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An Evening With John Bucchino – St James

An Evening With John Bucchino and Friends was performed at the St James Studio, London. Award-winning American composer and lyricist John Bucchino is not as well-known here as some songwriters who have journeyed across the pond, but his work is well worth listening out for. Although he has written for Broadway and film, and his […]

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The Supreme Fabulettes – Viva La Drag

Leicester Square Theatre, London. London and in fact most of the UK has had a long love affair with the drag queen. From the remotest of working-men’s clubs to the streets and bars of Soho; from the boy actors of Shakespeare’s Globe to Lily Savage’s Blankety Blank, the drag queen is unquestionably a part of […]

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Gregg Edelman – Crazy Coqs

Gregg Edelman’s Broadway State of Mind at the Crazy Coqs, London. After one big Broadway star in Patti LuPone last week, now London embraces another in Gregg Edelman, four-time Tony Award nominee – “or, as my brother puts it, four-time Tony Award loser!” and star of 15 Broadway shows, starting with Evita in 1979 right […]

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Will Young and Cabaret on tour

Singer/songwriter Will Young will reprise his role as the Emcee in Rufus Norris’ acclaimed production of Cabaret. Following a successful West End run, the UK tour of the musical will open at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre on 28th August.  Ever since winning the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2002, Young has been one of the UK’s […]

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Drury Lane

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London. Booking until 31st May, 2014. On many different levels much is expected of Sam Mendes’ production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. On one level, Roald Dahl’s story of the mysterious confectioner and his quest for a successor is a much loved piece of British culture, not […]

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West End Heroes – Dominion Theatre

Performed at the Dominion Theatre, London. An idea two years in the making, West End Heroes combined a variety of West End performers with singers and musicians from the Armed Forces for a unique evening in aid of the charity Help for Heroes, hosted by Brian Conley. The military services contain a number of regular musical troupes. […]

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Seth Rudetsky – Deconstructing Broadway

Performed at the Leicester Square Theatre, London. “I am obsessed with the small moments,” Seth Rudetsky admits during his one-man show Deconstructing Broadway. And how: his show is all about the small moments in various Broadway and other musical theatre shows. The moments that turn a great performance into one that is, as Rudetsky puts it, “Ah-MAH-zing”– or turn […]

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Sondheim Society – Rachael Louise Miller

The Stephen Sondheim Society presents… Rachael Louise Miller, Leicester Square Theatre, London. It’s very hard not to warm to Rachael Louise Miller, the actress/singer who launched the Sondheim Society series of early-evening cabaret in the Leicester Square Theatre Lounge to rapturous applause and an almost-full house. She’s tiny, very pretty, has a typical Lancashire lass […]

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A Little Night Music – Yvonne Arnaud

Performed at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. For a single night the one and only Desiree Armfeldt graced the stage of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre by courtesy of musical director Alex Parker, a man with a passion for staging concerts and musicals with large orchestras at the core of the entertainment. He is also able to conjure […]

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My Fair Lady – Kilworth House Theatre

Playing at the Kilworth House Theatre, near Lutterworth, Leicestershire until 14th July. Mitch Sebastian’s memorable staging of My Fair Lady is as well-chiselled as the astutely and beautifully designed environment of the Kilworth House Theatre in which the musical is performed, from the fine vocals of the cast to Cornelius Clarke’s black-smeared dustman, Alfred Doolittle, an old hack out of Ealing […]

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Payback the Musical – Riverside Studios

Playing at the Riverside Studios, London until June 30. Mining the world of daytime television for musical theatre material by necessity invites comparison with Jerry Springer: The Opera, but where Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee used the form to examine morality and religion, in Payback the Musical Paul Rayfield is content to stick with the heightened […]

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Patti LuPone – Leicester Square Theatre

Playing at the Leicester Square Theatre, London until 23rd June. It’s not often we get a real live Broadway musical theatre legend in the West End and fans, among them Adele, were out in force for Patti LuPone’s opening night at the Leicester Square Theatre. A belter in the Ethel Merman tradition and an actress […]

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Arts Ed – The 25th Annual Spelling Bee

Performed at the Arts Educational School, London. One of the pleasures to be had from supporting drama student productions is the opportunity to see musicals that one only knows from recordings, but have rarely been performed in this country. They also offer the chance to see revivals of old favourites or to catch up on […]

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Mission Drift – The National Theatre Shed

Playing at The NT Shed, London until 28th June. Mission Drift exploded into the UK in 2011 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it blew critics and audiences away. So convincing was its force that those who hadn’t seen it – including me – fell upon the news of a London transfer like ready-made disciples. […]

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Amanda McBroom at Crazy Coqs

Amanda McBroom at the Crazy Coqs, London. Everyone has different tastes, of course, but for any cabaret lover there can surely be no better way of spending 80 minutes than in the company of the distinguished, delightful and truly brilliant Californian singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom, a lady best known as the writer of the title song of Bette […]

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Barbra Streisand – O2 Arena

Barbra Streisand performed at the O2 on June 1 and 3. Something of a miracle happened when Barbra Streisand succeeded in turning the cold and unwelcoming atmosphere of the O2 into an intimate family reunion. Where else but at this venue are you denied to move to better empty seats at intermission since you paid […]

