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Shrek the Musical on UK tour

27 Mar 2015

Ogre fairytale goes from screen to stage

Quick changes are a part of life in the theatre, but anyone who has seen the first Shrek film will know that Fiona’s transformation from traditional beauty to green ogre is far from subtle. ‘It takes 90 seconds and it’s awful,’ laughs Faye Brooks…

Theatre review: Spamalot

17 Mar 20154 stars

Slick and highly effective musical comedy inspired by Monty Python

Spamalot likes to have it both ways – both mercilessly mocking the conventions of stage musicals, and also relying on them for its success. It’s the same with the show’s connections with its parent movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail; on the one hand…

Preview: Return to the Forbidden Planet

6 Feb 2015

Bob Carlton returns to direct 25th anniversary restaging of sci-fi, jukebox musical

As writer and director Bob Carlton remembers, the creation of Return to the Forbidden Planet was a gradual process. He was the artistic director of Bubble, ‘a fringe company for people who didn't usually see theatre.’ When the company added theatrical…

Christmas 2014: David Wood's musical The BFG set for Edinburgh shows

13 Nov 2014

'It's rude, fun, moving and totally bonkers'

Featuring Roald Dahl's lovable creation, The BFG (aka the Big Friendly Giant) is a family tale that never fails to delight audiences. And at Christmas time, it has become an alternative at many theatres for the traditional pantomime. With Dahl's winning…

Interview: Jeff Wayne discusses new and final tour of War of the Worlds

13 Nov 2014

'We have another challenge and a new life for my musical version'

For many years, Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds was merely one of the most ambitious albums that emerged from the already expansive 1970s progressive rock scene. Drawing musical comparisons with Pink Floyd for its use of technology and enthusiasm for…

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The best kids events – Oct / Nov 2014

22 Oct 2014

Including Charlie and Lola's Extremely New Play, The Voice Thief and Big Ears, Little Ears

Family Arts Day: The Big Draw Join the nationwide celebration of the pencil and get drawing at this event inspired by Roald Dahl’s book, The BFG. Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 17 Oct. Charlie And Lola’s Extremely New Play CBeebies…

Fall Girl

11 Sep 20143 stars

Pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering musical theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

How would you feel if you were being conned at every turn? It’s a question some Fringe audiences must ask themselves constantly. And it certainly seems to be the inexorable fate of Hayley in this spot of pleasant enough if not exactly earth-shattering…

The God That Comes

28 Aug 20144 stars

Classical cult cabaret from Canadian performer Hawksley Workman at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Hawksley Workman does not lack ambition. The God That Comes reworks Euripides' Bacchae as a one man show, with Workman playing both the vengeful god of wine and his regal victim. Performed as a song-cycle, Workman also plays drums, keyboards and guitar…

Milk Presents: Self Service

27 Aug 20143 stars

Clever experimental cabaret exploring queer identity at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Since the definition of 'queer' is contested (it tends to be a bucket for anything outside of the norm), a cabaret dedicated to explaining it is long overdue. The three performers, with added help from a musician and two audience members as compères…

Rachel Parris: Live in Vegas

20 Aug 20143 stars

Charismatic musical comedy show at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe lacks hilarity

It can be hard to strike the right note in musical comedy, but Rachel Parris is definitely in key as she returns to the Fringe with Live in Vegas. The premise of the show is a night of entertainment in a seedy hotel, with Parris playing an array of…

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The Addams Family: The Musical

19 Aug 20143 stars

Song and dance with a touch of gallows humour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The company have gone as big as they dare for this musical take on the ghoulish television show with an orchestra, chorus line and a two hour running time. The set changes and choreography are slick, which is no mean feat on a reduced stage space, and…


19 Aug 20143 stars

Dynamic musical theatre based on Japanese drinking celebration at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Named for the Japanese drinking celebration – essentially an end of year blow-out designed for blocking out the past year's woes, Bonenkai is an energetic display with a cast that doubles as a vigorous live band. With little plot, or character…

In The Surface Of A Bubble

18 Aug 20143 stars

Ambitious allegorical study into human motivation and creativity at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edward Day's play is nothing if not ambitious- an allegorical study into human motivation and creativity. In The Surface Of A Bubble weaves together Lecoq trained physical theatre, live music and puppetry with a dark, fragmentary structure. Michelle…


