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Miss Saigon – Broadway Theatre, New York

Miss Saigon continues at the Broadway Theatre, New York until 13 January 2018. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Miss Saigon is back on Broadway in all its breathtaking pop opera glory – and then some. Cameron Mackintosh has transported this revival, which closed in London in February 2016, to the New […]

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An American in Paris – Dominion Theatre

An American in Paris continues at the Dominion Theatre, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It was back in December 2014 that our contributor Jeremy Chapman reviewed this reinvention of the wonderful 1951 Oscar-winning Vincente Minnelli/Gene Kelly movie when it opened – rather appropriately – at the Theatre du Chatelet in […]

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Rachel Tucker in Concert – Live At Zédel

Rachel Tucker in Concert continues at Live At Zédel, London until 25 March, then on tour in May and June. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Bubbly Belfast songbird Rachel Tucker’s main claim to fame is that she played the role of Elphaba in Wicked longer than any other actress in the […]

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Joan of Arc – Into the Fire – The Public Theater, New York

Joan of Arc – Into the Fire continues at The Public Theater, New York until 16 April. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Composer/writer David Byrne (along with collaborator Fatboy Slim) and director Alex Timbers scored a massive hit for Off-Broadway’s The Public Theater in 2013 with Here Lies Love, depicting the […]

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Come from Away – Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York

Come from Away continues at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The folks of Gander, a small town on the rocky island of Newfoundland perched on the north eastern tip of Canada, deserve a lot more than five stars for hospitality, geniality and an all-around human […]

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Yank! – Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Yank! continues at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester until 8 April. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ When Joseph and David Zellnik penned Yank! it was something of a labour of love, combining their passion for the musical theatre of the 1940s and 50s with their interest in Second World War history, […]

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The Frogs – Jermyn Street Theatre

The Frogs continues at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London until 8 April. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Stephen Sondheim was on a roll when he wrote the music and lyrics for The Frogs in 1974; his three previous shows, Company, Follies and A Little Night Music, coming during his most fertile […]

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Grease – Palace Theatre, Manchester and Touring

Grease continues at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until 25 March and then tours until 31 December. Star rating: two stars ★ ★ ✩ ✩ ✩ There are, of course, two versions of Grease. Firstly there’s Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s down and dirty original stage production, a paean to the oily quiffed, leather jacketed rock’n’roll […]

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Beauty and the Beast – movie review

Beauty and the Beast – Star rating: three stars ★★★✩✩ There is, let’s face it, a whole lot to live up to in remaking 1991’s Beauty and the Beast. The second masterpiece of the Disney Renaissance that started with The Little Mermaid, Beauty became the first animated film to receive a nomination for Best Picture at […]

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La Cage Aux Folles – New Wimbledon Theatre and Touring

La Cage Aux Folles continues at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London until 18 March and then tours until 26 August. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The first-ever UK tour of Jerry Herman’s insanely entertaining 1983 Broadway hit – it picked up six Tonys and ran for four and a half years – is a […]

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Melinda Hughes – Live At Zédel

Melinda Hughes continues at Live At Zédel, London until 15 March. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Melinda Hughes is a classically trained singer who successfully manages to combine an operatic career with contrasting cabaret work. In collaboration with musical director Jeremy Limb, she writes much of her material. Their work encompasses both […]

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The Wedding Singer – Bristol Hippodrome and Touring

The Wedding Singer continues at the Bristol Hippodrome until 18 March and then tours until 7 October. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ It may be a while before we see La La Land as a stage musical, especially after the shenanigans at the Oscars, but there is no let up in Hollywood hit films […]

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Honeymoon in Vegas The Musical in Concert – London Palladium

Honeymoon in Vegas was performed at the London Palladium. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) once again proved itself to the most exciting new force on the London theatre scene with a spectacular concert staging of Jason Robert Brown’s playful Honeymoon in Vegas at the Palladium. The event – […]

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Patti Boulaye – Billie and Me – The Pheasantry

Patti Boulaye performed her show Billie and Me at The Pheasantry, London. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ This is by way of an interim report as during the second half of her show, Billie and Me, Patti Boulaye told us that she had been awake in hospital the previous night with a leg problem, so […]

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Junkyard – Bristol Old Vic and Touring

Junkyard continues at Bristol Old Vic until 18 March before touring to Theatr Clwyd in Mold and the Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Headlong is breaking down our carefully built cynicism blow by beautiful blow. And we love the theatre company for it. There’s a playground coming to life […]

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Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story – Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury and Touring

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story continues at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until 11 March and then tours until 11 November. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Twenty-eight years after its West End debut and 17 years on the road, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story comes to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. As its name suggests, the show follows […]

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Broadway Melody – the Lerner and Loewe Songbook – Auguste Théâtre, Paris

Broadway Melody – the Lerner and Loewe Songbook was performed at the Auguste Théâtre, Paris. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ As part of the Broadway Melody series at the Auguste Théâtre, artistic director and performer Lauren Van Kempen and musical director pianist Mathieu Serradell chose to introduce the French audience to the masterpieces of […]

