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9 to 5: The Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Book: Patricia Resnick Music and Lyrics: Dolly Parton Director: Jeff Calhoun Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen Reviewer: Gemma Fincher If you are looking for a musical with big hair and even bigger belts, then look no further than Dolly Parton’s ultimate feel-good musical of female empowerment, 9 to 5 The Musical. The queen of country music’s signature style is all over this ...

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Calendar Girls: The Musical – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Music: Gary Barlow Lyrics: Gary Barlow and Tim Firth Director: Matt Ryan Reviewer: Clare White It’s been 16 years since the film Calendar Girls was released, inspired by a true story about a Women’s Institute group from Yorkshire who ditched jam and Jerusalem to bare all for a nude charity calendar. It was the brainchild of Chris Harper, who wanted ...

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The Lovely Bones – Theatre Royal Nottingham

Writer: Bryony Lavery from the book by Alice Sebold Director: Melly Stil Reviewer: CL Delft Alice Sebold’s The  Lovely Bones was an unlikely literary best-seller in the mid-2000s: it tells the story of the consequences of a child murder and its impact on her family and community, seen from the point of view of the murdered child (Susie Salmon) herself.  ...

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Rebel Music – The DOOR, Birmingham REP

Creators: Robin French and Alex Brown Director: Alex Brown Reviewer: John Kennedy Complementing the programme's Punk Font front cover, the audience are welcomed with hi-viz stickers proclaiming  ‘NAZIS are No Fun’. Evidence alone that, not only did Rock Against Racism coalesce seemingly impossible, eclectic musical genres under a common cause, they also had a wry sense of ironic understatement. Mixed-race, Denise’s ...

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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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