London theatre reviews from the UK newspaper The Daily Mail.
Here’s a selection of reviews of London shows from the theatre and arts critics at The Daily Mail newspaper.
London theatre critics for the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday include Patrick Marmion and Robert Gore Langton.
See below for a full run-down of star ratings and theatre opinions about West End shows in London from The Daily Mail.
Orlando at the Garrick Theatre (2022)
"Emma Corrin is pixie perfect in this frisky ode to freedom"
"Ever since Emma Corrin catapulted to stardom, after peeping shyly through their fringe as a teenage Princess Diana in The Crown and switching pronouns from she to they, the androgynous beauty has been the pin-up for non-binary identity. Who better, then, to play the title role in Neil Bartlett's funny but moving adaptation of Orlando, Virginia Woolf's gender-bending, time-travelling flight of fancy?"
"A captivating Corrin – a timeless, ageless pixie with a shock of white hair – inhabits the role to perfection, combining the dash and dazzle of a kingfisher with the casual sense of entitlement of an aristo."
A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre (2022)
"Not sure about this, Sherlock"
"I wanted to adore it — and it is only two hours (a big plus in my books) — but the first half is fussy with subplots and awful comedy accents your children may love but I didn't.
"And though Kammy Darweish is a gorgeous Scrooge, Ben Caplan's detective needs to dial it up a bit in the first half to find the Sherlock magnetism. I know he had a hard time at the Reichenbach Falls, but that's no excuse to be so mopey."
Elf The Musical at the Dominion Theatre (2022)
"Who needs Will Ferrell? This show is a real cracker"
"Verdict: Slick festive fun"
"The 2003 film Elf is an established seasonal favourite and, inevitably, audiences will have Will Ferrell lodged in their heads when they think of Santa's hapless 'little' helper Buddy. Thankfully, Simon Lipkin in Elf The Musical overcomes any comparisons (and a dreadful wig) to make a convincing lead."
"Philip McKinley's classy revival — the scenes in Macy's look particularly gorgeous in Tim Goodchild's design — has some rousing song-and-dance numbers"
"There are a couple of lulls and some of the gags are for adults only — have fun on the way home explaining to your wee ones how Buddy's 'special hug, twice!' for Jovie (Georgina Castle) resulted in a little Buddy — but the message that we all need to believe in the true meaning of Christmas shines through."
A Christmas Carol at the The Old Vic (2022)
"Dickensian feast for the eyes"
"2022's Scrooge is Owen Teale from Game Of Thrones and my favourite so far: fabulous whiskers, properly gruff, convincingly furious as he resists the nagging female ghosts. Only late on does he realise that he is not only a 'squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner' but has wasted his own chances of happiness.
"That modern self-pity is part of Jack Thorne's adaptation: while he wisely uses Dickens's prose in narration he adds therapy-couch explanations about Scrooge's cruel father and his lost love."
Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial at the Wyndham's Theatre (2022)
"You really couldn’t make this story up and the fact it’s all true is like a scene out of Dynasty!"
"It was gripping and funny in parts, and sad at times, but two hours of my life never went so fast."
"As soon as the actors came on stage I was gripped from the start! I thought maybe Rebekah Vardy had a say in the casting and wardrobe as the actress who plays Coleen appeared on stage on her own to tell her story in a long, padded, awful football anorak! But if you closed your eyes, the accent and voice. it was Coleen! I was gripped!"
"It left the audience feeling this was really about hierarchy in the WAG world. It was gripping and funny in parts, and sad at times, but two hours of my life never went so fast. I was gripped, probably one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. There was only ever going to be one winner in this play and it was Coleen Rooney."
Matilda The Musical (2022)
"This magical Matilda is pitch perfect... even Roald Dahl would be delighted"
"Matilda The Musical fully deserves to join it in the pantheon of great children's films. I'm sticking my neck out, but I reckon it would even have delighted the notoriously dyspeptic, hard-to-please Dahl himself."
"Matilda The Musical is a joy from beginning to end, exquisitely written, acted and choreographed, and an early indication that the streaming giant Netflix did not overpay last year when it forked out an eye-popping $500million (£440million) for Dahl's back catalogue."
