News and Reviews by Fran

8th Mar 19 :: Review: Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and You
Ian McKellen's one man show, seen in London on the set of "Home, I'm Darling".
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Latest User Reviews

Zog
1 Mr Ripoff
16th Jun 19: If you have read Zog then this production just doesn’t make sense. Absolute rubbish from the start to the end and everyone felt ripped off and disappointed. Doesn’t deserve to have any affiliation with the much loved Zog story. Avoid, avoid, avoid
Rock of Ages (Haymarket Theatre, Leicester)
5 Jane Grace
13th Jun 19: Absolutely brilliant show. Fantastic singing and dancing
Rock of Ages (Haymarket Theatre, Leicester)
2 Jane martin
12th Jun 19: Very disappointed...left at the interval...leicester.
Luther - Luther Vandross Celebration
5 Gail
4th Jun 19: Saw Harry perform last night in Bromley Churchill Theatre, absolutely fantastic show, great entertainment from the whole team and Henry performs as the perfect Luther tribute. Great covers of the classics, would love Bring me a rose as a ballad to be added... will definitely be looking out for further shows!! Highly recommended!!
Luther - Luther Vandross Celebration
5 Gail
4th Jun 19: Saw Harry perform last night in Bromley Churchill Theatre, absolutely fantastic show, great entertainment from the whole team and Henry performs as the perfect Luther tribute. Great covers of the classics, would love Bring me a rose as a ballad to be added... will definitely be looking out for further shows!! Highly recommended!!
Educating Rita (Theatre Royal, Bath)
5 Brilliant!
3rd Jun 19: A must see if you are in Bath this week. Fantastic performance & a well deserved standing ovation!
Chris Norman - Don't Knock The Rock Tour Live
5 Kev
27th May 19: Chris Norman at Preston (26/5/19) What a great night young and old enjoyed an amazing night of hits sung by one of the best voices of the 70’s, deserved a better crowd but the ones who did turn up enjoyed ever minute .
The Verdict
5 JOHN
25th May 19: BRILLIANT IN PLYMOUTH
Salome (Greenwich Theatre, Outer London)
3 Scott Berg
19th May 19: Agree generally with this review. Good: Saw it last night, would recommend for a night out - price is right. A for effort, and concept. Some strong moments. But at times it felt like the actors were dragging a cart of flea market antiques up a hill. And to have all the overstated warning signs all over the theatre - WHY? We're adults. This seemed like an excellent university fringe production. *spoiler alert* Now, for the 'full male nudity' - if you're going to say it, DELIVER. This is problematic on two frontals: One, it's being marketed to be a tease and while the actor is beautiful and brave, and the actual scene quite appealing, -- c'mon: White Gym-Bunny Boxers? Then, an ill-fitting red robe donated by someone’s Gran? Second, is the actual, ya’ know - theme of the play. The entire fulcrum is the fact that the audience is lured by the beauty of Salomé, and when they get it, it's a mirror - a sad reckoning of watching something so alluring turn ugly from the inside, and you have to walk home wrestling with it. This happens, IF YOU DELIVER. The problem with the "Gender Fluid" quota crowd is, that they do concept kitsch very well, and it sounds great on social media. However the depth just gets lost. You might take some notes from 60s counter culturists and sexual liberators…you aren't the first to Free Willy on stage, despite the historical amnesia of today’s young audiences. ?? Do something with lighting, come up with a see-through G-string - anything - but to present a shameless character who's called for the severed head of a Holy Man and PROPHET, who’s been omnisciently the voice of God, Almighty throughout the first half, and then direct said character to shamefully cover himself - please, spare us the pollyanna highbrow conceptual excuses - either do it or just don't. ?? This is probably the first gender-switch-thing I’ve seen that actually is arguably workable, and a great idea & new twist, inside a work of a genius. It actually poves the prowess of Wilde and the point of fluidity in total. (He himself played Salome so technically this is not the first). So, with all the other bad gender farces we’ve suffered so far, for all that’s good and thespian, go there, we can handle it. These actors seemed ready to take the ride - if not, get some who will.?? Quibble: the music choices - sigh. The laugh wasn't worth throwing the mood. Again, the night was worth £15, there's some really really great moments, the Herod character comes alive, and the intellect of Wilde provides a piece so timeless and intelligent that it challenges anything in the West End or on TV for certain. ??It will be nice to see if directors like this mature into an ability of fulfilling the noise of these not-so-new, new concepts.
Salome (Greenwich Theatre, Outer London)
