Benet Catty Productions
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Jul 17, 2017 » The Wind in the Willows (WE 2017)
So much of what makes musicals work is alchemy. The right collaborators, the right motives, the right theatre, the right time. That's why so many shows with great strengths are undone by their more dominant weaknesses. So the brilliance of Andrew Lloyd Webber's score for Love Never Dies was concealed by problems with the book.... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Jun 19, 2017 » 42nd Street (WE 2017)
Fans of dance are supremely well served by the London theatre scene this year. There have been two big openings in two huge theatres of two major dance-dominated musicals from Broadway. An American in Paris (which I reviewed here in May) is the classiest show in London, a ballet every bit as much as it's... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

May 17, 2017 » Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (WE 2017)
If the title of this fast, funny, relentless energetic show seems off-putting it shouldn't. It has just won the Olivier award for Best New Comedy. It's written by Lee Hall, the writer of Billy Elliot and The Pitmen Painters - my votes for, respectively, the best British musical and the best play of the last... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Apr 17, 2017 » An American in Paris (WE 2017)
I sometimes complain in these pages about musicals that have been over-praised by the London critics - the execrable School of Rock and the middle-of-the-road The Girls being two recent examples. An American in Paris has so far had twenty-one five-star reviews. You'll get no argument from me on this one. Having recently concluded its... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Feb 24, 2017 » The Girls (WE 2017)
First there was the 2003 film. Then there was the 2008 stage play. Now the story of Calendar Girls gets a third incarnation as a musical. It can only be a matter of time before we see Calendar Girls On Ice. With a script by Tim Firth and music by Gary Barlow of Take That,... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Feb 17, 2017 » The Glass Menagerie (WE 2017)
"I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion" says Tom in the opening moments of The Glass Menagerie. Seven decades on from the play's 1944 debut we now know how true this is. Tom was Tennessee Williams' real first name; the play is about him, his mother and his sister: the first of... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Jan 13, 2017 » Art (WE 2016)
Art is the best play currently running in London. When Yasmina Reza's 90-minute black comedy first opened in London twenty years ago it was a sensational and long running hit. The first cast of Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott was replaced at regular intervals by major actors, American stars and TV comedians all doing... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Nov 28, 2016 » School of Rock (WE 2016)
Few people have been more supportive of Andrew Lloyd Webber over the course of their theatre-going life than me. The show that gave me the theatre bug was Joseph... starring Jason Donovan in 1991. Any list of masterpiece musicals that does not include Jesus Christ Superstar or Evita is a flawed list. Cats and Starlight... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Nov 20, 2016 » Half a Sixpence (WE 2016)
Half a Sixpence is a total pleasure. Warm hearted, witty, romantic, touching, beautifully acted and sung and brilliantly danced. There's nothing not to like. It is the best musical of 2016. In many ways this should hold no surprise. The original was a big hit for Tommy Steele in 1963. This revival has already been acclaimed... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Oct 9, 2016 » The Phantom of the Opera - 30th Birthday (WE 2016)
Three of the monolithic musicals of the 1980s have reached major anniversaries in recent times. Two years ago, Miss Saigon reached its 25th birthday, which it celebrated with a special performance of its revival that has now been broadcast in cinemas and is available on DVD. Last year (and reviewed here) Les Miserables celebrated its... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 26, 2016 » Groundhog Day (WE 2016)
At last!

The last couple of years have not been good to fans of big new shows. West End musical offerings have either been not-very-good (Made in Dagenham), or jukeboxes (Beautiful), or revivals (Funny Girl). All had merits; few gave value for money. The only good new musicals that have actually been \"new\"... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 5, 2016 » Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (WE 2016)
It was clear as soon as Harry Potter's teleportation to the West End stage was announced that the resulting two-part five-hour marathon would be critic proof. Even if it was a stinker it would run for years such is the all-conquering love for the character and the seven-book eight-film story about the Hogwarts wizard. The... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Apr 28, 2016 » Showboat (WE 2016)
Lots of musicals can lay claim to being landmarks. Cats invented the British dance musical. Hair brought rock music into the theatre. Porgy and Bess blurred the boundaries of theatre and opera. But many fewer can lay claim to creating the art form as we know it.

