A Night with Jason Robert Brown, London Palladium

by guest critic Susannah Martin

Songs for a New World, Parade, The Bridges of Madison County and The Last 5 Years – these are a just a handful of the musicals penned by composer Jason Robert Brown, and just few of the treats that were peppered amongst his packed-out, one-off concert at the London Palladium. A pre-recorded concert for BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’, Brown’s layered evening catered to theatre fans and music lovers alike.

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Report | Mousetrap Theatre Projects’ Anniversary Gala

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by guest critic Susannah Martin

On Sunday, the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre saw some of theatre’s biggest stars  host and perform in the Mousetrap Theatre Projects’ Anniversary Gala, which nodded
to the 21 years that the charity has provided disadvantaged families and young people with the opportunity to experience live theatre. It’s a cause that is celebrated throughout the industry, and the night’s entertainment proved its importance for not only the recipients, but for the performers who have benefited from the scheme.

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Lock and Key, VAULT Festival

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by guest critic Lara Alier

Smaller scale musicals are on the rise at the moment. They’re performed in smaller venues that, as well as being kinder on production costs, also offer an intimacy between performers and the audience that we really value.  Lock and Key’s cast is also small, with only two performers on stage, and a live quartet including a cello, violin, piano, and a cajón.

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Pippin, Southwark Playhouse

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Scouring Broadway forums and Twitter feeds after seeing Pippin at the Southwark Playhouse did not illuminate meaning or clarify an overwhelmingly strange plot. I did, however, find a large cult following for the 1972 American musical, all positing and debating different plot theories. It made me wonder whether Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin is the theatrical equivalent of David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive, and whether this assessment makes it cooler? I’m not so sure.

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Alice and her husband moved house from a bustling city to sleepy Berkhamsted just 6 weeks ago. She can’t wait to make new friends and get stuck into all that village life offers, even though her new home is hardly trendy like Margate, and none of her friends are willing to visit. The only thing undermining her positivity is that faithful companion Anxiety has relocated with her and threatens to ruin everything.

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Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre

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Let’s get this out of the way first – does Hamilton live up to the hype? Yes. It’s very good. Though the revolution in the plot doesn’t influence the dramaturgy, that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic show that musically updates the genre and skillfully triggers a spectrum of emotions. It’s simultaneously epic and intimate, staged surprisingly simply with striking, sculptural choreography and utterly engaging throughout.

But this pro-immigration, hip-hop reinvention of the all-American musical about a country gaining independence from a distant, tyrannical overlord resonates rather differently in Brexit Britain than it does in America. Forget the NHS bus – could Hamilton be the new symbol of the Leave campaign?

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Ordinary Days, Drayton Arms Theatre

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

A single piano backs this tongue-in- cheek trip into the lives of four ordinary New Yorkers living out ordinary days. In just 75 minutes we traverse heartbreaks, five-year plans, and the elaborate traffic network which swirls around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A distinctly American musical about Central Park, Broadway, and groceries from Gristedes, Ordinary Days doesn’t shake up the twenty-first century, but this is certainly a solid production.

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