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Central Reviews

Motown the Musical – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Book: Berry Gordy  Director: Charles Randolph-Wright Reviewer: Selwyn Knight It’s March 25, 1983, and rehearsals are in full swing in Pasadena for a gala performance to celebrate 25 years of Motown. Artists nurtured by Motown are attending to celebrate the iconic label, led by Berry Gordy Jr. But where is Gordy? He seems to be sulking: many of these artists ...

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Shakespeare in Love – Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Writer: Lea Hall, adapted from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard Director: Phillip Breen Reviewer: Dave Smith Up-and-coming Elizabethan playwright Will Shakespeare (Pierro Niel-Mee) is in the grip of a bad case of writer’s block and is struggling to come up with a plot for what he hopes will be his next big hit, Romeo and Ethel the ...

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Friday Night Classics: The Music of Harry Potter – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Michael Seal  Reviewer: Selwyn Knight While this concert from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is advertised as The Music of Harry Potter; in fact, it’s rather more. The atmosphere is set as lots of youngsters attend dressed as wizards, witches or even Harry himself. And our host is Tommy Pearson who remains in character (and cloak) as ...

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Touching the Void – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Writer: David Greig, from the book by Joe Simpson Director: Tom Morris Reviewer: James Garrington What do you do when you’re faced with a decision between life and death? Would you condemn your friend to almost certain death, or hold on to the limit of your endurance even though that would probably result in you both dying? Touching the Void ...

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Kindertransport – Nottingham Playhouse

Writer: Diane Samuels Director: Fiona Buffini Reviewer: Dave Smith The Kindertransport was an organised effort to rescue Jewish children from the increasingly hostile atmosphere in Germany in the months leading up to the outbreak of World War II. The reception these refugees received was not always as welcoming as we might hope it would have been given the circumstances; the ...

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All You Need Is LSD – The DOOR, Birmingham REP

Writer: Leo Butler Directors: Paul Hunter and Stephen Harper Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Sometimes you’ll finish watching a production and ask yourself. ‘What were they on when they wrote that?’ – no need for that question after Told By An Idiot’s All You Need is LSD – as playwright, Leo Butler told the Guardian, while interviewing Professor David Nutt for this ...

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The Wipers Times – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writers: Ian Hislop & Nick Newman Director: Caroline Leslie Reviewer: Selwyn Knight 1916. Ypres. A unit of the Sherwood Foresters, led by mining engineer Captain Frederick John Roberts, is looking to salvage timber or metal with which to shore up the trenches. They come across an abandoned printing press and, in a flash of eccentric British brilliance, Roberts, an engineer ...

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Finding Joy – mac, Birmingham

Writer and Director: Rachael Savage Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Joy is 83. She loves to dance, has a wicked sense of humour, knows what she wants … and is suffering from dementia. Her daughter is struggling to care for her. Danny, Joy’s grandson, a typical teen, hangs around street corners with his mates, watches the football and enjoys the occasional spliff. Then one ...

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