Paul Vale

Paul Vale is a critic with The Stage (UK). This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (62)
The Stage (UK)

“Madge underlines the importance of a parent’s support when raising a child...the show has almost evolved into a metaphor for the spirit and strength of the theatrical community in the face of adversity. ” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“The book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione fleshes out an engaging and often unexpectedly witty story that incorporates universal themes of generational conflict, loyalty and love.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"This production has been developed on the road for several years and now arrives like a ray of light in the post-Christmas gloom. " Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Sometimes Butler’s story gets bogged down while trying to nail each plot point, but it’s a genuinely innovative riff on the original." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Hayworth’s story is worth telling, but this version seems both under-rehearsed and undernourished." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Karp brings nothing new or hugely inventive to the Diana story...Karp is a naturally charismatic performer with a penchant for the surreal. But this lacks bite." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"It’s an utterly ludicrous, entertaining quest story, packed with irreverent nostalgic references." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"The main issue with the show isn’t so much the script as the notable lack of songs. There are snatches of the big hits thrown in here and there... It seems almost counter-intuitive that he doesn’t play to these very obvious strengths." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"As boutique musicals go, 'Diva: Live From Hell!' suffers from a few minor missteps, but this version sizzles with slick production values, a sharp live band led by musical director Debbi Clarke and a bravura performance from its star." Full Review

Tasting Notes (London)
Elephant and Castle
The Stage (UK)

"Ryall’s writing is very funny at times, and a great deal of care has been taken to adapt each thread of the story to suit the character. It’s an engaging concept, but the plotting gets quite muddled along the way and a serious turn of events toward the end of the second act alters the tone of the piece." Full Review

Rapture (London)
Islington
The Stage (UK)

"Told through a mash-up of poetry, dialogue and verbatim text, Leydon dovetails each of these forms into an engrossing and entertaining drama. Its loose structure somehow reflects the chaotic lives of the trio but there’s also discipline in the writing and performances. Not a moment is wasted and there is a palpable sense of urgency as the story unfolds." Full Review

The Lion (London)
Elephant and Castle
The Stage (UK)

This production ... belongs totally to Alexander-Taylor, who takes the deeply personal storyline and makes it his own. Sean Daniels [and] ... Alex Stenhouse ... [forge] a seamless collaboration capturing the immediacy of the story. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

Jason Morell’s effective direction complements Harrison’s loose narrative style. Without the chemistry and trust between Harrison and Seadon-Young, this gentle romance might ring hollow. Full Review

Zorro (London)
Charing Cross
The Stage (UK)

Durham’s production is a celebration of storytelling and he has gathered a diverse and multi-talented cast to pull it together. Benjamin Purkiss has the presence and stamina to master the title role. His Diego is a quick-witted clown, but in hero mode as Zorro, Purkiss oozes charisma. Full Review

Broken Wings
Charing Cross
The Stage (UK)

Lagan’s direction and indeed Erika Gundusen’s tight musical direction tries hard to counter the awkward pacing of the story and, to an extent, it works. However, Broken Wings is a promising musical that seems to still be in the fixing stage rather than the finished product. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

It’s certainly not helped by the fact that both the star and the story are suffocated by a convoluted and thoroughly distracting design concept...McGovern’s debut play may not be perfect, but its dramaturgical issues are only amplified by the staging. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

This version by Carl Miller and Robert Hyman is deeply respectful of earlier incarnations but remains resolutely a TRSE production, bursting with colour and invention. Full Review

Fritz & Matlock
Islington
The Stage (UK)

Millward’s lithe direction keeps pace with the changes in tone as the drama unfolds, while Jessica Staton’s ostensibly simple set delivers a few surprises of its own. As actors, the two have a natural chemistry lending authenticity to the relationship and an urgency to the performance. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

The Windsors television series will be remembered as part of a long tradition of royal satire, but while the stage show is often very funny and features some cracking performances, it lacks the theatrical ambition you would hope for from a West End show. Full Review

My Night with Reg
Battersea
The Stage (UK)

It takes the form of an excruciating comedy of gay manners, a tragedy of Greek proportions tempered with comedic punchlines to ease the pain. It’s a play that requires a delicate balance and Ryan struggles at times to strike the right tone. Full Review

Staircase
Elephant and Castle
The Stage (UK)

While Dyer’s play may seem dated now, it offers a salient reminder of how recent and tenuous gay freedom is in this country. The language of the play is flamboyant, practically Polari, but the subject matter is serious and contemplative... Full Review

Neville’s Island
Hornchurch
The Stage (UK)

Baggott’s superb production may have all the hallmarks of a modern farce but it also deftly draws out the play’s elements of Greek tragedy. Full Review

Abba Mania
West End
The Stage (UK)

It’s a pretty basic format including familiar songs, garish costumes and several dodgy wigs. Its saving grace, however, is a powerhouse of musicians and vocalists... Full Review

Torch Song
Battersea
The Stage (UK)

The emotional fireworks explode in all the right places and there’s an elegance to much of the staging... It’s a satisfying production from the Olivier-Award winning choreographer...' Full Review

