• 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 […]

  • 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, […]

  • Discussing the creation of new British musical Superhero at post-show Q&A at Southwark Playhouse. © Anthony Kelly
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    Q&A podcast and photos: How new British one-man musical Superhero took flight

Q&A podcast and photos: How new British one-man musical Superhero took flight

How many creatives does it take to make a one-man musical? The answer can be “quite a few”. And that it is in the case of SUPERHERO, the British one-man – or rather “one-dad” – musical now receiving its world premiere at London’s Southwark Playhouse.

At a post-show Q&A I chaired after last night’s performance, I was joined […]

  • 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 […]

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    Q&A photos and podcast: Swinging Sixties-style with new musical Pete ‘n’ Keely

Q&A photos and podcast: Swinging Sixties-style with new musical Pete ‘n’ Keely

A string of hits, a cast of two, ‘Forever Plaid’ meets ‘I Do, I Do’. James Hindman’s 2000 Off-Broadway musical two-hander Pete ‘n’ Keely gets its European premiere at Tristan Bates Theatre, where it’s now runs to 20 May 2017. The production, directed by Matthew Gould, stars David Bardsley and Katie Kerr as the […]

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    Photos, video & podcast: Creating a musical out of wartime prejudice in Miss Nightingale

Photos, video & podcast: Creating a musical out of wartime prejudice in Miss Nightingale

What a great way to get the Bank Holiday weekend off with a swing. Last night, I hosted a post-show Q&A at MISS NIGHTINGALE. This original British musical is now in its sixth iteration – musicals, as Sondheim says, aren’t written but re-written – since starting life as a short piece in Ipswich and […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Clockwise: In Other Words, Diary of a Teenaged Girl and La Ronde
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    My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Diary of a Teenage Girl, In Other Words and La Ronde

My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Diary of a Teenage Girl, In Other Words and La Ronde

Two Off-West End plays have recently inspired my other half Peter Jones to compile Spotify playlists of his youth – terribly convenient as I’ve tasked him with providing background music for a milestone birthday party this weekend (shhh… he’s celebrating the big 5-0).

In Matthew Seager’s debut play In Other Words, at the Hope Theatre, music […]

  • Lizzie post-show Q&A at Greenwich Theatre, 23 February 2017
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    Lizzie Q&A podcast and photos: Why axe murderer Lizzie Borden is a feminist icon

Lizzie Q&A podcast and photos: Why axe murderer Lizzie Borden is a feminist icon

The American gothic rock musical LIZZIE, which is now receiving its UK premiere in a limited season at London’s Greenwich Theatre, opens and closes with a nursery rhyme I memorised in my own American youth about the real-life 19th century crime:
“Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she […]

  • 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 […]

  • Rachael Wooding and George Maguire in Another Night Before Christmas; Naomi Todd and Colette Eaton in Her Aching Heart
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    My musicals diary: Her Aching Heart and Another Night Before Christmas

My musicals diary: Her Aching Heart and Another Night Before Christmas

I saw two two-hander musical gems this past weekend: Her Aching Heart at the Hope Theatre in Islington and, on the opposite side of town, Another Night Before Christmas at the Bridge House Theatre in Penge. Though they’re on different ends of London’s north-south axis, these two lovely pub theatres have a lot in common, […]

  • Emma Hatton interviewed by Terri Paddock at Crazy Coqs, 13 October 2016
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    Photos and podcast: Coq-tales with Emma Hatton and Anna-Jane Casey

Photos and podcast: Coq-tales with Emma Hatton and Anna-Jane Casey

I’m delighted to be able to deputise for my friend and My Theatre Mates co-founder Mark Shenton for two dates of his weekly West End chat show in October. Coq-Tales and Conversations takes place each Thursday or Friday afternoon as part of the Live at Zedel season, programmed by renowned American composer Scott Alan, […]

Toxic treatment: 7 horror films that should be musicals

I’m not a great one for horror films: I scare way too easily. Even Shaun of the Dead gave me nightmares, and no, I’m not kidding about that.

I’ve never seen any of the original Troma cult classic screen incarnations of The Toxic Avenger, which launched in 1984, but I’m happy to report that the […]