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‘Thunderously exciting’: & JULIET — West End ★★★★★(★!)

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A musical that riffs on Shakespeare while plundering the back catalogue of one of the most successful and prolific songwriters in pop history (Max Martin, who is only not a household name because he prefers the spotlight to be on the interpreters of his work: Backstreet Boys, Britney, Celine, Katy Perry, even Pink and Bon Jovi….you’ll have heard of them) was always destined to be either a car crash or a triumph.

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‘A bonkers theatrical thrill ride’: IS GOD IS – Royal Court ★★★★★

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One of the Urban Dictionary definitions of “nasty” is a word to describe something that is ridiculously good. Between that and the more traditional meaning of the word, I have no hesitation in proclaiming that Aleshea Harris’s literal firecracker of a play is one of the nastiest shows in town. Acclaimed and awarded upon it’s 2018 Off-Broadway premiere, it’s not hard to see why, especially in Ola Ince’s boldly inventive, fabulously cast new production for the Royal Court. It’s astounding.

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‘A revival to savour’: SMALL CHANGE – Omnibus Theatre ★★★★

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First presented at the Royal Court in 1976 and last seen in London in a starry 2008 revival directed by the author, Peter Gill’s knotty, elegiac text is a dense, tense jumble of memory play, kitchen sink drama, poetry and gay love story. Dipping back and forth in time between the mid 1950s and the mid 1970s in working class Cardiff, it still packs a powerful punch as it raises questions of where do you come from versus where you are now, and what it emotionally cost you to get there.

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’Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first solid smash hit for quite some time’: CINDERELLA – Gillian Lynne Theatre ★★★★

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Andrew Lloyd Webber may have composed better scores than his new Cinderella, but he has certainly never created anything camper, and no, I haven’t forgotten Sunset Boulevard. This collaboration with Oscar winning book writer Emerald Fennell and lyricist David Zippel (City of Angels, ALW’s own The Woman In White) actually feels like something of a return to form, not because it’s much like anything else in the Lord’s canon thus far, but more because, after well over two decades, a new musical by this country’s most successful theatrical composer actually feels, once again, like a major West End event. School Of Rock doesn’t count as it was already a solid Broadway hit by the time it opened at the same Gillian Lynne Theatre that Cinderella is now gaudily occupying.