The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is a beautiful, uncomplicated musical about courage, love and doing the right thing, and this production is a beautiful, uncomplicated rendition that stays true to its heart... 

Letters Live

Letters Live

The joy and the pain, the wisdom and the humour preserved by the humble letter – expertly brought to life by some of the most acclaimed performers from around the world. Letters Live has been moving audiences to both laughter and tears since 2013, in a live celebration of the enduring power of written correspondence... 

The Magnetic Fields 2

The Magnetic Fields 2

Leftfield pop’s answer to Stephen Sondheim, Stephin Merritt has been called one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th and 21st centuries. And to celebrate his 50th birthday, Stephin has created a brand new set of 50 songs – one for each year of his existence... 

The Magnetic Fields 1

The Magnetic Fields 1

Leftfield pop’s answer to Stephen Sondheim, Stephin Merritt has been called one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th and 21st centuries. And to celebrate his 50th birthday, Stephin has created a brand new set of 50 songs – one for each year of his existence... 

Alfred Brendel

Alfred Brendel

Alfred Brendel does not believe that the merits of an artist can be explained or illuminated by his private life. He is never going to write an autobiography and confesses that, to him, there are many things a great deal more intriguing than his own private persona... 

Room 29

Room 29

Do you believe in ghosts? What if a room could tell you the life stories of the people that have inhabited it? Better still – what if it could sing you those stories? In this brand new collaboration, Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales give voice to the ghosts of Room 29 at the Château Marmont Hotel in Hollywood – using music, dance, theatrics, clips from classic Hollywood movies, and plenty more... 

The Divide - Part 2

The Divide - Part 2

In The Divide Pt 2, Alan Ayckbourn answers my primary issues with Pt 1: the lack of a driving narrative force, and an associated lack of meaningful emotional resonance. The plot comes into focus in Pt 2 quickly as a forbidden romance becomes a political statement... 

The Divide - Part 1

The Divide - Part 1

Man, I love theatres. It is easy, during the Edinburgh Festival(s) to have a perfectly entertaining month without ever stepping foot in a real theatre. While the Edinburgh Fringe has somewhat eclipsed the International Festival with quantity, by putting shows in hotel rooms, basements and an inflated purple cow, Alan Ayckbourn shoots back with a show that provides ample opportunity to impress with the kind of stagecraft unique to a big theatre... 

Paul Auster at 70

Paul Auster at 70

If you had to pick one writer to sum up the inventive spirit of the post-war transatlantic era, you could hardly do better than Paul Auster. Ever since he burst onto the scene with his New York Trilogy of interconnected novels, Auster has remained a major figure in world literature... 

Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine

“I used to be Shirley Valentine,” explains the focus of Willy Russell’s 1986 one-woman play; a 42 year old Liverpudlian woman who, now that the children have flown the nest, is fed up with life as Shirley Bradshaw, and frightened of life beyond the kitchen wall with which she frequently engages in conversation... 

Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show

Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show

There’s one deliciously unique—sadly never repeatable—moment during the opening night of Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show, when Stewart introduces the singer Susan Boyle as a surprise guest... 

We're Going On A Bear Hunt

We're Going On A Bear Hunt

You can always feel a particular kind of excitement in an auditorium, before “curtain up”, when a significant proportion of the audience are (a) less than five years old, and (b) waiting for quite possibly one of their favourite books to be recreated on stage... 

Cinderella

Cinderella

Pantomime, as we’re reminded by the Ambassador Theatre Group’s pre-show video (narrated by Brian Blessed), is a peculiarly British theatrical tradition, although it’s a shame that this somewhat generic introduction (unchanged since last year, and presumably shown across the UK) doesn’t recognise the particular Glaswegian accents of the long-established King’s Theatre pantomime... 

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

There’s no doubting the energy in Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre before this show starts; many kids are already singing along to a soundtrack of current chart hits. And when the curtain rises, we’re into the first song and dance number with barely a pause for breath... 

Sister Act

Sister Act

Sister Act, the ever-popular stage musical based on the successful Whoopie Goldberg film, is a feel-good delight, and this latest production starring X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke certainly does it justice... 

