Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, just off the Hammersmith Bridge, Pooh Bear goes on search of some ‘hunny’ and has a host of adventures with his friends in Winnie the Pooh: The Musical at Riverside Studios. Heading across the pond for a musical extravaganza created by Jonathan Rockefeller, we follow Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl in a technically-slick show for little ones.
‘Anne Reid does an uncanny turn’: MARJORIE PRIME – Menier Chocolate Factory
Artificial intelligence and robotics have long been a boon to us ethical-scifi buffs, films like AI and I, Robot mercifully saving us from rocket ships and aliens called Xzxvyvrgg. In Jordan Harrison’s play Marjorie Prime at the Menier Chocolate Factory it is inner space – and a recognisable world – which gets invaded by parasitic cyberthink.
‘It’s brilliant to see underrepresented voices brought to life’: ALFIE’S FIRST FIGHT – Touring
Oliver Sykes’ debut children’s novel is inspired by growing up as a keen amateur boxer in a single parent family on the breadline. Having long been a passionate advocate for underrepresented voices, Sykes brings his own personal experiences to the page in Alfie’s First Fight, which promises to be a cross between Jacqueline Wilson and Rocky Balboa.
‘The cast is clearly having a (disco) ball’: THE WAY OLD FRIENDS DO – Touring
Expertly directed by the ever dependable Mark Gatiss, The Way Old Friends Do at the Park Theatre is a surprising delight which does what it says on the tin, and then a bit more.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: Bad Cinderella at the Imperial Theatre, New York
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Bad Cinderella has now officially opened on Broadway, Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon finds out what critics have had to say about it…
‘Celebrating its 80th birthday with an update’: THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN – Sheffield & Touring ★★★★
Originally written in 1941 by Bertolt Brecht, The Good Person of Szechwan was first performed in 1943 – and this year celebrates its 80th birthday with an update by Nina Segal.
‘It’s definitely nostalgic & energetic’: Eugenius! – Turbine Theatre
After a London Palladium concert and subsequent runs at The Other Palace, the comic book tale of Eugenius! has been on the radar of many theatre lovers, and fans were thrilled to hear of the show’s reworked return at the Turbine Theatre. The sweet characters and over the top tale are back like before, but somewhere along the way, the musical has lost some of the sparkle and infectious joy that previously made it such a charming production.
‘A haunting story told in a magical way’: FURTHER THAN THE FURTHEST THING – Young Vic Theatre
Empathetic revival of Zinnie Harris’s 2000 play about a lost world and small island longings
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‘Sets a crisp pace & witty tone’: BLACK SUPERHERO – Royal Court Theatre
“I’m holding out for a hero” is Bonnie Tyler’s famous song, and it could be the theme tune for David (Danny Lee Wynter) in Black Superhero. He’s long held a torch for friend King (Dyllón Burnside), who is playing superhero Craw in a low-brow movie franchise.
‘A celebration of hard won opportunity that must never be torn away’: WALDO’S CIRCUS OF MAGIC & TERROR – Touring
Waldo’s Circus of Magic and Terror is advertised as a new musical, and it does have songs in, but it also has much more. To me, it feels like a play with music, dance, creative access design, and circus acrobatics mixed together. And the combination is very effective. The show is powerful, with funny moments, beautiful moments, and devastatingly sad moments as it reminds us of terrible things that have happened to people who are considered ‘different’ through history.
‘An often thrilling production’: DANCE OF DEATH – Coronet Theatre
Usually, European productions find a home at the Barbican but The National Theatre of Norway has gone west to Notting Hill for the UK transfer of Dance of Death performed in the original Norwegian with English surtitles. This often thrilling production that explores the melodrama and violence in a 25-year marriage is compelling stuff, demonstrating how to make 120-year-old material feel brand new.
FROM DOWN UNDER – & Juliet in Melbourne
A breathless, rollicking rush of a feel good musical comedy, & Juliet makes its Australian premiere in killer form, with a peak Australian cast of fantabulous powerhouse artists.
‘A dazzling, excoriating new version’: ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST – Lyric Hammersmith ★★★★★
Daniel Rigby won a BAFTA for his portrayal of the beloved comedian Eric Morecambe in a 2011 TV film. The spirit of Morecambe – endearing, absurd, inspired, with a slight edge of danger – permeates Rigby’s performance in this savagely brilliant reinvention of Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s police corruption satire Accidental Death Of An Anarchist at the Lyric Hammersmith.
‘Visceral, animalistic & strange’: MACBETH – Southwark Playhouse
It is an unusual Macbeth that comes to life with the Porter’s scene, the play’s disconcerting post-murder comic interlude – even more so when it is performed without words. Dale Wylde’s mimed scene is a weird and captivating interlude. It encapsulates the strengths and weaknesses of Flabbergast Theatre’s version at Southwark Playhouse.
‘Captivated from beginning to end’: AFTER THE ACT: A SECTION 28 MUSICAL – New Diorama Theatre ★★★★
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.
‘Powerful & thought-provoking’: FOX – Touring
Following a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019, and a Covid-induced hiatus, Katie Guicciardi’s FOX is finally out on tour. Inspired by real-life events, this witty one-hander offers a candid insight into the isolation of new motherhood. Mummy joined a room full of tiny humans and their grown-ups for a baby-friendly performance of FOX at Greenwich Theatre.
‘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).
REVIEW ROUND-Up: Marjorie Prime at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon rounds up the reviews for the revival of Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prize nominated play Marjorie Prime at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.
‘The changing tone is very engaging’: FURTHER THAN THE FURTHEST THING – Young Vic Theatre
Malevolent forces shaping small communities is a strong premise for all kinds of drama, from the arrival of outsiders that tend to be the focus of horror to the power shifts of Pinter plays that upset the status quo with new authorities forming that overshadow the existing order. Zinnie Harris’ 2000 play Further Than the Furthest Thing combines these ideas with broader notions of industrialisation and the religious management of a community relatively untroubled by the outside world until one if its returning sons brings change.
‘Feels depressingly timely’: RUSH – Chickenshed Theatre
In a week when the UK government doubled down on its harmful and divisive rhetoric with regard to refugees and immigrants, Chickenshed’s new spring show Rush feels depressingly timely. At its core the story of three women from different generations of the same family, the show also tells a much wider tale that both celebrates black culture and laments its erosion across the centuries.