Review: When The Long Trick’s Over, HighTide

Some creative genius is going on with the staging for Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s new play for HighTide When The Long Trick’s Over

“Arm over head
Elbow
Stretch”

It was never in doubt but it is still worth restating – HighTide’s commitment to theatre is admirable. Their production of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s new play When The Long Trick’s Over has not only embarked on a tour of the East of England including Aldeburgh, Lowestoft, Diss, Halesworth and Bury St Edmunds, but two shows from its initial run at the New Wolsey in Ipswich were livestreamed for all to see – its just great to see companies truly invested in getting people to see original work.

The play is a curious one, highly inventive in its staging by Grace Smart, as we follow a young woman who is tackling a swim across the English Channel. It wasn’t her plan to do it but she’s signed up in order to pay tribute to the dreams of her sister and in the moments when it feels like she might not meet those ambitions, the presence of her sternly unforgiving mother appears as a somewhat-motivational force, giving her strength to face the unrelenting waves. Continue reading “Review: When The Long Trick’s Over, HighTide”

2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards Shortlist

Best Leading Performer in a New Production of a Musical
Arinzé Kene, Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre
Beverley Knight, The Drifters Girl, Garrick Theatre
Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Dianne Pilkington, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, UK Tour
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Ivano Turco, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Julian Ovenden, South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre
Olly Dobson, Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre
Stephanie McKeon, Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes, Barbican
Tom Francis, Rent, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester Continue reading “2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards Shortlist”

News: Anything Goes reveals new leads for 2022

New star casting has been announced for Anything Goes, the smash hit ‘show of the year’ which is sailing back to the Barbican for a return residency following its sold out run in summer 2021.

The new cast includes: WhatOnStage Award Winner Kerry Ellis (Wicked/We Will Rock You) as Reno Sweeney and Olivier Award Winner Denis Lawson (Bleak House/New Tricks) as Moonface Martin. Joining them on board is Olivier Award Winner Simon Callow (Four Weddings & A Funeral/Amadeus) as Elisha Whitney and Musical Theatre Royalty Bonnie Langford (EastEnders/9 to 5) as Evangeline Harcourt. As well as its triumphant return to the Barbican, this glorious musical will also be visiting theatres in Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Canterbury and Manchester. Continue reading “News: Anything Goes reveals new leads for 2022”

TV Review: Big Night of Musicals by the National Lottery

Filmed in Manchester last week, concert extravaganza Big Night of Musicals by the National Lottery really does showcase a large slice of current musical theatre offerings well

From the moment host Jason Manford dons his glittery gold jacket and launches into a Chicago medley via a segue into ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, it’s clear where we’re sitting with Big Night of Musicals by the National Lottery. And that that is squarely crowd-pleasing glitz and glamour shouldn’t be surprising, given that it is getting the Saturday night primetime treatment on BBC1.

For once though, it is good to see that eyes are on some of the breadth of the West End and the touring circuit. So that means there’s no place for the usually ubitiquous Les Mis, Wicked and Phantom, but rather current shows like Back to the Future (Cedric Neal and cast ripping through the entertaining ‘Gotta Start Somewhere’), The Drifters Girl and Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical getting their moment to shine. Continue reading “TV Review: Big Night of Musicals by the National Lottery”

A few shows to look forward to

Rehearsal pics might not always be the most exciting thing but they do serve as a useful reminder of shows that you should be thinking about booking for – in this case, Cock, Broken Wings, Steve, Straight Line Crazy and if you can fit it in, Doubt


Cock opens at the Ambassadors Theatre on 5th March Continue reading “A few shows to look forward to”

Review: Doubt – A Parable, Chichester Festival Theatre

Monica Dolan is more than worth the journey in Lia Williams’ striking production of Doubt: A Parable at Chichester Festival Theatre

“May I ask what you are writing down with that ball-point pen?”

