PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Bath Theatre Royal

★★★☆☆ Jane Austen’s book opens with one of the most famous, and possibly most sexist, lines in the history of English literature. Perhaps the concepts of men being in want of a wife, or marriage being the life goal for women, are things we wouldn’t recognise in our modern western society.

BACKSTAGE IN BISCUIT LAND at the Door, Birmingham Rep

★★★★☆ Biscuit Land of the title is neither a real place, nor a fantasy setting. Performer Jess Thom says the word “biscuit” thousands of times a day. After watching the show, Biscuit Land feels like a perspective, an approach – Thom letting us see things her way. It’s an angle of unrestrained creativity.

JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER at the Ustinov Studio, Bath

★★★☆☆ This one-man show has songs which thread through the piece, illustrating as they do Sowande’s first love – music. The atmosphere is for the most part congenial, delivered with the comfortable, measured pace of a lawyer anxious for exactitude in unpacking the salient details and passions of a life well-lived.

BUDDY – THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY at the Everyman, Cheltenham

★★★★☆ This is a well-known and popular show but any reviewer must meet Buddy on its own terms. It isn’t a complex analytical take on the meteoric rise of a musical icon. This is a light-hearted biopic designed to get the audience singing and clapping along gleefully, which it admirably accomplishes.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at Bath Theatre Royal

★★★☆☆ Taking these two hours of mayhem on the road for 30 weeks will be something of an Olympian feat for this new cast of The Play That Goes Wrong. It was not too much of a surprise to learn that on this, the first performance of the tour, an understudy had already been asked to step in.

DON GIOVANNI Tobacco Factory, Bristol.
THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR Birmingham Rep.
COULROPHOBIA Tobacco Factory, Bristol.
KING LEAR Bristol Old Vic.
END OF THE RAINBOW on tour.
THE TRUTH Ustinov, Bath.
KING LEAR Stratford.
KING CHARLES III on tour.
OFF BEAT FESTIVAL Oxford.
ELOISE & THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN WHISK the Wardrobe, Bristol.

CRIMES AGAINST CHRISTMAS at the Ustinov Studio, Bath

★★★★☆ New Old Friends has teamed up with the Lichfield Garrick theatre to present a very adult take on the 12 Days of Christmas. A cast of just four peopled the Ustinov stage with 13 characters, circling each other with festive paranoia as the bumping off began, Agatha Christie style, one by one . . . Great fun.

SLEEPING BEAUTY at Malvern Theatres

Chris Pizzey, best known as Basil Brush’s sidekick Mr Stephen, is not only brilliant as the comedic Silly Billy but also as director of this rib tickler of a show. Excellent storytelling has been interspersed with hilarious comedy routines and an eclectic mix of songs, old and new, perfectly accompanied by Christopher Duffy and his band . . . The pantomimes at Malvern seem to get better and better every year and this year is an absolute triumph. Sleeping Beauty is fresh, funny and full of heart.