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Well-Strung and Varla Jean Merman

Well-Strung (The Singing String Quartet) and Varla Jean Merman in The Book of Merman at the Leicester Square Theatre, London. There won’t be many places in London where you can spend a more entertaining hour – with your clothes on, anyway – than with Well-Strung, a cute name for four good-looking young Americans who between them play two […]

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Wicked – Palace Manchester and touring

Wicked runs at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until 16 November before continuing its national tour. Stephen Schwartz’s spellbinding Oz-based musical Wicked opens in Manchester (the first leg of an extensive UK and Irish tour) and firmly casts its magic over the region, leaving a sold-out audience completely transfixed. While the show may have been scaled […]

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Celia Imrie – Crazy Coqs

Celia Imrie performed Laughing Matters at the Crazy Coqs, London. Celia Imrie is a much-loved, very talented actress and comedienne whose work I greatly admire, so I looked forward with huge anticipation to seeing her in a new role – cabaret artist. Sadly, expectations are not fully realised. Cabaret, in my book, is an intimate thing […]

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Jackie the Musical debuts in Dundee

Mike James’ Jackie the Musical, running at the Gardyne Theatre, Dundee, from 19 September–5 October, revisits those heady days of 40 years ago, when there were no mobile phones, apps, texting, e-mails and Twitter and one of the only ways angst-ridden teenage girls had an outlet was through the pages of Jackie Magazine, which every Thursday […]

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The Singers Soiree – St Giles-in-the-Fields

The Singers Soiree is a series of charity concerts founded by enterprising and compassionate young director Jamie Chapman Dixon. The events raise funds for Shooting Star CHASE, a charity that supports families with terminally ill children and helps them to enjoy and be looked after in the last few months/years of their lives. The Soirée […]

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Singular Sensations – Kerry Ellis

Singular Sensations – Kerry Ellis was at the Charing Cross Theatre, London. Subtitled ‘Up Close and Personal with the Stars of Musical Theatre’, Singular Sensations is a series of intimate Sunday afternoon sessions at the Charing Cross Theatre aimed at musical theatre enthusiasts. These sessions are hosted by Edward Seckerson, erstwhile presenter of BBC’s Stage […]

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When Midnight Strikes – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

When Midnight Strikes continues at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London until 29 September. A man cheats on his long-suffering wife and panic arises. This is a theme played out regularly across television, film and theatre. However, author and lyricist Kevin Hammonds and composer Charles Miller’s When Midnight Strikes adds a new twist to this formula […]

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Another Way – Cockpit Theatre

Another Way continues at the Cockpit Theatre, London until 5 October. If you were lucky enough to catch Streets last year, either at the Cockpit or at its brief transfer to the Hackney Empire, then you will realise that Interval Productions is making some interesting moves in the musical theatre genre. Not without its flaws, Streets […]

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Fiddler On the Roof – Southampton and on tour

Fiddler On the Roof continues at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton before touring the UK until 26 April 2014. Who would have thought that a musical set in an Ukrainian shtetl telling of the persecution and eviction of Jews from their homeland would prove to not only be a success, but also a durable one. Frequent revivals of […]

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Liza, Liza, Liza – Tabard Theatre

Liza, Liza, Liza continues at the Tabard Theatre, Chiswick until 29 September. Way out west (London) there’s Liza, Liza, Liza, a hugely enjoyable new musical play by Richard Harris (of Outside Edge and Stepping Out fame) at the lively 80-seater fringe theatre above the buzzy Tabard hostelry next to Turnham Green station in Chiswick. Using the […]

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Sutton Foster – Cafe Carlyle, New York

Sutton Foster is performing at the Café Carlyle, New York until 28 September. There aren’t many performers these days who merit the old-time appellation ‘a toast of Broadway’, but Sutton Foster is certainly one of them. Foster toiled away in four Broadway shows before her career-making Tony-winning lead performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. […]

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Dave Willetts – Crazy Coqs

An Evening With Dave Willetts was performed at the Crazy Coqs, London. Singer and actor Dave Willetts presented his cabaret evening at the Crazy Coqs to a sell-out audience. The performer’s career in musical theatre spans 25 years, during which he has starred in a host of major shows. He also holds the distinction of being the first […]

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Lost Musicals – Holly Golightly

Bob Merrill’s Holly Golightly, part of Ian Marshall Fisher’s Lost Musicals season at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells continues on September 15, 22 and 29. In his time, some 20 years, Ian Marshall Fisher has excavated many real collectors’ items from the repertoire of Broadway shows for his Lost Musicals series. He has surveyed […]

