Reviews from Paul's pen

Reviews from Paul's pen


 Review by: Paul Towers, 14/10/20

 “At last some good news!”

 Curve has announced its reopening schedule to give us all some festive cheer thanks to the recent grant from the  government’s Culture Recovery Fund and the ongoing support from Arts Council England and Leicester City Council. Credit should also go to the management of Curve who have successfully steered Leicester’s flagship theatre through these unprecedented times.

The season will officially launch with a special, exclusive live-streamed event on 12 November.

From 23 Nov to 3 Dec The Color Purple will return to Curve in a concert production reimagined by the original  creative team of director Tinuke Craig, musical director Alan Parker and choreographer Mark Smith. Original cast members T’Shan Williams (Celie) and Danielle Flamanya (Nettie) will return. Other cast member will be announced when confirmed.

Christmas will see the return of Sunset Boulevard from 14 Dec to 3 Jan. Staged as a concert performance it will be directed by our own Nikolai Foster with original cast members Ria Jones and Danny Mac. There will also be a 16 piece orchestra.

Continuing into the New Year there is the return of Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual. Director Nikolai Foster will helm this story of local boy Riaz Khan’s life from 25 Jan to 6 Feb

All three shows are award winning productions and full castings will be announced in due course.

Continuing Curves very popular community led events there will be a socially distanced Family and Community Day on Sat 14 Nov which will include a selection of low cost and free workshops, performances and activities for all ages from Midlands artists and theatre companies. All events will be ticketed and MUST be booked in advance.

The reopening of Curve to the public has been made possible because of the unique design of Leicester’s award winning theatre. By raising the wall between the two theatre spaces (I bet you didn’t realise they could do that!) to create one huge space they can accommodate 533 seats in a socially distanced way. Add into this the incredibly generous donation by Sir Cameron Mackintosh of a triple revolve and Curve once again has a world beating performance space which will be the envy of  theatres everywhere.

To ensure the safety of both artists and audiences there will be a one way system in the building, additional cleaning and temperature checks before you are allowed to enter the building. Further information can be found on the website.

Tickets for all shows and events go on sale on Thursday 15 October for Friends of Curve, Mon 19th October for Members and on General sale at noon on Weds 21 October.




Curve onLine

In these unprecedented times theatres all over the country are doing their bit to keep us informed and entertained during lockdown. Curve has announced a programme of digital activity which includes new online content for audiences as well as sharing past work digitally.
The recent campaign called Rainbows of Curve has called for people around the world to share their Rainbows of  Hope images with the theatre by emailing them to These images will ultimately form part of the set design for Curve’s Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz.
Many theatres have released screenings of past productions and Curve was in the vanguard of this initiative and has screened both Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual and The Importance of Being Earnest already. Just these two productions have been viewed by over 17,000 people worldwide. Joe Orton’s What The Butler Saw is scheduled to be screened this weekend (7pm April 19th). More titles will be announced in coming weeks.
Curve in Conversation is a series of interviews conducted by Curve Artistic Director Nikolai Foster and posted online. These will be with a whole host of creatives with links to Curve including writers, actors and others.
There will also be Instagram Live Q&As to give audience members the opportunity to ask leading figures in the industry questions every Friday at 4pm.
Curve Young Company are being asked to send in videos of their theatrical exploits at home during lockdown to
Curve is also launching a series of Bedtime Stories read by actors like Cathy Tyson and Mark Peachey. There will also be activities packs available inspired by previous Made At Curve family shows like the recent Giraffe’s Can’t Dance.
Lots more information about upcoming events and how to access activity packs is available at
Mention should be made of the fact that Curve is  a registered charity and relies on box office takings and community support. In these straightened times they would appreciate any donations that you care to make to help them through these tough times. Details are on the website.
The Show Must Go onLINE, so support your local theatre in any way you can.


Bleach - the audio drama

Back in 2018 I was lucky enough to catch Dan Ireland-Reeves' award winning play Bleach.
This is the story of gay sex worker Tyler Everett who gets involved in a scene that is often both sordid and dangerous.
Writer and performer Ireland-Reeves has adapted his stage play into an audio drama for these self-isolating times.
Bleach is an uncompromising tale told in strong, unflinching language so is not for the faint hearted


Billionaire Boy

Review by: Paul Towers, 04/03/20
Billionaire Boy by David Walliams, adapted, directed and lyrics by Neal Foster. Music by Jak Moore
Produced by The Birmingham Stage Company
At DeMontfort Hall 4 – 8th March 2020

“David Walliams’ latest touring show”

Following on from his successful stage adaptations of Gangsta Granny, Awful Auntie and The Boy in The Dress David Walliams’ latest touring show is The Billionaire Boy.
Joe (Matthew Gordon) is twelve years old and the son of a self made multi billionaire single father (Jason Furnival). Rather than the love and attention he craves his father showers him with money and material things. Desperate for a friend he transfers from a posh school where he was bullied for having the wrong accent to a comp where he is bullied for being rich. Life doesn’t get any better.
The script is full of schoolboy toilet humour with a few gags especially for the grown ups with their teenagers
The set is, appropriately, made of stacks of loo rolls, the product that made Joe’s father rich. It is a jigsaw of  cupboards and cubby holes which serve as locations.
The cast of  nine work very hard singing and dancing.
Billionaire Boy is at DeMontfort Hall until Sunday 8th March. Tickets are still available

