fri 06/12/2019

Menier Chocolate Factory

The Boy Friend, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fun but featherweight

There’s slight (White Christmas, to name but one) and then there’s The Boy Friend, a period musical so unabashedly vaporous that if you sneeze, it might blow away. All credit then to the Menier Chocolate Factory for anchoring Sandy Wilson’s...

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The Watsons, Menier Chocolate Factory review - Laura Wade's inventive new play

What a joy Laura Wade's latest play is. Transferring from its successful run at the Minerva Theatre at Chichester last year, The Watsons is developed from Jane Austen's unfinished novel (started in 1804 and abandoned the following year). But rather...

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The Bridges of Madison County, Menier Chocolate Factory review - Iowan romance fizzles

Robert James Waller’s bestselling, though critically panned, 1992 romance novel was reincarnated in the Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep-starring film, and then again in Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman’s Tony-winning 2013 musical – both...

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Orpheus Descending, Menier Chocolate Factory review - Tennessee Williams scorcher needs more firepower

Where would Tennessee Williams's onetime flop be without the British theatre to rehabilitate it on an ongoing basis? Arriving at the Menier Chocolate Factory in a co-production with Theatre Clwyd, where Tamara Harvey's production has already been...

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Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre, review – energetic production whips up an emotional storm

In an age where political, social, and gender norms seem to be in perpetual meltdown, it should be pretty much impossible for a musical that begins with a song celebrating ‘Tradition’ to strike a chord. Yet from the moment that the cast of Trevor...

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The Bay at Nice, Menier Chocolate Factory review - David Hare talkfest takes intermittent wing

David Hare knows a thing or two about sustaining an onstage face-off. Skylight and The Breath of Life consist tantalisingly of little else and so, for the most part, does his 1986 curiosity The Bay at Nice, which I caught back in the day during a...

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Fiddler on the Roof, Menier Chocolate Factory review - family matters in this sensitive musical revival

There’s a welcome alternative to panto hijinks in this gem of a Trevor Nunn musical revival – more attuned to the biting hardships of winter, and to the elegiac aspect of change, than to festive jollies. Which is not to say that there isn’t rousing...

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Pack of Lies, Menier Chocolate Factory review - suburban spy story

We do love our spy stories, don't we? The idea of betrayal, both political and personal, seems to be a strong part of our national identity. And so is telling stories based on real events. Playwright Hugh Whitemore, who died in July, based his Pack...

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Spamilton, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fun if overstuffed

If it's possible to have somewhat too much of a good thing, that would seem to be the case with the British premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory of Spamilton. The latest in the indefatigable catalogue of New York songwriter-satirist Gerard...

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The Grönholm Method, Menier Chocolate Factory - sleek and short but in no way deep

Add Catalan writer Jordi Galcerán to the shortlist of European playwrights who are finding an international perch, in this case with a tricksy four-character play that has had more than 200 productions in over 60 countries. The UK premiere of...

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Kiss of the Spider Woman, Menier Chocolate Factory review - brilliantly performed and imaginatively staged

No, this isn't the large-scale Kander and Ebb musical, which opened in 1992 in London before transferring for a sizeable run on Broadway. Laurie Sansom's expert production instead both revisits and revises the lesser-known source of that song-and-...

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Barnum, Menier Chocolate Factory review - a big, blowsy spectacle

You have to hand it to Menier Chocolate Factory, a venue that doesn't let size matter as it stages an all-singing, all-dancing new production of Barnum, a musical about Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum – the 19th-century showman famed for staging “The...

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