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Hotspur/Pierrot Lunaire – Arcola, London

Music: Gillian Whitehead (Hotspur), Arnold Schoenberg (Pierrot Lunaire) Libretto: Fleur Adcock (Hotspur), Albert Giraud (Pierrot Lunaire) Reviewer: Scott Matthewman At first glance, the two one-act pieces presented by formidAbility and Signdance Collective International, and performed as part of the Arcola’s 2019 Grimeborn opera season, do not have much in common with one another. The first, Hotspur, relates the story of ...

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World’s End – King’s Head Theatre, London

Writer: James Corley Director: Harry Mackrill Reviewer: Stephen Bates It hardly seems like two decades since the war in Kosovo was raging and video games were in their infancy. James Corley takes us back to this era in his debut play, which skilfully blends comedy and tragedy into a teenage gay love story. World’s End is an estate on the ...

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Treemonisha – Arcola, London

Music and Libretto: Scott Joplin Director: Cecilia Stinton Musical Director: Matthew Lynch Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty A heady mix of musical styles and tempos swirl around this 1911 opera – breaking expectations and provoking a dive into deeper meaning beyond the seemingly simple plot. Scott Joplin’s switching from spiritual sounding songs, to folky dances to something resembling ragtime – all the ...

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My One True Friend – Tristan Bates Theatre, London

Writers: Alexander Matthews Director: Antony Law Reviewer: David Guest Racism and reconciliation are at the heart of My One True Friend receiving its world premiere at Tristan Bates Theatre – but despite the serious message it all feels somewhat insubstantial. Set in Rhodesia in the late 1970s Alexander Matthews’ play uses sumptuous poetic language and boasts some fine performances – but ...

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FILM REVIEW: Mrs Lowry & Son

Writer: Martyn Hesford Director: Adrian Noble Reviewer: Dave Cunningham It is surprising that it has taken so long for the life of artist L S Lowry to be dramatised on the cinema screen. After all, his story has inspired a ballet, stage and radio plays and a number of documentaries. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Martyn Hesford’s script for ...

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West Side Story – Birmingham Hippodrome

Book: Arthur Laurents Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Director: Matthew Hawksworth Reviewer: John Kennedy Everything was possible in Bernsteins’s late 50s Atomic-Age ‘America’ where inter-racial antagonism imploded with incendiary, teenage trouser-powered cool, hormonal-hip braggadocio to a Romeo and Juliet riff. ‘Is that a GAT in your cod-piece buddy – or are you just frightened to see me?’ Plus ça change, ...

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Film Review: Seahorse

Director: Jeanie Finlay Reviewer: Richard Maguire The male seahorse has quite a burden to carry. Not only does he have to carry the female’s eggs in a pouch until they hatch, releasing them into the ocean fully developed, but also the seahorse now stands as a symbol for the unpredictability of gender roles in the modern age. Jeanie Finlay’s beautifully ...

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Grease The Musical – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Book, Music & Lyrics: Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey Director: Nikolai Foster Choreographer: Arlene Phillips Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys The first new production in 25 years, and with the promise of a return to the gritty, raw, original 1971 production, the odds would seem stacked in favour of this Leicester Curve production of Grease, one of the world’s most beloved musicals. However, ...

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