Andrew lloyd webber

Scherzinger is superb but why’s the set so dark and ugly? Sunset Boulevard, at the Savoy Theatre, reviewed

Sunset Boulevard is a re-telling of the Oedipus story set in the cut-throat world of Hollywood. Pick a side in this tortured yarn. There’s Norma, a burned-out sex-goddess, who wants to make a comeback as a teenage ballerina in a dance epic. Or there’s Joe, a penniless scribbler, who becomes Norma’s reluctant toyboy while he works on her doomed screenplay (which stands for a stillborn child). Clinging to Joe is Betty, a drippy girlfriend who represents escape and artistic integrity. The final piece in the jigsaw is Norma’s discarded husband, Max, who stands for sadistic and destructive obsession. Each day he sends Norma a new batch of counterfeit love letters

Much better than the film: Mrs Doubtfire, at Shaftesbury Theatre, reviewed

Mrs Doubtfire is a social comedy about divorce. We meet Miranda, a talentless, bitter mother, who tires of her caring but imperfect husband, Daniel, and kicks him out of the house on some footling pretext. When Miranda later discovers that Daniel’s loyalty to their children is an asset of inestimable value she invites him back. And he accepts her offer without a murmur of recrimination. The story is based on the cruel imbalances in family law that entitle a vengeful, heartless woman like Miranda to destroy the emotional wellbeing of her children and her husband, and to call her vandalism justice. In this story Daniel is a voiceover artist who

The coronation music was – mostly – a triumph

Sir Hubert Parry was upgraded from knight bachelor to baronet by King Edward VII in 1902, and my goodness he earned it. His anthem for Edward’s coronation, I was Glad when they Said Unto Me, begins with a thrilling brass fanfare – or it has done since George V’s coronation in 1911: Parry’s original introit wasn’t sufficiently attention-grabbing, so he beefed it up. But the most spine-tingling moment has been there from the beginning. ‘I was…’ sings the choir on the tonic chord of B flat major – and then the word ‘glad’ bursts out where we aren’t expecting it, in G major. The Abbey staged a musical banquet in

The history of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the theatrical history of England

Andrew Lloyd Webber has not been in the best of moods lately, largely thanks to all the Covid delays to his new musical Cinderella, now finally about to open — for the umpteenth announced time — at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. The bigger news, however, is that his theatre at the other end of Drury Lane, the grand old Theatre Royal, is finally finished after massive renovations. Lloyd Webber has spent an awesome £60 million on the rebirth of his Grade I-listed theatre, known to show folk as ‘the Lane’, with his wife Madeleine heavily involved and in cahoots with the heritage expert Simon Thurley and the great theatre architect

Staged: a handful of VIP events is no substitute for normality

Wimbledon is back. The start of the tournament in June marks the opening of the British summer, sending a signal to everyone that it’s time to take it easy: enjoy a glass of fizz, some strawberries and some sporting drama on the grass. And this year, for the first time, we witnessed a roar of applause from the crowd on Centre Court for Britain’s vaccine success. It looks very much like life as normal. The same was true at Wembley stadium, where thousands of fans cheered on England this week when they beat Germany. A few plays have opened as well. Several politicians were in attendance at the Garrick for

The true cost of theatre closures

It turns out that if there’s one thing more expensive than making theatre, it’s not making it. Empty buildings haemorrhage money. Postponing a show already in rehearsal or raising the curtain only for it to be dropped shortly after — as happened in December when theatres reopened just to close days later — scares off investors and unsettles audiences. (I might also say that being unable to gather as a community to make sense of the world through stories is costly not just in a financial sense. But then I am a pretentious playwright.) No, what we need is to begin filling our diaries once again with plays, musicals, comedy

When theatres reopen they’ll resemble prison camps

‘Give us a date, mate!’ That was the sound of Andrew Lloyd Webber begging Boris Johnson to announce when the West End can return to normal. He made his plea at the London Palladium on 23 July, where he was testing a new set of Covid-compliant measures during a one-hour solo show by Beverley Knight. It was the first indoor live performance in the capital since lockdown began. The impresario’s advance preparations had been exhaustively thorough. He arranged for the entire venue to be hosed down with an anti-viral fluid that kills the bug for up to four weeks. Every door handle had been fitted with a special cover that