Coventry news and blogs Wednesday 21 March 2018
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Views from a Bum

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14 Mar 18

SWEENEY TODD Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 13 th March, 2018   Stephen Sondheim’s grisly melodrama is not an easy sing, with its discords and broken rhythms as well as its searing, melodic phrases.

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Nice Try 

12 Mar 18

UP ‘N’ UNDER The REP, Birmingham, Monday 12 th March, 2018   John Godber’s 1984 comedy is doing the rounds in this new revival by Fingersmiths, a company that incorporates deaf actors and British Sign Language into plays.

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Hugo Faster 

9 Mar 18

LES MISERABLES – School Edition Artshouse, Stratford upon Avon, Thursday 8 th March, 2018   Stratford Musical Theatre Company’s young division tackle the ‘schools version’ of the renowned Boubil Schonberg musical adaptation of the Victor …

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Juan to Watch 

8 Mar 18

DON GIOVANNI Hippodrome, Birmingham, Wednesday 7 th March, 2018   Welsh National Opera is back in town and this time they’ve brought my favourite opera, Mozart’s masterly take on the Don Juan legend.

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7 Mar 18

THRILLER Live Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 6 th March, 2018   This electrifying tribute show is doing the rounds and this week it’s Coventry’s turn to become reacquainted with the back catalogue of the ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson.

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28 Feb 18

SPAMALOT Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 27 th February, 2018   We all know them, the bores who can spout reams and reams of Monty Python scripts and manage to suck all the humour of it, as if just saying the lines is enough, when what matters, …

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Drama Therapy 

24 Feb 18

HAMLET Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Friday 23 rd February, 2018   Director Oliver Hume’s production strips Shakespeare’s four-hours-plus great work right down to two fifty-minute chunks.

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Play to Win 

23 Feb 18

THE WINSLOW BOY The REP, Birmingham, Thursday 22 nd January, 2018   Terence Rattigan’s masterpiece loses none of its powers in this new production directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.

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Nice Hooters 

21 Feb 18

HOOT OWL – Master of Disguise Artshouse, Stratford upon Avon, Wednesday 21 st February, 2018   It is not uncommon for successful children’s picture books to make the transition to the stage.

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See The Elephant 

20 Feb 18

ELEPHANT The Door, the REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 20 th February, 2018   Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s brand-new play is a gripping domestic drama, concerning a British-Asian family and a dark secret.

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Louder Than Words 

16 Feb 18

#JESUIS Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Thursday 15 th February, 2018   Everything has a hashtag these days, doesn’t it?  We all remember the #JeSuisCharlie one used as a show of solidarity after the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine…

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Something out of Nothing 

11 Feb 18

NOTHING Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 11 th February, 2018   Lulu Raczka’s play from 2014 is all talk and no action.

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Who’s The Daddy? 

8 Feb 18

MAMMA MIA! Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Wednesday 7 th February, 2018   The mother (the Mamma) of all jukebox musicals arrives in Wolverhampton as part of its bid for world domination.

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Close Encounters of the Brief Kind 

7 Feb 18

BRIEF ENCOUNTER The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 6 th February, 2018   Emma Rice’s adaptation of the Noel Coward script makes a triumphant return to the REPa decade since its first incarnation.

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Moving Moves 

1 Feb 18

TRANSLUNAR PARADISE Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 31 st January, 2018   Theatre Ad Infinitum are reviving their hit show from seven years ago and it’s a good fit for the Hippodrome’s studio space.

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Something’s Got To Give 

31 Jan 18

THE LATE MARILYN MONROE Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 31 st January, 2018   We’ll never know what happened during the last moments of the life of Marilyn Monroe.

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Going off the Rails 

30 Jan 18

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Monday 29 th January, 2018   Based on the 1950 novel by Patricia Highsmith, this adaptation by Craig Warner plunges us into an amoral world, where man’s actions are not punished by the rule …

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Love Bites 

28 Jan 18

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 28 th January, 2018   John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel is the most Stephen King-like book I’ve read that isn’t by Stephen King.

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Taking a Hedda 

24 Jan 18

HEDDA GABLER Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 23 rd January, 2018   The National Theatre’s celebrated production is doing the rounds, and it’s a real treat to have such prestigious work on one’s doorstep.

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Looking Back in Anger 

16 Jan 18

BONES Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, Tuesday 16 th January, 2018   Mark is a 19-year-old with a temper – to put it mildly – in this production by Gritty Theatre of Jane Upton’s one-hander.

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Strictly the Best 

4 Jan 18

CINDERELLA Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 3 rd January, 2018   It’s my final panto of the season and I’ve saved the biggest until last.

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Marley and E 

19 Dec 17

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Monday 18 th December, 2017   Do we need yet another version of Charles Dickens’s perennial classic?  The RSC and playwright David Edgar think we do, but what can they bring to …

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Nearly Perfect 

15 Dec 17

CLOSER Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Thursday 14 th November, 2017   Patrick Marber’s award-winning play from 1997 is brought to fresh life in this production from final year students at the Birmingham School of Acting (which, I believe, is now …

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You Couldn’t Make It Up 

13 Dec 17

THE KNEEJERKS The Victoria, Birmingham, Wednesday 13 th December 2017   As a reviewer I get invited to all sorts of things, so when a man I’d never heard of asked me to come to a room above a pub, I jumped at the chance.

