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Central Reviews

Rodgers, Hammerstein and Hart – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Richard Rodgers, one of musical theatre’s finest composers, enjoyed two careers with two quite different lyricists: firstly with Lorenzo Hart from their first meeting in 1919 to Hart’s death in 1943; and then with Oscar Hammerstein II from 1943 until Hammerstein’s death in 1960. Between them, these three men moved the musical on to include sharper storylines ...

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Bond and Beyond – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Performed by The London Concert Orchestra Big Band Conductor: John Rigby Reviewer: James Garrington Beautiful women, fabulous special effects, fancy gadgets, exotic locations; everyone has their own view of what makes a Bond movie special. It is over fifty years since the first Bond movie appeared on our screens in 1962, featuring Sean Connery and the famous scene with Ursula ...

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – The Birmingham Hippodrome

Writer: Alan McHugh and Michaels Harrison Director: Michael Harrison Reviewer: James Garrington There are three things you can pretty much guarantee at Christmas: the shops will be crowded; the tree lights won’t work; and the Hippodrome will present a blockbuster pantomime. This year’s pantomime is no exception to that rule. Producers Qdos have once again pulled all the stops out ...

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Red Riding Hood – Curve, Leicester

Writer: Mike Kenny Music: Julian Butler Director: Matt Aston Reviewer: Linford Butler “There are lots of different sorts of stories, rags to riches stories for example, where the hero or heroine starts in a bad place and ends up living happily (probably ever after). Little Red Riding Hood isn’t like that.” So begins Mike Kenny’s introduction to the programme for ...

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Jingle Bell Christmas – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: Selwyn Knight What better way to get in the Christmas mood than an evening of Christmas music at Birmingham’s beautiful Symphony Hall? Certainly, the audience for this festive concert was up for it, many (including this reviewer) dressed in tasteless Christmas jumpers and sporting Santa Claus hats. And the London Concert Orchestra, led by conductor John Rigby and supported ...

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Wendy and Peter Pan– The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Writer: JM Barrie, adapted by Ella Hickson Director: Jonathan Munby Reviewer: James Garrington Wendy and Peter Pan is the latest of the RSCs Christmas shows aimed primarily at families; Matilda in 2010 was highly acclaimed and is still in production in both London and New York, but The Mouse and His Child and The Heart of Robin Hood in 2012 ...

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Ghost The Musical – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Book: Bruce Joel Robin Music: Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard Lyrics: Bruce Joel Robin, Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard Director: Matthew Warchus Reviewer: Selwyn Knight The theme of lives cut short and spirits unready for the afterlife because of work unfinished has been a staple of the entertainment industry, with Ghost The Musical being the latest exploration of the theme. But ...

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Cats – New Theatre, Oxford

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: T. S. Elliot from 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats' Original Director: Trevor Nunn Tour Director: Chrissie Cartwright Reviewer: Mary Tapper Cats is an iconic musical that has a reputation to die for. Opening in the West End in 1981, it played for 21 years and original cast members included Elaine Page, Bonnie Langford, Brian ...

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