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Dominion Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Bloomsbury
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Time Out says

Commercial as they come, the Dominion Theatre relies on populist, accessible shows to fill its whopping 2,000-seat capacity. And grumpy critics aside, it’s done a pretty good job of pleasing the masses, with crowd-pullers such as ‘Grease’, Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ and, most famously, Queen and Ben Elton’s tribute musical, ‘We Will Rock You’. That finally closed after almost 12 years in 2014; since then it's still largely hosted musicals, with Meatloaf extravaganza ‘Bat Out of Hell’ the most obvious successor to to ‘WWRY’.

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‘Grease the Musical’ review

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Musicals

This review is from May 2022. ‘Grease’ returns for 2023 with a TBC new cast. A gritty version of ‘Grease’? Is such a thing even possible? Well, it’s all relative. The ‘Grease’ that most of us know from the 1978 John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John film is a lie. Or at least, it’s very much not the original 1971 stage version of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s musical, which began life with dramatically different songs and a somewhat different story. Nor is it the 1973 version, which set the West End on fire when the show made its UK debut with Richard Gere and Elaine Paige as leads. If the basic, 1959-set plot about the high-school romance between greaser Danny Zucker and nice new girl Sandy Dumbrowski has remained constant, then almost everything else about ‘Grease’ has been chopped and changed at some point or other over the years. It’s a multiversal entity, with no two versions the same. Nikolai Foster’s big West End revival isn’t an aggressively dramatic reappraisal, like the version of ‘Oklahoma!’ currently playing at the Young Vic. It’s more a careful sift through all the songs and story options available, that have then been pieced together into the hardest-edged version available, but without actually dramatically departing from precedent. Plus it’s got Peter Andre in it, who we’ll deal with later. Foster’s key decision is to reinstate swathes of the very first, 1971 version of the musical, which has never been performed professionally in this country (or indeed, outsid

Elf the Musical

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Musicals

This review is from 2022. ‘Elf’ returns for Christmas 2023.  ‘Elf the Musical’ rolls back into the West End with the same blunt-force charm as Buddy, its star. The last time this production was at the Dominion Theatre, in 2015, it was the venue’s fastest-selling show in nearly a century. It’d be a huuuge surprise if it’s not a success this time either. Apart from a few tweaks and a couple of excised characters, the story largely follows the smash-hit 2003 Will Ferrell movie vehicle that’s now a perennial Christmas favourite. Titular hero Buddy’s Teflon-coated cheer can’t disguise the fact that he’s suspiciously tall for an elf. When Santa Claus breaks the news to him that he is, in fact, a human, Buddy sets out from the North Pole to find his real father in New York City.    The influences on the film and this show are legion, particularly ’80s fish-out-of-water classics like ‘Big’. Buddy arrives to find a fraught New York, full of Christmas as a sales pitch, but not with its spirit. His father, Walter Hobbes, is a harried, snappy publisher of kids’ books with no time for the young son he actually knows he has. (Buddy was the result of a college romance, whose mother died without ever telling Walter.) From initially stumbling onto the shop floor of department store Macy’s, to inveigling his way into Walter’s office and then his home, Buddy’s open-handed, child-like joy shows everyone he meets the true meaning of Christmas. This show lives or dies depending on its Buddy. Thank

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