"... Warchus uses the camera to give the story, about a girl prodigy who uses telekinetic powers to outsmart an evil headmistress, a whole new energy. It works gloriously on screen."
"Three cheers to everyone involved, but perhaps above all to Roald Dahl, who in dreaming all this up, gave other amazingly creative people the chance to build on his mighty legacy."
The Sex Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2022)
"Sex parties, lies and the joys of a nice cup of cocoa"
"Johnson’s play, with insane courage, walks into a minefield. Topics include the pronoun war, the gender spectrum, J. K. Rowling and transphobia."
"The chat is perhaps too organised, topic-wise. But for the most part it’s very funny and bracingly bleak. A superb cast helps, notably Lisa Dwan as the wife locked in a grumpy, failed marriage, Will Barton as a dim hedonist stoner, and Timothy Hutton as the Yank sex tourist with off-kilter views."
Marvellous at the @sohoplace (2022)
"It's a bold move by producer Nica Burns using Theresa Heskins' no-star production to open the 600-seater Soho Place theatre."
"More sophisticated shows will follow, but until then Michael Hugo's 'Nello' is perhaps even better than Toby Jones in the film, as he guides the other six actors through his life story, proudly sporting a British Empire Medal on a loose grey suit, blissfully untroubled by reality."
Local Hero at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)
"Daniel Evans's farewell production in Chichester, before he takes charge of the Royal Shakespeare Company next year, is a great improvement. That's thanks also to a terrifically warm turn from American Gabriel Ebert as Mac and Paul Higgins as local fixer, Gordon — roles originally played by Peter Riegert and Denis Lawson."
"Although played here with all the fizz of an electric Ceilidh, I'm not sure Knopfler's score entirely possesses the story."
"... the story's trump cards remain not just it's heart-warming plot, but also its sharply drawn characters deftly translated by David Greig"
My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre (2022)
"Psst! A big cuddly surprise in this sugar-rush of a show"
"For sheer, turbo-charged, off-the-Richter scale, sigh-inducing spectacle, you will not beat the Royal Shakespeare Company's cutesy new family show."
"The big cuddly Totoro is therefore, inevitably, also the big draw in Phelim McDermott's stage show... To watch, it's certainly amazing. Puppetry performed by a mostly Japanese company wearing black beekeeper suits is a ballet unto itself."
"The show has charm to burn, thanks also to an ankle-blizzard of puppet hens at the neighbour's farm. And Joe Hisaishi's score mixing Japanese pop and Western classical traditions is performed by a band in treetops silhouetted by a massive rising sun, while ethereal serenades sung by Ai Ninomiya cover long scene changes."
"McDermott's production bathes in childlike wonder and Tom Morton-Smith's script is restricted to dopily anodyne dialogue."
The Boy with Two Hearts at the National Theatre (2022)
"Heartfelt but saccharine"
"An oddly saccharine saga of an Afghan family fleeing the Taliban and seeking help for their eldest son's heart condition in the UK."
"Amit Sharma's cheerfully improvised production, which premiered at the Wales Millennium Centre last year, is warm and well meaning.
"The Amiri family have been through the wars — literally. I wish them well, but as entertainment, it's way too jolly for me."
John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre (2022)
"Hard to take seriously "
"Cut loose from its period detail and set in a contemporary 'palace' of embossed concrete, I found Lucinda Coxon's adaptation hard to take seriously."
"Trickiest of all is Russell Beale's role as the former Norse oligarch (pictured left). Too cuddly to be tragic, he looks like a frazzled King Lear who's overdone the marmalade sandwiches."
The Crucible at the National Theatre (2022)
"Arthur Miller's classic witch hunt makes today's woke wars seem trivial"
"... the really great thing about Lyndsey Turner's gruelling new production of Miller's 20th-century classic is that it digs deep into the play's questions of human longing for justice — and once more shows how helpless we become when that justice is corrupted."
"The play is, in many ways, a waking nightmare and Es Devlin's design reflects that, with a stark staging in a pit of darkness lit like a Dutch old master."
The Two Popes at the The Rose Kingston & UK Tour (2022)
"Two popes and one question - how do we move from era to era?"
