All stories by Jonathan Baz on BroadwayStars

Saturday, May 19, 2018

‘An intense, well-written and tightly directed drama’: RED – West End ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

This is not Yasmin Reza’s Art, rather it’s an intense, well-written and tightly directed drama that in 90 minutes provides a rare insight into a man whose work seems baffling to the untu…

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Monday, May 14, 2018

INTERVIEW: Shuler Hensley – An outstanding actor who brings humanity to dysfunctionality’ by Jonathan Baz

Shuler Hensley is an American actor who, outside of the theatre world and especially the musical theatre world, is little known in the UK. Currently, he can be found in the Theatre Royal Bat…

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

‘This might have been a good thing’: NIGHTFALL – Bridge Theatre ★★ by Jonathan Baz

There was a 15-minute delay to the commencement of Nightfall on the occasion of this review, with an actor delayed on public transport. Sadly that delay was all too short, as what followed w…

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Monday, May 7, 2018

‘Tries to say so much, but ultimately says very little’: GROTTY – Bunker Theatre ★★ by Jonathan Baz

Grotty is a dark, grimy, and vivid exploration of the subcultures of London’s lesbian scene. The end result is a play about nothing in particular. Much like its lead character, Grotty trie…

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

‘Masterful modern drama’: THE WHALE – Bath ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

There’s a lot to process in The Whale, sometimes too much, but make no mistake – this is masterful modern drama.

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

‘An evening of stunning musical theatre’: CHESS – West End ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

If you can get (or afford) a ticket, go and see Chess, if only because the score is unlikely to be played quite so sumptuously ever again. The whole production makes for an evening of stunni…

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

‘Much of its satire proves to be deliciously enjoyable’: CHICAGO – West End ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Chicago remains fine Fosseian musical theatre. Strong story, stylish dance, and Kander and Ebb’s brilliant songs. Class, indeed.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

INTERVIEW: Josefina Gabrielle is loving the ‘pure entertainment’ of the West End’s Chicago by Jonathan Baz

With Chicago returning to London, I spoke with Josefina Gabrielle who, as Velma, is sharing the show’s leading credits, about the piece and her career.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

OFF BROADWAY: Catching up with an ‘ingenious take’ on Sweeney Todd ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Visiting New York offers a chance to catch up with the trans-Atlantic transfer of Bill Buckhurst’s ingenious take on Sweeney Todd, sited in a replica of Harrington’s eponymous Tooting pi…

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Friday, April 27, 2018

ON BROADWAY: ‘A heart-warming tale of simple humanity’ in HELLO, DOLLY! ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

The story of Hello, Dolly! may be froth and frolics, but underneath the razzle-dazzle of Jerry Herman’s songs and Michael Stewart’s book, there beats a heart-warming tale of simple human…

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

‘Strallen & Labey are what this show is all about’: STRICTLY BALLROOM THE MUSICAL — West End ★★★ by Jonathan Baz

The book and songs here may be dire, but the entertainment shines through in Strictly Ballroom’s dazzling dance. Drew McOnie choreographs the piece (he also directs, though thankfully with…

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

‘It was fabulous when it opened & it still is’: 42nd STREET – West End ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Revisiting 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – and it still remains the finest spectacle of dance to be found in the West End.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

‘A thing of beauty’: THE LAST SHIP – Touring ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

For the most part, Sting’s The Last Ship is a thing of beauty. The Geordie songwriter/pop megastar has penned a well-crafted salute to the shipbuilders of his native Newcastle Upon Tyne an…

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

ON BROADWAY: ‘a heartbreakingly beautiful interpretation’ of Carousel ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

This is a heartbreakingly beautiful interpretation of probably the darkest musical to have emerged from Broadway’s Golden Years but, and not unlike The Starkeeper himself, Jack O’Brien h…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

‘A timeless link to a beautiful history’: THE WIZARD OF OZ – London Palladium ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Judy Garland et al may be captured, beautifully, in that flickering light beam and one may know the movie thoroughly, but Gabriele truly takes this score of The Wizard of Oz over the rainbow.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

‘Enough moments here to make for a mildly entertaining evening’: TWANG!! – Union Theatre ★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Julian Woolford has scattered references to other famous musicals throughout his rewrite of Twang!! and West End Wendies in the audience will enjoy playing spot-the-show in the throwaway ref…

