Rachel Tucker: ‘Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart.’

‘My favourite start to my working day and I’m only allowed one of them – is a triple shot americano,’ grins Rachel Tucker. I follow her lead and order one for myself at the Pret on Shaftesbury Avenue – just off Cambridge Circus where we meet. It’s a joy interviewing Tucker; a unique combination of […]


Bill Deamer: ‘We are not doing a carbon copy; that was that production of Follies and this is a new production of Follies.’

Choreographer Bill Deamer enters the room. ‘Hello!’ he says cheerily. Bill Deamer is one of Britain’s leading song and dance men for theatre, film and TV. Last year he bagged himself an Olivier nomination for Best Theatre Choreographer for Follies.  Now Dominic Cooke’s production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s masterpiece, is back at the National Theatre. We are talking in the interview room backstage at the National […]


Slung Low’s Alan Lane: ‘These are incredibly challenging times… if we are not careful, we will end up managing our own decline.’

‘I am the worst yoga person in the world – I’m terrible at it,’ announces Alan Lane. (FYI Lane is currently participating in a 30-day yoga challenge). Lane is the artistic director of the brilliant Leeds theatre company Slung Low, you might know him from his dismantling of all-comers and bearing of emotions on social media […]

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 […]

Joel Fram Photo by Helen Maybanks

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 […]

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 […]


Wendell Pierce

Death of a Salesman – God I love this show

Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell have treated us to a mesmerising evening that is overflowing with suspended furniture, sliding door frames, live music, Arinzé Kene in a vest and a inspired new version of Death of a Salesman, at the Young Vic.  Inspired as in the Loman family are black, which casts their drudgery in […]

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Standing at The Sky’s Edge

Standing At The Sky’s Edge’s portrayal of high-rise communities in the iconic concrete housing estate could hardly be bettered. It’s an evocative setting. Park Hill was built in the 1950’s as a solution to the city’s social housing. This new musical is all about that estate, its residents and is something very special indeed. It celebrates […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


REVIEW: Angels in America


‘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 […]


Sweeney and Mrs Lovett (image with him sat on chair)
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Mesmerising Sweeney Todd got me by the throat

Lots to love about Nick Bagnall’s stripped-back Sweeney Todd in Liverpool, including the cast, acting, and absorbing scenes between Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett and the decision to set it in a time of Brexhaustion. Everything seems fresh minted.  Bagnall’s wickedly heartfelt production with just four musicians and nine actors is something very special indeed. […]

Olivier Awards 2019

The Olivier Awards. It’s not all that.

THERE are many good reasons why The Olivier Awards with Mastercard are theatre’s biggest night. Central to most of them are the performances by actors from your favourite west end shows having the time of their lives and at the height of their theatre powers, who demand the attention of the audience. The cast of […]

The Color Purple

Where next for The Color Purple?

Brexit has been delayed, the far-right is on the rise & global warming continues. But fear not. An actress with extreme views on LGBTQ+ folk has just been cast as a lesbian in The Color Purple. Repeat. An actress with extreme views on LGBTQ+ folk has just been cast as a lesbian in The Color Purple. At […]


The Olivier Awards 2019: Who I Want To Win and Who Will Win

SO, musicals Company and Come from Away lead the 2019 Olivier Award nominations, both receiving nine nominations, which is absolutely ideal.  If you haven’t seen Marianne Elliott’s gender-switched revival of Company or the exuberant 9/11 musical Come From Away yet – please do because I no longer wish to speak to anyone who hasn’t watched them at least once.  It’s another storming year for Sonia […]

Julian Ovenden and Gillian Anderson in All About Eve.

Grievance culture is not unproblematic

How seriously should theatre-goers take a reviewer that keeps using the word problematic? Not seriously at all, obviously. A trend that, arguably, represents everything rotten & self-destructive about the industry currently. Imposing self righteous 21st century values on the past also means work is now regularly dismissed: sight unseen. Who needs creative expression anyway? Balance? […]



As you well know, the National Theatre executed a surprise, everyone-get-out-of-bed-right-now, fucking-hell-what’s-happening-are-we-all-dead-and-is-this-what-the-afterlife-feels-like album release. Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording is here. It’s all very exciting. My thanks for your thoughts at this time and for those who contributed to the trolling of our Royal National Theatre. Hope you all get everything […]

Top 5 shows of 2018 by Carl Woodward

Top 5 Shows of 2018 – (the hype is real)

All these shows are 10/10s. It has been quite a year for theatre. But first I thought it would only be polite to look back at some brilliantly shit moments. Chicago returned with Cuba Gooding Jr as Billy Flynn, which was not ideal. Crumbling shows do these things, of course, in the hope of charming […]

Bridge Theatre

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 […]