All stories by Louise Penn on BroadwayStars

Monday, January 30, 2023

‘Lively writing, physical comedy & audience interaction’: AROUND THE WORLD WITH NELLIE BLY – Vault Festival ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Nellie Bly (1864-1922, played by writer/performer Katie Overstall) is set for an adventure, and she doesn’t want to be stuck writing on her newspaper’s gossip column. Inspired by …

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Thursday, January 26, 2023

‘Exhilarating & exciting’: OTHELLO – Lyric Hammersmith ★★★★ by Louise Penn

This vibrant, vicious, violent, and vivacious two-hour adaptation by Scott Graham and Simon Hoggett for Frantic Assembly at the Lyric Hammersmith places Othello in a land of gangs, drugs, an…

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Friday, January 20, 2023

‘A sad tale given a new spin’: IPHIGENIA – Hope Theatre by Louise Penn

Ultimately, Iphigenia at the Hope Theatre is a fascinating piece which has lots of ideas about how women are treated, and where their choices lie, but it stops just short of being as emotion…

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

‘An ambitious debut production’: Dots & Dashes: A Bletchley Park Musical – The Space (Online review) by Louise Penn

In Dots and Dashes: A Bletchley Park Musical, which comes to London from the Edinburgh Fringe, the women of Bletchley Park are centre stage, clever mathematicians, linguists, and navigators …

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Thursday, January 12, 2023

‘Ratcliffe’s writing is strong, energetic & honest’: WRECKAGE – Turbine Theatre by Louise Penn

Wreckage, Tom Ratcliffe’s latest play to reach London (he also performs as Sam) is an ambitious and emotional powerhouse about love, loss, and regret at the Turbine Theatre.

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Saturday, January 7, 2023

‘A double whammy of wickedness’: A NIGHT AT THE MUSICALS: 90 YEARS OF DRAG – Soho Theatre ★★★★ by Louise Penn

With a setlist that covers different moods, a striptease, some audience participation, a fair sprinkling of upstaging, and a large dollop of nostalgia through a prism of parody, A Night At T…

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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

‘Entertaining & educational’: TALKING HANDS – Deafinitely Theatre (Online Review) ★★★★★ by Louise Penn

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Deafinitely Theatre, Talking Hands has been created in partnership with Paines Plough, allowing five deaf writers to share their stories of lockdown.

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Friday, December 9, 2022

‘Full of atmosphere, foreboding and storytelling’: WICKIES – Park Theatre by Louise Penn

It’s misty and cold in the Park Theatre’s main auditorium. An oppressive half-light frames the stage where the tale of the lost lighthouse keepers (the ‘wickies’) of Eilean Mor will …

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Saturday, December 3, 2022

‘Moves along at a cracking pace’: MOTHER GOOSE – Hackney Empire by Louise Penn

Mother Goose at the Hackney Empire moves along at a cracking pace. Even with a short salute to the 120 years of the Hackney(wood) Empire, Mother Goose is one of the best options available th…

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

‘Continues to sparkle’: THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW – Touring ★★★★★ by Louise Penn

The Rocky Horror Show started as a tiny fringe production upstairs at the Royal Court, nearly 50 years ago. Over time it has grown and developed, but still retains the connection with fans w…

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

‘Cleverly done & beautifully portrayed’: A SHERLOCK CAROL – Marylebone Theatre ★★★★ by Louise Penn

What happens when you cross A Christmas Carol with Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and add a murder mystery and a love interest (Rosie Armstrong) from the past? It’s…

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

‘The staging is inspired’: Love Goddess: The Rita Hayworth Musical – Cockpit Theatre by Louise Penn

Now with the addition of a further four cast members, Love Goddess at The Cockpit has become a full-length musical, in which the events in the former Margarita Carmen Cansino’s life play o…

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Sunday, November 6, 2022

‘Quiet, intimate & satisfying’: NOT NOW – Finborough Theatre ★★★★ by Louise Penn

In David Ireland’s charming two-hander Not Now at the Finborough Theatre his usual concern about the British-Irish question of identity remains, but without the explosions of violence char…

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Monday, October 31, 2022

‘Focus on grief & suicide in a startling & original way’: DADDY ISSUES – Seven Dials Playhouse by Louise Penn

Daddy Issues at the Seven Dials Playhouse a play which definitely adds to the conversation about mental health and what our parents pass on to us, but it didn’t quite get there in my opini…

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Monday, October 24, 2022

‘Each generation will find resonance in this play’: A SINGLE MAN – Park Theatre by Louise Penn

A day in the life of George, an Englishman living in America, in his fifties – a man alone following the death of his younger partner, Jim. A man of routine habits, but this is no routine …

