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Annie – Milton Keynes Theatre

Book: Thomas Meehan Music: Charles Strouse Lyrics: Martin Charnin Director: Nikolai Foster Reviewer: Gemma Fincher Who would have thought that after 40 years the story of a spirited 11-year-old orphan, desperate to find her parents, would still be so popular in 2019? With America still reeling from the effects of the stock market crash of 1929, Annie is set in ...

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WNO Family Concert – Town Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Frederick Brown  Reviewer: Tim Harding Only four weeks left until the summer holiday starts.  And it turns out that it’s not just school children (and teachers!) who are getting ready for the break; orchestral musicians, it turns out, are already packing up ready for some summer sun.   Fortunately for us, before they fly off the members of the Welsh ...

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The Bodyguard – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Writer: Alexander Dinelaris Director: Thea Sharrock Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Rachel Marron is a superstar actress and singer. Her concerts are spectacular events with dazzling dancing, powerful pyrotechnics and lurid lights. She also has a ten-year-old son, Fletcher, of whom she is fiercely protective, an entourage of publicists and agents … and a menacing stalker. Wraithlike, the stalker is able to ...

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Crooked Dances – The Other Place, Stratford upon Avon

Writer: Robin French Director: Elizabeth Freestone Reviewer: James Garrington It is generally recognised that music can transport you away from the mundane and towards somewhere more mysterious. Listening to certain music – in the right setting, in the right frame of mind and surrounded by the right atmosphere – can provide an experience that is almost spiritual. Is it possible ...

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The Damnation of Faust – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Composer: Hector Berlioz Conductor: Edward Gardner Reviewer: Tim Harding The Damnation of Faust is a curious beast; a “dramatic legend” conceived by the composer as a piece for the concert hall, not the opera house, and yet requiring fully realized dramatic performances from singers and orchestra. Under the baton of Edward Gardner, the familiar story of the scientist Faust who ...

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Fame the Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Book: José Fernandez Music: Steve Margoshes Lyrics: Jacques Levy Director: Nick Winston Reviewer: Maggie Constable Get those dancing shoes and leg warmers on and be ready for the arrival of Fame The Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre this week on its 30th anniversary tour, no less. Based on the much loved and iconic 80s movie of the same name, the ...

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Space Spectacular – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Pete Harrison Reviewer: Selwyn Knight ‘In space, no one can hear you scream’ was the tagline to Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien. Of course, with no air to carry sound, no-one can hear anything else either, which is a problem for film and tv franchises that have at their heart wars between opposing regimes set in space – explosions ...

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An Evening with Helen Sharman – Town Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: Tim Harding “Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary”.  This was the strapline from a commercial that 26-year-old Dr Helen Sharman heard in 1989.  Sharman was, at the time, working as a chemist for the confectioners Mars, working on a team developing a Mars Bar flavoured ice cream!  She says she had no big dreams of going into space as a ...

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