All stories by Marianka Swain on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Legally Blonde, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a joyous Gen-Z musical makeover by Marianka Swain

Lucy Moss puts the 'camp' into campus with her riotous, inclusive revival The 2001 Reese Witherspoon-starring film Legally Blonde, upon which Heather Hatch, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benja…

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre review - spectacular escapism by Marianka Swain

Baz Luhrmann's jukebox fantasy is the perfect antidote to Covid gloom One of the many theatrical casualties of Omicron in December was the official UK opening of Moulin Rouge!, the stage ver…

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - twinkling spectacle with a sincere drama at its heart by Marianka Swain

The stage version of the beloved animation looks set to become a West End staple Let it snow! The Broadway musical adaptation of the Disney film behemoth Frozen premiered back in 2018 and no…

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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Three Kings, Old Vic: In Camera review - Andrew Scott vividly evokes generational pain by Marianka Swain

This new livestreamed monologue explores family and the burden of inheritance The world premiere of Stephen Beresford’s new hourlong play, livestreamed to home audiences in five performan…

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Sleepless, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre review - love from afar in this amiable musical by Marianka Swain

A standard screen-to-stage transfer, but hugely welcome post-lockdown Originally due to premiere back in March, Sleepless – a musical version of the winning 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle…

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Songs for a New World, The Other Palace Digital review - chimes with our extraordinary 'moment' by Marianka Swain

Jason Robert Brown's abstract musical offers resonant tales of the unexpected We’ve already had The Last Five Years in lockdown; now, we get a digital production of American composer Jason…

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hamilton, Disney+ review - puts us all in the room where it happened by Marianka Swain

Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical gets another shot on screen The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was meant to hit cinemas this summer, but, in response t…

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Last Five Years, The Other Palace Digital review - socially distanced heartbreak by Marianka Swain

Jason Robert Brown's chamber musical has new lockdown resonance A musical featuring two people who are physically separated? Jason Robert Brown’s work is a shutdown natural – as this new…

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Cats, The Shows Must Go On review - a purr-fectly theatrical experience by Marianka Swain

This filmed version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical captures its eccentric charms Cats is, declares composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, a show that doesn’t really have a story, but was beloved …

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Treasure Island, National Theatre at Home review - all aboard this thrilling adventure story by Marianka Swain

The remarkable Patsy Ferran anchors a creatively updated classic Swaggering pirates, X marks the spot, a chattering parrot, “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”? All present and correct. But …

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Drawing the Line, Hampstead Theatre online review - modern history becomes dark farce by Marianka Swain

Howard Brenton's play offers a lucid account of the Partition of India This week’s gem from the Hampstead’s vaults is Howard Brenton’s political drama from 2013, telling the extraordin…

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Jane Eyre, National Theatre at Home review - a fiery feminist adaptation by Marianka Swain

Sally Cookson's take on Brontë is innately theatrical and ferociously resonant The National Theatre’s online broadcasts got off to a storming start with One Man, Two Guvnors – watched b…

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Monday, March 23, 2020

I and You, Hampstead Theatre review - Now streaming online, this YA play is oddly pertinent by Marianka Swain

Head to Instagram for a 2018 production with plenty of 2020 shutdown wisdom The way that theatres and other arts institutions have leapt into action over the past week, providing a wealth of…

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sondheim at 90 Songs: 1 - 'I'm Still Here' by Marianka Swain

We're celebrating the great man's birthday with favourite numbers - mine's from 'Follies' Surely there’s never been a more apt time for Sondheim’s great cry of defiance? “I’m Still H…

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse review - an inspired actor-musician take on a cult classic by Marianka Swain

Jason Robert Brown's conceptual relationship musical gets an enriching new layer There’s concept on top of concept in this revival of Jason Robert Brown’s beloved 2001  musical, which c…

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre review - Moses musical goes big and broad by Marianka Swain

