Reviews

Sweeney Todd, YAOS at Yeovil Octagon

SWEENEY Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, is a metaphor for all that is dark and lurks behind closed doors, in streets barely lit with guttering gaslights, for a time when the rich and powerful had almost infinite power over the poor and powerless, when there was no safety net … Yeovil Amateur Operatic…

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Madagascar – the Musical, Bristol Hippodrome and touring

HAVING spent most of the noughties in the Far East, I missed much of the razzamatazz that surrounded the original Madagascar – Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath’s computer animated film which featured the familiar voices of Ben Stiller and Sacha Baron Cohen among others. With its host of well-known musical numbers such as Stayin’ Alive,…

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Shakespeare in Love, Bath Theatre Royal and touring

TWENTY years after the Oscar-winning film (it won seven, including best screenplay) and just four years after the stage adaptation ran for almost a year in London, Shakespeare in Love has been revived and is on tour around the country, starting in Bath, and co-produced by Bath Theatre Royal. Tom Stoppard’s film script, already a…

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Her Naked Skin, Salisbury Playhouse

IT is only ten years since Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s play Her Naked Skin arrived on the National Theatre stage, the first play by a woman to be performed at the Olivier in its first 30 years. At the time, critics commented on how far “we” had progressed since the suffragette days, then 90 years previously. In…

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Mahler Resurrection Symphony, BSO at Poole Lighthouse

Ligeti: Lontano Mahler: Symphony No. 2 Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, leader Amyn Merchant Bournemouth Symphony Chorus (dir Gavin Carr) Kirill Karabits, conductor Lise Lindstrom, soprano Nadine Weissmann, mezzo-soprano THE BSO’s first concert of a new season is always something special.  Mahler’s epic and monumental 2nd Symphony, an overwhelmingly positive affirmation of faith in the life eternal,…

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Saturday Night Fever at Bristol Hippodrome

PRODUCER/director Bill Kenwright has been presenting productions of Willy Russell’s Liverpool based Blood Brothers in London and around the country virtually non-stop since 1987. Liverpool born and long term chairman of Everton Football Club, Kenwright’s roots are well and truly in that city, and the sensitive way in which he has directed and produced this…

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w-RAP TWO, Poole Lighthouse

WHEN I was a child, plastic was an exciting product and new things were being made all the time. Our class at school did a (probably cringe-making) variety show which included the twin daughters of the Fawley Esso oil refinery dancing in brightly coloured plastic clothes. A few years later, my father had his first…

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Charley’s Aunt, Studio Theatre Salisbury

BRANDON Thomas’s comedy Charley’s Aunt opened in 1892, just three years before Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.  Both have redoubtable aunts. Both have central characters in love. And both have continued to be popular with audiences and performers ever since. Salisbury’s Studio Theatre company has chosen Thomas’s play to open its autumn season, directed by…

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A Pure Woman, Dorchester Corn Exchange and touring

AN old man thinks of what might have been, regrets what has been. A pretty young actress dreams of success, fame and a career in the theatre far from her dull rural home. A second wife frets, disappointed, ailing, jealous, frustrated. Outside it is bitterly cold. The characters of A Pure Woman could have walked…

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, BLOC at Bristol Hippodrome

SINCE its foundation in 1932, when the initial production, Cox and Box and Pirates of Penzance, cost £300 to produce, BLOC, the only non-professional company to stage an annual musical production at the Bristol Hippodrome, has survived seeing its venue, the Victoria Rooms, burnt down six weeks before opening night, a World War, their theatrical…

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