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Billy Shakes – Wonderboy! – Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York

Writer/Director: Elvi Piper Designer: Antony Jones Musical Director: Rosie Fox Reviewer: Ron Simpson This year the Shakespeare’s Rose season in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower is mounting a commendably full-on Shakespearean assault on the people of York. Four plays rotate on a basis of two performances a day, during term-time some of the day-time performances were aimed specifically at schools, ...

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Avenue Q – Sheffield Lyceum

Director/Choreographer: Cressida Carré Designer: Richard Evans Musical Director: Dean McDermott Puppet Designer: Paul Jomain Reviewer: Janet Jepson It’s furry, funny, fuzzy, it’s naughty and it’s definitely one to see - welcome to Avenue Q. This is a musical unlike any other seen on stage. A group of extremely talented human performers tread the boards, but hardly anyone notices most of ...

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My Son Pinocchio Jr – Southwark Playhouse, London

Music and Lyrics: Steven Schwartz Book:David Stern Director:Séimí Campbell Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Poor Geppetto! One minute he’s a successful toymaker living a bachelor lifestyle then one ill-advised wish later and he’s a single father to a human-puppet boy with a wilful mind of his own. Stephen Schwarz and David Stern’s My Son Pinocchio Jr reimagines the famous fairy tale from the ...

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In Limbo – Tristan Bates Theatre, London

Writers: SevenArc Productions  Director: Georgie Staight  Reviewer: Scott Matthewman It's always something of a surprise to see Frank Capra’s It's a Wonderful Life hover near the top of any list of all-time great Christmas movies. While the closing scenes of James Stewart running through the streets of Bedford Falls towards his family is indeed a heartening one, for the most part ...

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Henry V – Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Loveday Ingram Reviewer: Abbie Rippon Set in the beautiful Grosvenor Park, Chester’s Open Air Theatre celebrates its 10th birthday this year with a trio of plays: Twelfth Night, The Borrowers and, of course, Henry V. This story of war, allegiance and identity remains as universal and relevant now as it was to the Elizabethans watching it at ...

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War Horse – Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Writer: Michael Morpurgo Adaptor: Nick Stafford Directors: Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris Touring Director: Katie Henry Reviewer: Matt Forrest 12 years on from its premiere at the National Theatre, residencies on the West End, Broadway and numerous national and international tours it would be no exaggeration to say that War Horse has become a theatrical institution, and on the basis ...

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Shackleton’s Carpenter – Jermyn Street Theatre, London

Writer: Gail Louw Director: Tony Milner Reviewer: David Guest Unsung heroes have the power to inspire, change our perspective and rewrite history. In a touring and powerful one-man show now receiving its West End premiere one unsung hero’s story is told to try and redress some of the balance for him – and perhaps countless others consigned to the footnotes ...

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Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear: The Musical! – National Theatre, London

Book and Lyrics: Andy Stanton Music:Jim Fortune Director:Amy Hodge Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Schools out for the summer and theatreland has given itself over to feel-good comedies and family-friendly shows designed to entertain young and old alike. The National Theatre’s big summer production for kids is a musical adaptation of Andy Stanton’s book Mr Gum and the Dancing Beargiven surreal but ...

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