Monday, November 28

West Midlands

Bugsy Malone – The Rep, Birmingham
West Midlands

Bugsy Malone – The Rep, Birmingham

This revival production, originally seen in the West End in 2015, has come to Birmingham for two weeks, in the summer holidays, as part of its first professional tour. Bugsy Malone first started life as a musical film where it’s use of child actors playing every role as adults, made it stand out from the crowd. Keeping to this idea, seven of the principal roles are played by children. The adult ensemble takes all the other roles filling the stage and performing with the principals in the musical numbers. Set loosely in prohibition America, Bugsy Malone transports us to the age of gangsters, flappers and mob rivalry. However as this is a family friendly show, the gangs are running a soda business and the guns fire “Splurge” the next step in custard pie weaponry. Fat Sam’s Speakeas...
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – Regent Theatre
West Midlands

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – Regent Theatre

Fans of the original sit com in the 70’s, when we only had three channels on the TV, will be intrigued to observe the stage version of ‘Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em. With some vague recollection of a time when Michael Crawford was the very accident prone, hapless ‘Frank’, with his facial expressions that often required no words, any stage version certainly has a lot to live up to. Written by Guy Unsworth and Raymond Allen and directed by Unsworth himself, the delivery of the comedy itself must be applauded. The writers ensure that there is a consistency to the energy in the entire performance and jokes come fast and are plentiful. Occasionally it felt as though there was almost ‘too much’ to laugh at as there were so many comedic lines delivered by all the cast throughout the entire perfor...
The Allesley Silas – Belgrade Theatre Coventry
West Midlands

The Allesley Silas – Belgrade Theatre Coventry

Originally performed in a circus marquee in Allesley as part of the Coventry City of Culture 2021, The Allesley Silas has a short run at the Belgrade Theatre. This production is a version of the George Eliot’s novel Silas Marner. It plays heavily on the local connection, the setting of Raveloe is actually Allesley and the Rainbow pub features many times in the story. Continuing the local feel, the play was devised by a production team that has connections to the area. It features professional actors alongside local community performers. Silas Marner lives in Raveloe, mixing as little as possible with the locals. This raises questions as to why and what he does. When he is robbed people’s opinions start to change. Everything is turned around even more for Marner when an orphan com...
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – The Alexandra, Birmingham
West Midlands

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Across the eons of time the bleep-bleep-bleep morse code theme tune familiar to millions of viewers from those old three channel TV days comes wafting into the very hot and sticky auditorium of the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham taking every single audience member back to their childhood. “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” was an iconic show set in the heart of middle-England sit-com land which not only gave television a number of breathtaking stunts, but a number of producers a number of headaches and any number of impressionists a regular income impersonating its star. No impressionist of the 70’s was worth their show biz salt without donning a beret and saying in a slightly camp way, “Oh, Betty!” Anyone could do and everyone did. It was a show which seared itself into our s and the theme tune...
Waitress – Wolverhampton Grand
West Midlands

Waitress – Wolverhampton Grand

As far as I can see, Waitress has been a huge success internationally with various runs on Broadway, West End and around the world and it was undoubtedly loved by the audience last night who greeted it like an old friend, laughing and cheering in equal measure at appropriate moments. Everyone seemed very familiar with the piece - apart from me. Nope. Never seen it, never heard of it. Didn’t recognise a single tune. This is no bad thing when accessing a new piece, but I did have an unsettling feeling of missing out. All the pieces fitted together - great performances, great music, great production, but beyond the clear professionalism of all concerned it didn’t quite touch me. I was, however, in a minority. Based on Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 movie of the same name it has now evolved, seemi...
Guys and Dolls – Alexandra Theatre
West Midlands

Guys and Dolls – Alexandra Theatre

BMOS Musical Theatre Company has returned to The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham stage with their rendition of the popular Broadway classic musical, Guys and Dolls. BMOS are Birmingham’s award-winning musical theatre company, clearly excited to bring this funny musical story of luck, gambling, and love under the bright lights of Broadway to life. Guys and Dolls has been enjoyed by audiences since the 1950s, initially as a musical, then as a film starring Marlon Brando, Gene Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine. Tonight's press showing coincided with the BSL (British Sign language) performance, and it was nice to see this inclusion within the theatre on stage, allowing the theatre to be accessible to everybody. The production values of this performance were incredible. There were m...
Playboy of the West Indies – The Rep, Birmingham
West Midlands

Playboy of the West Indies – The Rep, Birmingham

This new musical has its world premiere taking to the stage as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival which is part of the Commonwealth Games Cultural programme. Based on an old Irish 3 act comedy (Playboy of the Western world), this reinvented play by Mustapha Matura has taken on another lease of life in this upbeat, but sometimes dark musical. Matura came to the UK from Trinidad as part of the Windrush generation and wrote about life in the West Indies. Set in a rum shop in a quiet village on Trinidad, we meet Peggy who is resigned to a life of routine and work and a marriage to a man her father has chosen for her. When a stranger comes to the village the whole place seems to come alive. Who is this man and is he all he really seems? The music (composed by Clement Ishmael) transp...
Singin’ In The Rain – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Singin’ In The Rain – Birmingham Hippodrome

This famous water-logged Hollywood icon splish, splash and sploshed its way into the Birmingham Hippodrome last night dripping with joy, fun and a fountain of hummable, singable and danceable numbers which have woven themselves into our consciousness over the last 70 years. “Singin the Rain” burst onto the big screen in 1952 with the iridescent Gene Kelly, the avuncular Donald O’Connor and the endearing Debbie Reynolds a trio of triple threats whose unique talents Jonathan Church’s production comes very close to emulating, but all three are very hard acts to follow. Sam Lips and Charlotte Gooch, make fine attempts at the leading roles of Don Lockwood and Charlotte Gooch, with great comic support from Ross McLaren as Cosmo who bashes himself into a comic maelstrom during “Make ‘em Laugh” a...
Magic Goes Wrong – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Magic Goes Wrong – Birmingham Hippodrome

Mischief Theatre is back and back with a bang, literally, well a puff of smoke in this case. Their new show Magic Goes Wrong has arrived at The Birmingham Hippodrome where much havoc is being caused. Right from the start as you wait in your seat for the show to begin the actors break the fourth wall, (a trademark of Mischief Theatre) and are already up on-stage causing chaos. The resultant effect is bursts of laughter from the audience. This show is centred around a magic fundraiser, and everyone has an act. Every character manages to reel you in, testing all your emotions. But of course, nothing runs smoothly and there is blood, sweat, and tears. Amongst all the drama and farce there is still a clear narrative to the show which is easy to follow.  The story is fantastically wr...
We Will Rock You – Wolverhampton Grand
West Midlands

We Will Rock You – Wolverhampton Grand

Calling all rock theatricals, We Will Rock You has stomped its way down to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. In light of its 20th anniversary, Ben Elton is back at the helm directing. Whilst this musical has always seemed a little farcical due to the science fiction setting on the now renamed iPlanet it's still a firm favourite for many who were a fan of the iconic band, Queen. The show's story follows two rebels, Galileo and Scaramouche who fight against the oppressive ways of the regime to bring back the much-loved and forgotten rock and roll era. There was audible laughter from the audience throughout the show as the musical was effortlessly funny and there were plenty of comedic moments peppered throughout. The cast spouted lyrics that ranged from Gangnam Style to reciting the ly...