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Central Reviews

Billy Elliot – Birmingham Hippodrome

Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall Music: Elton John Director: Stephen Daldry Reviewer:  James Garrington Billy Elliot has been a long time coming to Birmingham – but now it’s on its first tour after a lengthy run in the West End, and it’s certainly been worth the wait. This is a show that ticks all the boxes. As the 1984/5 miners’ ...

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Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Glen Joseph as buddy holly

Book: Alan Janes Music and Lyrics: Buddy Holly and others Director: Adrian Rees Reviewer:  Scott Matthewman Alan Janes’ Buddy, the granddaddy of jukebox biography musicals, opened in October 1989. Which means that, at the spritely age of 27, this musical is now five years older than its protagonist was at his death in 1959. And truth be told, that age is beginning ...

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The Winter’s Tale – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Declan Donnellan Reviewer: Cath Lyon Shakespeare is long accused of being too serious. Yet in Cheek by Jowl’s version of The Winter’s Tale, it’s uncertain whether the laughter is sincere or sinister. In a remastering of one Shakespeare’s lesser-performed works, joint Artistic Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod deliver a piece that is as ambiguous as ...

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Shirley Valentine – New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Jodie Prenger as Shirley Valentine

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Glen Walford Reviewer:  John Kennedy Beginning a week’s residency, tonight's opening show is part of a six-leg UK 30th anniversary revival tour, first premiered in 1986. Russell's bitter/sweet comedy of self-discovery by the put upon wallflower, Shirley Valentine, later became an Oscar nomination hit in 1989 with the screenplay adaptation also by Russell. Inevitably it is against the ...

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Ellen Kent’s Nabucco – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi  Director: Ellen Kent Conductor:  Vasyl Vasylenko Reviewer:  Scott Matthewman Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco, telling the story of the persecution of Israelites by the Babylonians, has over the decades come to be treated as an allegory for contemporary oppression in Europe. The work’s most famous choral tune, Va, pensiero, better known as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, has resonated from ...

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Amédée – The STUDIO, Birmingham REP

Josie Lawrence and Trevor Fox in Amédée

Writer: Eugène Ionescu, adapted by Sean Foley Director: Roxana Silbert Reviewer:  Selwyn Knight Amédée has hit writers' block. For 15 years, he has been working on his play and has now written almost three lines of the opening scene despite being effortlessly eloquent in his dealings with Madeleine, his wife. As he agonises over it, Madeleine does all the chores ...

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Funny Girl – Milton Keynes Theatre

Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl

Music: Jule Styne Lyrics: Bob Merrill Book: Isobel Lennart, revised by Harvey Fierstein Director: Michael Mayer Reviewer: Maggie Constable The hugely talented comedienne and actor, Sheridan Smith, takes on the lead role in Funny Girl at Milton Keynes this week. She has been much awaited after rave reviews in the West End. Very few have taken on this role since Barbra Streisand ...

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Pygmalion – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

Writer: George Bernard Shaw Director: Sam Pritchard Reviewer:  Selwyn Knight Pygmalion must be one of Bernard Shaw’s most popular plays. First produced in 1913, it tells the story of professor of linguistics, Henry Higgins and his tutelage of streetwise flower-girl, Eliza. Headlong Theatre has taken Shaw’s text and transplanted it into a world of technology as they ask if class ...

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