After The Act, produced by Breach and commissioned by New Diorama, dares to go where not many shows do these days. Billed as a “documentary musical” and based around the controversial Section 28 law that was passed in 1988 under Thatcher’s Conservative government, we hear the voices of real people who lived their lives during this time, seeing the effects and impact this law had on the country’s people and society.
‘Tip your hat & get down there’: GUYS & DOLLS – Bridge Theatre ★★★★★
Daniel Mays has played a lot of tough-guy roles but has by nature a rather innocent and worried-looking face. It is this quality that Nicholas Hytner spotted as perfect for his Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre: lowlife but hapless, indecisive about the faff and cost of marrying his tolerant fiancee of 14 years standing, Miss Adelaide (an irresistible Marisha Wallace).
‘When it fully works, it’s wonderful’: GUYS & DOLLS – Bridge Theatre ★★★★
For any theatre enthusiast who has been living under a rock, Nicholas Hytner’s new production of Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre is unique because it is immersive, in the manner of this venue’s previous acclaimed versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar.
‘The epitome of feel-good fun’: THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF MUSICAL – Noel Coward Theatre
Back in 2009, when The Great British Bake Off first appeared on our TV screens, nobody could have predicted that a show about people making cakes in a tent would even get a second series, let alone become a national and international sensation. But the…
‘Impressive & engaging’: BONNIE & CLYDE – Garrick Theatre ★★★★
London’s most-wanted musical Bonnie & Clyde returns to the West End to raise a little hell, and it’s bigger and better than ever. With memorable songs and some truly impressive performances from the cast, this is a show not to be missed.
‘Moving & bittersweet’: THE WAY OLD FRIENDS DO – Touring ★★★★★
The Way Old Friends Do is a brand new play written by Ian Hallard and directed by Mark Gatiss. It tells the story of two Birmingham school friends who meet up 30 years later and, after some reminiscing about old times and their mutual love of all things ABBA, decide it’s the perfect time to form the world’s first ABBA tribute – in drag.
‘About the confrontation between past & present’: THE CITY & THE TOWN – Touring
Playing for a few nights at Wilton’s Music Hall as part of a nationwide tour, Anders Lustgarten’s new play The City and the Town is about the confrontation between past and present, about the consequences of staying and leaving, and whether the ones who leave have any right at all to decide what happens to the ones who stay.
‘You couldn’t really ask for a more genuinely touching show’: THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF MUSICAL – Noel Coward Theatre ★★★★
A British institution, Bake Off is may not seem like the most likely source for a musical but thankfully, its musical adaptation, The Great British Bake Off Musical at the Noel Coward Theatre, works incredibly well and is an easily digestible, heart-warming show and a love letter to the series so many love.
‘A stunning addition to the West End’: OKLAHOMA! – Wyndham’s Theatre ★★★★
One of the most exciting and invigorating productions of recent time, Oklahoma! at the Wyndham’s Theatre is truly a spectacle of theatre which uses a number of engaging elements to transform this old school show, into something which feels fresh and bracing.
‘Fantastically fun production’: THE FLYING BATH – Little Angel Theatre
Overall, The Flying Bath at Little Angel Studios is a fantastically fun production which has pretty much everything you could ask of an early years show. It’s a brilliant celebration of the joys of imaginative play and the unique dynamic of sibling relationships. It will no doubt inspire its young audiences to get creative at home, but be prepared to have a very messy bathroom afterwards.
‘Clever, funny, thoughtful & playful’: NO LIMITS – Turbine Theatre
A quartet of performers brings to life the new song cycle by Sam Thomas, No Limits at the Turbine Theatre, which looks at friends, families, and relationships within a group of younger millennials/older Gen Zs.
‘The fact that it’s actually coming to fruition is crazy’: Owen Chaponda & Merryl Ansah take over the iconic roles of Simba & Nala in The Lion King
Emma Clarendon chatted to Owen Chaponda and Merryl Ansah about returning to the West End production of The Lion King to star as Simba and Nala, having previously been in the ensemble.
‘Entertaining & enchanting’: THE KING & I – Touring ★★★★
A gem of classic musical theatre, The King and I is in top form as it embarks on a sparkling UK tour. Brimming with humour and character growth, Bartlett Sher’s production is a less menacing version of the show which still provides all you could ask for in a night out at the theatre.
‘It’s an achievement, a proper story’: STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE – National Theatre ★★★★
It’s an architectural moment. Within the stark brutalist NT is a set in homage to a brutalist landmark: the early 1960s Park Hill Flats in Sheffield, the largest listed building in the world. In Standing At The Sky’s Edge at the National Theatre three generations of tenants interweave in the clean-lined kitchen and living room, ghosts in one another’s lives, telling in their very existence a universal story of postwar British cities.
‘Showcasing the human spirit in the face of adversity’: GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY – Touring ★★★★★
The years following the 1929 Wall Street Crash left many Americans (and the rest of the world) facing economic hardship – a state of affairs that lasted right up until the Second World War. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the parallels between the events from nearly 100 years ago with what is happening today, with people trying to eke out a living during these depressed times. Esteemed playwright and director Conor McPherson uses this backdrop for the show Girl from the North Country, which is currently touring the UK at the moment.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: Head Over Heels at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
We take a look at what is being said about the European premiere of the musical Head Over Heels, playing at the Manchester based Hope Mill Theatre until 4 March.
‘Deep wells of emotional resonance roll out into the audience’: STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE – National Theatre
It is still a relatively rare experience to see a working class drama that invests its characters with a profound and complex, even a poetic interior, life, but from the first moments of Richard Hawley and Chris Bush’s Standing At the Sky’s Edge when a workman stops to greet the beauty of the dawn and the sound of birdsong, it is clear that this is no ordinary representation of
FROM DOWN UNDER: Mary Poppins in Melbourne
Thoroughly disproving the law of diminishing returns, Mary Poppins soars again as the current Australian revival tour brings everyone’s favourite nanny back to her spiritual home at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne.
‘It will unleash your inner diva’: THE CHER SHOW – Touring ★★★★
If there was ever a cure for the blues The Cher Show would be it. I left feeling on cloud nine after an evening spent watching this sequinned spectacular which tells the story of how shy girl Cherilyn Sarkisian becomes the ultimate diva and a true female icon.
‘Everything theatre should be’: My Son’s a Queer (But what can you do?) – Ambassadors Theatre ★★★★★
Let’s start off by saying that this show My Son’s a Queer (But what can you do?) at the Ambassadors Theatre is the most joyous and heartfelt 75 minutes I’ve maybe ever experienced in the theatre. Rob Madge has taken the highs and lows of their childhood to create a show which celebrates individuality in the most spectacularly jubilant way.