Critics - Quentin Letts

Quentin Letts

Selected reviews by Quentin Letts, former theatre critic for the Times and Sunday Times.

Quentin is the political sketch writer for the Daily Mail. He has written about parliament since 1990.

Quentin re-joined the Daily Mail in September 2023. He was previously at the Times and Sunday Times from 2018, as their political sketch writer, and as a theatre critic for The Sunday Times.

Prior to that he spent 18 years writing for the Daily Mail, as their parliamentary sketch writer and theatre critic.

His books include the bestselling 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain and The Speaker’s Wife, a novel.

More about Quentin Letts:

Daily Mail Bio & Articles | The Times Bio & Articles | MuckRack | Twitter


The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre & Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Mark Gatiss is eerily good in this clash of titan thesps" (National Theatre) "Sam Mendes directs an explosive struggle between…
The Sunday Times
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Dear England at the Prince Edward Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"James Graham scores again" (National Theatre London) "Football is drama, after all. The National Theatre’s big new play about the…
The Sunday Times
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Hamnet at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Hamnet — to see or not to see?" (Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon) "The bestselling novel about Shakespeare’s lost son gets the…
The Sunday Times
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Noises Off at the Phoenix Theatre (2023)

★★★
(Phoenix Theatre) "Act II, when we see the panic and calamities backstage, can be the stuff of genius. So it…
The Sunday Times
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Frank and Percy at the The Other Palace (2023)

★★★
(Theatre Royal Windsor) "Roger Allam and Ian McKellen are paired in a gentle new comedy at Windsor’s under-ventilated Theatre Royal.…
The Sunday Times
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The SpongeBob Musical at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London (2023)

★★★
"Nickleodeon’s SpongeBob musical" (Birmingham Hippodrome) "The cast is led gamely by Lewis Cornay’s SpongeBob, a schoolboy geek with a heart…
The Sunday Times
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The Crown Jewels at the Garrick Theatre (2023)

★★
"Publicity material describes The Crown Jewels at the Garrick Theatre in London as a “riotous new comedy”. The trouble with…
The Sunday Times
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The Sound of Music at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Clear-voiced Gina Beck is perfect as Maria" "... the first half swells to a tremendous climax with Climb Every Mountain,…
The Sunday Times
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The Empress at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (2023)

★★★
"All this is pretty interesting, and Pooja Ghai’s production has its moments. Alexandra Gilbreath brings mischief and wit to Victoria,…
The Sunday Times
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Cuckoo at the Royal Court Theatre (2023)

★★★
"The dialogue is skilful and the acting pretty good." "Sue Jenkins steals the show as tolerant, resourceful, funny Doreen, who…
The Sunday Times
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Miss Saigon at the The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (2023)

★★★★
"In Sheffield’s version the Engineer, who is normally a baritone, is played by Joanna Ampil. The casting of a soprano…
The Sunday Times
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In Dreams at the Leeds Playhouse (2023)

★★★★
"Marketing shorthand might call it “the Roy Orbison musical” but that would suggest another pop biopic treatment, which this is…
The Sunday Times
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The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium (2023)

★★★
"Finally, a Wizard of Oz that doesn’t give me the creeps" "A fun, uncomplicated traipse through Oz should do well…
The Sunday Times
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Crazy For You at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Another thing musicals can do is leave you awed by the performers’ skill." "... Charlie Stemp, in the lead role…
The Sunday Times
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Song From Far Away at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Will Young turns personal tragedy into a triumph" (Hampstead Theatre) "Mining his loss, eyes glinting with tears, the former Pop…
The Sunday Times
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A Strange Loop at the Barbican Theatre (2023)

"F-words abound, the amplification is overdone and the plot is so niche (Manhattan black gospel gay scene) as to be…
The Sunday Times
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42nd Street at the Sadler's Wells Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"42nd Street raises the roof with joyful tap-dancing" "Where do we stand on tap dancing? Does a little go a…
The Sunday Times
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When Winston Went To War With The Wireless at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"A timely production" "A play about John Reith in the 1920s has gripping resonance." "Jack Thorne’s play is reasonably interesting…
The Sunday Times
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant (2023)

★★★★
"It is skilfully performed by strolling troubadours. A handsomely gruff Jamie Parker takes the title role, Molly Osborne is lovely…
The Sunday Times
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We Will Rock You at the London Coliseum (2023)

★★
"We Will Rock You is back again — but is it any good?" "Ben Elton’s crowd-pleaser once tormented the critics,…
The Sunday Times
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Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love hits all the right notes" "We’re fortunate to live in the same age as…
The Sunday Times
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Bleak Expectations at the Criterion Theatre (2023)

★★
"This prolonged skit on Dickens almost evokes the Goons in its humour. There are surreal and anachronistic gags." "A little…
The Sunday Times
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Brokeback Mountain at the Soho Place Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Theatre re-heats of hit movies can be ersatz and predictable, a surrender of originality by playwrights and producers. This one…
The Sunday Times
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4000 Miles at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"For Eileen Atkins, 88, the show goes on and on" "This doyenne of the stage is an example to us…
The Sunday Times
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The Vortex at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★
"Daniel Raggett’s production contrives to feel both rushed and leaden. Early pearls of flighty, flapper-era dialogue are lost in a…
The Sunday Times
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Cymbeline at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon (2023)

