Interview

Nancy Medina: “There is something emotionally sad about the arts world not embracing more representative stories, because it would be a lot less rich without them.”

It is 2.30pm and today is all about Brookyn born director Nancy Medina. “I am thinking: what am I doing here? How did this happen?” she declares, laughing. We are talking at Shakespeare’s Globe ahead of an industry reception where Medina will be presented with the Royal Theatrical Support Trust Sir Peter Hall Director Award. […]

Sheila Atim interview: ‘The government could do with empowering people to get in the driving seat, particularly those who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance.’

In April, Olivier Award winning Actor Sheila Atim said that she wanted to see more women ‘who look like her’ winning Olivier awards. Atim also warned that the industry should not “get complacent” about diversity, saying there is “always work to do”. Atim is positive about developments but also direct about the pressing importance of […]

Leanne Cope

An American in Paris’ Leanne Cope: ‘You may be surprised that you do, in fact, like ballet.’

Leanne Cope created the role of Lise Dassin (Christopher Wheeldon’s award-winning An American in Paris) for Théâtre du Châtelet and on Broadway. A major North American tour continues now and a new production will open in Tokyo in January 2019. An American in Paris is being beamed into cinemas worldwide on May 16 and so […]

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How bad can Strictly Ballroom be? Spectacularly.

The first in Baz Luhrmann’s “red curtain trilogy”, Strictly Ballroom became the sixth most successful film of all time in Australia. The show is based on Luhrmann’s musical film of the same name. If this sort of brainless commercialism is one of the great enemies of light entertainment then the other is definitely excessive Drew McOnie […]

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So I went along to the launch of Company

On reading the phrase ‘An invitation to the official launch of Elliott & Harper’s revival of Company at Joe Allen with director Marianne Elliott & cast members Rosalie Craig, Broadway legend Patti LuPone and Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc’ together in one sentence you know you’re in for quite a treat. I mean, it’s not every day you get the […]

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Olivier Awards 2018: A blow-by-blow account

It may not have seemed like it, but 2017 was actually a record year for London’s theatre industry with 246 productions, 15,000,000 million tickets sold, 99 new plays, 13 new musicals and 45 dance and opera productions. Thanks to a combination of blazing new musicals (An American in Paris, Girl From The North Country & […]

#SAVESTAGELIGHTING
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Europe’s Theatres in Crisis as Venues Face Going Dark

As the theatrical landmark event of the year, the Olivier Awards approach us this weekend, a sinister cloud looms in the not too distant future. In a nutshell this cloud comes in the form of proposed EU legislation which would ban the sale of almost all stage lighting units. On the face of it, this […]

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Our creative curriculum isn’t going down without a fight: The Big Arts & Education Debate

The English Baccalaureate (EBbacc) in its current form is depriving the next generation of creative talent. Since 2010 there has been a 28% drop in the number of children taking creative GCSEs, with a similar drop in the number of creative arts teachers being trained. The Government’s ambition is to see 90% of GCSE pupils […]

Review

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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 […]

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Review: Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle

Cometh the hour, cometh the show directed by Marianne Elliott, the inaugural show for Elliott & Harper Productions, the company she has set up with director Chris Harper. It’s fair to say that expectations were high… But as anyone will tell you in these difficult theatre times, coming up with the show can be the […]

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Five Things You Should Know About Follies

1.    Let’s cut to the chase: Follies contains some of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in a musical. It features Stephen Sondheim veterans Philip Quast, Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee. Most incredible of all, the way this sparkly ensemble revisit their former lives from 30 years ago to when they first met while working […]

Wind In The Willows
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Alright, theatre needs a kick up the arse

Most of the West End and supporting media is populated by the manliest men with manliest tastes, who only produce or consider the existence of theatre because they need to tick boxes and make what they perceive to be easy cash. No wonder so much theatre is so joyless. It got me thinking… You see […]

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REVIEW: Angels in America

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‘The Girls’ boasts a solid female cast, inventive design and score and makes for a successful screen-to-stage transfer

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s The Girls  Phoenix Theatre, London.   [wp-review id=”6447″] Following a ‘tryout’ last year at The Leeds Grand Theatre and The Lowry in Manchester, ‘The Girls’ boldly finds itself lighting up the West End. Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s new musical – based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls, is a delight […]

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Beth Iredale’s take on The Book of Mormon

Ms Beth Iredale took a trip to see the popular musical. She did a drawing. The Tony and Olivier Award-winning production is from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and follows a couple of Mormon boys sent on a mission. The Book of Mormon is currently running at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Click HERE to book […]

Guest Blog – Beth Iredale’s ‘Dedication’ sketch review

Beth Iredale took part in the original Young Critics project at Theatre Royal Winchester in 2015. Her drawings are a very impressive critical response in the world of online noise. We went to watch  ‘Dedication‘ directed by Sam Hodges earlier this week at The Nuffield in Southampton. To say Beth is a promising critical voice […]

Blog

Bridge Theatre
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Bridge Theatre: A Very Very Very Questionable Year

Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr’s year-old theatre is testing my patience. The mission statement of the two Nicks was to focus primarily on new plays. I suppose they did do that. One thing’s for sure, though – the 900-seat, £12.5m Bridge Theatre, has the best toilets in London. No subsidy either. 100% commercial theatre, folks, and disappointingly, when I glanced a programme, within the […]

COMPANY is exciting, fresh and relevant

Further proof, if it were needed, there’s not a single theatre format that can’t be improved by the presence of Marianne Elliott. See: Angels in America / War Horse / Curious Incident. Elliott & Harper’s gender-switch reinvention of Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy COMPANY, will go down in West End folklore. Knocked flat by this wonderful musical, I saw stars at […]

The Inheritance
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So obviously ‘The Inheritance’ is fairly incredible

Right – so I’ve seen The Inheritance (again) and it’s a pretty astonishing piece of work. The Young Vic’s show of the year: The Inheritance, written by Matthew Lopez and directed by Stephen Daldry, is as close to theatre perfection as it gets. Is the hype real? Yes, folks. Theatrically, tonally, politically and conceptually it’s right up there with Tony Kushner’s sprawling Angels in […]

StageCon
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Remembering the worst idea of all time: StageCon

Make it through the first nine circles of hell and you’ll find a bunch of average theatre people, in Shoreditch Town Hall, over a weekend taking selfies with millenials – for £160. An idea, surely, no one in their right mind would pass off as entertainment or fan engagement. The inaugural and ironically, probably last ever […]

Joel Fram Photo by Helen Maybanks
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Interview with COMPANY Musical Supervisor Joel Fram

Joel Fram is an international music arranger and conductor. He has worked extensively in the West End and on Broadway. He also happens to oversee the Musical Theatre Writing Workshop at the National Theatre. I thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with Joel during tech week as he has literally the most […]

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Theatre Diary: Sweet Charity, SIX The Musical, Abigail’s Party & Eugenius!

It’s a popular misconception, and one frequently held by opportunists, that low quality, no-redeeming-features musicals are easy to palm off on theatre fans. See: Heathers / The Band. Far from being guaranteed to rock your world, EUGENIUS! is guaranteed to bore you rigid. It is with deep regret that I inform you this sci-fi super hero show is not a […]

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Kiln Theatre: why the north London theatre rebrand is cause for celebration

The Tricycle is no more: earlier this year Indhu Rubasingham relaunched it as the Kiln theatre. Before going any further, let’s nail this idea that Kiln Theatre is a mistake. It’s a dangerous half-truth which seriously underestimates artistic director Rubhasingham. So it should be pointed out as a matter of urgency, that it is not the end of the world. […]

STAGE CON
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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]