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Sondheim: Smiles of a Summer Night – Cadogan Hall

Sondheim: Smiles of a Summer Night at the Cadogan Hall, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Two hours of nothing but Sondheim with an orchestra of 33, eight gifted soloists, 11 backing singers and 24 examples of his finest work – no wonder there were plenty of Smiles of a Summer […]

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FatBusters the Musical – St Giles-in-the-Fields

FatBusters the Musical continues at St Giles-in-the-Fields, London until 10 June. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ A weight-loss class or group attracts people disparately. The dynamic as they ‘bond’ has such strong theatrical potential that it’s surprising that (to my knowledge) no one has tapped into this rich field before. Clearly […]

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Liver Birds Flying Home – concert performance – Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Liver Birds Flying Home – concert performance – at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It’s almost half a century since The Liver Birds flew onto the nation’s TV screens in Carla Lane’s long-running sitcom. Now Barb Jungr and Linda McDermott have written a new musical based on […]

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La Strada – The Other Palace

La Strada continues at The Other Palace, London until 8 July. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Federico Fellini’s 1954 film La Strada (‘The Road’) chronicles the story of Gelsomina, a plaintive young girl who is sold by her poverty-stricken mother into servitude to the brutal strongman Zampanò. Their journey across the […]

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Billy Elliot the Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Billy Elliot the Musical continues at the Milton Keynes Theatre until 17 June. The show’s next dates are at the Theater am Grossmarkt, Hamburg, Germany from 29 June to 23 July. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Milton Keynes Theatre is made for Billy Elliot. With its huge width and deep recesses, […]

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Remembering Fred – New Theatre, Oxford

Remembering Fred was performed at the New Theatre, Oxford as part of a tour. The show begins a new tour in March 2018. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ What director Gareth Walker has designed in Remembering Fred is a faithful re-creation of the most famous routines of the masterful Fred Astaire, but in […]

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On the Town – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

On the Town continues at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London until 1 July. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ On the Town has its origin in the ballet Fancy Free which had opened in New York in the spring of 1944. With choreography by Jerome Robbins and music by Leonard Bernstein, […]

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Bring On the Bollywood – Rose Theatre, Kingston, and Touring

Bring On the Bollywood at was reviewed at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and continues touring until 26 August. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Sorry, nobody loves a good curry more but Bring On the Bollywood isn’t spicy enough for my taste – more korma than madras, you could say. Fair enough, the costumes […]

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CD Review – Blondel – Original Cast Recording

BLONDEL – Original Cast Recording (Stage Door Records – STAGE 9050) Originally released as a double album in 1983, Stage Door Records has remastered the original cast recording of Tim Rice and Stephen Oliver’s Blondel and issued it on a double CD set with a couple of bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. I remember […]

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Annie Get Your Gun – Union Theatre

Annie Get Your Gun continues at the Union Theatre, London, until 17 June. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It’s only when you work out how many unforgettable Irving Berlin tunes have been packed into one show that the enduring appeal of Annie Get Your Gun can be explained away. At least eight Great […]

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Wayward: A Surreal Musical Cabaret – Brighton Spiegeltent

Wayward: A Surreal Musical Cabaret was performed at the Brighton Spiegeltent as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Making her debut at the Brighton Fringe, Cat Loud performs a cabaret that blends songs with a narrative telling of a seemingly wholesome Scottish lass (think Shirley Temple) seeking her […]

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Sasha Regan’s All-Male The Mikado – Richmond Theatre

Sasha Regan’s All-Male The Mikado continues at Richmond Theatre until 27 May, then tours until 29 July. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It must be 60 years since I last saw The Mikado but the traditional D’Oyly Carte version was nothing like this so it was just like stepping into an entirely new […]

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Beautiful – The Carole King Musical – West End production to close in August

The West End production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, based on the early life and career of legendary singer songwriter Carole King, will complete its run at the Aldwych Theatre on 5 August 2017. The UK tour of the musical will open in Bradford on 9 September 2017 and continues in Plymouth, Southampton, […]

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The Color Purple in Concert – Cadogan Hall

The Color Purple in Concert was performed at the Cadogan Hall, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There are some musicals which grow in stature the more they get stripped back. The Color Purple is one such musical. The recent Broadway revival – a transfer of the Menier Chocolate Factory’s 2013 […]

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Stevie Songs – Natalie Douglas – The Pheasantry

Stevie Songs: Natalie Douglas at The Pheasantry, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Larger than life and with a husky warm glow of a voice that defies an audience not to fall in love with her straight away, Natalie Douglas’ Pheasantry debut was a delight. The multi award-winner came across the Atlantic for […]

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Miss Saigon UK tour – final casting

Cameron Mackintosh has announced final casting for the UK touring production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Miss Saigon which is due to hit the road this summer. Ryan O’Gorman will play John, and Marsha Songcome will play Gigi until 1 August when Na-Young Jeon will take over the role. They join the previously announced award-winning […]

