thu 09/04/2020

West End

Sondheim at 90 Songs: 1 - 'I'm Still Here'

Surely there’s never been a more apt time for Sondheim’s great cry of defiance? “I’m Still Here” is sung by showgirl-turned-actress Carlotta in Follies (1971) – added during the Boston try-out in place of “Can That Boy Foxtrot”. Loosely...

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On Blueberry Hill, Trafalgar Studios review - superb acting, specious plot

Some wondrous acting is sacrificed on the altar of an increasingly wonky plot in On Blueberry Hill, the first play in 10 years from Sebastian Barry, the Irish playwright and novelist whose onetime Royal Court entry The Steward of Christendom...

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Pretty Woman: The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre review - not so pretty, actually

It’s not so much that Pretty Woman: The Musical isn’t much good, which it isn’t. More to the point is that this West End replica of the recent Broadway musical of the 1990 film feels utterly superfluous: a gloss on a popular romcom that...

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The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre review - Moses musical goes big and broad

The theatre gods rained down not fire and pestilence, but a 45-minute technical delay on opening night of this substantially revised musical – a stage adaptation of the 1998 DreamWorks animated movie. But nothing could entirely halt this juggernaut...

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The Best Plays in London

London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty National Theatre to the West End, the small powerhouses of the Donmar Warehouse and the Almeida and out to the fringe...

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Upstart Crow, Gielgud Theatre review - terrific Shakespeare spoof

What joy it is to welcome this offshoot of the television series to the West End stage – complete with several of that show's cast, plus a few new additions. Ben Elton has fashioned an original story that picks up in 1605, a decade after where the...

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Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre review - Stoppard at once personal and accessible

It’s not uncommon for playwrights to begin their careers by writing what they know, to co-opt a frequently quoted precept about authorial inspiration. So it’s among the many fascinations of Leopoldstadt that Tom Stoppard, at the age of 82, should...

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Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre review - a superlative company achievement

Uncle Vanya must surely be the closest, the most essential of Chekhov’s plays, its cast – just four main players who are caught up in the drama's fraught emotional action, and four who are essentially supporting – a concentrated unit even by the...

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Frank Skinner, Garrick Theatre review - a masterclass in owning the room

When Frank Skinner did a London run of new material last year, the show was billed as a taster of a longer touring version. I wrote then that the show whetted my appetite for more, and I'm glad to say that the updated version, Showbiz, which now has...

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Curtains, Wyndham's Theatre review - unexpectedly giddy fun

Who knew? This West End premiere of the 2007 Broadway entry from the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret) secured a prime holiday-season slot at the last minute when this playhouse's previous entry, The Man...

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears, London Palladium review - joyously filthy fun

When Qdos brought back pantomime to the Palladium three years ago after an absence of nearly 30 years, it set the bar high with superb production values, a large ensemble, a live band – and a stage stuffed with stars. Now those stars – Julian...

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Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre review - James McAvoy triumphant

Actor James McAvoy is much in demand: in the BBC's His Dark Materials he is busy saving a parallel world, while in the poetic universe of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac he is tasked with soothing more than one aching heart. Opening at the...

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