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Central Reviews

A Christmas Carol – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon

Writer: David Edgar, from the book by Charles Dickens Director: Rachel Kavanaugh Reviewer: James Garrington When Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, he lived in a country full of great poverty. The Poor Laws allowed people to be sent to the Workhouse to claim relief, debtors were imprisoned – including, for a period, his own father – and even ...

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Flashdance the Musical – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Book: Tom Hedley and Robert Carey   Music: Robbie Roth  Lyrics: Robert Carey and Robbie Roth  Director: Hannah Chissick Reviewer: Clare White In a simpler time of poodle perms and leg warmers, 80s dance films gave us many life lessons – that no one puts Baby in the corner, that we should hold out for a hero, and that ultimately love conquers all. (Thank ...

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101 Dalmatians – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writer: Debbie Isitt from the book by Dodie Smith Director: Tessa Walker Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Although Dodie Smith was already a successful playwright and novelist, it was probably the Disney adaptation of her 1956 children’s novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians that brought her work to the wider public eye. The story of the evil Cruella de Vil stealing Dalmatian ...

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Monteverdi Vespers (1610) – Town Hall, Birmingham

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi Conductor: Jeffrey Skidmore Reviewer: John Kennedy Hipsters take note - none of this refers to an artisan revival of that ersatz 60s waspy Vespa scooter no self-respecting Rocker would ever be seen dead on. Sources indicate that Monteverdi submitted his apotheosis of sacred music in a successful application for the post of maestro di cappella at St Marks, Venice in 1613. ...

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One Man, Two Guvnors – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Writer: Richard Bean Director: Adam Lacey Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Francis is easily confused. He used to play washboard in a skiffle band but then the Beatles happened and he was sacked. Hungry and desperate for food, he met Roscoe, a dodgy-looking bloke, who offered him a week’s work as his minder. Which is odd as Roscoe was murdered by the ...

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Friday Night Classics: Abba Symphonic Spectacular – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Stephen Bell Reviewer: Selwyn Knight The 1970s: the decade that taste forgot as we are reminded by Conductor Stephen Bell as he stands in front of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) with many players resplendent in seventies gear. It’s also the decade that brought us Glam Rock, Punk, the first woman Prime Minister, and, of course, some ...

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What the Moon Saw – Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome

Choreographer: Tamsin Fitzgerald from the story by Hans Christian Andersen Composer: Angus Macrea Reviewer: John Kennedy The very noble, if rather esoteric programme notes draw an obtuse reference to the ‘colourless’ consequences of Brexit contrasting with the Company’s multi-hued experiences in India. This re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s eponymous story is their response. Thespian rescue-therapy? Be that as it may, it is ...

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Cinderella – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Writer and Director: Iain Lauchlan Reviewer: Niki Craft Among looks of disgust at tinsel-adorned trees and cries of ‘it's November’ at Mariah Carey echoing out from retail outlets everywhere, crowds are flocking to Coventry's Belgrade Theatre this evening for their official kick-off of this season's pantomime. Having worked their way, both very successfully and less so, through an array of ...

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