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Théâtre De Ménilmontant, Paris

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was performed at the Théâtre De Ménilmontant, Paris. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ 27 Saville is a French theatre company created and run by English-born and Guilford School of Acting-trained Jessica Capon. With no less then 30 artists who specialise in musical theatre on board, recent productions […]

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Ernest Shackleton Loves Me – Tony Kiser Theatre, New York

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me continues at the Tony Kiser Theatre, New York until 11 June. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Val Vigoda is virtually a one-woman band in the exhilarating Off-Broadway musical, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Most of the time, she is furiously bowing away on her electric violin, sometimes beating […]

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110 in the Shade – Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre

110 in the Shade continues at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, London until 28 May. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ All Star Productions continues its admirable tradition of dusting off rare and forgotten shows with 110 in the Shade, a musical version of N Richard Nash’s 1954 play The Rainmaker, […]

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Ballroom – Waterloo East Theatre

Ballroom continues at the Waterloo East Theatre, London, until 4 June. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Waterloo East has dug up this almost-forgotten 1978 Broadway musical and given it a modest UK premiere almost 40 years on at its 100-seater theatre just a short waltz from Waterloo Station. Ballroom’s main claim […]

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Judy! – Arts Theatre

Judy! continues at the Arts Theatre, London until 17 June. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Last year, Southwark Playhouse played host to Through the Mill, a loving warts-and-all tribute to the life of Judy Garland told through re-creations of her life at three crucial points. There are few Fringe productions for […]

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The Addams Family – New Wimbledon Theatre and Touring

The Addams Family continues at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London until 20 May and tours the UK until 4 November 2017. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s gloriously ghoulish musical take on The Addams Family is enjoying its UK professional premiere with a tour that […]

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Footloose the Musical – Richmond Theatre and Touring

Footloose the Musical continues at the Richmond Theatre until 20 May and then tours until 30 September. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Inevitably the 2017 national tour of Footloose the Musical will delight audiences throughout the country.  It is without doubt a high energy show and the cast members must be […]

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Paper Hearts – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Paper Hearts continues at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London until 20 May. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Paper Hearts from first-time musical theatre writer Liam O’Rafferty, is an incredibly impressive piece of writing indeed. Billed as ‘a high street musical’, he has skilfully and very wonderfully managed to create something contemporary […]

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The Golden Apple – Encores! – New York City Center

The Golden Apple, an Encores! production, was performed at New York City Center. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The Encores! staged concert series of Broadway musicals from the past has closed out its 2017 season in spectacular fashion, with its mounting of a nonpareil gem from 1954, The Golden Apple. With […]

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Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour – Duke of York’s Theatre

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour continues at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London until 2 September. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Anybody looking for a West End musical involving singing and dancing schoolchildren has a third choice supplementing those of Matilda and School of Rock. But even with a script by […]

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Book Review – For Better, For Worse – Gordon Deighton

In his reminiscences of London and its culture from 1939, Gordon Deighton offers a personal view of how Britain recovered from the devastation of war, got back on its feet and became an influence for him in the arts, design and publishing, the three main areas in which he carved out a fascinating career which he […]

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Royal Academy of Music Musical Theatre Company – I feel a song coming on…

Royal Academy of Music Musical Theatre Company – I feel a song coming on… was performed at the Royal Over-Seas League, London. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I feel a song coming on… is a cabaret celebrating the work of Dorothy Fields who at the tender age of 24 became a […]

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Caroline, or Change – Minerva Theatre, Chichester

Caroline, or Change continues at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester until 3 June. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Chichester Festival Theatre has a new artistic director, Daniel Evans, and though his tenure may have started with a bit of a blip in the revival of Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On, this inaugural […]

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CD Review – Dreamgirls – Original London Cast

DREAMGIRLS – Original London Cast (Sony – 889854294922) Having taken London by storm at the Savoy Theatre, Sony has released a double live recording which simply sizzles with electricity and loads of atmosphere. Not only is it recorded live, but it also contains the full score, which is absolutely brilliant for all those Dreamgirls enthusiasts […]

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Room – Theatre Royal Stratford East

Room continues at Theatre Royal Stratford East, London until 3 June. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel Room tells the harrowing story of a woman who is kept prisoner in a small room, told solely from the perspective of her five-year-old son Jack, fathered by their captor and […]

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Birds of Paradise – Drayton Arms Theatre

Birds of Paradise continues at the Drayton Arms Theatre, London until 20 May. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ It’s always refreshing to review at a venue you haven’t been to before, and just in case any visitors were unsure that this rather plush gastro pub was indeed home to MKEC Productions’ […]

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Liza sings… Streisand – Liza Pulman – Live At Zédel

Liza sings… Streisand – Liza Pulman at Live At Zédel, London (also shows on 22 May and 12 June). Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ When adding Barbra Streisand’s first album to the Chapman record collection in 1963 (still have it and it’s still sounding special 54 years later), little did we […]