I always knew it would take something, or somone, special to tempt me out on my first out-of-London theatre trip in Lord knows how long and I don’t think that anyone could argue that Monica Dolan onstage again fits that bill. She’s currently starring in Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of a rather short run of Doubt: A Parable, directed by the no less irresistible Lia Williams

John Patrick Shanley’s play (last seen in London in a Stella Gonet-starring production at Southwark Playhouse) deals most effectively in the relationship – such as there is any – between moral certainty and notions of truth. Written in 2005, it remains depressingly relevant in its depiction of polarised viewpoints and debate that can’t escape sinking into rancour and of course, the long shadow cast by endless tales of church-sanctioned abuse. Continue reading “Review: Doubt – A Parable, Chichester Festival Theatre”

Review: She Loves Me, Sheffield Crucible

A top cast make She Loves Me a stylishly enjoyable festive treat at the Sheffield Crucible

“Why break someone in
when I’m already broken”

The Crucible may not be the first theatre to turn to She Loves Me for a festive treat – the Menier did the same back in 2016 – but this Sheffield version more than matches that twinkling production with its own brand of Northern charm. Based on Miklós László’s play Parfumerie which has been remade more than once as films like The Shop Around The Corner and You’ve Got Mail, this musical treatment (book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick) finds its own bittersweet flavour.

We’re definitely in rom-com territory here, as warring Budapest shop employees Georg Nowack and Amalia Balash rub each other up the wrong way, little knowing that they are corresponding anonymously through a lonely hearts column. Will they get to rub each other up the right way? Whaddya think! But there’s a minor-key backdrop too which keeps things from ever getting too sweet, a note of sadness that tempers all the musical theatre frivolity as it presents us with the downs as well as the ups of life. Continue reading “Review: She Loves Me, Sheffield Crucible”

Review: A Chorus Line, Curve Leicester

Adam Cooper and Carly Mercedes Dyer continue a brilliant year for both of them in this vibrant production of A Chorus Line at Curve Leicester

“Maddening poise, effortless whirl”

There’s something almost wilfully perverse about the Curve mounting A Chorus Line as their festive production. For though it may possess one of the all-time great jazz-hands classics in ‘One’, aka the one song most people will know from it, the show is far from the stereotypical luvvie-fest that the too-prevalent preconceptions about musical theatre insist it must be.

For James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante’s book used real-life testimonies to break down the painful realities of the auditioning process and gives us all the blood, sweat and tears of what it takes to make it. And at this final audition for the chorus of a new Broadway show, 17 hopefuls have been shortlisted for 8 places and they have to lay their souls bare if they’ve any chance of sealing the deal. Continue reading “Review: A Chorus Line, Curve Leicester”

#AdventwithClowns Day 4 – Piaf on demand

Nottingham Playhouse’s Piaf on demand can’t cover up the deficiencies in Pam Gems’ play but it does offer a soaring leading turn from Jenna Russell

“I’m trying to be a f*cking lady”

It was a tricky one, trying to decide whether to trek to Nottingham to their production of Piaf. In all brutal honesty, Pam Gems’ play isn’t by any means a classic but with the part of Édith Piaf, it has created a created a role that offer up spectacular results in the right hands. Elena Roger near blew the roof off the Donmar back in 2008, Frances Ruffelle did well in Leicester in 2013 and I was sure Jenna Russell would do the same. I just didn’t really want to see the play again.

Fortunately, the return of Piaf on demand meant that I got to experience Adam Penford’s production and I’d argue that I probably made the right decision. Jenna Russell is indeed spectacular as la môme piaf and delivers exactly the kind of barnstorming vocal performance that you’d expect from her. But the world around Piaf is far too thinly sketched to make the requisite impact, despite sterling work from Sally Ann Triplett’s Toine and Laura Pitt-Pulford’s Marlene Dietrich. Continue reading “#AdventwithClowns Day 4 – Piaf on demand”

Some alternatives for festive shows in London, if panto ain’t your thing

Not up for seeing panto but still fancy getting out of the house before Omicron burns it all down? Here’s some alternatives to pantomimes over the coming month, plus a mention for some seriously good deals on West End shows over at Seatplan


Les Misérables and The Phantom Of The Opera star John Owen-Jones will be joining fellow Welsh West End singing sensation Lucie Jones to celebrate the festive season in style at her exclusive December concerts. John – who has starred to great acclaim as both Jean Valjean and The Phantom – will appear at the Lucie Jones at Christmas concerts at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, and at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London.

The intimate and exclusive shows will feature Lucie, who has just finished playing Jenna Hunterson on the UK tour of Waitress and will soon take on the iconic role of Elphaba, and John performing all their favourite Christmas songs and showtunes, accompanied by Lucie’s live band. The dates are Monday December 13 at St David’s Hall, Cardiff and Tuesday, December 14 at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London.

Tickets are on sale now from www.cuffeandtaylor.com Continue reading “Some alternatives for festive shows in London, if panto ain’t your thing”