All stories by Louise Penn on BroadwayStars

Monday, April 24, 2023

‘Not afraid to tackle taboo topics’: THEY CALL ME, “WOMAN!” – International Online Theatre Festival 2023 (Online show) ★★★★ by Louise Penn

“They Call Me, “Woman!’’ (written by Ayo Jaiyesimi and presented by Thespian Family Theatre & Productions, Nigeria) is a set of five monologues spotlighting some of the issues co…

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Friday, March 31, 2023

‘There’s gold here, but blink & you might miss it’: BERLUSCONI: A NEW MUSICAL – Southwark Playhouse by Louise Penn

“It’s not a f***ing musical. it’s an opera you c**t!” This statement, from the lips of Silvio Berlusconi as imagined in this uneven but technically inventive show packed with pulsati…

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Monday, March 27, 2023

‘Shiny, colourful & entertaining’: WINNIE THE POOH: THE MUSICAL – Riverside Studios ★★★★ by Louise Penn

Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, just off the Hammersmith Bridge, Pooh Bear goes on search of some ‘hunny’ and has a host of adventures with his friends in Winnie the Pooh: The Musical at …

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Friday, March 10, 2023

‘You expect conflict & get it. You expect banter & enjoy it’: SLEEPOVA – Bush Theatre ★★★★ by Louise Penn

This lively and vital new play, Sleepova, by Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, focuses on four Black teens as they approach their 16th birthdays. It balances the pull of parental pressure and trad…

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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

‘The technical side is amazing’: Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World – Birmingham by Louise Penn

Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World at Birmingham Rep may lack the satirical bite of the original series, but that could be because everyone is so unredeemingly awful without hav…

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Monday, February 20, 2023

‘Clever, funny, thoughtful & playful’: NO LIMITS – Turbine Theatre by Louise Penn

A quartet of performers brings to life the new song cycle by Sam Thomas, No Limits at the Turbine Theatre, which looks at friends, families, and relationships within a group of younger mille…

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Sunday, February 12, 2023

‘Intriguing & tightly written’: ALL BY MYSELF – Vault Festival by Louise Penn

The question All By Myself at the Vault Festival leaves you asking is would you still be curating your personal life for just one online click if it was the end of the world? Co-writers Char…

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Thursday, February 9, 2023

‘Never flags or becomes condescending’: THE TRIAL OF JOSIE K – Unicorn Theatre by Louise Penn

Based loosely on the Kafka play The Trial, the Unicorn Theatre’s production of The Trial of Josie K – now a 12-year-old girl played by Nkhanise Phiri – retains the surrealism of the or…

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Friday, February 3, 2023

‘I left rather impressed’: 2.22 A GHOST STORY – Lyric Theatre ★★★★ by Louise Penn

One of the London stage hits of the immediate post-pandemic period, 2.22 A Ghost Story opened with a big gala night in its new home. The big attraction on this occasion is the West End debut…

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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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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