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The Unexpected Guest – The Mill at Sonning

Writer: Agatha Christie Director: Brian Blessed Reviewer: Christie-Luke Jones The Unexpected Guest is a classic Agatha Christie murder mystery set in a fog-shrouded 1950’s South Wales. One-time big-game hunter Richard Warwick, now in a wheelchair after having been mauled by a lion in Kenya, is found dead in his study by Michael Starkwedder (Séan Browne), the show’s staccato-voiced titular character. ...

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Legally Blonde, Theatre Royal, Brighton

Lucie Jones as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin Book: Heather Hach Director: Anthony Williams Reviewer: Simon Topping Vibrant colours, bouncing movement and upbeat music greet the audience as we meet the peppy sisters of the Delta Nu sorority.  This is the exuberant start, of the silly, sparkling entertaining and vibrant, Legally Blonde. Nearing the end of its UK tour, this current ...

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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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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Do the Thing: The Two Man Made-Up Musical – The Warren: Theatre Box

Creators: Simon Plotkin, Tim Meredith and Calum Anderson Reviewer: Simon Topping Speeding onto the stage dressed all in black, like a hirsute Johnny Cash tribute, come the cheery improv comedy duo, Do the Thing (Simon Plotkin and Tim Meredith)accompanied by their mysterious musical friend (Calum Anderson), who does not speak but wields an acoustic guitar, ready to play. After some light crowd banter ...

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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Margo and Mr Whatsit – The Warren: The Hat

Creators: PaddleBoat Theatre Reviewer: Simon Topping As we enter the venue Sophia (Katy Dash) greets us to solemnly explain that Mr Whatsit (Michael Smith) is dead, pointing to the bearded mischief-maker that lays flat on the beautifully crafted cabin bed in front of us.  However Mr Whatsit (Sophia’s inseparable imaginary friend) does not easily comply to this bequest, sitting up ...

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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Arr We There Yet? – Spiegeltent: Bosco

Creators: Head First Acrobats Reviewer: Simon Topping Bounding on to stage comes the captain and his two merry shipmates, both of whom feel they have a claim to be the ship’s head man. Arguing, scuffling and high-quality clowning opens what is to be 45-minutes of beguiling and wowing entertainment; leaving kids and adults alike in fits of laughter and amazed. ...

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The Chalk Garden – Chichester Festival Theatre

Writer: Enid Bagnold Director: Alan Strachan Reviewer: Steve Turner It’s a rare treat to find a work with such substantial central roles for three generations of women. Rarer still to find them played with such dexterity and passion as they are here. Enid Bagnold’s celebrated, but perhaps underperformed tale of the matriarchal Mrs St Maugham, her granddaughter Laurel and the intriguing ...

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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Bus Boy – The Warren: Blockhouse

Writer: Izzy McDonald  Director: Geordie Crawley Reviewer: Simon Topping In the middle of the stage sits a young man on a bike, he is looking for the mainland tourists arriving at his home, Rottnest Island. He wants to drive a bus; he has memorised all the routes (he doesn’t like to rely on google maps) and at the forefront of ...

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