Bloody hell: A Monster Calls, The King and I, The Jungle, Bring it On and Young Frankenstein

Sally Cookson’s brilliant and touching staging of Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls is currently at the Old Vic, London. There were many moments of genius, in the direction and delivery of this gorgeous production. It’s another lovely, solid effort from one of Britain’s most enduring directors. There is something seriously lovely about the coiled rope […]


London Theatre is a flickering tealight of hope: Allelujah! Bat out of Hell, Fun Home & King Lear

There is a special furnace in theatre hell reserved for rubbish state-of-the-nation plays, so I’ll keep it brief. You thought Young Marx was dull? Try staying awake through Alan Bennett’s new play, where the substance is so lacking that it prompted me to leave at the interval. Since the NHS is never out of the […]


 Is ‘The King and I’ the most problematic musical of all time? Yes and No

The King and I

Most lavish and exciting musical revival of 2018, so far? No contest: The King and I. 67 years on from its Broadway debut, whatever our differences elsewhere, I hoped there’d be one thing which we’d all agree on. The King and I is a timeless classic and this is a show of considerable quality. This […]



Falling into the roses and coming out smelling of shit

Guest Review by Ollie Cole Journalist • Broadcaster • Producer • Photographer What happens when you cross a plot that’s thinner than Donald Trump’s hairline with a NOW album of rock ballads? Knights of the Rose, apparently. Describing itself as a classic rock musical ‘of Shakespearean proportions’, the song list of this new jukebox musical prompted […]

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Top Shows of 2017 (According to me)

Theatre’s great isn’t it? Well not all of it – some of it is shit.  Anyway, 2017 has been a terrific year for theatre – through which I have tried to do what most of the theatre media forgot to do – salute theatre’s good bits, even if doing so required shining a light on […]

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How Bad Can ‘The Band’ Be? Spectacularly.

Just as it is hard to hate someone who has smashed the wing mirror off one’s car if the note under your windscreen wiper comes with a little smiley face at the bottom, it is hard to completely dislike the cunning adherence to the jukebox blueprint. Sadly, by no stretch of the imagination is The […]



StageCon. No. Just, no.


I have been getting slowly obsessed with StageCon. Not because it’s any good – it is, of course, utterly dicey– but because of the shamelessness of it. Events featured will include live performances, sing-a-longs, discussions, cast reunions, panels, games, previews, workshops, meet and greets and showcases.  As you may have noticed, StageCon was announced and Twitter lost its mind. I suppose an outrage is […]


Lyn Gardner & The Guardian: the end of an era?

Lyn Gardner

Like a phantom itch from an amputated limb, the Guardian have decided to call time on critic and journalist Lyn Gardner writing about theatre. It is one of the stupidest things it’s ever done. The writing has been on the wall for some time. Last year, the idiots who run the Guardian cut her weekly […]

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Salisbury Playhouse’s boss Gareth Machin: ‘There is a desire to demonstrate that the city is open for business, that it’s moving on & that it doesn’t want to be defined by what’s happened here.’

Gareth Machin is the artistic director of Salisbury Playhouse in Wiltshire. He is also the director and writer of Moonfleet, a new British musical based on the well-loved novel by J Meade Faulkner. Set amongst the cliffs and caves of 18th century Dorset and is the story of a young man’s search for adventure and fulfilment. […]