Oklahoma! was famously the first to... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Mar 29, 2016 » Mary Poppins (Tour, 2016)
The musical theatre has always relied on adaptations and where once novels were the most typical inspiration, films have become the go-to source for the non-jukebox musical adaptation. Often this seems to be less to do with the inspiration of the adaptors than the commercial appeal of the original. Mary Poppins, though, is a hybrid... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Feb 17, 2016 » Funny Girl (WE 2016)
The Menier Chocolate Factory has been punching above its weight in the London theatre scene for over ten years. Holding less than 200 seats, it has transferred productions to the West End repeatedly, from Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music and Merrily We Roll Along to the current Bacharach songbook... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Feb 1, 2016 » The Father (WE 2016)
Returning for a short London run and a tour, The Father holds the dual distinction of being not only the most critically-praised new play in London this decade but also one of the least likely commercial hits.

A play about an old man gradually descending into dementia and the effect this has on... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Jan 5, 2016 » wonder.land (WE 2016)
2016 was the worst year for new musicals in London this century. So many promising nights out proved to be disappointments or out-and-out turkeys. My hopes for the National Theatre's contemporary take on Lewis Carroll, WONDER.LAND (pronounced wonder-dot-land) were as low as a rabbit hole. I am one of the few people of my generation... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Dec 10, 2015 » London Mime Festival (OWE)
If there were a vote for the nation's least happy month, January would surely be the favourite. Christmas is over, 12 months of work looms, no holidays for months, dark nights... No wonder more relationships split up in January than any other month. And no wonder that ticket deals for London shows are so plentiful.... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Oct 26, 2015 » Les Miserables (WE 2015)
The 1980s was a great time for British musicals. Not one, not two, but five musicals opened in that decade that looked like they'd run forever and played all over the world. Cats (1981), Starlight Express (1984), Les Miserables (1985), The Phantom of the Opera (1986) and Miss Saigon (1989) reclaimed the mantle of the... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 14, 2015 » Photograph 51 (WE 2015)
The last time Nicole Kidman appeared on stage it was a hot ticket in more ways than one. Her performance in The Blue Room - David Hare\\\'s adaptation of the sexual merry-go-round play La Ronde - inspired Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph to describe it as \\\"pure theatrical Viagra\\\", perhaps the most infamous line... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 14, 2015 » Kinky Boots (WE 2015)
The Broadway critic Brooks Atkinson said that the \"large, loud, lavish, vulgar musical show\" was the great American contribution to world theatre. All of these adjectives apply to this autumn\'s major Broadway import, Kinky Boots; and in ascending order. It\'s the kind of show that makes Mamma Mia! look like Peer Gynt and has a... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Jul 16, 2015 » The Mentalists (WE 2015)
This is the worst show in London. Richard Bean's comedy was written years before One Man Two Guv'nors made his name. It is a limp and leaden two hours that might amuse at the Edinburgh Festival but is ill-suited to a 1,000-seat West End theatre. Stephen Merchant, for all his earnest appeal, is no actor and... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

May 20, 2015 » Hay Fever (WE, 2015)
Some plays are constantly in a state of revival in London. Last year saw a poor production of David Mamet's brilliant comedy Speed-the-Plow, the third revival of that play in fifteen years. The recent storming West End triumph of A View from the Bridge was that great classic's fourth in twenty years. Pinter's Betrayal returns... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Mar 10, 2015 » Beautiful - The Carole King Story (WE, 2015)
There has always been a trickle of cheap and cheerful 'here's a load of songs you already have on CD' musicals running in London, whether it was Buddy (which ran ten years) or Smokey Joe's Cafe (based on Leiber and Stoller) or Five Guys Named Moe (using Louis Armstrong) - the latter remaining the most... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Jan 18, 2015 » Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (WE, 2015)
There was much to get the pulse racing with the news that this Broadway musical was to be the first major London opening of the year. It's based on a Pedro Almodovar film so it's going to be smart. It's written by David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane so it's going to be funny. (They brought... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Nov 14, 2014 » La Soiree (OWE, 2014)
It's a paradox that despite being Europe's cultural capital, there can sometimes appear to be a lack of straight-forward "Entertainment" to be found in London. What do you do if you don't fancy the theatre but do want something live; if you want something escapist but not childish; or spectacular but not touristy?
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Aug 13, 2014 » Dogfight (OWE, 2014)
It's a regrettable axiom of the musical theatre that big hits spawn pale copies which imitate the style but miss the substance. Les Miserables inspired (if that is the word) Napoleon and La Cava. Mamma Mia inflicted Tonight's the Night on us. And now Spring Awakening, one of the musicals of the century, has... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Feb 28, 2014 » Kevin Spacey & The Old Vic
Kevin Spacey's time at the Old Vic has been a mixed blessing artistically but a big hit culturally. The high-point of Matthew Warchus' production of the Norman Conquests trilogy was counter-balanced by the infamous Complicity in which Richard Dreyfus had to wear an earpiece to have his lines fed to him. Spacey's own performances in... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Nov 5, 2013 » Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - London (WE) 2013
Nobody could claim an absence of range in this year's new musical offerings. We have Irish romance (Once); fairy tale (The Light Princess); the Profumo Affair (Stephen Ward), World War Two (From Here to Eternity) and, sadly now closed, The Colour Purple.



