Monday, November 28

Tag: Birmingham Hippodrome

Sister Act – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Sister Act – Birmingham Hippodrome

Immaculate! If you see only one Holy Catholic mass this season, make sure it is “Sister Act - A Divine Musical Comedy” at the Birmingham Hippodrome! It’s a joyous, elegant, comic romp riven through with the kind evangelical zeal usually only witnessed at the most passionate of churches. In the beginning was the film and the film, according to most critics, was good, and Whoopi Goldberg was, according to those same critics, “heavenly”. That was 1992 and now, thirty years later, the story is reborn and praise the lord it’s a hit! The Good Book by Cheri Steinkeller and Bill Steinkeller wipes out memories of the film whilst still retaining its joyful, liberating tone. Mix in Alan Mencken’s music and Glenn Slater’s lyrics and you have nothing short of a miracle of musical theatre! Oka...
Les Misérables – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Les Misérables – Birmingham Hippodrome

Theatre critics can sometimes be very useful. Take Sheridan Morley, for instance, who, in the mid eighties, was almost the only voice amidst a tsunami of naysayers to have something nice to say about Les Misérables. Nearly every other critic slammed it with lines like "a witless and synthetic entertainment”. The show proved them wrong and continues to prove them wrong and at 38 years it is undoubtedly one of the most successful theatrical achievements in world history. I hadn’t seen the show since 1986 but it has been with me ever since so reuniting with it last night at the Birmingham Hippodrome was like meeting a long lost friend and a long lost friend who looks and sounds a lot brighter and vibrant than the passing years would suggest. It really is a stunning price of work. The plot tr...
The Cher Show – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

The Cher Show – Birmingham Hippodrome

35 smash hits - one pop goddess screams the strap-line for “The Cher Show” and, I think, they may well be right. Cher is an iconic goddess descending from pop heaven to regenerate herself both artistically and physiologically many times over her astounding life on earth. She may not be able to claim to be an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) but she has accumulated an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar - you can work out the acronym yourself. From stepping into producer Phil Spector’s office in 1962 and saying “Hi” to stepping off the Abbacopter in 2018 and saying, “Mes enfants, je suis arrive!” it has been a rollercoaster career in all manner of media from film to TV to music to stage. A career many may think too implausible to capture in a simple stage musical. Well, they’d be wrong… Not one, ...
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...
Mamma Mia – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Mamma Mia – Birmingham Hippodrome

Stephen Fry once compared ABBA to a bottle of coke. It wasn’t because their bubbling pop music was sweet and saccharine. It was because the original glass bottle was so well designed - becoming a design classic - it could withstand a hundred times more pressure from its contents than it needed to. A case of over-design. Just like ABBA. Their work is so well designed, so perfectly engineered and far, far better made than it ever needs to be - that they too have become classics. If Benny and Bjorn had created songs half as good they would still be some of the most outstanding pop music in the world. And “Mamma Mia”, that staggeringly successful stage show, stands testimony to the words and music of those talented Swedes and their well-designed pop classics. The auditorium of the Birmingh...
Akram Khan’s Jungle Book Reimagined – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Akram Khan’s Jungle Book Reimagined – Birmingham Hippodrome

Beyond reclaiming a colonial text, character names and a pun on the words “urban jungle” there is little to connect “Akram Khan’s Jungle Book - Reimagined” with “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. It is very inventive, though, but with a kind of invention usually the preserve of student shows and the fringe. Card boxes, which were plentiful, were gainfully employed in various roles and made for an intriguing Kaa, but my heart sank when I saw yet another company wafting a large sheet on stage to portray the sea. It had great intentions. It was a noble attempt to use the original story as a metaphor for the present ecological crisis and if you don’t clock that then Great Thunberg’s voice will undoubtedly confirm its credentials for you. The scant and surprisingly spartan set was supple...
Madam Butterfly – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Madam Butterfly – Birmingham Hippodrome

With all the characteristic style and élan we usually associate with Welsh National Opera, “Madam Butterfly” wafted decorously and gracefully into the Birmingham Hippodrome last night, alighted with panache and, once her work was done, flitted off on the thermal undercurrents of a warm and adoring audience and was seen no more. It was a delight. A crowded, expectant and semi-masked audience sat entranced as the tale unfurled of Captain Pinkerton’s child-bride, Madam Butterfly who, after providing him with a home life and a child, is deceived and betrayed by her thoughtless husband and commits the act which all deceived and betrayed wives seem to commit in opera, but I’ll not inflict a plot-spoiler so early in proceedings suffice to say the denouement arrives inevitably but shockingly a...
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Birmingham Hippodrome

If you have an idle moment, Google Mike Holloway. Like Doctor Who, you always remember your first Joseph. He was mine. Pre-Covid, pre-Millenium, pre-pretty much everything, Mike Holloway was the Joseph of the eighties. He was preceded by Jess Conrad who is now in his eighties. On and off I’ve been watching Joseph since 1985 and the show forever proves itself joyous, wholesome and nice. Very, very nice. Starting as a short oratorio for school kids way back in the late sixties, it evolved and grew into a neat and hugely popular stage production from Bill Kenwright (starring the aforementioned JC). Then Andrew Lloyd Webber took it back and mounted an extraordinary production at the London Palladium with Jason Donovan in the title role and now Donovan once more dons Egyptian garb and finds hi...
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Birmingham Hippodrome

The award-winning National Theatre Production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time comes to Birmingham, perfectly coinciding with World Autism Awareness Week. Christopher Boon has found his neighbour’s dog murdered, he decides to investigate what has happened and who killed him. This is very much outside of his comfort zone and the more he investigates the more he reveals, leading to some uncomfortable discoveries.  From the start, it is clear that Christopher sees things differently to most people, his neurodiverse condition is never named but alluded to in the script. The novel (by Mark Haddon) on which this play is based, is written in the first person, which could be difficult to translate to the stage. However, by mixing live action with Christopher explain...
Beauty and the Beast – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Beauty and the Beast – Birmingham Hippodrome

Disney has, for many years, been synonymous with quality family entertainment with works dating way back into the early part of the twentieth century which have woven themselves into the hearts and minds of children creating classics loved by successive generations. In recent years many of those works have found themselves translated to stage versions proving themselves a further cash cow for Mickey. Some may say this is just cynical cash-in exploiting previous works, but, oh, no, not I. It’s nearly thirty years since Disney’s renaissance with Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King brought the eye of the world back to their work and proved even sans Walt this company was going places! The theatrical wing of the business has proved itself time and again where Disney’s he...