A trio of musical theatre reviews: Barbershopera, Nunsense A-Men, and Bullets and Daffodils

I’ve been remiss about linking out to my reviews elsewhere recently. Here are three that I’ve written recently for Musical Theatre Review.

Bullets and Daffodils

Tristan Bates Theatre, July 1-6

The poetry of Wilfred Owen, born as it was from anger at the cruelty of war, is full of powerful imagery and intense emotion. Sadly, neither are on display in Dean Johnson’s tribute to Owen…

Nunsense A-men!

Landor Theatre, until July 28

The show gives the best moments, the best numbers and the best lines to the Broadway-obsessed Sister Mary Robert, and Alastair Knights takes full advantage. Stealing ensemble scenes with gay abandon, it is his solo numbers – and his wimple-based impressions – which will remain in the memory.

Barbershopera! – The Three Musketeers

St James’s Theatre Studio, July 13 – touring until October 26

Alexandre Dumas’ novel has formed the basis of several musical interpretations before… None has dared attempt to stage it as a cross-dressing, four-person a cappella production, though – and after this riotous evening, one can only feel the other productions are missing a trick.


How to murder a press review

As regular readers of this blog (both of you) may know, I’ve been regularly reviewing Big Finish Productions’ series of audio plays being released under the Drama Showcase marque:

The third in the series, In Conversation with an Acid Bath Murderer by Nigel Fairs, arrived on my desk this morning (if I’d been more attentive, I would have noticed that the MP3 download had been available for a few days. Oops).

I haven’t finished listening to it yet, so a full review won’t be forthcoming until some point over the next few days. But my eye was caught by a quote on the publicity material, and the back of the CD case:

“Darkly played… Nasty, creepy and disturbing” — The Stage

Wow, I thought. That sounds amazing. And in an effort to find out more, I turned to The Stage Archive. After a bit of searching, I found the full review from which the words above had been taken, which referred to a 1999 theatrical version of Fairs’ play.

However, while the words above did appear in Douglas McPherson’s review, they’re not exactly indicative of the tone of the piece.

Continue reading “How to murder a press review”

2008’s panto reviews

Only three to do this year (four if you count an additional Christmas-themed show). And now they’re all done and available online, so the holiday starts here!

* 09/12/08: [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/22707/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs), Elgiva, Chesham
* 17/12/08: [Cinderella](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/22876/cinderella), Civic Centre Aylesbury
* 22/12/08: [Aladdin](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/22923/aladdin),Watersmeet, Rickmansworth

And the additional Christmas show:

* 19/12/08: Christmas with the Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas

An overview of reviews

I’m about to enter full-on panto reviewing mode again, although given my out-of-town location and lack of driving ability the number of productions I get allocated is far fewer than some of our more hardy reviewers.

Before I do, I wanted to make sure that my own record of what I’ve reviewed for _The Stage_ is up to date. Below is the list as it currently stands.

**Update: an up-to-date list is now on my [Theatre Reviews index page](http://matthewman.net/theatre-reviews).

## West End

* 17/10/08: [French and Saunders: Still Alive](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/22139/french-and-saunders-still-alive), Theatre Royal Drury Lane
* 23/09/08: [We Will Rock You](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/21856/we-will-rock-you), Dominion
* 03/07/08: [Monty Python’s Spamalot](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/21171/monty-pythons-spamalot), Palace Theatre
* 27/05/08: [Haunted](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/20817/haunted), Arts Theatre
* 23/05/08: [Never Forget](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/20778/never-forget), Savoy Theatre
* 07/03/08: [The Viewing Room](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/20059/the-viewing-room), Arts Theatre
* 05/09/07: [All About My Mother](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/18142/all-about-my-mother), Old Vic
* 24/11/06: [Gates of Gold](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/14995/gates-of-gold), Trafalgar Studios
* 10/11/06: [Porgy and Bess](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/14825/porgy-and-bess), Savoy Theatre

## Fringe/off-West End

* 14/11/08: [Sweeney Todd](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/22426/sweeney-todd), Union Theatre
* 01/10/07: [Sugar Snap](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/18371/sugar-snap), Union Theatre
* 27/09/07: [I Love You Because](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/18341/i-love-you-because), Landor
* 07/06/07: [The Christ of Coldharbour Lane](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/17103/the-christ-of-coldharbour-lane), Soho Theatre
* 29/03/07: [Total Eclipse](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/16374/total-eclipse), Menie Chocolate Factory
* 01/12/06: [Love, Laugh and Live](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/15086/love-laugh-and-live), Theatre Museum
* 07/02/06: [Black and White Sextet](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/11465/black-and-white-sextet), Rosemary Branch

## Pantomime/Christmas

* 21/12/07: [Cinderella](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/19363/cinderella), Watersmeet, Rickmansworth
* 13/12/07: [Peter Pan](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/19223/peter-pan), Civic Centre, Aylesbury
* 07/12/07: [The Wizard of Oz](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/19081/the-wizard-of-oz), Elgiva, Chesham
* 19/12/06: [Aladdin](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/15425/aladdin), Civic Centre, Aylesbury
* 14/12/06: [Beauty and the Beast](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/15277/beauty-and-the-beast), Watersmeet, Rickmansworth
* 07/12/06: [Sleeping Beauty and the Beast](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/15166/sleeping-beauty-and-the-beast), Elgiva, Chesham
* 04/01/06: [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/11146/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs), Watersmeet, Rickmansworth
* 13/12/05: [Aladdin](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/10831/aladdin), Elgiva, Chesham