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Kid Victory – Vineyard Theatre, New York

Kid Victory continues at the Vineyard Theatre, New York until 19 March. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Composer John Kander, the music theatre treasure now heading into his 90th year, continues his collaboration with playwright Greg Pierce, some 50 years his junior, with Kid Victory. Their second show together, it’s an […]

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DVD, CD and Book Reviews – Judy Collins, Drake’s Dream, The King and I/Carousel

JUDY COLLINS – A LOVE LETTER TO STEPHEN SONDHEIM DVD (Wildflower – MVD9662D) I have to admit that I love Judy Collins, always have. In fact, it was her who introduced me to Stephen Sondheim’s music in 1973 with her Top 10 hit version of ‘Send in the Clowns’. It made me want to find out […]

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Performance Preparation Academy – Merrily We Roll Along

Merrily We Roll Along was performed by Performance Preparation Academy at the Bellerby Studio Theatre, Guildford. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It’s quite a coincidence that the two biggest flops of Stephen Sondheim’s career are being revisited at the same time with Anyone Can Whistle, which lasted nine performances on Broadway […]

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Funny Girl – Milton Keynes Theatre and Touring

Funny Girl continues at the Milton Keynes Theatre until 4 March, then tours until 19 August. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Following smash-hit runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory and the Savoy, Funny Girl comes to the Milton Keynes Theatre as the second stop on its nationwide tour. The show stars […]

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Lizzie – Greenwich Theatre

Lizzie continues at the Greenwich Theatre, London until 12 March. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Nothing about this show particularly screams out ‘musical theatre.’ It’s more like a live punk rock concert with four lead singers with big voices and even bigger hair. Lizzie is making its UK premiere, following a […]

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Performance Preparation Academy – The Life

The Life was performed by the Performance Preparation Academy at the Bellerby Theatre, Guildford. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ The quality of work produced by musical theatre students continues to amaze. In the same week as an outstanding Guys and Dolls by the long-established Guildford School of Acting was wowing audiences […]

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Madalena Alberto – Live At Zédel

Madalena Alberto at Live At Zédel, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Not even Storm Doris could keep them away from Madalena Alberto’s one-nighter at Piccadilly nightspot Live At Zédel, even if it did leave her percussionist stranded in Manchester. The strong-voiced Portuguese songbird has a growing reputation in musical theatre […]

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Sunday in the Park With George – Hudson Theatre, New York

Sunday in the Park With George continues at the Hudson Theatre, New York until 23 April. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Has any work of art ever been more imaginatively celebrated by another work of art than in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park With George? In Act I, […]

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The Girls – Phoenix Theatre

The Girls continues at the Phoenix Theatre, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Musical adaptations of films are nothing new. Nor are adaptations of plays. Adaptations of plays that were themselves based on plays are rarer – but having the film, play and now musical written by the same person is unique. […]

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The Sorrows of Satan – Tristan Bates Theatre

The Sorrows of Satan continues at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London until 25 March. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The souls of Luke Bateman and Michael Conley were bared at the preview of their brand new musical, The Sorrows of Satan at the Tristan Bates Theatre. I am happy to report that […]

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Newsies – The Broadway Musical – UK cinema screening review

Newsies – The Broadway Musical was screened in the UK on 19 February. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ As far as live-action musicals go, Disney’s 1992 film Newsies was a commercial failure. The film, which was released in the UK as The News Boys, applied the song and dance treatment to a unique period […]

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Dreamboats and Petticoats – Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury and Touring

Dreamboats and Petticoats continues at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until 25 February and then tours until 2 September. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ played a rather influential role in the UK’s decision to tick the yes-to-Brexit box last year. The debate about whether those memories of post-war Britain […]

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Guildford School of Acting – Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls, performed by Guildford School of Acting final-year students at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, continues until 25 April. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ It’s probably sacrilege to say so, but this remarkable student revival of one of the greatest musicals ever written leaves for dead the much-praised Chichester Festival […]

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The Wild Party – The Other Palace

The Wild Party continues at The Other Palace, London until 1 April. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ So farewell, St James Theatre. Hello, The Other Palace – Victoria’s third theatre being rebranded after its purchase by Andrew Lloyd Webber and repositioned as a home for the nurturing of new musicals. To […]

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Sunset Boulevard – Palace Theatre, New York

Sunset Boulevard continues at the Palace Theatre, New York until 25 June. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ In her latest incarnation, Norma Desmond is totally heart-breaking. The narcissistic ferocity of the queen of silent movies has been softened. Her eccentricities are at times almost endearing rather than frightening. She can be haughty […]

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Prom Kween – The Vaults

Prom Kween continues at The Vaults Theatre, London until 19 February. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Every Fringe festival has its shambolic musicals – those shows where the zero budget aesthetic is fully embraced, which like to project an air of being put together at the very last minute and every […]

