Warwick Arts Centre preview: Mullah of Downing St

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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Not many positives to report here - a tired and outdated script, very little chemistry between the three actors, slow pace, and a rather anticlimactic conclusion.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.

Frankenstein, Belgrade B2, to Oct 12

Don't be put off this production because the tale is familiar. This is a different take on the Mary Shelley story, which puts Shelley herself at the heart of the action. With some excellent performances and elegant and effective staging, this is definitely worth a look.

King John, Swan Theatre, Stratford, to March 21, 2020

Shakespeare's rarely-performed play has a lively first half with elements of farce, but things get much darker. Some scenes are positively chilling. And there's that speech about England being in a mess with the leader being held to legal account. Sounds familiar?

The Lady Vanishes, Belgrade, to Sept 28

This adaptation of the 1938 Hitchcock film captures effectively the atmosphere of a Europe falling under the shadow of the Nazis. It's also stylish, entertaining, funny, pacey, and very well performed. All in all, a highly entertaining evening.

Saturday Night Fever, Belgrade, to Sept 21

With brilliant singing and dancing, excellent sets and costumes and, of course, those unforgettable Bee Gees songs, this is a great night out. We probably all remember the story, but the show is more about the music and energy of the 70s' disco scene - and it will get you up and dancing.

Stardust, Belgrade B2, to Sept 21

This Bollywood musical marks a first for the British stage, dealing as it does with homosexuality in Asian families. As you might expect there are plenty of pulsating dance numbers and emotionally-charged ballads, but it's also thought-provoking. With strong performances all round, it's worth catching.

Absurd Person Singular, Rugby Theatre, Sept 14-21

The writing in this Alan Ayckbourn 70s classic shows its age a bit, but the three couples, three kitchens and three Christmases make for a diverting evening’s entertainment. The performances are excellent, the sets and costumes are spot on, and there are plenty of laughs along the way. Recommended. 

Holding the Centre, Belgrade B2, to Sept 7

Some powerful and difficult themes are explored in this tale of the middle class Micaiah who gets involved with gang culture and all the violence that means. The plot risks getting somewhat over-complicated, but it's a thought-provoking and gritty drama.

Holes, Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon, Coventry, to Sept 7

This bleak, black comedy centres on the four people left on earth after a nuclear war. Ironically, they were all colleagues in HR - human resources - which allows for some telling lines about the human condition in general and Englishness in particular. And, just maybe, they can set a new course for the human race.

Sister Act, Albany Theatre, Coventry, to Aug 17

The Wing-it Theatre Company turn in a polished performance of this stage version of the much-loved film musical. It's genuinely joyous - the acting is fantastic, the singing superb, and the jokes faultlessly delivered.

The Thrill of Love, Loft Theatre, to July 27

This powerful play focusing on Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in England, is a superbly staged theatrical equivalent of film noir. It doesn't simply probe the issue of capital punishment. The trial here revolves around nothing less than the conflicts within the human psyche. It's riveting.