All stories by Matt Merritt on BroadwayStars

Sunday, January 21, 2018

‘Ria Jones gives a powerhouse performance’: SUNSET BOULEVARD – Touring ★★★★ by Matt Merritt

Ria Jones, so resplendent when she stepped into Norma’s shoes at the Coliseum in 2016 (we were lucky enough to be at one of those shows is once again in the title role and she gives a powe…

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

‘Consistently exquisite comic timing’: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG – Touring ★★★★ by Matt Merritt

It’s all too easy, as you enter the auditorium, to be sucked into The Play That Goes Wrong before it even begins. The cast, deep in character, intermingle with the audience to such effect …

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

CORIOLANUS – Barbican Theatre by Matt Merritt

Angus Jackson bookends the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome season, his traditional dress Julius Caesar having opened it he now caps it off with a modern set Coriolanus.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

KING LEAR – Chichester ★★★★★ by Matt Merritt

Ian McKellen immediately makes the intimate space his own, the dialogue almost conversational and his Lear a warm-hearted soul with a twinkle in his eye. This is surely as good as it gets, a…

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Friday, August 18, 2017

KING LEAR – Shakespeare’s Globe by Matt Merritt

It’s somehow fitting that the last Shakespeare of Emma Rice’s final (summer) season is King Lear. A play that shows us how the established world can change based on one rash decision wil…

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Monday, July 31, 2017

THE FERRYMAN – West End by Matt Merritt

Jez Butterworth and Sam Mendes are names pretty much guaranteed to make any theatregoing regular pay attention, both are synonymous with high quality productions (Butterworth’s Jerusalem r…

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

BLONDEL – Union Theatre by Matt Merritt

As a regular theatre goer I’m often asked by friends what plays and musicals I’d most like to see a production of… not the shows I just haven’t had a chance to catch but the ones tha…

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Friday, June 23, 2017

TOUCHED – Havant by Matt Merritt

Stephen Lowe’s Touched is a curious play… flat on the page, it comes alive on the stage! Lowe’s story of a trio of sisters, their friend and family and the curious time between VE day …

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Monday, June 12, 2017

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH – Chichester by Matt Merritt

There’s a reason it’s a lesser known play, all of the usual Tennessee Williams tropes are here; lust abounds, there are layers of manipulation and the sweltering south is almost a charac…

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

JULIUS CAESAR – Stratford by Matt Merritt

It’s an accepted cliché that, whatever the prevailing political mood there is a Shakespeare play that adequately reflects, comments on or holds a mirror up to it. Like all the best clich…

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

FORTY YEARS ON – Chichester by Matt Merritt

Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On is a curious play. His first outing as playwright (back in 1968) is charmingly eccentric, wonderfully witty and every bit a Bennett play. In fact it comes acr…

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Friday, March 31, 2017


Having read the book a few years ago, I was quite curious to see how Mark Haddon‘s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time would translate to the stage and Simon Stevens adaptati…

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

THE RED SHOES – Touring by Matt Merritt

It’s a rare thing, when you’re a regular theatregoer, to see something that is truly fresh and wonderfully new! Matthew Bourne seems to have knack for it though and his adaptation of The…

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Friday, February 10, 2017

BILLY ELLIOT – Touring by Matt Merritt

Built around the acclaimed film and with music by Elton John, Billy Elliott seemed destined for success but I’ll admit I was a little surprised to realise it had run for 11 years in London…

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

INTERVIEW: Spotlight On… RSC actor (& producer) Alex Waldmann by Matt Merritt

Alex Waldmann is a veteran of the RSC and of Shakespeare productions in general so it was fascinating to get his insight - he's also the founder of theatre company SEARED, whose premiere of …

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

THE TEMPEST – RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon by Matt Merritt

There’s no better way to kick the post-Christmas blues than an early January trip to the theatre, so this year we decided to go an extra step and head to Stratford upon Avon for a short br…

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year in Review: Matt Merritt’s top shows of 2016 by Matt Merritt

From Chichester to Charing Cross, the Globe, Southampton, Menier Chocolate Factory, the Union and the RSC - for those of you who’ve already read our roundup of our favourite performances f…

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

PETER PAN – Chichester by Matt Merritt

The stage is largely bare when we enter the auditorium, three dolls houses are dotted across the space with a large window filling the rear of the space. It’s a simple but effective way to…

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Year in Review: Matt Merritt’s performances of 2016 by Matt Merritt

2016 is nearly over and, despite not getting to see nearly as much theatre as we’d like at Sitting in the Cheap Seats, we’ve seen lots of performances that we will long remember. We coul…

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Friday, November 25, 2016

RELATIVELY SPEAKING – Touring by Matt Merritt

If you’re an Ayckbourn fan, there’s plenty to enjoy here, and if you’ve not seen his work before – well where better to start than at the beginning?

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

KING LEAR – RSC, Barbican Centre by Matt Merritt

For many actors Lear is the ultimate role, hence the proliferation of productions that appear every year. In 2016 alone we’ve had Timothy West, Don Warrington and Michael Pennington all po…

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS – Touring & West End by Matt Merritt

Kenneth Grahame’s story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and the irrepressible Toad have been a favourite of many for longer than they can remember – I grew up delighting in the stop-motion versio…

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

CYMBELINE – Barbican Centre (RSC) by Matt Merritt

I’ll confess to being unsure how well audiences would take to a play that – on the page at least – is a complete mess with no discernible central plot. Thankfully, director Melly Still…

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Friday, October 21, 2016

THE NORMAL HEART – Havant by Matt Merritt

Long before it became a mainstream subject Larry Kramer’s visceral, semi-autobiographical account of life within the New York gay community’s burgeoning activist organisations shed a lig…

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION – Touring by Matt Merritt

It must be daunting taking on characters so well known and trying to make them your own, especially when it comes to those from a movie as revered as The Shawshank Redemption. Thankfully thi…

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Love’s Labours Lost / Much Ado About Nothing – Chichester & West End by Matt Merritt

A couple of years ago the Royal Shakespeare Company paired Love’s Labours Lost with Much Ado About Nothing (renamed Love’s Labours Won) in a gorgeous setting amidst the Great War to much…

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Friday, September 30, 2016

THIS HOUSE – Chichester & West End by Matt Merritt

Political turmoil. It’s nothing new. And we are certainly reminded of that here! Set during the troubled Labour Government of the mid to late seventies, This House plays out, for the most …

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Monday, September 26, 2016

IMOGEN – Shakespeare’s Globe by Matt Merritt

So, retitled Imogen and set in modern London is the play really “reclaimed” as the publicity suggests? Well… no, not really. Cymbeline may be the title character but it’s always been…

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Friday, September 16, 2016

THE ALCHEMIST – RSC, Barbican Centre by Matt Merritt

The Alchemist, presented here with some script revision from Stephen Jeffreys is a riotous romp through Jacobean London!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

DOCTOR FAUSTUS – RSC, Barbican Centre by Matt Merritt

It’s a rare feeling to sit in the audience for a play and feel you truly don’t know what to expect – in the age of social media, it’s impossible not to have a good idea what to expec…

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NEWS: Angus Jackson helms Rome season for RSC in 2017 by Matt Merritt

Angus Jackson, who recently directed the sell-out RSC productions of Oppenheimer and Don Quixote, is director for the Rome season. He will direct the opening and closing plays of the 2017 sc…

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