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Central Reviews

Shirley Valentine – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Jodie Prenger as Shirley Valentine

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Glen Walford Reviewer:  Daljinder Johal How many of us are truly living? This is the principal question of Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine. The play opens in a warm and bright kitchen with Shirley, a middle-aged Liverpool housewife whose stagnant life in a loveless marriage is disrupted by her best friend’s offer of a trip-for-two to Greece. ...

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The Crucible – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

A mand and woman stand facing one another, his hands on her arms

Writer: Arthur Miller Director: Douglas Rintoul Reviewer: John Kennedy ‘The Salem tragedy developed from a paradox…a paradox in whose grip we still live, and there is no prospect yet that we will discover its resolution.’ Arthur Miller was deceptively invited to testify before the House of Un-American Activities (HUAC) suspected/accused of being a communist. As with Salem’s self-appointed theocrats, such is the ...

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The Graduate – Curve, Leicester

A Young Man looks at a middle aged woman on a bed in her underwear

Writer: Terry Johnson adapted from the novel by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry Director: Lucy Bailey Reviewer: Laura Jayne Bateman Originally a novel by Charles Webb, published in 1963, The Graduate is perhaps best known as the 1967 film starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman. Curve’s co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse follows the trend ...

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Two boys reaching out either side of a barbed wire fence

Music: Gary Yershon Choreographer/Director: Daniel de Andrade Reviewer: David Robinson John Boyne wrote his best-selling Holocaust novel in a matter of a few days, although this is barely evident as it is transferred to ballet form in the capable hands and feet of Northern Ballet on this world premiere tour. The scenarios are adapted engagingly by choreographer Daniel de Andrade and ...

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East is East – Nottingham Playhouse

An Asian family in their chip shop

Writer: Ayub Khan Din Director: Suba Das Reviewer: Dave Smith The press night for this timely revival of Ayub Khan Din’s 1996 play, a co-production with Northern Stage, takes place a little over a week before a General Election in which Islam, immigration and Britain’s place in the world have played a leading role. That many of the issues that ...

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Dirty Dancing – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

A couple dancing in hold with another woman

Writer: Eleanor Bergstein Director: Federico Bellone Reviewer: John Kennedy With pyrotechnic pirouettes, reach for the stars diva diving gymnastics and the decade defining power-ballad The Time of My Life, the eponymous film remains rightly a shameless, polished chrome muscle car vanity mirror for guilty pleasures. It's slick, outrageously hip-swinging muscular dash and decibel bling panache still has sweaty, taut sinews quivering with lithesome ...

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Grease – Birmingham Hippodrome

The T-Birds

Book, Music & Lyrics: Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey Director: David Gilmore Reviewer: Selwyn Knight The original production of Grease in Chicago in 1971 was a rather starker affair than audiences are used to today. As it evolved, and especially after the 1978 film version, which made several changes to the song list some of which filtered back into the ...

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My Country: A Work in Progress – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

cast of national theatre my country a work in progress

Writer:  Carol Ann Duffy Director: Rufus Norris Reviewer:  Cath Lyon However you voted during Brexit, this play will make you feel better about the whole sorry business. My Country: a work in progress is a statement of our times, built from the words of Britain’s own people, the fluffy stereotyping and saccharine nationalism that can leave you feeling warm and ...

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