The Phase, VAULT Festival

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is a new, box fresh new musical, with a LGBTQ+ focus. Set in a Catholic school, it features four young student musicians trying to play their music, which shows their queer identities. Since it’s 1994, the school is not happy about it and tries to shut them down. However, the students in question are not going to give up without a fight.

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In Clay, VAULT Festival

by Zahid Fayyaz

This is my first show at the Vault Festival, which has been on hiatus until now since the pandemic started in 2020. London’s version of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a wonderful festival in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station that hosts almost 2 months’ worth of new shows, cabaret and stand-up comedy.

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The Commitments, New Wimbledon Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

Originally from the Roddy Doyle book, which was also adapted into a wonderful Neil Jordan film, this is the latest touring
version of the musical, The Commitments. Set in 1980’s Dublin, this is the story of a young band coming together to ‘bring soul’ to Ireland, before it all falls apart. Featuring a great soundtrack of soul songs, this has been around in some form in the UK for the last 10 years, and for good reason.

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There’s No Mystery in Murder, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Romy Foster

Northern Corner brings humour and mischief to this brand-new musical based in the fictional town of Rothersdale. It’s a quiet town where nothing ever happens, so when a local councellor is shot, the community unravels. A once peaceful town reveals all it’s dark secrets when the blame keeps shifting to nervous suspects in an attempt to find out who the murderer is.

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Kickass Divas, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Romy Foster

This new musical showcases the lives of five fabulous, historical women through the framework of two young people experiencing an interactive museum. The show is filled with catchy, original numbers and engaging choreography with prominent musical motifs that thread through the performance.

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Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

by Laura Kressly

Miss-fit besties Kathy and Stella run a true crime podcast that they hope to turn into a full time job. When their favourite author is brutally murdered after a local event, they think this is the perfect opportunity to raise their profile and get the fame they know they deserve. Though they have no murder-solving skills, they’re determined to get to the bottom of her death. The musical comedy by Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones, writers of A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), is a hilarious caper that embraces the genre’s fans, life’s unexpected heroes and the quest to find yourself.

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Sister Act, Eventim Apollo

by Zahid Fayyaz

Based on the hit 1992 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg, this is the latest touring incarnation of this highly entertaining musical. Originally set to star Goldberg in a reprise of the role, the cast instead has the more than able replacement of Beverley Knight. Joined by Jennifer Saunders, Lesley Joseph and Clive Rowe, this revival certainly isn’t lacking firepower in the casting department.

Read more: Sister Act, Eventim Apollo

The plot is a little thin, like in the film. Beverley Knight’s Deloris Van Cartier has to hide from her gangster ex-boyfriend in a convent, only to find herself connecting with the nuns living there. The show itself however has a lot of energy, with Saunders proving the crowd favourite because of her droll one-liners as the Mother Superior. Overall, the comic timing from the cast is certainly on point as well, and the set and majority of the songs are wonderful. Particular highlights are Beverly Knight and Clive Rowe when they are able to let loose during the musical numbers. It is fair to say that the crowd are having a blast throughout.

There are a couple of flaws in the show, unfortunately. Firstly, the song with Curtis and his goons working out how they want to kill Delores is extremely distasteful. Additionally, some of the off-colour jokes given to Lesley Joseph’s Sister Mary Lazarus are not particularly wise to include in this day and age. At two hours and 40 minutes long, it could also do with an edit.

However, despite these issues, the high points of the production turn the show into a highly enjoyable evening, It’s a fun musical running for the rest of the summer, and makes for great seasonal theatregoing.

Sister Act runs through 28 August then tours.

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Singin’ in the Rain, New Wimbledon Theatre

by Zahid Fayyaz

This adaptation of the much-loved 1952 Gene Kelly film has had a very productive life as a stage musical, what with its catchy songs and tap dancing routines. This particular touring production by Jonathan Church previously ran in the West End and Sadler’s Wells so as expected, the dance has received a lot of attention. The lovely New Wimbledon Theatre where it’s on for this leg of the tour is one of the bigger theatres that lie outside of the West End on the edges of London.

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The Wonderful, Theatre Peckham

REVIEW: The Wonderful at Theatre Peckham celebrates diversity and spreads  festive joy

by Romy Foster

It’s opening night at Theatre Peckham and I am one of the first to see The Wonderful performed in front of a real, live audience (they only had their dress rehearsal THAT DAY). I followed the yellow brick road through the foyer to my seats and eagerly awaited this Peckham-ised twist on the lovable children’s classic, The Wizard of Oz.

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