All stories by Johnny Fox on BroadwayStars

Friday, June 22, 2018

‘A mystery why tutors chose this spoof as a graduate showcase’: DAISY PULLS IT OFF – Charing Cross Theatre by Johnny Fox

With such an array of talent on offer, it’s a mystery why tutors chose as a graduate showcase this thinly-written early 80s spoof of 1920s girls’ school fiction long eclipsed by St Trini…

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

‘Eclipses any version of this story you may have seen before’: THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE – Donmar Warehouse by Johnny Fox

It’s a short run at the Donmar – take any available ticket, Polly Findlay’s splendidly-cast and nimbly directed production is a must-see. And let’s hope it has a longer life somewher…

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

‘The story just doesn’t come off the page: 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD – Touring ★★ by Johnny Fox

The ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US may be under strain at the moment but never was it stronger than in 84 Charing Cross Road, a warm-hearted rationing-era story of gnarly c…

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

‘It’s the best value show in town’: THE RINK – Southwark Playhouse ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

This is a very good production of a rather unmemorable musical. As stories about an argumentative mother and daughter go, The Rink is several farmboys short of the picnic that is Gypsy.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

‘I’m just not sure who this is aimed at’: TARTUFFE – West End ★★★ by Johnny Fox

Tartuffe was conceived in 1664 as a satire of the golden age of the court at Versailles, and in the clumsiest of updates, the excessive posturings of Louis XIV are replaced by allusions to D…

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

‘The timing couldn’t be better for the West End transfer’: CONSENT – West End ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

It’s been a bumper week for rape. Harvey Weinstein was indicted. Tommy Robinson was jailed for filming the accused in a grooming gang trial outside Leeds Crown Court. The world’s most du…

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Monday, May 28, 2018

‘Everyone is engaging, focused & talented with tremendous collective energy’: THE BIOGRAPH GIRL – Finborough Theatre by Johnny Fox

I find myself bemoaning weak material in The Biograph Girl while applauding excellent performances. In the cast of nine, everyone is engaging, focused and talented with tremendous collective…

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

‘This isn’t the gentle hymn to theatricality many children knew’: PETER PAN – Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park by Johnny Fox

The Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park finally has a summer pantomime in Peter Pan they can revive with minor tweaks and cast changes forever if they so desire.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

‘It’s a really fine performance from Anita Dobson’: 3WOMEN – Trafalgar Studios ★★★ by Johnny Fox

Walking into Trafalgar Studios and seeing such a realistically dated four-star hotel suite, I thought, ‘oh, good, Katy Brand is going to satirise everything about sixties’ drawing room c…

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

‘Almost as remarkable a song archivist as she is a song stylist’: Lorna Dallas – Live at Zédel ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

Lorna Dallas extensively celebrates Spring in 16 tightly themed numbers at Live at Zédel and proves almost as remarkable a song archivist as she is a song stylist.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

‘Collaborative, curious & leaves you with a glow’: UNEXPLODED ORDNANCES – Barbican Pit ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

It’s 59 minutes to Doomsday in Unexploded Ordnances, a new-one-on-me genre called ‘Forum Theatre’ where two celebrated lesbian actors recruit the 12 oldest audience members to be a cou…

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

‘There are some good laugh lines’: H. R. HAITCH – Union Theatre ★★ by Johnny Fox

Two groups are better impersonated on television than by theatre: the Royal Family, and East Enders. In H.R. Haitch they collide awkwardly in a royal wedding spoof musical with all the elega…

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Friday, May 4, 2018

‘A factory-produced moneymaker’: WAITRESS THE MUSICAL – US Tour ★★★ by Johnny Fox

The trouble with touring American musicals is… well, where do you start? First of all, they have to be de-skilled from the Broadway originals so that an associate director and a lower-cost…

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

ON BROADWAY: Dear Evan Hansen is ‘delivered with economy & class’ ★★★★★ by Johnny Fox

The unique selling feature of a $200-a-ticket Broadway musical which sets it apart from our homemade West End ones is often a vast stage filled with 40 hoofers and a dozen ginormous sets. Wh…

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

‘Delivered with style and class’: THE COUNTRY WIFE – Southwark Playhouse ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

I have history with The Country Wife. As a drama student I learned the role of Harcourt in 24 hours when illness devastated the cast at the Nuffield Theatre Lancaster. The reviewer from the …

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

‘Bernadette Robinson has an extraordinary voice’: SONGS FOR NOBODIES – Wilton’s Music Hall ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

Fearing ‘yet another’ one-woman show about Judy Garland, I almost missed out on Songs for Nobodies, but three things conspired to make it rather special.

