Leeds’ favourite Panto – Robin Hood: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime – opened with a well-timed comedic crash, bang, and wallop on Fri 24 November 2023. It runs at City Varieties Music Hall until Sun 7 January 2024.

A very different format to the traditional Christmas pantomime, Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantos – from the enchanted pen of Peter Rowe – mixtraditional elements of audience participation and corny gags with a jukebox full of classic rock anthems and chart-toppers, all performed live on stage by an ultra-talented cast of actor-musicians. ‘Where else can you see the Fairy Godmother banging the drums and Pantomime Dame playing the sax?’ (Fairy Powered Productions).

Kenny Davies returns in what will be his 12th panto at City Varieties, alongside the legendary Simon Nock who is ready to rock the Varieties stage once again as our fabulous Dame.

Joining them will be a mixture of returning favourites and brilliant newcomers including Lana Walker as Portcullis, Samuel Pope as Robin Hood, Lucy Keirl as Maid Marion, Guy Freeman as Numbskull, Hannah Baker as Rowena, Louisa Beadel as Regina, Finn Torkington as Blondel/Will, Kemi Clarke as Much and Dan Carter Hope as Little John.

‘It stands out a mile from stereotypical pantos thanks to its talented team and, tucked away in the City Varieties Music Hall, it couldn’t have found a more perfect home for a laugh-out-loud panto with musical performances that will take your breath away.’

One Play More.

World Premiere for 2024 from the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, starring Matthew Cottle


Matthew Cottle stars in Party Games! by Michael MacManus

UK tour opens in Guildford on Thursday 2 May 2024, touring nationally in May and June.

Following the acclaimed national tours of Sheila’s Island and Ladies of Letters in 2022, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, presents the world premiere of Party Games! from the writer of Maggie & Ted.

Starring Matthew Cottle (of BAFTA nominated BBC sit com Game On and Channel 4’s hit comedy The Windsors), Party Games! puts political leadership on the ledge and goes inside the chaos of government to see whether advisers do advise and if ministers can decide.

This is the UK  2026, John Waggner newly elected leader of the hastily formed centrist One Nation Party presides over a hung parliament, a discontented electorate and striking cheese makers.  He and his power-hungry MPs must cling onto authority through whatever shaky means possible. Can one man, a Svengali spin doctor and some dodgy data unite the country?  And what role can his wife, the King and a large spider play in keeping the lights on?

You’d be a fool to miss this top-notch two-hander’, Norwich Evening News (on Ladies of Letters, 2022)

a capacious warehouse for the best one-liners and anecdotes from McManus’s own observation’ The Guardian (on Maggie & Ted, 2021)

Party Games! is an Yvonne Arnaud original production, directed by Joanna Read and designed by Francis O’Connor

Further casting and tour dates to be announced.







The Phoenix Arts Club, nestled in the heart of London’s West End,has announced that they will present All I Want for Christmas is Cabaret: London’s Most Festive Variety Show over the holiday season from 1-30 December 2023. The variety show, which will be performed on select dates in December, will be an enchanting and multi-lineup variety show that promises to be the most festive spectacle in London’s West End.

Step into a festive world where the stage is set for a journey through a cabaret variety show, featuring an ever-changing lineup of royalty from the cabaret scene. It’s like opening all the doors on an advent calendar at once, revealing a mesmerizing mix of drag, burlesque, musical theatre, comedy, and more!

The strictly limited run will be performed every weekend plus select weekdays, full schedule available via the venue’s website. The show promises an unforgettable 100-minute showcase, filled with the spirit of the season and a dash of cheeky charm. Show tickets will also provide audience members with exclusive access to the Phoenix Arts Club’s members-only club experience for the evening.

The show will feature an ever-changing lineup spanning drag, burlesque, musical theatre, comedy, and beyond.

In fitting with the programming, the Phoenix Arts Club will be transformed into a winter wonderland making it the perfect backdrop for an evening of festive cheer.

