Reviews & features: Musicals

31 reviews

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Highlights of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival 2014

15 Jul 2014

Featuring Abdullah Ibrahim, Van Morrison Christian Scott and BadBadNotGood

Mandela Day Concert. Abdullah Ibrahim, the pianist formerly known as Dollar Brand, leads this special show in tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. Approaching his 80th birthday, South African Ibrahim enjoyed a special link to the former ANC president…

Top 5 musicals based on true stories at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

7 Aug 2013

Featuring Blood Ties, Forest Boy, Bridge and Gilbert and Sullivan: The Musical

Blood Ties Based on a true event, this dark comedy features a murder, a wedding and a suicide as a group of girls are forced to address long-standing issues on a bachelorette weekend gone horribly wrong. theSpace @ Venue45, 510 2381, 12–24 Aug (not…


5 Aug 20134 stars

Musical take on 2010 copper mine incident by The Wardrobe Ensemble

Book-ending Tom Brennan's production is an eccentric appearance by Edison Pena on legendary US chat show The David Letterman Show. Pena is one of the 33 miners who survived a major cave-in for 69 days in the Copiapo copper mine, San Jose in 2010 and who…

[title of show] fuses musical theatre and real life at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

UK premiere of quirky US Broadway musical hit

Anyone who saw Daniel Kitson’s 2012 Fringe sell-out, about a writer writing a play about writers writing another play, will agree that the show-within-a-show format has grown serious legs in recent years. This year Patch of Blue Theatre stride out with…

Good Grief

17 Aug 20123 stars

Meandering musical hour of delightful schadenfreude

Gone Rogue’s likeable, funeral-set musical might start off in a subdued atmosphere of deep sorrow, but by the end of the show most of the mourners have ended up half naked, high on hash cookies or reeling from shocking family revelations. Using a family…

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17 Aug 20124 stars

Funny and intelligent jazz-inflected Western

Love and betrayal jostle for the starring role in this non-traditional Western from the talented cast of M&T Productions. Within the first two minutes of the fast-paced musical, murder, betrayal and cover-ups tumble forth, causing the sheriff of…

Clinton The Musical

17 Aug 20123 stars

Ex-president inspires high-energy, catchy musical from talented ensemble

Former United States president Bill Clinton should offer any theatre production – let alone an all-singing, all-dancing musical – some great inspiration for material is a given. But, from his inauguration through to his sexual relations with ‘that…

Through the Looking Screen

13 Aug 20123 stars

A black tale of loneliness and log-ins

The experience of turning The Office into an operatic extravaganza for Comic Relief in 2009 clearly gave Anne Chmelewsky a taste for the comedic possibilities of a musical form normally associated with grim tragedy. But the ‘high heels and high Cs…

Death Boogie

10 Aug 20122 stars

Political hip hop poetry musical is all sound and fury

Death Boogie is a political hip hop musical, performed by a dancing poet-rapper rhyming over his own beatbox loops, a double bass player and violinist, all against a backdrop of comic-strip visuals peppered with WHOAs, BIFFs and BOOYAKASHs. Sound like a…

Top 5 tech-related shows at the Edinburgh Festivals 2012

8 Aug 2012

Featuring Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Misha Glenny, Mark Restuccia and Through the Looking Screen

The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs A one-man theatre show detailing the working conditions in Chinese factories that manufacture the iPhone, highlighting the lengths we are willing to go to in pursuit of technological advancement. Steve…

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Eat $hit: How Our Waste Can Save the World

7 Aug 20123 stars

A(n extremely odd) musical with an infectious message

The Poop Project are here to talk to you about your poo – loudly, clearly, and with songs and jazz hands. And if you’re the squeamish sort, it’s even more imperative that you listen. Let’s be straight: the five performers in this show aren’t the…

Re-Animator: The Musical

6 Aug 20122 stars

Sloppy horror with dismembered plot

A warning: Re-Animator has a splash zone. This camp comedy horror musical, based on the film which was in turn based on the HP Lovecraft story ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’, delights in covering the auditorium’s first few rows with blood, vomit, brains…

Re-Animator at Edinburgh Fringe - "We’re throwing blood all over the audience!"

