• Clockwise from top left: Young Marx, The House of Bernarda Alba, Insignificance, Imagine This & The Lorax
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    Acts of theatre resistance: Insignificance, The Lorax, Young Marx, Imagine This, Bernarda Alba

Acts of theatre resistance: Insignificance, The Lorax, Young Marx, Imagine This, Bernarda Alba

Understandably, as theatremakers and audiences try to make sense of our turbulent times, political plays are de rigueur – and it’s not just ones written by James Graham either. And even productions that you wouldn’t categorise as such, inevitably take on political overtones when filtered through our consumption of daily headlines. I’m not sure if every […]

Plays diary: Heisenberg, 31 Hours, All the Little Lights

I can’t get out of my mind the idea of touring two new, one-act plays I’ve seen recently – Jane Upton’s All The Little Lights and Kieran Knowles’ 31 Hours – as a double bill. It’s something that would absolutely warrant generous funding for tackling important and urgent social issues, and you could map out the tour […]

  • Clockwise from top: Five Guys Named Moe, Young Frankenstein and Hair.
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    Musicals diary: Hair, Five Guys Named Moe, Young Frankenstein

Musicals diary: Hair, Five Guys Named Moe, Young Frankenstein

In the past month, two musicals have got me up on my feet and dancing all the way out to the bar. At Five Guys Named Moe, I joined a conga line at the interval after attempting to singalong Calypso-style to “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie”. At Hair, I flailed around at the finale to […]

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    Plays diary: What Shadows, Ink, The Unknown Island, Lucy Light, The Swallow

Plays diary: What Shadows, Ink, The Unknown Island, Lucy Light, The Swallow

I’ve had a rich few weeks for playgoing. In addition to productions I’ve already written about elsewhere – including, of those still running, Arrows and Traps’ Frankenstein at Brockley Jack and Stephen Clark’s Le Grand Mort at Trafalgar Studios 2 – here’s a quick round-up of some other smart plays I’ve seen recently and […]

  • Christopher Tester in Frankenstein and Natasha Killam in The Test
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    Prometheus updated: From Frankenstein to artificial intelligence in The Test

Prometheus updated: From Frankenstein to artificial intelligence in The Test

It has been so fascinating to see Arrows and Traps’ startlingly fresh adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, just opened at Brockley Jack Theatre, and Ian Dixon Potter’s one-act drama The Test, finishing this weekend at the White Bear Theatre, in the same week on the London fringe.

Both stories centre on Promethean ambitions: scientists who, like […]

  • Sondheim's Follies is a monster hit at the National Theatre
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    Press Pass: Everything you need to know about Follies at the National

Press Pass: Everything you need to know about Follies at the National

What do you need to know about Dominic Cooke’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the National Theatre? It’s a great big, sumptuous, stellar hit.

I was lucky enough to see a preview myself this past weekend – standing ovation – and give a surprisingly alert-looking Dominic a hug afterwards. Any nerves he may have […]

  • Tom Hiddleston stars as Hamlet at RADA until 23 September 2017
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    #HiddleHamlet is a ★★★★ success (for the few lucky critics who got tickets)

#HiddleHamlet is a ★★★★ success (for the few lucky critics who got tickets)

Did you get lucky in the ticket ballot for #RADAHamlet, which on Twitter has also gained the predictable #HiddleHamlet hashtag thanks to its title star, Tom Hiddleston? The fundraising production, directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh (who previously directed Hiddleson onstage in Ivanov and onscreen in Thor and has long wanted to direct […]

  • Clockwise from top left: Mrs Orwell, Salad Days, Boom and King Cowboy Rufus Rules the Universe
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    My (non-Edinburgh) theatre diary: Salad Days, Mrs Orwell, Boom and Cowboy Rufus

My (non-Edinburgh) theatre diary: Salad Days, Mrs Orwell, Boom and Cowboy Rufus

It’s not just umbrella festival programmes, as I blogged earlier, that keep myself and other London theatregoers busy in August. Here’s a round-up of some of the other plays and musicals I’ve seen recently that are worth a look. Get booking if any tickle your fancy – all are limited seasons finishing in the […]

  • Sheila Atim & Shirley Henderson in Girl from the North Country; Ilan Galkoff and The Diary of Adrian Mole cast
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    Musicals diary: Spoonful of Sherman, Adrian Mole, Girl from the North Country

