Nikolai Foster’s vision beautifully evokes a sense of community against a delicately balanced backdrop of political and emotional turmoil in Lee Hall and Elton John’s Billy Elliot The Musical at Curve Leicester.
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‘Entertaining comedy with pathos’: JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN – National Theatre
“What will happen in England after we have won this war? Bunting! Bunting everywhere!” Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ new play Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre takes R.B. Sheridan’s 1775 farce The Rivals and updates the setting to a Sussex country house in The Battle of Britain. The romantic pursuits, mistaken identities and malapropisms from The Rivals are combined with Bean’s typically bawdy sense of humour, some impressive aerial dogfights and a dose of WWII patriotism. The result is an entertaining, albeit safe and slightly too long, comedy with pathos.
‘I’d be surprised if I see a more impressive piece of theatre this year’: ROCK/PAPER/SCISSORS – Sheffield
All three plays in Chris Bush’s Rock/Paper/Scissors triptych run in Sheffield Theatres’ three spaces simultaneously with one cast. The overall piece is a logistical coup-de-théâtre. It’s also a perfect coming together of space and place in three funny, achingly profound and heartful plays about a city and its people on the cusp of change.
‘The cast don’t have much to play with’: CLUEDO – Touring
Mark Bell’s production of Cluedo, adapted from Sandy Rustin’s US play which itself is based on Jonathan Lynn’s screenplay of the 1985 film Clue, has been transposed to 1940s England.
‘Rollicking, gleeful night of fun’: SCHOOL OF ROCK – Touring
School of Rock presents the recipe for a perfect 21st century family musical. A simple story with likeable characters and a heart-warming message, played out to a soundtrack of bombastic, foot-tapping tunes.
‘Remains an unstoppable sensation’: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG – Touring
Now a global hit and having spawned a BBC series and other Goes Wrong spin offs, this latest tour of The Play that Goes Wrong maintains its breathless energy.
‘Returns with all the vitality & urgency it had first time round’: JERUSALEM – Apollo Theatre
Ian Rickson’s production of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem now returns to the Apollo Theatre with all the vitality and urgency it had first time round.
‘A frothy concoction of corny jokes & power ballads’: THE CHER SHOW – Touring
The premise sees Cher (Debbie Kurup) about to go onstage for her farewell tour. Facing a crisis of confidence the singer addresses her younger selves (Danielle Steers and Millie O’Connell), delving into her past (or, ahem, wanting to ‘Turn Back Time’).
‘Full of character, heart & great songs’: BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL – Touring
In Beautiful, we see singer-songwriter Carole King’s journey, from turning out hits at 1650 Broadway for the biggest household names to how she broke the mould of what a star can be.
‘A hugely enjoyable & warm-hearted show’: WAITRESS – Touring
Waitress offers a sweet slice of Americana, well-balanced with fleshed-out, morally-compromised characters and topped with a belter of a ballad in ‘She Used To Be Mine’.
‘Is it too early to herald the theatrical event of the year?’: CABARET – West End
I doubt I will see another show in 2022 that matches the allure and sense of occasion as Rebecca Frecknall’s much-anticipated production of Cabaret.
‘A bonkers funfest of innuendo, audience interaction & toe-tapping tunes’: ROCKY HORROR SHOW – Touring
Having seen the show a few times beforem I knew exactly what to expect from the affectionate pastiche of old B-Movies, but my husband (and co-blogger) was a newcomer, having never even seen the film adaptation.
‘A great example of triple-threat theatre’: A CHORUS LINE – Leicester
In recent years, Curve have really hit their stride producing guaranteed Christmas hits. Their latest offering, A Chorus Line, is a solid and technically dazzling addition to the oeuvre.
‘Fresh, stylish & beautifully carried by a star turn from Jodie Prenger’: TELL ME ON A SUNDAY – Touring
The Watermill Theatre’s 2016 production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s one-woman, one-act musical has been revived for a UK tour.
‘Matthew Bourne has lost none of his choreographic innovation, verve & heart’: THE MIDNIGHT BELL – Touring
A new piece from Matthew Bourne is always a talking point and a treat to get dance fans excited. I’ve been a fan for around a decade now.
‘A tear-jerking and heart-warming ode’: EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE — Leicester Curve & Tour
This past weekend saw the return of the much-loved West End Live in Trafalgar Square. A free festival for theatre lovers, the event has increased in popularity each year (I still remember the early years when everyone was crammed into Leicester Square and only a handful of shows took part!), and eventually it will outgrow its current home too (where next? Hyde Park?).
‘Provocative & rousing, nostalgic & contemporary’: EAST IS EAST – Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Twenty-five years after its first performance at the Rep, Ayub Khan Din’s comedy about a British-Pakistani family in 1970s Salford returns home to Birmingham. In Iqbal Khan’s production for the Rep and National Theatre, East is East feels like both a modern classic and as fresh as a new play.
‘Evokes the heat & intensity of the setting’: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF – Curve Leicester & Touring
Anthony Almeida has created not only a highly entertaining piece of theatre in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof at Curve Leicester, but a tableau of family life that can still resonate with modern audiences.
‘Every song is a certified banger’: THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER – Curve Leicester
The songs featured in The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber have become standards for a reason and it is a pleasure to hear them performed by an excellent cast.
‘The emotion flooding from the stage is overwhelming’: THE COLOR PURPLE – Curve Leicester (Online review)
Following on from the immensely successful Sunset Boulevard in Concert, Curve has reunited the company of 2019’s The Color Purple (a co-production with Birmingham Hippodrome) to once again bring a much needed dose of musical enrichment to theatre lovers worldwide.
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