Tuesday 21st August

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An American in Paris © Dominion Theatre

An American in Paris: sheer musical magic

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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
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
The Kite Runner © Wyndhams Theatre
The Kite Runner © Wyndhams Theatre

The Kite Runner: A remarkable stage production

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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
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
Jesus Christ Superstar © Open Air Theatre
Jesus Christ Superstar © Open Air Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar: A fragmented production that astonishes

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The iconic Jesus Christ Superstar, adapted by Timothy Sheader, is the penultimate production of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre season.  Sandip Kana saw the show on behalf of What’s On London.  

Since being created by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar has enjoyed many chapters to its production life and here another was added.  Sheader’s version, though it fragments at times and may be too dark for some, stuns in a way that few Open Air Theatre productions have in recent years.  Its message is unique and as a musical it astonishes.

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Category: Theatre
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
A Midsummer Night's Dream © Shakespeare's Globe
A Midsummer Night's Dream © Shakespeare's Globe

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Emma Rice lays down the gauntlet for her first production at the Shakespeare Globe

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Emma Rice’s first production as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s The Globe is a heart-punching show, full of energy, eccentricity and magic.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the first production of the new Wonder Season at The Globe.

It’s a play fit for all ages; from your youth when all you want to be is a fairy from a distant magical land, to your adult years where you endeavour across the perilous pitfalls of love, and as age, you will yearn for its maturity.  In her first production, Rice throws down the gauntlet – if this is how she starts, The Globe could not be in safer hands.

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Category: Theatre