This mammoth stage adaptation is more splashy than spiritual The theatre gods rained down not fire and pestilence, but a 45-minute techincal delay on opening night of this substantially revi…

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Haystack, Hampstead Theatre review - a chilling surveillance state thriller by Marianka Swain

This flawed but trenchant new spy drama asks who's watching the watchers With counter-terrorism an urgent concern – and specifically how best to find, track and use the data of suspected t…

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Endgame/Rough for Theatre II, Old Vic review - Beckett played for laughs by Marianka Swain

Alan Cumming and Daniel Radcliffe lead a lively double bill “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.” Director Richard Jones has certainly taken Beckett’s words to heart in this vividly c…

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Faustus: That Damned Woman, Lyric Hammersmith review - gender swap yields muddled results by Marianka Swain

Chris Bush's retelling has feminist urgency, but lacks dramatic coherence Changing the gender of the title character “highlights the way in which women still operate in a world designed by…

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Rags: The Musical, Park Theatre review - a timely, if predictable, immigrant tale by Marianka Swain

Current events lend urgency to this historical work “Take our country back!” is the rallying cry of the self-identified “real” Americans gathered to protest the arrival of immigrants.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer, Hampstead Theatre review - it's game over for this chess play by Marianka Swain

The Cold War 'Match of the Century' fails to translate into compelling drama We’ve had Chess the musical; now, here’s Chess the play. Tom Morton-Smith, who has form wrestling recent hist…

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre review - this social outcast will steal your heart by Marianka Swain

A stirring new musical tackles missed connections in the internet age Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen is an instituti…

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre review - a lavish but old-fashioned revival by Marianka Swain

Everyone's favourite nanny returns, again It’s been 15 years since Cameron Mackintosh’s stage musical version of P. L. Travers’ Mary Poppins made its West End debut.

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ghost Quartet, Boulevard Theatre review - a beguiling journey into the beyond by Marianka Swain

Both mystical and alcoholic spirits infuse this wonderfully distinctive chamber musical London’s latest new theatre opens with an appropriately otherworldly Halloween offering: American co…

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Man in the White Suit, Wyndham's Theatre review - sparks but no combustion in this chemistry farce by Marianka Swain

An Ealing comedy film becomes an intermittently entertaining play A hit comedy about a textile scientist? It might sound unlikely, but Ealing Studios’ 1951 sci-fi satire, starring Alec Gui…

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Noises Off, Garrick Theatre review - sublime chaos in Michael Frayn's meta-farce by Marianka Swain

The West End once again hosts one of the best comedies ever written “Doors and sardines. Getting on, getting off. Getting the sardines on, getting the sardines off. That’s farce. That�…

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

What Girls Are Made Of, Soho Theatre review - euphoric gig-theatre by Marianka Swain

Cora Bissett recalls the highs and lows of being a teenage Britpop star It’s now Edinburgh Fringe transfer season in London, but here’s one they made earlier: Cora Bissett’s Fringe Fir…

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Preludes, Southwark Playhouse review - journeying into the mind of Rachmaninoff by Marianka Swain

Dave Malloy's innovative musical immerses us in a creative crisis Where does music come from? That’s the vital question posed to Sergei Rachmaninoff in Dave Malloy’s extraordinary 2015 c…

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Falsettos, The Other Palace review - affecting search for the new normal by Marianka Swain

This ambitious musical tackles the changing forms of family, romance and faith William Finn and James Lapine’s musical – which combines two linked one-acts, March of the Falsettos and Fa…

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Once on This Island, Southwark Playhouse review - folkloric Caribbean musical charms by Marianka Swain

Class, calypso and warring gods feature in this enthusiastic revival As British summer really kicks in (umbrellas at the ready), our thoughts might turn fondly to the sunny Caribbean. Good t…

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Evita, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a diva dictator for 2019 by Marianka Swain

Both literal and figurative fireworks in Jamie Lloyd's innovative musical revival Following a triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar, now playing at the Barbican, the Park works i…

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All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards