Peter Rabbit Review

The Plot

Peter Rabbit and his family of mischievous bunnies are determined to reclaim their vegetable patch from the evil McGregor family. But just when their daring tricks seem to have finally won their land back for good, a new McGregor arrives to spoil their fun.

The Good

Beatrix Potter’s animal creations are timeless childhood favourites that have spanned generations. Despite utilising the latest CGI effects this big screen adventure perfectly captures all of the whimsical beauty of Potter’s ironically illustrated tales. Perfectly clad in tiny jackets, pinafore aprons and dresses the animal inhabitants of Potter’s tales have retained every inch of their famous charm. The film’s bucolic English countryside setting likewise provides a perfect backdrop for a world quintessentially British and timeless.

James Corden continues his unstoppable meteoric rise by providing a sensationally well matched performance as titular hero Peter Rabbit. The actor turned talk show host manages to imbue Peter with just the right mix of naughty recklessness and genuine heart. Surrounding his star turn is a simply amazing supporting cast, with each familiar beloved character brought to life with note perfect vocal performances.

Special praise in particular goes to the all-star trio of Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley as the bickering bunny siblings Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail. It’s hard to imagine anything more relentlessly amusing and charming than this winning combination. Margot Robbie deserves special praise for doubling up with narrator duties in a flawless English accent. Daisy Ridley also goes a long way to proving her comic timing and establishing a character range wider than ‘too perfect’ Jedi heroes.

The film’s ‘human’ stars Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne are both on magnificent form as the occasionally mean spirited Thomas McGregor and the Bunny family’s faithful friend Bea. Gleeson does a great job of adapting the high strung Mr McGregor into a nasty villain and a romantic hero as the story requires. Rose Byrne likewise effortlessly bubbles throughout with the kind of sweet natured charisma only truly found in the very best children’s stores.

As is seemingly standard for modern revivals of beloved children’s characters, this new version of Peter Rabbit incorporates a soundtrack of instantly familiar pop songs. While this might initially seem like a potentially jarring juxtaposition with Potter’s well defined world, in truth it actually works out wonderfully. Each song used is thankfully well chosen and integrated into the film in surprisingly effective ways.

Director and co-writer Will Gluck combines each well-chosen element of his cast, soundtrack and animation with a script that captures the true spirit of Peter Rabbit. The film manages to fuse every aspect of Potter’s iconic heroes with an irrepressibly funny and sincere script. Packed with genuinely amusing slapstick comedy, memorable one liners and gentle moral lessons this is a rare gift of a film.

The Bad

Judged within the context of a children’s film there is simply no flaw worth mentioning. This adaptation of Peter Rabbit simply could not be any better.

The Ugly Truth

A truly magnificent combination of modern animation, brilliant voice acting and joyously fun writing breathe new life into Beatrix Potter’s utterly beloved characters. Peter Rabbit is a perfect piece of cinema magic that will leave children and adults alike equally delighted.

Review by Russell Nelson

Good Girl Review Trafalgar Studios

The Plot

Titular hero GG aka ‘Good Girl’ narrates her own life story from early childhood, through painfully awkward adolescence and into even more uncertain adulthood.

The Good

Set against an expertly chosen backdrop of 1990s pop culture references and catchy pop tunes this sensational one woman show deservedly graduates to the West End, having emphatically dazzled audiences at Edinburgh Fringe and the Vault festivals.

Writer and star Naomi Sheldon breathes captivating life into every moment of a brisk 60 minute run time. Lurching expertly from joyous explorations to painful disappointments she makes GG the kind of sincere nuanced heroine that is so tragically rare on stage or screen. Sheldon’s performance is overflowing with an abundance of comedic charm. In particular her flare for instantly transforming herself physically and vocally into a wide range of characters, allows this one woman show to explore a rich expansive world.

Sheldon convincingly portrays both GG and her loyal gang of fellow Sheffield schoolgirls in a journey that spans decades and the entire emotional spectrum. Her unflinchingly candid observations and instantly recognisable caricatures connect instantly and powerfully with audiences. Her vividly descriptive narration and richly imaginative performance combines to leave audiences in frequent fits of laughter. This rich reservoir of bold comedic charm allows Sheldon to succeed in handling complex issues of identity, gender and sexuality with an effortless grace and precision.

It’s impossible to ignore just how timely and urgently relevant this show feels, set against a backdrop of seemingly unstoppable social self-examination and recriminations. Perhaps the biggest compliment possible is that Good Girl transcends the current white noise of increasingly hysterical tabloid headlines to speak directly to women and men with equal passion and grace. This show has a urgent and sincere voice of its own, rather than just being an angry kneejerk reaction to current Hollywood drama.

