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]

Boris Godunov, Royal Opera House

borisgudonov1503aAs one who grew up listening to what other people did to Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov – most notably the gifted gift-wrapper Rimsky-Korsakov – the seven-scene original is doubly startling in its concision and starkness. This is a piece in which what happens outside of the seven scenes becomes as important as the narrative contained within … [Read More]

Mrs Henderson Presents, Noel Coward Theatre

Mrs-Henderson-Presents-Noel-Coward-Theatre-1013-700x455The old gags are the best, they say – or just the oldest – and in this hugely enjoyable adaptation of the movie Mrs Henderson Presents they come thick and fast from the mouth of the show’s very own Emcee Arthur (Jamie Foreman) who steers us through good times and bad, through blitz and all-clears, … [Read More]

The World Goes Round, St James Studio

TWGR-SquareThe World Goes Round has been, well, going round for 25 years. The John Kander and Fred Ebb catalogue lends itself to a tight-knit review format – Cabaret and Chicago embrace that genre anyway – and the songs, even from show to show, impact on each other in interesting ways. But surely it’s time to … [Read More]

L’Etoile, Royal Opera House

L'EtoileIt’s a kind of French Mikado. In a distant and exotic kingdom a victim must be found to celebrate the King’s name-day. No little list, no W H Gilbert wit, either, but a handful of delicious tunes, most of them deftly previewed in one of operetta’s smartest overtures. Mark Elder had the orchestra skip … [Read More]

Grey Gardens, Southwark Playhouse

347526_770_previewIt’s not hard to see why Grey Gardens – the musical – has become such a collector’s item. This strange but true tale of American royalty gone rogue, of Jacqueline Kennedy’s rebellious relatives, of a stain on the Bouvier clan somehow exposing the rot at the heart of the American dream was/is irresistible. We all … [Read More]

Funny Girl, Menier Chocolate Factory

Funny Girl - Sheridan Smith (Fanny Brice) - picture by Marc BrennerIt’s hard not to invoke the B word – Barbra, that is, not Brice – and I speak as one who bunked off school to catch her at a mid-week matinee. It was standing room only at the Prince of Wales but by then she was pretty much phoning in her performance and only the … [Read More]

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