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 BY DAVOR GOLUB FRIDAY, MARCH 18 2016, 11:24 - REVIEWS

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is one of the best-loved and well-known musicals of the last fifty years. At the recent performance I attended I could hear audience members singing lyrics softly under their breath and anticipating the many classic laugh lines. Revived more times in New York City than any other musical this makes it a particular challenge for the production team of each revival to find a fresh take on the show. When it was announced that Bartlett Sher, director of the revelatory Lincoln Centre SOUTH PACIFIC revival, was helming a new production I was very excited. Well, Sher and his team have not disappointed.

 
 
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BY PHIL WILLMOTT FRIDAY, MARCH 25 2016, 11:53

At London’s Coliseum theatre the beleaguered, cash strapped English National Opera are mounting a staged concert of Andrew Lloyd Webber’sSUNSET BOULEVARD, a sure fire box office hit.

We’ve known for some time that it will star Hollywood’s Glenn Close reprising the role she played in the US. Full casting has now been announced along with the release of extra tickets.

 
 
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BY DAVOR GOLUB FRIDAY, MARCH 25 2016, 10:27 - REVIEWS

Word on the street is that the show will be coming to London sometime in 2017.

Over the past 15 years there has been a plethora of adaptations of Hollywood movies into stage musicals. The success of these ventures from film to the stage depends on whether or not the theatrical team behind the transfer is able to create a piece that is not just a lazy copy but rather one that has a unique theatrical language and reason for being on the stage.

 
 
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BY PREECE KILLICK FRIDAY, MARCH 25 2016, 11:19 - REVIEWS

From the moment you step through the doors of the N16’s rather wonderful theatre (now, perhaps confusingly, in SW12) you might be forgiven for assuming you are about to be treated, or patronised even, with a show more suited to those citizens under the age of ten but once the lights dim, with a plastic cup of punch, a packet of love-hearts in your hand, and surrounded by a multitude of combusting balloons, things begin to change.


 
 
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BY PHIL WILLMOTT FRIDAY, MARCH 25 2016, 12:43 - NEW SHOWS

Producer Bill Kenwright is to be congratulated for taking that most dangerous of financial risks, launching a new musical in the West End. Recent attempts to do so, MADE IN DAGENHAM and BEND IT LIKE BECHAM failed to turn into long running hits.

 
 
It has been a steep learning curve with our first ever show and it has been very interesting and a little chastening to read some of the mixed reviews for our new stage play, CORRESPONDENCE.  

However, I believe the critics are doing a great service, as how else are fledgling writers, actors, producers, directors, lighting and sound designers and investors going to alter their course and hone their work if not by studying reviewer's opinions? 

In reading the many write ups one can see the variation in how the play has been received. In most of the reviews there is at least one pearl of wisdom and sometimes a whole handful.  They range from 4 star rave to a 1 star demolition job.

We seem to have a script that would bear reading a few times because some of the imagery or inference is evidently hard to catch in a single performance as demonstrated by these variable critical responses, all from different critics -

A very stimulating evening both in terms of the acting quality and the way the scenario integrates difficult and contemporary themes into a whole that makes sense of the different perspectives of the young people and the adults. 

I did not find it wholly convincing dramatically, but the way it tries to open up discussion of themes that are often skated over is admirable.

Although only sporadically funny and only occasionally sharp, Correspondence is not without interest. But, like the Arab Spring itself, it is greater in its potential than in its realisation.

Correspondence, is smartly staged at the Old Red Lion and blessed with a credible and charismatic central performance by Joe Attewell as sixteen-year-old Ben.

Blythe Stewart's direction realises a good deal of Burnett's ambition, not least in emphasising the video game influences in Bethany Wells' striking set –

Overall, this is an enjoyable play, staged in a pleasantly intimate venue and packed full of interesting and thought-provoking material.

Oh, and  -

the piece being one of the worst I've ever seen – 

Ouch!

Is the play too slim or slight for the content? Maybe – probably.  Should it be a bit shorter with more laughs? Perhaps.  

However I disagree with the reviewers who've found the end of the play unsatisfactory. Feeling uncomfortable or ill at ease while watching and being frustrated by the outcomes in CORRESPONDENCE is fitting. Futures are very uncertain – will Syria, one of our settings, get back to some kind of normality any time soon? – hopefully but it'll take a while. Certainly the mental health struggles of our central character, Ben, could continue for the foreseeable future – so I'm fully supportive of our playwright's choice not to tie the plot up neatly.  

Potential was a recurring choice of word from critics and that could be the glint of light that comes from the harsher write ups of the play.

As Stephen Sondheim tells us in his lyrics for SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE "Art isn’t easy!"

There will be a Correspondence Post Show Talk on 29th March - Discussing Mental Health & Early Psychosis with contributions from Dr. Helen Fisher (Senior .Lecturer & MQ Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London) Dr Philippa Greenfield (Consultant Psychiatrist) and Jonny Benjamin (Mental Health Campaigner, Author and Vlogger)

 
 
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 BY NASTAZJA SOMERS MONDAY, MARCH 21 2016, 10:29 - REVIEWS

Thomas Middleton’s THE REVENGER’S TRAGEDY, like most Jacobean plays, puts men centre stage, leaving very little space for women. With the current demand for strong female roles more directors could take the example of Peter Darney. In his version of THE REVENGER’S TRAGEDY at The Rose Playhouse he not only swaps character genders, empowering the female cast but also re-imagines Middleton’s world in a contextually and visually vivid production.

 
 
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BY PHIL WILLMOTT THURSDAY, MARCH 3 2016, 21:29 - NEW SHOWS

Who’d have thought that this season’s smash hit musical would be a show that’s nearly half a century old!

GUYS AND DOLLS which many people, including me, consider one of the greatest musicals ever written, has been constantly revived all over the world in major, community and school productions ever since its Broadway première in 1950.

 
 
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BY PHIL WILLMOTT THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2016, 15:06 - REVIEWS

Sometimes as a theatre critic you find yourself expressing a minority view. In such cases I think it's important to stick to your guns so although most established critics have damned HAND TO GOD as tedious and puerile, I loved it in New York and I loved it here, laughing throughout.

 
 
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BY HUGH WOOLDRIDGE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25 2016, 11:26 - REVIEWS

While we here in Britain were listening to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Cliff Richard and The Shadows, most of America was listening to the extraordinary output and music of Berry Gordy, the founder and owner of the (Tamla) Motown label.