All stories by Louise Penn on BroadwayStars

Friday, March 25, 2022

‘A bottle & two men, but also much more’: THE RED – Original Theatre (Online show) by Louise Penn

A father and son meet in a wine cellar. The son is a recovering alcoholic, and his dad (a ghost, who left the son a nice bottle of red wine in his will) doesn’t seem to understand the harm…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Sunday, March 20, 2022

‘Perplexing but with enough intrigue to keep you wanting to know more’: GHOSTS OF THE TITANIC – Park Theatre by Louise Penn

Ghosts of the Titanic is set in the time following the disaster – near enough for it to be in the immediate memory, far enough for people to have moved on, hungry for other stories.

SOURCE: at 12:00PM
Thursday, March 17, 2022

‘Fizzes with energy from the moment the lights go down’: PASSION FRUIT – New Diorama Theatre by Louise Penn

We watch Romeo’s journey from the age of five (with his mum painting his nails) to eighteen, always knowing he was gay but dealing with the expectations of his peers as a young black man.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, March 9, 2022

‘An interesting piece of theatre that holds its meaning just out of reach’: THE FOREST – Hampstead Theatre by Louise Penn

Florian Zeller’s puzzles of the mind (The Father, The Mother, The Son, The Height of the Storm) continue to baffle audiences in his new play, The Forest, now in residence at Hampstead’s …

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Saturday, February 26, 2022

‘It’s flashy, frank & fabulous’: STEVE – Seven Dials Playhouse by Louise Penn

Steven (a demonstrative David Ames) is celebrating his 47th birthday at the Manhattan branch of Joe Allen’s, where posters from little-remembered shows line the walls.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Tuesday, February 22, 2022

‘A well-written & thoughtful piece, curiously understated at times’: TELL ME STRAIGHT – Chiswick Playhouse by Louise Penn

Paul Bradshaw stars in his own coming-of-age comedy drama as Him, a young gay man finding his way through casual romance in London. With George Greenland utilising a coat stand and ta…

SOURCE: at 09:00AM
Friday, February 18, 2022

‘This is no mere imitation or hagiography’: AN EVENING WITHOUT KATE BUSH – Soho Theatre by Louise Penn

I wouldn’t call myself a Kate Bush fan, one of the shoal of ‘fish people’ who revere her, yet her songs have soundtracked my formative years. So she’s always been there in spirit. …

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Friday, February 11, 2022

‘Treats its characters & subjects with respect & dignity’: RIOT ACT – Stream Theatre (Online review) by Louise Penn

Alexis Gregory’s one-man show is a passionate and engrossing piece of theatre, created and assembled from verbatim accounts from gay men who have encountered key points in queer history.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

‘A bit of Hollywood has come to Hammersmith’: AVA: THE SECRET CONVERSATIONS – Riverside Studios by Louise Penn

Inspired by Peter Evans’ biography, released after Ava Gardner’s death, Elizabeth McGovern stars as the actress in the last years of her life, living in London.

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Monday, February 7, 2022

‘Moments of beauty & a lot of unanswered questions’: THE WINSTON MACHINE – New Diorama Theatre by Louise Penn

Advertised as “an epic, intimate, family saga’, this new show from theatre company Kandinsky is certainly innovative in its approach. Devised by its three performers (Nathaniel Ch…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Friday, February 4, 2022

Watch out for: Spotlighting more of the lost shows of Vault Festival 2022 by Louise Penn

This is the second in a series highlighting shows and companies that should have played during at this year's cancelled Vault Festival and should have a future life elsewhere.

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Monday, January 31, 2022

‘A powerful & engrossing musical’: THRILL ME The Leopold & Loeb Story – Jermyn Street Theatre by Louise Penn

Matthew Parker’s revival of the popular off-Broadway musical based on the story of teenage murderers Nathan Leopold (1904-1971) and Richard Loeb (1905-1936) is now is residence at the tiny…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Sunday, January 30, 2022

Book review: Musicals, Marigolds & Me by Paul Nicholas by Louise Penn

“As the lead in the first London production of the censorship-smashing 1968 rock musical Hair, Paul, unlike many of his co-stars, did not reveal all. In a manner of speaking, he does now�…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Saturday, January 22, 2022

Watch out for: Spotlighting some of the lost shows of Vault Festival 2022 by Louise Penn

The recent news of the cancellation of the whole Vault Festival 2022 is undoubtedly a big blow to both fringe theatre performers and audiences. This post is the first in a series high…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
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…

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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

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards