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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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The Song is You – Steve Ross – The Pheasantry

The Song is You – Steve Ross at The Pheasantry, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ What a brave Sunday evening this was after the first two nights of Steve Ross’ Pheasantry residency had to be cancelled after bronchitis rendered him virtually speechless. Although still clearly underpowered, the Prince of New […]

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The Wild Party – The Hope Theatre, London

The Wild Party continues at The Hope Theatre, London until 28 January. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ ‘The classic Jazz Age tale of sex, sweat and sin’: Mingled Yarn’s revival of The Wild Party bursts into the intimate Hope Theatre with enough punch to shake you out of your January blues […]

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Promises, Promises – Southwark Playhouse

Promises, Promises continues at Southwark Playhouse, London until 18 February. Star rating: two stars ★ ★ ✩ ✩ ✩ Is Promises, Promises really only three hours long? It feels longer, and not in a good way. Based on Billy Wilder’s film The Apartment, this musical has some serious creative welly behind it, with a book […]

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My Fair Ladies – Live at Zédel

My Fair Ladies continues at Live at Zédel, London until 18 January. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Live at Zédel can only be described as a time machine. The art deco-style, intimate venue transports the audience to 1920s Paris, when femininity took on a brand new look. Women redefined their social […]

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Review – When Broadway Went to Hollywood – Show & Tell – D’Oyly Carte – and more

Nick Wakeham casts an eye over some of the latest books with a theatrical theme. WHEN BROADWAY WENT TO HOLLYWOOD – ETHAN MORDDEN (Oxford University Press – ISBN: 978-0199395408) Ethan Mordden is no stranger to anyone interested in the musical theatre, having written quite a number of books on the subject. His latest publication, When Broadway Went to […]

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A Little of What You Fancy – The Salberg, Salisbury Playhouse

A Little of What You Fancy continues at The Salberg, Salisbury Playhouse until 21 January. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Glyn Kerslake has become a regular fixture at Salisbury Playhouse over the Christmas period in recent years.This year he features prominently in both festive shows in The Salberg, the theatre’s intimate […]

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Musical Theatre 2016 – a reflection – what was your favourite?

Musical Theatre Review reflects on an incredibly busy year of theatre – in the West End, on the London Fringe, across the UK – and picks a selection of shows from each month that topped the FOUR and FIVE star ratings with our contributors. JANUARY Guys and Dolls – Savoy Theatre, London Star rating: five stars ★ […]

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Million Dollar Quartet – Royal Festival Hall and Touring

Million Dollar Quartet continues at the Royal Festival Hall, London until 2 January and then tours until June 2017. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ We’ve had productions aplenty about another Fab Four down the years, but thankfully here we’re not focusing on The Cavern yet again, but an ex-auto parts shop […]

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Gary Williams – A Swingin’ Christmas – Live at Zedel

Gary Williams performed A Swingin’ Christmas at Live at Zedel, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Singer Gary Williams is a much-loved performer who moves between West End theatre, concert hall and ocean liner with consummate ease. Like many of the eminent stars he names in the course of his Christmas swing-a-long, I […]

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A Christmas Carol – Lost Theatre

A Christmas Carol continues at the Lost Theatre, London until 31 December. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ It can feel as if there are as many variant adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol as there are of Peter Pan. When it comes to musical versions, many people’s personal favourite […]

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Christina Bianco – O Come All Ye Divas – Charing Cross Theatre

Christina Bianco – O Come All Ye Divas continues at the Charing Cross Theatre, London until 7 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Christina Bianco has made a name for herself as a comedy impressionist of some renown, specialising in mimicking a range of larger-than-life singers. In this new Christmas […]

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In Transit – Circle in the Square Theatre, New York

In Transit continues at the Circle in the Square Theatre, New York. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Just thinking about all the energy that the 11-person cast of In Transit expends during its 100 minutes or so running time can wear you out. The new Broadway musical is a snappy and […]

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Anything Goes – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Anything Goes continues at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London until 29 January 2017. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It can be more than a little frustrating for the musical theatre lover that because of commercial imperatives, such as a title having to be familiar at all costs, the list of frequently revived […]

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Annie Get Your Gun – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Annie Get Your Gun continues at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield until 21 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Most prestige venues now opt for Christmas shows that, while they may be ‘family entertainment’, avoid Santas, sleighs or slapstick. This year’s Crucible Theatre offering transports us instead to the Wild West […]

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The Band’s Visit – Atlantic Theater Company – Linda Gross Theater, New York

The Band’s Visit continues at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater, New York until 8 January. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ An Egyptian musician plays a plaintive melody on his clarinet to calm an Israeli baby who’s been crying in his crib. His music also brings together in tears the […]

