All stories by Louise Penn on BroadwayStars

Thursday, January 6, 2022

‘Immerses us totally in a community facing indescribable loss’: INTO THE NIGHT (Online review) by Louise Penn

We are in Cornwall, forty years ago, on the 19 December 1981. A lifeboat in Penlee Station answers a distress call, but never returned, with the loss of sixteen lives.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Sunday, January 2, 2022

‘Focuses on the battle in the trenches & between the classes’: INTO BATTLE (Online review) by Louise Penn

The scene is set at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1910. A group of exceptional young men finish their education as the shadow of war slowly approaches.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Monday, December 27, 2021

‘This is a fun night out with some top moves’: BRING IT ON – Queen Elizabeth Hall then Touring by Louise Penn

It’s been ten years since Bring It On was first made into a musical. These days it has an interest as a piece of Lin-Manuel Miranda juvenilia, pre-Hamilton and co-created with others.

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Saturday, December 25, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Dick Whittington (Petite Pantos) by Louise Penn

Mama G is back with her special brand of storytelling, this time in picture book format. Dick Whittington is the story of a young man seeking asylum in a country where it is OK to be gay.

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Thursday, December 23, 2021

‘Something for everyone, including comic interludes’: CIRCUS 1903 – Royal Festival Hall by Louise Penn

With two hours of acts ranging from catchers to aerialists, jugglers to puppet elephants, teeterboard leapers to hula hoopers, Circus 1903 has something for everyone.

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Monday, December 13, 2021

‘A fantastical & challenging Christmas story for children’: THERE MAY BE A CASTLE – Little Angel Theatre by Louise Penn

Although the show deals with death and grief, it is done in a sensitive way you can explain to a child.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Saturday, December 11, 2021

‘Beautifully performed, lit & scored’: 21 ROUND FOR CHRISTMAS – Hope Theatre by Louise Penn

Clare Bloomer is Tracy, fifty years old and stuck in her kitchen making Christmas dinner for her extended family (all 21 of them).

SOURCE: at 05:00AM
Sunday, December 5, 2021

‘A panto mashup of mayhem, song & storytelling’: SLEEPING BEAUTY & THE BEAST – Battersea Arts Centre by Louise Penn

Following the success of 2019 ‘slumber party panto’ Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers, Sleeping Trees are back for a live residency of mayhem, song, and storytelling in the Council Cha…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

‘Chock-full of Chekhov references’: VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE – Charing Cross Theatre by Louise Penn

We meet Vanya and Sonia in their morning room, which overlooks the pond. We are in America, and they wait for the daily appearance of the blue heron. Named by parents who loved Chekh…

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Sunday, November 28, 2021

‘You don’t have to be a Tudor expert to enjoy this’: SIX THE MUSICAL – West End ★★★★★ by Louise Penn

You know the story of how two Cambridge students, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss (who also directs) created this Tudor “herstory”, took it to Edinburgh, and recently opened it after COVID del…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Monday, November 22, 2021

‘Relies on plot contrivances that don’t really ring true’: LOVE DANCE – Chiswick Playhouse by Louise Penn

When you take your seats at the Chiswick Playhouse, you note how richly detailed the set is for Love Dance. We are in a flat which is presumably a decent one-bed set-up with a shared living/…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Thursday, November 18, 2021

‘Still an intriguing piece of work’: ‘NIGHT, MOTHER – Hampstead Theatre by Louise Penn

Marsha Norman’s 1981 play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama on its debut, and remains one of the best plays I have read on the page, long before I saw it acted. The story of Jessie C…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

‘A clever piece of work’: DARLING – Hope Theatre by Louise Penn

Pete is lonely. His dad is sick, his mother dead, his job boring. His only love is his cello, until he connects to Angie through a lonelyhearts ad.

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Thursday, November 11, 2021

‘A searingly honest portrait of motherhood’: MUM – Soho Theatre by Louise Penn

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's new play is a raw and physical exploration of how motherhood can be tough, and how some mothers can be failed by the system set up to protect their children. Th…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Tuesday, November 9, 2021

‘A raucous & entertaining evening from five talented women’: PRIDE & PREJUDICE (sort of) – West End by Louise Penn

As five conspiratorial servants potter around the stage before the show proper, we know this is going to be no typical Jane Austen adaptation. This is Pride and Prejudice as you never knew i…

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Monday, November 8, 2021

‘A story of growth & connection at its heart’: RICE – Orange Tree Theatre by Louise Penn

Michele Lee’s Rice is a deeply ambitious play, populated by numerous characters and performed by two actors. Zainab Hassan and Sarah Lam first appear as an Indian-born executive, Ni…

