SNOW WHITE at The North Wall, Oxford

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Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Scrooge, and I suppose when it comes to Christmas theatre, I can become a bit Scrooge-y; I have no patience for pantomime – give me a nice true-to-the-book adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and I’ll be happy, but try throwing in some ‘O, yes, you did’, ‘O, no, I didn’t!’ banter and I’m out of there.

CINDERELLA at the Playhouse, Oxford

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There’s a thin line between an enjoyably camp Christmas show and an anarchic mess, but this isn’t Steve Marmion’s first rodeo and he clearly knows what he is doing. It’s a good sign when the eager squealing of the children in the audience is met by the raucous laughter of the adults. Cinderella is a traditional pantomime in all the ways that matter – drag, oh-no-it-isn’t, he’s-behind-you, etc… – but has abundant topical material to freshen it up. . . .

STAGETALK MAGAZINE is Three Years Old

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StageTalk Magazine is three years old. Since our launch in 1st December 2013 our eighteen reviewers have seen over 1000 shows ranging from opera to farce, from ballet to burlesque. At the time of writing we have received 266,530 hits. We have reviewed productions in major venues seating nearly two thousand people, to tiny fifty-seat studio theatres . . .

BROKEN BISCUITS at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

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Tom Wells is the owner of that most treasured of attributes for a playwright, the gift of metaphor. Broken Biscuits is set in the garden shed (carefully envisioned in Lily Arnold’s evocative set) of Megan who is the new owner of a second hand drum set and plans to mould her friends, Holly and Ben into a group in the unrealistic timescale of eight weeks so as to enter a ’battle of the bands’ competition.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at the Everyman, Cheltenham

Everyman Theatre Cheltenham's 2016-17 Panto Prodiction of Jack and the Beanstalk -24.11.2016
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This year’s panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, is the current one of the rotating cycle of five titles which the Everyman produces and is much better than the previous one in 2011. What I like about Phil Clark’s pantomimes is that he eschews the tried (tired?) and tested formula of employing some obscure celebrity off the telly that no-one has ever heard of to appear in his shows in favour of real actors – and his shows are all the better for that.

THE TEMPEST at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford

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There is a certain irony in that at the same time as Shakespeare’s Globe in London has parted company with its new(ish) director Emma Rice for being too technical, too untraditional and too innovative, that other great bastion dedicated to the works of the Bard, the Royal Shakespeare Company, has mounted a production that is, at times, more like a video game than a stage play.

RENT at Malvern Theatres

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Inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohème, the story focuses on a group of bohemian artists who struggle to maintain their friendships and their non-conformist ideals in New York’s East Village, in the mid nineties. Anna Fleischle’s stage design captures the very essence of street life with her brilliant recreation of the now famous corner of East 11th Street and Avenue B, delightfully utilising every inch of performance space . . . This production of Rent is magnificent, a theatrical event that will leave you feeling emotionally violated in the best way possible.

Shakespeare, His Wife and The Dog at The Door, Birmingham Rep

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Shakespeare his wife and the dog is wonderful look at the writer and his life, full of references for the diehard Shakespearian fans, but not too many as to confuse the audience members who know nothing about the man. Although there are many productions about Shakespeare and his life this piece is a joyful and humorous look at his later years in which sometimes can be glossed over as it shows him as a man, not as the world’s most famous playwright