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Marti Webb – The Pheasantry

Marti Webb performed at The Pheasantry, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ So, it’s your actual birthday, the house is full and the clearly very discerning, expectant festive audience includes legendary lyricist Don Black – so, no pressure then! But, it’s a kind of pressure that Marti Webb has been dealing with […]

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Dreamgirls – Savoy Theatre

Dreamgirls continues at the Savoy Theatre, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Dreamgirls first debuted on Broadway in 1981 and after a long 35-year wait, it finally has its London debut. As fans of the show will already know, the book throws the spotlight on the Dreamettes, a young, ambitious singing trio […]

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Samantha Barks – Live at Zedel

Samantha Barks performed in cabaret at Live at Zedel, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Fresh from an American tour, a new album launch and fantastic run of The Last Five Years as Cathy at St James Theatre, Samantha Barks treated the Zedel audience to an intimate evening of vocal acrobatics as she took us through the […]

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Rent the Musical – St James Theatre

Rent the Musical continues at the St James Theatre, London until 28 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Each generation of theatre lovers has a show that marks an iconic cultural phenomenon for that decade and while Rent might represent this for the 1990s, its timelessness has once again reunited all ‘Rentheads’ […]

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Ferris & Milnes – Christmas Cracker – Ambassadors Theatre

Christmas Cracker was performed by Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes at the Ambassadors Theatre, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Ferris & Milnes are the latest in a long but thinning line of traditional music hall-style double acts to grace the British stage: Kitt & McConnell (previously Kitt & The Widow), […]

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Muted – The Bunker

Muted continues at The Bunker, London until 7 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Good musical theatre excites an audience, but truly great musical theatre challenges and provokes a reaction from its audience. Muted falls into the latter category. This is a musical which is billed as a British version of Rent. And […]

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Sweet Charity – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Sweet Charity continues at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester until 28 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ A whirling dervish of swinging sixties joie de vivre with a perfect storm of creative talent behind it, it’s no wonder that Sweet Charity still holds up so well 50 years after it first hot-footed […]

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A Bronx Tale – Longacre Theatre, New York

A Bronx Tale continues at the Longacre Theatre, New York. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Among the five boroughs that make up New York City, the Bronx lacks the high-priced glamour that marks Manhattan and the gentrified bohemian magnetism of Brooklyn, but it does have several claims to fame. It houses […]

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Dirty Dancing – Phoenix Theatre

Dirty Dancing continues at the Phoenix Theatre, London until 31 December. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Dirty Dancing has become one of the most loved dance musical romance films of all time; even those who have never seen the 1987 film know to not put Baby in a corner. The classic has now […]

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She Loves Me – Menier Chocolate Factory

She Loves Me continues at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London until 5 March 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick wrote She Loves Me the year before they hit the jackpot with Fiddler On the Roof (1964). The initial Broadway production which starred Barbara Cook and Daniel […]

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music

The Clockmaker’s Daughter was preformed by students from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music at the Laban Theatre, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It was hugely exciting to get another opportunity to see this most impressive new musical once more after being spellbound by Robert McWhir’s profoundly beautiful production at […]

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Anthony Rapp – Live in Concert – St James Theatre Studio

Anthony Rapp – Live in Concert continues at St James Theatre Studio, London  until 17 December. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ The St James Studio Theatre, once again, excels in delivering not only a renowned, intelligent performer, but an intimate and personal space dressed perfectly for its inhabitant. The stage is laid […]

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Strictly Ballroom the Musical – West Yorkshire Playhouse

Strictly Ballroom the Musical at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds until 21 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Baz Luhrmann’s original vision for Strictly Ballroom was a student musical presenting a primary myth (one generation renewing life by breaking with entrenched ritual and  tradition) in the unlikely context of ballroom […]

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Thoroughly Modern Millie – Guildford School of Acting

Thoroughly Modern Millie was performed by final-year undergraduate students at Guildford School of Acting at the Ivy Arts Centre, Guildford. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Any stage production of Richard Morris, Dick Scanlan, and Jeanine Tesori’s Thoroughly Modern Millie inevitably calls to mind the 1967 film on which the theatrical adaptation […]

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Mr Popper’s Penguins – artsdepot and Touring

Mr Popper’s Penguins was reviewed at the artsdepot, London. Its tour continues at the Festival Theatre, Chichester (until 11 December) before a Christmas season at the Criterion Theatre in the West End from 15-31 December.  Star rating: four stars:★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ The Christmas season is well and truly upon us with ten delightful […]

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Her Aching Heart – Hope Theatre

Her Aching Heart continues at the Hope Theatre, London until 23 December. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ What a glorious revelation and riot of fun this revival of Bryony Lavery’s Her Aching Heart is. Marvellously directed by Matthew Parker, and meticulously produced as always by Andrea Leoncini’s LWL Entertainment (this time […]