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tick, tick… BOOM! – Park Theatre

tick, tick… BOOM! continues at the Park Theatre, London until 27 May. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ That Jonathan Larson created the multi award-winning Broadway musical Rent would be enough to secure his place in musical theatre history. The tragedy of his death, on the last day of rehearsals for the […]

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Pacific Overtures – Classic Stage Company, New York

Pacific Overtures continues at Classic Stage Company, New York until 18 June. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ If there’s such a thing as minimalist grandeur, director John Doyle achieves it with his rendering of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures. Doyle is capping his first season as artistic director of […]

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Pinot! – The Musical – New Wimbledon Theatre Studio

Pinot! – The Musical at the New Wimbledon Theatre Studio, London. The show returns to the venue from 13-17 June. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ The joy of Theatre In Education is that, in general, the rules of musical theatre can be put to one side. Dramatic structure, narrative musical numbers […]

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When Harry Met Barry – Above the Stag Theatre

When Harry Met Barry continues at Above the Stag Theatre, London until 11 June. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Paul Emelion Daly’s musical comedy romance first played at the Above the Stag Theatre in July 2011. In the intervening years, the venue has changed – from a room above a now-demolished […]

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Keepers of the Keys: Eric Yves Garcia – The Pheasantry

Keepers of the Keys: Eric Yves Garcia at The Pheasantry, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ It was a great shame to find so many empty tables for the Pheasantry debut of one of Manhattan cabaret’’s most-admired singer-pianists, and with only a couple of dozen watching, it was difficult for Eric […]

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All Or Nothing – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Touring

All Or Nothing was reviewed at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. The show continues touring until 29 July. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ This is a dazzling, electrifying, heart-warming show. With a beautifully crafted, sensitive book by Carol Harrison, it focuses on the rising young Mod foursome the Small Faces, who took […]

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Pete ‘n’ Keely – Tristan Bates Theatre

Pete ’n’ Keely continues at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London until 20 May. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ This bland little show is very simple and in places good fun. Keely Stevens (Katie Kerr) and Pete Bartel (David Bardsley) were a fabulously successful married double act in the early 1960s – […]

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Bandstand – Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York

Bandstand continues at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ The tagline for Bandstand proudly declares it to be ‘The New American Musical’, and the programme bios for the writers are so disarming and heartfelt that I wish I could have embraced their show a bit […]

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Mamma Mia! – Milton Keynes Theatre and Touring

Mamma Mia! continues at the Milton Keynes Theatre until 20 May, and then tours until February 2018. Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩ Eighteen years after its inception by producer Judy Craymer and director Phyllida Lloyd in 1998, a phenomenal 17-year (and counting) West End run, and equally impressive stints across the […]

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Lenny and Steve: Maria Friedman – Live At Zédel

Lenny and Steve: Maria Friedman continues at Live At Zédel, London until 20 May. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ British artists who truly understand the intimate art of cabaret are few and far between, but the wonderful Maria Friedman is one who stands alongside the very best and an evening in […]

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Boris The Musical – Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester and Touring

Boris The Musical was reviewed at the Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester. The show tours from June to August. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Writer Laurence Peacock and director Kyle Williams tell us they formed Sheffield-based Blowfish Theatre after ‘getting miffed’ at Boris Johnson following the EU referendum. Their cathartic reaction to the […]

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Dillie Keane – Richmond Theatre

Dillie Keane performed at Richmond Theatre. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Life’s not fair, is it, and it’s almost a sin that someone with so many talents exists, but the wonderful Dillie Keane wore her genius lightly in two hours of pure bliss at Richmond at the end of a tour […]

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Hello, Dolly! – Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York

Hello, Dolly! continues at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York. Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Look at the old girl now, fellas,” the lady in sparkly red at the corner of the stage sings out to the audience. And you’d have to be a total idiot to not do just […]

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory continues at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Whatever changes were wrought in the recipe for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in its trip across the Atlantic, it remains a family-sized, mouth-watering mélange of eccentric perversity and tender-hearted […]

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CAT – (The Play!!!) – Ambassadors Theatre

CAT – (The Play!!!) at the Ambassadors Theatre, London. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Apart from having one of the silliest titles ever to hit the West End, CAT is a little theatrical treasure, a hilarious tribute to musical theatre, which had a full house laughing from start to finish. Hollyoaks […]

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Anastasia – Broadhurst Theatre, New York

Anastasia continues at the Broadhurst Theatre, New York. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Daily headlines in US political news continue to ponder the Russian interference in last fall’s presidential election, but what about Russian influence over Broadway? Anastasia, the lavishly engaging new musical that has just opened on Broadway, is the […]

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London School of Musical Theatre – 9 to 5 The Musical

9 to 5 The Musical, performed by students from the London School of Musical Theatre, continues at the Bridewell Theatre, London, until 28 April. Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩ Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 is the second of the London School of Musical Theatre’s spring offerings following the almost forgotten King […]

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