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‘A format which has long passed its sell-by date’: A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN – Touring by Johnny Fox

Side by Side, Sondheim on Sondheim, A Spoonful of Sherman, a Shovelful of… Schwartz, Songs from the Shows, a somewhat unenchanted evening with – may the gods preserve us from compilatio…

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

‘May have redefined the gay writing genre for a new generation’: THE INHERITANCE – Young Vic ★★★★★ by Johnny Fox

It would be hard to imagine a play about young gay lives that speaks more eloquently to older gay men than the moving, informative and often hilarious The Inheritance at the Young Vic.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

‘When misguided concept meets slapdash production’: RUTHLESS! THE MUSICAL – Arts Theatre ★ by Johnny Fox

Ruthless! The Musical is a self-styled camp cult event in which the musical theatre genre, and several popular musicals, are spoofed. That they are ancient camp favourites such as Mame and G…

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Monday, March 26, 2018

‘Feeling trapped’: KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN – Menier Chocolate Factory ★★ by Johnny Fox

Has the Menier Chocolate Factory come to the end of the road? If you want to know how it feels to be trapped in some nightmare prison with no prospect of release, sit in the middle of a row …

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

‘Struggles to rise above the pastiche’: MISS NIGHTINGALE – Hippodrome by Johnny Fox

At the Hippodrome Casino, in an unusual move from cabaret to a six-week run of a staged musical, Matthew Bugg’s Miss Nightingale comes up for air for at least the third time after taking t…

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

‘It’s a classic’: BRIEF ENCOUNTER – Empire Cinema Haymarket ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

The interactive movie footage in Brief Encounter is well done, there are trains enough to satisfy the most diligent railway enthusiast, and the breaking waves motif is clever. Maybe it’s a…

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Monday, March 12, 2018

‘As a piece of vintage theatre, it may well be worth a look’: THE DOG BENEATH THE SKIN – Jermyn Street Theatre ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

The Dog Beneath the Skin is like nothing else you’ll see in London at the moment, and as a piece of vintage theatre, as well as vintage poetry, may well be worth a look.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

‘A good old-fashioned play about good old-fashioned politics’: THE BEST MAN – West End ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

A good old-fashioned play about good old-fashioned politics. Gore Vidal’s 1960 satire The Best Man is based around the Democratic convention where in reality JFK won his nomination.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

‘It’s the performances that drive this marvellous production’: FANNY & ALEXANDER – Old Vic Theatre ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

It may be better not to have seen the movie Fanny & Alexander. Coming to the stage version untainted you’ll have a stronger chance to enjoy an exuberant energy and ribald theatricalit…

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

‘Barrel-scraping wit’ – PIPPIN – Southwark Playhouse ★★★ by Johnny Fox

What shafts this production of Pippin royally in its fishnet and suspender-clad buttocks is its slavishly dated adherence to Fosse style costume and choreography as though no other interpret…

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Friday, March 2, 2018

‘A third dimension of pure class’: Harold & Maude – Charing Cross Theatre by Johnny Fox

This new stage version of Harold & Maude says more about modern attitudes to ageing, about feminism, migration and seizing opportunities than the current slew of angry Fringe diatribes.…

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

‘A random act of theatre’: A PRINCESS UNDONE – Park Theatre by Johnny Fox

Despite Felicity Dean’s fine glint-in-the-eye portrayal of both the camp and the stern Princess, there are no fresh insights in Richard Stirling’s script for A Princess Undone.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

‘Doesn’t quite know which way to turn’: FOUL PAGES – Hope Theatre ★★★ by Johnny Fox

If the conflicting obsessions of the characters and the murkiness of the plot in Foul Pages at the Hope Theatre were more brightly illuminated, this could be a sustained and hilarious evenin…

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Monday, February 12, 2018

‘Cold, comfortless farm’: GUNDOG – Royal Court Theatre ★★ by Johnny Fox

It’s conspicuously worthy to try to combine elements of poverty, migration, feminism, dysfunction and dementia but neither Simon Longman’s tedious time-skipping script nor Vicky Feathers…

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

‘An ever-cresting wave of invention’: CARMEN – Royal Opera House ★★★★ by Johnny Fox

The gilt and red velvet box of Covent Garden, the austerity of the set, the wit of the production and the clarity of the voiceover narration clash magnificently with the romantic music to ma…

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