All stories by John Chapman on BroadwayStars

Saturday, October 1, 2022

’An impression of these literary figures at the height of their powers’: STUMPED – Original Theatre (Online show) by John Chapman

Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett meet in a cricket pavilion and end up as trapped as some of the characters in their plays

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Friday, September 23, 2022

‘Experience it if you can’: ROSE – Park Theatre by John Chapman

September 2020 and the pandemic was quietly raging. So too was Maureen Lipman in Hope Mill Theatre’s online production of Martin Sherman’s intense monologue Rose; her performance was rou…

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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

‘Comic invented history which entertains & informs’: Three Women & Shakespeare’s Will / Mrs Pack (Online Show) by John Chapman

Three Women & Shakespeare’s Will comes from the pen of Joan Greening who has made something of a speciality of writing about historical figures connected to the arts, albeit in imagina…

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Friday, August 19, 2022

‘Out of the ordinary’: ODDS ON – Touring (Online Show) by John Chapman

So, it was with a sense of keen anticipation that I approached Dante Or Die’s latest piece entitled Odds On which is currently on a “digital tour”. It’s a piece about the world of on…

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Saturday, August 6, 2022

‘The show is a triumph for the creative & design team’: TOM, DICK & HARRY – Alexandra Palace Theatre by John Chapman

A real life adventure told with wit, flair and some stunning movement sequences

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Saturday, July 30, 2022

‘Above all it’s the puppetry which really gives the show its heart’: 101 DALMATIANS – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre by John Chapman

It’s third time lucky for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and 101 Dalmatians which is billed as a new musical. Given that it should have premiered two years ago – and then one year ago …

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

‘Has a vigour that is at times quite intoxicating’: FAVOUR – Bush Theatre by John Chapman

Ambreen Razia’s play Favour looks into the lives of a trio of women from the same family but of rather different generations. It does so with a vigour that is at times quite intoxicating a…

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Saturday, July 16, 2022

‘Thoroughly entertaining with a fine sense of comedy’: CARELESS – Touring by John Chapman

The Edinburgh Festival is not far away now and, as often happens at this time of year, there are a number of shows playing themselves in before transferring in a northerly direction for thei…

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Monday, July 11, 2022

‘Eminently watchable, but I wasn’t dazzled’: THE DANCE OF DEATH – Arcola Theatre by John Chapman

August Strindberg’s The Dance Of Death from 1900 has been credited with prefiguring the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter and most notably provided a template for Edward Albee’s Who’s …

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Saturday, July 9, 2022

‘A piece which will endure’: FOLK – Hampstead Theatre by John Chapman

Cultural appropriation doesn't just take place across different nations

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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

‘Know us by our courage, not by our fear’: VOICES FROM UKRAINE – Finborough Theatre (Online Show) by John Chapman

The second pair of plays from #FinboroughFrontier’s quartet of pieces #VoicesFromUkraine reflecting on the situation in the war torn nation is now available. They join the first couple to …

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Friday, June 24, 2022

‘There’s enough here to keep the listener enthralled’: THE MACHINE STOPS (Online Show) by John Chapman

In The Machine Stops E. M. Forster unusually abandons his general milieu of the genteel classes and takes a look at a supposed future – the theme of connection, however, is still very much…

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

‘Not an easy watch but it is a vital one’: GRENFELL – Tabernacle (Online Show) by John Chapman

Broadcast on the fifth anniversary, one cannot but conclude that Grenfell, Scenes From The Enquiry is a devastating critique of a system which put money before people and allowed a tragedy w…

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

‘A glorious romp’: TONY! [THE TONY BLAIR OPERA] – Park Theatre by John Chapman

Voted back into power three times, Tony Blair left office with the accusations of being a manipulative liar ringing in his ears – not that that has ever slowed down the current incumbent. …

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Monday, June 6, 2022

‘A reminder of unresolved issues’: KABUL GOES POP – Touring by John Chapman

Based on a true story Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan concentrates on the period in the early 2000s when the Taliban in Afghanistan had been pushed back following Western libera…

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

‘Certainly a powerfully realised piece of drama’: MISSION – The Big House by John Chapman

Certainly a powerfully realised piece of drama, Mission at The Big House is all defiantly obscure, though it clicks into place eventually, and you cannot help but admire the skill that goes …

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Sunday, May 29, 2022

’An engaging premise’: 100 PAINTINGS – The Hope Theatre by John Chapman

What do you do when the artistic muse has deserted you? Or when it has never really arrived?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

‘There’s a big rush of energy any time the quartet of actors enter the space’: THE DWARFS – White Bear Theatre by John Chapman

Harold Pinter’s The Dwarfs is a fascinating glimpse into the development of one of the major playwrights of the 20th century and this production does it full credit.