Peter Dunbar, Managing Director of Phoenix Arts Club,said of the announcement, “I am thrilled to announce a festive celebration like no other, filled with new enchanting performances and lots of holiday cheer. And that’s not all – our excitement reaches new heights with the unveiling of an exquisite new cocktail menu, adding an extra dash of sparkle to this year’s festivities.”

On the line-ups for the upcoming event, Dunbar said, “The Club is renowned for keeping its line-ups a secret, and you never know who might take to the stage! Previous special guests include Drag Race royalty Courtney Act and Jinkx Monsoon, musical theatre royalty Michael Ball and Louise Dearman, comedians Babatunde Aleshe and Al Murray, and musicians such as Imelda May, Jordan Gray and even Tim Minchin!”

Tickets for the show can be purchased at https://phoenixartsclub.com/.

World Premiere of new musical ‘Wild About You’

World Premiere of new musical ‘Wild About You’



Theatre Royal Drury Lane

25th & 26th March 2023

Wild About You is a new musical with music and lyrics by Chilina Kennedy and a book by  Eric Holmes.

When Olivia finds herself in the hospital with limited memory, she must dig through her messy past to figure out which of the loves of her life is her emergency contact, only to understand that her desire to make everyone happy has left no one happy. Through a series of realizations, she reclaims her right to be flawed and loved in all her human complexity. However, as she regains clarity, tragedy strikes. It is then that spectacular Olivia literally moves Heaven and Earth to reconnect with her greatest love – her son. 

A concert of the musical will have its World Premiere, starring Eric McCormack  (Will & Grace), among its stellar castat Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 25th and 26th March.

Eric McCormack:

Best known for his eleven seasons as “Will Truman” on NBC’s Will & Grace, Eric McCormack was nominated for four Emmy Awards and six Golden Globes, receiving the Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy in 2001He served as a producer, director and leading actor on three seasons of Travelers, for Netflix, and for three seasons of Perception. Other series include Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years, Atypical, Trust Me, Departure and Slasher. Born in Toronto, McCormack got his start in theatres across Canada, including five seasons with the Stratford Festival, eventually starring on Broadway in Tony-nominated productions of The Music Man, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and in this year’s hit comedy, The Cottage. Films include Holy Man, The Architect, Free Enterprise and the award-winning Canadian comedy, Drinkwater. You can hear Eric and his old Will & Grace pal, Sean Hayes, on their new hit podcast “Just Jack & Will”. Eric splits his time between Vancouver and Los Angeles, and has been honored with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The album was released on 17th November on BroadwayRecords.com The all-star recording includes Jackie Burns (Wicked), Kennedy Caughell (Paradise Square), Jenn Colella (Come From Away), Rachel Ling Gordon (How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Aisha Jackson (Once Upon a One More Time), Joaquina Kalukango (Tony Award® winner for Paradise Square),  Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful), Eric McCormack (Emmy Award winner for Will & Grace), Jay McKenzie (Beautiful), Katharine McPhee (Smash), Jessie Mueller (Tony Award® winner for Beautiful), Alex Newell (Tony Award® winner for Shucked), Paul Alexander Nolan (Parade), Noah J. Ricketts (Frozen) and Lea Salonga (Tony Award® winner for Miss Saigon).

Wild About You Album Tracks:

  1. Floating and Falling – Katharine McPhee
  2. Bad Day Box – Jackie Burns & Paul Alexander Nolan
  3. Wild About You – Jenn Colella & Chilina Kennedy
  4. Gold – Jessie Mueller
  5. Fast Train – Jay McKenzie
  6. High – Noah J. Ricketts, Chilina Kennedy, Eric McCormack & Jenn Colella
  7. What I’m Here To Find – Joaquina Kalukango
  8. Without You – Kennedy Caughell & Rachel Ling Gordon
  9. I Wouldn’t Call It Love – Aisha Jackson
  10. Take Us Down – Chilina Kennedy & Noah J. Ricketts
  11. Dangerous Lines – Alex Newell
  12. Here – Lea Salonga

The album is produced by two-time Tony Award® winner Brian Spector (www.keakaproductions.com) and Daniel Edmonds, who also serves as the album’s Music Supervisor/Director, Arranger and Orchestrator.

Chilina Kennedy (Music & Lyrics) is an award-winning actress, writer, composer, and the Artistic Producer of Eclipse Theatre Company. She has been writing original music for over 20 years and most recently contributed an original song to the new Canadian song cycle ‘Til Then’. Chilina is the longest running “Carole King” in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway, playing over 1,200 performances. Other Broadway roles include “Annie” in Paradise Square and “Mary” in Des McAnuff’s Jesus Christ Superstar (2012). Chilina played “Dina“ in the North American Tour of The Band’s Visit (Toronto Theatre Critics’ Award), originated “Phoebe” in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (CT and San Diego Critics’ Circle Nominations) and “Binky” in This Ain’t No Disco (Atlantic Theater Company). Film: With Me (BravoFact, NY Shorts and Whistler Film Festivals) and “Elle” in The Human Voice (OAC).

Chilina honored Carole King at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors by playing her and singing with Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Sara Bareilles and Janelle Monáe.

Multiple award-winner Eric Holmes (Book) has a proven track record of success on both stage and screen. Eric was a writer on the critically acclaimed TV series The Good Fight on Paramount+ for four seasons. His musical Fly More Than You Fall, co-written with Nat Zegree, received nine regional BroadwayWorld Awards, including Best Musical and Best New Work, at its  premiere at the NOORDA Center in Orem, Utah. His musical, Born Country, that he wrote  with his wife Erin Holmes, is receiving a NYC workshop in 2023 helmed by Kenneth Ferrone (Grease Live! and the Broadway bound musical The Wanderer). Eric has received the David S. Hawes Scholarship for his farce Nearly Departed and was nominated for the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award for his play Black Friday. He participated in the LARK’S Writer’s Retreat and was a writer-in-residence at The New Harmony Project. Other credits include: Evil (CBS), Smash (NBC).

 Nick Winston – Director & Choreographer

Nick has over 100 production credits to his name, and his work has been seen in 25 countries across four continents. His West End musical credits include “Bonnie & Clyde” (WhatsOnStage Award for Best Musical), “Fame”, “Annie”, “Loserville” (Olivier Award nomination for Best New Musical), and the acclaimed concert productions of “Chess” and “The Secret Garden”.

  Casting: Harry Blumenau

  General Management: Carter Dixon McGill Productions

Tickets: https://lwtheatres.co.uk/  Live on 28th November 2023

More information about Wild About You can be found at wildaboutyoumusical.com

Jonny Lee Miller, Tanya Reynolds and Samuel Adewunmi to star in West End transfer of A Mirror



Second Half Productions and Rodeo Productions / TiltedWinkler & SmalbergTrish Wadley Productions

present the Almeida Theatre production of

Written by Sam Holcroft

Directed by Jeremy Herrin


Second Half Productions have today announced that Sam Holcroft’s (Rules for Living) critically acclaimed new play A Mirror will transfer to the West End from January 2024. Directed by Jeremy Herrin (Best of Enemies; People, Places & Things,), the sold-out hit which originally premiered at the Almeida Theatre in August 2023, will run for 13 weeks at the Trafalgar Theatre, with previews from  Monday 22 January 2024 and press night on Thursday 1 February 2024. Tickets are on general sale from 10am on 30 November 2023.

BIFA Award-winner and BAFTA award-nominee Samuel Adewunmi (You Don’t Know MeTrouble in Bluetown) makes his West End debut as Adem, starring alongside Olivier Award-winner Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting; Elementary) and Tanya Reynolds (Sex EducationScenes with Girls) who will reprise their roles as Čelik and Mei in the West End transfer. Geoffrey Streatfield (Watch on the Rhine; Anatomy of a Scandal) also returns as Bax. 

Nominated for Best New Play at the 2023 Evening Standard Awards, Sam Holcroft’s A Mirror is a powerful and entertaining exploration of censorship, authorship, free speech and art as a form of resistance, set against the backdrop of an authoritarian state. A Mirror is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. 

