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Central Reviews

Whisky Galore – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Writer: Philip Goulding from the book by Compton MacKenzie Director: Kevin Shaw Reviewer: Selwyn Knight The programme notes for Whisky Galore tell us about a troupe of strolling players, The Osiris Players, which was an all-female theatre group touring adaptations of the classics to schools and other community spaces. Formed in the mid-1920s, the women-only rule might have been caused ...

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The Tempest – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Writer: William Shakespeare, adapted by Andy Barrow Director: Andy Barrow Reviewer: James Garrington Since it was established 29 years ago, Oddsocks has become famous for its unusual and comic versions of the classic Shakespeare plays – often to some acclaim. This year, alongside a rerun of last year’s Romeo and Juliet, we have a new production of The Tempest. It ...

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George Benson – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: RL Bartholomew Such is the stature of jazz great George Benson that - should he ever choose – he could walk on stage, mumble the titles of his monumental back catalogue and would, no doubt,  receive an ecstatic standing ovation. There is not, indeed, any such grandstanding at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall where the charismatic guitarist plays a two-hour set that effortlessly ...

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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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