"At a time of succession in the Royal Family, this fine revival of Anthony McCarten's play about Popes Benedict and Francis is poignantly apposite."
The Snail House at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)
"More pain, please!"
"One of the great directors of modern times, Eyre (a late-onset writer at 79) unfolds the action skilfully. But I craved more of everything: sweat, tears, intrigue and, in particular, pain."
"Our top-dog medical man also could have done with more of a moral dilemma: one that might have revealed greater depths in his character. Instead, the charges laid against him aren't really his fault, and are resolved without any great cost."
The Clothes They Stood Up In at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)
"Funny pair, quirky play... should be a perfect fit"
"Verdict: Second-hand Bennett"
"Still, even second-hand Bennett has its pleasures. For meek, repressed Rosemary, stooped and drooping before her time, the robbery proves liberating and revelatory, feelings somewhat hammered home by Thompson, suddenly all cheerful, jaw-dropping, eyes-popping wonder."
"Slightly effortful entertainment."
Gary Barlow - A Different Stage at the Duke of York's Theatre (2022)
"Soppy, sappy... but Barlow still shines like a superstar"
"I first saw the show in the community centre of Gary's home town of Frodsham, Cheshire, back in June. And while it's lost some of the intimacy and intensity, performed as it was in front of a handful of people who watched their local hero grow up, it retains all of Barlow's boyish vulnerability and dreamy vocals."
"It's like listening to a special edition of Desert Island Discs . . . introduced by the man himself, with snatches of his own music. Barlow's great gift is to be one of us. Standing on stage in a striped tracksuit, he looks like the PE teacher you wish you'd had at school."
"I have just two quibbles. One: that the song-to-chat ratio isn't higher. I prefer Barlow's singing to Firth's gags. And two: the fact that the first half ends on a downer. I like a twist of hope with my interval martini."
I, Joan at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)
"I, Joan is not all po-faced politics"
"... let’s face it, the Catholic warrior who cut off her hair and dressed like a man is probably ripe for re-interpretation."
"This retelling, thankfully, is no po-faced diatribe. Ilinca Radulian’s rousing production has actors sliding gleefully down a curved wooden wall on to the stage."
"Central, though, is Thom’s extraordinary professional stage debut as a Joan who thrills at the victory in battle against the English (‘Is this what it feels like to be a man?’) yet is horrified at the death toll. When offered an awful party frock for the victory celebrations, Joan’s revulsion is palpable."
The Narcissist at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)
"Each character is self-regarding, in line with the title — though, interestingly, Lloyd's Jim is the least so. He's the reasonable guy, explaining how the world works to others who are not so clued-up."
"Lloyd, at least, is tremendously watchable in Josh Seymour's production which literally immerses Jim in the social media apps he uses. Jasmine Swan's set makes his world look like a sleek iPad, with neon trims surrounded by satellite pods from which friends, family and colleagues butt in."
"It catches the way modern life is digitally compartmentalised, but suggests only the benefits — rather than the irritating reality of oblivious people always hunched over their phones."
The Narcissist at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)
"Harry Lloyd is fluent and passionate in the role, but good heavens this is wordy and dense stuff, comprising mostly static, talky scenes between two people. When the piece then tries to loop in the evils of opioid addiction without much of the how or why, you feel that Shinn is shoehorning in too many issues without allowing his ideas, or his characters, to breathe."
All's Well That Ends Well at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon (2022)
"'Unloved' play just got unlovelier"
"The story is so far from modern protocols around matchmaking that Helena can only strike us as a stalker. Blanche McIntyre's production seizes on this, with a modern production comparing Helena's infatuation to inappropriate fixations on social media today."
"The only character who seems to be having any fun is Jamie Wilkes: a comic revelation as the soldier and braggart Parolles, played here as an American GI channelling Sylvester Stallone's Rambo."
"... this is a show that succeeds only in confirming its suspicions of the play's supposed flaws."
Into The Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)
"Gloating may be unseemly but Terry Gilliam has certainly earned the right to crow about his stunning new production of Stephen Sondheim's fairy-tale musical."
