Theatre Reviews
by Cormac Richards

5 December 2022 3*** The phenomenal success of the 1992 film Sister Act spawned a swift sequel (and another is on the way, or so I read recently) and it was only a matter of time before a stage musical …

15 November 2022 5***** Matthew Bourne is a theatrical alchemist bar none. The skills of creator, director and choreographer are offered up in all their glory in this wonderfully entertaining version of the ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s music. Subtitled ‘A …

3 November 2022 5***** It is almost unheard of for me to review the same production of a show within only a few months – this is an exception – albeit the location is a different one. Carl Grose has …

26 October 2022 5***** Unusually for one of my reviews, I will start by talking about myself. As a child I was, generally, regarded as quiet and shy. My slightly older sister had taken up ballet lessons when young and …

18 October 2022 5***** It seems almost inconceivable that it has taken 46 years to bring the musical ‘Bugsy Malone’ on a UK stage tour; but the 1976 film has defeated producers for that length of time. A long-time staple …

5 October 2022 5***** One of the true pleasures of reviewing theatre productions is getting to know the work of particular companies and that of Birmingham Royal Ballet has never failed to impress me. Their twice-yearly visits to Theatre Royal …

20 September 2022 3*** To popular music devotees, the very name Carole King sparks delight and admiration; her list of song hits is long and impressive and in her collaboration with Gerry Goffin achieved great fame and a place in …

12 September 2022 2** Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 comedy, THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR, tells of a small town’s politicians trying to cover up their corrupt practices as they realise they are being investigated by an inspector who is arriving incognito. Bribery and …

5 September 2022 4**** Next year, Arnold Ridley’s play ‘THE GHOST TRAIN’ will reach it’s centenary; there is no argument, it can rightfully be regarded as a classic of the British Theatre. There is no other play I can think …

29 August 2022 4**** Only last week it was announced that Alan Ayckbourn’s 87th play was due to open. Up and down the country and across the world his plays are regularly performed and have won multiple awards over his career …

22 August 2022 5***** The joy of the Summer Play Festival at the Manor Pavilion Theatre in Sidmouth is the juxtaposition of productions, widely differing in genre, being performed one after another. Witness the lunacy of JEEVES & WOOSTER from …

16 August 2022 4**** It took 30 years before the classic film musical ‘SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN’ made it onto the stage  when it premiered in London starring Tommy Steele and Roy Castle. Following closely to the film, the show …

15 August 2022 5***** PG Wodehouse was a one-off; his writings, particularly those featuring Bertie Wooster and his manservant Jeeves, are some of the daftest in all literature. Stage plays featuring the two are few and far between so this …

8 August 2022 3*** When it comes to plotting a multi-layered thriller, they don’t come much better than Francis Durbridge and he remains popular, not least at the Sidmouth Summer Play Festival, where big audiences are the order of the …

27 July 2022 3*** Despite the initial denials of the creators of DREAMGIRLS, there can be no doubt that it was heavily influenced by Motown and the music of Diana Ross, the Supremes and Berry Gordy. Set in the 1960s, …

25 July 2022 5***** It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is still enormously popular. Adaptations for film, television and theatre abound with versions of her novels and pseudo-versions appearing regularly. It is a delight, therefore, to witness …

4**** 18 July 2022 Brandon Thomas’s obituary notice in The Times quoted him as saying “I hoped to go down to fame as a great actor. If I go at all it will be as the author of ‘Charley’s Aunt’.” …

11 July 2022 5***** Disregard the power of Agatha Christie at your peril. At her best she is a theatrical powerhouse and in the hands of a director with nous and imagination can be a phenomenal stage treat. In this …

4 JULY 2022 5***** The extraordinary story of the soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, dubbed ‘the worst singer in the world’ was revitalised by the 2016 film starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant; this play, on the same subject, premiered in …

