Lady Gaga meets Brecht at the Old Fire Station

A Berlin Kabaret advertises itself as ‘Lady Gaga meets Brecht’ and a ‘Response to the Refugee Crisis’. It is underselling itself. It is neither of those things but something far more poignant. It is not a ‘response’ or a ‘reaction’ to one specific event. Even with its energy and vibrancy, the performance is never pushed […]

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Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie is as thoroughly delightful as ever. Now on tour, and having just graced Oxford’s New Theatre with a whole lot of jazz and sequins, it appears the classic Broadway show is still on top form. It is hardly surprising that this musical won six Tony awards, including best musical, as it is […]

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Merlot and Royal: A Great Cast and Catchy Tunes Slightly Hampered by New Writing

Merlot & Royal, an original musical by Imogen Mechie, opened at the Tingewick Hall with great potential, but it failed to live up to a promising start. Set in the 1950s, Merlot & Royal concerns the failing eponymous bank, rocked by the numerous scandals of its recently promoted director, brought in at the death of his […]

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Review: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

At first glance, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend looks like just another standard rom-com. A successful, Harvard-and-Yale-educated woman named Rebecca runs into Josh Chan, her summer-camp sweetheart, in the streets of New York City. In an instant Rebecca realizes she’s miserable, turns down a promotion at her high-caliber law firm, and follows Josh cross-country to California in a […]

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Merlot and Royal: Feelings of Nostalgia Combined with Pure Excitement

Walking away from St Catherine’s on Saturday morning I couldn’t stop myself humming ‘Merlot and Royal’; it was at this point that I realised that the rehearsal I had just seen was something quite special. Merlot and Royal is a brand new musical which has finally made its way on stage after being written by […]

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Made in Dagenham: Affecting, Thoughtful and Triumphant

On the 28th of June 1968, a group of female machinists marched on Whitehall, picketing for change, campaigning for gender pay equality, and brandishing a banner emblazoned with the legend ‘We Want Sex’. Nearly 50 years later, Joe Peden’s production of ‘Made in Dagenham’ makes a playful testimonial to this act of political assertion gone […]

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Made in Dagenham Preview: Up-beat Numbers, Infectious Laughs, and Political Activism

On Saturday I went along to the Simpkins Lee Theatre to see a preview of Made in Dagenham which is being performed this week in Oxford.  The musical looks at the story of the 1968 Ford sewing machinist factory in Dagenham where the women went on strike demanding equal pay. The three pieces that I […]

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Anna Karenina is Given a New Lease of Life in the O’Reilly

There have been a hell of a lot of plays about Russia this term. We had Collaborators, all about Stalin, at the Pilch. Then there’s The Optimists, which is out this week at the Burton Taylor, featuring a farcical communist plot. The White Guard, a play about the Ukranian civil war will be on at […]

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Anna Karenina is fearless, spirited and surprising: A Preview

Staging Anna Karenina is a tricky business. For a start, you have to chisel down one thousand pages and repackage it into a two-hour spectacle, no mean feat for a text that needs no further advertisement than that of being ‘the greatest book ever written.’ Then, for a novel where the exact English translation for […]

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Prostitutes and Petunias on London Road: A Review

Prostitution, petunias, serial killers and community. These issues might seem to be an unconventional combination and yet they all come together seamlessly in ‘London Road.’ This is a musical that follows the community in Ipswich who found themselves living amongst the notorious serial killer Steve Wright. It explores the experiences and consequences for those at […]

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“Perfectly Unpolished”: A Review of The Commitments at The Oxford New Theatre

That I now want to go and read the book of The Commitments is testament to its success in performance. Energetic, spectacular but also sensitive and in possession of a raw charm, Jamie Lloyd’s production had me beaming from start to finish. The musical is adapted by Roddy Doyle from his original novel and is […]

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An Ordinary Relationship, Extraordinarily Performed: A Review

Stage writer Katrina Gaffney finds The Last Five Years to be a five star performance. Beautiful, charming and at the same time heart-wrenching, The Last Five Years is a musical for anyone who has ever fallen in or out of love. This two-person musical is seemingly simple but requires perfect execution in order to deliver […]

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