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 […]

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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 […]



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 […]


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 […]


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 […]

The Inheritance

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 […]


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 […]