The productionwill feature set and costume design by Max Jones, lighting design by Azusa Ono, composition and sound design by Nick Powell and fight direction by Jonathan Holby. Casting is by Jessica Ronane CDG

Jeremy Herrin says: “I’m overjoyed that we get to share Sam Holcroft’s A Mirror with even more people at the Trafalgar Theatre next year, following our initial sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre. Sam’s timely and darkly comedic play, boasts big ideas, live music and terrific performances, and I’m delighted to be working with Johnny Lee Miller, Tanya Reynolds, Geoff Streatfeild and our new cast member Samuel Adewunmi to bring this hugely entertaining and thought-provoking play to life in the West End. It’s a wild ride that’s not to be missed.”

A Mirror will run at the Trafalgar Theatre for 13 weeks from 22 January 2024, with opening night on 1 February 2024. Tickets start at £20 with 10,000 seats available at £50 and under throughout the run. Tickets will go on general sale at 10am on 30 November with priority booking open from 28 November. For further information visit:www.amirrorwestend.com

A Mirror is produced bySecond Half Productions with co-producers the Almeida Theatre, Rodeo Productions / TiltedWinkler & Smalberg and Trish Wadley Productions.

Samuel Adewunmi is a Bafta nominee for his leading performance in the BBC crime drama series You Don’t Know Me. He recently wrapped on Queenie, for Channel 4 and Disney +. This year he can be seen in Secret Invasion for Marvel Studios and Disney+ alongside Olivia Colman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ben Mendelsohn. He was also lauded for his performance in The Last Tree, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and earned him a British Independent Film Award that same year. He made his stage debut in Trouble in Bluetown, at the Donmar Warehouse.

Jonny Lee Miller’s theatre credits includes: Ink (Manhattan Theatre Club); Frankenstein (National Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Actor); After Miss Julie (American Airlines Theatre); Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Ambassadors Theatre); Festen (Almeida Theatre); Four Knights in Knaresborough (Tricycle Theatre); Beautiful Thing (Bush Theatre). 

Film Includes: The Covenant; Alice; Settlers; Funny Face; T2 Trainspotting; Byzantium; Dark Shadows; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Æon Flux; Melinda and Melinda; Mindhunters; The Escapist; Dracula 2000; Complicity; Love, Honour and Obey; Mansfield Park; Plunkett and Macleane; Regeneration; Afterglow; Dead Man’s Walk; Trainspotting; Hackers; Meat; Olly’s Prison; Bad Company; Dead Romantic

Television Includes: The Crown-Series 5; Elementary; Dexter; Emma; Eli Stone; Smith; Byron; The Canterbury Tales; Dead Man’s Walk; Goodbye Cruel World; Cadfael; Second Thoughts; Between the Lines; The Life and Times of Henry Pratt; Minder

Tanya Reynolds’s theatre credits include Dottir (The Courtyard Theatre); Scenes with Girls (Royal Court); Last Words You’ll Hear (Almeida). 

Her television credits include The Decameron; I Hate You; The Baby; Dodger; Sex Education; The Bisexual; Rellik; Delicious

Her film credits include Rumpelstiltskin Retold; Emma; For Love or Money. Reynolds was included in Screen Daily’s 2020 Stars of Tomorrow.

Geoffrey Streatfeild’s theatre credits include Watch on the Rhine; The Way of the World (Donmar Warehouse); Blithe Spirit (Theatre Royal Bath/ West End); Cell Mates; Wild Honey (Hampstead Theatre); Ivanov; The Seagull; Earthquakes in London; The Pains of Youth (National Theatre); My Night with Reg (Donmar Warehouse/ West End). 

His television credits include Anatomy of a Scandal; Life; Traitors; The Miniaturist; Prime Suspect 1973; The Hollow Crown; New Worlds

His film credits include Kursk; Making Noise Quietly; The Lady in the Van; A Royal Night Out; MI-5.

Jeremy Herrin is currently directing Ulster American at Riverside Studios starring Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis and Louisa Hardland. 