11 Jul 2012

54 gallons of blood and gore in play based on cult 80s film

Stuart Gordon holds a grisly place in movie trivia. ‘It’s true, I had the all-time record for most amount of fake blood used in a film,’ the director confirms, referring to the 24 gallons of corn syrup-based thick red gunge poured into his cult 1985…

Attention Fringe 2012 performers: we want your bribes

9 Jul 2012

Buy yourself valuable exposure by sending us your promotional tat

The List is once again declaring itself susceptible to bribery for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012. Effective immediately, we will be accepting whatever t-shirts toy tractors, confections, underpants, self-portraits, office…

Toulouse-Lautrec: The Musical

8 Aug 20112 stars

Japanese one-man show dedicated but lacking in pace and musical gravitas

Toulouse Lautrec’s life was a colourful one, worthy of musical exploration, and this Japanese company’s dedication is admirable, in a one-man show, helmed by Japanese performer/songwriter Jun Sawaki. But while Sawaki undoubtedly offers his all to the…

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I’m Still Here . . .

25 Aug 20102 stars

Ably flitting between genres

The West End pro takes a saunter through hits from Sondheim to Mika and Queen to ‘Moon River’ with a connecting thread of drama. His voice holds up well, ably flitting between genres, but a worrying ironic tone starts to creep in until during ‘MacArthur…

Frances Ruffelle: Beneath the Dress

23 Aug 20103 stars

Cheeky, sexy and surprising cabaret-esque show

Given Ruffelle’s showbiz background – she’s the daughter of London theatre school founder Sylvia Young and a Tony Award-winning star of West End and Broadway musicals such as Les Misérables and Chicago – it’s unsurprising that her cabaret-esque Fringe…

Five Guys Named Moe

19 Aug 20104 stars

Feel-good musical that’s a cut above

It’s not often that such a highly-polished, well produced show of this nature makes it into the Fringe line-up. More at home in the West End or Broadway, Five Guys Named Moe has been entertaining the crowds since 1990 – and it ain’t about to stop now…

Reel-to-Real: The Movies Musical

14 Aug 20103 stars

Less chat more dancin’ and singin’ please

Much has been made of Reel-to-Real’s impressive technical credentials, which allows live performers to perform iconic song-and-dance numbers against a backdrop of footage from classic film musicals. In fact the background projections, while cleverly…

The Wire's Clarke Peters in Fringe run of Five Guys Named Moe

3 Aug 2010

The Wire's Lester Freamon stars in the musical he wrote

Clarke Peters, best known for his role in US cop show The Wire, talks to Kelly Apter about taking time out to appear in the hit musical he wrote himself

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An overview of the 2010 Edinburgh Festivals and their directors

15 Jul 2010

What to expect from Edinburgh in August

Nowhere does a festival quite like Edinburgh, and even with the film folk having long moved out of August, there is more than plenty going on for lovers of art, literature, comedy, theatre, kids entertainment, music, dance and military displays. The…

LGBT highlights from Edinburgh Fringe 2010

14 Jul 2010

The List’s LGBT section is about to take a well-earned break (returning in September, folks), but before we head off on our holidays, there’s just time to let you know about some of the gay-friendly stuff that’s appearing at a Fringe Festival near you…

Il Ritorno d’Ulisse

14 Aug 2009

Ulysses the opera brought to life by giant puppets

In parallel with Scotland’s big Homecoming theme of 2009, South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company make their Edinburgh debut with a puppet and animation interpretation of Monteverdi’s opera about Homer’s Ulysses returning from war to his homeland.

Primary School Musical

10 Aug 2009

Singing to save the school

Faced with the potential closure of his children’s primary school, Angus Reid did all the usual things: went to meetings, met the Council and Scottish Parliament, wrote a musical. The last one on that list may seem a strange response, but as Reid says…


10 Aug 20094 stars

Amphibian tale that puts a spring in your step

Pity poor Max. He’s moving house in the morning, and is terrified of leaving behind his friends, his school and his teacher. The only thing his mother can do to reassure him is read from his favourite picture books – all about a kindly, inquisitive frog…