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Aida – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Composer: Guiseppe Verdi Libretto: Antonio Ghislanzoni Director: Annabel Arden Conductor: Sir Richard Armstrong Reviewer: Tim Harding It’s easy to think of Verdi’s Aida in grandiose terms: extravagant sets, large choruses of soldiers and priests, dancers, horses and chariots.  But is that what this opera is all about?  True, the Triumphal March in Act 2 traditionally contains all these elements, but there is ...

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Thriller Live! – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Creator: Adrian Grant Director:  Gary Lloyd Reviewer: Gemma Fincher Despite the controversy and unwanted headlines that plagued him during his life, and that haven’t abated since his premature death in 2009, the enduring strength of Michael Jackson’s musical legacy is undeniable. Still widely regarded as the undisputed King of Pop, Michael Jackson enjoyed unparalleled worldwide success and, thanks to his ...

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The Worst Little Warehouse in London – Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham

Writers: Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith Director: Sarah Redmond Reviewer: James Garrington As the lights dim we hear, in nature documentary style, that this is a tale of two koalas venturing forth into the world. They find themselves in a strange and distant place, full of excitement for what the future holds – or, more mundanely, it’s an Australian couple ...

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Venice Preserved – Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon

Writer: Thomas Otway Director: Prasanna Puwanarajah Reviewer: Gemma Fincher Political unrest, anarchy, rebellion and corruption meet futuristic ‘80’s cyberpunk in this dystopian re-imagining of Thomas Otway’s restoration thriller. First staged in 1682, this tragedy of disillusionment,unfulfilled expectations and distrust of the establishment yields eerie parallels with today’s political climate and the appetite for a change to the status quo. Set ...

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Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writer: Rona Munro from the book by Louis de Bernières Director: Melly Still Reviewer: James Garrington There are always huge challenges involved in adapting a well-known book for the stage. How faithful can or should it be to the original, how easily can we portray inner thoughts, how can we deal with characters ageing? With Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the team has ...

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Rock of Ages – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Writer: Chris D’Arienzo Director: Nick Winston Reviewer: Hannah Powell Depicting the birth and survival of the legacy of rock culture on the famous Sunset Blvd, Rock of Ages  bursts onto the stage showing musical fans and rockers alike there is no one set way to make a musical. Featuring classic rock songs like Cum On Feel the Noize, We Built ...

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The Worst Witch – Birmingham Hippodrome

Writer: Emma Reeves from the novel by Jill Murphy Director: Theresa Heskins Reviewer: Nicole Craft Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch has been entertaining children for the best part of three generations. Continuing to go full circle, the television series (two versions of!) inspire yesterday and today’s youngsters to seek out the books; the books inspiring those who haven’t discovered the ...

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Rotterdam – The STUDIO, Birmingham REP

Writer: Jon Brittain Director: Donnacadh O’Briain Reviewer: James Garrington New Year in Rotterdam, and Alice has decided that it’s finally time to tell her parents that she’s gay. She drafts and redrafts – not an easy email to write, she’s been in this relationship for seven years without telling her parents back home, who she feels sure will disapprove. But ...

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