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Great Expectations – Rose Theatre Kingston

Great Expectations is a Youth Music Theatre UK production at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. The immortal works of Charles Dickens have been turned into musicals with mixed success over the years – Oliver! was a massive hit for Lionel Bart, Pickwick ran for 694 performances in the West End and gave us ‘If I Ruled […]

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Cabaret – Wimbledon Theatre and Touring

Cabaret was reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London before continuing on tour. Never mind what those ‘Best Musicals of All Time’ polls say, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s hilarious, poignant and, yes, frankly shocking interpretation of Christopher Isherwood’s autobigraphical novel is one of the greatest ever written, some would say THE greatest, and now […]

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Bonnie and Clyde – King’s Head Theatre

Bonnie and Clyde was performed at the King’s Head Theatre, London. The story of the two outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow continues to capture the public imagination. Bonnie and Clyde’s violent exploits in the Great Depression have been a source of inspiration for music and the screen, most notably in the case of the well-known 1967 Hollywood […]

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Leanne Masterton – Crazy Coqs

Leanne Masterton performed Something Good at the Crazy Coqs, London. The tinkling piano strains to be heard over yet another packed house at the Crazy Coqs, as this most enchanting of London venues plays host to Leanne Masterton, performing her one-woman tribute to Richard Rodgers. A newcomer to this stage, Masterton has already performed in occasional […]

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Kieran Brown and guests – Union Theatre

Kieran Brown performed Music That Matters with a selection of guest artists at the Union Theatre, London. Beginning with a low-key entrance, and unusually the lights up rather than dimmed, actor and singer Kieran Brown (currently appearing in the Rodgers and Hammerstein piece Pipe Dream at the Union Theatre) opened with a gentle medley of ‘Someone’s Waiting […]

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West Side Story – Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

West Side Story, a National Youth Music Theatre production, was staged at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester. It’s new for the National Youth Music Theatre to launch a show outside London, and it’s a triumph that West Side Story has been staged – like Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company stagings or Kenneth Branagh’s riveting Macbeth – in […]

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Karen Mason – Crazy Coqs

Karen Mason performed Right Here/Right Now at the Crazy Coqs, London. More and more regularly they are putting the ‘All Seats Sold’ sign outside the Crazy Coqs at the Brasserie Zedel and this is no small thanks to that doyenne of the cabaret circuit Ruth Leon. Keen to introduce new acts from the US to the […]

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Anything Goes – Kilworth House Theatre

Anything Goes continues at the Kilworth House Theatre, Lutterworth until 1 September. If you’ve never seen a musical at Kilworth House Theatre, my advice is to get down there pronto. Based in the grounds of a well-to-do country hotel scarcely five miles from the Lutterworth (south Leicestershire) junction off the M1, Kilworth has everything going […]

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Edinburgh Fringe musicals – more reviews 3

Director, performer and radio presenter Tim McArthur gives his view on more of the musicals showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013. West End at the Fringe continues at theSpace @ Symposium Hall until 24 August. What a lovely sweet revue this is, performed by five young talented performers who glide through an interesting selection of songs […]

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Edinburgh Fringe musicals – more reviews 2

Director, performer and radio presenter Tim McArthur gives his view on more of the musicals showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013. Le Gateau Chocolat – I Heart Chocolat continues at the Underbelly until 26 August. It’s a delight to see Le Gateau Chocolat return to the Fringe this year. His rich, gorgeous singing voice and energetic personality is a delight […]

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The Last Ever Musical – White Bear Theatre

The Last Ever Musical continues at the White Bear Theatre, London until 7 September. Simon James Collier’s The Last Ever Musical intends to ‘hold a mirror up’ to the Fringe theatre world in a piece which aims to be satirical and thought-provoking, but is instead let down by a weak plot which, bizarrely, uses a tampon as […]

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Edinburgh Fringe musicals – more reviews

Director, performer and radio presenter Tim McArthur gives his view on some of the musicals showcased at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013.   Julie Madly Deeply continues at the Gilded Balloon Teviot until 26 August. If we’re all honest we all have a secret crush on Julie Andrews, she has been a part of our lives […]

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Little Me – Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre

