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Review: Carousel (Arcola Theatre)

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Reviewers often struggle to find adjectives to describe yet another fringe musical we’re obliged to see on your behalf. For Carousel at the Arcola, we have only three: good, good, good. Good #1 because producers Morphic Graffiti are making a name for taking ‘classic’ material and re-working it for smaller scale acoustic productions. You don’t […]

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Review: In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse)

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At the end of press night for In The Heights only one of the national newspaper critics wasn’t on his feet and grooving to the beat. It’s that infectious. Of course if you’re further from hip-hop and closer to hip replacement, prefer your musicals with a solid plot, familiar characters and a few old tunes […]

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Review: South Pacific (New Wimbledon Theatre)

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If you thought £92.50 including booking fee was going it a bit for an average stalls seat at theBarbican’s Lincoln Center production of South Pacific you’ll be delighted to know that substantially the same show, with the same leads, is currently available for less than half that and your Zone 3 Oyster. When successful London […]

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Review: Liberace: Live in Heaven (Edinburgh Fringe 2011)

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This is a clever construct: at the pearly gates, the “world’s highest paid entertainer” meets his inquisitors in St Peter (voiced by Stephen Fry) and God (Victoria Wood – “I made the world in six days and on the seventh I baked a fruit cake”) before an audience of angels decides his ultimate destination. Smartly […]

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Review: Fresher The Musical (Edinburgh Fringe 2011)

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It’s refreshing to see how Fresher’s Week hasn’t changed over the years. The insecurities over how to fit in, find your feet, seem cool and get laid could as easily have been set in the History Man era as today. Five students arrive in their allocated shared flat and through a series of drinking games […]

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Review: Into The Woods (Edinburgh Fringe 2011)

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If ever a musical were designed to set traps for amateurs, it’s ‘Into The Woods’. The deceptively accessible ‘pantomime’ themes of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood disguise Sondheim’s disjunctive and difficult score full of pitfalls for the musically unwary. Opera di Nepotist stands out for its bravery: formed in 2009 to produce Sweeney Todd, […]

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Review: Company (Southwark Playhouse)

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Poor Steve Sondheim.  During his 80thbirthday year in 2010 his works were exhaustively produced and his dramatic entrails more pored over than in any autopsy.  There’ll be less of a retrospective when he’s dead. In London, the revivals ranged from a lumpen ‘Follies’ atop a Walthamstow boozer to a puppyishly adoring all-starAlbert Hall Prom which […]

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Review: Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Camden Fringe)

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It would be like pissing on a grave to be overly critical of ‘Elegies’, the song cycle of AIDS victims interspersed with thirty-two heartfelt blank verse monologues charting individual experience of the fatal disease. But a little bit of wee did come out when we reflected on the wasted opportunity of staging this electrically important […]

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Review: Sondheim by Sondheim (Roundhouse Studio)

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This is not the best week to put on an intimate Sondheim revue. Overshadowed by the glorious Sondheim Prom at the Albert Hall, by Maria Friedman’s all-Sondheim set at Cadogan Hall and the reputedly outstanding Into The Woods just beginning at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and you’re on a hiding to nothing. Throw in […]

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Review: Legally Blonde The Musical (Savoy Theatre)

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The producers of Legally Blonde The Musical played a long game with five weeks of previews to build a popular word-of-mouth and social media following – and a £2 million review-proof advance – before press night. Broadsheet critics today retaliated by reviewing the audience (really squealy girly escapees from Hairspray) as much as the show. […]

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