"The production takes childlike delight in every aspect of James Lapine's story, which weaves together a tapestry of fairy tales."
"Over the course of three hours (including an interval), Sondheim's score does become a bit of a chore. But few productions will ever make such light work of his sprawling musical canvas."
The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)
"The Trials is a net-zero entertainment set in a dystopian near future where juries of children have been formed to judge and condemn to death an entire generation of baby boomer 'dinosaurs' for trashing the planet."
"Natalie Abrahami's production wisely avoids an interval lest we escape this onerous stretch of jury duty. There are obvious echoes of William Goldings' Lord Of The Flies, while the Nuremburg Trials provide moral and historical context — and similar levels of mirth."
Identical at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)
"Tale of twins reunited is a double delight"
"Director Trevor Nunn, former RSC supremo, well-versed with Shakespeare's tragicomedies of errors involving the muddles, miseries and merriment of mistaken identities, impressively brings out both the farce and the fragility of this complicated family situation in which people who belong together have been painfully pulled apart."
"n another superb double-act, the musical maestros — composer George Stiles and lyricist Anthony Drewe — put a song in your heart, a smile on your face and a tear in your eye."
"A show filled with wonders"
Sister Act at the Eventim Apollo (2022)
"Just divine! A habit worth getting in to"
"Playing the night club singer Deloris van Cartier, who hides from the mob in a convent (a part incarnated by Whoopi Goldberg), [Beverley] Knight has swagger and attitude to go with her mega-watt voice as she warbles her way through a gamut of soul, gospel and funk."
"Naturally [Jennifer] Saunders' Mother Superior secures much of the mirth with rueful head shimmies and seasoned timing. When in private comms with The Big Fella Himself, in her divine torch song Haven't Got A Prayer, she cheekily pops out a lady-shave and hip flask – but is surprisingly tender too."
101 Dalmatians at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)
"Puppet puppies are too cute to be worn by Cruella"
"Zinnie Harris and Johnny McKnight’s somewhat worthy adaptation combines the bombast of panto, the mumsiness of CBeebies, the mischief of The Rocky Horror Show and, inevitably, the schmaltz of Walt Disney. Even so, it’s a hard, Cruella-ish heart that would not warm to the cutesiness of Timothy Sheader’s dog-lovin’, family-friendly production."
Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre (2022)
"The Guvnor's back with a bawdy romp"
"Richard Bean is back at the National Theatre with a snortingly good, crowd-pleasing comedy to rival his One Man, Two Guvnors, which launched James Corden as a global phenomenon."
"The real star, though, is perhaps Caroline Quentin as voluptuous dowager Mrs Malaprop who owns the ‘country piles’ which has been requisitioned as an airfield. Delivering her solecisms with pride and fortitude, she declares herself ‘overcome with emulsion’ and laments that since her husband died she has ‘become a window’."
Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre (2022)
" Not much about ado"
"There seemed little love lost between the actors in Simon Godwin’s lightweight production, which doesn’t really engage with the play’s dark side."
Crazy For You at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)
"Guaranteed to put pep in your step!"
"When shows are as good as this staging of Crazy For You, they’re little short of miraculous."
"With an exuberant company led by two fine young singers and dancers — Charlie Stemp and Carly Anderson — the story is about New York rich kid, Bobby, sent to close down a loss-making theatre in the American mid-West . . . only to fall head over heels for Polly, the straight-talking country girl who runs the tumbledown venue.
Yes, the show is blessed with fabulous songs including Someone To Watch Over Me, I Got Rhythm and Nice Work If You Can Get It.
But it’s Stroman’s choreography that blows the roof off and wins standing ovations at the end of each half."
Billy Elliot The Musical at the Curve Theatre Leicester (2022)
"Billy still has the power to move us to tears"
"It’s fair to say that Sir Elton’s finest work lies elsewhere, but Mr Hall’s deeply humane writing carries the show, which is about loss and grief — for Billy, it’s for his dead mam; and for Easington’s men, their livelihood — and the importance of community."
"The pulsating band are under the direction of George Dyer, while among a large cast the young principals on press night — Jaden Shentall-Lee as Billy and Prem Masani as his best friend Michael — are terrific."
Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre (2022)
"Delightful and de-lovely as ever aboard SS American"
"About 20 minutes into this joyous show, I stopped taking notes — because nothing sums it up better than the refrain from one of its famous numbers, ‘It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely’."
Patriots at the Almeida Theatre (2022)
"The rise and fall of Putin’s arch enemy "
"Rupert Goold directs with characteristic touches of song and dance on Miriam Buether’s stage that looks like a cross between a casino, a pole dancing club and a Kremlin walkway.
"As a snapshot of recent Russian history it’s a humdinger. The reality, though will have been much nastier, and much darker."
Richard III reviews - RSC Stratford at the Stratford Upon Avon (2022)
"Psycho super-villain? No, he’s more of a naughty boy"
"Hughes gives it his all. The actor, who has radial dysplasia, which has left him with a short right arm, is determined to prove himself a villain. But his default personality is not so much scheming monster as slightly naughty boy."
Jitney at the Old Vic Theatre (2022)
"The pleasure of this gutsy and absorbing revival of August Wilson’s 1970s taxi-office drama is that it spares us the prissiness of political correctness. It treats us — and its troubled characters — like adults."
Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at the Park Theatre (2022)
MAIL ON SUNDAY
"A raucous New Labour spoof that's not afraid of a cheap laugh"
"This is a raucous spoof musical at the expense of New Labour and the embarrassing era of Cool Britannia. It’s good to see a show – a rock satire with a hint of summer panto – that cheerfully gives New Labour a kicking on the 25th anniversary of its landslide Election."
"I especially enjoyed Gary Trainor’s Gordon Brown. He scowls with every gloomy Scottish utterance – a man you’d never confuse with a ray of sunshine."
"With music and lyrics by Steve Brown and direction by Peter Rowe, this pocket musical has echoes of Hamilton, Les Mis and Sweeney Todd, and comes with generic choreography and tonsil-exposure, apeing West End overkill."
Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at the Park Theatre (2022)
"Harry Hill's musical takes bite out of Blair"
"Verdict: Joyfully profane tonic"
"All hail Harry Hill and his musical writing partner Steve Brown. At last they have purged me of the pain of those ten long years under Tony Blair's New Labour — thanks to their gleefully childish and daringly taboo rock opera spoof of Tony's life. I was laughing so much I struggled to swallow my beer."
"From the moment Tony, played by Charlie Baker, is born — a big cheesy grin already plastered on his face — I knew I was in for a treat. And so it proved, with fizzingly scathing lyrics from the raucous opening title number to Holly Sumpton, sashaying on as a saucy Scouser, singing a cod French chanson Ma Nom Est Cherie.Nor is the show constrained by sacred cows. Like the best satire, it is cruel."
"Satisfyingly, Hill and Brown don't duck the issues of Tony's four wars (Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq); or his backbenchers trade-off with a ban on fox hunting."
The Unfriend at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)
"Deathly dull "
"Comedies of procrastination can only go on so long before something must give. Only here, it doesn't."
"There are some good gags including Shearsmith's quip that 20 years of marriage gives you a talent for telepathy, 'only more hostile'. Moffat religiously follows the comic rule of running a routine three times. One such trilogy includes the teenage son (a permanently aghast Gabriel Howell) failing to answer the phone. Although this may have the ring of truth for parents, the eventual punchline also has the ring of painful predictability."
"The show's best feature is Barber, who turns her serial killer from Denver into a kind of bling, Midwest, female Donald Trump."
ABBA Voyage at the ABBA Arena (2022)
"The Abbatars will take you on a magical trip back to the 70s "
"For all the razzamatazz, the show will stand or fall on one thing. Will the Abbatars be up to it? Or will they be just too weird and ghostly, like the hologram of Roy Orbison that shimmered round the arenas in 2018? The answer is that they are as good as they can possibly be. They’re about 80 per cent realistic, 20 per cent Madame Tussauds."
"After a slow start, the evening turns into a cascade of classics. There’s pinpoint pop in S.O.S., bittersweet drama in Knowing Me, Knowing You, delicious disco in Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), mellow warmth in I Still Have Faith In You, beautiful sadness in The Winner Takes It All, and all of this rolled into one in Dancing Queen."
ABBA Voyage at the ABBA Arena (2022)
"Abba-cadabra! With a touch of magic, they're back on stage... ADRIAN THRILLS watches classic band's 'live return' on first night of London's hottest new show"
"For those lucky enough to witness last night’s opening show of Abba’s virtual London residency, there was only one conclusion: Mamma Mia! How can we resist you?"
"In a purpose-built, 3,000-capacity venue, the show began amid cries of ‘unbelievable’ and ‘Oh my God!’ at just how realistic the avatars – beamed on stage as holographic images – actually were."
"A digital avatar will never be able to live in the moment that way, although Abba Voyage made an emotional connection in other ways. Most of us can measure our lives in Abba hits, and the sheer strength of the material alone should be enough to guarantee this show’s box office success."
My Fair Lady (2022)
"Never mind that Amara Okereke is the first black Eliza Doolittle in a West End production of this joyous musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.
First and foremost, Miss Okereke is quite simply a fabulous Eliza. She’d very likely be hailed down the East End not so much a ‘diamond geezer’ as a diamond diva."
"Thanks to sedate scene changes and a rather comfortable musical tempo, the show does feel like its full three hours. Acoustically, it’s a little echoey, too. But it still twinkles nicely, thanks to Okereke’s gem of a performance."
Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre (2022)
"Mark Rylance still shines as juicy Johnny 'Rooster' Byron in the thrillingly well-written and almost magical Jerusalem"
"It’s thrillingly well written and lets the magic rip in Byron’s massively tall stories: like the one about the giant he once met near a Little Chef on the A14 who built Stonehenge; or the four Nigerian traffic wardens who kidnapped him in Marlborough."
"Ian Rickson’s direction judges the comedy perfectly and the leafy glade of a set (with real trees) is a design triumph by Ultz."
Punchdrunk: The Burnt City at the One Cartridge Place (2022)
"Punchdrunk's immersive Greek tragedy show The Burnt City may leave you footsore and slightly confused, but the designs are marvellous"
"There’s no dialogue. It’s apparently based on Euripides’ slaughter-fest play Hecuba and Aeschylus’s Agamemnon. But as an experience it is curiously short on the grieving, hand-on-mouth horror of those ancient plays.
"There are moments of grandeur, though. For example, a frantic charleston dance leads down a staircase to a human sacrifice on a huge steel girder. There’s a rivulet of blood down the woman’s neck. The gods are propitiated.
"It’s staged magnificently to Hans Zimmer-like music."
Straight Line Crazy at the Bridge Theatre (2022)
"My way, or the highway, for Fiennes the megalomaniac"
"Ralph Fiennes had better watch his back. Terrific as he is in David Hare's new play about New York's megalomaniac, 20th-century town planner Robert Moses, he's matched by a blistering turn from Danny Webb, as Moses's boss, New York State Governor Al Smith. It's the kind of cameo for which actors would cheerfully kill."
"Nicholas Hytner's production is brisk and energetic on Bob Crowley's pine box set, while George Fenton's film noir chase music quickens the pulse between scenes."
Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club (Playhouse Theatre) (2021)
"At Eddie’s Cabaret, even the set’s wunderbar"
"It may be a little parsimonious in its pleasures, but this eagerly anticipated new staging of Cabaret certainly looks good, sounds good – and runs like clockwork."
"John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical is really about the feisty singer Sally Bowles (Jessie Buckley) and Clifford Bradshaw, the young American writer who becomes her lover – a revelation here in the form of Omari Douglas."
Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical at the Lyric Theatre (2021)
"Marley is magic but the drama needs some redemption"
"As much as I love Marley and his music, this version, written by Lee Hall (best known for the Billy Elliot and Rocketman screenplays) left me slightly cold and faintly baffled."
Back to the Future at the Adelphi Theatre (2021)
"From Doc to the DeLorean, this blast from the past hits all the right notes"
"Where to begin, with a production that packs more energy than a nuclear reactor? Could it be Olly Dobson, taking on the Michael J Fox role of Marty McFly: the floppy-haired Eighties teenager who finds himself stuck in the Fifties, trying to save his family's future by securing his parents' first date?"
