Critics - Neil Norman

Neil Norman – The Express & The Mirror | London Theatre Critic

Selected reviews by Neil Norman, a freelance arts critic and journalist including work for the Daily Express and The Stage.

Neil Norman is a dance, theatre and film critic, journalist and broadcaster. He writes for the Daily Express, The Stage, and has written for publications including the Evening Standard and The Independent.

He is also a playwright, short story writer and novelist.

More about Neil Norman:

The Stage Bio & Articles | Daily Express Bio & Articles | Twitter | LinkedIn | MuckRack


Fawlty Towers The Play at the Apollo Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"John Cleese sitcom revival is the funniest show in town" "John Cleese has turned his classic BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers…
Daily Express
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MJ The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Dazzling night celebrating the musical legacy of King of Pop" "With a book by double Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage…
Daily Express
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Opening Night: A New Musical at the Gielgud Theatre (2024)

★★
"Car crash of a production that even Sheridan Smith can't avert" "What could possibly go wrong in this Ivo Van…
Daily Express
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Standing at the Sky's Edge at the Gillian Lynne Theatre & National Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"A joyful, gritty show with fire in its heart" (National Theatre) "A musical set on a Sheffield housing estate may…
Daily Express
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Just For One Day at the The Old Vic theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Celebration of what we can achieve when moved by compassion" "Jukebox musical Just for One Day is based on the…
Daily Express
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The Enfield Haunting at the Ambassadors Theatre (2024)

★★
"Paul Unwin's attempts to explore social themes fall flat" "Paul Unwin's play is inspired by the well-documented 1977 story of…
Daily Express
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The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre & Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Mark Gatiss acting saves 'this insubstantial play'" (National Theatre) "As Burton, Johnny Flynn brings a wiry physicality and Tuppence Middleton…
Daily Express
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Stranger Things: The First Shadow at the Phoenix Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"I am a theatre critic and Stranger Things: The First Shadow will surprise you" "Stephen Daldry's theatrical prequel unveils the…
Daily Express
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The Homecoming at the The Young Vic (2023)

★★★★
"A dysfunctional family drama in London suburb" "Harris plays Max with more pathetic sentimentality than usual, tearfully recalling his dead…
Daily Express
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Pacific Overtures at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★★
"A witty and innovative musical in mid-19th century Japan" "The musical fusion of literate Anglo lyrics and non-Western instrumentation is…
Daily Express
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Sunset Boulevard at the Savoy Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"An evening of dark delights" "Watching former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger as the ageing silent movie star Norma Desmond isn't…
Daily Express
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Pygmalion at the The Old Vic Theatre (2023)

★★★
"All I want is a great production of Pygmalion" "The dream team of Patsy "Streetcar" Ferran and Bertie "Matilda" Carvel…
Daily Express
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Private Lives at the Ambassadors Theatre (2023)

"Civilised farce has creaky charm" "There are few more comforting things for theatregoers than watching two seasoned actors inhabiting roles…
Daily Express
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Ride - A New Musical at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant / Charing Cross Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Get on your bike and go!" (Charing Cross Theatre) "In 1894, Bostonian Annie Londonderry became the first woman to cycle…
Daily Express
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Dr Semmelweis at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"A few too many bangs for your bucks" "Dr Semmelweis is set in mid-19th Century Vienna and follows a Hungarian…
Daily Express
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Beneatha’s Place at the The Young Vic (2023)

★★★
"Imperfect but intriguing" "Though Kwame Kwei-Armah's direction of his own play is static, the satire challenges the white liberal hijacking…
Daily Express
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The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium (2023)

★★★
"The loudest musical I have experienced in a long while" "The Wizard of Oz is rebooted by Andrew Lloyd Webber…
Daily Express
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Crazy For You at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Guaranteed to put a spring in your step" "Susan Stroman's direction and choreography in this dance-oriented romcom has such verve…
Daily Express
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Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre (2023)

★★★
"A strange and unhealthy story" "Aspects of Love theatre performance is based on David Garnett's 1955 novella." "Beautifully designed by…
Daily Express
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Bleak Expectations at the Criterion Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Bleak Expectations has 'schoolboy surrealism and inoffensive silliness" "Based on Mark Evans’ Radio 4 parody of Charles Dickens, this is…
Daily Express
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Brokeback Mountain at the Soho Place Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Beautiful, compelling and infinitely sad" "Sidestepping Ang Lee's movie, writer Ashley Robinson has gone back to Annie Proulx's short story…
Daily Express
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Biscuits for Breakfast at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Brilliantly directed by Tessa Walker it is effectively designed by Cecilia Carey on a traverse stage that changes from a…
Daily Express
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A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"A play with more than just James Norton stripping off" "A play that needs trigger warnings." "Director Ivo van Hove…
Daily Express
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Shirley Valentine at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Sheridan Smith blossoms before our eyes" "Sheridan Smith and Shirley Valentine go together like egg and chips. Just as well,…
Daily Express
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Medea at the @sohoplace (2023)