As sometimes happens, the one sure-fire great night out... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Oct 15, 2013 » Bare - London (OWE) 2013
Rock musicals are high risk/high reward propositions. Rock music is about bombast, drama is about subtlety and so the two forms rarely blend successfully. The ones that do - The Who's Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Spring Awakening'' - are those which address and accommodate this contradiction of styles.

Bare, the cult American pop opera... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 26, 2013 » Scenes from a Marriage - London (OWE) 2013
"I live a good life, I like my life" one character tells another in the opening moments of Trevor Nunn's stage version of Ingmar Bergman's film. It's pretty clear that things aren't going to stay that way for long.





Any play about marriage or relationship problems is likely to resonate... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 24, 2013 » Roots - London (WE) 2013
At a time when the West End is saturated with compilation musicals and television-pace plays, it isn't hard to see why Arnold Wesker has fallen out of fashion in this country. While Chips with Everything, The Kitchen and many of his more recent plays have been continuously produced across Europe, Wesker, like Howard Barker, has... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Jun 6, 2013 » Once - London (WE) 2013
If 2008 was the year of the credit crunch, 2012 was the year of the musical mush. Following a year that included triumphant and acclaimed new musicals (MATILDA, GHOST, BETTY BLUE EYES, LONDON ROAD), last year gave us a motley collection. Things are looking up for 2013, though. Fans of the blockbuster and the big... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

May 5, 2013 » Book of Mormon - London (WE) 2013
The theatre is usually a place for opinions rather than facts but this year there is one theatrical fact that cannot be disputed: The Book of Mormon is a huge hit. Matt Stone and Trey Parker's musical comedy, written with Avenue Q's Robert Lopez, has been propelled across the Atlantic by laughter, awards, and the... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Feb 10, 2013 » John Buchan Feature Article 2013
It's the curse of the novelist that when their greatest work becomes a popular stage show their name becomes subtly detached from it in the public mind. Les Miserables is Cameron Mackintosh's triumph more than Victor Hugo's; An Inspector Calls' long-run is down to Stephen Daldry as much as JB Priestley. And God doesn't get... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Nov 28, 2012 » Boy Meets Boy - London (OWE) 2012
“Love is strictly for laughs” we’re told, and there’s no shortage of either in this lavishly mounted production of a forty year old show set forty years earlier. It’s a mystery why this funny, charming, tuneful musical is not better known. With music that channels the spirit of Irving Berlin and Noel Coward and lyrics... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 20, 2012 » Zelda - London (WE) 2012
"They tell you you're a schitzo and they give you certain privileges." Zelda Fitzgerald is brought to life in this beautifully crafted, exceptionally well acted monologue based on her writings before and after her marriage to "the most talented man in America" F Scott Fitzgerald.

First seen in Edinburgh, but deserving a life... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 13, 2012 » Hedda Gabler - London (WE) 2012
Hedda Gabler is the sort of play one felt obliged to see as a sixth former. The kind of thing ones parents and grandparents say is a “classic” – static, endless, unfunny. Think again. As directed by Anna Mackmin – one of the least well-known but most consistent British female directors – and performed by... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Sep 4, 2012 » The Bodyguard - London (WE) 2013
First thing’s first. The Bodyguard is, by a substantial margin, the best new musical of the year.

In what has been a pitifully poor year for musicals, and only a month before a spring crowded with major new shows, The Bodyguard, based on (or, rather, reincarnating) the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston film of 20... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 22, 2012 » Bereavement The Musical - Edinburgh 2012
If life is a cabaret then so is death, claims this handsomely presented Cambridge University song cycle. I'll buy that. Unfortunately, it's really more of a sketch show with a theme, and like most sketch shows it is hit and miss. Impressive production values can't quite disguise the limits of the material.

