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Central Reviews

Kanada – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Writer and Director: Nathalie Bazán Reviewer: Selwyn Knight We are in Auschwitz. Crushed people stagger by, trying to survive its horrors. In the centre, two young Jews seek solace together: Anya from Poland and Nikolai from Hungary. They seem ready to give up but are determined that they should tell us their story, the sum of their experiences that has led them ...

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Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella – Birmingham Hippodrome

Director and Choreographer: Matthew Bourne Music: Sergei Prokofiev Reviewer: John Kennedy Teenage orphan girl is forced into unpaid domestic labour stripped of her true identity. In desperation to gain elitist societal recognition she solicits supernatural means and compromises her feminist agenda in supine pursuit of approval from a privileged peacock aristocrat with a worrying foot fetish. Will this be a ...

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Brief Encounter – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writer: Noël Coward, adapted by Emma Rice Director: Emma Rice Reviewer: Selwyn Knight David Lean’s 1945 film, Brief Encounter, scripted by Nöel Coward, is often towards the top of Best Films of … lists, and deservedly so. The combination of the story of two people trapped in their predictable middle-class lives who glimpse a possible escape caught the imagination of ...

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Hedda Gabler – Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Writer: Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Patrick Marber Director: Ivo van Hove Reviewer: Dave Smith Barely home from her honeymoon with her new husband George Tesman – a steady but distinctly average academic - and Hedda is already bored to death with a marriage she wasn’t that enthusiastic about in the first place. When George’s former academic rival and now recovered ...

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The Play That Goes Wrong – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Writers: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields Director: Mark Bell Reviewer: Scott Matthewman It is unusual enough for a fringe hit to transfer from an above-the-pub theatre to the West End. Far more exceptional for that production to go on to win an Olivier award, transfer to Broadway, inspire two stage spin-offs, two BBC specials and show no signs of ...

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Of Mice and Men – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Writer: John Steinbeck Director: Guy Unsworth Reviewer: Maggie Constable One of the most powerful pieces of story-telling in American literature, John Steinbeck’s 1937 classic Of Mice and Men has begun its week-long run at the Royal and Derngate. It was made famous by the iconic film of the 30s and then again in the 1992 movie starring John Malkovich. It ...

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Penguins – The DOOR, Birmingham REP

Three dancers dressed as penguins step out

Choreographer: Carlos Pons Guerra Director: Paul Bosco McEneany Reviewer: John Kennedy Penguins is based on the true story of two male Chinstrap penguins at Central Park Zoo, New York, who, for gender confusions too complicated to contemplate, attempt to hatch a chick from a lump of rock. Good luck to the infant school teachers explaining that one to their delightful ...

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Graham Fellows: Completely Out of Character – mac, Birmingham

Reviewer: John Kennedy Graham Fellows’ best-loved alter-ego ‘domestic philosopher’ John Shuttleworth, the Sheffield based aspirational local radio DJ/singer-songwriter, occupies the greyer frequency on the OCD spectrum. His cult status as an astute chronicler of life’s vicissitudes reached its zenith with the inspired refrain ‘Two margarines on the go/It’s a nightmare scenario.’ Sung to a Yamaha keyboard, this kitchen-based perishable goods hiatus ...

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