Slick, streamlined and spirited, Dreamgirls is a hit all over again in its first ever West End outing. High production values and excellent direction mean the show could open on Broadway tomorrow and blow them all away.
Brimming with lively energy and infectious charm, classic musical Half A Sixpence benefits mightily from the Cameron Mackintosh reinvention treatment.
As big a hit now on the West End as on Broadway, School of Rock has cemented its place as Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s return to the top.
School of Rock is not highbrow art by any stretch, but the show is expertly crafted as a sure-fire crowd pleaser, and if you are not grinning and clapping along at the big Battle of the Bands finale then you might as well just stay home.
For their popular annual winter musical, Menier Chocolate Factory serves up a delectable chocolate box of melodies with Golden Age romantic musical comedy She Loves Me.
Surreal and deliberately inscrutable, production and performance of the David Bowie musical Lazarus respects and subtly celebrates the great artist’s talent and legacy.
Dazzling and affecting in equal measure, Matthew Bourne’s new work is as superbly realised as it is ingeniously conceived.
Twentieth anniversary revival of Yasmina Reza’s contemporary classic is well acted, but conservative.
whilst nothing comprehensive can be drawn from the 300 or so plays that I saw in 2016, I think it is interesting to break down the figures and see how they look.
With Christmas in full swing, it feels like a good time to look back at the highlights of a busy year for theatre in Manchester. Here are Upstaged Manchester’s theatrical highlights of 2016. Which shows would make your list?
Alexander Zeldin’s world premiere of Love is by no means a stereotypical interpretation of the emotion. Natasha Jenkins presents a semi-immersive set, a run-down, stark social housing unit that bleeds out into the audience space – the front rows directly sit in the way of the production itself.
It takes seasoned performer Matt Henry (Olivier award winner, Best Actor In a Musical) as feisty drag queen Lola to kick Kinky Boots back into high gear. Ultimately this musical works best when allowed to go the whole hog, camp as Christmas and twice as fabulous.
Seventy years ago, J B Priestley’s thriller An Inspector Calls was first staged in the UK. Twenty-five years ago, Stephen Daldry’s acclaimed, progressive production opened at the National. His approach shook up the insular, drawing room script in order to highlight the selfish elitism of the middle and upper classes and has been regularly staged since 1992.
Why is comedy, in the words of the cliché, such a serious business? One reason is that what we laugh at says a lot about who we are as a nation; another is that the simple “joy of laughter” drowns out the anxieties of life’s little, and not so little, agonies.
Great work from Ken Stott and Reece Shearsmith saves a nostalgic drama from wallowing in its own Britishness.