10 top theatrical moments of 2021

As distinct from my favourite shows of the year, this list celebrates the fact that sometimes the good and the not-so-good co-exist right next to each – some of my favourite moments.

For reference, here’s my 2020 list, 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list2016 list2015 list and 2014 list.

Helen McCrory, in memoriam
I still don’t really have the words to talk about how sad the passing of Helen McCrory is, such a favourite actor of mine for so long. But what was joyful was hearing the absolute esteem in which seemingly every one of her colleagues held her, a testament to the person as well as the performer.

Being scared, by women
After having declared that scary theatre just didn’t work for me, the Terrifying Women made me eat my words in quite some style with their Halloween special. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2021”

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”

Book Review: Dear Audience

Just a quickie for this as the book is almost sold out now, but Sophie Ross and Danny Kaan’s coffee-table book Dear Audience is such a beautiful book that I’d encourage you to go and purchase one of the few remaining copies. Striving to photographically celebrate the arts industry from a wide range of performers through producers, MDs and writers, it is a nicely high-quality publication that matches that aim. 

In the interest of fairness, I can’t pick favourites from the many many names featured here, just look at the tags to see the impressive roll-call. What really elevates the book though is the inclusion of heartfelt letters from some of the participants, adding a really personal note to the whole endeavour, reminding us of the personal cost of the pandemic alongside what it has done to the sector as a whole. Track down those last copies now.

Review: The Show Must Go On, Palace Theatre/online

Featuring 18 West End musicals, The Show Must Go On is a concert to remember, featuring a whole host of theatrical talent both on and off the stage

“Just like Dolly Levi, we are back where we belong”

Showcasing 18 West End musicals that are reopening soon or in some cases, have already reopened, The Show Must Go On is a celebratory concert, gathering together so much on- and off-stage theatrical talent in aid of Acting for Others and Fleabag Support Fund.

With Bonnie Langford and Trevor Dion Nicholas hosting and gamely working their way through a multitude of rapid-fire show descriptions, the real MVPs of the night were the orchestra, under Stuart Morley’s direction, and the choir, made up of recent graduates, who enthusiastically put their voices to any number of harmonised accompaniments. Continue reading “Review: The Show Must Go On, Palace Theatre/online”

News: The Show Must Go On goes digital

The Theatre Support Fund+ are delighted to announce that, due to phenomenal public demand, the final performance of the sold-out run of THE SHOW MUST GO ON! LIVE AT THE PALACE THEATRE will now be streamed as a LIVE broadcast on Sunday 6 June at 7pm.

Theatre fans will be given further opportunity to enjoy the show in its entirety as it is made available to watch on ‘The Shows Must Go On!’ YouTube channel for the seven days following the LIVE broadcast.

Filmed by National Theatre Live, the world’s most iconic musicals return to the West End stage with a stunning concert performance that audiences can watch from the comfort of their homes for free; exclusively via the hugely popular ‘The Shows Must Go On!’ YouTube channel:  youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon. Continue reading “News: The Show Must Go On goes digital”

News: The Show Must Go On line-up revealed

Theatre Support Fund+, the team behind ‘The Show Must Go On!’ campaign and MZG Theatre Productions are delighted to announce 18 West End shows and an all-star musical theatre cast coming together for a unique one-off concert in the biggest West End celebration this summer in THE SHOW MUST GO ON! LIVE AT THE PALACE THEATRE from 2 – 6 June 2021.

All shows which appear on the iconic The Show Must Go On! design will be performing alongside Pretty Woman and a West End debut performance from Back To The Future. This will be the first time in history these West End musicals will come together for one night of pure joyous entertainment which celebrates the wealth of talent in London and includes a multi award winning creative team, over 50 performers and an orchestra made up of some of the finest musicians in London. Continue reading “News: The Show Must Go On line-up revealed”

Graduates at Cadogan Hall concert #3

After the joys of concert #1 and concert #2, the third and final part of Graduates at Cadogan Hall wraps up this brilliant enterprise in fine style. Ameena Hamid Productions and The Grad Fest’s online showcase for 40 2020 and 2021 theatre graduates has been a delight to watch, a reminder of the breadth of talent out there who will rightfully be chomping at the bit to get careers started once we’re further down this infernal roadmap.

And it has been excellent across the board too. Musical director Sam Young does frankly astonishing work from the piano, sounding engaged and responsive to each and every one of the grads across a wide range of styles. And Andy James’ lighting design creates vivid backdrops throughout which you can see look fantastic in Danny Kaan’s shots below – click on each one to read a mini-review of their performance. Continue reading “Graduates at Cadogan Hall concert #3”

News: Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café announce the return of Leave A Light On

Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café have announced the return of popular online concert series Leave A Light On, with 70 performances being re-streamed via stream.theatre.

Shows from across the two series’ feature Zoe BirkettJordan Luke GageDavid HunterCassidy JansonLucie JonesBeverley Knight and Layton Williams many more famous West End faces.

Shows will be available to watch every day at 5pm and 8pm from 15 March to 24 April. Continue reading “News: Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café announce the return of Leave A Light On”

Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Three

Exploring the world of rock musicals, Episode 3 of The Theatre Channel features Alex Gaumond, Shan Ako, John Owen-Jones, Francesca Jackson, Aisha Jawando and Rob Houchen

Je cherche le soleil
Au milieu de ma nuit

First, a confession. The idea of a rock musical generally leaves me cold so the announcement of the theme of the third episode of The Theatre Channel being just that wasn’t one that filled me with too much joy. But the quality of Episode 1 and Episode 2, plus the calibre of talent they’ve been attracting, meant that I was happy to at least give it a whirl.

And if it didn’t make a convert out of me (there’s enough fans of Rent out there already…), there’s plenty to be impressed with. The highlight of the half-hour show for me was the chance to hear the Québécois Alex Gaumond singing ‘Le Monde est Stone’ from Starmania in its original French, the desperation of this soaring ballad transcending any linguistic barrier (though subtitles are provided). Continue reading “Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Three”

News: Make Your Own Musicals launches pantomime activity packs

Make Your Own Musicals, a company started in lockdown, has been making musical activity packs for children to write their own original mini-musicals at home. Now, for the festive season, they are branching out into family pantomime packs to fill the void many families will be feeling this year.

Make Your Own Musicals was designed as a way of offering original theatrical activities for children to do at home. Each activity pack contains child friendly writing guides, original backing tracks, and corresponding sound effects, as well as fun extra pages such as print-out tickets and cut-out costumes and props. The packs are crafted to inspire confidence and creativity at a time when it can seem hard to find. Continue reading “News: Make Your Own Musicals launches pantomime activity packs”