At its... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 21, 2012 » Reanimator The Musical - Edinburgh 2012
Fans of headless, operatic corpses attempting to perform cunnilingus on the half-naked daughter of a zombie played by George Wendt need look no further than this extravagantly ridiculous musical by Stuart Gordon and Mark Nutter -- a brilliant, late-night guilty pleasure of a show.

This extraordinary 90 minutes begins with screaming, then has someone's... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 21, 2012 » Virginia Ironside Growing Old Disgracefully - Edinburgh 2012
Unless you are offended by the words "blow job" or "bottom" then there is nothing disgraceful to be found in this soothing hour with the long-standing agony aunt. "Is there anyone young here?" she asks at the beginning. It's a reasonable question, as she pitches her show entirely at the Freedom Pass generation, even if... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 17, 2012 » Desperately Seeking the Exit - Edinburgh 2012
Low Down

There’s an old musical theatre joke that if Hitler were alive today his punishment should be to send him out on the road with a musical in trouble. Perhaps Peter Michael Marino was goose-stepping in a former life. All was plain sailing on his idea of adapting the 1980s Madonna film... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 16, 2012 » Educating Ronnie - Edinburgh 2012
Ten years ago Joe Douglas travelled to Uganda where he met Ronnie. Once home, their friendship developed by email and text message. Ronnie asked Joe to pay £20 a month for his education. Douglas, only a student himself, agreed. Over the years that followed he would give Ronnie substantially more. “What are we thinking?” Joe... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 16, 2012 » Clinton The Musical - Edinburgh 2012
Low Down There aren’t many contemporary political musicals out there. There’s The Fix and that’s about it. So it takes considerable pluck for writers Paul and Michael Hodge to write a musical charting the rise of the man whose political legacy was substantial but who is perhaps better remembered for the stain on his character... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 99

Aug 15, 2012 » Glasvegas The Original 1977 Musical - Edinburgh 2012
Eccentric, cartoony and warm-hearted, this retro musical comedy is a bizarre blend of Jersey Boys' plot, Grease-style melodies and end of term lark. The appealing comedy duo act so hyper that there were points where we seemed to be at a Phil Cool convention. It’s like Father Ted performed by The Proclaimers. Three not very likely... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 15, 2012 » Bitch Boxer - Edinburgh 2012
Low Down Charlotte Josephine’s thrilling and moving monologue about a young female boxer training to compete for the London Olympics is a dynamic exploration of the fighting spirit, the mirroring of life and sport and the character’s relationships with the mother she doesn’t like and the father who recently died. With skill and understatement, a... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 15, 2012 » The Ash Girl - Edinburgh 2012
You can’t knock the ambition of Pulse’s devised production of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Ash Girl, a bizarre but occasionally touching re-incarnation of the Cinderella story with dreamscape, Freudian angst and the seven deadly sins added to the mix. Although not quite sustaining its runtime, one’s eyes and ears are constantly engaged and frequently delighted by... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