18 Aug 20143 stars

Fun musical absurdism in pieces by Livingstones Kabinet at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A disclaimer is displayed at the start of this show warns audience members not to attach any great depth or meaning to this performance. With that in mind, Denmark-based absurdists Livingstones Kabinet set the scene for a provocative hour of sound and…

Interview: Lior Kalfo of Voca People on how he survives the Edinburgh festivals

10 Aug 2014

Director of Voca People show talks about the highs and lows of August in the capital

Can you sum up your show in five words? Kalfo: Out-of-this-world musical experience For anyone still on the fence, what’s a surefire selling point? Kalfo: The best music this earth has to offer in an innovative comical-theatrical framework.

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The Factory

9 Aug 20143 stars

Fun musical theatre piece with an edge of social consciousness, staged at the Edinburgh Fringe

Presented here as part of the NZ at Edinburgh showcase season, this fun musical theatre piece hits the right note both in terms of its light-hearted musical tone and its packaging of a slice of New Zealand's social history, which is doubtless largely…

50 Shades! The Musical: The Original Parody

5 Aug 20144 stars

EL James' BDSM adventure gets a Day-Glo makeover at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Since the novel set the bar so low in terms of characterisation, plot and prose style, this parody of Fifty Shades easily captures its thin eroticism and pornography of consumerism. There's no doubt that the musical has been designed to appeal to fans…


5 Aug 20142 stars

Action to the Word's gothic musical Edinburgh Festival Fringe production is like Twilight meets Glee

Before we start laying into Action To The Word’s gothic musical adaptation, let it be known: there were just as many audience members offering standing ovations as there were sneaking out mid-show. To find out which side of the dividing line you’re on…

Siddhartha: The Musical

2 Aug 20144 stars

Incredibly enjoyable take on Hesse novel is both mesmerising and ridiculous

A Buddhist musical about spiritual enlightenment, with lasers, fireball projections, porn heels and pounding Euro beats? And it all began as a rehabilitation programme in a maximum security prison in Milan? It’s unlikely you’d imagine any of that, when…

The weird and wonderful musical theatre shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

30 Jul 2014

Shows including UCAS, Bonded by Blood, Jack and I and Nando's and Nandon'ts

We’re used to how ridiculous the Fringe can get. We’ve all accidentally ended up in a show with eighteen naked Australians throwing paint on a woman wearing a nappy. Still, serial killers, and chicken restaurants, getting the musical theatre treatment?

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New musical Sound to Sea set for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games programme

15 Jul 2014

Collaboration between Cryptic theatre company and the Royal Navy promises a unique show on the Clyde

Although the precise details of Sound to Sea have been guarded with an almost military secrecy, Cryptic’s entry for Glasgow 2014’s cultural programme promises a stunning fusion of music (from opera to rock), spectacle (aerialists All or Nothing will be…

Highlights of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival 2014

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Abdullah Ibrahim, Van Morrison Christian Scott and BadBadNotGood

Mandela Day Concert. Abdullah Ibrahim, the pianist formerly known as Dollar Brand, leads this special show in tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Approaching his 80th birthday, South African Ibrahim enjoyed a special link to the former ANC president…

Interview: Roger Rowley, star of Buddy - The Buddy Holly Musical

11 Jun 2014

'The first time I heard the song "Oh Boy!" was on the musical's website'

Familiar from grainy film footage and his polite interpretation of early rock'n'roll, Buddy Holly makes an unlikely subject for a jukebox musical. His short career, and reputation as the courteous man of rock, seems to lack the high drama of other, more…

Interview: puppet coach Nigel Plaskitt on the UK touring run of international megahit Avenue Q

22 May 2014

Puppets can 'make statements about subjects like racism and sexuality that are harder' for actors

Tony-winning international megahit Avenue Q arrives in Edinburgh with a huge reputation on its shoulders, not just for the awards it’s gathered and the Broadway and West End runs it’s accrued, but for the way book writer Jeff Whitty and composers Robert…

Let It Be

22 May 20143 stars

The Beatles jukebox musical is a perfunctory jaunt into the history of the Fab Four

While the dominance of jukebox musicals shows no sign of abating, Let It Be falls into the category of a show created for the people who would enjoy Mamma Mia but wish that it had less plot. It is more a history of the Beatles, told chronologically in…