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‘This is outstanding’: THE BOOK THIEF: A NEW MUSICAL – Bolton ★★★★★

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The Octagon Theatre is currently home to the world premiere of the new musical based on the novel by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief. The play begins with an introduction from our Narrator, played by Ryan O’Donnell who sets the scene of Nazi Germany and follows the story of Liesel, played by Niamh Palmer.

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‘You will still jump out of your seat’: 2:22 – A GHOST STORY – Criterion Theatre ★★★★

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It is a testament to Danny Robins’ 2:22 – A Ghost Story at the Criterion Theatre that many people go back for a second viewing – this is lots of fun as you try to spot what is going on and notice foreshadowing. But you will still jump out of your seat!

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‘Simply beautiful’: THE COLOR PURPLE – Touring ★★★★

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From great American novel to star-casted film to Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical, Alison Walker’s The Color Purple has seen many formats over the years. A hard-hitting musical at the best of times, and a musical that needs passion, love and a cast to carry the story above and beyond. Like many in the audience, my only experience of this gut-wrenching story has either been with the book taught and analysed in schools or the 2015 new Broadway cast recording starring Cynthia Erivo and Jenifer Hudson – this new staging of the infamous musical is just as breathtaking as every adaptation I have come into contact with.

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‘Highly entertaining evening’: TRUMP L’OEIL – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

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Trump L’Oeil is a musical romp through the Trump years, played for laughs and employing many different theatrical genres to create the full effect of the chaos of the time. Drawing on surrealist influences, this is part cabaret, part circus and part queer theatre, with an equally broad range of music, from rap to pop and including a neatly adapted, storming version of ‘Puttin’ (Putin) On the Ritz’ – there’s even a hefty nod to Dr Seuss in ‘Marvellous Me’, the show’s opening number.

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‘Something for everyone’: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL – Touring ★★★★★

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Beautiful charts the early years of Carole King from a 16 year old girl writing her first hit single, to her first solo concert in front of an audience at Carnegie Hall in June 1971. King would go on to become the most successful female American songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century, writing or co-writing 118 hit songs, 61 of which charted in the UK.

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‘Beautiful & insightful’: HAPPY MEAL – Touring ★★★★★

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Happy Meal is a show about friendship, identity and is ultimately a heart-warming love story, a lot to pack into a show that is about an hour long. This delightful two-hander is labelled as a joyful trans rom-com for the MySpace generation, and the roles played by two trans actors. As someone who isn’t a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I found it a really beautiful and insightful transgender narrative.

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‘Highly entertaining, extremely relevant & very funny’: LONDON ZOO – Bread & Roses Theatre ★★★★

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Farine Clarke’s sharp and scathing play London Zoo returns to the Bread & Roses for a well-deserved longer run. Even though the story is set at the turn of the millennium, the characters and situations are depressingly recognisable in the political and corporate world of 2022.

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’An absolute gem of a solo show’: AGE IS A FEELING – Edinburgh Festival Fringe ★★★★★

In Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Fairy Powered ProductionsLeave a Comment

Hayley McGhee has created an absolute gem of a solo show in Age is a Feeling at Summerhall Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh. A day after seeing it, some of the lines (and feelings evoked) are still zinging around my mind (and heart). In other hands the concept of this show might feel cliched and presumptuous but McGhee’s mesmerising presence on stage and terrifyingly insightful script are beautiful, compelling and moving from start to finish.

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‘Truly a thing of beauty’: Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) – Edinburgh Festival Fringe ★★★★★

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Coming of age biopic Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) at the Underbelly George Square, Edinburgh is truly a thing of beauty, its life affirming and will leave you crying like a baby. Quite frankly the entire show needs to be shown in schools to educate both the children and the teachers.

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‘Compelling, entertaining & thought-provoking’: MADE IN INDIA / BRITAIN – Edinburgh Festival Fringe ★★★★

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Rinkoo Barpaga has created a fascinating and unsettling show in Made in India/Britain. An honest and clear-eyed exploration of his own experiences and reactions to navigating life as a deaf person of Indian heritage in modern Britain, it did that rare and precious thing of opening my eyes to a world of which I knew very little.

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‘Has never seemed more relevant than now’: JULIUS CAESAR – Touring ★★★★

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The Globe Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar begins with the news that Julius Caesar has defeated Pompey. Right from the start, the audience is required to be part of the action as we are the commoners who are celebrating his triumphant return.

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‘Wickedly funny & inappropriate in almost every way’: THE BOOK OF MORMON – Touring ★★★★★

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There is nothing that will prepare you for The Book Of Mormon, famously created (book, music and lyrics) by the minds behind South Park. Without knowledge of the plot, there is an expectation that Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone will test limits, challenge establish thoughts and push the boundaries. The atmosphere at the Empire Theatre was spellbinding and the weight of expectations huge – and this production did not disappoint.

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‘Delivers a rollicking good time’: MILLENNIALS – The Other Palace ★★★

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What I can safely say about Millennials at The Other Palace is that Elliot Clay has produced a collection of irresistible musical earworms, some rousing, some boppy, a couple reflective, all fiendishly catchy, performed by a sensational sextet of musical theatre talents who shine like stars and sell the material for all it’s worth, and then some.

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‘Thought-provoking show’: REPORT TO AN ACADEMY – Old Red Lion ★★★

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If you’re familiar with Franz Kafka, you’ll be aware of the themes so often present in his work: isolation, alienation, mental and physical struggle – the epitome of ‘Kafkaesque’. Acclaimed German director Gabriele Jakobi’s adaptation of Kafka short story Reports to an Academy at the Old Red Lion homes in on all these themes, and adds animal rights into the mix.

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‘This is what theatre is all about’: A-TYPICAL RAINBOW – Turbine Theatre ★★★★★

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A-Typical Rainbow is a play written, and starring, JJ Green and produced by Aria Entertainment. The play will run at the Turbine Theatre until 7 August before hopefully being picked up to continue in a new location. This piece of theatre is extremely important and needs to be seen by as many people as possible, it has the possibility to change the theatre as we know it.

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‘Two spectacular performances’: Switch_MCR Double Bill – Manchester ★★★★★

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Switch_MCR are a Manchester-based theatre company creating new and exciting accessible work. The company was founded by Royal Exchange Young Company members and is now one of the biggest independent theatre companies in Manchester. This Double Bill performance was a collection of two new and exciting plays, Lekhani Chirwa’s Senses of Responsibility and Joseph Conway’s Blue Moss.