How the British musical conquered the world

What do Henry VIII’s wives, a Rastafarian musical icon and a drag queen have in common? They are all the subjects of new stage shows that are heralding a golden age of the British musical. Let’s start with the court of Henry VIII. A pair of friends at Cambridge University, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, decided to write their own musical four years ago because the student theatre society couldn’t afford to pay the royalties for an existing one. They based it on the life stories of the six women who were unfortunate enough to marry Henry VIII. Six, as this debut effort came to be known, opens on Broadway

Six sequels that outdo the original film

‘Sequels are whores’ movies’, the great screenwriter William Goldman once opined. As with so much that Goldman said, it’s pithy, witty and often accurate. All of us have been lured into cinemas with the promise of the continuation of a great film, only to be sorely disappointed by the cynicism of a lazy cash-in. Several of these have deservedly gone down as some of the worst pictures ever made: there is no need for any sensible person to watch Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights or Jaws: The Revenge. Yet there are also examples of sequels that equal, even surpass, the original, where either the original filmmakers return to a story

The six wittiest conservatives

Left-wing people are funny and Conservatives are not. That’s the myth the Left like to perpetuate – particularly left-wing “comedians”, usually with all the wit and subtlety of John McDonnell at a Palestine Solidarity rally. We have in Boris Johnson a Conservative Prime Minister famous for his wit and wordplay – a man who famously declared during the 2005 election campaign that “Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.” But, he’s not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, Tory to light up Parliament with his quips. Churchill was the master, naturally, but, as the current Prime