27 June 2022 4**** Laughing out loud is one of the best tonics available and it’s free and makes you feel good. Finding the mechanism to provoke the laughs is not always easy. May I recommend ‘LUCKY NUMBERS’ by Mike …

20 June 2022 4**** With the curse of Covid-19 less of a threat than it has been over the last two years, theatre is still building itself up again and it is wonderful to report that the Summer Play Festival …

14 JUNE 2022 4**** The combination of composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Ebb and choreographer Bob Fosse plus a story based on real life was a potent mixture when they came together to create the musical ‘Chicago’. The show may …

23 May 2022 5***** In 2018 I reviewed Carl Grose’s new play, ‘The Kneebone Cadillac’  – it blew my mind. ‘Superstition Mountain’, written in 2009 has a number of similarities in setting, characters and tone – but it too, is something …

28 April 2022 4**** One of the many productions which came to a premature end because of the pandemic is now back on the road; Balletboyz has created an enormously popular following and the triumph of the founders, Michael Nunn …

27 April 2022 3*** The very first show one sees can have a lasting impression on the viewer. So, it is that I saw the original London West End production of JOSEPH in 1973. I was 11. It was the …

21 April 2022 4**** The success of David Walliams’ books for children cannot be denied and their transition to television and stage have also created new audiences for his works. First published in 2011, Gangsta Granny was adapted for TV …

4 April 2022 3*** Jim Cartwright’s hit play first hit the stage in 1992; written for actor Jane Horrocks, it found popularity on stage and on the big screen as a result, but it is a curates egg in so …

21 March 2022 2** Based on a film of the same name, the stage musical version of ‘WAITRESS’ has something of a higher profile than its source material . When it appeared in London’s West End the run was curtailed …

16 March 2022 4**** Miguel de Cervantes’ novel ‘Don Quixote’ is quite a tome; the travels and adventures of the self-appointed saviour of chivalry has had many adaptations. As a ballet it premiered in 1869 and takes a few episodes …

9 March 2022 2** The English writer Mary Norton is best known for ‘The Borrowers’, but it  is from some of her other books, that Disney chose to create their 1971 film ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’. Sibling children are evacuated to …

4 March 2022 4**** Founded in 2015 by the celebrated dancer and choreographer, Carlos Acosta, Acosta Danza was established to bring young dancers from Cuba to the fore and offer them opportunities to dance on the world stage. Dance Consortium …

1 March 2022 5***** Nederlands Dans Theater is regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies and on the evidence presented by their current UK tour it is not difficult to see why. The UK is so fortunate …

23 February 2022 4**** Yasmina Reza’s blistering comedy of bad manners is brought vividly to life in a new production by OnBook Theatre at the OSO Arts Centre in Barnes, London. Two couples meet up to discuss their sons who …

22 February 2022 5***** In terms of imagination, C.S. Lewis’s was wonderful and weird and thrilling. It is no surprise that he was a good friend of the similarly creative J.R.R. Tolkein. Effective transference of their works has taken place …

4**** 7 February 2022 The many millions of people who have read Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, or seen the film or both, will be intrigued as to how it can be transferred to the theatre. A stage version of ‘The …

3*** 19 January 2022 For over twenty years the phenomenon that is the show ‘MAMMA MIA’ has played to millions of people throughout the world. The two Hollywood films have brought in many hundreds of dollars and been hugely successful. …

4**** 21 December 2021 The front cover of the programme for Plymouth’s pantomime this year announces the title of the show and underneath the words ‘Everything You Could Wish For in a Panto’. A bold claim that. In these strange …

4**** 14 December 2021 Taking a classic story and re-working it is always something of a risk. The challenge being to bring the story to life in a new and interesting fashion whilst (generally) respecting the original. Sometimes, that original …

5***** 10 December 2021 Exeter-based theatre makers Le Navet Bete have become regulars at many theatres not least in their home-town. Back in the summer of 2021 as theatres were re-opening, it was this company who were ready and raring …