Musicals diary: Spoonful of Sherman, Adrian Mole, Girl from the North Country

Most of nights last week was devoted to just one play, Preethi Nair’s Sari: The Whole Five Yards, which I’m trying to help find a future life. But I have managed a few memorable evenings over the past fortnight that I can also recommend: Bob Dylan-inspired Girl from the North Country at the Old Vic, […]

  • Clockwise from top: Around the World in 80 Days, Flood and The Wasp.
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    My plays diary: Sari, Around the World in 80 Days, The Wasp, Flood

My plays diary: Sari, Around the World in 80 Days, The Wasp, Flood

My plays diary this week isn’t terribly varied. I’m spending most nights at the Tristan Bates Theatre, all in aid of one production: Preethi Nair’s Sari: The Whole Five Yards. That said, I’ll be lucky if I say the play once – demand for tickets is so high that I can’t get in any night […]

Counting Sheep and top-notch bloggers

I’ve had issues with sleep – or rather lack of sleep – since I was a teenager. I won’t be an insomnia bore and tell you ALL of the so-called remedies I’ve tried over the years, including several sessions with a private, and very expensive, sleep therapist.

(Touch wood, the problem isn’t so bad at […]

  • My theatre diary w/c Sunday 25 June 2017: Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Hamlet, The Quentin Dentin Show, West End Live
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    My theatre diary: West End Live, Lady Day, Hamlet and Quentin Dentin

My theatre diary: West End Live, Lady Day, Hamlet and Quentin Dentin

My theatre week last week started and ended with musicals.

My partner Peter and I rushed back from our – rather too work-filled – fortnight in Mallorca just in time for West End Live. It’s incredible how much this free, two-day event has grown in its 13-year history. Having started out with a handful of […]

  • Clockwise from top: Guards at the Taj, Sea Fret, Junkyard and Waiting for God.
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    My theatre diary: Guards at the Taj, Junkyard, Waiting for God and Sea Fret

My theatre diary: Guards at the Taj, Junkyard, Waiting for God and Sea Fret

Here’s a round-up of productions I’ve seen it recent weeks which I haven’t already covered in Press Passes (do please dance your way as soon as you can into seeing both An American in Paris and 42nd Street in the West End) or other blogs. What do all four of these have in common? […]

  • The Life at Southwark Playhouse until 29 April 2017
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    What if The Life characters met their peers in Guys & Dolls & 42nd Street?

What if The Life characters met their peers in Guys & Dolls & 42nd Street?

One little postcode in New York City has been attracting a lot of stage real estate in London in recent years: the blocks around Times Square. The area is, of course, well known to theatre lovers around the globe as Broadway – both the physical street and the wider showbiz environment it encapsulates – […]

  • Carousel at the London Coliseum
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    Press Pass: Everything you need to know about Alfie Boe & Katherine Jenkins in Carousel

Press Pass: Everything you need to know about Alfie Boe & Katherine Jenkins in Carousel

After successes with Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd, English National Opera continues its annual headline-grabbing foray into musical theatre with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel.

As with the previous ENO musicals of the past two years, this production is produced by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade (who are also behind the current big-budget production of another Broadway classic, […]

  • The cast of 42nd Street. © Brinkhoff & Mogenburg
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    Press Pass: Everything you need to know about 42nd Street (and Kate Middleton!)

Press Pass: Everything you need to know about 42nd Street (and Kate Middleton!)

The second massive New York import in less than a month, 42nd Street brought its lullaby of Broadway to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane last night. In addition to their transatlantic journeys, An American in Paris and 42nd Street are both dance-based shows – with big budgets (£8 million is the word on the latter), huge casts […]

  • Joanna Riding in The Girls; Dominic Rowan and Tracy-Ann Oberman in Stepping Out
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    Bra-waving, toe-tapping and female solidarity: The Girls and Stepping Out

Bra-waving, toe-tapping and female solidarity: The Girls and Stepping Out

If you’re seeking life affirmation, celebrations of female solidarity (of a quintessentially British variety) and general uplift, my two current West End recommendations that tick all three boxes are The Girls, Tim Firth and Gary Barlow’s new musical adaptation of the story of the Calendar Girls from Yorkshire, and Maria Friedman’s revival of Richard […]

  • Doubling up with Stoppard: Joshua McGuire & Daniel Radcliffe in R&G, Freddie Fox & Tom Hollander in Travesties
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    Take two: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Travesties, plus future fantasy casting

Take two: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Travesties, plus future fantasy casting

I’m pleased that the Old Vic has added a week to the run of its 50th anniversary production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, now booking until 6 May – it gives me another chance to tell you to go see it.

