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‘Didn’t I want to see it unfiltered by the opinions of others?’: Mark Shenton explores critical opinion and its influence on perception

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

One of the pleasures — but also the risks — of being a theatre critic is that you come first to a new production, ready to form your own opinions on what you’ve seen, before you’ve already encountered or digested the opinions of others.

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NEWS: Moulin Rouge is the big winner at the Tony Awards & there is British success for A Christmas Carol & The Inheritance

In Awards, Broadway, International, London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Other Recent Articles, Plays by Press Releases

Moulin Rouge! The Musical triumphed in 10 categories at the 74th Tony Awards, including being named Best Musical, but there was also British success, with Rob Howell and Hugh Vanstone winning awards for their design work on the Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol (5) and Stephen Daldry named Best Director for his staging of Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance (4), originally at London’s Young Vic Theatre before its West End transfer.

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‘A feelgood triumph?’: Mark Shenton finds out what critics thought of Back To The Future, a West End premiere not without drama

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Although this newsletter officially remains on hiatus and will resume publication on Monday 20 September, I’m interrupting my time on the beach for a second time to deliver this bulletin with the reviews of Back To The Future that opened officially at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre on Monday.

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‘Must be the most sumptuous-looking touring show of the year’: Mark Shenton gives an update on theatre openings including the Bedknobs & Broomsticks tour

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

A new touring stage version of the 1971 Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks held a national press night last Friday at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre, after previewing beforehand at Newcastle Theatre Royal. The tour is currently booking to May 2022.

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As more West End shows have to cancel shows, industry figures respond to ‘inadequate’ Government insurance scheme

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Though theatres are now operating at full capacity (if they choose to) — and audiences are wearing masks only if they choose to, as well — there is a great deal of uncertainty, as performances are being routinely suspended at the very last minute if a cast member proves positive or has come into contact with someone who has.

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‘Teenage angst in the bathroom… & classroom’: BE MORE CHILL – Shaftesbury Theatre / HEATHERS – Theatre Royal Haymarket

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

There comes a point in every lifelong theatre lover’s career when you suddenly wake up and wonder: am I simply too old for this? Ben Brantley, former chief critic of the New York Times, hit this particular critical nail on the head when he ended his review of the 2018 Off-Broadway summer run of the cult musical Be More Chill (before it was propelled to Broadway in turn) by advising: “It may be helpful to think of this bounding, exhaustingly enthusiastic puppy of a show as the theatrical equivalent of one of those high-pitched dog whistles that only those under 25 can hear.”

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So another delay to the ‘cautious, irreversible’ roadmap out of lockdown: It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

In what is becoming a wearyingly predictable cycle, Boris Johnson’s latest failure to act fast enough to lockdown the country from the arrival of what is now known as the Delta variant of Covid, which originated in India, has resulted in it becoming the dominant strain of the virus in Britain — with the added problem that it is much more easily transmissible than previous strains.

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NEWS: National Theatre’s reopening programme includes new musical co-written by Rufus Norris & the return of playwright Alecky Blythe

In Broadway, London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Online shows, Plays, Press Releases by Press Releases

The National Theatre has announced its programming until the start of next year with productions on all three South Bank stages as well as three major UK tours, two productions on Broadway, a return to cinemas, and a new feature film to be broadcast on television this autumn.

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Can honest critics have theatre professionals as friends?

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

I’m unashamedly a friend and champion of the theatre; but I can never been a simple cheerleader for it, regardless of the circumstances or my connections with people in a show I’m seeing. As honest critics find out all too often, we’re loved when we love something we see; but that can quickly pivot to becoming the enemy when we don’t.

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Now & forever? What is the legacy of Cats 40 years on?

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There’s hardly a more insistent ear worm of a song in all of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ear-wormy repertoire than ‘Memory’, the breakout hit of his 1981 musical Cats, which last night celebrated the 40th anniversary of its premiere at the then New London Theatre (now itself renamed for Gillian Lynne, the choreographer whose work on the show ignited a revolution in global musical theatre, and accidentally created the West End’s first authentic dance-based musical).