1 Local resident
16th May 19: Wilde's brilliant novel, Salome, has been seen as both a play and also as the brilliant opera by Ricard Strauss. This production with its gender switches was always going to have homoerotic overtones and could have been enticing. Sadly it was not. The actors, many of whom have good pedigrees, behaved like a sixth form play, declaiming loudly and consistently with no variation in their cadence and not appearing to listen to each other. There was very little difference in both pace and volume, which should be so much part of this story. The infamous dance for the king was about as far from erotic as could be imagined with a very beautiful Salome peeling off jewellery as if demonstrating on a shopping channel and dancing as if troubled with a flare of eczema. The king's rising excitement and flicking off the ejaculatory results were tacky and seemed unbelievable given the performance. A sadly unengaging result from wonderful source material.
The Girl on the Train (The Orchard, Dartford)
4 Pam
11th May 19: Great production! Great acting! Loved the police inspector...but not always easy to hear what was being said..and then some of train sound effects were horrendously loud! And occasy it all lacked cohesion
Henry IV Part I - or Hotspur (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, West End)
1 Annual Visitor
29th Apr 19: Been to the Globe annually for many years - am not local. This is the only poor production I have seen. Under-rehearsed obviously (27th April) with actors talking over their cues and stumbling over their lines from the first page onwards. I have appreciated the merits of female actors playing roles written for male actors in the past - but this was just laughable. This was a poor REP company performance (at best) - apart from Hotspur. For me the silliness came to a head when the "landlady" was played by a male actor, imitating Mrs Brown down to the accent, in a largely female company. The whole thing was nothing more than a third rate drag act pantomime masquerading as theatre. It may well go down well with other audiences - but it wasn't for me. The cross-gender performances added no value whatsoever - but they did detract from the play. Others may well enjoy it of course - so ignore me!
Zog
1 Jules
29th Apr 19: Dreadful. Total waste of time and money. We all know the story inside out and parts were confusing for kids and adults. Scaffolding? No attempt at dressing it up. All in all woeful. I would be embarrassed to be associated with it. ??
Beauty and the Beast (Beck Theatre, Outer London)
5 Stuart Moon
28th Apr 19: Hello I am a 10 year old with 55 years experience. I went to the Easter Panto at the Beck today, with my granddaughter. We both had a fabulous time, The off piste script was so funny. The cast were true professionals. Shame no programs were available. But clap my hands and stamp my feet at the true brilliance I usually go to the Christmas Panto I will now go to the Easter Panto as well looking forward to wizard of Oz in 2020. Incidentally the staff at the Beck were great to and the fish and chips were yum. Watching this production should be made available on the NHS it would save us a fortune on drugs for depression.
The Girl on the Train (Royal & Derngate, Northampton)
5 Barbara Billingham
24th Apr 19: Just got back from Northampton Girl on the Train at Royal and Derngate with my daughter and daughter in law. Excellent performance made very real by Sam Wonack’s Portrayal of Rachel. Huge well done to the whole cast
The Verdict
4 Mary McLaughlin
21st Apr 19: I went into this play with no expectations but was pleasantly surprised and was enthralled from the start until the end... I especially enjoyed the Relationship between the two main characters
The Girl on the Train
5 Jackie
20th Apr 19: Amazing play Sammantha Womack was brilliant. Well done to all the cast.
Octopus Soup!
1 alison
20th Apr 19: Not sure whose idea to review as 'hilarious'but its far from that! Certainly not very farcical. Whether it was off night or lack of people in audience but even actors seemed to find it hard going at times. A few people did not treturn after interval and it was only my husband saying we'd give 2nd part a chance that we stayed! He said it was a bit better but I have to disagree!
Parenthood (St Paul's Church (The Actors Church), Inner London)
5 Karen Moore
18th Apr 19: So glad this is on again. I saw it in November and we are looking forward to ending our day in London with this show. So funny I almost burst.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Curve, Leicester)
1 Sylvia
16th Apr 19:

Just returned after the first half of the show- so disappointed. Very disjointed and difficult to follow- the goat was so annoying (although well played). The poorest show we have seen at the Curve I'm sorry to say.

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