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Musicals

The triple-threat of music, dance and drama and another staple of the London theatre scene. There are plenty of musicals on the West End, but it’s the Off West End where you’ll find the new stuff, so don’t be afraid to jump in!

Avenue Q, New Wimbledon Theatre – Review

The residents of Avenue Q are a somewhat peculiar pick ‘n’ mix of colourful puppets, unlikely couples and a monster or two, all sharing in dreams, concerns and uncensored humour. It’s children’s programme styling -denoted by chirpy repetitive tunes, bright colours and teaching video-esque animation screens- paired with it’s very adult content, made for an atmosphere of juxtaposition in which the very upfront nature of this shows comedy absolutely thrived. Avenue Q is able to effortlessly weave the hysterically obscene ...

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The Half Moon Shania, The Vaults – Review

Feminism and fishnets, punk and precarious friendships, The Half Moon Shania shakes the Vaults Festival in this punk/rock opera reverberating with energy and poignancy. The show evokes youthful excitement and naivety within a dark smoky world. The rush and the barely organised chaos are infectious, but there are moments that don’t quite land as effectively as the rest of the show. THE G STRINGZ are a band of three best friends trying to secure a record deal in the Half ...

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VIOLET, Charing Cross Theatre – Review

Pros: Excellent musicianship and a good range of song styles Cons: Lack of memorable tunes and a confusing storyline Calling all producers! Please stop pasting microphones to your singers’ foreheads! If you can’t hide them under their hair (although, why?) then the jawline is a far better option. Your audience is connecting to a singer’s eyes, and they don’t want to be distracted by a bundle of wiring in the middle of their face. Sorry, just had to get that ...

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Notre Dame de Paris, London Coliseum – Review

Pros: Nicely menacing Gothic atmosphere. Cons: Shallow characterisation and a complete lack of variation in tone A word of warning to anyone planning a visit to Notre Dame de Paris at London Coliseum. Brace yourself. Brace for histrionics. The breast-beating starts early, with the first big number, Les Sans-papiers, and never really lets up for the rest of the show. The understandable anguish of the outcasts, the vulnerable and the falsely accused is rendered with the same power ballad intensity ...

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Murder for Two, The Other Palace – Review

Pros: Astonishing performances and musicianship Cons: A little too long, and could use some variations in pace Arthur Whitney lies dead on the floor, in a house full of guests who wished him ill. It’s down to Officer Marcus to work out which of the many suspects, all played by Jeremy Legat, actually pulled the trigger. Getting to know this cast of characters, their backstory and relationship with the victim, takes a bit of time. So the first half hour ...

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Cabaret, Laban Theatre – Review

Pros: Lots of new talent showcasing their abilities. Cons: Doesn’t quite rise above student production standards. “Do you really love it?” asked a friend when I said I was going to see a student production of Cabaret, the famous Kander and Ebb musical that has been frequently revived since it first appeared on Broadway in 1966. The answer was that I’d seen the 1972 Bob Fosse movie a few times and liked several of the songs, plus I was drawn to ...

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Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre – Review

Pros: Beautifully staged and performed with incredible joy and skill. Cons: Fans of Django Reinhardt may find his personal story underexplored. Musical theatre can be a time machine. With the help of skillful performers, detailed design, and an inspiring setting, songs and sounds can transport audiences to other eras and places. Old worlds that would otherwise be lost to history can be recreated, experienced, and enjoyed. To this end, Little Bulb’s new production is not only effective, but a hell of a lot of fun. ...

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A Christmas Story – The Musical, Waterloo East Theatre – Review

Pros:  A talented cast Cons: A poor, almost non-existent storyline When it opened on Broadway in 2012, this musical was nominated for Tony awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score. The songs are pleasant enough, if a bit ‘same-y’. There is a lively tap number in the second half, and the song What a Mother Does lingered in my head for quite a while, although I think that may have been down to the rather old-fashioned sentiments contained within it. Of ...

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Urinetown, The Bridewell Theatre – Review

Pros: A talented and tuneful cast making the most of a limited performance area. Cons: A low key Act I suffers in comparison with a sparkling Act II which emits a genuine West End feel. Urinetown is hardly the most obvious title for a musical, but its purpose soon becomes apparent as an antidote to the sugar coated fayre common to the genre. The show made its debut off Broadway in 2001 and went on to win two Tonies and ...

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