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Central Reviews

The Winslow Boy – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writer: Terence Rattigan Director: Rachel Kavanaugh Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Ostensibly based on a true story about a naval cadet accused of stealing a postal order from a friend, The Winslow Boy also looks at the changing world just over a hundred years ago: Britain was living under the threat of a splintering Europe, women were fighting for equality with men, ...

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Elephant – The DOOR, Birmingham REP

Writer: Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti Director: Lucy Morrison Reviewer: John Kennedy The PR for this première performance quotes from the text promising a family of ‘Real flesh and blood, not out of a catalogue or an Oxo advert.’ As if a further contextual reality-check is needed, one of the family comments that it’s ok to be gay because ‘they’ve got one in Eastenders.’ The Royal ...

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Awful Auntie – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Writer: Neal Foster adapted from the book by David Walliams Director: Neal Foster Reviewer: Niki Craft With David Walliams quickly climbing the ladder leading to the title of Britain’s most popular children’s author, it is no surprise that companies are flocking to work his books into theatrical productions. Having had staggering success with their first go at a Walliams adaption ...

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Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – Milton Keynes Theatre

Book: Douglas McGrath Music & Lyrics: Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil & Barry Mann Director: Marc Bruni Reviewer: Maggie Constable Winner of Tony, Olivier and Grammy awards, Beautiful The Carole King Musical wends its way to Milton Keynes Theatre this week, its second stop on this leg of its U.K tour. The London production at the Aldwych Theatre has ...

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A History of Heavy Metal – mac, Birmingham

Reviewer: John Kennedy Andrew O’Neill, with support band Reprisal, performs and illustrates an encyclopaedically referenced and evergreen celebratory love-letter (albeit written in blood-red crayon) to the origins and mutations of this never-say-tie-dye genre. Those familiar with Art-Lab, Jazz-fusion band Soft Machine might appreciate the dichotomy of emergent styles here. Around the same time as the counter-culture road movie Easy Rider featured ...

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Shrek the Musical – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Book and Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire Music: Jeanine Tesori Director: Nigel Harman Reviewer: Clare White It’s a fairytale, but not as we know it. Based on the hugely popular 2001 DreamWorks film, Shrek the Musical is a larger-than-life comedy spectacle which, amidst the fun and flatulence, challenges preconceived ideals of beauty and goodness – while thoroughly entertaining an audience of all ...

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The Last Five Years – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Book, Music and Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown Director: Karl Steele Reviewer: Selwyn Knight The Last Five Years has now been around almost twenty years since its première in Chicago in 2001. Moving off-Broadway, it garnered numerous awards. While the story it tells is a path relatively well-trod, its methodology isn’t. Jamie is an aspiring novelist; Cathy aspires to be an actress. They ...

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Wonderland – Nottingham Playhouse

Writer: Beth Steel Director: Adam Penford Reviewer: Dave Smith There’s no escaping the fact that how you view the events and politics of the 1983/84 miners’ strike is going to have a serious impact on how you view Beth Steel’s homage to the camaraderie and courage of Britain’s now all but disappeared mining communities. As the daughter of a Nottinghamshire ...

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