Daily Express

Daily Express – London Theatre Reviews

London theatre reviews from UK newspaper the Daily Express.

A round-up of reviews from the Daily Express, covering London and West End theatre.

Caroline Jowett is Arts Editor of the Daily Express, and its theatre critics include Stefan Kyriazis and Neil Norman.

Also see: All theatre reviews and reviews round-ups




Great British Bake Off - The Musical at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham (2022)

★★★★

"A sweet treat"

"Great British Bake Off: The Musical is exactly what it says on the packet — a tried-and-tested recipe (would it be unkind to call it a formula?) with the theme music, the bunting-bedecked tent and the sweetie-coloured Kitchen Aids all in place. Fold in gooey songs and a gluey love story and you've got the icing on the cake."

"Rachel Kavanaugh's well-presented production slips down a treat, but what's missing is any depth of flavour, that dash of balsamic that makes a competent cook into a star baker."

"An audience of spellbound children appeared to recognise themselves."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2022)

★★★★

"All aboard for a bewitching return to Narnia"

"There is a distinct echo of Harry Potter at the start of this imaginative, occasionally spectacular adaptation of C. S. Lewis's classic when the four Pevensie children — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy — evacuees from a blitzed World War II London, gather on a station platform. The fantastical world of Narnia clearly inspired J. K. Rowling."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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Chasing Hares at the Young Vic (2022)

★★★

"A family-inspired play with 'terrific performances'"

"Sonali Bhattacharyya's family-inspired play illuminates the terrible plight of factory workers in West Bengal and their subsequent move to the UK."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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Sister Act at the Eventim Apollo (2022)

★★★

"Beverley Knight is pure heaven with Jennifer Saunders in joyous musical"

"Beverley Knight, Jennifer Saunders and The Greatest Showman star Keala Setttle raise the roof in a joyously fun staging of the classic Whoopi Goldberg film."

"Lighting up the stage with star quality, Knight follows leading roles in The Bodguard and The Drifters Girl with another high-octane confirmation of her West End leading lady status. Not only is that voice goosebumpingly glorious, she has the impressive comedy chops to go toe to toe and wimple to wimple with Saunders."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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101 Dalmatians at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)

★★★

"A long way from Disney's version"

"This musical version of Dodie Smith's book finds its paws in the appropriate setting of Regent's Park, where the story is set."

"Resplendent in a succession of outrageous wigs and costumes, Kate Fleetwood makes a good fist of Cruella and delivers her numbers with old-school panache, although Hodge’s frequently witty lyrics are ill-served by his banal tune-making."

'The occasional highlights in the second half aren’t enough to raise it above the level of a lesser-spotted musical."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★★

"Humorous with unerring accuracy"

"Aiming for a target whose coordinates lie somewhere between farce, panto and social satire, Richard Bean's latest comedy delivers his humorous payload with unerring accuracy."

"Director Emily Burns keeps the production airborne and knows when to decelerate Bean’s comic mayhem to allow breathing space."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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Britannicus at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★★★

"Fantastic backstabbing fun with a towering central performance"

"A fantastically entertaining modern dress look at the early days of Emperor Nero at the Lyric Hammersmith. The razor-sharp script is anchored by a sensational central performance from William Robinson as the mad, bad and definitely dangerous to know budding pyromaniac. Huge fun - do not miss."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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My Fair Lady  (2022)

★★★

"London's first revival in 21 years is lavish and absolutely loverly"

"The smash Broadway revival brings Lerner and Loewe's classic musical back to the London stage for the first time in 21 years. With the West End groaning under endless brutally radical 'modern' productions, this is rather reassuringly old-fashioned. Playing at the Coliseum, it is, as Eliza would say, absolutely 'loverly.'"

"Catherine Zuber's costumes are undeniably classy and there was some applause for Eliza's final bejeweled Embassy Ball concoction. The Ascot races group scene was mutedly tasteful but you might yearn for the exquisite excess of Cecil Beaton's glorious creations from the film. There were some fabulously plumed hats but no real 'wow' moments.