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Monday, April 16, 2018

‘A highly enjoyable evening’: I WISH MY LIFE WERE LIKE A MUSICAL – Live at Zedel ★★★ by Jonathan Baz

From the opening number which promises so much, through to the second half that might feel as though it is dragging on just a bit too long, the audience’s plight is fully acknowledged in t…

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

‘The Radio 2 audience are unlikely to be disappointed’: An evening with Jason Robert Brown – London Palladium ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

A packed Palladium saw Jason Robert Brown, supported by the lush BBC Concert Orchestra and the composer’s own rhythm section record a Friday Night Is Music Night show for future broadcast.…

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

‘Ria Jones’ Norma Desmond has to be one of the finest musical creations of the decade’: SUNSET BOULEVARD – Touring ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

A packed house at the New Wimbledon Theatre rose as one to salute Ria Jones’ bow at the close of Sunset Boulevard and with good reason. Jones remains magnificent, her definitive, decaying …

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

‘An unmissably beautiful piece of theatre’: PRESSURE – Park Theatre ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

First seen in Edinburgh and Chichester in 2014, David Haig’s acclaimed Pressure finally arrives at London’s Park Theatre where it runs for a month or so before heading into the West End …

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

‘A fun night at the theatre’: RUTHLESS! THE MUSICAL – Arts Theatre ★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Ruthless! The Musical has been impressively cast, with a company whose voices and performances are well suited to the style. The musical will be best savoured with a large gin alongside a g…

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Friday, March 23, 2018

‘Sondheim’s music is played superbly’: ASSASSINS – Pleasance Theatre ★★ by Jonathan Baz

Jordan Clarke’s band for Assassins is outstanding, and the two stars awarded by this review are for his quintet. See this show if you enjoy listening to Sondheim’s music played superbly.…

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

‘All in all a bloody, good, Macbeth’: MACBETH – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

An imaginatively staged take on The Scottish Play which, in its leading roles, is stunningly performed. All in all a bloody, good, Macbeth.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

‘Horror is a tricky genre’: LOCK & KEY – Vault Festival ★★ by Jonathan Baz

If a successful future is to be unlocked for Lock and Key then much work is needed on its book. The show is crying out for credible characters who engage in plausible human interaction, and …

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Monday, March 19, 2018

‘A performance of understated excellence’: JANIE DEE – Live At Zedel ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Janie Dee’s brief residency at Live At Zedel was a chance to glimpse a performance of understated excellence. A two-time Olivier winner – and just nominated for a third – Dee drew her …

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

‘Brilliant, devastating theatre’: Old Fools – Southwark Playhouse ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Old Fools is brilliant, devastating theatre, marking Tristan Bernays out as an outstanding talent amongst his generation. It deserves a life beyond this stunning premiere – until then, it …

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

‘Kinnear makes the classic soliloquies his own’: MACBETH – National Theatre ★★★ by Jonathan Baz

The politics may be clumsy but the acting is beautiful at the National Theatre. Make no mistake, Rory Kinnear is a magnificent Macbeth.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

‘A bold and daring interpretation’: HAMLET – Hackney Empire ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Paapa Essiedu’s Hamlet is likely to be remembered and talked about in years to come and Simon Godwin’s production is a beautifully accessible performance of a perfect play.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

‘Unmissable musical theatre’: PIPPIN – Southwark Playhouse ★★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

This Pippin is one of those productions rarely seen on the fringe. It captures the sparkle of Broadway, transporting it to south London in a whirl of unmissable musical theatre.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

‘A polished gem’: A NIGHT AT THE OSCARS – Upstairs at the Gatehouse ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

Carefully curated by Chris Burgess, and starring Kieran Brown, Steven Dalziel, Natalie Green and Laura Sillett, A Night At The Oscars is a charming production of a delightful idea.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

‘Hopeful, joyous and hilarious’: Harold & Maude – Charing Cross Theatre ★★★★ by Jonathan Baz

When told well, coming of age stories are very often a reminder of the fragility and beauty of life, inspiring a carpe diem attitude tempered with immense gratitude. That the ‘Harold and M…

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