5***** 7 December 2021 It is maybe strange that it took until 2000 for the 1954 film of WHITE CHRISTMAS to be transferred to the stage. The much-loved movie is a regular feature of seasonal television and carries with it …

3*** 30 November 2021 The film version of 9 to 5 became a huge hit when first released in 1980. The story of three female office workers rebelling against the misogynist male boss made for a film of great fun …

5***** 16 November 2021 If there is a better living storyteller for the stage than Sir Matthew Bourne then I will be most surprised. His NUTCRACKER – celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a spanking new production – has such a lucid …

3*** 4 November 2021 In his 1966 novel ‘The Comedians’, Graham Greene set a story of ‘innocents abroad’ against a background of the brutal dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier on the island of Haiti. By turns the novel is amusing, …

4**** 27 October 2021 There is patently a reason why Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s version of this ballet is still a staple of ballet companies across the world after over 50 years – it is very good! From the stylised and …

4**** 19 October 2021 I will admit it from the off, ‘The Dresser’ is one of my favourite plays; that said, I haven’t seen it on stage many times, but the storyline, the humour, the pathos, the insight it offers …

2** 21 September 2021 NHS – THE MUSICAL began life in 2006 at the Drum Theatre in Plymouth. Not having seen it then, I cannot comment on that version of the show, but I can only imagine it was quite …

3*** 20 September 2021 There can’t be too many people who haven’t played a game of Cluedo in their lives and maybe it was only a matter of time before a stage version was created – but it did take …

5***** 9 SEPTEMBER 2021 ‘SAILOR, BEWARE!’ is one of those plays which, having been a huge hit when first produced in the West End of London, may make the occasional appearance on the amateur stage and the film version may …

4**** 26 August 2021 The Occult, mental health issues and drug addiction. Not your usual subject matters for a comic thriller or, indeed, for a work by Agatha Christie, but they all feature in ‘Spider’s Web’. Margaret Lockwood was a …

5***** 12 August 2021 Neil Simon’s writing is characterised by rapier-sharp wordplay, imperfect people, marriage and that bitter-sweet tone which he made his own. ‘California Suite’ was written in 1976 and was made into a very successful film in 1978. …

3*** 4 August 2021 For the second time in a week it has been an utter pleasure to see the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, with a packed and enthusiastic house. After the last 18 months it is something that had become …

3*** 30 July 2021 There is no doubt that the musical SIX has become something of a phenomenon. In front of a packed audience at the Theatre Royal Plymouth – the first non-socially distanced audience there for many months – …

4**** 22 July 2021 French farce can trace its origins back many centuries and there are overlapping elements with the theatre form known as Commedia Dell’Arte. Ludicrous situations, stock characters and helter-skelter action are all symbolic of the genre. In …

3*** 9 July 2021 I suspect there are very few people under the age of 50 who would have heard of Francis Durbridge or, indeed, seen or heard much of his work. In the 1950’s and 1960’s he must have …

4**** 28 June 2021 John Waters early film creations were subversive, counter-culture and of dubious taste – they were immediately labelled ‘cult’. His was not the world of family entertainment, but it was in the early 1980’s with films such …

4**** 24 June 2021 Let us not beat about the bush, the joy of returning to the Manor Pavilion Theatre in Sidmouth is akin to wrapping yourself in a favourite blanket and indulging in a mug of the silkiest hot …

3*** 17 June 2021 First and foremost, it is brilliant to be back in a theatre – albeit with certain restrictions. I applaud Theatre Royal Plymouth for their attention to everyone’s welfare and for providing a smooth and well organised …

5***** 15 December 2020 This will be an unusual review. Given the circumstances of life in December 2020 I am taking into account the whole experience of this visit to the theatre after over 10 months. I make no apology …

4**** 16 October 2020 Sitting down in a theatre to review a show for the first time in over 7 months will certainly be one of my highlights of 2020. I have been to the amazing, open-air, Minack Theatre a …