★★★
"A three-hour whirlwind romance" "Don’t let the running time of more than three hours put you off Cymbeline. Shakespeare’s dark-edged…
The Sunday Times
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Ain't Too Proud - The Life And Times Of The Temptations at the Prince Edward Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Thirty R’n’B classics are crowbarred into a night of close harmonies, cool-suited dance routines and the usual narrative. Discovery leads…
The Sunday Times
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The Secret Life of Bees at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★
"It’s an ankle-swinger" "Sweet, breezy and optimistic, this is a charming musical" "As one might expect of a musical about…
The Sunday Times
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Dancing at Lughnasa at the National Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"I danced a jig at this classic" "Maybe, just maybe, the high water of political correctitude at the theatre has…
The Sunday Times
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A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★
"James Norton’s a star — but A Little Life is a punishment beating" "Graphic predatory sex, self-harm and rape, this…
The Sunday Times
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The Way Old Friends Do at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★
"This Abba comedy by Mark Gaitis is jolly good fun (Birmingham Rep)" "Mamma mia! It’s camp and funny — and…
The Sunday Times
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Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Shamelessly sexy" "Hurrah! A joyous liberation from our age’s ghastly priggishness" "From the opening blast of the overture you know…
The Sunday Times
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The Great British Bake Off Musical at the Noel Coward Theatre (2023)

★★
"It gave me tooth rot" "A stage spin-off of the show is a horribly saccharine enterprise" "This spin-off from the…
The Sunday Times
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Shirley Valentine at the Duke of York's Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"Sheridan Smith is the ultimate leading lady" "The actress goes beyond star quality as Willy Russell’s liberated Scouse housewife in…
The Sunday Times
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Women, Beware The Devil at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

"The director Rupert Goold and the set designer Miriam Buether throw all their talents at this cod-medieval story about witch-hunting…
The Sunday Times
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Medea at the @sohoplace (2023)

★★★
"Sophie Okonedo, initially in sunglasses, is self-assured and chic in the title role, although she never quite mines the depths."…
The Sunday Times
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The Lehman Trilogy at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"The Lehman Trilogy is back — but is it better?" "Five years after it first astonished audiences, the tale of…
The Sunday Times
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Linck & Mülhahn at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Maggie Bain and Helena Wilson are sweet, if a little 21st-century, as the lovebirds. Owen Horsley’s production is jolted by…
The Sunday Times
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2:22 A Ghost Story at the Lyric Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"It’s a chilling modern classic" "The pop singer proves the snoots were wrong in her West End debut." "This domestic…
The Sunday Times
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Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★
"Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, a revived 2015 chin-stroker from Sam Steiner, is altogether more pretentious. It’s the sort of…
The Sunday Times
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A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★★
"A Streetcar Named Desire is superb" "Ferran is so convincing that it is hard to imagine how the show could…
The Sunday Times
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Watch on the Rhine at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★
"Donald Trump must see this" "This revival about US wartime isolationism is gripping and timely." "Ellen McDougall’s production whacks you…
The Sunday Times
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Hex at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Full of spectacle and knowing jokes and performed with infectious vigour." "Jim Fortune’s music is a mish-mash, but the staging…
The Sunday Times
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Orlando at the Garrick Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Corrin has a magnetic presence" "There are two solid reasons to catch Michael Grandage’s Orlando. The first is Emma Corrin’s…
The Sunday Times
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Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial at the Wyndham's Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Much of Vardy v Rooney — the costumes, the wild stakes, the vanities and tautness of plot — felt theatrical.…
The Sunday Times
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The Sex Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2022)

★★
"An orgy in Islington" "Oglers may initially enjoy The Sex Party, a new Terry Johnson play at the reopened Menier.…
The Sunday Times
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A Christmas Carol at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Adrian Edmondson’s bulgy-eyed, lip-licking Scrooge is the best thing about the show. “K-k-keep the change,” Scrooge stammers when he is…
The Sunday Times
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Fisherman's Friends: The Musical at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★★
"I loved it, me hearties" "Blow me down, this sea shanty yarn is a beautifully sung tonic." "The opening sound…
The Sunday Times
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Tammy Faye – A New Musical at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Elton John helps put the fun into fundamentalism" "The singer teams up with James Graham and the Scissor Sisters’ Jake…
The Sunday Times
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A Single Man at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Philip Wilson’s production is easy to watch. The set design by Caitlin Abbott, with a few sliding compartments, sound effects…
The Sunday Times
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My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A monster hit" "The RSC hits the spot with an ambitious children’s show based on a 1980s Japanese classic" "Even…
The Sunday Times
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Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★
"David Tennant’s hero isn’t a nice man, he’s a Nazi swine" "This production’s big draw is David Tennant as Halder.…
The Sunday Times
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The Band's Visit at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★★
"The best show at the Donmar Warehouse in ages" "The Band’s Visit restores faith in humanity. This little show, adapted…
The Sunday Times
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John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Although Beale is, as always, delicious to watch, his voice so civilised and English, it doesn’t quite work. He lacks…
The Sunday Times
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The Crucible at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"The Crucible is a five-star scorcher" "Arthur Miller’s 1692 witch hunt targets today’s hanging judges" "Lyndsey Turner’s production of The…
The Sunday Times
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The Snail House at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"It is unexpectedly shouty" "the second half improves... and by the end it almost has a Chekhovian flavour"
The Sunday Times
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The Clothes They Stood Up In at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)

