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South West Reviews

Hairspray – Bristol Hippodrome

Writer: Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan Director: Paul Kerryson Choreographer: Drew McOnie Music/ Lyrics: Marc Shaiman Reviewer: Scarlet Wildhorn Since its release in 2003, Hairspray the Musical has toured extensively, both in the UK and in the US. Set in 1962’s Baltimore, racial segregation is rife, but Tracy Turnblad can’t understand why integration is so detested. It’s the sixties after ...

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Clockwork Canaries -Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Writer: Christopher William Hill Director: Luke Kernaghan Reviewer: Joan Phillips Billed as a bloodthirsty comedy, Clockwork Canaries struggles to completely get its act together until the final 30 minutes of the play, by which time one could argue is simply too late. Maximilian Dressler (Dominic Marsh) is a desperate inventor who lives with his daughter, Tatiana. From the outset things ...

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Sunset Boulevard – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Book and Lyrics: Don Black and Christopher Hampton Director: Nikolai Foster Reviewer: Barbara Michaels Billy Wilder’s 1950s film, set in the late 1940s/1950s about an ageing movie star whose career has faded along with her looks, is the basis for Sunset Boulevard the musical.  Norma Desmond (Ria Jones) is living in the past, desperately pretending to ...

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Macbeth – Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Adele Thomas Designer: Anisha Fields Lighting: Matthew Graham Sound: Max Pappenheim Reviewer: Leah Tozer Macbeth at the Tobacco Factory opens as one of Emily Dickinson’s famous works, about a fly interposing indifferently as death falls on its speaker, ends: ‘with Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –’: the lighting is stark cyan, the space dark, and ...

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Art – Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Writer: Yasmina Reza (translated by Christopher Hampton) Director: Ellie Jones (original director Matthew Warchus) Reviewer: Joan Phillips You can make what you want out of Yasmina Reza’s short play, Art. Is it a play about contemporary art commentary? Is it about relationships between middle-aged white men? Is it about how educated, middle-class people develop a polite veneer to cover their ...

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Don Giovanni – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Opera: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Libretto: Lorenzo de Ponte Original Director: John Caird Revival Director: Caroline Chaney Reviewer: Barbara Michaels Welsh National Opera’s production of Don Giovanni was damned with faint praise when it was brought to the stage seven years ago. The main issue at that time – as has happened all too frequently with other productions of this musically ...

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Doctor Faustus – The Bikeshed, Exeter

Writer: Christopher Marlowe Director: Anna Coombs Choreographer: Reviewer: Gareth Roberts Tangle’s assured and confident production of Doctor Faustus compresses Marlowe’s drama to a cast of three and a running time of 90 minutes, without feeling rushed or excessively minimalized. The cast is highly effective in a small space and a strong production design amplifies their efforts. On account of the ...

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Crimes under the Sun – Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath

Writer: Feargus Woods Dunlop Director: James Farrell Reviewer: Claire Hayes Returning to the Ustinov for the beginning of the Crimes Under the Sun UK tour, New Old Friends have really honed their brand of comedic Golden Age murder mystery. This third instalment of their Crimes capers, while conjuring up a classic mix of the bygone age of Agatha Christie and Noel Coward, has a ...

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