May 14, 2012 » Starlight Express - Tour 2012
Fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber often have difficulty defending Starlight Express, his roller-skating juggernaut which ran for 18 years. But, for many people in their 20s and 30s, Starlight was an entry visa to live theatre, coaxed by the spectacle and pop music which was then so rare in popular theatre (but which is now... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Feb 29, 2012 » Boy in a Dress - London (OWE) 2012
“You can take those fragments and make a crown.” So says La JohnJoseph, who writes and performs this two-hour autobiographical show. You’ve got to admire someone baring their soul on stage and describing the travails of his life with both his sanity and his high heels intact. Like our hero himself, however, Boy in a... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Feb 1, 2012 » Midnight Tango - London (WE) 2012
There has been a creditable tradition of dance triumphing in West End houses for commercial runs. Cats put dance as the chief story-telling mechanism of a British musical. More recently, Kate Prince’s sensational Into the Hoods and more recently Some Like It Hip-Hop have brought street dance to the service of classic stories. In the decades... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 17, 2011 » Cigarettes and Chocolate - Edinburgh 2011
Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella’s delicate 1988 radio play gets a niftily directed, neatly acted stage outing from Reading University. Gemma has stopped speaking. Her anxious husband Rob and various of her friends all try to talk to her, including the friend who’s in love with her and another who’s been having an affair with the husband. None get... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 16, 2011 » Debris - Edinburgh 2011
This is a play about the kind of people one hopes never to have to spend too much time with. Michael (Will Hughes), who stares at us intently as we take our seats (I could have done without that), finds a baby in a rubbish heap and names him Debris (“sounds French, girls get into posh... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 16, 2011 » Commencement - Edinburgh 2011
Low Down Well, this is a weird one. A bunch of American schoolgirls from St Mallory Academy decide to try and do their bit for humanity by kidnapping the CEO of a multi-national company with a bad environmental track record. He’s locked in a box around which the action takes place. But what are they... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 15, 2011 » Julian Sands In a Celebration of Harold Pinter - Edinburgh 2011
Initially one wonders if this talk by Julian Sands – part lecture, part eulogy, part recitation – would be better suited to the Book Festival than one of the larger Pleasance spaces. Of course not. Pinter was a man of the theatre, perhaps the most influential British playwright of the last century, and although it’s his... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 14, 2011 » Good Death - Edinburgh 2011
One of the charms of Edinburgh is the potential to find genius in unlikely places. Good Death, a verbatim play about Doctor Kevorkian and the debate on euthanasia, is just such an occasion: a play about death that deserves an extremely long life. This is a masterpiece, performed to perfection by 14 students from Western Michigan... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 14, 2011 » The Girl Who Thought She Was Irish - Edinburgh 2011
“My mother’s an alcoholic. I use the term loosely. Mother I mean.” So begins Biddy O’Loughlin’s surprisingly engaging and thoroughly charming show in which she tells us about her life growing up in Alice Springs, Australia, later moving to Ireland where she felt she’d be more at home. What makes this little show so absorbing is... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 14, 2011 » Sherica - Edinburgh 2011
Low Down Original it may not be but Ian Winterton’s play about Sherica, a prostitute who finds herself in a lust triangle with her messed up sister’s teacher and her school bully (who calls her “Special Needs”) is given such a furious pace and visual panache by director Trevor MacFarlane that one almost doesn’t notice.... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 13, 2011 » Flirt Fiction - Edinburgh 2011
This is a diverting way to round off an evening: a silly, naughty, promising new play from Australian writer Jessica Craig-Piper in which a young couple stretch their sexual ranges by each attempting to write erotic fiction for the other. They both imagine the same girl, a waitress (“Venus”), as their muse and the fantasies... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 13, 2011 » The American Family - Edinburgh 2011
Ten years ago, The Laramie Project definitively demonstrated the power of verbatim drama. Now Andy Paris, one of the creators of that masterwork, and students from the East-West Project have created a vivid theatrical exploration of the modern American family. This committed young company create a patchwork of lives and insights with considerable style in... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 13, 2011 » The Diaries of Adam and Eve - Edinburgh 2011
Rebecca Vaughan and Elton Townend Jones perform this extended sketch imagining the relationship of Adam and Eve with such brio and volume that they almost persuade us that it isn’t as thoroughly silly as it is. Vaughan, astonishing as Elizabeth I last year, brings more than a touch of Miranda Richardson to her schoolgirly Eve,... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 13, 2011 » Spring Awakening - Edinburgh 2011
Low Down Hats should be suitably doffed to Gordonstoun, the famous Scottish public school which was such a misery to Prince Charles many years ago, for giving their students the chance to rock Edinburgh with one of the great contemporary musicals. And they haven’t done it by halves either. The cast of 16 and the... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 12, 2011 » Fresher The Musical - Edinburgh 2011
Resolutely in the Spelling Bee style, this boisterously juvenile musical comedy about a bunch of freshers arriving at university briskly embraces every student cliche. The posh chap (inevitably called Rupert) calls things “ripping”; the gay boy earnestly sings “I am more than a label”; one girl’s a narcissist; another takes anxiety pills; and the alpha-lad doesn’t... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 12, 2011 » Korean Drum Journey of a Soul - Edinburgh 2011
Low Down Kook Soo-Ho’s explosive celebration of Korean drumming and dancing may not be one of the subtlest shows on the fringe but it must be one of the noisiest and surely the most energetic. Apart from some gorgeous costumes, there is little that gives us any sense of the culture or background from which... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2010 » Soap - Edinburgh 2010
Festival-goers needing some escape need look no further than Soap!. This exuberantly realised mix of dance, acrobatics and party tricks is terrific family entertainment and at times an awe-inspiring demonstration of physical power. Six bathtubs sit at different levels on the Assembly Hall’s imposing stage. An opera singer in an outfit that would be too over... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2010 » That Moment - Edinburgh 2010
Dougie Blaxland, whose Chauntecleer and Pertelotte was so extraordinary last year, returns to Edinburgh with a completely different but equally entertaining demonstration of his gift for language and his talent for a good yarn. In this case, the yarn is one familiar to many people at the Fringe - the woes of a struggling young performer... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2010 » Grainne Maguire: We Need to Talk About Bonnets - Edinburgh 2010
I love the weirdness of a late-night stand-up act in which a sweet young Irish comedian talks about her love of 19th-century literature and how it’s woven itself into her attitude to life. It’s very silly, very subtle and rather wonderful. The conceit of Grainne Maguire’s show develops from jokes about her own upbringing as compared... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2010 » Out of the Blue - Edinburgh 2010
Looking like they’ve stepped off the set of a Merchant Ivory film, the dozen suited Oxford University undergraduates who comprise Out of the Blue make quite a sound. And, indeed, quite a sight: they jump and prance around to their close-harmony versions of songs by Cheryl Cole and Backstreet Boys like a bunch of posh... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2010 » Vanishing Horizon - Edinburgh 2010
Idle Motion’s production of this new play - in which an aviation expert records a documentary on flight while his wife flies across the world to bury the grandmother she never met - is a masterclass in staging, narrative and theatrical imagination. In a production owing much to Simon McBurney and Katie Mitchell (but without the... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 19, 2010 » Jump - Edinburgh 2010
This silk purse production of a silly bit of musical fluff follows a struggling young painter as he relives the events involving his standard-issue parents and quirky girlfriends which have lead him to the brink of jumping off a building. The trouble is that the script is not nearly as funny as the talented cast play... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 18, 2010 » Carnival Knowledge - Edinburgh 2010
Naomi Grossman begins her self-penned, LA award-nominated solo show about her sexploits atop a box juggling rubber penises. She starts with “What, you’ve never juggled weenies before?” and finishes with “Real love shouldn’t be this difficult”. That trajectory perhaps answers her point. To disguise the stories-from-my-life aspect of the show Grossman and director Richard Embardo use... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 18, 2010 » Find Love Make Love Die - Edinburgh 2010
“Contains adult themes” warns the publicity. You could have fooled me. From my seat (in perhaps the least comfortable space in Edinburgh) this seemed like a well-meaning but juvenile mix of teenage angst and zombie movie. The angst is well drawn by the characters’ constant exchange of filmy insults (“Don’t plaster your pants again, Spunky”, “We’re... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 17, 2010 » Another Someone - Edinburgh 2010
My God I loved this. Part song-cycle, part chat, part play, this RashDash show blends naturalistic dialogue and acting with tight movement sequences, quasi musical theatre songs and solos from the narrator/singer-songwriter (fabulous Becky Wilkie).