Little Me continues at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub, London until 31 August. Little Me has been the vehicle for many a comic turn over the years. The original 1962 production opened with Sid Caesar and the musical has featured Bruce Forsyth and Russ Abbot in the past. Perhaps the most accomplished all-rounder […]

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Maria Friedman in Concert – Cadogan Hall

Maria Friedman in Concert at the Cadogan Hall, London. Internationally acclaimed singer and actress Maria Friedman expanded upon her ‘Lenny & Steve’ show, first produced at the Matcham Room at The Hippodrôme last year, for the musical theatre concert series at the Cadogan Hall. Friedman has long been associated with Stephen Sondheim, the relationship starting […]

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The Other School – St James Theatre

The Other School, a National Youth Music Theatre production, was staged at the St James Theatre, London. The Other School is a psychological new musical by Dominic Marsh and Dougal Irvine, specially commissioned for the National Youth Music Theatre. Irvine wrote the brilliant musical Departure Lounge, so I was really looking forward to see what he […]

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Gotta Sing Gotta Dance – Eastbourne/Touring

Gotta Sing Gotta Dance continues at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne until 24 August and then tours the UK until 25 October. Where else do you get to see the whole West End in three minutes? Cleverly designed, that very funny sequence is one of many gems from the ever enjoyable revue Gotta Sing Gotta […]

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Soul Doctor – Circle in the Square NY

  Soul Doctor has opened in the Circle in the Square theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Soul Doctor celebrates an unusual man in pretty familiar bio-musical terms. This new Broadway offering, which had a brief Off-Broadway run a year ago, tells the story of Shlomo Carlebach, a charismatic musician and sort-of-renegade rabbi who […]

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Music Show Wedding – C venues

Music Show Wedding continues at C venues, Edinburgh until 26 August. It may be unexpected to say that the future of musical theatre is safe in the hands of the Koreans, but it is a nation with a fantastic array of major theatres presenting great classics from the West End and Broadway. The people there love […]

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title of show – Landor Theatre

[title of show] continues at the Landor Theatre, London until 14 September. Originating at the first New York Musical Theatre Festival , [title of show] adds a whole new perspective to the backstage-musical genre. Performed in a single act, the narrative details the musical’s own creation by lead characters Hunter and Jeff, from tentative concept […]

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A Theory of Justice the Musical – C venues

A Theory of Justice the Musical continues at C venues, Edinburgh until 26 August. This is a wholly original work from a group of Oxford undergraduates and the packed house (me included) at C venues really enjoyed it. A romp through 2,500 years of philosophy with some cracking songs, a mass of our favourite characters and […]

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Between Empires – theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Between Empires continues at theSpace @ Symposium Hall, Edinburgh until 24 August. I declare an interest – I met with one of the writer/producers of Between Empires at a recent surgery I ran and we explored the joys, challenges, and opportunities of bringing a new show to the Fringe which will, in time, be much longer, […]

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Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare in the Park

Love’s Labour’s Lost has opened at Shakespeare in the Park, Delacorte Theatre, New York, to continue until 18 August. Back in 1971, the esteemed Off-Broadway producing company The Public Theater had a big hit at its Shakespeare in the Park season with a musical adaptation of Two Gentleman of Verona. The production transferred to Broadway, […]

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The Bridge – C Nova

The Bridge continues at C Nova, Edinburgh until 26 August. A beautifully crafted one-man and three-guitar show, The Bridge is part life story and part love story. A love of life (surviving major illness), a love of music (from his first banjo), a love of family, and a love of his life. Benjamin Scheuer weaves […]

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Rent – Tabard Theatre

Rent continues at the Tabard Theatre, London until 31 August. Rent, a rock opera for the Generation X era loosely based on Puccini’s La Boheme, opened Off-Broadway on 25 January 1996, the day after its creator Jonathan Larson passed away from an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm. It transferred to Broadway and became one of its longest-running […]

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It’s Not What You Know – theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

It’s Not What You Know continues at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall until 17 August. blot THEATRE is a group of students/graduates from Hull University, in many cases off to drama school shortly, and in It’s Not What You Know they create a comedy, a cappella sketch revue exploring the world of Rose, a recent graduate from the […]

