Review: Without You – Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Actors are often advised to draw on their own life experiences to shape their performances. When that life experience includes the death of two of your closest friends and the raw emotion of the death of your own mother to cancer you might expect an actor to shy away from digging too deep into their […]

Review: Hard Places – Mercury Theatre Studio, Colchester

We think as national borders as a permanent feature, something immovable and solid. In reality though borders frequently shift as political factions come and go. What happens when one such border devides a community and a family? Farhad Sorabjee’s Hard Places, receiving its UK premiere at the Colchester Mercury, looks at one such border. Although […]

Review: Starlight Express – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend On Sea

It can’t be often that a small child has a West End musical dedicated to them. It’s even rarer when that child ends up writing a new song for the show’s revival a couple of decades later. When your surname, though, is Lloyd Webber such things shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. As […]

Review: Haunting Julia – Mercury Theatre, Colchester

One doesn’t normally associate Alan Ayckbourn with horror. The prolific writer, normally more familiar with suburban comedy, has though turned his hand to a chilling thriller. First performed in 1994 and revived in Lichfield and London in 2011, Haunting Julia now stretches its spectral legs on a first ever national tour. While the territory may […]

Review: Five Finger Exercise – Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh

Even the most genial of family groupings can feel the strain while on holiday; when the holiday is in a small, remote, cottage the pressure can build to explosive result. Despite what Louise, the refined matriarch of the family may think, the Harringtons are a somewhat dysfunctional bunch. Louise has ideas above her status. Her […]

Review: Carousel – Barbican Theatre, London

Purists may sniff at an opera company turning its hand to the work of Rodgers & Hammerstein but, in Opera North’s sublime revival of Carousel, it is the audience who end up sniffing away tears. Of all the Rodgers & Hammerstein canon, Carousel is perhaps the closest the pair came to writing an opera and […]

Review: London Road, Olivier Theatre, London

It’s not often you get the opportunity to revisit a production, a year apart. Last year on press night for London Road in the Cottesloe theatre, the atmosphere was electric; a sense that we were witnessing a new direction for musical theatre. A year on and the production has transferred to the larger, neighbouring Olivier […]

Review: King Lear – Theatre In The Forest, Rendlesham

Shakespeare productions still appeal to directors, not only for the strength of their writing, but also, despite their age, the ability they have to be constantly re-imagined in new ways. King Lear seems to have a particular fascination for directors looking to place their stamp on the production. Over the years we’ve reviewed all male […]

Review: Fag Ends And Families – Sir John Mills Theatre, Ipswich

There’s the well-known saying that you know you’re getting older when the policemen start looking younger, but in Simon Egerton’s solo show Fag Ends and Families it’s when the bar owners don’t look old enough to drink that triggers a sense of encroaching age. Egerton says the piece isn’t ‘exactly’ autobiographical but even so it […]

Review: Henry V – Latitude Festival, Henham Park

‘May we cram, within this wooden O….’ For the Latitude Festival, Theatre Delicatessen take the wooden reference to the extreme – taking to the Henham woods for an open air performance, split across two days. It gives the production an air of a military camp, as soldiers mingle among the audience, lines suddenly being delivered […]