sat 05/09/2015

musicals

Six of the best: Theatre

PLAYSBakkhai, Almeida Theatre ***** Ben Whishaw's ambiguous Dionysos and operatic chorus serve superb Euripides translation. Until 17 SeptSplendour, Donmar Warehouse **** Fine revival of Abi Morgan's rarely seen play is well acted,...

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HMS Pinafore, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company

At the beginning of Act Two of John Savournin’s production of HMS Pinafore, the quarterdeck is in darkness. Kevin Greenlaw’s Captain Corcoran steps out of his cabin, downs a brandy stiffener, and launches into his melancholy lament to the moon....

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Grand Hotel, Southwark Playhouse

Never in a million years would you guess that Grand Hotel – the 1989 New York hit now brilliantly revived at Southwark Playhouse – is one of Broadway's great rescue jobs. That something seemingly so organic, so cohesive, so intricate could have...

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Of Thee I Sing, RFH

Satire may famously be what on Broadway closes Saturday night, but last night's concert performance of the Gershwin brothers' Of Thee I Sing found many patrons fleeing the Festival Hall at the interval. The culprit lay in sound issues that...

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Prom 11: Fiddler on the Roof, Grange Park Opera

Stop miking Bryn Terfel. Stop over-miking musicals; the show voices in a hybrid cast don’t need much. Too much ruined English National Opera’s recent Sweeney Todd, and in this Proms adaptation of Grange Park Opera’s summer crowd-pleaser it sent the...

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What's It All About?, Menier Chocolate Factory

Burt Bacharach, existentialist? That's among the surprising thoughts prompted by the searchingly titled What's It All About?, the altogether delightful but also touching musical revue that trawls Bacharach's back catalogue – and that on opening...

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The House of Mirrors & Hearts, Arcola

Musicals are cheesy by nature, aren’t they? If not cheesy, then picturesque. The cast of Les Mis may be grimy and poor, but they’re picture-postcard poor. Even modern musicals play by the rules.But Aemonn O’Dwyer and Rob Gilbert break most of them...

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London Road

So many plays and musicals are adapted from films (Bend it Like Beckham is up next) that it comes as something of a throwback to find a film that takes as its source an acclaimed musical play. The sheer fact that there is a movie of London Road is...

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DVD: The Dancing Years, The Rat

The Dancing Years and The Rat are seemingly very different films. The Dancing Years (***, 1950) is a British musical which defines frou-frou. With a springing-off point in the dizzy world of the waltz-obsessed Vienna of 1910, its lingering shots of...

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CD: Muse - Drones

Almost a decade ago, I went to a disappointing festival in Holland. Driven to distraction by the crowd – a sixth-form disco stuck between the third and fourth circles of Dante's inferno – I, on the advice of a friend, went to see Muse. Their...

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Fiddler on the Roof, Grange Park Opera

Many matches are made in Fiddler on the Roof but the matchmaking prize goes to Grange Park Opera for getting Bryn Terfel to take on the role of Tevye. Having only recently played Sweeney Todd, and indeed throughout a varied career,...

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, RFH

Frank Loesser seems to be known in Britain for one show and one show only, which seems a shame given that the composer-lyricist of Guys and Dolls has a CV that includes the ravishing The Most Happy Fella and his 1962 Pulitzer prize-winning How to...

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