The story she tells is about three 20-somethings deciding what (if anything) to do with their lives and how... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 17, 2010 » Blackout - Edinburgh 2010
Edinburgh is always full of jeans-trainers-and-two-chairs productions of plays about teenage angst and the urban underclass. Not like this. Blackout is fast, compelling, powerful stuff based on a true story, lead by Tom Vernel’s astonishing central performance. Vernel is a terrifying anti-hero, his eyes like tunnels, his legs like sticks. His descent into a hellish vortex... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 17, 2010 » A Solitary Choice - Edinburgh 2010
“No-one has ever called me magnificent” says the central character in Sheila Duncan’s engaging but run-of-the-mill play. I believe her. This is a woman who cheats on her husband for one night of passion, ends up pregnant and has to decide whether to keep the baby or not. A common enough story, perhaps, but that... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 17, 2010 » Anatomy of Fantasy - Edinburgh 2010
The legendary American director Harold Prince once remarked that a show has to look as good as it sounds. Anatomy of Fantasy, the latest dance piece from the much-awarded Do-Theatre, delivers this big time. Phil Von and Def’s extraordinary and varied score - performed live by his own hands, voice and feet - creates a... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 17, 2010 » When in Rome - Edinburgh 2010
Low Down Being proven wrong is one of the great pleasures of the Edinburgh Fringe. Five minutes in to this Cambridge University Roman romp I thought I was going to hate it. Then I loved it. It is a resolutely, unashamedly student show which is a cut above what that most reviled phrase usually implies.... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 16, 2010 » Studio 54 - Edinburgh 2010
Fans of drum machines and camp could find their desires satisfied in this loose re-setting of Othello in the infamous 70s club Studio 54. There’s jealousy, betrayal and drugs all over the dance floor before the show’s inevitable climax. The sexy young company give it their all but unfortunately it takes more than male biceps... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 16, 2010 » Burst - Edinburgh 2010
Edinburgh is about taking risks and pursuing challenges and Paper Tiger’s devised play about Sudan’s struggle for freedom after colonial tyranny certainly earns points there. Sadly the achievement falls short of the ambition. The plot is impenetrable, the characters are thinly-sketched, and despite some good performances the production feels rather undergraduate. The writing is laced with... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 16, 2010 » Stripped - Edinburgh 2010
Hannah Chalmers is undeniably impressive in this one-hour monologue, apparently based on her own life, about a nightclub stripper learning (and breaking) the rules. Flesh-enthusiasts will be disappointed: there’s no stripping, an apt metaphor for a play in which the central character is a bit-part with whom we don’t spend enough time to really empathise. The... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 23, 2009 » A British Subject - Edinburgh 2009
Lowdown