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Bryan Batt – Crazy Coqs

Bryan Batt performed his show Batt On a Hot Tin Roof at the Crazy Coqs, London. Bryan Batt is perhaps best known here for his portrayal of Salvatore Romano in the television series Mad Men. He has appeared on numerous stages in New York and his native New Orleans in shows such as Jeffrey, Beauty […]

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Adam and Eve – Gilded Balloon Teviot

Adam and Eve – The Musical continues at the Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh until 25 August (not 12). Adam and Eve is a new musical theatre piece written and composed by Ben Hales, with witty cutout designs by Kerry Frampton. They are both part of the company of six with Splendid Productions. The show presented […]

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Ruthie Henshall – Cadogan Hall

An Intimate Evening With Ruthie Henshall was performed at the Cadogan Hall, London. In the beautiful setting of the Cadogan Hall, more well-known for its classical and jazz performances than musical theatre work, multiple Olivier Award-nominated star of the West End and Broadway Ruthie Henshall presented a collection of songs from shows she had either appeared […]

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West Side Story – Sadler’s Wells

West Side Story continues at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London until 22 September and then tours. Simply stunning! There may have been productions of West Side Story as good as the current revival but it’s hard to imagine a better one since this iconic show was launched on Broadway in 1957. The combined genius of Leonard […]

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First Date – Longacre Theatre NY

First Date opened at the Longacre Theatre, New York, and continues until 5 January. The first new musical of the 2013-14 Broadway season is a slight diversion called First Date. The piece was originally produced in Seattle last year, and its assets include an agreeable pop/light rock score that’s more infectious than deafening, by Alan Zachary […]

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Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens – Leicester Square Theatre

Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens continues at the Leicester Square Theatre Lounge, London until 15 September. There’s something about Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens which just begs to be enjoyed as the second show of a rather well-lubricated evening. Perhaps this is why the advertised 7.30pm start time is actually the beginning of a […]

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The Sound of Music – Regent’s Park Open Air

The Sound of Music continues at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London until 7 September. Do we need another The Sound of Music just yet? That question lingered in my mind while heading for the Open Air Theatre on a rainy Monday evening, but the answer turned out to be yes. True the last […]

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Pipe Dream – Union Theatre

Pipe Dream continues at the Union Theatre, London until 31 August. Pipe Dream was the seventh musical to be created by the legendary partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammersmith II. Amongst their large canon of Broadway classics, such as Oklahoma!, Carousel and South Pacific, it was to be their biggest flop. John Steinbeck, the […]

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Dreamboats and Petticoats – Wimbledon Theatre

Dreamboats and Petticoats was reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London, before continuing touring until 30 November. Originally staged at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Dreamboats and Petticoats has deservedly established a reputation – through its tours and West End productions – for being a rattling good night out. Written as may be by celebrated comedy writers Laurence […]

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Titanic the Musical – Southwark Playhouse

Titanic the Musical continues at the Southwark Playhouse, London until 31 August. Director Thom Southerland has created a wonder again with this first-class European premiere of a new chamber version of the Tony Award-winning show Titanic the Musical. In an age of overblown musicals based on movies which are slavishly faithful to their Hollywood models, it is […]

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Kim Criswell

Kim Criswell – Cadogan Hall

Kim Criswell performed A Celebration of the Music of Cole Porter at the Cadogan Hall, London. With the temperature in my train reaching 34c, I was thinking it was ‘Too Darn Hot’ to spend the evening at the Cadogan Hall for the first of three From West End to Broadway’ diva concerts, even it was to hear […]

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Sophie-Louise Dann – Crazy Coqs

Sophie-Louise Dann performed From Classic… to Coward… to Current at the Crazy Coqs, London. Sophie-Louise Dann was recently seen in Ivor Novello’s Gay’s the Word at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre and has just finished a run of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.  She is well known […]

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The Witches of Eastwick – Watermill, Bagnor

The Witches of Eastwick continues at the Watermill Theatre, Bagnor until 14 September. For those with expectations based on the acclaimed 1987 film of The Witches of Eastwick, there are strong parallels to be drawn with the three superb leading lady performances in this production at the Watermill. For those with mixed feelings who caught John Dempsey […]

