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GOBSMACKED! – Edinburgh Fringe

In Reviews, Scotland by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Bringing together a cast of 7 talented young vocalists, Gobsmacked! delivers a unique, refreshing hour of contemporary, a capella tunes to a sell out crowd at the Udderbelly. With a stage backlit by a vast wall of speakers and without a single instrument in sight, each cast member gets a turn in the spotlight to power through a series of catchy, superbly delivered hits from the last 40 years of pop music.

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PENETRATOR – Hope Theatre

In London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

With much in the way of 90’s revivals and a quantifiable number of in-yer-face productions hitting London’s theatre scene this year, the resurrection of Anthony Neilson’s Penetrator at the Hope Theatre is nothing if not timely. Phil Croft directs a sharply comical and ultimately scary production of this grotesque and brutally honest play. Max and Alan are unemployed twentysomething friends, home-alone, wasting away the hours watching porn and re-inventing, with ingenious wit, songs from their past to re-live the moment in which their lives had seemingly more purpose and direction. And then there’s Tadge, the other guy. A dark and intensely weird guy who brings with him a totally different atmosphere and shifts the dynamic of the play.






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PRODIGY – NYMT at St James Theatre

In Children's theatre, London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

The National Youth Music Theatre’s production of Prodigy at London’s St James Theatre offers much to celebrate in Britain’s musical theatre talent, both in composition and performing. With lyrics, book and some gorgeous music all from the emerging wunderkinder that are Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary, the show is themed around an X-Factor type reality TV show – themed around the search for a child prodigy musician.






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OLIVER! – Newbury

In Musicals, Regional theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

It is a rare treat to visit Newbury’s charmingly situated Watermill Theatre and Luke Sheppard’s Oliver! more than makes the journey worthwhile. On arrival and in one of the most innovative mise-en-scenes, as the audience mingle on the lawn outside sipping Pimms and G&Ts, the cast’s ragamuffin kids dart about, not picking pockets but offering to shine shoes for a sixpence. It’s a charming touch.






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MISS-LEADING LADIES – St James Studio

In Cabaret, London theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Before launching into a sassy opening routine of Irving Berlin’s Sisters, Ria Jones and Ceri Dupree tease their audience with a hint of Gypsy’s act one Let Me Entertain You – sung of course originally by that show’s child sisters June and Louise. And in that moment these two gifted performers achieve a rare and elusive vanishing point that sees dramatic irony fade into reality. For Dupree and Jones really are siblings, Dupree by a few years being Jones’ elder brother.






TOMMY – Greenwich Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Amidst the present day plethora of so called “juke box” musicals, in which bands’ and singers’ back catalogues are ruthlessly plundered to provide musical highlights for a show that is either autobiographical or worse still, downright anodyne in its narrative, it is an absolute joy for London to be re-united with Tommy.






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TOMMY – Greenwich Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Amidst the present day plethora of so called “juke box” musicals, in which bands’ and singers’ back catalogues are ruthlessly plundered to provide musical highlights for a show that is either autobiographical or worse still, downright anodyne in its narrative, it is an absolute joy for London to be re-united with Tommy.






OF THEE I SING – Royal Festival Hall

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

All credit to Elliot Davis, Senbla and the genius of casting director Anne Vosser too, for assembling such a platinum plated cast to perform the little known Of Thee I Sing. But whilst this one-night-only’s company was majestic, the show itself plumbs the crassest depths of jingoistic prejudice, sexism and febrile farce. Quite how it won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize (the first musical ever to do so) beggars belief.






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ANNE REID & STEFAN BEDNARCZYK IN CABARET – The Pheasantry

In Cabaret, London theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Most famous perhaps for the story and screenplay of Singin’ In The Rain (though incredibly their only contribution to that movie’s musical numbers was Moses Supposes), the Comden & Green partnership was to last the best part of 60 years, going on to include On The Town and Wonderful Town amongst a string of successes.

Reid and Bednarczyk are as enlightening as they are enchanting with a shared respect for Comden & Green that is infectiously appealing. Together, these talented performers bring a masterful combination of humour and pathos to a selection of numbers that reflect some of the best of the American Songbook.