4 stars

Footloose is primarily about young people wanting to celebrate life. Based on the original film produced in 1984, the show opens with the actors playing instruments, singing and dancing – an energetic musical extravaganza. Accomplished actors and detailed direction from Racky Plews make the complex choreography look effortless.

Reviewed by Roz Scott on Wednesday 27 July | Read more

Let It Be

4 stars

This show is a full musical tribute to the life of the Beatles, incorporating every stage of their time together from their humble beginnings to their supremacy in the music world. As the action develops in front of us, moments in time are cleverly captured through plentiful original black and white footage, shown on two giant television screens. There was a clip from The Avengers, England winning the World Cup in 1966, and – most amusing of all, viewed from a modern perspective – an advert for cigarettes where a newly married-couple lit up in church, in full bridal gear. It was clearly important to “Never be without a Capstan” in the 1960's.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Tuesday 19 July | Read more

After Miss Julie

3 stars

The curtain comes up on a set which looks as though it’s literally been lifted from of the grandest National Trust houses in Britain. The country-house kitchen is superbly crafted, and the attention to detail is staggering, transporting us instantly back to 1945. The war is over; it’s the night the Labour party wins their overwhelming election victory over Churchill's Conservative campaign.  The daughter of the house’s never-seen owner, the young Miss Julie (Helen George), has been out drinking the night away and, in a drunken act of defiance, mixing with the below-stairs boys.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 6 July | Read more

Spring Awakening

3 stars

Playing this week at the Lantern in Kemptown, Brief Hiatus’ unusual interpretation of Spring Awakening is modern, arresting and uncomfortable. If you like Bertolt Brecht, epic drama and Nietzsche you may enjoy this play – which contrasts male and female teenagers’ boisterous, comic, but ultimately dark odyssey into adulthood.

Reviewed by Roz Scott on Friday 1 July | Read more

Thriller Live

3 stars

The premise of Thriller Live is exactly what it says on the tin: a showcase of the greatest hits of one of the greatest stars the world has ever seen, the iconic performer Michael Jackson. Several strong male leads take turns to sing the well-known numbers, and all of them sound uncannily like Jackson himself; if you closed your eyes, there were times when you would have thought it was actually him on stage. That’s how close the singers get to capturing his tone, his pitch, and the momentum in the melody.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Tuesday 28 June | Read more

Brideshead Revisited

2 stars

Staging Evelyn Waugh's 1945 classic novel was always going to be a challenge. Many people will remember the sumptuous eleven-week television production in the early eighties – which shot Anthony Andrews, a small teddy bear and Jeremy Irons to fame. Sadly, this new stage adaptation by Bryony Lavery struggles to match that stellar precedent.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Thursday 9 June | Read more

The Father

5 stars

Already much-acclaimed in London and elsewhere, The Father centres around the crumbling world of Andre, who is slowly suffering the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease. It’s easy to understand why actor Kenneth Cranham earned an Olivier award for this role; through his impeccable performance, we watch the dismantling of not just Andre’s relationship with his daughter, but of the world as he knew it and all it will become.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 27 April | Read more

Of Mice And Men

4 stars

Like many people, I first encountered this iconic piece of literature during my school days – and I was curious to see how the familiar tale of rural America would transition to Brighton’s Theatre Royal. Very successfully, as it turns out. The set was fantastic – put together by the ensemble of actors, accompanied by live musicians – and formed the perfect backdrop to the touching story of friendship between George (played by William Rodell) and Lennie (Kristian Phillips). The pair are farm workers, constantly on the move in the search for employment, but dreaming of eventually having enough money to buy their own land and build their own home.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 20 April | Read more

Jackie The Musical

4 stars

Entering the Theatre Royal for this upbeat evening of entertainment, there is absolutely no mistaking which era you are embracing. The retro set – complete with glitter balls and lurid furniture – is complemented the flamboyant costumes of the 70’s, where tank tops, flares and patterned shirts ruled the fashion of the day.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 6 April | Read more

The Herbal Bed

4 stars

Set in 1613, and based – it’s claimed – on real events, The Herbal Bed centres around the home and herbal garden of the gullible Dr John Hall, played here by Jonathan Guy Lewis. All seems well in the doctor’s world – until his wife Susanna (Emma Lowndes) is publicly accused of adultery with her neighbour Rafe Smith (Philip Correia). The affair has a double edge to it, for Susanna is the daughter of a rebellious playwright called William Shakespeare… and her husband’s practice of natural medicine challenges the fundamental beliefs of the church. Facts become distorted, rumours are fuelled by lies, and it is decided that a public enquiry by a Church court must play both judge and jury.

Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 23 March | Read more