Albany Theatre review: The Snow Queen

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The Sound of Music, Rugby Theatre, to Dec 15

Fifty years-plus on from the much-loved film, the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs have lost none of their appeal. And the performers at Rugby Theatre do them justice with some pitch-perfect singing. This feel-good production is the perfect antidote to Christmas shopping.

Merrily We Roll Along, Loft Theatre, Leamington, to Dec 14

This challenging Stephen Sondheim showbiz musical is carried along by vigorous direction and some fine performances. The music may not be Sondheim's best, but company vocal work under conductor Liam Walker is impressive.

Pictured: Franklin Shepard (Chris Gilbey-Smith), Mary Flynn (Vicky Holding), Charley Kringas (Justin Steer)

"...everything you would expect from a show and more. Superb acting, fabulous singing, sparkly costumes, beautiful stage sets and an abundance of audience participation."

Puss in Boots, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, to Jan 11

Wonderful singing and dancing, great performances by the cast, and a spectacular set - this is another triumph for writer, director and star Iain Lauchlan, his talented sidekick Craig Hollingsworth, and the whole team. Don't miss it!

The Boy in the Dress, RSC, Stratford, to March 8

The story - from the hit David Walliams book - is a bit thin in places, but the performances are terrific, the song and dance numbers brilliant, and the set stunning. Overall, the show packs a potent punch. Recommended.

It's A Wonderful Life, Criterion Theatre, Coventry, Nov 30-Dec 7

This production promises to be a very different take on the classic Christmas story. Director Richard Warren says: "It's an affectionate tribute to the golden age of radio, and the way stories were told before cameras filled in the pictures".

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, Belgrade, to Nov 9

This uplifting show is packed with great toe-tapping, hand-clapping rock 'n' roll classics and you won't be able to resist singing along. The singing and musicianship are outstanding.

Chess, Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton, to Nov 9

One of the most ambitious musicals ever staged by The Masqueraders Theatrical Society, Chess has a huge cast and an impressive band. Sometimes the stage seems too small for the action - but it all works amazingly well. 

My Beautiful Launderette, Belgrade B2, to Nov 2.

The 1980s film comes to the stage with its tale of unlikely pals coming together to make a struggling launderette a success, but the Thatcherite ideals of the time rub up against the struggles of an immigrant family. Some of the dialogue seems dated but the performances are strong - and the play is darker than the film was.

"Contemporary attitudes to conscientious objectors, unwed mothers and homosexual love are explored within the temporal framework of an assured production."

Dangerous Obsession, Belgrade, Coventry, to Oct 12

Not many positives to report here - a tired and outdated script, very little chemistry between the three actors, slow pace, and a rather anticlimactic conclusion. The play's high points fizzle and die in an instant.