Friday 25th May

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Sandip Kana

Chicago: The Musical © The Phoenix Theatre

Chicago The Musical

Rating:

Sandip Kana, What’s On London reviewer

Despite good performances from much of the cast, Walter Bobbie’s new incarnation of the frank and funny classic lacks a slice of razzle dazzle.

It would be difficult not to have noticed the large array of promotional posters across London heralding the return of Chicago, pitted as one of the West End’s ‘must see’ musicals.  But although there are a number of commendable aspects to this production, overall it is disappointingly flat compared to previous stellar iterations.

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Category: Theatre
glengarry-glen-ross-christian-slater

Glengarry Glen Ross: Christian Slater rises high in conman drama

Rating:

David Mamet’s new Playhouse Theatre revival is a solid production that provides a tense insight into the corrupt networks of American capitalism.  The revival of Glengarry Glen Ross – 34 years after its premiere – maintains good chemistry between a strong cast and packs plenty of laughs throughout.

It has to be noted that on the night I attended the production, Robert Glenister – who plays Dave Moss – became unwell during the performance and was replaced by understudy Mark Carlisle.  This understandably created a strange atmosphere, with Carlisle performing manfully even though relying on a script, while the other cast members rallied round.  Thankfully, Robert has made a full recovery and rejoined the cast for future performances.

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Category: Theatre
La Soiree @ TCS
La Soiree @ TCS

Preview – La Soiree and La Petite Soiree

The multi-award-winning and much-loved La Soirée, returns to its favourite city this Christmas from 24th November to 3rd February 2018.  But who on earth has given them the keys to a proper West End Theatre?

Over the next few months, the phenomenal global hit will reside at the recently refurbished Aldwych Theatre.  Prepare to be captivated by the irresistible La Soirée as its motley crew of talented cabaret performers and circus sideshow misfits revel in their new surroundings.  And expect La Soirée’s heady cocktail of intimate cabaret, new burlesque and contemporary variety in a grander, plusher home.

This Christmas will also be the first time that La Soirée is offering La Petite Soirée – a family-friendly, fun and daring hour-long show for cabaret fans of all ages.  La Petite Soirée will play from 3pm on Saturdays and throughout the Christmas holidays.

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Category: Theatre
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On The Town: an entertaining take on the 1940s musical, despite underwhelming aspects

Rating:

This year’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre summer programme kicks off with On The Town, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s 1940s musical about three sailors enjoying their shore leave to the full in New York City.  

Directed and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie, the concept seems promising and the show has a lot going for it.  However, as Sandip Kana writes for What’s On London below, the colourful and tuneful production often underwhelms, although strong showings from the female cast members ensure it still makes for an entertaining night at the theatre.  

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Category: Theatre
Romeo and Juliet © The Globe Theatre

Romeo and Juliet: a violent and visionary adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic love story

Rating:

Emma Rice’s final season as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre sees the return of quintessential love story, Romeo and Juliet.  And with typical ambition, Rice has appointed Daniel Kramer – her equivalent at the English National Opera – to deliver as unique a take on the play as Rice herself brought to A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer.  

Some might consider Kramer’s dark, volatile and confrontational production to be an affront to the play’s traditions.  But, as Sandip Kana writes below for What’s On London, this would underplay the important, visionary and fearless contribution Kramer has managed to make to this all-time classic.

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Category: Theatre
The Braille Legacy © Charing Cross Theatre

The Braille Legacy review

Rating:

French musical The Braille Legacy recently held its world premiere at Charing Cross Theatre, telling the true story of Louis Braille’s invention of his eponymous tactile alphabet which helped transform the lives of blind people ever since.  

Directed by the highly-acclaimed Thom Southerland (Titanic, Parade), The Braille Legacy has many of the ingredients required to be a classic: a strong story with bleakness and hope, a young cast with impressive voices and a thoughtful approach to presentation.  

However, as Sandip Kana writes below, a few glaring issues prevent the production from fully allowing its thought-provoking message to shine through.

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Category: Theatre
An American in Paris © Dominion Theatre

An American in Paris: sheer musical magic

Rating:

By Sandip Kana

In 1951, An American in Paris wowed film fans with its elegant blend of music and ballet.  It is no surprise that over 60 years later, the stage production at the Dominion Theatre is equally as mesmerising.  With Christopher Wheeldon in charge of direction and choreography, and Bob Crowley employing masterful set designs, the musical is an explosion of colour and irresistible movement.  For all the show lacks in dialogue, it certainly delivers in dance and visuals.

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Category: Theatre
The Kite Runner © Wyndhams Theatre
The Kite Runner © Wyndhams Theatre

The Kite Runner: A remarkable stage production

Rating:

Written by Sandip Kana

Matthew Spangler’s stage production of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel, The Kite Runner, makes an astonishing West End debut at Wyndham’s Theatre.  Its limited run lasts until 11th March 2017.

Given the popularity of Khaled Hosseini’s novel upon its release in 2003, and its highly successful movie adaptation four years later, it always seemed likely that The Kite Runner would become a stage production. However, given the complexity of the narrative, playwright Matthew Spangler faced numerous barriers and concerns that his efforts would fall short.  Those concerns are unfounded: what was undeniably an epic novel, scripted into an epic film, has been adapted into an epic play.

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Category: Theatre