There’s a special thrill seeing Stoppard’s breakthrough play back on the same […]

  • An American in Paris has burst onto the West End stage
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    Press Pass: Everything you need to know about An American in Paris

Press Pass: Everything you need to know about An American in Paris

Here’s what London is crying out for: an escape to Paris. And not the Paris of Marine Le Pen or any other modern foes and woes, but the sumptuous Hollywood Golden Age version now bursting into technicolour life onstage at the West End’s Dominion Theatre via New York and, yes, appropriately, Paris.

It’s a slew […]

Off-West End musicals diary: The Sorrows of Satan and The Wild Party

Not long left to see two Off-West End musicals I can recommend: The Wild Party at The Other Palace and The Sorrows of Satan at Tristan Bates Theatre.

The Wild Party has, of course, created waves not least for being the inaugural production of The Other Palace, the St James Theatre as was, given a quick […]

  • My Country; a work in progress
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    The ‘will of the people’? London has no place in My Country

The ‘will of the people’? London has no place in My Country

I’ve never voted Conserative. Indeed, the morning after the 2015 General Election, I was so horrified that, after five years of austerity, the Tories had not only got back in but had done so with a majority, that I immediately joined the Labour Party and vowed to get the Tories out at the next election. […]

  • The cast of The Girls includes Joanna Riding, James Gaddas, Claire Moore, Claire Machin, Sophie-Louise Dann and Debbie Chazen
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    Press Pass: Everything you need to know about Gary Barlow & The Girls

Press Pass: Everything you need to know about Gary Barlow & The Girls

In his review this morning, Michael Billington has – to borrow a phrase from Meat Loaf – taken the words right out of mouth. At last night’s West End premiere of The Girls, I was telling anyone within listening distance that, after already remarkable success as a film and a stage play (both also […]

  • Zoe Doano in Death Takes a Holiday. © Scott Rylander
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    Musicals diary: Death Takes a Holiday, Promises and Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Musicals diary: Death Takes a Holiday, Promises and Sorcerer’s Apprentice

A few thoughts on musical productions I’ve seen recently, with my on-the-night tweet thoughts further below.
Promises, Promises
Less than a week left to see this rarely seen Broadway musical – the first London production, in fact, since its 1969 West End premiere. I have fond memories of the Oscar-winning 1960 film The Apartment, which starred […]

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    Press pass: Everything you need to know about Amber Riley in Dreamgirls

Press pass: Everything you need to know about Amber Riley in Dreamgirls

It’s taken 35 years, but Broadway hit Dreamgirls, inspired by the story of The Supremes, finally received its West End premiere last night (14 December) at the Savoy Theatre. Was it worth the wait? Based on most overnight reviews, the answer is a – very very loud (possibly over-amplified) – YES!

And as for Glee […]

Musicals (in SE1 1RU) diary: She Loves Me and Muted

I have become even more spoilt for choice for theatre on my doorstep with the arrival of my SE1 neighborhood’s newest venue, The Bunker. This subterranean black box is so close to another one of my locals – the Menier Chocolate Factory – that it shares the same full postcode; it’s converted from an […]

  • David Fynn and the West End cast of School of Rock. © Tristram Kenton
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    Press Pass: Everything you need to know about School of Rock The Musical

Press Pass: Everything you need to know about School of Rock The Musical

Here’s everything you need to know about last night’s West End premiere of School of Rock: The Musical in a nutshell: Andrew Lloyd Webber has a monster hit on his hands; the show is both a return to hit factory form for the Lord and also not at all what you’d expect from a Lord; […]

  • Deny, Deny, Deny and Saving Jason are both running at London's Park Theatre until 3 December 2016.
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    Overdosing at the Park Theatre: Deny, Deny, Deny & Saving Jason

Overdosing at the Park Theatre: Deny, Deny, Deny & Saving Jason

Everyone’s on drugs at the Park Theatre, I tweeted last Monday night. For a theatre that consistently impresses with the diversity of its received productions, it’s interesting that it should be hosting premieres in both of its houses, opened within days of each other, that both concern drug abuse. Admittedly, abuse of a very […]

  • 600_ian-mckellen-as-spoonerpatrick-stewart-as-hirst-in-no-mans-land
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    Press Pass: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land ‘masterclass’

Press Pass: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land ‘masterclass’

After a run in New York and a short UK regional tour, Sean Mathias’ much-anticipated production of Harold Pinter’s 1975 play No Man’s Land officially opened in the West End last night (20 September 2016).

