CRITICS CHOICE: Emily Hardy’s Pick Of 2015

Annie Uk Tour 2015

My pick of 2015 is neither a stroke of theatrical genius like the Almeida’s Oresteia nor a brilliant and original work of art like 1927’s Golum. It is in fact a populist musical, despised by many, dating back to the 1970s. NB: If squeaky-voiced, optimistic red-headed orphans conjure distressing memories of amateur productions past, look away now because my pick of 2015 is… believe it or not… Annie. Nikolai Foster’s fast-paced and punchy production – touring the UK until June 2016 – has given one very old dog a fresh lease of life. Annie, with new colourful choreography and a ‘funky’ edge comparable to that in Tim Minchin’s Matilda, can finally escape the chorus of groans that once accompanied its name. Thanks to this energetic reimagining, it’s once again acceptable to hum Charles Strouse’s Tomorrow (boy oh boy!) and soak up Thomas Meehan’s saccharine rags to riches story – just … Read more

Phil Willmott Company To Present Double Bill At Union Theatre

Phil Wilmott presents a double bill with the Union Theatre

The Union Theatre and The Phil Willmott Company have announced a double bill to be staged at the Union Theatre in early 2016. The season will include the UK professional premiere of Brecht’s Fear And Misery Of The Third Reich, Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show and an Autumn transfer of Queen Lear by Shakespeare from the Union Theatre to the Tristan Bates Theatre. Fear and Misery In The Third Reich is a powerful, tragic and surprisingly funny play by Germany’s most influential playwright which shows people just like us, facing a tide of seemingly unstoppable evil. Brecht asks us to consider how we’d react if (or when) fanaticism were to unexpectedly grip our cosy world. In an interlinked series of snap shots from Hitler’s Germany children inform on parents, justice becomes a joke, old loyalties mean nothing and mere survival demands ruthless cunning. The double bill also sees the first UK … Read more

Casting Announced For Gate Theatre’s In The Night Time Before The Sun Rises

Adelie Leonce and Alex Waldmann star in In the Night Time Before The Sun Rises by Nina Segal at the Gate Theatre

Casting has been announced for the Gate Theatre‘s world premiere production of In The Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) by Nina Segal. The production will feature Alex Waldmann as Man and Adelie Leonce as Woman. The production is directed by Ben Kidd. A baby cries. A bottle breaks. A window smashes. Over the course of one night, mum and dad try to still their screaming infant – but as the hours grow longer, the world becomes elastic around them, and the horrors that scar our planet crash into the baby’s room. Should they ever have brought this child into such a wounded world? This is Nina Segal’s first professionally produced play. The world première of In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises) takes a hallucinatory look at one couple’s experience of having their first baby. In The Night Time (Before The Sun Roses) runs at the Gate Theatre … Read more

CRITIC’S CHOICE: Douglas Mayo’s Pick Of 2015

Duncton Wood review Union Theatre

It’s been a great year for producers Off West End and three productions in particular highlighted the great wealth of talent that will ensure the future of British musical theatre. My pick(s) of 2015 are as follows:- The Clockmaker’s Daughter – Landor Theatre Michael Webborn and Daniel Finn’s muiscal fairytale was an engaging as any audience member could possibly hope for and showed enormous possibilities. Duncton Wood – Union Theatre Michael Strassen’s wonderful production of Duncton Wood (music and lyrics from Mark Carroll, book by James Peries, adapted from Horwood’s book) cemented the Union’s status as an Off West End venue committed to developing new writing talent. Fanny And Stella – Above The Stag Glenn Chandler and Charles Miller hit upon a winner with Fanny And Stella. Based on the true story of Ernest Boulton (Stella) and William Park (Fanny), the musical told the story of two notorious Victorian cross-dressers … Read more

Impossible UK Tour

Impossible UK Tour

THIS TOUR HAS NOW CONCLUDED Impossible, the most dangerous show ever seen, featuring the world’s greatest illusionists live on stage in a magic spectacular that will thrill and amaze audiences of all ages. Fusing death-defying stunts, technological trickery, grand stage illusions and close-up magic in a fast-paced breath-taking performance, Impossible reinvents the biggest illusions in history in the greatest magic show on earth. Fresh from its ground-breaking run in London’s West End, prepare to be mesmerized and baffled as Impossible brings together world-class performers showing off a stunning range of magical artistry; from astonishing acts of epic proportions to dumbfounding sleight of hand. IMPOSSIBLE UK TOUR PAST DATES Tuesday 9 – Saturday 13 February 2016 Liverpool Empire Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 February 2016 New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 February 2016 Sunderland Empire Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 March 2016 Regent Theatre, Stoke On Trent Tuesday 15 – Saturday 19 … Read more

CRITICS CHOICE: Danny Coleman-Cooke’s Pick of 2015

Siobhan McCarthy and Jeremy Secomb in Tooting Arts Club's Sweeney Todd.

We asked each of our reviewers to nominate their favourite show of 2015. Danny Coleman-Cooke was quick with his reponse – Sweeney Todd by Tooting Arts Club with Jeremy Secomb and Sionhan McCarthy. Sweeney Todd was a spell-binding production that remained in my head for days afterwards. An eerie and perfectly chosen venue combined with a first-class cast and some highly intelligent staging. The most intimate and engaging production I’ve ever seen that rightly got a standing ovation afterwards. It was so good that even Sondheim gave it rave reviews! The show was transferred to a recreation of Harrington’s Pie And Mash Shop on Shaftesbury Avenue with the help of Cameron Mackintosh. See choices from Tim Hochstrasser and Douglas Mayo

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol, Middle Temple Hall ✭✭✭✭

Antic Disposition presents A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall

Once again this year, Antic Disposition have bought their formidable skills to staging this festive classic at Middle Temple Hall, a venue associated with Dickens himself. Atmospherically, you realise upon entering this hallowed hall that you are in for a very special staging indeed and the audience were not short-changed.

CRITICS CHOICE: Tim Hochstrasser’s Pick Of 2015

Henry V at Temple Church

My best revival recommendation would go to Antic Disposition’s HENRY V played in the evocative setting of Temple Church. It is very hard to find something new to say about one of the most familiar plays in the canon, but this production developed a fully thought through and reconfigured setting in the period of the First World War that fused precisely and informatively with the original.