4**** 3 March 2020 When Stephen Daldry mounted a production of ‘An Inspector Calls’ at The National Theatre in 1992 he would little have imagined that 28 years the very same production would have been touring the USA and UK. …

5***** 28 February 2020 Amidst the glossy musicals, the gender-fluid productions of Shakespeare and the avant-garde diatribes it is good to know that out there, tucked away, is some excellent, honest theatre. It is a relief, a surprise and a …

3*** 25 February 2020 No one mounts a production of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ without first taking a very deep breath. It is a modern monster of a piece. Now, nearly 60 years old, it is, as director David …

4**** 24 February 2020 As a self-confessed Agatha Christie fan since my early teens, it is a wonder that it has take me so long to get round to seeing a production of The Mousetrap. I did read the play …

5***** 19 February 2020 “I am ashamed that men are so simple”, so says Katherine, turning to the audience with a knowing look! Yes, but, of course, the original line uses ‘women’ rather than ‘men’; so the theme behind this …

4**** 13 February 2020 The Fourth Wall in a theatre – that invisible barrier between the players and the audience at the front of the stage – conventionally doesn’t get ‘broken’ by direct interaction between performers and those watching. In …

5***** 12 February 2020 Hallelujah! Just when you think of giving up on productions of Shakespeare plays, because of the insistence directors seem to have in buggering about with The Bard, a bright light suddenly appears before you and you …

3*** 11 February 2020 We all know John Cleese can write a good farce; each of the 12 episodes of ‘Fawlty Towers’ was a piece of exquisite structure, plotting and execution and his writing along with Connie Booth was just …

4**** 25 January 2020 You have to look very hard these days for a traditional production of a Shakespeare play – every kind of re-interpretation, re-imagining and dismantling of the Bard’s work seems to be the norm. Pantomime, on the …

4**** 22 January 2020 ‘Ghost’ first appeared as a film 30 years ago in 1990 starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, gathering a heap of awards and nominations including Oscars for the screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin and actor Whoopi …

5***** 20 January 2020 As stage musicals go, they don’t get much further ‘in your face’ that Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Based on the 1994 film, it made its way into musical theatre in 2006 and has been around …

3*** 23 December 2019 A QDOS Pantomime will be seen in 35 venues this Christmas/New Year and there is no doubt that they have transformed the landscape of the traditional theatre show. Huge, colourful sets, wonderful costumes, high quality music …

3*** 6 December 2019 How to describe the indescribable. What was ‘Les Gloriables’ like? In a nutshell?  The joy of reviewing theatre is that sometimes you do catch artists who create something so off the wall, that it’s almost impossible …

5***** 5 December 2019 On visiting The Old Library in Bodmin last year, I was captivated by an innovative and heart-warming production which offered something just that bit different, whilst illustrating what can be done when everything is in small …

3*** 4 December 2019 Live theatre is often unpredictable and throws up challenges night by night which you cannot always legislate for. Small companies rarely have a team of understudies in place and somehow cope if the worst happens. So, …

5***** 26 November 2019 Cute kids, cute dog, dancing stars and planets, smaltzy love story and shovel loads of sentimentality – ingredients in a show almost guaranteed to make you blench – but somehow the combination works like a dream …

4**** 21 November 2019 @reviewsgate @cormacrichards www.cormacrichards.uk Alan Ayckbourn is a cruel man. His writings are pitted with stories of innocents being embroiled in other people’s feuds and broken relationships, whilst at the same time making his audience laugh out …

4**** 28 October 2019 It didn’t take Alfred Hitchcock long to realise the potential of Ethel Lina White’s novel ‘The Wheel Spins’ – within two years of its publication in 1938 he had made a film out of it. Retitled …

3*** 18 October 2019 Edmond Rostand’s late 19th Century work ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ is one of those rare pieces of literature which are handled with kid gloves. It’s a challenge in so many ways and it is fraught with many hurdles …