His recent credits include Best of Enemies (Young Vic/ West End, South Bank Show Award for Best Theatre Production); The Glass Menagerie; Labour of Love (Olivier Award for Best Comedy); The Nether; That Face; South Downs; Absent Friends; Death and the Maiden (West End); All My Sons (The Old Vic); The Visit, or the Old Lady Comes to Call; The Plough and the Stars; Statement of Regret (National Theatre); People, Places and Things (National Theatre/ Headlong/ West End/ UK tour/ St Ann’s Warehouse, New York); This House (National Theatre/ Chichester Festival Theatre/ West End); Wolf Hall; Bring Up the Bodies (RSC/ West End/ Broadway, Evening Standard Award for Best Director). 

Herrin is a co-founder and director of Second Half Productions with Alan Stacey and Rob O’Rahilly. He was previously the Artistic Director of Headlong.  

Sam Holcroft’s plays include an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox (Nuffield Southampton Theatres); Rules for Living; The Wardrobe; Edgar & Annabel (National Theatre); Dancing Bears (Soho Theatre/ Latitude Festival); While You Lie (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh); Pink (Tricycle Theatre); Vanya (Gate Theatre); Cockroach (Traverse Theatre, Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland nomination for Best Play and shortlisted for the John Whiting Award). 

Holcroft received the Tom Erhardt Award in 2009, was the Pearson Writer-in-Residence at the Traverse Theatre 2009–10, and the Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio from 2013–14. In 2014, she received a Windham Campbell Prize for Literature in the drama category.

MAGIC MIKE LIVE Extends Booking to January 2025 as the Show Celebrates 5 Years in the West End




TO 5 JANUARY 2025  



As Magic Mike Live celebrates 5 amazing years in the West End, Channing Tatum and his co-producers are delighted toannounce a new booking period for the show at The Theatre at the Hippodrome Casino in London. Patrons will be able to book performances through to 5 January 2025. Tickets for the new booking period are on sale now.

As part of its birthday celebrations Magic Mike Live surprised lucky commuters at King’s Cross station with two flash mob performances that broke the internet and will tonight host a celebrity gala performance at the Hippodrome Casino.

The cast of Magic Mike Live in London includes Kalon Badenhorst, Theo O. Bailey, Daniel Blessing, Natacza Boon, Jake Brewer, Peter Cleverley, Kiana De Van Der Schueren, Joel Ekperigin, Petr Fedorovskii, Luca Figarazzi, Antony Franz, Eleanor-Rose Fusaro, Myles Harper, James Percy, Charlotte Perry, Josie Rose, Ross Sands, Shane Scarth and Manny Tsakanika.

Conceived and co-directed by Channing Tatum, Magic Mike Live, which is approaching its 2000th show in the West End, has wowed over 500,000 people in London alone and over 1,250,000 worldwide. It is a large-scale, live production show based on the hit films Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, which opened at The Theatre at the Hippodrome Casino in London’s Leicester Square in November 2018.  Magic Mike Live inspired a new television series on HBO Max, Finding Magic Mike, which aired in the United States earlier this year and the third instalment of the Magic Mike film franchise, Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Magic Mike Live has become an international sensation since opening in Las Vegas in April 2017.  In addition to breaking box office records and performing to sold-out audiences in Las Vegas and London, the show has thrilled audiences around the world with engagements in Berlin, Australia, and Miami and Dallas in North America.

From the bespoke entrance off Cranbourn Street, to the specially curated lounge and bar experience, to the cast of world-class performers, Magic Mike Live is a complete evening of unparalleled entertainment for guests aged 18 and up.  Audience members enter Magic Mike’s mythical club and marvel as a group of extraordinary artists perform a 360-degree dance and acrobatic spectacular in front of, behind, and above them.  Sexy dance routines intertwined with one-of-a-kind acts, are presented by a diverse cast of performers from around the world.

Magic Mike Live in London is co-directed by Channing Tatum and Alison Faulk, with Luke Broadlick as associate director, and choreography by Alison Faulk, Teresa Espinosa and Luke Broadlick. The Executive Producer is Vincent Marini with General Management by Crossroads Live. The production designer is Rachel O’Toole, with scenic design by Rob Bissinger and Anita LaScala (Arda Studio), costume design by Marina Toybina, lighting design by Philip Gladwell and video design by Luke Halls.  Musical supervisor is Jack Rayner, with sound design by Nick Kourtides.  Dreya Weber is aerial choreographer & aerial apparatus designer. 

