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Central Reviews

Legally Blonde the Musical – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Book: Heather Hach Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin Director: Anthony Williams Reviewer: Clare White Legally Blonde The Musical is a bit like candyfloss – pink, fluffy and syrupy sweet. Based on the 2001 film comedy starring Reece Witherspoon, its musical adaptation premièred on Broadway in 2007 and subsequently enjoyed successful West End and UK tour runs. This latest production, directed ...

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Deathtrap – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

A man with a mace and a woman looking apprehension at a table

Writer: Ira Levin Director: Adam Penford Reviewer: John Kennedy Death doesn’t quite become this interpretation of Ira Levin’s Broadway blockbuster. Perhaps crime, shifting tides and times wait for no man or woman. Once prolific thriller playwright Sidney Bruhl (Paul Bradley) is facing writer’s block. He receives an unsolicited play-script from an admiring ex-student entitled Deathtrap; it is brilliant. Sidney shares alternative dark ...

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Beautiful – The Carole King Musical – Birmingham Hippodrome

Book: Douglas McGrath Music and Lyrics: Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil Director: Marc Bruni Reviewer: Selwyn Knight There can’t be many people who won’t be familiar with a song or two by Carole King – with first husband Gerry Goffin she wrote loads of chart hits for other artists that have become standards including Will You Love ...

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The Secret Keeper – Curve, Leicester

Writer: Angela Clerkin Director: Angela Clerkin and Lucy J Skilbeck Reviewer: James Garrington Confession, they say, is good for the soul. What happens, though, to those who hear the secrets confessed; and may there be consequences? This is the basic premise of Angela Clerkin’s The Secret Keeper. The Doll’s House Maker has been unhappy for nine years, ever since his ...

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Hairspray – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Book: Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan Music: Marc Shaiman Lyrics: Scott Whittman and Marc Shaiman Director: Paul Kerryson Reviewer: Scott Matthewman The big, brash and beautiful Broadway musical Hairspray is perhaps the most sweet-natured take on a John Waters film one could possibly imagine. But while the original film’s lapses into poor taste are softened by the onstage cutesiness, there remains a ...

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Friday Night Classics: Star Wars – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

A star scape

Conductor: Michael Seal Reviewer: Selwyn Knight One can’t help wondering if John Williams realised how big the Star Wars behemoth was to be when approached by George Lucas to score the original 1977 film. We do know that Lucas was clear in his brief that, although the film was to be a space opera, fantastic in scope, he wanted traditional ...

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The Railway Children – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Three children sit around a basket

Writer: Dave Simpson, from the book by E Nesbit Director: Paul Jepson Reviewer: Scott Matthewman Edith Nesbit’s 1906 novel The Railway Children saw a step change in her writing of previous novels for children, most notably of the trilogy of books featuring the siblings who first appear in Five Children and It. Compared to the slight but fun magical adventures ...

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The War of the Worlds – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

A man stands listening to a short wave radio

Writer: Tin Robot Theatre based on the book by H G Wells Director: Adam Carver Reviewer: John Kennedy Given any successful extra-terrestrial alien invasion needs be predicated on said bug-eyed monsters having, in Wells’ words, ‘minds immeasurably superior to ours,’ it begs the question why his tripodal Martians didn’t think to have a flu-jab before trashing up Horsell Common. Wells’ fin-d’siècle apocalypse ...

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