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Stefan Bednarczyk – Crazy Coqs

Stefan Bednarczyk performed Bednarczyk Sings Noel Coward at the Crazy Coqs, London. Actor, musical director and cabaret performer Stefan Bednarczyk’s new show Bednarczyk Sings Noel Coward, wich premiered at the Crazy Coqs, included songs, verse and anecdotes from people who knew and worked with Coward, including Graham Payn and the late critic Sheridan Morley. Starting with the question ‘Why […]

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Barnum – Theatre in the Park, Chichester

Barnum is performed at Theatre in the Park, Oaklands Park, Chichester until 31 August. With the Chichester Festival Theatre out of action while redevelopment work is in progress, the need for a temporary auditorium has been solved by the erection of a huge tented structure in the park behind the theatre. And in what more appropriate structure […]

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Whistle Down the WInd – NYMT

Whistle Down the Wind, a National Youth Music Theatre production, is performed at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, from 24–28 July. If the 80-plus National Youth Music Theatre cast of Whistle Down the Wind felt added pressure from the presence of their president, the Earl of Wessex, in the packed Rose Theatre audience, you would never have […]

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Lost Musicals – Noel Coward’s Words and Music

Lost Musicals – Noel Coward’s Words and Music was performed at the Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler’s Wells, with further dates on 28 July and 4 August. The reason why Coward’s revues such as London Calling!, On With the Dance, This Year of Grace, Sigh No More and Words and Music are never seen is […]

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Wag! The Musical – Charing Cross Theatre

Wag! The Musical continues at the Charing Cross Theatre, London until August 24. When you witness a show as repulsive as Wag! The Musical, you can’t primarily blame the actors, who are clearly doing their best – no matter how varied their attempts may be – with the material they have. The first culprit of creating […]

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Passport to Pimlico – South West Fest

Passport to Pimlico was performed as part of this year’s South West Fest, held in south west London. There’s a moment in the classic Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico when it looks as though the feisty Pimlico Burgundians might have to surrender their claim to interdependence. The reason? A freak heatwave, which leaves them powerless and […]

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Momentous Musicals – New Wimbledon Theatre

Momentous Musicals was performed at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London and continues to tour until 25 July. This being a sweltering night at the New Wimbledon Theatre, minimalist attire was definitely the order of the evening. If it was very hot in the auditorium, goodness knows what the temperature was on stage. At one point, […]

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They’re Playing Our Song – Broadway Catford

They’re Playing Our Song runs at the Broadway Studio Theatre, Catford, London until 21 July. Platform Theatre Company, founded by Robert Rawles, creates a production of Marvin Hamlisch, Caroline Bayer Sager and Neil Simon’s musical They’re Playing our Song which shows great promise in Act I but suffers from a lack of momentum and purpose towards the end. […]

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The Color Purple – Menier Chocolate Factory

Playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London, until September 14. “Wives is like children,” we are told at the start of The Color Purple, the Menier’s latest musical offering. “Ain’t nothing for them but a big sound beating.” Alice Walker’s classic novel, adapted first into an acclaimed film and then a musical, makes its London […]

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Dirty Dancing – Piccadilly Theatre

Dirty Dancing is booking at the Piccadilly Theatre, London until 22 February, 2014. There have been plenty of opportunities already to see the musical Dirty Dancing, which first opened in the West End in 2006 and has since been on a UK tour. But it must be proving so popular, its producers are optimistic it […]

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Ivor Novello and the Great British Musical – St James Studio

Ivor Novello and the Great British Musical was performed at the St James Theatre Studio, London. Initially planned as a one-off performance, this second performance of Ivor Novello and the Great British Musical at the swish, perfect-for-the-occasion studio space at the St James Theatre, was a worthy case of ‘back by popular demand.’ That the show […]

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Blues in the Night – Hackney Empire

Blues in the Night was performed at the Hackney Empire, London. This splendid revue first appeared off-Broadway in 1980 but only for around 50 performances. Two years later it moved to Broadway and ran for less than 70 shows. It fared better in London in 1987 with Maria Friedman, Carol Woods, Debby Bishop and Clarke […]

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