My 2017 Theatre Highlights – Douglas Mayo

Book now for 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

We asked our review team to nominate their 2017 theatre highlights. Douglas Mayo nominated his favourites. 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) Never did I ever think I would see a production of 42nd Street on stage on the scale that is currently on stage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The cast including Tom Lister, Jasna Ivir, Clare Halse, Stuart Neal and the sublime Sheena Easton would have been more than enough but add Douglas W Schmidt’s incredible set that fully utilised the enormous stage of the Theatre Royal and Roger Kirk’s fabulous costumes and you were all set for an experience unlike any other. I quite honestly had tears of joy streaming down my face throughout. Book tickets for 42nd Street. Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre) Hyped to oblivion, it was great to see a show that lived up to the hype. I’ve been listening to the cast album … Read more

Top Touring Shows of 2017

The Addams Family UK tour

Douglas Mayo nominates the top touring shows from 2017 and congratulates the teams of people who make these amazing shows travel the length and breadth of the UK each week. The Addams Family One of the best new touring productions of 2017, Andrew Lippa’s The Addams Family was an absolute joy. Stunning performances backed up by a stunning production. Producers Katy Lipson and the Music and Lyrics consortium should be justifiably proud. I repeat my call for a cast album since no recording of the revised show exists and hope that the show will return for another tour. Read our review. Legally Blonde As vivacious, wonderful and heart-felt as the original London production, Lucie Jones takes on one of the great modern musical theatre roles and triumphs in this new production produced by UK Productions. A joyous night in the theatre to shake away real life blues! Read our review. … Read more

My 2017 Theatre Highlights – Mark Ludmon

Book tickets for An Octaroon at Orange Tree Theatre

We asked our review team to nominate their 2017 theatre highlights. Mark Ludmon nominated his favourites. An Octoroon, (Orange Tree Theatre) This year saw the arrival in the UK of the work of acclaimed American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Hampstead Theatre presented his dark unsettling satire Gloria while the Orange Tree Theatre gave us his theatrically inventive play An Octoroon. Using Dion Boucicault’s once-popular 1858 melodrama The Octoroon as its starting point, this cleverly explored the black experience from the perspective of 19th-century slavery. With a strong cast directed by Ned Bennett, the production was bursting with ideas, laughs and energy, often breaking the fourth wall to great effect. Read my review. Barber Shop Chronicles, (National Theatre) The vibrancy of Inua Ellams’ new play Barber Shop Chronicles hits you from the moment you enter the foyer of the National’s Dorfman Theatre, decked out with signage from barbers around the world. To … Read more

REVIEW: Must Close Saturday, The Decline and Fall Of The British Musical Flop ✭✭✭✭

Must Close Saturday Review by Adrian Wright

Must Close Saturday The Decline and Fall of the British Musical Flop by Adrian Wright Boydell Press 4 Stars ISBN: 9781783272358 Order a copy from Amazon.co.uk If like me you have musical theatre running through your blood, Adrian Wright’s hefty new tome makes for an interesting read. It’s certainly kept me entertained over the festive period. Like Ken Mandelbaum’s Not Since Carrie… which chronicled Broadway musical flops, Wright chronicles British flops from 1960’s The Lily White Boys to 2016’s The Go Between. Whether you agree with Wright’s definition of a flop or not, seeing this weighty collection of British musicals collected together makes you realise that there is probably no subject that is off-limits for musicalisation. The Holocaust, French painters, the Rector Of Stifley, Edward and Mrs Simpson, Marilyn Monroe, Lewis Carroll, Jack the Ripper, the Virgin Mary, sexual problems, the electric chair, the wives of Henry VIII and variations … Read more

My 2017 Theatre Highlights – Julian Eaves

Girl From The North Country

We asked our review team to nominate their 2017 theatre highlights. Julian Eaves nominated his favourites. This has been a terrific year for new musical theatre writing, with so much great talent on show that it’s difficult to know where to begin. ‘The State of Things’ by Thomas Attwood and Elliot Clay made a dazzling debut at the ever-enterprising Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, with a score that easily outshone some much more celebrated new productions in the West End, and a book that holds promise but needs more development.  Speaking of which, ‘Everyone’s Talking About Jamie‘ arrived from Yorkshire as a terrific collection of songs by Dan Gillespie-Sells and Tom MacRae, although the latter’s book doesn’t exert quite the same grip on the imagination.  This seems to be a frequently experienced problem with new musical theatre and it is one that occupies the mind of many in the industry. Read … Read more

FIRST LOOK: Bananaman the musical at Southwark Playhouse

Bananaman the musical at Southwark Playhouse

Take a look at Pamela Raith’s great first look production images from Bananaman the musical now playing at Southwark Playhouse. Bananaman began life in the Nutty comic in 1980, and was a flyaway success, transferring to The Dandy before joining the world’s longest-running comic, The Beano in 2012 and he is now one of The Beano’s flagship characters. A send-up of the likes of Superman and Batman, he was the subject of the hugely popular TV cartoon that ran between 1983 and 1986 for three series and 40 episodes on the BBC and featured the voices of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie from The Goodies. Fans of the the TV series will remember the iconic opening sequence, “This is 29 Acacia Road. And this is Eric Wimp. He’s a schoolboy who leads an amazing double life. For when Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is … Read more