Guests can also enjoy cocktails and cuisine at Permission, a bespoke bar designed by Magic Mike Live designer Rachel O’Toole, which offers a range of food and beverage options as well as live music curated by the Magic Mike team. Permission is available to book before or after any performance of Magic Mike Live and is also open to the public if you fancy an intimate and luxurious space to unwind in the heart of London’s West End.

Magic Mike Live is produced in London by Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin, Greg Jacobs, Peter Kiernan, Steven Soderbergh, Nick Wechsler and United Talent Agency in association with Warner Bros., Vincent Marini, The Hippodrome Casino, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, TSG Entertainment & Ashley DeSimone, Richard Winkler and The Creative House.


Magic Mike Live

The Theatre at the Hippodrome Casino

Cranbourn Street

Leicester Square

London WC2H 7JH

Website:  www.magicmikelondon.co.uk  

Twitter:  @MagicMikeLDN

Facebook:  @MagicMikeLDN

Instagram:  @MagicMikeLiveLDN

TikTok:  @Magicmikelivelondon

Box Office:  [email protected]

Ticket Prices from: £42 (including booking fee)

Current Booking Period: until 5 January 2025

Running Time:  approximately 90 minutes (no interval)

Performances: Wednesday 7pm, Thursday 7pm & 9.30pm, Friday 7pm & 9.30pm, Saturday 4pm, 7pm & 9.30pm, Sunday 4pm & 7pm

Please note there are no performances w/c 10 January 2024, w/c 15 May 2024 and w/c 16 & 23 September 2024.

Christmas 2023 Performance Schedule Monday 18 December – No PerformanceTuesday 19 December – 7pm & 9.30pmWednesday 20 December – 7pmThursday 21 December – 7pm & 9.30pmFriday 22 December – 7pm & 9.30pmSaturday 23 December – 4pm, 7pm, 9.30pmSunday 24 December – No PerformanceMonday 25 December – No PerformanceTuesday 26 December – No PerformanceWednesday 27 December – 7pm & 9.30pmThursday 28 December – 7pm & 9.30pmFriday 29 December – 7pm & 9.30pmSaturday 30 December 4pm, 7pm, 9.30pmSunday 31 December – 7pmChristmas 2024 Performance Schedule
Monday 23 December – No PerformanceTuesday 24 December – No PerformanceWednesday 25 December – No PerformanceThursday 26 December – 7pm & 9:30pmFriday 27 December – 7pm & 9:30pmSaturday 28 December – 4pm, 7pm & 9:30pmSunday 29 December – 4pm & 7pmMonday 30 December – No PerformanceTuesday 31 December – 7pmWednesday 1 January – 7pmThursday 2 January – 7pm & 9:30pmFriday 3 January – 7pm & 9:30pmSaturday 4 January – 4pm, 7pm & 9:30pmSunday 5 January – 4pm & 7pm

Magic Mike Live guests must be at least 18 years to attend – appropriate photo ID will be requested on arrival at the venue – begambleaware.org

The Woman in Black Review

Theatre Royal Concert Hall Nottingham – until Saturday 2nd December 2023

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh


The Woman in Black is a genius piece of theatre. It’s success lies in the beauty of simplicity. The tale is told with minimal means, sparse sets and a credited cast of only two. Meaning that we, as an audience are compelled to engage our imagination to truly bring this gothic ghost story to life. Each of us guaranteed to envisage something different, individually conjuring up the things which would scare us the most.

The story opens with Arthur Kipps, a solicitor, who is determined to have his story heard. A story from an incident in the past that has haunted him relentlessly, invading his every waking moment and infiltrating his dreams. He employs the assistance of an Actor to help tell his story, to ensure people will listen, as it’s a long one, in the hope that he will be free from its torment and can finally be at peace. Thus ensues a tale within a tale told by the Actor playing Kipps and Kipps playing every other role, merging the here and now, imagination and reality, finally unravelling the truth behind the Woman in Black.