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Beanz Meanz Lolz 

12 Dec 17

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 12 th December, 2017   Apart from a couple of changes, the main cast from last year’s rollicking Aladdin returns to Wolverhampton for this generous bean feast of fun, and they seem to …

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The Original Walk-in Wardrobe 

9 Dec 17

THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Saturday 9 th December, 2017   Mention C S Lewis’s classic book for children and people get a bit misty-eyed with nostalgia, and indeed, the idea of finding a mythical land at the …

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All Puns Blazing 

9 Dec 17

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY SISTERS B2, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Friday 8 th December, 2017   One Christmas tradition that doesn’t get me bah-humbugging all the way home, is the Belgrade Theatre’s annual alternative production to the (…

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Spot On 

6 Dec 17

THE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 5 th December, 2017   Debbie Isitt’s adaptation of Dodie Smith’s 1956 popular classic provides a perfect package of festive fun as the REP’s Christmas show for this year.

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Afternoon Delight 

3 Dec 17

AN EVENING OF SEX A E Harris Building, Birmingham, Sunday 3 rd December, 2017   A small but discerning audience gathers on a chilly afternoon in a converted factory building in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

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Magic and Mess make for success 

2 Dec 17

CINDERELLA Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Friday 1 st December, 2017   Writer, director and jovial genius Iain Lauchlan is back at the Belgrade for another triumphant year with a winning pantomime that blends traditional with new elements.

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Pleasure Voyage 

26 Nov 17

TREASURE ISLAND New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme, Saturday 25 th November, 2017   With this new adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic adventure, Theresa Heskins plots a course for another big Christmas hit.

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Inexplicable Elephant 

21 Nov 17

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 21 st November, 2017   First version of the classic seasonal tale I’m seeing this year, this version’s staged by Bilston Operatic Company.

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Christmas Turkey 

16 Nov 17

MIRACLE ON 34 th STREET New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Wednesday 15 th November, 2017   For their Christmas production this year, BMOS have chosen to mount this musical adaptation of a creaky old film, a perennial favourite – in the USA more …

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Boulevard of Broken Dreams 

14 Nov 17

SUNSET BOULEVARD Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 14 th November, 2017   Andrew Lloyd Webber has written loads of musicals.

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Boots and All 

12 Nov 17

HOBSON’S CHOICE Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 12 th November, 2017   Harold Brighouse’s classic comedy first appeared in 1916 when the tide of women’s suffrage was running high.

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Blonde Ambition 

11 Nov 17

LEGALLY BLONDE Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Friday 10 th November, 2017   I have seen this show before, years ago, but if you put a gun to my head I would be able to tell you very little about it.

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Sorry State 

10 Nov 17

(sorry) The REP, Birmingham, Thursday 9 th November, 2017   Millennials are terrible, aren’t they?  Spoiled, impatient, thinking they’re special…  This new piece from writer Susie Sillett shows us three sides of the coin (if that’s …

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Thrilled to Death 

8 Nov 17

DEATHTRAP New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 7 th November, 2017   Ira Levin’s classic thriller is doing the rounds in this effective new production, featuring two escapees from Albert Square, namely Paul Bradley and Jessie Wallace as …

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A Fool Aloof 

4 Nov 17

EUGENE ONEGIN Birmingham Hippodrome, Friday 3 rd November, 2017   Welsh National Opera’s autumn season is all about the Russians.

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Mum’s the word 

3 Nov 17

BABY DADDY The Door, Birmingham REP, Thursday 2 nd November, 2017   Single mothers get a bad press.

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Full of the Devil 

1 Nov 17

LIVING WITH THE LIGHTS ON Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Wednesday 1 st November, 2017   I am welcomed into the temporary, pop-up theatre by writer-performer Mark Lockyer.

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Spell Trouble 

1 Nov 17

MACBETH Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 31 st October, 2017   Karen Leadbetter’s strong production takes us to feudal Japan rather than medieval Scotland.

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Christmas Comes Early 

26 Oct 17

NATIVITY! The Musical The REP, Birmingham, Wednesday 25 th October, 2017   It’s too early to think about Christmas, I mutter as I take my seat, along with other curmudgeonly thoughts.

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Firm Favourite 

10 Oct 17

HAIRSPRAY Birmingham Hippodrome, Monday 9 th October, 2017   I don’t know how many times I have seen this show but I am always glad of the chance to see it again.

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Dodgy Lodger 

5 Oct 17

ENTERTAINING MR SLOANE Blue Orange Theatre, Thursday 5 th October, 2017   Joe Orton’s version of the ‘well-made play’ still has the power to amuse fifty or so years since its original production.

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3 Oct 17

I KNEW YOU The Door, Birmingham REP, Tuesday 3 rd October, 2017   This new piece from Birmingham writer Steven Camden aka Polarbear runs for less than an hour but it’s fifty minutes of cracking theatre.

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One Man Woman 

27 Sep 17

MAN TO MAN The Studio, Birmingham REP, Wednesday 27 th September, 2017   This production from the Wales Millennium Centre is a new translation of Manfred Karge’s 1982 piece – although it could have been written much earlier in the last century.

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Bowing Out 

27 Sep 17

DUET FOR ONE The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 26 th September, 2017   Tom Kempinski’s famous play for two actors comes to Birmingham in this new production featuring reliable old hands, Oliver Cotton and Belinda Lang.

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For the Record 

14 Sep 17

SON OF A PREACHER MAN New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Wednesday 13 th September, 2017   The words ‘jukebox musical’ are enough to send a shiver down this reviewer’s spine.

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Train of Thought 

11 Sep 17

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Monday 11 th September, 2017   With delicious irony, the fates delay the curtain up on this play centring around trains.