5***** 14 October 2019 In watching a quality dance performance one can be mesmerised, awestruck and confused simultaneously.  One can wonder, thrill and debate with yourself. One can question, delight and admire.  Rambert is one of the foremost dance companies …

3*** 9 October 2019 ‘We Walk. We Walk. We Walk’ goes the song, the beat, the rhythm, as three black men trudge across the hills and peaks on the Yorkshire/Derbyshire borders. Every month they do this in a group of …

4**** 30 September 2019 If there is going to be one thing that polarises an audience when a book is adapted for a film or stage play, it will be those who know the original and those who don’t. When …

3*** 24 September 2019 Agatha Christie remains a staple of the amateur theatre world, with the professional production of ‘The Mousetrap’ still, fairly inexplicably, running in the West End. Occasionally a new production appears, as it did earlier this year …

5***** 20 September 2019 Pierre Beaumarchais’s stories have had a longevity envied by many of his contemporaries I can only imagine – the fact that two of them have become beloved opera’s which are continually performed are as much a …

5***** 17 September 2019 Any study of the work of Emma Rice will reveal an inventiveness and creativity which can startle, shock and amuse – but she will always get your attention. Her first production for her new Company, Wise …

4**** 16 September 2019 When John Osborne wrote ‘The Entertainer’, the Suez crisis was consuming the nation and thus he used it as the backdrop for his gritty tale of a failed song and dance man, a failed Father, Son …

4**** 12 September 2019 Entering the auditorium, one is greeted with the strains of music from the ‘Carry On’ films – beloved of many, decried by others. To me, the tunes conjour up ludicrous plots, extreme characters, mad capers, campery, …

4**** 5 September 2019 When first performed in the late 1970’s this lovely play was blessed with major stars on both sides of the Atlantic – Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson in London and Rex Harrison and Claudette Colbert on …

2** 2 September 2019 Before the curtain rises on the show, the director, Matt Salisbury, appears in front of the curtains to announce that it is 30 years to the week that ‘Buddy’ first opened on the same stage as …

5***** 29 AUGUST 2019 Every so often you see a production of a rarely done play which makes you sit up and take notice and say, ‘Why isn’t this performed more often?’. You then tell yourself that you are pleased …

3*** 23 August 2019 An effective stage thriller is pretty hard to pull off. When you only have a very small number of characters to play with it is even more tricky; ‘Sleuth’, ‘The Business of Murder’ are but two …

22 August 2019 4**** The 1982 film ‘The Bodyguard’ starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner was a huge box office hit. A world-famous singer is stalked by a psychopathic fan and has a bodyguard assigned to her; their relationship moves …

20 August 2019 4**** Robin Hawdon is not a name that trips off the tongue when you are thinking of good writers of comedy and farce and although his output has not been prolific he has certainly made his mark …

4**** 7 August 2019 If you want to build a musical around a specific music genre, then ‘Motown – The Musical’ is going to be hard to beat. If this is your kind of music, then you are not going …

4**** 1 August 2019 When Alan Ayckbourn let it be known that he was writing a trilogy of plays, he was advised that they were not a good idea for the West End. As he has always premiered his plays …

2** 29 July 2019 The device of ‘twins’ in a film or play is a useful one for a writer to offer the audience an extra edge to the plot of their work. It takes something extra special to pull …

4**** 19 July 2019 Noel Coward completed writing PRESENT LAUGHTER in six days – but had to put it’s stage debut on hold for 3 years as war broke out as it went into rehearsal. Finally opening in 1942 it …

5***** 11 July 2019 There is a very good reason why J.B. Priestley remains popular today – and studied by students and academics alike – he is a very good writer. ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a masterpiece of construction, and …

1* 7 July 2019 ‘Bristol Pantomime Productions Ltd are a new professional theatre company that tour around the UK producing high quality shows for children and adults alike’, so says a note in the programme for this production of ‘The …

