Grand Hotel, Southwark Playhouse

Never in a million years would you guess that GRAND HOTEL – now brilliantly revived at the Southwark Playhouse – is one of Broadway’s great rescue jobs. That something seemingly so organic, so cohesive, so intricate, could have reached the final stages of production in such trouble that even a force of nature like Maury … [Read More]

Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Philadelphia Orchestra Nézet-SéguinThe venerable and venerated Philadelphia Orchestra swept into London bearing gifts and mixed messages from Nico Muhly. Actually that was the title of his crowd-pleasing opener for the orchestra – Mixed Messages (UK Premiere) – and for a moment or two the confusion implicit in the title might have extended to the identity of the … [Read More]

High Society, Old Vic

High Society Old VicIt took 30 years for High Society to make its laborious transition from screen to stage. There are good reasons for that. The indelible  impression left by the movie and its star Grace Kelly was undoubtedly the biggest of them and before that, of course, there was the play – The Philadelphia Story – and … [Read More]

The Pirates of Penzance, London Coliseum

pirates of penzance @ ENOLet it never be said that English National Opera hasn’t done its bit for Gilbert and Sullivan – but the fact that only one its several stagings has achieved recognition and longevity surely says something about the very particular difficulties of this fragile repertoire and the suitability (or otherwise) of the London Coliseum as a … [Read More]

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….[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]