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Central Reviews

Ahir Shah: Control – The STUDIO, Birmingham REP

Reviewer: John Kennedy There’s been much-impassioned talk of taking back control, to reclaim sovereignty over the endangered institutions that are allegedly the bedrock of British freedom - unless those holding office in those institutions run out of control and their heterodoxies render them ‘Traitors’ and ‘Mutineers’. Clearly, self-control, like the Devil that is currently poking his red-hot pitch-fork into all ...

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Mamma Mia! – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Music & Lyrics: Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus Book: Catherine Johnson Director: Phyllida Lloyd Reviewer: Clare White There can be nothing more guaranteed to warm up a bleak February night in Wolverhampton than an injection of Greek sunshine by way of Mamma Mia!, the ultimate feel-good musical. Based on the music of Swedish super-group ABBA, the award-winning show has been ...

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Black Men Walking – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Writer: Testament Director: Dawn Walton Reviewer: James Garrington “We walked England before the English.” Trevor, Matthew and Richard like walking in the Peak District. Every month they meet and walk and talk. This time, although the forecast indicated that they should cancel, they press on in an attempt to fight their individual demons - until a blizzard brings them face to ...

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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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