Malcolm James as Arthur Kipps and Mark Hawkins as The Actor were sublime. Both produced stellar performances with seamless scene transitions, never missing a step nor a beat. Full of passion, they were enthralling to watch and fully captivated the audience. Kevin Sleep and Sebastian Frost’s use of light and sound respectively were crucial to add body, tension, and atmospheric dread to this production. There are several moments where the audience shrieked in fear and times where they sat on the edge of their seats not wanting to look but not being able to look away. The intimacy and intensity of being in a theatre only heightened this sensation.

My only issue with this production was the titular “Woman in Black” herself. Without giving away any spoilers I think she was excessively utilised thus losing the true shock factor. It became a tad farcical at the end which was a huge shame as her early presence was everything you could have hoped for.

However, that aside, The Woman in Black is a well-crafted and thoroughly enjoyable ghost story. Deceptively playful and chillingly charming, its an atmospheric theatrical triumph of gothic glory

The Nutcracker Review

Festival Theatre, Malvern – 26th November 2023

Reviewed by Courie Amado Juneau


Ballet par excellence The Nutcracker graces Malvern Theatres stage once more, so “it’s beginning to feel a lot like…”.

From the opening notes it was obvious that the orchestra was top notch, lead by the capable baton of a master conductor. They drove the music along at just the right pace and the instrumental balance was perfect – every nuance of the exceptional score was crystal clear. Tchaikovsky would have been very proud of tonight’s performance.

The story is a strange one (I won’t lie) involving a family gathering around the tree on Christmas Eve, presents (naturally) and a child’s imagination running wild producing rats (with their own King) having battles with gingerbread soldiers, and an enchanted Nutcracker doll (in human form) whisking Clara off to a magical land of sweets whereupon the Sugar Plum Fairy orders a series of dances to entertain the guests… I’m thinking too much sugar before bedtime. But, in truth, the music and the dancing are the real magical elements – so just let yourself enter into the ballet’s world (think Willy Wonka on Strictly).and you’ll love it.

That it’s a massively popular work was amply demonstrated by the full house and fact that the programmes had sold out during the earlier matinee! A fantastic thing for the company and theatre but, unfortunately, it has meant that I don’t have the cast list so can’t praise the incredibly talented performers by name.

Our prima ballerina (playing Clara) gave an impressive performance, giving us a romantic and stylish reading with spectacular touches. Grace, control and beauty in equal measure! Her leading man, the titular Nutcracker, was also exceptionally strong, giving her the perfect support. They made an attractive duo on the stage.

The first half was excellent but the second half was where it really took off, with all the tunes you love to the fore – indeed, the chap next to me was humming along for much of the second half! This ballet has a lot of humour in it – for instance from the frolicking children on hobby horses and the Chinese Dance (Tea) with some very lively steps perfectly in time with the orchestra. Wonderful. The Spanish Dance (evoking chocolate) was sumptuous and muscular, befitting the Iberian flamenco sensibilities. But The Turkish Dance was the absolute star of the show – with the lady ballerina bringing audible gasps with her mind boggling suppleness and strength. An exceptionally talented dancer and a shining star.

The costumes were elegant in what looked to me like a traditional reading of the piece and it was all the better for it – why mess with perfection?

Sadly, I don’t get to attend many ballets and tonight’s performance has made me wonder why. I was blown away with the beauty of it all and will keep a close eye out for the next one. I’d encourage everyone to do the same. An absolutely spellbinding performance that was a joy to behold – not sure why, but I’m afraid the Quality Street took a hit when I got home. A treat for all the senses. Bravo to everyone involved.

The Silence and the Noise Review

On demand from 16th November: The Silence & The Noise | Pentabus

Reviewed by Aimee Forsyth


Two teenagers. Daize (Rachelle Diedericks) and Ben (William Robinson). A drug addict’s daughter and a young man caught up in the drug trade. Natural enemies that become unlikely friends.