★★★★
"This is hardcore theatre that takes no prisoners" "Following last week's Phaedra, another Greek heroine storms the stage in the…
Daily Express
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Phaedra at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"An amphetamine-fuelled sex farce that turns into tragedy" "The abrupt descent into emotional darkness is convincing largely due to the…
Daily Express
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Linck & Mülhahn at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Ruby Thomas’s play is a rapier-sharp historical romp" "Based on real events and characters, Ruby Thomas’s play is a rapier-sharp…
Daily Express
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Alex Edelman: Just for Us at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★★★
"I had to check my ribcage for intercostal damage" "The tradition of Jewish stand-up comedians stretches back to Vaudeville and…
Daily Express
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George Takei's Allegiance at the Charing Cross Theatre (2023)

★★★
"The suffering of Japanese Americans after WWII" "The dreadful treatment of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor is…
Daily Express
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A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★
"A classic tale of dreams undone" "Tennessee Williams' play about the lonely and fearful Blanche (Patsy Ferran) who arrives in…
Daily Express
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Watch on the Rhine at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"A must-see comedy-drama that turns into something more sinister" "Lillian Hellman's 1941 play was intended as a wake-up call to…
Daily Express
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Blackout Songs at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

"An intoxicating journey into addiction" "Joe White's scorching new play deals with alcohol addiction" "It is also incredibly funny, until…
Daily Express
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From Here To Eternity at the Charing Cross Theatre (2022)

"A damn fine bit of kit" "Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson's musical received a lukewarm reception on its London premiere…
Daily Express
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Mary at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"A 'lack of drama' and a 'swamp of tedium'" "Scottish playwright Rona Munro won several awards for her trilogy of…
Daily Express
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Tammy Faye – A New Musical at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Rupert Goold’s production delivers on many fronts" "Music by Elton John, lyrics by Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears and book by…
Daily Express
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A Single Man at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Simon Reade’s adaptation is more humane and less alienating" "Christopher Isherwood's autobiographical novel about a gay Englishman in Los Angeles…
Daily Express
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My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"The East meets the West in a remarkable staging of a classic" "East meets West in this inventive staging of…
Daily Express
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Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Not quite good enough to pierce the heart" "David Tennant represents the 'good' in CP Taylor's remarkable 1981 play." "...…
Daily Express
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Blues For An Alabama Sky at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Slightly rambling and played by a winning ensemble" "Set in Harlem in 1930, Pearl Cleage's play is a sprightly if…
Daily Express
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John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Ibsen’s bleakly comic drama has it all" "A banker is imprisoned for embezzlement after gambling with his clients' money to…
Daily Express
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The Crucible at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Lyndsey Turner’s low-key approach lacks dramatic momentum" "Arthur Miller's play about the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 has…
Daily Express
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Rose at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Clever, entertaining, informative and enlightening" "Another week, another one-person show. Martin Sherman's play about the life of a Jewish woman…
Daily Express
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Who Killed My Father at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★★★
"Hans Kesting excels in one-man show" "The title is not a question but a statement. Based on Edouard Louis' 2018…
Daily Express
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I, Joan at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)

★★★
"Non-binary actor Isobel Thom makes theatre history" "The Globe has made history by casting a trans actor in a lead…
Daily Express
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Into The Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★★
"A perfect 'combination of innocence and malevolence'" "Following the jiggery-wokery that cancelled this production at The Old Vic, Bath's Theatre…
Daily Express
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All of Us at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Immaculate comic timing' but lacks 'under the weight of its ambition" "It wrongfoots us from the start. Cerebral palsy sufferer…
Daily Express
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South Pacific at the Sadler's Wells (2022)

★★★★★
"An inventive and exhilarating thing of wonder" "CHICHESTER Theatre's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic musical is a thing of…
Daily Express
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The Great British Bake Off 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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Daily Express
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The Car Man at the Royal Albert Hall (2022)

★★★★
"Powerful, super-heated sleaze" "Welcome return for Matthew Bourne’s epic ballet noir" "Matthew Bourne’s talent as a choreographic storyteller is unassailable.…
The Stage
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Oklahoma! at the Young Vic Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"We’re only sayin’ You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma!" "Trailing a Tony Award from Broadway, Daniel Fish's version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's…
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…
Daily Express
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Cirque Du Soleil - Luzia at the Royal Albert Hall (2020)

★★★★
"Luzia is fresh and invigorating"" "The corporate soullessness that has anaesthetised many productions has been replaced by something approaching joy."…
The Stage
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