Best of the Blogs: The Mates give their verdicts on Adrian Mole, Noises Off, The End of History & more

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre, Reviews, Sticky, Ticket recommendations by Lisa Martland

If these reviews of the last week’s theatre are anything to go by, there are some high quality productions out there for your perusal, whether you are heading to the West End, London Fringe or beyond.

Carrying on a new series, our editor Lisa Martland has picked out her Top Picks including three musicals: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ The Musical at the Ambassadors Theatre (Libby Purves), Fiver at Southwark Playhouse (Emma Clarendon) and The Color Purple at Curve Leicester (No Billington).

Plus there is plenty to relish on the straight play front – Europe at Donmar Warehouse (Carole Woddis) and The End of History at the Royal Court Theatre (Maryam Philpott) – and some joyful fun and frolics thanks to the return of Noises Off to Lyric Hammersmith (Anne Cox) and the carnival atmosphere of the Globe’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Debbie Gilpin).

So the 40-plus affiliated bloggers who contribute to My Theatre Mates have been pretty busy as always. Enjoy a snapshot of their efforts below.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ The Musical – Ambassadors Theatre, London ★★★★
Libby Purves: “This little musical, developed in Leicester (where else!) is the result of Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary badgering the late Sue Townsend to be allowed to do it, and with poppy tunes and a high-spirited cast under Luke Sheppard, it works surprisingly well.”
Noises Off – Lyric Hammersmith, London ★★★★
Anne Cox: “Michael Frayn’s sharply observed comedy has stood the test of time with remarkable ease. It’s still one of the funniest plays ever written and a riot from start to finish.”
The End of History – Royal Court Theatre, London
Maryam Philpott: “Jack Thorne shuffles various perspectives within the family, examining their different experiences of the same events from multiple angles.”
Europe – Donmar Warehouse, London ★★★★
Carole Woddis: “Ultimately Europe emerges as not just timely and relevant but a romance, a eulogy to the idea of Europe, to trains and the romance of where they take us.”
Fiver – Southwark Playhouse, London ★★★★
Emma Clarendon: “If you haven’t then you need to come and see this heartwarming and immensely charming new musical that follows a five pound note’s journey from pocket to pocket.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare’s Globe ★★★★
Debbie Gilpin: “It’s therefore quite satisfying that Sean Holmes’ production is also incredibly colourful, exuberant, involving & diverse; this is probably the most over-the-top Shakespeare at this theatre since Michelle Terry took over.”
The Color Purple – Curve Leicester
No Billington: “Boy, when the score hits those highs the show soars. Shug’s charismatic talents are showcased in ‘Push Da Button’, while her duet with Celie, ‘What About Love?’, is a captivating and tender song.”
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Lisa Martland
An editor, writer and critic, Lisa Martland is the founder of Vuelio top-ranked website Musical Theatre Review which she set up in 2013. She has largely single-handedly developed it into one of the UK’s must-read sites for professionals and expert followers of the sector. In 2018, Lisa also joined the Terri Paddock Group, taking on the role of editor for both MyTheatreMates and our sister musical theatre site Stage Faves. Formerly, she was deputy editor at The Stage Newspaper.

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Lisa Martland on FacebookLisa Martland on InstagramLisa Martland on RssLisa Martland on TwitterLisa Martland on Youtube
Lisa Martland
An editor, writer and critic, Lisa Martland is the founder of Vuelio top-ranked website Musical Theatre Review which she set up in 2013. She has largely single-handedly developed it into one of the UK’s must-read sites for professionals and expert followers of the sector. In 2018, Lisa also joined the Terri Paddock Group, taking on the role of editor for both MyTheatreMates and our sister musical theatre site Stage Faves. Formerly, she was deputy editor at The Stage Newspaper.