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Saturday, November 6, 2021

‘The tension builds because we cannot see anything’: Some of Us Exist in the Future (Online review) by Louise Penn

One of the three Papatango New Writing prize-winning audio plays now available to listen to at a theatre near you, Nkenna Akunna’s Some of Us Exist in the Future is an ambitious piece whic…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, November 3, 2021

‘It’s a lesson about making assumptions’: ALBATROSS – Playground Theatre by Louise Penn

Isley Lynn’s complex and clever play, albatross, is revived by the represent theatre company as the first of two productions in their inaugural season. The stage at the Playground T…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

‘Nothing is held back or sugar-coated’: A PLACE FOR WE – Park Theatre by Louise Penn

The setting is one building in Brixton. The subject is tradition, family, community and change. A cast of four men and two women bring the play to life.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Monday, October 18, 2021

‘Black, bleak & ultimately deeply moving’: THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE – Lyric Hammersmith by Louise Penn

Martin McDonagh’s black comedy piece, co-produced by Chichester Festival Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith, proves to be a deeper exploration of family conflict and secrets than his The Li…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Why shouldn’t you hate musicals? Adam Lenson’s new book Breaking Into Song has the answer by Louise Penn

Director Adam Lenson has something to say about musicals. In this essential text for theatre lovers, he challenges your perceptions of what a musical can, is, and might be.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Friday, October 8, 2021

‘A lot of potential’: GOING THE DISTANCE — Lawrence Batley Theatre (Online) by Louise Penn

Theatres were in trouble over the whole of 2020, and many are still waiting for audiences to return to their pre-pandemic levels.

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Saturday, September 11, 2021

‘The musical we perhaps all need’: COME FROM AWAY – Apple TV+ (Online review) by Louise Penn

On 11 September 2021, it will mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. To commemorate the anniversary, Apple TV+ has filmed a performance of …

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Thursday, September 9, 2021

‘Literal shivers down the spine’: FALLING IN LOVE WITH MR DELLAMORT (Online review) by Louise Penn

Any new musical must bring cause for celebration, and so I approached this one with some interest. First planned as a stage production and billed as “the world’s first theremin musical…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

‘A completely successful piece of digital theatre’: WALDEN – Cinemas Nationwide (Online review) by Louise Penn

Twin sisterhood, space, and the uncertain near future are at play in Amy Berryman’s debut play, Walden, which recently enjoyed a run on stage as part of the Re:Emerge season at the Harold …

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Saturday, September 4, 2021

‘Stylish, visceral & very contemporary’: SALOMÉ – Southwark Playhouse (Online review) by Louise Penn

Currently running in stage in the Little at Southwark Playhouse, Lazarus Theatre’s version of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé proves to be a daring, electric, and exhausting feat of theatre.

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Friday, September 3, 2021

‘Unapologetically both theatrical drama & a tense piece of work adapted for the screen’: THE SYSTEM (Online review) by Louise Penn

Paul is dead, killed at his own party. Everyone is a suspect, and most of them had a motive. Written and performed by Emily Head, directed by Guy Unsworth, The System is filmed live in one t…

SOURCE: at 05:00AM
Monday, August 30, 2021

‘Definitely picks up the spirit of the era’: WARHOL: BULLET KARMA – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Garry Roost’s play Warhol: Bullet Karma focuses on the events around his shooting by Valerie Solanas (this ground was covered from a more feminist perspective in Femme Fatale).

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Sunday, August 29, 2021

‘Takes care to balance the comical & tragical with flair’: LOST IN LOVE – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Lost in Love is a new play presented by Flow Stage Productions. A brash and funny lady, Emily (Rachel Pryde) has something to tell about her life and the men in it.

SOURCE: at 05:00AM
Saturday, August 28, 2021

‘A strong performance in a play which will entertain film buffs’: Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) by Louise Penn

Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies (the title refers to a Davis quote of some years later about old age) references the women’s lot in the Golden Age of Hollywood – exploitative auditions, …

SOURCE: at 05:00AM
Friday, August 27, 2021

‘A good balance of humour & compassion’: TILL LOVE DO US PART – Edinburgh Fringe (Online review) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Till Love Do Us Part isn’t one of the flashiest productions on the digital fringe in terms of its technical style, but the writing carries it through.

SOURCE: at 09:00AM

All that Chat

Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre
Oct 17, 2021: Dana H. - Lyceum Theatre
Mar 28, 2022: Plaza Suite - Hudson Theatre
Apr 07, 2022: The Minutes - Studio 54
Apr 28, 2022: Macbeth - Lyceum Theatre