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Angela’s Ashes: The Musical – Fairfield Halls, Croydon

Music and Lyrics: Adam Howell Book: Paul Hurt Director: Thom Southerland Reviewer: Richard Maguire Croydon’s redevelopment continues, and this month the Modernist Fairfield Halls reopened its doors after a two-year renovation. It cost £42 million, but the results are impressive, and emphasise the features that many have likened to the Royal Festival Hall. Sleek windows fill the sun lounge with ...

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The Rocky Horror Show – Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Writer: Richard O’Brien Director: Christopher Luscombe Reviewer: Dan English It’s at the moment when the audience all rises to do the Time Warp that you realise that this production continues to pull long after its first run, as The Rocky Horror Show reaches Dartford as part of its UK tour. Newly engaged, and fantastically naive, Brad and Janet stumble across ...

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9 to 5: The Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Book: Patricia Resnick Music and Lyrics: Dolly Parton Director: Jeff Calhoun Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen Reviewer: Gemma Fincher If you are looking for a musical with big hair and even bigger belts, then look no further than Dolly Parton’s ultimate feel-good musical of female empowerment, 9 to 5 The Musical. The queen of country music’s signature style is all over this ...

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Calendar Girls: The Musical – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Music: Gary Barlow Lyrics: Gary Barlow and Tim Firth Director: Matt Ryan Reviewer: Clare White It’s been 16 years since the film Calendar Girls was released, inspired by a true story about a Women’s Institute group from Yorkshire who ditched jam and Jerusalem to bare all for a nude charity calendar. It was the brainchild of Chris Harper, who wanted ...

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Rebel Music – The DOOR, Birmingham REP

Creators: Robin French and Alex Brown Director: Alex Brown Reviewer: John Kennedy Complementing the programme’s Punk Font front cover, the audience are welcomed with hi-viz stickers proclaiming  ‘NAZIS are No Fun’. Evidence alone that, not only did Rock Against Racism coalesce seemingly impossible, eclectic musical genres under a common cause, they also had a wry sense of ironic understatement. Mixed-race, Denise’s ...

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Midlife Cowboy – The Pleasance, London

Book, Music, Lyrics and Director: Tony Hawks Reviewer: Maryam Philpott The cowboy musical is a surprisingly underexploited genre; the larger than life characters, the dramatic showdowns and the introspective songs a seemingly perfect fit with the pillars of stage musicals. Middle class angst, however, is a far more common topic for drama so Tony Hawks has combined the two to ...

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Motown: The Musical – Liverpool Empire

Book: Berry Gordy Director: Charles Randolph-Wright If you can cherry-pick from a back catalogue of one of the most successful record labels in popular music, a label that spawned well over 100 US top 10 hits, then you have somewhat of a head start on your competition. Throw into the mix the classic rags-to-riches story, filled with love, jealousy and ...

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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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