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Author Archives: The Reviews Hub - Central

Birmingham Royal Ballet Autumn Mixed Bill – Birmingham Hippodrome

Choreographers: Jack Lister, Cathy Marston, Twyla Tharp Reviewer: John Kennedy A Brief Nostalgia reveals two vertical, concreted-texture slabs. A vicious, horizontal fusillade of power-shadowed lighting splays the six dancers flaying in a dystopian matrix nightmare. Well, Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) just wouldn’t have it any other way when inviting the Queensland (Australia) Ballet to nimble/stomp tread their guest-spot balletic brilliance on the ...

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Stardust – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Book: Shahid Iqbal Khan and Sâmir Bhamra Music and Lyrics: Robby Khela Director: Sâmir Bhamra Reviewer: James Garrington This week at the Belgrade we find the world premiere of Stardust, which is billed as the “first South Asian-led production to depict a same-sex marriage on a British stage.” It may seem strange to a white British audience to realise how many cultures exist where ...

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The Lovely Bones – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writer: Bryony Lavery from the book by Alice Sebold Director: Melly Still Reviewer: John Kennedy Protagonist, the traumatised young teenager, Susie Salmon (‘like the fish’), following her abduction, rape, murder and dismemberment, maintains a compelling narrative as she navigates through and beyond the ‘Inbetween’. That gossamer veil separating her personal Heaven from her family still stupefied with guilt and grief ...

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Two Trains Running – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Writer: August Wilson Director: Nancy Medina Reviewer: James Garrington Two Trains Running is part of American playwright August Wilson’s classic Pittsburgh Cycle, which records the lives of African American people over the course of the last century. Ten plays spread across the decades – and here we find ourselves in 1969. The area is becoming increasingly run-down and as it does ...

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The Entertainer – Milton Keynes Theatre

Writer: John Osborne Director: Sean O'Connor Reviewer: Maggie Constable Milton Keynes Theatre this week entertains us with an updated version of John Osborne’s classic play, The Entertainer, starring Shane Richie. Audiences will not be disappointed. Originally set at the time of the Suez crisis, we now find ourselves transported to the early 80s, the backdrop this time being the Falklands ...

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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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The Girl on the Train – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Writers: Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, based on the book by Paula Hawkins Director: Anthony Banks Reviewer: Clare White Rachel Watson’s life has spiraled out of control. Lonely, divorced and teetering on the edge of a serious breakdown, she continues to catch the commuter train to London every day despite being fired from her job, a result of her excessive ...

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Singin’ in the Rain – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Original Screenplay: Betty Comden and Adolph Green Songs: Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed Director: Pollyann Tanner Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Arthur Freed couldn’t have known what he was unleashing when he had the idea of a film musical using the back catalogue of songs he wrote with Nacio Herb Brown. The film Singin’ in the Rain was released in 1952 ...

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