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We Will Rock You Arena Tour

No fewer than 25 Queen melodies energise We Will Rock You, Ben Elton, Roger Taylor and Brian May’s 2002 hit show, a version of which is touring Scandinavia, the Low Countries, Eastern Europe, and, more recently, Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. Elton’s idea is terrific, but as contorted as it is ingenious. As a vehicle for the sizzling […]

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The West End Men in Concert

Playing at the Vaudeville Theatre until June 22. The West End is awash with fantastic tunes – from current musicals to the classics of previous years – but a show in which the music is the star also needs to offer something a little special. Although, at first, none of The West End Men in […]

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Billy the Musical – Union Theatre

Playing at the Union Theatre, London until 29th June. Originally staged in the West End back in 1974, Billy the Musical (adapted from Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall’s play Billy Liar by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais), with a score from John Barry and Don Black, has at its heart a hardly average musical hero. Billy […]

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Miss Nightingale – The Burlesque Musical

Miss Nightingale – The Burlesque Musical, a touring production, reviewed at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham (23-25 May). Sex, scandal and showbiz in London 1942 is the subtitle of Miss Nightingale – The Burlesque Musical,  a show that highlights the dangers that beset freethinking performing artists in a backward-looking war-torn England, where lust lingers but sexual preferences and […]

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The Great Gatsby – Riverside Studios, London

Playing at the Riverside Studios, London until 8 June. It is clear from the outset that a Fringe musical of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby could never compete on scale or budget with Baz Luhrmann’s $100 million-plus Hollywood adaptation. But nor should it attempt to – and Ruby in the Dust’s production […]

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Avenue Q – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Playing at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London until 30 June. Although it ran for five years in the West End followed by a national tour, Avenue Q‘s Off-Broadway roots always showed. In its first UK fringe theatre production, the smaller space and intimacy works in its definite favour. The musical takes the idea of humans […]

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Hairspray the tour

Hairspray, a touring production, reviewed at the Hippodrome, Birmingham (21 May-1 June). If Hairspray has become one of the UK’s biggest hit musicals of the past three years, it’s because it deserves all the accolades showered upon it. It has everything. The story and lyrics, devised by a prodigiously talented team of four (librettists Mark O’Donnell […]

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Anne Reid at Crazy Coqs

Anne Reid In a New Key, at the Crazy Coqs, London. Electrocuted as Valerie Barlow in Coronation Street in 1971, Dinnerladied by Victoria Wood in 1998, kit off as a daring 66-year-old who beds a pre-Bond Daniel Craig in The Mother in 2003 and wooed by Derek Jacobi in last autumn’s wonderful TV series Last Tango […]

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Next Thing You Know – Landor Theatre

Playing at the Landor Theatre, London until 8 June. It’s not always easy to recognise whether you’ve got the right ingredients to make a musical work, but despite writers Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham’s best efforts to just write theatre music without a story, Next Thing You Know truly hits the spot with its universal […]

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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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Encores! On Your Toes is one to cherish

Presented by Encores! at New York City Center, (May 8-12). The Encores! Series at New York City Center winds up its 2013 season with an elaborate and often thrilling mounting of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart‘s landmark work from 1936, On Your Toes, with its groundbreaking infusion of ballet, both classic and jazz-inspired, integrated directly […]

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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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Sunday in the Park With George goes home

Reviewed at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris (April 15-25). The production is being broadcast on European arts TV channel Mezzo on May 5, 24 and 28. Sunday in the Park With George is a rare jewel, a special treat, one of the rare musicals and works of art which can lift you up from the real […]

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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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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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Matthew James Thomas and cast in the Broadway production of Pippin. Picture: Joan Marcus

Pippin has razzle dazzle to believe in

Opened April 25 at The Music Box Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. ‘Give ’em the old razzle dazzle’, goes the Fred Ebb lyric in the Bob Fosse-created Chicago, the revival of which is currently bumping and grinding its way through its 17th year on Broadway. And that same razzle dazzle dictum is working […]

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Pippin has razzle dazzle to believe in

Opened April 25 at The Music Box Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. ‘Give ’em the old razzle dazzle’, goes the Fred Ebb lyric in the Bob Fosse-created Chicago, the revival of which is currently bumping and grinding its way through its 17th year on Broadway. And that same razzle dazzle dictum is working […]

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Jekyll & Hyde – prepare for a wall of sound

Opened April 18, at the Marquis Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Boo! Composer and occasional lyricist Frank Wildhorn, Broadway’s favourite whipping boy, has just landed another musical on Broadway. This one’s a horror story and a revival as well – Jekyll & Hyde – and of course, it has given uppity New York […]

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Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox as Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde. Picture: Chris Bennion

Jekyll & Hyde – prepare for a wall of sound

Opened April 18, at the Marquis Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Boo! Composer and occasional lyricist Frank Wildhorn, Broadway’s favourite whipping boy, has just landed another musical on Broadway. This one’s a horror story and a revival as well – Jekyll & Hyde – and of course, it has given uppity New York […]

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