West End Wilma – Review Round-Up

Take a look at all the shows that have been reviewed over the past week on westendwilma.com …

REVIEW: Russian Dolls (King’s Head Theatre) ★★★★
Russian Dolls was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize in 2013 before winning the Adrian Pagan award last year. Based on the real-life story of an Islington version of Hilda, Kate Lock’s new drama about an unlikely friendship discusses how society treats its most vulnerable members – the very young and the old. Keep reading

REVIEW: I LOVED LUCY (Jermyn Street Theatre) ★★
Lucille Ball, the sitcom duchess of the 50’s was known for her excellence in physical comedy, her ability to make the implausible seem possible and as the scatter brained wannabe in her and her husband’s sitcom, ‘I Love Lucy’. But what was she really like? Although one of the American sweethearts during the golden age of Hollywood, what happened in her later life (not being one of those plagued by drink and drug abuse) is not well known. Lee Tannen’s ‘I Loved Lucy’, playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre, gives us an insight into what the funniest woman in the world was really like after the camera stopped rolling. Keep reading

REVIEW: HAMLET (Cockpit Theatre) ★★★
As this year marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, we are likely to see a myriad of Hamlets – Adam Stott has been announced for a production at the Almeida and Paapa Essiedu is currently playing the Danish prince at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Nicholas Limm’s Hamlet, in a production by Ilissos Theatre Company, is somewhat different. This Hamlet is a production of the First (Bad) Quarto, which is either an early first draft or a pirated copy, half remembered by one of the actors. Keep reading

REVIEW: THE MAN IN THE WOMAN’S SHOES (Tricycle Theatre) ★★★★★
Ireland, 1978. Pat Farnon is quietly giving an entire new level of meaning to the phrase “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Or at least, he’s quiet on the outside. Inwardly, this man, who is mute and middle-aged who lives alone and repairs shoes in a rural cottage, is alive with chatter and intelligence and jokes. Keep reading

REVIEW: RADIOMAN (Old Red Lion Theatre) ★★★★★
Last night, tucked away in a small theatre above the Old Red Lion pub, a masterpiece was unveiled.

Radioman is one of the most beautiful, intelligent and innovative pieces of theatre I have seen in years. Very rarely does writing, sound, lighting and set come together so seamlessly that you don’t see them as different mediums within a play, but instead, one gorgeous piece of art. This is no doubt a success thanks to Tom Crowley’s direction of Felix Trench’s wonderfully written play. It is flawlessly put together and you can see the love and care in which Crowley has considered how each element of the show needs to fit to create the mesmerising world we were transported to, and he does so with absolute ease and flare.it is no surprise that the majority of the team has been working on the show from the start. Keep reading

REVIEW: BILLY ELLIOT (Sunderland Empire)
Billy is coming home declares the publicity and what a triumphant home-coming it was. The theatre-goers at Sunderland Empire certainly thought so, rising as one to give a very much deserved standing ovation at the end.

Set in Easington, less than 10 miles away from the Empire and we were entertained by Easington Colliery Brass band as we entered the theatre, which was a nice touch. Keep reading

REVIEW: LABELS (Theatre Royal Stratford East) ★★★★
Labels is about immigration, racism and why we feel the need to file each other into neat little categories. Is it fear? Curiosity? Or can labelling be a case of intelligent and wilful emotional manipulation? A one man show that has enjoyed an award-winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Labels has a stint at the brand new space at the Theatre Royal Stratford East as part of an international tour that continues until July. Keep reading

All Or Nothing: The Mod Musical by Carol Harrison and directed Tony McHale is based on the rise and fall of famous 1960’s band The Small Faces. Kenney Jones, Ian Mlagan, Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriot begin life as a band as talented teenage boys with passion, humour, and a touch of attitude leading them to success with massive hits such as “All Or Nothing”, “Sha-la-la-la-lee” and “Whatchya Gonna Do About It?”. However becoming one of the UK’s biggest bands has it’s demons; after endless tours, gruelling schedules, and being on contract for just twenty pounds a week with cutthroat manager Don Arden (father to Sharon Osborne), this ultimately leads to the self-destruction of the band and tragedy. Keep reading

REVIEW: The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster (Greenwich Theatre) ★★★
‘The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster’ at the Greenwich Theatre is an interpretation of Thomas Potts infamous account of a series of English witch trials that took place in the summer of 1612. The play revolves around the accounts regarding the Pendle witches, who, among the twenty men and women under accusation, became the most remembered. Keep reading

REVIEW: GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM (Richmond Theatre) ★★★★★
Based on Michelle Magorians 1981 classic, the uplifting story of Goodnight Mister Tom is brought to life in a charming stage adaptation by David Wood, directed by Angus Jackson.
We begin in a peaceful Dorset village in the home of elderly recluse Tom Oakley, played by David Troughton. The show opens when Tom is abruptly forced out of his isolated ways and assigned frightened and bruised eight year old evacuee William Beech. As the months pass Tom and his dog Sammy form a close friendship with William, a bond that neither of the pair knew they could make. When William’s mother suddenly demands her son back in London to take care of her, we are hit with the cruel reality of his abusive life back home. Keep reading

REVIEW: SUNSET BOULEVARD (English National Opera) ★★★★
It is always lovely to see historical moments in theatre history recreated. Recently we had Marti Webb reprise the role she originated in Tell Me On A Sunday (thirty years after the fact) and now we have Glenn Close reprising the award winning role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard at the ENO. Keep reading

REVIEW: AMERICANA IN CONCERT (Theatre Royal Stratford East) ★
It’s not often that you want to leave the theatre ninety seconds after the lights go down. ‘Americana in Concert’ is sadly one such instance.

‘Americana’ is about growing up queer as a young American at High School. Sound familiar? Think ‘Rent’ or ‘Bare’ or ‘Xanadu’ or any of the other countless musicals that deal with this subject. There’s absolutely nothing new here. Keep reading

REVIEW: How the Other Half Loves (Theatre Royal Haymarket) ★★★★
Awkward situations. Perhaps one of the worst case scenarios for the stereotypical British person. We don’t handle them well and if we do find ourselves in said awkward situation, we tend to ignore it. However, in the theatre we adore them, especially the humour that arises from them. Keep reading

REVIEW: BONNIE LANGFORD (Hippodrome Casino) ★★★★★
Bonnie Langford is one of those households names that everyone, of any age just seems to know. Her career has spanned fifty years and she doesn’t show any sign of slowing down yet, currently appearing the BBC Eastenders as Carmel Kazemi for the past year. From Doctor Who, to the original film of Bugsy Malone and in more recent years Dancing on Ice, everyone knows Bonnie from something and no one can argue she is a true star. Keep reading