Sweeney Todd, London Coliseum

ENO-Sweeney-Todd-Emma-Thompson-and-ensemble-c-Tristram-KentonReview for this week’s edition of THE SPECTATOR….. Attend the tale….

http://www.spectator.co.uk/arts/theatre/9486232/sweeney-todd-eno-review-blunt-and-bloody/[Read More]

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rattle, Barbican

Simon Rattle Berlin PhilharmonicSimon Rattle’s Sibelian journey has been long and fruitful and has taken him all the way from Birmingham to Berlin and more particularly the revered Philharmonic where the spaces between the notes now resonate in extraordinary ways and the bass lines are sunk deeper than with any other orchestra on the planet. Beginning their London … [Read More]

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Playhouse Theatre

Women on the verge of a nervous breakdownIt’s true that there is something wildly, garishly, theatrical about Pedro Almodóvar’s films – none more so than this rampant farce – but it’s equally true that their sensibility is far removed from what the English might deem farce and that their speed of delivery leaves not a millisecond to draw breath leave alone sing … [Read More]

The Grand Tour, Finborough Theatre

the-grand-tour-mainEverything about this little-known and largely forgotten show – including the title – suggests epic. Multiple locations, ambitious concept, big ideas. But like so much of Jerry Herman’s work – and the received wisdom on it is invariably so wide of the mark – The Grand Tour is a chamber piece at heart. Adapted from … [Read More]

Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory

AssassinsSanta Claus does make it to the Menier Chocolate Factory this Christmas but his name is Sam Byck and he plans to fly a 747 into the White House and “incinerate Dick Nixon”. So not the Christmas show, not in any traditional sense, actually not in any sense, but a hymn to the disenchanted and … [Read More]

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Music lovers invariably divide into two faction over the Brahms piano concertos: those who thrill to the elemental D minor and those who prefer to bask in the more reflective charms of the sumptuous B-flat Second Concerto. I’m a D minor man myself, secretly convinced that the four-movement Second would prove a far more startling … [Read More]

Memphis, Shaftesbury Theatre

Memphis, 2014, Credit: Johan Persson/It’s throwback week with two very different shows recalling the darkest days of America’s racial disharmony – but where The Scottsboro Boys shocks and satirises and has us choke on our own laughter Memphis is content to be the feel-good flipside. Throw a few home truths and a little grit into the mix – disturbing … [Read More]

Gypsy, Chichester Festival Theatre

There’s a moment of stunned silence in Imelda Staunton’s storming Mama Rose at the Chichester Festival Theatre, a long, long, moment where neither speaking nor singing she conclusively demonstrates what a difference a great actress makes in this most iconic of musical theatre roles. Just like her mother and husband before, her daughter June has … [Read More]

The Scottsboro Boys, Garrick Theatre

You come away from The Scottsboro Boys sure of two things: that the next Cakewalk you ever hear will induce queasiness; and that the show’s director/choreographer Susan Stroman is some kind of genius. This kick-ass UK premiere, now happily transferred from the Young Vic, has a simplicity, a precision, a visceral energy, a choreographic razzle-dazzle … [Read More]

The Girl of the Golden West, English National Opera, London Coliseum

Girl of the Golden West Susan BullockWell, there won’t be any complaints about performing this one in English – or should that be American. Thank heavens Richard Jones has made Puccini’s spaghetti western an operatic-home-counties-free-zone and got his cast delivering Kelley Rourke’s translation with enough of a trans-Atlantic drawl to affect a colloquial tang. Let’s face it, great swathes of this … [Read More]