Monday 17th June

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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
Shrek and Fiona go head-to-head
Shrek and Fiona go head-to-head

Shrek The Musical at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Based on the 2001 animated film, ‘Shrek The Musical’ is an entertaining evening which will have both adults and children dancing in their seats throughout the whole performance. On the penultimate stop of a hugely successful UK tour, Shrek is currently at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

The title character is brought to life by Dean Chisnall, who manages to showcase both the aggressive and softer side to the ogre, despite not having the strongest singing voice. Sometimes a struggle to understand his mumbling dialect, Chisnall most importantly captures the warmth of the character.

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Category: Kids
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Savoy Theatre.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Savoy Theatre.

Digital press night at the Savoy Theatre: An evening with our favourite ‘scoundrels’

Rating:

I reviewed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels earlier this month. A few weeks ago Jerry Mitchell’s production was a fabulously scandalous theatrical performance, and at the Digital Press Night Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is still a stunning show, which will keep audiences besieging the box office for tickets. To read my review of the show for Whats On London click here – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Glamorous, extravagant and a few rotten apples thrown in for good measure!’

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Category: Theatre
Pilobolus' Shadowland at the Peacock Theatre
Pilobolus' Shadowland at the Peacock Theatre

Shadowland: An acrobatic triumph of dance

Rating:

Showing until 30 March 2014 at the Peacock theatre, Shadowland is an immersive, smart, ingenious blend of live-acting and human shadow-puppetry. The American Pilobolus Dance Theatre shows us exactly that there is more to a shadow than meets the eye. This is a clever production, where the mastery of shadow-play is not only clearly evident, but is taken to the very edge of can be achieved through this medium. Shadowland transplants you into a world where reality and illusion clash through the entwining of bodies. However, you’re left feeling, that though the performance was faultless, the story somewhat let down what otherwise was a thoroughly immersive show.

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Category: Dance
Fame
Will you remember their names?

Fame at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Having never seen David De Silva’s original Oscar-winning film, I sat down at the New Wimbledon Theatre nervously, wondering whether I was about to watch a live version of Glee in legwarmers. As Fame – The Musical began, I realised I was right, only there were no legwarmers.

Gary Lloyd has modernised the story, setting it in present day New York. The school is still the same, the characters are still based on the originals, except the students of the PA School in New York now carry around mobile phones and iPads.

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Category: Dance
BalletBoyz
Photo credit: Panayiotis Sinnos

BalletBoyz: theTALENT @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Balletboyz’ Michael Nunn and William Trevitt present their third round of ‘The Talent’ and how. As much as I love dance in all its forms I certainly know nothing about it. Apart from what I like. I witnessed ‘The Talent’ in its first year on the expanse of Sadler’s Wells. Such skill translates to the touring stage just as effectively, whilst according a whole new effectiveness. Hell, they could stage it in a shopping mall, ‘the talent’ is that great.

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Category: Dance
The Snowman
The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre

The Snowman: A snowtastic show filled with all the traditions of Christmas

Rating:

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production (BRT) of The Snowman will melt away the harshness of even the coldest winter days. Set in a visually stunning snow-globe be prepared to take flight to a magical winter wonderland, surrounded by all your favourite Christmas characters, and filled with music that will delight both young and old. The Snowman returns at the Peacock Theatre for a sixteenth consecutive year cuddlier, funnier and more heartfelt than ever before.

Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman is a timeless classic, which has been revived by the BRT. Just like the book, and subsequent film, the show tells the story without a single word being uttered. It truly is a unique West End production, and most definitely the best Christmas show of the year. Through dance, music, and special effects, the Snowman’s winter wonderland comes alive on stage in a spectacular wintry fashion. Howard Blake’s score includes the family favourite ‘Walking in the Air’ accompanied by the flying Snowman and Boy. It’s a spine-tingling moment when the Boy takes flight with his new best friend, while Susan Monnox’s ‘Walking in the Air’ plays in the background.

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Category: Kids
Thriller Show
©Irina Chira/Sarynafoto

Thriller Live Review

Michael Jackson is a name that is synonymous with entertainment, so it is not surprising that any production linked to his name would prove to be entertaining. Thriller Live takes the audience through a two-hour tribute, journeying through the musical evolution of Jackson, from his humble days as a member of Jackson 5, to eventual global superstardom.

It is clear from the beginning of the show that Thriller Live will be a tribute show, lacking a true narrative and focusing entirely on the music. However, this does not devalue the entertainment appeal of the show. While the use of a sycophantic narrator presenting the story of Jackson’s musical achievements reminds the audience of an episode of “This is your life”, and the audience interaction can lean towards the side of awkward, it clearly reflects the aim of the show; to celebrate the music of Michael Jackson, not to address Jackson’s personal life.

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Category: Dance