tue 16/04/2024

musicals

Opening Night, Gielgud Theatre review - brave, yes, but also misguided and bizarre

Is there a more purely likeable actress than Sheridan Smith, the performer who was still a teenager when she stole the show at the Donmar in Into the Woods and who managed, as Elle Woods in the West End premiere of Legally Blonde, to bring...

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MJ the Musical, Prince Edward Theatre review - glitzy jukebox musical with a superb star but a void inside

In a secret chamber somewhere, the producers of MJ the Musical may be keeping a portrait of the King of Pop that has acquired all his scars, physical and psychological.Few of them, though, are on show in this version of the ongoing Broadway hit...

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Standing at the Sky's Edge, Gillian Lynne Theatre review - heartwarming Sheffield musical arrives in the West End

Can there be anyone from Sheffield who has not seen Standing at the Sky’s Edge, possibly several times? This is the once local show, opening at the Sheffield Crucible in 2019, playing at the National Theatre's Olivier in 2023, and now bringing a...

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Cruel Intentions, The Other Palace review - uneasy vibes, hit tunes and sparkling staging

Transgression was so deliciously enticing. Back in the Eighties when I saw Les Liaisons Dangereuses in the West End on three occasions, life was simpler – or so us straight white men flattered ourselves to believe. Consent was for unproblematic...

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Cable Street, Southwark Playhouse review - engaging new musical in an impressive staging

Hot on the heels of Brigid Larmour’s updating of The Merchant of Venice to the East End in 1936, a spirited new musical across town at Southwark Playhouse is tackling the same topic: the impact of rising British fascism in the same era,...

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The Big Life, Stratford East review - musical brings the joy and honours the past

Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? There are plenty of opportunities to test that theory in Tinuke Craig’s riotous revival of The Big Life, two decades on from its first run at this very venue. Much has...

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Hadestown, Lyric Theatre review - soul-stirring musical gloriously revamps classical myths

Doom and gloom, we are told, may have abounded in the classical underworld, but Hadestown suggests otherwise. Returning to London five years after its run at the National Theatre, this time with a slew of Tony Awards, this bracing musical...

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Just For One Day, The Old Vic review - clunky scenes and self-conscious exposition between great songs

So, a jukebox musical celebrating the apotheosis of the White Saviour, the ultimate carnival of rock stars’ self-aggrandisement and the Boomers’ biggest bonanza of feelgood posturing? One is tempted to stand opposite The Old Vic, point at the...

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Bronco Billy, Charing Cross Theatre - schmaltzy musical brings the feelgood factor just when it's needed

When entering a particular, well-populated region of MusicalTheatreLand, one has to check in a few items at the border. Weary cynicism, the desire for narrative coherence, that nerve that starts to throb when sentimentality oozes across the fourth...

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The King and I, Dominion Theatre review - welcome return for the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic

The giant crinolines are back, and the winsome little royal children with miniature temples on their heads, and the glorious songs. The King and I is at the Dominion for a six-week run: how does its storyline look under a 21st century follow-spot?...

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The Color Purple review - sensational second time round for Alice Walker's novel on screen

How many re-tellings can Alice Walker's The Color Purple take? A helluva lot, as the candid Sofia, one of the work's seminal characters, might put it.Adapted by Steven Spielberg for the screen in 1985, and then as a Broadway musical that had two...

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Pacific Overtures, Menier Chocolate Factory review - lesser-known Sondheim scores afresh

This is, by my reckoning at least, the third major London production over the years of Pacific Overtures, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's dazzling curiosity of a show first seen on Broadway in 1976 and reappraised ever since in stagings...

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