Review: Gangsta Granny (Garrick Theatre)

© Mark Douet

SheSeesStars: ★★★★☆

Gangsta Granny, Birmingham Stage Company’s production of David Walliams’ bestselling children’s book, has arrived in the West End. Suitable for kids aged 5 and over, the show is a perfect antidote to cries of ‘Grannies are boring!’.

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Preview: Eurovision Song Contest 2017 (Semi-final 2)

EurovisionStageKiev2017So here we are again. I hope you’ve adequately recovered from the triumphs, trials and tribulations of the first semi-final. Personally I’m still getting over the loss of Finland (one of my favourites this year) and Montenegro (how on earth did Slavko – basically Eurovision in human form – not go through?!). But rather than dwelling on the sadnesses of semi-final 1 I’m reminding myself that we have Azerbaijani man-horse-stepladder to look forward to again on Saturday, along with lovely Salvador from Portugal. So it’s onwards to my preview of what to look out for during semi-final 2! Continue reading

Preview: Eurovision Song Contest 2017 (Semi-final 1)


Guys. GUYS. It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we willingly sit around the TV watching a baffling array of singers we’ve never heard of performing songs we’d never normally listen to, followed by several hours of voting during which endless countries lay bare their astonishingly bad taste in music, or their neighbourly affiliations, or their political hostilities… or all of the above. It’s Eurovision Song Contest time! And I for one could not be more excited! Continue reading

Predictions for the 2016 Oliviers

Oliviers2016This time last year, I was sipping champagne on the Royal Opera House outdoor terrace prior to perching (literally) on my high-chair seat to enjoy the 2015 Oliviers ceremony. This year, unfortunately, having not had the same privilege of being a panellist for the Awards, I am instead lounging on my sofa and have to wait, like the majority of the theatre-loving world, to watch the highlights on TV later tonight. However, a fellow 2015 panellist and I couldn’t quite resist the temptation to rustle up our own predictions for who will win this year’s Awards…

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A short piece in praise of musical theatre singers…

© X Factor
© X Factor

Since I’d like to maintain a modicum of credibility for this blog of mine, I probably shouldn’t publicly admit to watching the X Factor… but I do (when I’m not at the theatre on a Saturday night, obviously). Nobody’s perfect, after all. And it’s a couple of recent comments by new judge/mentor Nick Grimshaw that have inspired me to write this short post in praise of musical theatre singers.

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Review (ish): You Me Bum Bum Train (former Foyles bookshop, London)

SheSeesStars: ★★★★★

you-me-bum-bum-train-logoI’ve been aware of You Me Bum Bum Train since its first London incarnation in 2012, which was both wildly popular and totally impossible to get a ticket for. I somehow missed the news that the show was returning to London, but happened upon a tweet a couple of weeks ago saying the show was extending through November and was operating a ballot for tickets. Thinking ‘there’s no harm in trying’ but never for a minute imagining my name would be drawn (apparently 80,000 people tried to get tickets for the 2012 production), I entered my details and then pretty much forgot about it. That is until I received an email entitled ‘Congratulations’…

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Can theatre influence our vote?

Nobody living in the UK can have failed to notice that today is polling day in a General Election – a day that typically only comes round once every 5 years. One of the best things about polling day is the lack of media coverage of politics, providing a blissful few hours’ hiatus between the frantic campaigning in the run-up to the election and the now seemingly inevitable (and quite possibly equally frantic) rush to form a governing coalition in its aftermath. In an attempt to ruin that brief moment of peace, however, I thought I’d churn out a few thoughts on how theatre can contribute to the political debate – whether it has a valid role to play, and whether it might even be able to influence who we put our X next to in the polling booth.

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