"And when it comes to launch time, Tim Hatley's design lays on video special effects that have us speeding through neon lit streets in a blur of coloured streaks. And that's on top of already spectacular sets of clapboard suburbia, the High School, a farmyard barn, the town square (with bust clock) and of course, Doc's chaotic man-shed. As if that wasn't enough, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard's music relaunches the story as a whole new entity."
Frozen The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2021)
"More magical than the film, this stage version of Frozen is one hot hit"
"But whatever we grown-ups may think of those songs, you’ve got to take your bobble hat off to Michael Grandage’s amazing blizzard of a staging – which finally made its West End debut last night.
It’s an ice storm of a show featuring (literally) breathtaking magic and mesmerising meteorological effects in Christopher Oram’s stunning stage design that rivals the animation of the film and adds a whole new wow of its own."
Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre (2020)
"The mighty Mis is still revolutionary"
"... this 'new staging' of one of the world's longest-running musicals remains fit to burst the seams of the mightiest of stages. Laurence Connor and James Powell's rendition of Boublil and Schonberg's musical reinvention of Victor Hugo's novel is an absolute blinder."
Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville Theatre (2020)
"The secret of the so-called Wrong Boys’ success is surely that it’s deeply familiar parody, with a twist of Monty Python."
"Spellbinding romp by the masters of mischief... The whole barmy enterprise is profoundly silly — and may be too long, at two-and-a-half hours — but I was absolutely taken out of myself for the duration."
The Girl Who Fell at the Trafalgar Theatre (2019)
"A sparky, modern show … Rutherford is a fresh voice"
Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre (2019)
"Is this 9/11 musical too hearty?"
"It’s based on real-life accounts of how residents on the island of Newfoundland coped when 7,000 passengers, in 38 planes, were diverted to their small town of Gander after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
What emerges from this is the most relentlessly cheerful and ecstatically wholesome feelgood show I’ve ever seen."
9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre (2019)
"The crowd lapped it up"
"McQueen as Doralee (unmistakably the rootin’-tootin’ Dolly Parton role) is the closest thing to stardust with fine Tennessee-twang vocal cords and a Barbara Windsor slapstick quality."
All About Eve at the Noel Coward Theatre (2019)
"Superbly assured, but it's All About gimmicks"
"Gimmickry can be fascinating, as when Margo’s face is rapidly aged in a video time-lapse. But when done to excess, van Hoveian cleverness reduces the humanity in the theatrical experience."
"This is a memorable production. It is done with tremendous panache and it confirms Miss James as a top-notch stage performer, and Miss Anderson as box-office gold. But they should have called it All About Ivo."
Company at the Gielgud Theatre (2018)
"Sondheim revamped with a gender bender twist"
"Yet another old show has been warmed up with gender bending."
"In places the score is evocative of Burt Bacharach, with less of the melodic stop-and-start found in later Sondheim.
The episodic nature of the story keeps the action varied and Patti LuPone shows her vocal chops with the song The Ladies Who Lunch. She rather shows up some of the other singers."
"For its snappy production values, for Getting Married Today and for the walnut-veneered luxury of Miss LuPone’s presence, as well as the inventiveness of the gender switching, it’s just about a four-star evening. But a show to admire rather than love.”
Tina - The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre (2018)
"That voice, I tell you: it could reduce the very citadel of Jericho to rubble"
"Adrienne Warren. Dimples to kill. An impish, insistent stage personality. And a voice by Pratt & Whitney. That voice, I tell you: it could reduce the very citadel of Jericho to rubble. It is as big and growly as the real Tina Turner in her lion-mane strutting heyday."
"This show is a great deal better than most jukebox musicals. It is not just a collection of hit songs interspersed with prosaic dialogue."
Sister Act The Musical at the London Palladium (2009)
"Hold on to your wimples"
"Call me a miserable old monk, but I hated Sister Act"
Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2009)
"It is pointless to say that Sir Cameron Mackintosh has a hit because advance ticket sales are already enormous, but last night's opening showed that its commercial success is deserved artistically."