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Festive

Pinocchio: No Strings Attached – Above the Stag Theatre, London

Writers: Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper Director: Andrew Beckett Reviewer: Stephen Bates it feels quite liberating to go to a Christmas panto without facing the annual controversy about what is or isn’t fit to serve up for the kids. Above the Stag’s offering is just what it says on the poster – “an adult pantomime”. More specifically, it is “LGBTQ+ ...

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Escape From Planet Trash – Pleasance Theatre, London

Writer/Director: Ginger Johnson Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty The slightly ramshackle style of sci-fi stories with silver costumes, shaky sets, ridiculous monsters and strangely sexy encounters has a very specific appeal. Ignoring the genre’s limits completely, Ginger Johnson and the rest of her (inter)stellar cast have worked a little Christmas magic in generating a screamingly funny show that presents this sci-fi weirdness ...

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Dick Whittington – Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Director / Choreographer: Gary Lloyd Writers: Alan McHugh / Jonathan Riley Reviewer: Helen Tope It has been thirty years since this reviewer’s last pantomime. During this time it’s safe to say that pantomime has undergone some changes. Starring John Partridge and Samantha Womack, this year’s pantomime boasts all the recognisable hallmarks. A lovestruck boy in search of glory; a glamorous Dame and a nefarious ...

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A Christmas Carol – Northern Stage, Newcastle

Writer: Neil Bartlett Director: Mark Calvert Reviewer: Chris Collett Northern Stage’s Christmas shows could never be accused of lacking in ambition. 2016’s James and the Giant Peach and last year’s Alice in Wonderland were supersized affairs performed on cavernous sets, which thrilled audiences with a frenetic mix of live music, physical theatre, and dance. A Christmas Carol uses the same ...

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Jack and the Beanstalk – Queens Theatre, Hornchurch

Writer: Andrew Pollard Music: Gemma Hawkins Director: Martin Berry Reviewer: Liz Stagg Jack, a lowly worker at Frank Furter’s Fun Fair, has dreams of a better life. The fair owner (Furter) is under pressure from the giant above who has eaten and frightened customers away. With the Giant’s demands becoming harder and harder to bear, a hero has to come ...

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A Christmas Carol – Leeds Playhouse

Writer: adapted by Deborah McAndrew from the novel by Charles Dickens Music: John Biddle Director: Amy Leach Choreographer: Lucy Cullingford Reviewer: Janet Jepson The former West Yorkshire Playhouse, and indeed the whole area where it stands, is undergoing a makeover and when the re-vamped space re-opens in summer 2019 it will be amazing. In a reversion to its old name, ...

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The Snowman – Milton Keynes Theatre

Music and Lyrics: Howard Blake Director: Bill Alexander Reviewer: Maggie Constable There is not a better time to see The Snowman at Milton Keynes theatre than at this foggy, frosty time of year just after Christmas. It brings back the magic that so often seems lost at the start of the January Based on Raymond Briggs’ much-adored book and Diane Jackson’s film of the ...

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Punk Rock – Lantern Theatre, Bristol

Writer: Simon Stephens Director: Lisa Gregan Reviewer: Julia Beasley A group of sixth formers hangs out in the library of a private school. They’re facing mock A-level exams and feeling under pressure to perform.  Personality cracks soon begin to develop. Ultimately the weakest link will break, with devastating and gory consequences. This dramatic piece by the Bristol Old Vic Young ...

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