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Big: The Musical – Dominion Theatre, London

Book: John Weidman Music: David Shire Lyrics: Richard Maltby Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Films from the 1980s are the bedrock of musical theatre right now, something about their big-hearted themes, easy social messaging and optimistic storytelling suits the frothiest of genres perfectly. 9 to 5opened earlier this year following a popular run for Heathers: The Musical and soon a song-filled version of ...

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Fame – Peacock Theatre, London

Book: Jose Fernandez Lyrics: Jacques Levy Music: Steve Margoshes Director: Nick Winston Reviewer: Scott Matthewman These days we’ve become inured to successful movies being turned into stage plays and musicals, often keeping as close as possible to the source material in the hope of retaining the original’s audience. Fame is slightly different. When it debuted on Broadway in 1988, none of ...

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Astana Ballet Presents – Royal Opera House, London

Choreographers: Mukaram Avakhri, Tati Aigul, Ricardo Amarante Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Breaking things down into bite-sized chunks makes everything more digestible, and the arts is no exception. Before launching into War and Peace, you might start with a few short stories, likewise with ballet before tackling the classics, multi-performance programmes are a chance to sample different choreographic styles. For Kazakhstan’s Astana ...

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The Fishermen – Trafalgar Studios, London

Writer: Chigozie Obioma Director: Jack McNamara Reviewer: Maryam Philpott As the cream of this year’s Edinburgh shows begin the transfer process to London, a 2018 favourite makes its West End debut. Chigozie Obioma’s 2015 novel The Fishermen made the Booker Prize shortlist and was adapted for the stage three years later by Gbolahan Obisesan premiering in Manchester before a month-long stint ...

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Hansard – National Theatre, London

Writer: Simon Woods Director: Simon Godwin Reviewer: Stephen Bates Most of us may feel that we have had enough of politics in our lives right now, but actor turned playwright Simon Woods seems to think otherwise. His play is a forensic examination of the murky territory where the public and private lives of a politician and his wife intersect. It ...

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Queen of the Mist – Charing Cross Theatre, London

Words and Music: Michael John LaChiusa Director: Dom O’Hanlon Reviewer: Maryam Philpott One of the greatest scientific achievements of the day or a ludicrous stunt, Anna Edson Taylor’s ascent over Niagara Falls in a barrel in 1901 wasn’t quite the ticket to worldwide fame and recognition that she had hoped it would be. Despised for its vulgarity, shunned because she ...

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Brainiac Live – Garrick Theatre, London

Writer/Director: Andy Joyce Reviewer: Scott Matthewman Brainiac: Science Abuse was a Sky 1 entertainment show that ran for six seasons, being cancelled in 2008. That means that every single episode of the series upon this West End show for children is older than its target audience. Not that seems to matter to the kids assembled a silly hour of explosions and ...

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Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear: The Musical! – National Theatre, London

Book and Lyrics: Andy Stanton Music:Jim Fortune Director:Amy Hodge Reviewer: Maryam Philpott Schools out for the summer and theatreland has given itself over to feel-good comedies and family-friendly shows designed to entertain young and old alike. The National Theatre’s big summer production for kids is a musical adaptation of Andy Stanton’s book Mr Gum and the Dancing Beargiven surreal but ...

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