Afterglow
Elephant and Castle
The Stage (UK)

There’s very little in this undemanding play that feels either radical or challenging. The plot is predictable, the characters two-dimensional and the production stuffed with gratuitous nudity.' Full Review

Steel Magnolias
Richmond
The Stage (UK)

“The staging is occasionally hampered by Laura Hopkins’ flimsy, over-complicated set design. Otherwise, this production and its accomplished cast bring new depths to a modern classic.” Full Review

The Commitments
Wimbledon
The Stage (UK)

"...beyond the musical numbers, the narrative feels scantly explored." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"It’s a lavish taster menu of a pantomime, for which Harrison has cooked up a variety of show-stopping dishes." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"This production is packed with people helping each other, with a diverse mix of ages and abilities creating exciting dance routines, joyous choruses and edgy special effects." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Porter distils the essence of this classic comedy and, with Sams, offers a quintessentially theatrical experience." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Perhaps most remarkable about Jones’ production is the ensemble playing. Drag is so often a solo endeavour – the generosity of these performers is key to its success." Full Review

Horse-Play (London)
Hammersmith
The Stage (UK)

"Despite the subject matter, this is a gentle, rather old-fashioned comedy ... The plot meanders through swathes of exposition before the curiously unsatisfying happy ending, and it’s vaguely ironic that a play featuring a character called Villainor has no real villain. This is a comedy without conflict, gently put to sleep by politeness." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

" 'Ride' is a polished piece that shows much promise for the future of original British musical theatre." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

Jersey Boys may have seemed like a reliably safe choice for the handsomely refurbished Trafalgar Theatre. But this production stretches out like an over-earnest tribute act that has been asked to fill an extra hour on stage. Full Review

The Throne (London)
Charing Cross
The Stage (UK)

"Anthony Biggs’ solid direction makes the best of the few comic moments, but this comedy is crying out for a broader treatment or at least a glimpse of the chaos beyond the Portaloo." Full Review

Evelyn (London)
Elephant and Castle
The Stage (UK)

Ratcliffe’s treatment of Jeanne is quirky yet sympathetic, but despite the generosity and texture of Lenska’s performance, her story pulls the focus and dynamic of the play. Ratcliffe’s dramatic style shows real promise, but it feels as if there are two plays here that merit individual treatment. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

Direction from Samantha Pears and Elsa Strachan is pretty unimaginative, failing to equal the unquestionable drama of the story. Golby and West have taken a brave leap in attempting to set a musical against such a traumatic backdrop ... However, it’s not a wholly successful attempt ... something that isn’t helped by an uneven sound quality and production values. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

...this play is an intensely intimate comedy-drama. It would make a cracking television comedy but the stage production takes a while to hit the right tone. Firth’s comedy is classically structured but some of the subtleties get lost and some of the earlier laughs are hard won. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production But I’m a Cheerleader is great fun and in several way parallels the musical Hairspray in terms of music and social message. Azevedo’s production threatens to burst off the stage several times and hopefully it will get an opportunity to do just that. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

In a remarkably mature stage debut ... John Bell completely inhabits the role of the protagonist. It’s a credit to Drake’s writing that none of his dialogue has lost its edge over the past 20 years. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

Harrison has created an extravagant alternative to pantomime. It’s entertaining, nostalgic and perhaps a little sentimental but more of a salute to variety than a true pantomime. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

Skinner and Peacock write sadness and pain so well, but frankly it’s often difficult to laugh at and, as the subtitle suggests, might easily offend. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

The concept might not be unique but Holtom’s writing is fresh and playful, even while tackling serious issues. He allows us to ... consider the ... need to love and respect yourself a bit more. Full Review

Big Big Sky
Hampstead
The Stage (UK)

Wells has a knack for creating knotty but utterly believable family relationships and this new play is no exception. Sympathetically directed by Tessa Walker, Big Big Sky is given further emotional integrity by [an] accomplished quartet of performances. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

The greatest benefit of this new staging is the way it allows Nick Winston’s vibrant choreography to shine...There is a stand-out performance from Ian Carlyle as the Leading Player. His smooth, beguiling presence guides the show. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

It’s an affectionate, uplifting story with a strong, surprisingly universal message about pride, self-esteem and acceptance. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

[No Strings Attached is] a thoughtfully constructed piece and while it touches on familiar themes, it explores them with a fresh eye. Full Review

Cruise (London)
West End
The Stage (UK)

for a previous production Elliott’s soundtrack drives the play but it’s the richness of Holden’s narrative that grabs our attention. His story, like the music, is familiar but told with remarkable freshness and flair. Full Review

The Stage (UK)

There’s a good deal to like in this UK premiere production, not least the ever-resourceful Russell delivering an emotionally intricate portrait...but the intimacy provided by the Menier should have been a bonus...' Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production The book, music and lyrics may not be hugely sophisticated but the choruses are catchy and the quick-thinking cast, who alternate throughout the run, deliver some surprising plot twists. Full Review