The World Goes Round, St James Studio

The 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]

The Force of Destiny, London Coliseum

100613Whenever the name Calixto Bieito is mentioned it’s invariably to mention ‘the toilets’ – not the reasons for them, just the fact that they were there at all. That production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball was one of the most theatrical and exciting in English National Opera’s post-powerhouse era. It’s true that Bieito’s passion can … [Read More]

Elf, Dominion Theatre

ElfThere’s nothing wrong with Elf that a decent song or two wouldn’t help put right. Oh, wait, there is one – “Nobody Cares About Santa” – which bucks up act two no end and turns rather deliciously into a chorus line of Santas with swinging sacks. But it’s also the only moment where Matthew Sklar … [Read More]

The Stationmaster, Tristan Bates Theatre

Aria Entertainment’s From Page to Stage platform for new writing in musical theatre is another of those life-lines which refreshes the parts that the West End so rarely reaches – and to see a fledgling musical like The Stationmaster find its feet and roar for the first time on a stage, in a theatre, is … [Read More]

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chailly, Barbican

MA5_8872There’s an old conductor’s adage which suggests that the only way safe to start Strauss’ Don Juan is to start before the applause has died – that way no one hears any imperfections in the upward rush of strings. Remembering those words made me smile as Riccardo Chailly and his magnificent Leipzig orchestra leapt as … [Read More]

La Boheme, English National Opera

287451_770_previewSo this is the moment where the tables are turned and La Boheme, the opera, takes its cue from Rent, the musical, and Rodolfo the poet’s observation that he has “a few more lines” to finish takes on a rather different connotation. An entirely redundent blog in a certain national newspaper seemed to … [Read More]

In the Heights, King’s Cross Theatre

In The Heights. Photo Credit Johan PerssonLin-Manuel Miranda is America’s new Poet Laureate. When I first saw his fledgling opus IN THE HEIGHTS on Broadway it struck me that here was the moment where all the existing catergories previously used to define musical theatre ceased to mean anything. Here was a Rap opera, a play, a fable, a Latino dance fest … [Read More]


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