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On a Clear Day You Can See Forever – Union

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever continues at the Union Theatre, London until 28 September. In the pantheon of musical theatre, there are shows that make you think. And then there are those that, while outwardly encouraging you to contemplate philosophical ideas, are all the while crossing their fingers, hoping that the song […]

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The Prodigals – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

The Prodigals continues at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry until 14 September. For a production presented in conjunction with Ray Goudie’s company Inspire Arts Trust, and one with press material that maintains it is ‘a musical whose time has come’, I did find myself anything but inspired by The Prodigals. The writers offer a perfectly good justification for ‘updating’ the New […]

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Love, Loss and Passion – Chelsea Town Hall

Love, Loss and Passion was performed at the Chelsea Town Hall, London. Marketed as ‘The Singing Dentist’ Andrew Bain’s career is varied to say the least. Alongside practicing at the King’s Road Dental Clinic, Dr Bain has been a professional singer in the West End, had a record deal with SonyBMG and performed live on GMTV […]

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Formby – Hackney Empire and touring

Formby was performed at the Hackney Empire, London before continuing on tour until 2 November. You can’t help but feel a little confused when Ewan Wardrop pops his head around the curtains and announces: “I know what you’re thinking… he looks nothing like him!” It’s true, Wardrop, perhaps more familiar to audiences as a dancer from […]

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Pride and Prejudice the Musical – Lyric, Belfast

Pride and Prejudice the Musical continues at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast until 6 October. Jane Austen’s timeless novel about manners and marriage has been an irresistible lure to film and television makers in recent years while remaining stubbornly resistant to making the transition from page to stage. The last high-profile attempt to set the enduring tale […]

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Wilma and Friends – St James Studio

Wilma and Friends Cabaret was performed at the St James Theatre Studio, London. You didn’t really need to be Sherlock Holmes on entering the St James Theatre’s plush, if very compact downstairs studio space to realise this was not going to be your average night’s entertainment – a whole tea set, various teddy bears and a stand […]

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Stand Up the Musical – Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

Stand Up the Musical was performed at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton. Take some of our most legendary entertainers, put them in a musical about stand-up comedy, and watch them all die on stage in a horrific car crash of a show that runs for five minutes less than Les Misérables and involves even fewer […]

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Profumo the Musical – Waterloo East Theatre

Profumo the Musical was performed at the Waterloo East Theatre, London. As part of Waterloo East Theatre’s New Musical Showcase Season, Gordon Kenney presented the world premiere of Profumo the Musical, pipping Andrew Lloyd Webber to the post. The latter’s musical Stephen Ward about the Profumo affair will open at the Aldwych Theatre in December. […]

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Love, Lies and Lust – Queen’s, Hornchurch

Love, Lies and Lust continues at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch until 21 September. Love, Lies and Lust premiered at the Queen’s Theatre in 1992 and after 21 years this celebration of ‘the noblest urge bestowed on us’ has returned to its birthplace in Hornchurch. The piece is based upon the Restoration comedy The Country Wife, […]

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West End Bares – Cafe de Paris

West End Bares presented All the Fun of the Bare at the Café de Paris, London. Although Broadway Bares, the brainchild of veteran Broadway director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (The Full Monty, Hairspray and now Kinky Boots) has been around in New York for almost 22 years (supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS), its London answer West End Bares (raising money for […]

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Stalking John Barrowman – Cardiff

Stalking John Barrowman was performed at the Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Stalking John Barrowman is a new musical by Naomi Chiffi and Jude Garner (book) and Patrick Steed (music and lyrics) that needs to learn that less is sometimes more. Its story is about two unlucky-in-life characters that use their love of John Barrowman to entertain their otherwise mundane […]

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Michael Ball leads the cast of the concert by joelanderson

Michael Ball sings Gershwin – Kenwood House

Summertime – An Evening of Gershwin, with Michael Ball (plus guests Gina Beck, Kerry Ellis, David Bardsley and Viv McLean) was performed at Kenwood House, London. Michael Ball’s name drew the crowds to the final Live By the Lake concert in the beautiful grounds of Kenwood House on a cool Sunday evening in north London, but […]

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Singin’ in the Rain – Kenwood House

Singin’ in the Rain was screened as part of the Live By the Lake series at Kenwood House, London. It feels odd to be reviewing a film which just last year celebrated its 60th anniversary. But when it’s one of the most enjoyable films ever made – and very possibly the greatest movie musical ever […]

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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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Copyright: Musical Theatre Review Ltd 2013. All rights reserved.