Review: Summer Holiday

Stunning Ray Quinn and ensemble work their bobby-socks off with notable support from Rob Wicks and his band. Give No. 9 a proper MOT and it’ll strike gold too.


Review: Iolanthe

You’ll have to see this if you care for music theatre at all. it’s unmissable.


Review: Legally Blonde

You must see this. Apart from the heroic production itself, if there’s one outstanding performer it has to be Lucie Jones with Rita Simons’ superb support. Jones' voice is stunning, stratospheric, above all characterful.


Review: Crazy For You

This is a blast of the purest kind. You have to see it. In terms of talent on display worked to a supreme ensemble pitch, this is quite simply the most stunning pure musical I’ve seen this year.


Review: Into the Woods

This is an outstanding first-class revival, but more, it’s intimate knowing and innocent at the same time: it sports a residual wisdom beyond its brief.


Review: Blaas (Blow)

Tender, otherworldly, explorative and extraordinary, this is an exquisite show that is more than worth the trip out of town.


Review: Son of a Preacher Man

Son of a Preacher man has real potential. It’s easily more than a cut above a jukebox musical, and Revel-Horwood’s work particularly coupled with Herbert’s musical arrangements is exemplary. As is the marvellous and marvellously hard-working ensemble.


Review: Flashdance

It’s Joanne Clifton’s night. She lives Alex, dangerously pushing every routine with an extravagance, a hunger, sexiness and raw power that makes it one of the most memorable dance performances in a musical I’ve ever seen.


Review: Medea Electronica

Like the recent Suppliants, in a very different way, Medea Electronica asks just what we mean by Greek tragedy, what our conceptions of drama without music are. An essential experience.


Review: Grease

Grease really is the word


Review: The Suppliant Women

In one of the most radical productions ever mounted of Aeschylus indeed any Greek tragedy we’re literally taken to its roots: as in Greece, a community chorus of fifty, twenty-one of them the suppliant women of the play’s title. In this outstanding production, everything to resurrect this astonishing vision has been invoked.


Review: Saint George and the Dragon

This is an unsettling, unsettled play. Creating its own world, it asks something of substance no-one else is quite doing – not even Rory Mullarkey previously in The Wolf From the Door. His adaptation of the Oresteia for the Globe has after all come between. It’ll be intriguing to see where this big-boned, big-themed dramatist will venture next.


Review: Dreamboats and Petticoats

It’s back again. Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran’s nine-year dream Dreamboats and Petticoats returns to Theatre Royal, Brighton with a cast and creatives deserving high praise for creating the lightest touch out of slight narrative. Those who’ve seen it should start marvelling at the musicianship, and those who haven’t will increasingly join in.


Review: Follies

It took a visit into past and pastiche to propel Sondheim’s language into a modernity no-one foresaw. This is the finest realisation of this Janus-faced masterpiece, ringing with towering performances: Staunton, Bennett, Dee, Quast and Forbes simply at the head. This must be the definitive production.


Review: Fiddler on the Roof

Evans allows this musical theatre to breathe on his own big-hearted terms whilst allowing the bones to show, as it does with a breath-taking diminuendo that seems to raise and settle the dust of emigration as we watch. For sheer penetration, heart and balance it’s as definitive as we’re likely to see for many years.


Review: The Wedding Singer

This is an outstandingly-conceived show, generous to cast and audience alike, superbly choreographed and performed in what might seem challenging spaces. The last blast of summer’s breath: enjoy.


Review: Prom Kween

Come shimmy your sequined ball gown sister this is an hour of supercharged feel good musical fun -with a heart.


Review: SiX

Unmissable music from six of the best.


Review: La Cage aux Folles

La Cage aux Folles one might say comes home to Brighton’s Theatre Royal in this revival by Bill Kenwright Productions directed by Martin Connor. There’s no mystery why Brighton gets two weeks of this.


Review: Wall

An enthusiastic musical which promises to view the world from an alt left American perspective given current world posturing


Review: Committee

This edgy new development, faithful to one incident, marks a more than worthwhile variation on such larger works as London Road. It’s more illuminating than the history it sheds music on.


Review: All or Nothing

Carol Harrison’s written the band proud and plangent; her split hero strategies work to make this one of the best possible storylines of a British band, given hell-bent Marriott burning his talent at both ends, just like the decade.


Review: The Mikado

This Mikado not only redefines but rescues the operetta from an edgy oblivion, where we could never lose the melodies, yet increasingly hesitate to stage the work. It’s back.


Review: Turbulence

Musical Improv troupe keep improving.


Review: The Buddy Holly Story

The Buddy Holly Story is a superb show, the fast-track to know Buddy Holly’s world with storyline and songs that influenced and were influenced in turn. Alex Fobbester’s Buddy Holly inhabits his role with verve and heart-stopping sensitivity. There’s room to craft an even more compelling story, but as a show its generosity good-humoured inclusiveness proves irresistible.


Review: Sweet Charity

This is gritty New York in the mid-sixties and is now a fascinating reflection of American sub-culture during that era. It portrays a slice of life at the Fandango Dance Hall where the real purpose of the premises is geared far more towards sex-work than dancing the quick-step.


Review: Wonderland

The ingredients are there: it’s a magical idea, and just needs a quieter rationale and – to make it a great show - a few more memorable numbers. But if you care for musicals, see it for an outstanding clutch of performers and a dream of something perennial.


Review: Christopher Nibble.

"The Guinea pigs of Dandeville are munching the poor over-stretched dandelion population out of existence and heading for eco-disaster!!


