02 December 2023



Review by Paul Towers, 1/12/23

Evita, lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Directed by Nikolai Foster

Produced by Curve

At Curve til Saturday 13th January 2024

“an astonishing production”

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Do yourself a favour and swap your Christmas shopping from Waitrose to Lidl this year and bag a ticket (or three) for this astonishing production of Evita.

This seminal musical by Lloyd Webber and Rice from 1978 was originally a rock opera concept album in 1976. Such was its success that a full show was fashioned around the music and an iconic production was born and spent 8 years in London’s West End. It opened on Broadway in 1979 and ran til 1983. Since then it has had productions around the world and regularly tours the UK.

So I was excited to hear that our very own Nikolai Foster was staging it in his own inimitable style. And boy, what style. Much like the current London production of Sunset Boulevard, Foster’s Evita has a pared back stage which allows the songs and the singers to, rightly, shine.

Evita follows the rise of Eva Duarte, a social climbing model, radio star and actress (remind you of anyone?) who, having slept her way up the social ladder eventually manoeuvres herself into the sphere of political climber Juan Peron. Peron soon gets elected President of Argentina with her by his side. However, with success comes accountability and suddenly her charitable work is being scrutinised and found to be wanting. As Eva’s health starts to falter she realises that all that glitters is not gold and her aspirations for class and wealth have not brought her happiness. All that she has achieved is her love for and by the people of Argentina.

A huge cast is lead by Martha Kirby as Eva Peron and Gary Milner as Juan Peron. Che, the Narrator, is mischievously played by Tyrone Huntley who pushes the story along while voicing some of the nay sayers of Argentina. A  large ensemble is further bolstered with two alternating teams of young  local performers. A live orchestra of nine hidden below the front of stage and led by George Strickland and Tom Slade give the production a really full blooded feel. However it is the set (design by Michael Taylor) and lighting (Joshie Harriette) that give this production the wow factor. Choreographer Adam Murray brings an extraordinary energy to the various dance routines. The set of girders and gantries give a very apt industrial feel to everything but for sheer drama the opening scene of Eva’s funeral takes some beating.

This is Curve’s festive offering and runs right through to the middle of January so, do yourself a favour, and get a ticket and lose yourself in this amazing production of one of the first influencers.

Evita is at Curve until Saturday 13th January 2024


Pics: Marc Brenner




22 November 2023

Nativity The Musical


Review by Paul Towers, 21/11/23

Nativity  The Musical, book & lyrics by Debbie Isitt, music by Debbie Issit & Nick Ager

Directed by Joshua J Knott

Produced by Knighton Park Operatic Society

At The Little Theatre until Saturday 25th November 2023

“laughs galore for all the family”

Well, what a joyous way to kick start the festive season!

Knighton Park Operatic Society have garnered a huge cast of precociously talented youngsters and adults in this most joyous of hits.

Based closely on the hit film Nativity, this musical version by the same author is almost  pantomime and includes plenty of local references.

The story is that disillusioned primary school teacher Mr Maddens (Daniel Rowberry) has been pressured by his headmistress, Mrs Bevan (Keziah Caldwell), into mounting the annual Christmas play and has promised his class of primary school kids that a big Hollywood producer is coming to their Coventry school to see their Nativity Musical in order to make a film of it. Of course this is just a ploy to encourage their participation. Unfortunately new Teaching Assistant Mr Poppy (Ed Turner) overhears and takes it as true. Thus is started a real comedy of errors. No matter how Mr Maddens denies it nobody believes him.

Ed Turner’s Mr Poppy is an extraordinary performance of someone who has had 5 espressos and a couple of bags of Haribo and, deep inside, still thinks he is 5 years old as he bounces around Tigger-like. This behaviour, of course, bonds him to the kids and they give him, and Maddens, amazing performances.

Right from the start there are laughs galore and they don’t stop til the welling up of tears at the final curtain.

As well as a great adult cast of exemplary singers, there are two alternating groups of talented youngsters. Tucked away at the front of the stage is also a 12 piece live orchestra.

Unfortunately the entire run is sold out, not a seat to be had. You might want to try calling the box office to see if they have had any returns but I doubt anyone will be giving up their tickets willingly. It was so gratifying to see an audience that ranged from a babe in arms to proud grandparents thoroughly enjoying themselves.



 Pics(c) Poyner & Mee

16 November 2023

A Voyage Round My Father


Review by Paul Towers, 15/11/23

A Voyage Round My Father by John Mortimer

Directed by Richard Eyre

Produced by Theatre Royal Bath

At Theatre Royal Nottingham until Saturday 18th November 2023

“funny and poignant”

"Voyage Round My Father" is a poignant play written by John Mortimer, exploring the complexities of his relationship with his father. The narrative, filled with wit and emotion, delves into themes of family, identity, and the challenges of understanding a parent. The characters are richly developed, and Mortimer's clever dialogue adds depth to the exploration of the father-son dynamic. The play strikes a balance between humour and heartfelt moments, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

Growing up in the shadow of a brilliant and eccentric barrister, a man (Rupert Everett) whose tea-time conversation could take in music hall, adultery, evolution, the ridiculous inconvenience of sex, Shakespeare, and the importance of avoiding anything heroic in wartime, the son (Jack Bardoe) continually yearns for his father’s love and respect. The entire family studiously avoid any mention of Father’s blindness, cause by an accident in his early 20’s.

A versatile ensemble fills out the other characters in the son’s life as he moves through school and ultimately follows his father into law.

Bardoes’ son is the main narrator while Everett pops in and out causing chaos for his son and wife (Eleanor David).

What makes this all the more funny and poignant is that all the characters are real people from Mortimer’s life.

Simply staged the script is the thing





14 November 2023

Fallen Angels


Review by Paul Towers, 13/11/23

Fallen Angels by Noel Coward

Directed by Jordan Handford

Produced by Leicester Drama Society

At The Little Theatre til Saturday 18th November 2023

“An intelligent comedy well performed.”

In these turbulent times what better way to spend an autumn evening than in the company of Noel Coward’s dissecting of polite society.

Julie Steroll (Cathy Sullivan) and Jane Banbury (Ranata Maynard) are two bored wives discussing their past adventures. Both have had a relationship with a French gigolo called Maurice Duclos (Steven Feeney) in the past, long before their current marriages.

However, both have received postcards from Maurice saying he will be in town and would love to meet up. This induces a frisson of emotional fire in the pair of jaded housewives as they debate whether to meet the lothario or even more.

Unfortunately this fire also ignites a jealousy which is further inflamed by the consumption of vast quantities of alcohol.

Hovering over this drama is the know-it-all, done-it-all new housemaid Saunders (Charlotte Emily Beaver).

Verging on a farce the two husbands, Fred Steroll (John Moulding) and Willy Banbury (Freddie Dobrijevic) get the wrong end of the stick when they return from golf.

Directed by Jordan Handford this is a slick slice of 1920’s comedy of manners that Coward was so good at. In a sumptuous drawing room set designed by Gem Greaves the final appearance of Maurice Duclos take us off on a surprising tangent as the curtain falls.

Fallen Angels is at The Little Theatre until Saturday 18th November. An intelligent comedy well performed.




 Pics(c) Poyner & Mee