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‘Inventive & eye-catching’: EUGENIUS! – Turbine Theatre

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Get your leg warmers out and prepare for blast off, Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins’ adorable pop musical Eugenius! is back. This ridiculous, feel good sweetheart of a show marries together comic strip capers, sci-fi, 1980s nostalgia, earworm songs, obvious but irresistible comedy, and high camp in a caffeinated confection that is about as subtle as being beaten about the head with a rolled up copy of Smash Hits, but a lot more fun. Even when presented in a less-than-ideal space.

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‘Feels less spicy & naughty than once it did’: HAY FEVER – Sonning ★★★

In Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Alun HoodLeave a Comment

Seeing Hay Fever at the lovely Mill at Sonning, not far from the Thames-side village Cookham, where Coward’s play is actually set, feels almost like immersive theatre. It also feels a little like stepping back in time to a gentler era. Some people may find it a little staid, but it’s not hard to see why it proves so perennially popular.

‘A dazzling, excoriating new version’: ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST – Lyric Hammersmith ★★★★★

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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.

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‘A dazzling, excoriating new version’: ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST – Lyric Hammersmith ★★★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Alun HoodLeave a Comment

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.

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‘Truly life-enhancing stuff’: SLEEPOVA – Bush Theatre ★★★★

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In the week which saw the Bush Theatre pick up two out of a possible five nominations in the Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre award category in this year’s Oliviers, the excellent West London venue has further cause for celebration with the opening of this sassy delight. As refreshing and spicy as an ice cold ginger beer on a sunny day, and as warm and lovely as a hug from a treasured friend, Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s irresistible sugar rush of a play Sleepova already looks like a strong contender for feelgood show of 2023.

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‘It’s refreshing, a bit shocking & might leave you trembling’: BOOTYCANDY – Gate Theatre ★★★★

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Exhilaratingly original and pleasingly ambitious in scope and execution, Bootycandy at the Gate Theatre is the theatrical equivalent to having a bucket of cold water thrown over you: it takes you out of your comfort zone, it’s refreshing, a bit shocking and might leave you trembling. Enthusiastically recommended, this Bootycandy is sweet and salty.

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‘There is a lot here to savour’: PHAEDRA – National Theatre

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A very interesting programme article will tell you the difference between the multiple takes (the National’s programmes remain the most informative and best value for money in the capital) but what audiences really need to know is that this is very much Simon Stone’s Phaedra, and he has once again done what he effected upon Lorca’s Yerma at the Young Vic then subsequently in New York in 2016-7.

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‘At its most engaging, it’s genuinely captivating’: AND THEN THE RODEO BURNED DOWN – King’s Head Theatre

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Existentialism, absurdism, clowning, vaudeville, country music and a gentle queer romance all collide in this strange but rather lovely show. And Then The Rodeo Burned Down is sometimes reminiscent of other, more conventional, plays – Waiting For Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead spring most readily to mind – but has an off-kilter comic energy, suffused with a certain quiet melancholy, that is entirely its own.

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‘A tangy, ambitious, thoroughly engrossing piece’: PARADISE NOW! – Bush Theatre ★★★★

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“It could be worse” observes Baby, one of the pair of Irish sisters who open and close Margaret Perry’s richly enjoyable new play Paradise Now! at the Bush Theatre, as she contemplates their less-than-ideal lives; that statement applies equally to the existences of the other four women whose frustrations, tragedies and eccentricities inform this delightful, unruly tragicomedy.

‘A tangy, ambitious, thoroughly engrossing piece’: PARADISE NOW! – Bush Theatre ★★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Alun HoodLeave a Comment

“It could be worse” observes Baby, one of the pair of Irish sisters who open and close Margaret Perry’s richly enjoyable new play Paradise Now! at the Bush Theatre, as she contemplates their less-than-ideal lives; that statement applies equally to the existences of the other four women whose frustrations, tragedies and eccentricities inform this delightful, unruly tragicomedy.

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‘Live entertainment has come back with an encouraging roar’: Alun Hood celebrates his Top 20 new theatre shows of 2022

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Manchester, Musicals, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Alun HoodLeave a Comment

As somebody who loves a listicle plus a bandwagon to jump on, how could I NOT compile my list of my top 20 new (to me) shows of 2022? It’s been 12 months in which live entertainment has come back with an encouraging roar, although the impending cost of living crisis is inevitably, and understandably, causing anxiety in theatrical circles. Please do get out there, if you can, and support your local venue in 2023.

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‘It’s pretty hard not to be won over’: NEWSIES – Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

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This London premiere of Newsies at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre has already extended bookings until next spring and, if the ecstatic – verging on hysterical – first night reaction was any indication, it’ll be opening up ticket sales for beyond then fairly soon. One would imagine this was always the intention of principal producers Runaway Entertainment (in partnership with Disney Theatrical and a few others) who have clearly spared no expense in presenting this London Newsies.