Of all the new musicals that Broadway has shipped to London in recent years, Waitress is quite possibly the greatest as Sara Bareillles takes an unflinching look at 21st century America through the eyes of waitress Jenna and her two best friends and workmates, Becky and Dawn.
Mates blogger: Jonathan Baz
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Musical theatre comedy done well is a blissful way to spend an evening. So it is with Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, currently playing to packed houses at the Savoy Theatre.
Waitress opens in the West End this week and I grabbed a rare, brief opportunity to chat with the musical’s Tony-winning director Diane Paulus about the show.
Eighteen months on and with a couple of well-placed casting changes Stephen Sondheim’s Follies returns to the National Theatre with the excellence of this devastating musical a breath of fresh air amidst a slew of disappointing recent openings in the capital.
Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre is unquestionably wonderfully performed, but its schmaltzy set pieces fail to move.
In the #MeToo era Madeleine Gould and Joel Samuels have written what could have been an interesting take on the subject of consent. A too short two-hander immerses the small audience into monologues from both actors, before they then meet on their first date.
By the time director Shuntaro Fujita’s slick and sun-kissed production draws to a close, it’s impossible not to root for Violet’s happiness.
Celebrating 10 years at the Lyric Theatre, a memorable production of Thriller Live played to a full house. Adrian Grant’s vision, breathed into life by Gary Lloyd’s direction and choreography, together with John Maher’s intuitive understanding of Michael Jackson’s rock, pop and soul classics has created a fusion of excellence.
Witness For The Prosecution is a glorious fusion of classic storytelling, first class production values and top-notch acting.
Chasing Bono, the latest play from writing partnership Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, is currently playing at London’s Soho Theatre until 19 January 2019. The play is loosely drawn on the autobiographical recollections of Neil McCormick, who grew up, and was schoolfriends with, Bono.
In an impressive Duncan double-act, The Dame transfers from the Edinburgh Fringe to London’s Park Theatre and makes for compelling theatre. In her first play, Katie Duncan writes, for father Peter to enact, the fictional story of Ronald Roy Humphrey a decaying dame in the twilight of his career, whose working life has revolved around winter pantomimes and summer seasons in end of the pier music hall.
Transferring to the capital from a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Richard Shelton’s tribute to Frank Sinatra makes for a fabulous evening.
One of the best-loved ballets, Nutcracker returns to London’s Coliseum and is a real festive treat from start to finish.
Caroline, or Change is a curious show that sees a five-star cast deliver distinctly flawed material. Set in an early 1960s Louisiana.
Simon Callow’s telling of A Christmas Carol at the Arts Theatre is theatrical perfection. A solo performance, aided only by subtly ingenious projections and the occasional, immaculately timed sound effect, sees Callow deliver Dickens’ classic festive fable in an 80-minute acting masterclass.
With Berlin’s classic numbers and in the gifted creative hands of director Nikolai Foster and his choreographer Stephen Mear, White Christmas becomes a fabulous feel-good delight.
Expectations are high for a festive ghost story from the National. With its world-class resources, the theatre offers a wondrous potential to stage the most chilling of tales and when the source material is a famed Edgar Allan Poe short chiller, the anticipation is only heightened. But in Anthony Neilson’s The Tell-Tale Heart transplant, Poe’s gloriously gothic original is served up as a modern-day Christmas turkey.
As one of dance’s most iconic productions, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake returns home to a rapturous reception.
Returning to the RSC and the Barbican for The Merry Wives of Windsor after his triumph in Titus Andronicus last year is David Troughton as the drunken and self-proclaimed womaniser, Falstaff, his caricaturesque performance mirroring the cartoony nature of the plot, characters, script and direction.
In another example of London’s fringe theatre at its unmissable finest, Chasing Bono at Soho Theatre offers an evening of flawless entertainment.
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