REVIEW: DIRTY DANCING (Sunderland Empire) ★★★

I have a confession – I’m not a fan of the film version of Dirty Dancing. But this new musical version on tour is actually quite good. Vibrant, exciting and very sensual, Dirty Dancing positively simmers with sexuality and the audience in Sunderland loved it. The first act centres on 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (played […]

REVIEW: GANGSTA GRANNY (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★★

David Walliams’ best selling children’s book has been brought to life on stage by The Birmingham Stage Company. The story is told through the eyes of 11 year old Ben (Ashley Cousins) who every Friday night is sent to his ‘boring’ granny’s house (Gilly Tompkins) for the night while his selfish parents go ballroom dancing. […]

REVIEW: THE FULL MONTY (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★★

The Full Monty arrives in Sunderland this week, rude crude and ridiculously funny, but you can leave your hat on! In a packed to the rafters theatre, on springlike Monday evening, there was an air of expectation in the predominantly female audience. The oestrogen overloaded ladies weren’t all young either, there was a large number […]

REVIEW: WONDERLAND (Sunderland Empire) ★★★

It’s not everyday you get to see a brand new musical but Wonderland has arrived in Sunderland in only the second week of its tour and it’s really rather good. On her 40th birthday Alice (Kerry Ellis) has received a letter from her ex husband to say he’s got remarried. Her car has been stolen […]

REVIEW: SLEEPING BEAUTY (Sunderland Empire) ★★★

Empire Theatre Sunderland’s annual pantomime, this year, comes from the reliable UK Productions stable providing all the traditional ingredients such a glitzy show should offer. Sleeping Beauty was warmly received by a packed auditorium of excited youngsters on press night. Sleeping Beauty tells the well-known story of a Princess (Amy-Leigh Hickman) who is cursed by […]

REVIEW: THE GLENN MILLER STORY (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★

Tommy Steele made his stage debut at Sunderland Empire on 5th November 1956, a month before his 20th birthday. So it seems fitting he should celebrate his 60 years in the business performing at the Empire in the Glenn Miller Story. It’s a difficult review to write because all the single elements of the show […]

REVIEW: FOOTLOOSE (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★

Footloose tells the story of Ren McCormack, who leaves Chicago with his newly separated mother to move in with his uncle in Bomont, West Virginia. Ren clashes with the locals, especially Rev Moore, who oversees the town council. Following a fatal accident, dancing is banned in Bomont, but Ren takes his friends, including Rev Moore’s […]

REVIEW: CATS (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★

Sunderland Empire has been creatively transformed into a great big, beautiful rubbish heap for this faithfully resurrected extravaganza. Based on “Old Possum’s Book of Cats”, the poems of TS Eliot, the story is told entirely in song and dance to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Webber has smartly mined the natural music in Eliot’s […]

West End Wilma – Review Round-Up

Take a look at all the shows that have been reviewed over the past week on … REVIEW: Russian Dolls (King’s Head Theatre) ★★★★ Russian Dolls was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize in 2013 before winning the Adrian Pagan award last year. Based on the real-life story of an Islington version of Hilda, Kate Lock’s […]

REVIEW: BILLY ELLIOT (Sunderland Empire)

  Billy is coming home declares the publicity and what a triumphant home-coming it was. The theatre-goers at Sunderland Empire certainly thought so, rising as one to give a very much deserved standing ovation at the end. Set in Easington, less than 10 miles away from the Empire and we were entertained by Easington Colliery […]

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