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La Strada – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Touring

La Strada continues at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry until 18 February before embarking on a national tour (the show receives its London premiere in July as part of the newly announced season at The Other Palace). Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Possibly it would be apt treat La Strada, based on one […]

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Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie continues at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield until 25 February. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Michael Ball makes a curious entry into the story of the development of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. In a telephone conversation with director Jonathan Butterell he suggested a meeting with composer Dan Gillespie […]

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Anyone Can Whistle – Union Theatre

Anyone Can Whistle continues at the Union Theatre, London until 11 March. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Like the asylum inmates that populate the show, Anyone Can Whistle – Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ experimental musical of 1964 – gets let out for a brief spell of fresh air. And just as […]

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My Land’s Shore – Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre

My Land’s Shore continues at the Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, London until 26 February. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ This new musical by Christopher J Orton (music and lyrics) and Robert Gould (book and lyrics), based on a true story, is well-worth a visit. From the powerful opening number, ‘Burning’, […]

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Thriller Live – Lyric Theatre

Thriller Live continues at the Lyric Theatre, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ After a whopping 3,358 performances in the West End, Thriller Live celebrated at the gorgeous Lyric Theatre as the show becomes the 15th longest-running musical in West End history. A party was certainly had at the venue. The cast […]

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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Ambassadors Theatre

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at the Ambassadors Theatre, London. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, based on a poem by Goethe which also inspired Disney’s groundbreaking Fantasia, wielded its magic at the Ambassadors Theatre in a one-night-only concert presentation. In the story an old sorcerer goes out, leaving his apprentice behind […]

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The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin – Theatre Royal Stratford East

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin continues at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, London until 11 March. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Hopefully one day, we will not have to meet a Viveca. A character, initially, without any sense of self or purpose; shaped by what others want her to […]

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You Win Again – The Story of The Bee Gees – Leicester Square Theatre and Touring

You Win Again – The Story of The Bee Gees at the Leicester Square Theatre, London before continuing a national tour until 20 April. Star rating: one star ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ You Win Again – The story of The Bees Gees was premiered at Leicester Square Theatre in front of a celebrity audience and Bee Gees fans, ahead […]

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Cautionary Tales For Daughters – Jermyn Street Theatre and Touring

Cautionary Tales For Daughters continues at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London until 11 February and tours until 24 July. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Tanya Holt has a delightful way of packing emotion and accents into song and her voice is like rich cream complete with fresh, sweet strawberries. She resonates in the […]

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Murder For Two – Watermill Theatre, Newbury

Murder For Two continues at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury until 25 February before transferring to The Other Palace Studio, from 2-18 March. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Musical parody is hardly a new initiative but in the hands of Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair it provides a quirky new genre of comedy. […]

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Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox – Lyric Hammersmith

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox continues at the Lyric Hammersmith, London until 19 February and then tours until 9 July. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Most adaptations of Roald Dahl’s spikey, often  subversively uplifting, children’s stories are plays with songs. This entertaining, energy-packed version (a co-production between Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre and Curve Leicester in […]

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Wonderland – Edinburgh Playhouse and Touring

Wonderland continues at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 28 January, before embarking on a UK tour until 19 August. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ In returning Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the UK, this first touring production of 2011 American musical Wonderland has a lot going for it in terms […]

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Thoroughly Modern Millie – Milton Keynes Theatre and Touring

Thoroughly Modern Millie continues at Milton Keynes Theatre until 28 January before touring until 24 June. Star rating: two stars ★ ★ ✩ ✩ ✩ It’s ironic really that at the core of Thoroughly Modern Millie is a character who lives for being a ‘modern’ and keeping up with current trends, and yet the show is so […]

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Alain Boublil Masterclass – Montreuil, Paris

To paraphrase the Bible, ‘No one is a prophet in his own land’. Surely this no more true than in France, where Alain Boublil, the man who wrote the book and lyrics for two of the most successful musicals in the world, Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, is hardly a well-known name. Boublil held a […]

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Ben Stock – The Land of Make Believe – Live at Zédel

Ben Stock – The Land of Make Believe at Live at Zédel, London. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ With the cosy, but lavish surrounds of Live at Zédel being perfect for Ben Stock’s style of intimate performance, he wasted little time in making sure his small, but appreciative audience knew exactly […]

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January – Live at Zédel

January continues at Live at Zédel, London until 26 January. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ TS Eliot was three months too late. The cruellest month is not April, but January – when the post-Christmas comedown collides with hard-to-maintain resolutions, topped off by grotty weather. Such is the premise of this nascent […]

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Death Takes a Holiday – Charing Cross Theatre

Death Takes a Holiday continues at the Charing Cross Theatre, London until 4 March. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Thom Southerland and Danielle Tarento once again give Maury Yeston the five-star treatment, with the European premiere of the composer/lyricist’s 2011 musical Death Takes a Holiday. Based on Alberto Casella’s play La […]

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