Daize’s mother is trapped in the clutches of an addiction fuelled by the drugs that Ben’s boss is supplying. She is lonely, desperate and so hungry that she eats cat food to survive. Through no fault of her own, her life has become a disaster. Ben is trapped in his own personal nightmare. Lured in by the glamour of money he has become a drug runner and cannot escape out of fear of violence from his boss. They are from opposite sides of a county line but drugs unite them. Can they save themselves and each other from a life of destitution and tragedy?

They meet on an abandoned sofa in Daize’s back garden and their relationship gets off to a precarious start. With Daize brandishing a knife, their dialogue is quick and cutting. Neither one is trusting of the other but through the writer’s (Tom Powell) clever construction, their words bring them closer in a dangerous dance of dialogue. A tension builds between them and the chemistry between Diedericks and Robinson is palpable throughout. Despite the threat and menace from the adult world, Daize and Ben find a sanctuary in one another.

A particularly touching moment is when the two characters embrace towards the end. The danger and fragility of the world around them is shown as they find a peace together. They hold still in each other’s arms whilst Ben holds a knife in his hand in the forefront. This is a beautiful piece of direction by Rachel Lambert and Elle While and feels like a perfect representation of the safety the two characters find within each other contrasted by the instability around them.

This story is relevant and urgent. It is informative and educational showing the desperate lives of young people who get caught up in the County Lines drug trade. It is authentic and painful to watch whilst at the same time bringing hope and highlighting the sanctity of human interaction in the face of desperation and heartbreak.

The Silence and the Noise, which won a Papatango Prize in 2021, is a deeply moving and touching piece of theatre which touches upon real and relevant issues.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Chaka Khan to attend a staged reading of I’m Every Woman – The Chaka Khan Musical this week in London

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Chaka Khan
to attend a staged reading of
I’m Every Woman – The Chaka Khan Musical
this week in London

Music legend Chaka Khan is set to attend a staged reading of ‘I’m Every Woman – The Chaka Khan Musical’ on Friday 1 December in London.

Chaka Khan, who has officially endorsed the show, was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month, receiving the the Musical Excellence Award for her dazzling career which has now spanned 50-years. The queen of funk was recognised both for her solo catalogue and as part of synth-funk trailblazers Rufus.

The musical recently held a four-week development workshop, and is aiming to premiere in Autumn 2024.

The staged reading will feature cast members from the workshop including; Karen Mavundukure (Dreamgirls, The Color Purple) as Chaka Khan, Jordan Frazier (Hamilton) as Flashback Chaka Khan, Amarra Smith (Get Up, Stand Up) as Destiny, Alistair Toovey (Legally Blonde) as Dylan, Ashley Samuels (Hairspray, Motown) as Joel the Director and Stevie Wonder, Anelisa Lamola (The Color Purple) as Nina – the Book Writer, Hassun Sharif (Hamilton, Pretty Woman) as Flashback Richard Holland and Prince.

The book is written by screenwriter Tina Andrews (Sally Hemings: An American Scandal, Why Do Fools Fall In Love?); directed by Racky Plews (American Idiot, Footloose, Josephine Baker); orchestrations, vocal arrangements, and musical supervision by Ian Oakley (The Color Purple, The Lion King (UK Tours); choreography by Del Mak; sound design by Chris Whybrow; and casting by Debbie O’Brien.

Produced by Adrian Grant (Thriller Live).

‘I’m Every Woman’ brings Rock &Roll Hall of Fame inductee Chaka Khan’s explosive and dramatic life to the stage. Her story will be explored and experienced in flashbacks utilising the unique concept of a present-day musical within a musical about Chaka Khan herself.

A journey of music, love and betrayal, this brand new musical reveals the woman behind the diva. ‘I’m Every Woman’ features Chaka Khan’s much-loved songs released as a solo artist and lead singer of the band Rufus.

Featuring beloved, famous songs from Chaka and her famous friends such as I’m Every Woman, Ain’t Nobody, I Feel For You and Higher Love, the workshop combines Chaka’s phenomenal music catalogue with a fusion of dynamic, intricate choreography which mirrors Chaka’s eclectic music career. This untold story of Chaka Khan reveals her passion for civil rights, struggles within a toxic music industry, a dangerous road to a drug-fuelled overdose, and the high pressures of working whilst being a mother.