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Author Archives: The Reviews Hub - Central

Birdsong – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Writer: Rachel Wagstaff from the book by Sebastian Faulks Directors: Alistair Whatley and Charlotte Peters Reviewer: James Garrington Birdsong as a novel is something of an epic. It stretches to over 500 pages, covering a period of many years and several generations. Compressing all of this into a two-hour stage play would seem to be an enormous challenge, and Rachel Wagstaff has succeeded ...

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Summer Holiday – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Writers: Michael Gyngell and Mark Haddigan from the screenplay  by  Ronald Cass and Peter Myers  Director: Racky Plews Reviewer: James Garrington Everyone who was brought up during the 1960s will surely be familiar with Summer Holiday. The red London bus trundling its way across Europe, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, and full of songs that everyone knew and loved, all of ...

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Beautiful – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Book: Douglas McGrath Music and Lyrics: Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil Director: Marc Bruni Reviewer: Clare White It’s fair to say that Carole King is responsible for some of the most memorable songs in musical history. Since the 1960s, over 400 of her compositions have been recorded by more than 1,000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles. Beautiful is ...

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Trying It On – The DOOR, Birmingham REP

Writer: David Edgar Director: Christopher Haydon Reviewer: Selwyn Knight David Edgar is 70 this year. Simple subtraction shows that he was 20 in 1968, the year known for student unrest and demonstrations across the world. And while Edgar didn’t take part in demonstrations, he was nevertheless beating the socialist drum as chair of the Socialist Society (or “SocSoc”) at Manchester ...

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Birdsong – Derby Theatre

Writer: Rachel Wagstaff from the book by Sebastian Faulks Directors: Alistair Whatley and Charlotte Peters Reviewer: Dave Smith Sebastian Faulks’ 1993 novel is something of a modern classic and this stage adaptation, originally seen at the Comedy Theatre in 2010, is now being brought to a wider audience via a major national tour timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ...

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Matilda the Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Author: Roald Dahl Book: Dennis Kelly Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin Director: Matthew Warchus Reviewer: Maggie Constable The Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi-award-winning Matilda The Musical has arrived in Milton Keynes this week, it has been long anticipated and will play for almost a month. Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel is a well known and much loved one which has been given that special treatment by ...

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Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain – Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Writer: Simon Reade Director: David Grindley Reviewer: Dave Smith Sherlock Holmes apparently holds the Guinness World Record for the most portrayed literary human character on film and television. He may not be such a regular on stage but, nonetheless, you still have a lot of preconceptions and iconic portrayals to deal with, especially if you’re trying to do something new ...

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Titanic the Musical – Birmingham Hippodrome

Book: Peter Stone Music and Lyrics: Maury Yeston Director: Thom Southerland Reviewer: John Kennedy An additional irony to the already hubris-laden Titanic tragedy is that its revolutionary design made it the safest ship afloat - which it was. Albeit, immediately up to, but not subsequent to hitting a colossal iceberg at 22 knots - because then, self-evidently, it was neither safe ...

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