Indeed, the whole production and pacing is a little too elegant, gliding elegantly along like a swan you might admire on a nearby river, but never really making a splash."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★★★

"Sensational Mark Rylance creates true magic on stage – Do not miss"

" It's been 13 years since Mark Rylance debuted in Jez Butterworth's extraordinary theatrical tour de force and (was there any doubt?) he has created real magic once again. The 62-year-old star was dancing with exuberant joy, overwhelmed with emotion, at the curtain call on opening night - and the roaring audience felt exactly the same. This is what theatre is all about. Just over three hours fly by like a heady dream."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★

"Killing Eve's Jodie Comer makes an astonishing West End debut"

"After impressing on the big and small screen in the likes of Killing Eve, Jodie Comer has just established her self as a major new force in theatre with a staggering virtuoso display in this powerful and thought-provoking new play about sexual assault and the legal system from Australian playwright Suzie Miller."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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Straight Line Crazy at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★★

"A story about the man who created modern New York"

"Ralph Fiennes seems to alter his entire physique to play Robert Moses, the man who created modern New York. Swaggering around the stage like a grizzly bear in a suit, he embodies a man described as being 'on the side of the angels but uses the methods of the Devil'."

Neil Norman, Daily Express
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Cock at the Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★

"Bridgerton's Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton star in limp sexual melodrama"

"Bridgerton hunk Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton bring their megawatt star power and talents to the London stage but can't breathe life into this melodrama about sexual identity."

"The humour and bitchy exchanges mostly fall flat, perhaps exacerbated by the oddly stilted mannerisms and delivery. Marianna Elliott's production insists on such bizarrely cartoony gestures and inflections that all three superb and wildly charismatic actors rarely feel real. Little natural rhythm to speech or emotion ever emerges."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (2021)

★★★★

"Defying Gravity after TWELVE years, this show continues to soar"

"The enormous Apollo Victoria Theatre is still packing them in to see Wicked twelve long years after Idina Menzel flew in with the show direct from Broadway."

"I was lucky enough to see it then and I'm very happy to report it has lost none of its magic and the latest cast brings an enchanting freshness and smart edge to this classic twisted tale of good and wicked."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre (2021)

★★★★★

"Joyous show is practically perfect in every way"

"In a world forced to swallow a very bitter pill over the past 18 months, this Disney classic is just the spoonful of sensational sugar we all need right now."

"Zizi Strallen is absolutely spit-spot as the nanny who flies in to save the Banks children, and in the process rescues their parents, too. With a gleaming voice, ringing vowels and a firm but fair heart, you can't help wishing more men (and a few of the women) in power these days had been raised by her."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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The Phantom of the Opera at the Her Majesty's Theatre (2021)

★★★★

"Let the spectacle astound you"

"Andrew Lloyd-Webber's classic musical is back in a sensationally polished production that rings out with the Music of the Night. That famous falling chandelier isn't the only thrill in a triumphantly staged theatrical tour-de-force."

"Much has been made of the casting of Lucy St Louis, the first black leading lady to play Christine in the West End. All I saw was a powerful actress who brings strength and shading to a tricky role that can easily become a fluttering victim, and a stirring soprano to the big money notes scattered lavishly throughout that sumptuous score. She's matched by the dashing and dynamic Rhys Whitfield as her earnest suitor Raoul, his voice soaring alongside hers."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre (2020)

★★★★★

"Sentimental without being slushy, The Snowman is one of the most enduring festive shows in town."

"Set in a fantasy suburban era it is almost operatic in its musical strategy, with Howard Blake's score travelling far beyond the usual musical perimeter of children-orientated shows."

Neil Norman (2012), Daily Express
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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium (2019)

"What a joyous treat this splendid new revival is."

"Somehow the show seems bigger, richer, deeper and even more ridiculous fun than ever."

"Director Laurence Connor has elevated the show with inventive staging, hilarity and unexpectedly heartfelt emotion."

"New tricks abound, especially in the use of Sheridan Smith as the Narrator. Already gloriously gurning for laffs, she breaks new ground by tackling three more roles – adding broad comedy accents and dodgy beards to play Joseph's father, the jailer and Potipha's randy wife. "Still me," she winks each time. Bless. And bliss."

"Her energy and exuberance throughout are infectious, merrily breaking the fourth wall to pull the audience right into the show."

"Elsewhere camels ride bicycles, Pharaoh's huge golden statues wield electric guitars and Joseph's brothers tap dance in sandals. The staging is simple but with so many smart touches and endless visual gags, it is as entertaining as the performances themselves."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre (2019)

★★★★★

"This show is a foot-stomping, heart-warming TRIUMPH"

"COME FROM AWAY is a musical based on the incredible true story of the tiny remote town that welcomed and looked after 7,000 passengers stranded after 9/11. It will make you laugh, cry and leave the theatre with a heart full of hope."

Stefan Kyriazis, Daily Express
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