All stories by Lesley Bates on BroadwayStars

Friday, December 20, 2019

Aladdin review at Anvil Arts, Basingstoke – ‘a gloriously soapy slop scene’ by Lesley Bates

Mess is missing from so many pantomimes these days, so it’s refreshing to see it in all its sudsy glory in Basingstoke.

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Tailor of Gloucester review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘Christmas treat for tots’ by Lesley Bates

This is the third collaboration by musical theatre veteran Glyn Kerslake and Wiltshire Creative artistic director Gareth Machin on a Christmas-themed show

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Dick Whittington review at Theatre Royal, Winchester – ‘sparkles from start to finish’ by Lesley Bates

No modern twists or star turns, few pyrotechnics, little by way of glitter and bling, but Fairy Bow Bells has sprinkled this

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Breaking the Code review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘Edward Bennett is tremendous as Alan Turing’ by Lesley Bates

Wiltshire Creative has become adept at programming timely revivals. Thus we have Hugh Whitemore’s 1986 play Breaking the Code in the year

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Relatively Speaking review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘immensely enjoyable’ by Lesley Bates

Sexual attitudes might have undergone massive changes in the 50-odd years since Alan Ayckbourn scored his first major hit with Relatively Speaking,

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Handbagged review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a timely revival’ by Lesley Bates

As the UK continues to navigate Brexit, a global spotlight focused relentlessly on the country’s second female prime minister, this revival of

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Dick Whittington review at the Mayflower, Southampton – ‘Bobby Davro’s star turn’ by Lesley Bates

London’s streets might be paved in gold, but this lavish Dick Whittington is worth its glittering weight in it. The Mayflower, celebrating

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs review at Anvil Arts, Basingstoke – ‘a pantomime of two halves’ by Lesley Bates

This Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is very much a pantomime of two halves. The first half is overlong with too many

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Beauty and the Beast review at Theatre Royal Winchester – ‘charmingly old-fashioned’ by Lesley Bates

Theatre Royal Winchester’s Beauty and the Beast might not have the most glittering sets or the greatest number of costume changes but

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Beauty and the Beast review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘handsome, female-led panto’ by Lesley Bates

This year, Salisbury Playhouse’s version of Beauty and the Beast kicks out traditional male hero, sidekick and villain. The Beast of the

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Thick as Thieves review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘brutal and heartbreaking’ by Lesley Bates

Clean Break is a theatre company committed to highlighting the injustices women experience in and beyond the criminal justice system. This co-production

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Her Naked Skin review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a timely revival’ by Lesley Bates

When Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Her Naked Skin premiered in 2008, it was the first play by a living female playwright to be staged

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Love on the Links review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a gleeful Wodehouse adaptation’ by Lesley Bates

Gosh, what larks were had at the 19th hole in PG Wodehouse’s golfing tales. Writers Jon Glover and Edward Taylor move the

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hansel review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘thoughtfully crafted’ by Lesley Bates

Shiona Morton’s play Hansel, which won last year’s Theatre Fest West, is a multi-faceted little gem, thoughtfully crafted, deeply absorbing, poignant and

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs review at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – ‘dazzling’ by Lesley Bates

Oh, the innocent fun to be had with a cucumber. Paul and Barry Elliott, aka children’s television favourites the Chuckle Brothers, have

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Peter Pan review at the Anvil, Basingstoke – ‘spectacular pyrotechnics’ by Lesley Bates

This is the 10th time that Gary Turner has donned the hook of Peter Pan’s arch nemesis for UK Productions and at

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Jack and the Beanstalk review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘staggeringly good’ by Lesley Bates

Salisbury Playhouse has created a dream panto team in writer Andrew Pollard, director Ryan McBryde and Richard Ede as Dame for this

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Betrayal review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a lack of chemistry’ by Lesley Bates

Harold Pinter’s claustrophobic 1978 three-hander, Betrayal, is one of his greatest works. A tangle of lies, deceit and middle-class philandering, it spools

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Before the Party review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a handsome revival’ by Lesley Bates

Awful families have always made for great theatre. The craven, social-climbing Skinners in W Somerset Maugham’s short story Before the Party are

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

As the Crow Flies review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘quirky and heart-warming’ by Lesley Bates

An unlikely friendship between an embittered  divorcee and an injured crow ends up as a healing process for them both in Hattie

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Worst Wedding Ever review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘raucous and appealing’ by Lesley Bates

A raucous comedy about a disastrous family wedding in a Dorset back garden was an unexpected choice for Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall’s

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Little of What You Fancy review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘warm, fuzzy and wonderfully sung’ by Lesley Bates

Salisbury Playhouse has taken a leaf out of Marie Lloyd’s songbook and is currently serving up A Little of What You Fancy

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Robin Hood review at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – ‘bold, brash and brassy’ by Lesley Bates

Big on spectacular lighting and visual effects, but short on plot, the Mayflower’s Robin Hood is essentially a star vehicle for Shane

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cinderella review at Theatre Royal Winchester – ‘vintage old-fashioned charm’ by Lesley Bates

Forget modern twists. Winchester Theatre Royal’s Cinderella is traditional, old-fashioned panto at its best. It even manages a principal boy of sorts

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Night Before Christmas review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘enchanting’ by Lesley Bates

Salisbury Playhouse is going all out to cater for every age range with this charming family musical, aimed at the tiniest tots

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Aladdin review at Salisbury Playhouse – ‘a first class dame’ by Lesley Bates

As a script writer and dame, Andrew Pollard’s panto pedigree is impressive. Aladdin is the fifth he’s penned for Salisbury Playhouse and

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Come Fly With Me , Salberg Studio, Salisbury Playhouse by Lesley Bates

Salberg Studio, Salisbury Playhouse: Glyn Kerslake seems to have taken root at Salisbury Playhouse with numerous appearances in main house shows and this, his fourth Christmas appearance, in…

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Mother Goose , Salisbury Playhouse by Lesley Bates

Salisbury Playhouse: Who knew that the fountain of youth bubbles beneath Stonehenge just a spit away from Salisbury Playhouse where Mother Goose is in residence this Christmas? Read the full…

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Snow Queen , Nuffield Theatre by Lesley Bates

Nuffield Theatre: Blue spangled icicles, frosty haze and glittering snow fill the stage of the Nuffield as it continues its tradition of producing alternative Christmas shows with a quirky n…

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Separate Tables , Salisbury Playhouse by Lesley Bates

Salisbury Playhouse: The second of Salisbury Playhouse's autumn season in-the-round productions is much more successful than the first, breathing fresh air into Rattigan's linked o…

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Monday, April 28, 2014

The Return of the Grumpy Old Women - Fifty Shades of Beige, City Hall, Salisbury by Lesley Bates

City Hall, Salisbury: I can't vouch for previous incarnations of Grumpy Old Women, of which there have been many in stage, television and book form, but the current tour strikes countle…

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