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Central Reviews

ABBA Classics – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Pete Harrison Reviewer:  James Garrington It’s hard to believe that it’s now very nearly 35 years since ABBA broke up. Yet over the relatively brief period that they were performing together their songs and musical style struck a chord with fans around the world, and continue to reach new audiences each day. Formed in 1972, they shot to worldwide ...

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What The Ladybird Heard – Town Hall, Birmingham

Writers: Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (original book) Director: Graham Hubbard Reviewer:  John Kennedy Shake off those tinsel and turkey cobwebs with fifty-five minutes of farmyard festive fun and frolics with this delightful stage adaptation of the award-winning eponymous picture book by Julia Donaldson &Lydia Monks. Participation is optional - hilarity jolly well near compulsory. Kenny Wax Family Entertainment in association with Matthew ...

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Katherine Jenkins Celebration – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Katherine Jenkins

Conductor: Anthony Inglis Reviewer:  James Garrington Katherine Jenkins must surely be one of Britain’s favourite crossover artists. Since she released her debut album in 2004 she has regularly been at the top of the album charts, and has sung to packed out concert halls around the world – and this Christmas, Birmingham’s Symphony Hall is no exception. This concert has ...

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Dick Whittington – Birmingham Hippodrome

Matt Slack & Andrew Ryan in Dick Whittington 2016

Writers: Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh Director: Michael Harrison Reviewer:  James Garrington It says something about the quality of a pantomime cast when a performer of the calibre of Danielle Hope, who won TV’s Over the Rainbow and starred in the Hippodrome’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is pushed off the show poster by bigger names – and they’ve certainly pulled ...

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Roy Wood’s Rockmas – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: Carol Lovatt Roy Wood is very much on home turf at the Symphony Hall and the fact it was packed to full capacity clearly emphasises just how much this son of Birmingham is still very much appreciated and admired.  With a history spanning over five decades, Roy Wood’s name will be forever associated with the classic of the festive ...

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Christmas with Clare Teal – Town Hall, Birmingham

Clare Teal

Reviewer: James Garrington Christmas music over the last couple of decades seems to be dominated by either Slade and Wizzard, or Mariah Carey and The Pogues. If you want something a bit different, though, you could try Christmas with Clare Teal for an evening of jazzy big band music with a Christmas flavour. Joining Teal is Gary Williams, a well-known ...

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Aladdin – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Writer: Eric Potts Director: Chris Nelson Reviewer: Scott Matthewman Michelle Collins last appeared in EastEnders in 1998, which would explain some of the confusion on the faces of the under-18s the Waterside theatre's audience every time the Genie of the Ring makes another reference to Albert Square. But that's a rare misstep in Eric Potts's script for Aladdin, which provides ...

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The 39 Steps – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Writer: Patrick Barlow from the book by John Buchan Director: Adam Lacey Reviewer: Selwyn Knight John Buchan’s book, The Thirty-Nine Steps was a trailblazer in many ways – Buchan described it as his first “shocker”, in which the events, twists and turns are barely believable, and it set the standard for the “man on the run” plotline. The hero, Richard ...

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