Chicago

Chicago

World-famous musical Chicago follows the lives of two women in a Chicago prison in the 1920s, both awaiting trial for murder. One of them, Velma Kelly, caught her husband having an affair with her sister and is accused of shooting them both, and the other, Roxy Hart, shot her lover when he tried to leave her... 

Bring It On

Bring It On

Nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical and inspired by the hit film, we take you on a high-flying journey through the cutthroat world of competitive cheerleading and the fierce rivalries of American high school politics! Filled with romance, friendship, jealousy, betrayal, and forgiveness... 

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

All theatre requires some degree of “suspension of disbelief”. Avenue Q’s biggest “ask” of audiences isn’t just to accept that a majority of the show’s characters are puppets; it’s that these puppets’ operators are clearly visible beside them on stage... 

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach

The fantastical, magical stories created by Roald Dahl have proven themselves to have the potential to inspire family shows that enthral rather than patronise with the award-winning Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda still running in the West End... 

Jackie! The Musical

Jackie! The Musical

The atmosphere on New Road was buzzing. Groups of ladies giggled over glasses of white wine in the Theatre Bar. Friends and family waited excitedly in line to get their tickets from the box office, and smiling down at us were blown up covers of old Jackie magazines... 

Canned Laughter

Canned Laughter

Some people claim that the 1960s and 1970s were the golden age of British comedy. There’s plenty of to enjoy from this era but it often lacks any real substance. Canned Laughter takes tired vaudeville inspired routines and bends them around an up-to-date narrative... 

TOM, the Musical

TOM, the Musical

Everyone has a story about Tom, says the narrator. A truism, but it’s also true that the singer’s early life has reached legendary status within the landscape of his youth. TOM, the Musical follows the struggle of “Jones the Voice” in his push for stardom... 

A Murder is Announced

A Murder is Announced

Coming to a “classic” Agatha Christie whodunnit after a full day’s binging on the latest series of the BBC’s Silent Witness – oh, the life of a reviewer! – is, frankly, a culture shock... 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

It’s that magic time of year when we theatre critics stop watching plays about middle class people and their problems, and get to watch a man in a dress tell dirty jokes to kids for a couple of hours... 

Yer Granny

Yer Granny

Having enjoyed a relatively carefree childhood and colourful teenage youth during the 1970s, I’m often still annoyed by the apparent cultural consensus which dismisses those years as “the decade that taste forgot”... 

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

Written very much in the tradition of the suspense-filled, atmospheric ghost stories by M R James, Susan Hill’s gothic novel, The Woman in Black, has been adapted numerous times since its publication in 1983 –the 2012 Hammer Films co-production, starring Daniel Radcliffe, even inspiring a somewhat maligned sequel... 

The History Boys

The History Boys

The History Boys – at least according to the programme notes accompanying this latest tour – is “generally regarded as Alan Bennett’s masterpiece”. It certainly ranks among his most commercially successful works, with sold-out runs in the West End and on Broadway, an acclaimed film version (adapted by Bennett), numerous stage revivals around the world (including this latest UK tour, by Sell A Door Theatre Company), and apparent overwhelming public love, at least according to English Touring Theatre’s poll to find the “Nation’s Favourite Play”... 

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

It’s called, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ but this isn’t the production you remember from your childhood. Beijing Jingshan School take this classic, well-loved musical and give it an innovative and enthusiastic twist... 

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

Freshly-graduated and bright-eyed Princeton arrives in Avenue Q looking for his purpose but lacking the funds to afford anywhere better to stay. His new neighbours are closeted Republican investment banker Rod plus flatmate Nicky; failing stand-up comic Brian who’s engaged to Asian-American therapist Christmas Eve; internet addict Trekkie Monster; sweet-as-syrup teaching assistant Kate Monster (no relation); Lucy the Slut (no further description required) and building superintendent Gary Coleman... 

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

An English Lit graduate searching for purpose in his life; a closet homosexual banker with repressed feelings for his straight roommate; a porn obsessed monster; an idealistic kindergarten assistant who wants to open a school for monsters; a self-proclaimed slut and Different Strokes' Gary Coleman, are only some of the characters populating Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx's Avenue Q; where humans and puppets live in supportive harmony in a less than salubrious New York neighbourhood which bears more than a passing resemblance to Sesame Street...