Reviews

Our House

I’ve heard a lot about Our House and know and enjoy the music of Madness, but this is the first time that I’ve seen this musical and wasn’t sure what to expect. I needn’t have had any concerns, as this is a delightful treat to brighten up any damp and dreary December evening. Joe Casey, a 16-year-old boy, makes a somewhat dubious decision to break into a new building development in an attempt to impress his dream girl, Sarah; however, the police are hot on his trail. The story then splits into a Sliding Doors-type concept, where in one version
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Aladdin

It’s a rare thing for a reviewer to be able to rave about a show, but this fabulous panto deserves the Full Rave not only from me but from my fellow-reviewers (husband and our five-year-old twins). I don’t suppose anyone needs to be reminded of the story of Aladdin and this version is pretty much traditional, but there are so many delightful deviations that the audience are captivated from the first circus scene (my son’s favourite) to the curtain calls. The music, though not noted in the programme, is (as is now traditional) a bit of something for everyone –
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Mistletoe Junction

You have to hand it to the Maskers: they are up for anything, from Kafka’s Metamorphosis to home-grown Mistletoe Junction. The latest production at their tiny studio theatre in Shirley is witness to both their variety of material and their unfailing consistency of commitment. This production is unashamed Christmas fare. Even the tickets come with the lure of mince pies and mulled wine. Ushers dressed in ’fifties costume show the audience to small tables seating four or so, covered with Christmas paper and gently glowing candles. The auditorium has in fact been transformed in two ways. First, the audience are
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Sunny Afternoon

Sunny Afternoon never really made the list of must-see musicals when it was on in London and I wasn’t sure about context or music – and there is always the curse of the trend for thrown-together jukebox musicals. I need not have worried, as this is classy stuff: a slick, tuneful, emotional and exhilarating experience on a par with Jersey Boys and Beautiful as far as production values, story, chosen music, plot and setting are concerned. I had little knowledge of the Kinks’ origins, knowing only vaguely of explosive sibling rivalry to match the Gallagher brothers in Ray and Dave Davis. The songs I
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Archipelago

This week saw the opening of the rebranded, refurbished, spun through ninety degrees and replacement of buttockly-aching bench seating (with, well, more buttockly-aching bench seating) Sherling Studio at Lighthouse, Poole, with the world premiere of Caridad Svich’s new play, Archipelago.  New undertakings all round as it also marked the directorial debut of the recently appointed Lighthouse Artistic Producer, Stephen Wrentmore.  Although touted as a world premiere, Archipelago has received readings across venues in America from as early as 2013, sometimes under the direction of Mr Wrentmore, and has been the subject of a Russian translation. ‘Like the great writers who went
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The Wind in the Willows

When I go to the theatre, I want to believe that what I’m watching on the stage is real, that those characters really do exist. This is, I think, even more important for a small child who may be making his or her first visit to the theatre and who may, if the experience is a positive one, immediately be hooked for life on this wonderful world of make-believe. At the first night of this production, a young and very excited little boy was sitting just behind me, clearly loving what he was seeing and even, towards the end, joining
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