★★★
"Alan Bennett grapples with everyday horrors" "Scarborough being perfect as this fussy, inadequate little martinet. Sophie Thompson overdoes things a…
The Sunday Times
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The Clinic at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★
"The Clinic is an attack on middle-class pretension" "Commercial theatres might have been tougher on, and therefore ultimately more helpful…
The Sunday Times
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Silence at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★
"This show adapts a Kavita Puri book, Partition Voices. As a record of ethnic cleansing, it has raw historical value,…
The Sunday Times
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Gary Barlow - A Different Stage at the Duke of York's Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Hail Gary Barlow, the sex god from next door" "The Take That frontman’s one-man show is rueful and engaging" "This…
The Sunday Times
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I, Joan at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)

★★
"A gender-fluid Joan of Arc? Pull the other one" "It’s not a bad idea, but do we really need battle…
The Sunday Times
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All of Us at the National Theatre (2022)

★★
"Taking aim at Tories" "The jokes soon dry up and go down the partisan plughole." "Tory scum kill disabled people:…
The Sunday Times
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Identical at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"Even I wept buckets at this wonderful weepy" "With songs by Stiles and Drewe, it is a gooey offering. The…
The Sunday Times
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The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe - Birmingham at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2022)

★★★
"I wanted The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to evoke wonder" "In all it’s a shrewd commercial package for…
The Sunday Times
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Sister Act at the Eventim Apollo (2022)

★★★
"Beverley Knight, voice like a jumbo jet, plays a Philadelphia nightclub singer, Deloris, who takes sanctuary in a convent after…
The Sunday Times
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Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"This loveable show should revive the battered box office at the National Theatre" "... this is an enormously loveable show.…
The Sunday Times
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Much Ado About Nothing at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"The test of any Much Ado is the moment Beatrice goes icy and asks Benedick to “kill Claudio”. If the…
The Sunday Times
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Crazy For You at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"When it comes to song and dance and liquid watchability, Stemp is the works. He plays our rich kid, Bobby…
The Sunday Times
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Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Fear not, little flock. The Cole Porter musical Anything Goes is back at the Barbican after last summer’s triumphant run.…
The Sunday Times
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Patriots at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Playwright Peter Morgan‘s slick horror show captures the early days of the despot but makes him sound like Rodney from…
The Sunday Times
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The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

"Emilia Clarke can’t save The Seagull" "The stage is a bare, doorless, three-sided chipboard box. The actors are barefoot and…
The Sunday Times
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A Dolls House, Part 2 at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"A radical feminist wrestling match" "Patricia Allison impresses as Emmy, but she and Dumezweni are given little ammunition to make…
The Sunday Times
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Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Tony Blair lives on in song" "No one is spared in Harry Hill’s New Labour rock opera" "After the self-polishing…
The Sunday Times
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My Fair Lady  (2022)

★★★★
"My Fair Lady reminded me why we go to West End shows" "From the moment the overture starts swirling around…
The Sunday Times
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The 47th at the The Old Vic (2022)

★★★★★
"At last, a five-star Trump we can love" "Bertie Carvel is remarkable as the former president in this outrageous, must-see…
The Sunday Times
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To Kill A Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Aaron Sorkin supercharges To Kill a Mockingbird" "At last, here’s a play with serious oomph — pity about Rafe Spall’s…
The Sunday Times
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Straight Line Crazy at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Ralph Fiennes takes on middle-class women" "David Hare’s play makes town planning exciting" "Danny Webb does a strong turn as…
The Sunday Times
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The Human Voice at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★
"Jean Cocteau wrote this bottom-numbing play in 1928, when it must at least have had shock value and when the…
The Sunday Times
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the Duke of York's Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"Only for the brave - screams galore await" "The ghoulery is done well, a team of anonymous, black-clad performers carrying…
The Times
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Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"Cinderella is a triumph" "Cinderella is a triumph of catchy songs and fabulous wigs — it shouldn’t be denied to…
The Sunday Times
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Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith (2019)

★★★
"There's a touch of Blake's 7 to the Lyric's Solaris - and it's all the better for it" "it might…
The Times
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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…
Daily Mail
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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…
Daily Mail
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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.…
Daily Mail
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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"
Daily Mail
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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…
Daily Mail
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