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‘Owes more to D.H. Lawrence & Patrick Hamilton than it does to Hollywood’: CAROUSEL – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Reviews by Maryam PhilpottLeave a Comment

Taking a hard line on a troublesome musical is smart work and Sheader has given considerable thought to reconfiguring Carousel for twenty-first century audiences.

In a mini-season of nostalgic musicals looking back to mid-twentieth century song and dance styles, Carousel probably least deserves its cosy reputation. While the racial politics and untrammelled heroism of South Pacific is troubling, its love st…

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NEWS: Initial casting is announced for Carousel at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Press Releases, Quotes by Press Releases

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has confirmed the initial principal casting for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel which plays from 31 July to 25 September 2021. Carly Bawden and Declan Bennett play Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, John Pfumojena plays Enoch Snow, Olivier Award winner Joanna Riding plays Nettie Fowler and Natasha May Thomas plays Louise Bigelow.

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‘A thing of real, gentle wonder’: FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS – Chichester

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

Some of the beauty of Flowers for Mrs Harris gets lost at Chichester Festival Theatre but it remains a striking new musical

“It’s a work of art… something not real, made to make you feel”

I had much love for Flowers for Mrs Harris when it premiered in Sheffield a couple of years ago, and so I was delighted to see Daniel Evans deciding to revive it at his new abode over in Chichester. My only cavil came with the placing of this most heartfelt musical in the vast space of the Festival Theatre rather than the intimacy of the Minerva where it might perhaps have been better served.

So much of the beauty of the show (book by Rachel Wagstaff from Paul Gallico’s novel, music & lyrics by Richard Taylor) comes from the fact that it isn’t a bells and whistles epic. It is something far more subtle that truly celebrates the ordinary in extraordinary, as Clare Burt’s charlady Ada Harris dares to dream of owning a Christian Dior dress and in working to achieve that dream, illuminates the lives of those around her.

Largely sung-through, the cumulative effect of Flowers for Mrs Harris is like a ripple billowing through a length of silk fabric, flipping it over – beguiling and beautiful, gentle but ultimately transformative. As Ada’s hard work takes her from Battersea to Paris, some nifty doubling in the cast sees her meeting contrasting figures to those for whom she toils. So Louis Maskell switches from accountant to dreamy photographer, Laura Pitt-Pulford from struggling actress to top model, Joanna Riding aristocracy to couturier, and all impress with their clear delineation.  

And Burt is just magnificent the unassuming Ada, slowly coming to realise her place in the world, her worth and her right to a greater happiness than she ever dared dream of in the drudgery of post-war Britain. Lez Brotherston’s design looks superb under Mark Henderson’s well-observed lighting choices, and the conclusion is a thing of real, gentle wonder. Don’t just talk about wanting to see new exciting British musical theatre, go and see it now!

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Flowers for Mrs Harris is booking at Chichester Festival Theatre until 29th September
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NEWS: Director Peter Brook returns in National Theatre season which also features new plays from Nina Raine & Anthony Neilson

In London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases, Sticky by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Details have been announced for the National Theatre’s season running from July 2018 to January 2019. Highlights include Peter Brook returning to direct at the NT for the first time in 50 years with The Prisoner, plus new plays from Nina Raine and Anthony Neilson.

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THE GIRLS – West End

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

So having not gotten round to seeing The Girls for whatever reason (mainly that I didn’t want to), I finally bit the bullet last week and within 24 hours, the show posted closing notices for its West End run. The Girls will then head out on a two year national tour from August 2018, aiming to visit 42 theatres across the UK