This is a superb production of Nichola McAuliffe’s riveting play about how her husband, Mirror journalist Don Mackay, and herself managed to free a British subject, Mirza Tahir Hussain, from a Pakistani jail at which he’d been on death row for 18 years (exactly half his life). With the dry humour that fans... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 23, 2009 » Britain's Best Mates - Edinburgh 2009
Low Down Well known to fans of Comedy Central (and therefore unknown to me) Phil and Phil are great mates and have just won a prize to prove it. Double-L (slim, curly-haired, every mother’s favorite son) and Single-L (the cuddlier half of the duo, with a beaming smile that could solve world peace) talk to... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2009 » Anomie - Edinburgh 2009
Low Down Any physical theatre piece faces the near-certainty of falling the wrong side of the line marked Pretention. That this astonishingly realized multi-media piece should stay the right side of that line for as long as it does is quite an achievement and although it runs out of steam and ideas in the final... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 22, 2009 » Doctor Faustus - Edinburgh 2009
Low Down To theatre professionals, there are few phrases more likely to cause the eyes to roll than “student show” with all the pretention, earnestness and over-reaching the phrase so frequently suggests. Dr Faustus, though, is a cut above. The sexy young cast, though few standing out by themselves, work compellingly well as an ensemble,... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 21, 2009 » Chauntecleer and Pertelotte- Edinburgh 2009
Low Down With a title few can pronounce and an inspiration (Geoffrey Chaucer) few can recall, the odds seem stacked against this two-hander in which two actors play a multitude of farmyard storytellers for an hour. As it turns out, Dougie Blaxland’s astonishing Chaucerian language including lines like “you shall not splatterspunk me” and “bye-byes... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

Aug 20, 2009 » Murder Mystery Musical - Edinburgh 2009
Low Down Morgan is dead and as a motley crew of quirky folk gather on an island to say their farewells, one by one they start meeting violent, often eccentric, deaths. This is a witty, whimsical mix of pastiche, high camp and comedy- all played to their utmost by a terrific ensemble cast. Very English,... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

May 28, 2009 » All's Well That Ends Well - London (WE) 2009
All’s very well indeed at the National as the new production in their Travelex £10 season, All’s Well That Ends Well, is a classy staging of a warm-hearted if bizarre fairytale. Young Helena fancies sexy Bertram but the feelings aren’t reciprocated. When she cures the King of France’s fistula, the King repays the debt with a... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

May 21, 2009 » Studies for a Portrait - London (OWE) 2009
Exploring one art form through another is hard to make work. But Daniel Reitz’ STUDIES FOR A PORTRAIT has much more going for it than an esoteric discussion of art.
It takes place in the final months of the life of fictional iconic artist Julian, with his much younger boyfriend Chad his constant companion.... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

May 20, 2009 » Love Scenes - London (FR) 2009
That the current production of LOVE SCENES at Above the Stag in Victoria doesn’t quite pull off its American success in its London home is no reflection on the great talents and charisma of actor Moe Bertran who plays all the parts in this one-man, six character piece. In David Pumo’s six unrelated scenes, six characters... Read More Notice: Undefined index: copy in \\smb-whst-www02\whst_www02$\B8D096\user\benetcatty.com\web\reviews.php on line 129

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