GRAMOPHONE Review: Natalie Dessay – Pictures of America Paris Mozart Orchestra/Gibault

Anyone who has ever seen Natalie Dessay on the stage will know what an accomplished actress she is. It is that which has put flesh on her singing and enriched her operatic career. And now a new phase begins. There is talk of films, of straight acting roles – and maybe even adventures at the … [Read More]

Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

86153-18It’s taken almost four nail-biting decades for Dreamgirls to evolve from the germ of an idea to the most anticipated show never to have quite made it, lock, stock, and smoking barrel across the Atlantic. The germ of an idea – the tale of a fictional girl-group whose journey from backing singers to headliners proves … [Read More]

Lazarus, King’s Cross Theatre

lazarus-london-8When David Bowie first met with producer Robert Fox to discuss Lazarus back in 2013 you have to now wonder if he was seriously contemplating his own mortality. The clue, of course, is in the title, and that of his extraordinary last album Blackstar. In what is effectively a sequel to the Walter Tevis novel … [Read More]

The Last Five Years, St James Theatre

the-last-five-yearsFrom Monteverdi to Schubert to Bernstein and Lloyd Webber the dramatic song cycle has travelled far and wide over the centuries though not until Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years in opposite directions. His two-handed tour-de-force shadows Cathy (Samantha Barks) and Jamie (Jonathan Bailey) as they find and lose each other at a time … [Read More]

Groundhog Day, Old Vic

groundhog-day-1Well over a decade ago Stephen Sondheim expressed some interest in turning the movie Groundhog Day into a musical. Presumably he, too, would have turned to the movie’s scriptwriter Danny Rubin for the book – it is, after all one of those iconic screenplays, as inseparable from the talents of Bill Murray as it might … [Read More]

Ramin Karimloo, London Palladium

RaminStrictly speaking it should have been billed as “Ramin Karimloo and Broadgrass at the London Palladium” – then we might have anticipated the support act and late arrival of the West End and Broadway star known especially for having journeyed through pretty much every principal role in The Phantom of the Opera (and, of course, … [Read More]

The Go-Between, Apollo Theatre

100001731_The_Go-Between_performed_at_the_Apollo_Theatre_Michael_Crawford_as_Leo_Colston_©Alastair-large_trans++Eircf1IJXxGlXQAQ-RxKS2c1x0n5CS_bf3K5a229lz8It has taken six years – and Michael Crawford – to bring Richard Taylor and David Wood’s poetic musicalisation of L P Hartley’s The Go-Between to the West End stage; and before the tired old debate begins as to what it is (opera? musical? play with music?), before anyone goes in search of a comforting … [Read More]

Flowers for Mrs Harris, Crucible Sheffield

3488A65F00000578-0-image-a-19_1464050451168You emerge from Flowers for Mrs Harris a little richer, a little lighter, a little more hopeful. Paul Gallico’s enchanting fable is about many things – it’s about new beginnings, rebirth; it’s about aspiration; it’s about the perception of beauty which belongs to us all; and most of all it’s about kindness, pure and simple, … [Read More]

Threepenny Opera, National Theatre

The_Threepenny_OperaJohn Gay started it, Bertold Brecht politicised it, and right now Dougal Irvine has smartly contemporised it in rhyming couplets. But beggars or buskers aside there’s only one Kurt Weill score – insidiously catchy down to its last quaver – and over at the National Theatre they’ve even thrown in “Surabaya Johnny” for good measure. … [Read More]

Sunset Boulevard, London Coliseum

sunset-boulevard-3At a time in musical theatre when you never quite know what you are hearing when the band strikes up, seeing was believing that on the stage of the Coliseum there were strings aplenty, horns, bassoons, trumpets, a randy sax and much else that wasn’t for once “sampled”. And in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lushest score, … [Read More]

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