaret dancer at the nearby Savoy Hotel, the ageless Liz Robertson is back in cabaret mode for her one-woman show at The Crazy Coqs, the new go-to Piccadilly nightspot for lovers of the genre which becomes ever more polished […]

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Titanic sails in to Southwark Playhouse

The European premiere of a new chamber version of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Titanic will be staged at London’s Southwark Playhouse by the same creative team behind the venue’s productions of Parade, Mack & Mabel and Victor/Victoria. Directed by Thom Southerland and produced by Danielle Tarento, Titanic (music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, book by […]

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American Psycho set to thrill at the Almeida

Almeida Theatre’s artistic director designate Rupert Goold will stage the world premiere of the musical thriller American Psycho, based on the the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, as part of the the north London’s 2013 festival. The co-production with Headlong Theatre (with which Goold has been associated for eight years) has a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa […]

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Gary Williams presents a Sinatra Jukebox

Reviewed at The Crazy Coqs, London. This programme from singer Gary Williams and accompanist Harry the Piano was an unusual evening for The Crazy Coqs. Williams gave us a tribute to Frank Sinatra, but instead of an hour of songs and anecdote, halfway through members of the audience were invited fill in request forms, which […]

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Carnaby Street the Musical is labour of love

Hackney Empire, London, then touring until June 29. Since the back catalogue of The Beatles is already being hurtled through nightly over at the Savoy Theatre for Let it Be, there are no climactic ‘na-na-nah-nahs’ – indeed the Fab Four hardly get a look in here – in Carnaby Street the Musical, a jukebox musical which […]

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Ghost the Musical begins tour

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, then touring until January 2014. Ghost the Musical is a theatrical masterclass in translating emotion, so be prepared to shed a few tears but still have a few laughs. Set in New York, the musical naturally sticks to the same story as the original film – for which the show’s lyricist/librettist […]

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Once

Opened 9 April at the Phoenix Theatre, London. “Hello,” Girl tentatively whispers to the piano before she starts playing it, as Guy gazes at her sheepishly before picking up his guitar to join in. “You must always say hello to the piano,” she instructs him sternly before they unite to create a wealth of raw, […]

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The Billie Holiday Story

Playing at the Charing Cross Theatre, London until 25 May. More than 50 years after Billie Holiday’s tragic death, her life story continues to be a subject of film and theatrical performance. Holiday’s painful life of child prostitution, sexual abuse and violent partners is interpreted by Nina Kristofferson who takes a unique approach to the […]

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The Book of Mormon

Currently running at The Prince of Wales Theatre, London. Thank God for The Book of Mormon. Not only is it performing miracles at the box office – recently breaking records by taking £2.1 million in a single day – this original musical also offers a shining beacon in a market saturated with film remakes. No […]

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton. 11-16 March, then touring the UK until 5 January, 2014. Bringing to the stage a musical version of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was always going to be something of a risk. Priscilla is, after all, the nickname given to a second-hand bus and Stephan Elliot’s masterpiece of cinematography […]

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The Hired Man

Reviewed at Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Transfers to Curve, Leicester, 12-27 April. The Hired Man, devised by Melvyn Bragg from his 1969 book of the same name, is based on the few facts he knew about his grandfather who was born about 1890. Bragg got to know him well during the Second World War when his […]

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Quasimodo

King’s Head Theatre, London. 20 March to 13 April. Since the 19th century, the bells of the best-known cathedral in Paris have been ringing out with deafening clangs. So bad were they, that they were mocked as having deafened Quasimodo, the lead of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But on Palm […]

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A Chorus Line

Currently running at the London Palladium. A major London revival of the iconic Broadway musical that is A Chorus Line has been a long time coming for those of us who weren’t around to catch the original West End production in 1976. Sadly, as the programme credits so poignantly point out, most of the original […]

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The Tailor-Made Man

Musical Theatre Review catches up with the world premiere of The Tailor-Made Man, a new musical at London’s Arts Theatre. As the title suggests silent film actor William (Billy) Haines was a product of the Hollywood system, he was also its first openly gay star. This exuberant and entertaining musical tells of his career as […]

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Spring Comes to New York

Ron Cohen has all the latest On and Off-Broadway. Spring has finally come to New York and the earliest blooms on the musical theatre scene make for a mixed but welcome bouquet. On Broadway, the initial arrival has been the lavish redo of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (pictured left), a sometimes irritating but still highly […]

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Merrily We Roll Along transfers

Reviewed at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London. Merrily We Roll Along transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre on 23 April. This has very much been a season of for first-rate revivals of second-rate Broadway musicals, and Maria Friedman’s production of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth Merrily We Roll Along is an admirable addition to the list.  A […]

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9–5 The Musical

Touring until 27 July. Seen at Theatre Royal, Brighton. The trend for successful films to find new lives on stage continues with this hilarious transition which has music and lyrics written by Dolly Parton, one of the film’s original stars. Miss Parton also appears in the show, albeit on film, when she talks to the […]

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The Bodyguard

Currently running at the Adelphi Theatre, London. A good, solid, honest musical, The Bodyguard delivers what it says on the label, and gives its audience exactly what they come for – a live version of the popular 1992 movie. If it doesn’t do much more than that, if there’s nothing especially special about it – well, […]

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