Mood Music, Old Vic

Gendered power dynamics, the commodification of art, and abuse in the creative industries: Joe Penhall’s new play certainly feels of the moment, and there’s a particular frisson in seeing such subject matter explored at the Old Vic, which is dealing with the legacy of Kevin Spacey. Yet a potent topic remains stubbornly discursive in this rather circular piece.

Read my full BroadwayWorld review here

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Chess, London Coliseum

Chess, by Tim Rice and ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, hasn’t had a major West End revival since its Eighties heyday, but it’s back with a bang in a semi-staged production that features aerial silk acrobatics, cheerleading stunts and drunken Cossack dancing. But it’s the work that really shines through: period, yes, and distinctly unwieldy, but oddly timely too – and not just because ABBA are reuniting.

Read my full BroadwayWorld review here

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Red leads May’s Top 10 new London shows

From meaty revivals to the open-air theatres opening their doors.

Read my full BroadwayWorld article here

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Monet, Black Panther, Brief Encounter and Medieval whodunnit

On my April MoveTo Town and Country Arts page:

  • Exhibition The National Gallery explores Monet’s relationship with architecture
  • Film Marvel-ously diverse heroics in Black Panther
  • Theatre Emma Rice’s gorgeously romantic take on Brief Encounter
  • Commuter corner Medieval whodunnit in Samantha Harvey’s The Western Wind

Read the full page here

Read the latest edition of MoveTo Town and Country here

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Absolute Hell, National Theatre

The original version of Rodney Ackland’s provocative work, The Pink Room, had a bruising reception back in 1952, losing thousands for investor Terence Rattigan amidst furious reviews. Since salvaged by the Orange Tree in the Eighties, its rebirth was cemented by a Judi Dench-starring production at the National, where it now returns for an intriguing if not entirely convincing encore.

Read my full BroadwayWorld review here

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Time After Time

The creator and stars discuss the stage musical version of Strictly Ballroom.

Read my full Dancing Times article here

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Simply the best

Actress Adrienne Warren discusses playing Tina Turner in new West End musical Tina.

Read my full Dancing Times article here

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Strictly Ballroom The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre

Love is in the air, and revolution too. Baz Luhrmann’s beloved 1992 film (originally a student play, now back on stage as a musical) is even more adamantly anti-establishment in this latest incarnation, opening out a delicious satire of 1980s Australian competitive ballroom into a more universal story of the fight for fearless self-expression. In short: “Love, freedom and sequins”.

Read my full BroadwayWorld review here

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Bat Out of Hell, Dominion Theatre

Back by feverishly popular demand, Jim Steinman’s mega-musical is no longer in danger of alarming unsuspecting operagoers. A year on from its Coliseum debut, this indisputably bonkers show moves to the West End venue it was surely always destined for – that lingeringly inhabited by its rock operatic forebear. The Queen is dead; long live the Loaf.

Read my full theartsdesk review here

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Chicago, Phoenix Theatre

Chicago‘s hit West End revival ­- which featured a constant revolving door of big names – closed in 2012 after almost 15 years. Now, it returns with the requisite stunt casting (Cuba Gooding Jr), but also with a cast of triple-threat stalwarts who illustrate the enduring strengths of this whip-smart, black-hearted musical.

Read my full BroadwayWorld review here

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