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The Muppets Take the O2 – The O2 Arena, London

Reviewer: Mark Clegg Jim Henson’s furry creations have been around for over sixty years, but they really secured their place in pop culture history in the late 1970s with The Muppet Show, its perfect blend of anarchy, knowing humour and sweet sentimentalism meaning that it was an immediate hit with all ages. Thanks to eight movies, countless other projects and ...

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Matilda the Musical – Birmingham Hippodrome

Book: Dennis Kelly, from the book by Roald Dahl Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin Director: Matthew Warchus Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Matilda Wormwood is a precocious, intelligent, imaginative and resilient girl with a strong sense of what is right.  By the age of five, she has taught herself the three Rs and has read many of the classics. Yet in a world where ...

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David Walliams’ Awful Auntie – Opera House, Manchester

Writer: David Walliams Adaptor/Director: Neal Foster Reviewer: Sam Lowe David Walliams has become an established writer of children's literature; he has written 14 books. Global sales of his books exceed over 20 million copies. Prior to this performance, Walliams' book Gangsta Granny was adapted for the stage by Birmingham Stage Company. Now it's time for Awful Auntie to be theatricalised. ...

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The Exploded Circus – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Mimbre Director: Lina Johansson Composer : Quinta Reviewer: Dave Cunningham From the moment you walk into the theatre, it is obvious why the new show from female-led contemporary circus company Mimbre is called The Exploded Circus. The set by Loren Elstein comprises objects one might expect to see in a circus – a trick bicycle, yards of lights, hoops, ...

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Wicked – The Grand, Leeds

Music and Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz Director: Joe Mantello Based on the novel by: Gregory Maguire Reviewer: Ruth Jepson Are people born wicked, or do they have wickedness thrust upon them? Wicked is a musical phenomenon. Since opening in 2006 the show has garnered over 100 major international awards and already been seen by nine million people in London alone. Seemingly ...

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Swallows and Amazons – Storyhouse, Chester

Writer: Arthur Ransome Adaptor: Bryony Lavery Director: Katie Posner Reviewer: Jo Beggs Just over a year after opening, Chester’s Storyhouse delivers its second fast-paced version of a classic children’s novel. Last Christmas saw Enid Blyton’sThe Secret Sevendeftly brought to the stage by Storyhouse Director Alex Clifton, and we get another helping of good clean fun in this perfectly pitched summer ...

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Awful Auntie – Theatre Royal, Brighton

Writer: David Walliams Adapter and Director: Neal Foster Reviewer: Simon Topping What is immediately apparent about Birmingham Stage Company’s adaptation of David Walliams’ Children’s classic Awful Auntie is the beautifully crafted and atmospheric set.  Designed by Jacqueline Trousdale, four fabulous rotating turrets represent Saxby Hall, the family stately home where all the action takes place.  Used to perfection, these towers ...

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Matilda the Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Author: Roald Dahl Book: Dennis Kelly Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin Director: Matthew Warchus Reviewer: Maggie Constable The Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi-award-winning Matilda The Musical has arrived in Milton Keynes this week, it has been long anticipated and will play for almost a month. Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel is a well known and much loved one which has been given that special treatment by ...

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