3*** 6 July 2019 The English writer Ray Cooney began his theatrical career acting in the famous ‘Whitehall Farces’ in the 1950s and 1960s and developed his own work as a writer in that genre. ‘Wife Begins at 40’ had …

5***** 28 June 2019 The 2010 film ‘The King’s Speech’ was the big winner at the Academy Awards the following year – quite rightly so. Writer, David Seidler, thereafter, crafted a stage play from his screenplay which had a short …

24 June 2019 4**** Willy Russell has gained a reputation as a great writer of roles for women – ‘Shirley Valentine’, ‘Blood Brothers’ and, of course, his 1980 hit play ‘Educating Rita’. His background as a hairdresser and a teacher …

22 June 2019 3*** In the recent annals of British Theatre there are probably few entries which make as fascinating reading as the history of ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’, David Edgar’s 1980 adaptation of the novel by …

3*** 20 June 2019 The Summer Play Festival at the Manor Pavilion Theatre in Sidmouth is a phenomenon. 12 plays performed over 12 weeks. When one play ends, the set is taken down, a new one is built and the …

5***** 22 May 2019 Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 Booker Prize winning novel, ‘The Remains of the Day’ created a real buzz when it was first published – I was a bookseller at the time – but it was most definitely not …

5***** 6 May 2019 When the story of ‘Little Orphan Annie’, the 1920’s comic strip, first made it onto the stage as a musical in 1977, it was an instant success. It has found huge popularity on the professional and …

18 March 2019 3*** What a curious piece of work is this. ‘Rough Crossing’ was never one of Tom Stoppard’s runaway hits and a revival of this 35 year old play is a good opportunity for new audiences to take …

12 March 2019 4**** It is no coincidence, I am sure, that this play is timed to open on the 30th anniversary of the submission of proposals for the web by its founder, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. To mark the occasion, Berners-Lee …

1* 11 March 2019 There is patently an audience for a show like CLUB TROPICANA-THE MUSICAL – many rose to their feet and cheered and applauded during the MEGAMIX of the finale – I, however, am not one of that …

5 March 2019 4**** The short life of Andrea Dunbar was eventful to be sure – by the age of 15 she had given birth to a still-born child and went on to have three children by different fathers, lived …

2 March 2019 2** In his programme notes, Director Mike Tweddle says “..we’ve discovered a very political and dramatic story. There is so much at stake for the characters, who live in a society that is harsh and problematic. We …

25 February 2019 5***** Sam Yates’ 2017 London production of David Mamet’s ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ made a big splash when it opened and now, the same production is touring the UK – what joy! Watching this extraordinarily well-written play (1984 …

24 February 2019 5***** Written 111 years ago, The Wind in the Willows has firmly become a classic of English literature and has been adapted many times and in many ways. Kenneth Grahame’s gentle story of animals has, at the …

3*** 12 February 2019 The concept of people running a helpline who are actually in need of help themselves is not a new one, but maybe setting it in some kind of apocalyptic future is. The volunteers at the Brightline …

6 February 2019 5***** David Tomlinson became the archetypal English gentlemen in Hollywood films in the 1960s and 1970s; diffident, correct, slightly daft and always likeable. Before then he was a mainstay of British romantic comedies and films set in …

4**** 24 January 2019 Sometimes a theatrical production stands out as one which is almost impossible to categorise. Emma Rice’s version of Angela Carter’s final novel, Wise Children, is a case in point. Having made the transfer from the London …

22 January 2019 5***** If I have a more wonderfully entertaining 80 minutes of theatre in 2019 than I did watching the wonderfully titled ‘Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon’, then I will be thrilled and surprised. …

11 December 2018 2** The Pantomime Season is off and running and, seemingly, every theatre in the country is crammed with Cinderellas, Dick Whittingtons, Snow Whites and, at The Northcott Theatre in Exeter, Jack and the Beanstalk. There are many …

