Curtains, the murder mystery musical comedy by Chicago and Cabaret creators Kander & Ebb, had its Broadway premiere in 2007 in a production starring Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce. Why has it taken so long for it to at last receive its West End premiere? And why is it so very perfect for the West […]
Michael John LaChiusa was on his way back to the States by the time I chaired my post-show Q&A at the West End (and UK) premiere of his musical Queen Of The Mist – but I wonder if his ears were burning badly en route?
A central part of my discussion – with director Dom O’Hanlon, musical […]
The View Upstairs video and photos: What happened in New Orleans on 24 June 1973? Why should we remember?
I had just enough time to wipe away my tears – I was sobbing – at the end of The View Upstairs before jumping up after the curtain call to announce this post-show Q&A at Soho Theatre.
My family are from Louisiana and I’ve been to New Orleans countless times, but it’s thanks to London theatre […]
The Ministry of Biscuits Q&A video and photos: Sharing biscuits and a love of G&S with Philip Reeve and co
Charming, delectable, delicious. And those are just the custard creams… It’s not often I get offered biscuits at the post-show Q&As I chair, but at a show called The Ministry of Biscuits, it would have seemed remiss not to.
Since its 1998 premiere, this delightful musical has been scaled down to a bijou four-hander performed by […]
The Showstoppers Q&A video and photos: ‘Just give us something with heart’ say the musical improv masters
I’ve been following the insanely talented improv geniuses of The Showstoppers for most of their eleven years. How do they do it? I still can’t really fathom it, but I was pleased to gain a few more insights – and a new well of admiration – after chairing a post-show Q&A with them this […]
How does it feel to have a one-woman show written especially for you by one of your country’s leading writers? Pretty damn good, according to Songs for Nobodies’ Bernadette Robinson – though, to be clear, there was nothing passive about this privilege in her case.
In the post-show Q&A I chaired with Robinson at the West End’s Ambassadors Theatre […]
You know you’re at a different type of theatre experience when you find yourself singing along – loudly – about how much we all love looking at cocks in the locker room. (Even when you’ve never been in a cocker-room.)
The party spirit for Hot Gay Time Machine starts before the performance as co-stars Toby […]
One of my favourite reviews of Fanatical, the new British musical currently receiving its world premiere season at London’s Playground Theatre, opines: “It will remind you why you love whatever it is that you’re a fan of”.
This warm, big-hearted, unashamedly geeky show is indeed “a love letter to fandom”, and at last night’s post-show […]
How much do you know about the British tradition of drag? British drag artists are the “punks of performance”, according to Ginger Johnson, who has written, directed, designed and performs in a show that brilliantly illustrates and celebrates this tradition.
How to Catch a Krampus is the latest offering from Sink the Pink. After a decade of […]
Looking for Gatsby Q&A video and photos: How does F Scott Fitzgerald’s story look from Daisy’s perspective?
Swift but swinging! We had less than twenty minutes for last night’s post-show Q&A for new musical Looking for Gatsby but – taking a leaf out of this incredible company’s book – we made the most of it. It’s amazing how much you can ground you can cover when you’re up against the clock!
What happens […]
So often with the news these days, parallels are drawn with our turbulent political times and the fascism that swept across Europe in the 1930s, and the question is asked: what would you do if…?
Last night, I and the audience at the Union Theatre travelled back to the 1930s care of Midnight, in which […]
Adrenaline still pumping as I type this! SIX The Musical was the undisputed hit of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe and it’s now transferred back to the West End’s Arts Theatre for an extended run at the Arts Theatre, where it had a handful of showcase performances over the Christmas/New Year period.
I first saw the show […]
Are women punished in drama for liking sex and drink? What has modern classic The Rise and Fall of Little Voice got in common with Greek drama? What’s the secret to vocal impressions?
I was delighted to return to Cirencester this weekend to chair my third consecutive post-show discussion at the pioneering Barn Theatre. For this […]
Andrew Lloyd Webber came up twice in conversation at last night’s post-show for It Happened in Key West. The second pertained to the title of the show which, many years ago, when Jeremiah James was first inspired by a late-night television documentary about Carl von Cosel. James had originally wanted to call this musical Love Never Dies… […]
Before the performance at Tristan Bates Theatre, the 16-strong company of San Domino entertain theatregoers in the bar with some jaunty patriotic songs, with which they lead them into the auditorium. It’s somewhat akin to the chilling scene in Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret when the Hitler Youth sings “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”.
Inside the auditorium, we […]
The Barn Theatre’s inaugural production of The Secret Garden extended by a fortnight – which very helpfully allowed me to fit another trip to Cirencester and a post-show Q&A into the diary. And I’m so glad.
Three weeks on, it was wonderful to revisit this beautiful, new, 200-seat theatre and this stunning, folk-influenced production in […]
When I chaired my first post-show Q&A at Miss Nightingale a year ago, I thought its home then was ideal: The Vaults, in its labyrinth beneath Waterloo Station, so like an air raid shelter, seemed to perfectly fit the setting of London during the Blitz. But now that it’s moved to the London Hippodrome, it’s […]
Rothschild & Sons Q&A podcast and photos: Broadway legend Sheldon Harnick on why the Jewish story must be told
The Jewish story must continue to be told, Sheldon Harnick told me and a packed house at London’s Park Theatre after Tuesday night’s performance of Rothschild & Sons, for which he wrote the lyrics to the music by late collaborator Jerry Bock.
My post-show Q&A with Sheldon, and the UK premiere of Rothschild & Sons the night […]
I feel incredibly privileged to have been “in the room where it happens” to see the European premiere of HAMILTON last night at the West End’s Victoria Palace Theatre.
There is so much to love about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster hip-hop musical about one of my homeland’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, not least a glorious British cast, under the assured stewardship of […]
WATCH: My thoughts on Off-West End musicals Miracle On 34th Street, The Little Match Girl, The Woman in White and Barnum
Does this count as a vlogmas? Probably not, but here’s my attempt at a theatre diary vlog in any case, which includes two Christmas shows!
The emphasis is on Off-West End musicals I’ve seen recently, all of which have things to recommend them – Miracle on 34th Street and The Little Match Girl to […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
A few thoughts on musical productions I’ve seen recently, with my on-the-night tweet thoughts further below.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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, […]
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 […]