Review: The Forecast

The Forecast is an unforgettable experience on many levels - a horrifying, yet ultimately hopeful story about a future that is already pulling into the driveway


Review: Urinetown

This eco-warning musical can hardly be billed as feel-good but the music is. Mark Hollmann’s music and lyrics are as fresh as they were in 2001, and Greg Kotis’ book and lyrics are sadly prescient. This ambitious professional standard musical is something we almost take for granted with BLT. In festival time, we lose sight of some regular theatre work But this is overall the finest Fringe theatre event I’ve seen so far.


Review: The Brexorcist

A darkly satirical exploration of the events which surround us


Review: Million Dollar Quartet

This is outstanding for is peerless characterising of the four legends with their unexpected female singer, the acting of Duncan and above al for the way the structure allows such extraordinary musicianship its head.


Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie

Plews and Wicks have created a musical powerhouse literally all-singing and dancing, of the highest West End standards. The quintet – and they blend magnetically together – of Clifton, Barrett, Rush, Glover and McDuff have stamped character and stomped bliss on this musical.


Review: Nell Gwynn

Swale’s unique: she writes a play of feline-scratching wit that’s a feelgood hommage, where intellectual pyrotechnics never feel out of place. We’ve recently enjoyed The Libertine’s brilliantly-lit darkness revived too, and revived Nell Gwynn is the antipode to Jeffreys’ profound masterpiece. Just as clever, as fiendishly witty, Swale’s orange-girl raillery refuses the other’s command to dislike. It ends too, in a startling reality, and tenders a shock.


Review: Sunny Afternoon

What makes this outstanding is Penhall’s wit and deft charactering of core band and satellites who interact with the complexity of a play, the way the songs move the narrative forward and are given believable geneses. This outstanding musical deserves the awards its original incarnation garnered – and it brings back The Kinks forever sharing the peak of British pop with The Who, The Stones and pre-eminently The Beatles.


Review: The Wizard of Oz

It beggars belief that on one tiny stage we can be subjected to so many scene stages so expertly handled, so many backdrops and scenery shifts, not to mention a cast of twenty-two who can all sing. This production is good enough for a larger professional stage. If you get a chance, ask for a ticket or return.


Review: Blood Brothers

The show - nearly three hours - never for a moment seemed it, gripping the audience so tightly the whole audience rose spontaneously to its feet – something I’ve not seen in this theatre. The blend of definitive and new cast members in a recent classic has overwhelming impact.


Review: The Shakespeare Revue

A consummate delight in this now rarest of forms; a tight song-and-dance of words. New material sizzles, inserted towards the end, the whole box of Bards from Bernard Levin’s Quoting Shakespeare to McKee’s arrangement of Shakespeare lines for a musical lights-out dances on the edge of hilarity before falling headlong into it.


Review: The Entertainer

Gawn Granger carries the memory of greatness and it’s this elusive elixir Archie, consummately but seedily played by Branagh, which stands in for those lost ideals Osborne’s first great character Jimmy Porter grasped at. It’s the toppling of Archie Rice’s own inner idol, or failure to do so, that sends this absorbing production out whistling into the dark.


Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Character-acting keeps this near-impossible-to-dramatize story a play. Since the film’s different, this charmingly-attempted soufflé of an adaptation might do the best service of all: send people in search of a ninety-page novella, and that’s in large print.


Review: Father Comes Home from the Wars

In three hours there’s hardly a missed beat and the title will tease and baffle in its implication long after the end. Brave visionary theatre, it doesn’t require that much from audiences to enthral.


Review: Love Story

Refreshing treatment of this enormously affecting musical lies in its British bite working so well with Jenny’s feisty character, and youth generally. BLT and the Craig/Nock team have scored another bull’s-eye which by the end is pretty watery.


Review: Glasgow Girls

Even on fictive terms this would garner praise for its raw power, its beating passion for justice and humanity. Difficult as it might be not to come away warmed this ensemble – and original musical – make it so very easy. This needs to be everywhere and should be shown if not live, then screened.


Review: A Dog’s Tale

A comic tale of doggie derring do from the Pound that strikes right at heart of the doll.


Review: Eurobeat

High production values and strong performances make this show fun for fans of Eurovision


Review: Rent

This is a challenging piece for any company to attempt, but the students at the Brighton Academy of Performing Arts tackle this show with what appears to be great ease. The characters within the story are all brilliantly portrayed by a fantastic cast of principle leads, and a truly exceptional ensemble.


Review: Haim: In the Light of a Violin

Mesmerising, heart-rending concert-cum-narration of a child’s journey through violin lessons to auditioning in Auschwitz, and beyond as told through his eyes.


Review: Pinocchio

Join Bard & Troubadour on a truly magical journary for all ages, as Pinocchio faces scoundrels, set-backs and sea monsters on his quest to become a real boy, in this loving recreation of the classic Italian fairy tale.


Review: The Threepenny Opera

A coming-of-age for Rufus Norris, a wholly credible, cheekily interventionist Threepenny Opera with a few devastating critiques


Review: Call Mr Robeson

A convincing portrayal of the great singer and political activist.


Review: Limelight

Showstopping numbers stud this heartwarming, touching new play with numbers by Liz Tait.


Review: Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Lee Hall’s and Vicky Featherstone‘s sell-out Edinburgh Fringe musical comes to the Theatre Royal. It more than bears out the accolades heaped on it.


Review: Annie

The whole cast shine, like the top of the Chrysler Building


Review: Aladdin

Unmissable fun - a winter winner from Emporium


Review: The Choir

An evening of song, drama and sheer joy that sits in your head long after the curtain calls


Review: Avenue Q

An irreverent and very funny musical with muppets


Review: Macbeth

Dark, harrowing and discordant take on the Scottish Play


Review: Rabbie

An affectionate and charming look at Scotland’s national rogue