5***** 19 November 2018 In his programme note, writer Carl Grose explains how he wanted to offer a theatre audience a view of his native Cornwall that might fly in the face of common perceptions. Thus, his new play is …

30 OCTOBER 2018 4**** If there has been a sillier musical ever written I would be surprised. Just when you have coped with a piano which makes people dance when played, a fashion house called ‘Gusset Creations’ and a mute …

4**** 16 October 2018 BEAUTIFUL THING Subtitled ‘An Urban Fairytale’, ‘Beautiful Thing’ tells the story of two teenage boys discovering their sexuality. First performed in 1993, the age of consent for legal sexual acts between two men was not lowered …

2** 2 October 2018 Mischief Theatre made their name with ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’; the tale of an incompetent amateur theatre company whose disaster-prone antics have entertained audiences around the country for several years now. ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ …

4**** 10 September 2018 The story of the newspaper produced in the trenches and the ruins of Ypres in the First World War is just the most perfect scenario for a play. A low-key film of a few years ago …

3*** 20 August 2018 A confession. I have never seen the film ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’. Nor did I try and see it  before I came to this show. A show should be able to stand alone, without the …

4**** 17 July 2018 A black box stage. Some bottles of alcohol. A drum kit. We hear the strains of Vera Lynn singing ‘There’ll Always be an England’. A tall young man with a mop of curly hair enters wearing …

4**** 14 August 2018 Evita was very much a Tim Rice pet project. Andrew Lloyd Webber had not been interested in writing a show about the Argentinian First Lady and had got stuck into his show ‘Jeeves’, a collaboration with …

9 August 2018 4**** The Genius that was Alfred Hitchcock gathered around him writers of great renown and repute, John Steinbeck, Sidney Gilliatt, John Michael Hayes and Ernest Lehman, thus this story, set in 1961,  of him setting four, pretty …

5***** 18 July 2018 Where does one start to create a piece of art? Throw around ideas with friends? Maybe. Do all the creation oneself? In this case, both are true. I first came across Reading University Drama Society (RUDS) …

5***** 28 June 2018 In his programme note, Director Lee Lyford tells of why he wanted to mount a production of ‘The Elephant Man’. Usually, the part of John Merrick is seen as a challenge for an actor without disability. …

3*** 26 June 2018 Goat-throwing, cross-dressing and a London bus. It can only mean one thing – SUMMER HOLIDAY – THE MUSICAL! This is one of a number of stage adaptations of films, this one dating back to 1996 and …

19 June 2018 3*** Any adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel provides the writer with a huge mountain to climb. There have been many attempts to condense the complex plots and the multitude of characters into an accessible and entertaining …

18 June 2018 5***** It is amazing to think that it is over 20 years since this musical opened on Broadway and yet this is its first tour in the UK and has never played in a major London venue. …

5***** 6 June 2018 If there is a more joyful show on tour at the moment then I would love to see it, for this production would be hard to beat for fun, invention, beauty and a sheer abundance of …

4**** 5 June 2018 ‘The Best Manager England Never Had’ or so runs the opinion of many football followers. Brian Clough was always a figure of debate and, to some, of fun. David Peace’s novel The Damned United, telling the …

1* 12 June 2018 A bust of William Shakespeare wearing round Chekhovian spectacles is suckled at the breast of a young woman. So Rash Dash Theatre’s take on The Three Sisters comes shouting and screaming to its climax. Anyone expecting …

8 May 2018 4**** Possibly one of the worst things a reviewer can be accused of is giving away a secret, spilling the beans, telling everyone whodunnit! Therefore, it would be churlish of me to even try and hint at …

4 April 2018 4**** Advertised as a ‘Jukebox’ musical, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, falls into the category of those where the story and the music actually have a connection.  Told as a retrospective, the show begins when King …