13 shows you shouldn’t have missed in 2017

Out of the 140+ shows I saw this year, here are 13 I hope you saw too

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★★½

Reviewed for The Reviews Hub: It is a recurring thread in many modern pantomimes that the titular heroines, from Sleeping Beauty to Cinderella, are among the least served in terms of scripted character. That’s certainly the case with Aylesbury’s version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, where the characters of Muddles, Dolly the Nurse…

Flashdance, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★

Reviewed for The Reviews Hub: In the pantheon of 1980s movies, Flashdance has achieved cult status far exceeding its own gaudy ambitions. The tale of a welding apprentice who supplements her meagre wages from a Pittsburgh steel firm by dancing in a local club, but who has ambitions to enrol at the local ballet school, mines every…

Jane Eyre, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★★★

Reviewed for The Reviews Hub: Originally staged in two parts at Bristol Old Vic, Sally Cookson’s collaborative adaptation of Jane Eyre won acclaim in a single, three-hour form at the National Theatre. It is due to return to London in September, following this current tour which has now arrived in Aylesbury. Jane Eyre is often presented as a…

Thoroughly Modern Millie, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★★

Reviewed for The Reviews Hub: Based on the 1967 movie devised as a Julie Andrews vehicle, the 2002 Broadway production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which is revived here, expands upon the original film’s appropriation of 1920s music by grabbing and adapting songs and styles from many other places. No other musical could claim a speakeasy…

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★★

Originally reviewed for The Reviews Hub: Alan Janes’ Buddy, the granddaddy of jukebox biography musicals, opened in October 1989. Which means that, at the spritely age of 27, this musical is now five years older than its protagonist was at his death in 1959. And truth be told, that age is beginning to show, particularly at…

Ellen Kent Opera: Nabucco, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★★

Originally reviewed for The Reviews Hub: Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco, telling the story of the persecution of Israelites by the Babylonians, has over the decades come to be treated as an allegory for contemporary oppression in Europe. The work’s most famous choral tune, Va, pensiero, better known as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, has resonated from…

Round the Horne, Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury ★★

Original reviewed for The Reviews Hub: Round the Horne remains a milestone in radio comedy history. The 1960s sketch series fronted by Kenneth Horne was, on the face of it, merely a rebadged version of its predecessor, Beyond our Ken, which ran for six years. But the name change came about when writer Eric Merriman departed, to…