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Friday, May 6, 2022

’An interesting addition to the audio theatre scene’: FIZZY SHERBERT (Online Show) by John Chapman

All three of the short plays that feature in Fizzy Sherbet’s audio series centre on writer/performers who, not unnaturally, bring a depth of emotion to their own work.

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Saturday, April 23, 2022

‘Phoebe Marshall & Kieran Dee are a classy double act’: Jo & Sam Find Themselves In Woking – Hen & Chickens Theatre by John Chapman

I’m not sure whether I’ve actually been to Woking. It’s that sort of place – although how I’d know that if I’ve never actually been there, I really couldn’t say. I suppose it…

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

‘Sondheim’s songs are the saving grace of this rather purposeless musical’: ANYONE CAN WHISTLE – Southwark Playhouse by John Chapman

One of Sondheim's earliest works Anyone Can Whistle has just opened at Southwark Playhouse. Notoriously a flop back in 1964, many have tried but few have succeeded in reviving its fortunes.

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Friday, April 8, 2022

‘George Kemp is excellent as Joe Orton’: DIARY OF A SOMEBODY – Seven Dials Playhouse by John Chapman

Diary Of A Somebody is credited to John Lahr, though technically he might be said to be the arranger/editor. For the actual words are those of Joe Orton as recorded in a journal that he deci…

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Thursday, April 7, 2022

‘A real cheerer-upper of a show’: HMS PINAFORE – Wilton’s Music Hall by John Chapman

After a trying day (don’t ask), it was particularly pleasing therefore to unwind with Sasha Regan’s All-Male HMS Pinafore at Wilton’s Music Hall in the East End.

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Saturday, April 2, 2022

‘A gripping account with some knife-edge will-he-won’t-he moments’: THE RED – Original Theatre (Online show) by John Chapman

Having seen Marcus Brigstocke’s name attached to it, I instantly assumed this would be a broadly comic play that was strong on laughs and reasonably light on subject matter.

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Friday, March 18, 2022

‘Like visitors at a zoo, we watch intently as the family’s background is forensically examined’: THE ANIMAL KINGDOM – Hampstead Theatre by John Chapman

Animal behaviour but within a human framework. This is a powerful new play from Ruby Thomas at Hampstead Theatre.

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Saturday, February 12, 2022

‘A show that examines class quite candidly’: KIPPS – The New Half a Sixpence Musical (Online review) by John Chapman

Kipps – The New Half A Sixpence Musical is “new” in the sense that it’s an updated version of a musical first performed in the early 1960s to showcase the singing, dancing and banjo …

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

‘This ensemble piece is exceptionally well cast & full of energy’: EAST IS EAST – National Theatre At Home (Online review) by John Chapman

East Is East is a recent addition to National Theatre's At Home catalogue and only appeared as a live production back in October.

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

‘Ruth Wilson is strong casting in the central role’: HEDDA GABLER – National Theatre At Home (Online review) by John Chapman

Ruth Wilson is strong casting in the central role with a, for once, restrained Ivo van Hove directing.

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Monday, January 10, 2022

‘Relentlessly upbeat & cheerful to watch’: ANYTHING GOES (Online reviews) by John Chapman

Light as a souffle but such a delight. It’s doubtful whether there has ever been a classier bit of froth than this Cole Porter show.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

‘A modern fairy tale with attitude’: SHREK THE MUSICAL (Online review) by John Chapman

The Shrek franchise opts for a modern-day spin on the traditional form, undermining expectations and undercutting some of the more winsome aspects with one-liners and witty put-downs.

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

‘I would like to see how this audio drama would play out onstage: WINTER SOLSTICE – BBC Sounds (Online review) by John Chapman

The holidays have always been a time of rich pickings for dramatists, bringing together people (pre-Covid at least) who probably avoid each other for the rest of the year.

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