DeMontfort Hall


The MP, Mandy & Me

Review by: Paul Towers, 03/03/20
The MP, Aunty Mandy and Me By Rob Ward
A Made at Curve co-production with Emmerson & Ward
At Curve: 3-4 March 2020

“This is a tour de force of acting”

For the third year running Rob Ward has been an integral part of DMU Pride. Previously he presented his award winning Gypsy Queen but this year he brings us a new Curve commissioned show, The MP, Aunty Mandy & Me, a darkly comic tale of a socially awkward gay boy stuck in a northern town backwater who is desperate for a loving relationship.
Dom thinks that  being an Instagram Gay influencer is the be all and end all of his life but he struggles to get past the 100 likes for his posts. His social anxiety is under control, sort of, so long as he takes his medication. But sometimes he forgets and has an ‘episode’. He tries, he really tries to meet guys. He goes to the gym but never gets picked up. His love of trains is the only real passion in his life. Until he meets the MP. He makes Dom feel good about himself and, if we are being honest, Dom allows himself to be groomed for the self worth he now feels, even if some of the things asked of him are not to his taste Of course being groomed is not a novelty for him. His druggy mother has also groomed him to follow in her footsteps into substance abuse calling her seemingly never ending supply of MDMA her Aunty Mandy.
Rob Ward has produced a very funny, thought provoking play about coercion and the things we are prepared to do for love, or at least what we perceive to be love. This is a tour de force of acting as Rob switches at alarming speed from character to character, male to female, drunk to stoned, all with many laugh out loud moments and sudden descents into pathos, all littered with innuendo and northern vernacular.
Direction by Clive Judd and a very apposite soundtrack designed by Iain Armstrong it all comes together to highlight some of the pitfalls of modern gay youth. This should be required viewing for all LGBT youngsters today

First published on Western Gazette



Review by: Paul Towers, 26/02/2020
Curtains by Rupert Holmes with music & lyrics by John Kander  and Fred Ebb
Produced by Dlap Entertainment, director Paul Foster
At Royal & Derngate, Northampton – 25 – 29 February 2020

“a good hearted, undemanding evening of laughter”

Kander & Ebb are best known for such musicals as Chicago, Cabaret and New York, New York (a favourite of mine) but Curtains is less well known, probably because it is much more light hearted.
Curtains is set in 1959 Boston. A low budget theatre company are trying to stage a new musical version of Robin Hood transposed to the Wild West. When the less than competent leading lady drops dead on stage it turns out to be only the first of a series of deaths. Enter Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford in fine voice), a frustrated amateur performer, sent to investigate what turns out to be a murder.
The show skips back and forth between the rehearsal room and the stage as the show’s composers (Ote Oduba and Carley Stenson) and the director (Samuel Holmes) try and whip the songs into some sort of shape. The show’s producer, Carmen (Rebecca Lock giving Ethel Merman a run for her money in the belting out a song stakes) is determined the show must go on as she has ploughed her life savings into it.
Meanwhile Lt Cioffi prowls around interviewing people while trying to inveigle himself into the show. Several murders later and, in true Agatha Christie style, the detective explains all the improbabilities and the culprit is caught.
Kander & Ebb obviously had huge fun with the musical numbers including What Kind Of Man? which pokes fun at theatre critics and It’s A Business which faces the harsh implication that show business is a business, not an art form. A couple of the numbers are deliberately bad to fit in with the story, which is hilarious and many of the lyrics have some wicked lines in them which, if you don’t listen carefully, you miss. There is also a lot of black humour, especially about the actress that drops dead on stage.
Curtains is out on tour after a successful limited run in the West End and is a good hearted, undemanding evening of laughter and spectacle from a hard working cast.
Curtains runs til Saturday 29th Feb. Tickets still available.

Royal & Derngate



Review by: Paul Towers, 19/2/2020
Musik by Jonathan Harvey & The Pet Shop Boys
A Cahoots Theatre Company presentation
Leicester Square Theatre 5th February – 1st March 2020

“the inevitable standing ovation was never more appropriate”

Oh my! Frances Barber, reprising her role as Billie Trix from Jonathan Harvey’s cult classic, Closer To Heaven, is sublime in the role of the disillusioned, faded cabaret star who just won’t give up. She spits out her frustration in a monologue that takes aim at notable influencers in her long and complicated life. Sharp arrows of bile are aimed at targets from Madonna (“that bitch stole my eyepatch!”) to Donald Trump (“I could have been the First Lady by now”), Andy Warhol (“I invented the soup can”) all in a deliciously acerbic aside as she prowls the stage snorting lines of coke and emptying a bottle of Jack Daniels. Imagine Patsy Stone let loose on a very adult audience only even funnier.
Inbetween her ranting and raving she brings us some songs from her past. She starts to sing Mongrel in that 40 a day throaty rasp as she walks through the auditorium and staggers on stage. From then on we are subjected to a torrent of filthy anecdotes, outrageous name dropping and the most hilarious ‘cabaret performance’ you are likely to see on any stage.
In the hands of master comedy writer Jonathan Harvey Billie Trix is a subversive portrait of degeneracy while The Pet Shop Boys have provided her with some outrageous songs that could never be in safer hands than those of the extraordinary Ms Frances Barber.
This limited run show is only on til 1st March and I really couldn’t imagine any other performer than Ms Barber being able to pull it off. As Billie stumbled off the stage to For Every Moment the inevitable standing ovation was never more appropriate

Leicester Square Theatre -