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Grease – Curve Leicester

Grease continues at Curve Leicester until 21 January 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Grease might suggest a loud, eardrum-bursting undertaking, lacking in subtlety, coarse in its wit. But no, it’s none of that, as this brand new, scintillating in-house production of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s hit musical from Curve Leicester – […]

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Licensed to Ill – Southwark Playhouse

Licensed to Ill continues at Southwark Playhouse, London until 24 December. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ If you think you’ve seen every permutation of the musician biography musical, think again. Sunny Afternoon, Jersey Boys, Beautiful – you can get a roughly chronological story of an artist or band anywhere you look […]

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Peter Pan – Olivier Theatre

Peter Pan continues at the Olivier Theatre (National Theatre), London until 4 February 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Not very much of Sally Cookson’s inventive version of JM Barrie’s children’s classic Peter Pan was what I was expecting, but it was still an awesome show and even had my six-year-old […]

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David Sabella – Vivian Reed – Metropolitan Room, New York

David Sabella performed his show Loopin’ the Loop and Vivian Reed appeared in her show Standards and More at the Metropolitan Room, New York. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ At one of the last surviving venues of the Golden Age of New York’s cabaret scene, the legendary Metropolitan Room, two seldom seen seasoned Broadway performers treated […]

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Jest End – Waterloo East Theatre

Jest End continues at Waterloo East Theatre, London until 18 December. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Musical parody revue Jest End likes to think of itself as London’s answer to Forbidden Broadway, the perennial New York comedy show which has had several successful excursions over here. And there’s an element of […]

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Another Night Before Christmas – Bridge House Theatre

Another Night Before Christmas continues at the Bridge House Theatre, London until 23 December. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ A hidden gem just 20 minutes from London’s Victoria Station, Bridge House Theatre in Penge (SE20) has a proven track record of producing wonderful, magical Christmas productions and the team there has […]

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Chita Rivera – Nowadays – Carnegie Hall, New York

Chita Rivera performed her show Nowadays at Carnegie Hall, New York. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Exactly three years after her 80th birthday celebration concert at the Ambassador Theatre, the indomitable Chita Rivera was back on stage for the first time at the legendary Carnegie Hall in front of a packed audience. This […]

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Soho Cinders – Union Theatre

Soho Cinders continues at the Union Theatre, London until 22 December. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ At the moment, this revival of Stiles and Drewe’s modern reworking of Cinderella with a rent boy in the Cinders role falling in love with a prospective London Mayor while a millionaire Tory lord of […]

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Frank Wildhorn & Friends – Palace Theatre, Manchester

Frank Wildhorn & Friends was performed at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ At one point in this enjoyable rattle through prolific Queens-born composer Frank Wildhorn’s greatest hits, the man himself introduces ‘The Longer I Live’ as the “11 o’clock song” from his ill-fated musical Dracula. The song, sung here by […]

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Baddies the Musical – Unicorn Theatre

Baddies the Musical continues at the Unicorn Theatre, London until 31 December. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ From the moment bearded Nigel Barrett’s night-gowned Wolf and Kathy Rose O’Brien’s saccharine Red Riding Hood are interrupted at the crucial ‘big teeth’ moment by two 21st century London cops preventing an assault, you know you’re […]

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Catch Me – Above the Arts Theatre

Catch Me continues at the Above the Arts Theatre, London until 3 December. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Catch Me is the debut musical from Arnoud Breitbarth and Christian Czornyj that follows the story of Dean who has ‘slipped through the cracks’ and ended his own life. The ensemble is made of five actors, who play the characters supposedly closest […]

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American Idiot – Performance Preparation Academy

American Idiot was performed by final-year undergraduate students at Performance Preparation Academy at Bellerby Studio Theatre, Guildford. This review refers to the cast at the Saturday evening performance. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer’s American Idiot lends itself well to theatrical adaptation in ways that differentiate […]

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Disaster! – Charing Cross Theatre

Disaster! was performed at the Charing Cross Theatre, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ It is perhaps appropriate that, in the first of two performances of Disaster!, Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s homage to 1970s disaster movies, should suffer a disaster of its own – as actors Oliver Tompsett and Mark […]

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Broadway in Concert at the London Palladium

Broadway in Concert at the London Palladium. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Having spotted a number of people sporting black Matt Cardle UK tour hoodies in the front rows before curtain up, it was pretty obvious that said Mr Cardle, along with the other performers joining him on the revered London […]

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Hair – Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Hair continues at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester until 3 December. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Viewed 49 years after it first blasted onto the Off-Broadway stage in a waft of illicit cigarette smoke and body parts, Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot’s counterculture rallying cry is probably more significant for […]

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Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 – Imperial Theatre, New York

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 continues at the Imperial Theatre, New York. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The passionate, flamboyant characters that inhabit Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace come blazingly off the page in pop opera style in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. The musical burrows […]

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