Reviews

Pirates Of Penzance

As an avid G&S fan, I was delighted to be asked to review Christchurch Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of Pirates of Penzance, and as Pirates is one of my favourite G&S operettas, how could I refuse? And what a delight it was to know from the first note of the overture that I was going to be watching something good! The overture was semi-choreographed and this was well done: first entered a group of children playing on the beach, building sandcastles and having fun, then their parents looking for a nice spot to sunbathe. The mum produced a book
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Oliver!

Why do some composers turn out a string of successful musicals, while others will go down in history as ‘one-hit wonders’? The one-hit wonder to top them all is Lionel Bart. Blitz! bombed and Twang! failed to hit its target, but before that he had written one of the most popular musicals of the 20th century in Oliver!. This very enjoyable production shows just why it is so popular not only with the paying public (I have never seen the Barrington so full) but with the performers – the fun they are having flows off the stage and across the
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Rock of Ages

The head-bangers amongst you will revel in the highly professional band playing under the suitably dressed direction of Chris Ball as classics such as ‘We built this city on rock ’n’ roll’, ‘More than words’ (beautifully sung by Natalie Baker) and the iconic ‘Don’t stop believing’ attempt to burst the ear-drums at The Point for the rest of this week. A slight plot, involving elements of Rent (pulling down buildings/demonstration against capitalism) and Les Miserables (Sherrie’s descent into prostitution after being fired from her job) is pitted against a solid rock background of songs strung together to complete the narrative. A
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God of Carnage

Chesil Theatre kicked off their Golden Jubilee season with God of Carnage by French writer Yasmina Reza, and the small venue was packed to view this latest offering from the group. The play is intense, lasts about one and a half hours, without an interval, and is the story of how two sets of parents are thrust together after their respective children have a fight in the school playground. I have to say that I struggled with the play. It was very dark and at times very weird indeed. It was also a play that felt the need to add
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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Let’s gloss over the fact that it took three Americans to write the script of this whistle-stop tour through all the plays of our most English of playwrights, and simply be very thankful that they did, because a funnier, more manic evening would be hard to find. It first saw the light of day at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe way back in 1987, and has rarely been off the stage since. Whether you see it as a homage to Shakespeare or just an irreverent take-off of his work doesn’t really matter; in this year of celebrations to mark the 400th
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Love, Lies and Taxidermy

PAINES Plough was formed back in 1974 and I have long been aware of its great reputation, so when I was asked to review this show I jumped at the chance, not least because it was also to be performed in a pop-up tent and the synopsis sounded decidedly quirky. Let’s deal with the ‘tent’ part first. If you’re thinking of something with guy ropes and lots of poles, you’re way off beam – this is the world’s first pop-up, plug-and-play theatre, Roundabout, and is a sturdy, state-of-the-art 150-seater with surround sound and LED lighting. The company say they’ve tried
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