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]

Measure for Measure, Young Vic

Zubin Varla and Paul Ready Young Vic - Image: Keith PattisonShakespeare’s strangest and nastiest play is a kind of black farce where the reckless dash to redemption makes the redemption itself – forgiveness, reconciliation, all is sort of forgiven – seem like an afterthought. Joe Hill-Gibbins is having none of it and dives into the play’s intractable vision of a city, a culture, a world, … [Read More]

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, London Coliseum

lady_macbethMark Wigglesworth’s arrival as English National Opera’s new Music Director was never going to be a quiet affair. They probably heard it all the way over at the Kremlin. It wasn’t so much a case of a new door opening as the existing one being kicked in. The choice of composer was shrewdly one he … [Read More]

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Jurowski - Festival HallMahler’s supersonic Seventh – a grand experiment in sensory colouration if ever there was one – needs no special pleading: it is what it is, a one-off, an oddity, a new departure of no fixed destination. But how different and how much more subtle and individual it sounds through the ears and fine sensibilities of … [Read More]

Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre

Kinky-boots-london-company-03-homeIf the shoe fits, they say, wear it. But in truth there’s always been a bit of a size differential between Kinky Boots, the modest urban Brit-flick, and the Cyndi Lauper/ Harvey Fierstein musical that it spawned. Lauper’s score resides principally in the funk and spunk of cross-dressing catwalk glamour while the somewhat dowdy … [Read More]


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