The production reunites Mathias with his two leading men, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who starred in his award-winning 2009 […]

  • Clockwise from top: Groundhog Day, Children of Eden and Allegro.
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    My musicals (and market) diary: Groundhog Day, Allegro, Children of Eden

My musicals (and market) diary: Groundhog Day, Allegro, Children of Eden

This instalment of my theatregoing recommendations could be called not just my musicals diary but my musicals-on-my-doorstep diary. All three shows – Children of Eden, Allegro and Groundhog Day – are playing at what I consider neighbourhood theatres, within five to ten minutes’ walk of my front door: Southwark Playhouse (more like two minutes), […]

  • Andy Karl stars as Phil Connors in endless repeats of Groundhog Day at the Old Vic
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    Press pass: First Groundhog Day reviews + Tim Minchin interviews & features

Press pass: First Groundhog Day reviews + Tim Minchin interviews & features

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Could the dream team behind multi award-winning, all-over-the-globe hit Matilda – director Matthew Warchus, composer and lyricist Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling and designer Rob Howell – possibly strike gold again with their very next musical? Judging by reactions of the first batch of reviews for Groundhog Day, the answer is a resounding […]

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    My musicals diary: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Go-Between, The Fix

My musicals diary: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Go-Between, The Fix

July was a big month for Q&As for me so I’ve been a little pre-occupied by follow-up blogs on those. But in addition to musicals I’ve hosted events at – I’m Getting My Act Together and Through the Mill, both of which have now completed their strictly limited runs at, respectively, Jermyn Street Theatre […]

  • Scenes from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. © Manuel Harlan
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    Press Pass: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child earns global raves, breaks more records

Press Pass: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child earns global raves, breaks more records

Ahead of the double-show gala day at the West End’s Palace Theatre this Saturday, a galaxy of stars have already turned out for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And I’m not just talking about Emma Watson and other celebrities who have sneaked in during seven weeks of previews.

(The Cursed Child started performances in […]

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    Plays for my #Brexit & #Chilcot mood: The Truth & Faith Healer

Plays for my #Brexit & #Chilcot mood: The Truth & Faith Healer

Has anyone else had difficulty getting back into their theatregoing after the results of the EU Referendum? The two – excellent – plays I have managed to see since the UK voted to leave on 23 June, have both, in a strange way, deepened my Brexit despair too.

Neither Florian Zeller’s The Truth nor Faith Healer by […]

  • Jade Ewen, Dean John-Wilson, Trevor Dion Nicholas and the cast of Aladdin. © Disney
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    Press pass: All the Aladdin reviews, the biggest star on the purple carpet + show trailer

Press pass: All the Aladdin reviews, the biggest star on the purple carpet + show trailer

The first-night bookers could never have imagined that the timing of Aladdin’s West End opening could feel so incongruous with what’s happening in the real world. For producers Disney themselves, it’s been a week of sadness and horror: a boy killed by an alligator at their resort in Orlando, Florida, where, of course, 49 […]

Press Pass: All the reviews on Jesse Eisenberg and The Spoils

In my years of covering theatre, I’ve seen a lot of Hollywood stars make their West End debuts, but I’ve rarely, if ever, seen it done with quite so much aplomb. Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar – best known internationally for, respectively, multiple films including The Social Network, and US sitcom The Big Bang […]

  • Rose Leslie papped on the red carpet at Doctor Faustus' West End opening
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    Press Pass: All the reviews (and #GameOfThrones pics) from Doctor Faustus opening

Press Pass: All the reviews (and #GameOfThrones pics) from Doctor Faustus opening

I shared some of my own thoughts about Jamie Lloyd’s new production of Doctor Faustus – along with choice quotes (be they care of Christopher Marlowe or Colin Teevan) – last night. This morning’s other coverage following the star-studded opening night is, like the story itself, a mixture of heaven and hell.

While most critics […]