Sunday 24th September

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Claire Machin, Sophie-Louise Dann, Joanna Riding, Claire Moore and Debbie Chazen in The Girls
Claire Machin, Sophie-Louise Dann, Joanna Riding, Claire Moore and Debbie Chazen in The Girls

The Girls – If you’re going to see one musical this year, it has to be Barlow’s!

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Hotly anticipated musical The Girls is now being performed at Phoenix Theatre until July 2017.  Based on the hit 2003 film Calendar Girls, Tim Firth (who wrote the film) and national treasure Gary Barlow have joined forces to return this heart-warming story to the stage.  In doing so, as Shannon Rawlins writes below, they have produced the best British musical since Billy Elliot.

Film, play, musical – Phoenix Theatre’s brand new production The Girls has been on quite the journey.  Now, in the heart of the West End, you can hear sung the true tale of a Yorkshire Women’s Institute group’s fundraising efforts of producing a nude calendar to raise money for a memorial sofa.

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Category: Theatre
An Inspector Calls © The Playhouse Theatre
An Inspector Calls © The Playhouse Theatre

An Inspector Calls: A remarkable spectacle and timeless debate

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Written by Sandip Kana

Stephen Daldry’s multi-award-winning production of An Inspector Calls has returned to the West End, exactly 70 years after the play was first staged in the UK.  Daldry’s adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s classic piece of theatre – showing at Playhouse Theatre until February 2017 – brings a mixture of emotion, laughter and surreal moments.  Infused with fewer dark undercurrents than the original script, this version can still be regarded as a great contemporary piece of theatre.

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Category: Theatre
L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron 
Weasley). Photo by Manuel Harlan
L-R Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter) and Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley). Photo by Manuel Harlan

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Stupendous proof that J.K. is still rollin’

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Sold out until December 2017, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has proved a huge success even before the reviews started rolling in – and with very good reason.   A further 250,000 tickets will be released on Thursday 4th August and What’s On London cannot recommend enough snapping them up while you can.  

This superb J.K. Rowling / Jack Thorne / John Tiffany two-part collaboration officially opened on 30th July at The Palace Theatre and Shannon Rawlins was lucky enough to catch the previews on consecutive nights earlier on in the week.  She reports below in a spoiler-free review.

As soon as the play opened, it was full steam ahead.  Packed from the get-go, I forgot I was flying solo at the theatre, completely and utterly immersed in Rowling’s universe.  Initially nervous at the thought of a five-hour play, by the end of Part One I dreaded having to wait a whole day to see the culminating part!

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Category: Theatre
Blanc de Blanc © Pamela Raith
Blanc de Blanc © Pamela Raith

Blanc de Blanc: Bringing a touch of Vegas to London

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Blanc de Blanc – a sexually infused circus spectacular – is playing at the London Hippodrome until Sunday August 28 and Sandip Kana went along to the press preview for What’s On London.

Blanc de Blanc provides a wonderful evening of burlesque circus, that enthrals for hours.  If you’re looking for good clean fun, then this isn’t the production for you.  But if you want something to take your breath away, book your tickets now.

Themed around champagne and choreographed by the masterminds of Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, the production leaves little to the imagination: full of sexual innuendo and plenty of skin – maybe a little too much at times.  Initially conceived by Strut & Fret Production House, Blanc de Blanc has the potential to become an iconic piece of entertainment and brings a touch of Las Vegas to the heart of London.  

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Category: Theatre
01-tarzan.w529.h352

Him Tarzan, Me Very Impressed – ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ film review

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What’s On London were treated to an early screening of Warner Brothers’ The Legend of Tarzan this week, starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie and directed by Harry Potter’s very own David Yates.

As Shannon Rawlins reports, although the film is far from perfect, it’s an enjoyable and immersive ride with a number of strong performances and excellent use of CGI more than making up for certain plot gaps.

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Category: Cinema
Aladdin-Prince-Edward-Theatre-Jade-Ewen-Jasmine-and-Dean-John-Wilson-Aladdin-Photographer-Deen-van-Meer-©-Disney-2-238x357

Disney’s Aladdin flies into the West End

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Two years after its Broadway debut, Disney’s Aladdin has arrived in London’s West End to run at The Prince Edward Theatre until 11th February 2017.  The magical musical – based on the timeless Middle Eastern folk tale – stars former Sugababe Jade Ewan, Dean-John Wilson and Trevor Dion Nicholas.

On its opening Arabian night, Disney pulled out all the stops by laying on a surprise purple – but non-flying – carpet for the arriving audience.  There on the carpet was Shannon Rawlins to report back for What’s On London.

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Category: Theatre
Ed Byrne - Outside Looking In

Ed Byrne: ‘Outside Looking In’ at Leicester Square Theatre, 10-11 June

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Irish comedian, actor and voice-over artist Ed Byrne ends his latest UK stand-up tour – Outside Looking In – this week in London at Leicester Square Theatre.  Shannon Rawlins went along to see him in action and reported back for What’s On London.

Having never seen Ed Byrne live before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  As Byrne opened his gig by telling us all to expect “the same old shit”, I was still in the dark.  However, for the following 110 minutes I found myself pleasantly surprised with what the 43 year old Irish comic had to offer.  Throughout Outside Looking In, I was engaged, entertained and enlightened.

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Category: Comedy
Horrorland
Horrorland

Goosebumps Alive! at The Vaults, Waterloo

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By Shannon Rawlins

Most 90s kids are familiar with RL Stine’s Goosebumps collection – a series of books designed to scare the life out of anyone under the age of 14 with an overactive imagination.  With this in mind, I was extremely excited to hear that Waterloo’s The Vaults have created Goosebumps Alive! – an immersive theatre show based on the haunting tales from my childhood.  And even the recent film adaptation starring Jack Black hadn’t put me off, so I went along to the press launch with high hopes.

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Category: Theatre