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Thursday, October 20, 2022

‘Symbolic & powerful tale’: LIFE OF PI – Wyndham’s Theatre by Louise Penn

I shed a tear or two at the end of the symbolic and powerful tale that is Life is Pi at the Wyndham’s Theatre, which leaves the West End on 15 January 2023. If you can, take yourself along…

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Sunday, October 16, 2022

‘A 5-star triumph’: FAME WHORE – King’s Head Theatre by Louise Penn

The first of a double-bill I watched last night at the King’s Head Theatre Pub, Fame Whore (the creation of Tom Ratcliffe – writer/director, and Gigi Zahir – lyricist/performer) finall…

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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

‘Clever & committed show’: The Last Sales Conference of the Apocalypse – Waterloo East Theatre by Louise Penn

There’s a new musical from Skitzoid Productions in town at the Waterloo East Theatre, and it is one with a message – or to be accurate, several messages. We are all present at a sales co…

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Thursday, October 6, 2022

‘Truly ambitious piece of theatre’: DMITRY – Marylebone Theatre by Louise Penn

It takes a fair bit of courage to open a new London venue with a play about the honour of Russia given the current political situation; but that is what we have in Dmitry, currently playing …

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Friday, September 30, 2022

‘Exciting & challenging’: SCENE UNSEEN – English Touring Opera (Online show) by Louise Penn

Jessica Walker and Joseph Atkins bring a touch of cabaret to English Touring Opera in this intimate show, co-produced by Royal & Derngate, captured on film and directed by James Dacre wi…

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

‘Funny & deeply original’: THE PRINCE – Southwark Playhouse by Louise Penn

Abigail Thorn’s new play The Prince takes inspiration from Shakespeare and time travel to deliver a funny and deeply original take on gender norms and expectations.

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

‘There is a good play somewhere in here’: THE SNAIL HOUSE – Hampstead Theatre by Louise Penn

The set (by Tim Hatley) is absolutely beautiful in the much anticipated, new original play The Snail House from celebrated theatre director Richard Eyre, giving a sense of occasion and opule…

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Thursday, September 22, 2022

‘Dialogue whizzes back & forth like leather on willow’: STUMPED – Original Theatre (Online show) by Louise Penn

When in 1964 Samuel Beckett (Stephen Tompkinson) and Harold Pinter (Andrew Lancel) play in the same cricket match in the Cotswolds, you might expect something out of the ordinary. Filmed liv…

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

‘Read this as an absurdist fantasy & it makes more sense’: HELP! WE ARE STILL ALIVE – Seven Dials Playhouse ★★★ by Louise Penn

Finn (Elijah Ferreira) and Jass (Jade Johnson), who identify as queer, are the last two people left alive by circumstance after a suffocating fog in the charming one-act musical Help! We Are…

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Friday, September 9, 2022

‘There’s a fabulous new musical in town’: REHAB THE MUSICAL – Playground Theatre ★★★★ by Louise Penn

There’s a fabulous new musical in town at the Playground Theatre. Several years in the making, Rehab The Musical is written and composed by Grant Black (whose dad Don was in the house on p…

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

‘Exhilarating & frustrating’: MUSES – The Space (Online Show) by Louise Penn

Both exhilarating and frustrating, Muses brings something new and innovative to the theatre space. It’s often just beautiful, and sometimes bizarre. I’m interested to see what Puro Caos …

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Monday, August 29, 2022

‘Strong, character-driven piece’: The Brontës: A Musical – The Space (Online Show) by Louise Penn

An epic musical available on-demand from The Space, The Brontës is the latest depiction of the famed Yorkshire family of writers in the 19th century.

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Saturday, August 27, 2022

‘A fine evening’s entertainment’: THE OSMONDS – Touring by Louise Penn

In a world heavily populated with jukebox shows The Osmonds is more Jersey Boys or Sunny Afternoon than Tina or The Cher Show. A fine evening’s entertainment.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

‘Slightly disappointed when the play came to an end’: SOLD BY MAMA – Camden Fringe by Louise Penn

Dominique Izabella Little’s 40-minute show Sold By Mama comes to the Camden Fringe, playing at the Hen & Chickens Theatre. Prior to acting, Little worked as a docu-fiction filmmaker, a…

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Monday, August 22, 2022

‘Remarkable work’: JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER – Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Online Show) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Just An Ordinary Lawyer is one of two shows which Tayo Aluko and Friends have available both live and online on-demand at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, and this one focuses on Nigerian Tun…

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

‘The state of the climate & mental health are core concerns’: BOILING FROG – Camden Fringe (Online Show) by Louise Penn

Jo Emery Productions brings this show to the digital strand of Camden Fringe. Boiling Frog is a series of interconnecting monologues across 90 minutes.

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All that Chat

Nov 27, 2022: KPOP - Circle In The Square