Sheldon and her semi-autobiographical heroine GG are brave and fragile in the most utterly compelling ways. Standing alone on a small circular stage with no props beside raw imagination and sensational comic timing, Sheldon is simultaneously commanding and exposed. Similarly the distinctive twang of northern accents of the various characters she inhabits lends both gentle and harsh qualities to some of the plays most crucial moments.

Naomi Sheldon is clearly destined for great things and deserves every success that will assuredly come her way in due time. For now it’s essential not to miss the chance to spend an hour inside the warm welcoming wit of her intimate adventure.

The Bad

The only minor flaw in Naomi Sheldon’s otherwise perfect piece of stage magic is that it may at times be too daringly honest and perceptive for more emotionally repressed audiences.

The Ugly Truth

Good Girl is a truly essential piece of live theatre magic that perfectly captures the poignant pleasures and pains of adolescence. Naomi Sheldon is an astonishingly adept new voice as both a writer and performer. You MUST watch this while you can. Do not miss the chance to experience this vivid storytelling masterclass in a fittingly intimate space.

Review by Russell Nelson

The Happy Prince Release Date Confirmed

THE HAPPY PRINCE, written and directed by, as well as starring, Rupert Everett, opens in cinemas across the UK on 15 June. Its UK premiere is set for 28 March as part of the BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, following world and European premieres at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. The final years of Oscar Wilde, and the ghosts that haunted him, are vividly evoked in Everett’s directorial debut.

The film features a stellar supporting cast of British actors including Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man), Emily Watson (On Chesil Beach, Gosford Park), Colin Morgan (The Fall, Testament of Youth) and Edwin Thomas (Endeavour).

Building from his own 2012 lauded stage portrayal of Wilde in David Hare’s The Judas Kiss, Everett physically and emotionally embodies the literary genius as he lives out his last days in exile in Europe, in a performance described by critics as “flawless” and “the best thing Everett has done”.

The film opens in Paris, where Wilde, by now in his forties, penniless and in poor health, is still reeling after being imprisoned in England for his love affair with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (Morgan). Out of prison but a pariah, Wilde swings between grief and a determination to wrest whatever pleasure and beauty he can from the time he has left. His body ailing and heavy, his mind spinning, he survives by falling back on the flamboyant irony and brilliant wit that defined him.

Everett’s Wilde is tortured but determined to remain true to himself. His thoughts are filled with love and betrayal and permeated with those closest to him: Bosie, his literary agent Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas), his great friend Reggie Turner (Firth) and his estranged wife Constance (Watson).

As the film travels through Wilde’s final act, and journeys from England to France and Italy, desire and loyalty face off, the transience of lust is laid bare, and the true riches of love are revealed.

Olivier Awards 2018 Nominations List

This year’s Olivier Awards nominations have been announced. The 42nd annual awards nominees lists were announced in a Facebook live stream read by Elaine Page and Alexandra Burke.

Hamilton scored a record breaking 13 nominations including in Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical, Best New Musical, Best Director and Best Actor in a Musical. With 13 nominations overall it makes it the most nominated production in the history of the awards. The Ferryman is this year’s most nominated play with eight.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Michael Jibson for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Ross Noble for Young Frankenstein at Garrick Theatre

Jason Pennycooke for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Cleve September for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Sheila Atim for Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic

Tracie Bennett for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Rachel John for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Lesley Joseph for Young Frankenstein at Garrick Theatre

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie - Music and Orchestrations by Dan Gillespie Sells, his debut as a musical theatre composer and orchestrator at Apollo Theatre

Follies - The Orchestra, under the Music Supervision of Nicholas Skilbeck and Music Director Nigel Lilley at National Theatre – Olivier

Girl From The North Country - Music & Lyrics by Bob Dylan, Original Orchestrations & Arrangements by Simon Hale at The Old Vic

Hamilton - Composer-Lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION

Flight Pattern by Crystal Pite at Royal Opera House

Goat by Ben Duke for Rambert Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells

Grand Finale by Hofesh Shechter at Sadler’s Wells

Tree Of Codes by Wayne McGregor and The Paris Opera Ballet at Sadler’s Wells

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE

Rocío Molina for pushing the boundary of flamenco in Fallen From Heaven (Caída Del Cielo) at Barbican Theatre

Francesca Velicu for her performance in English National Ballet’s production of Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre Du Printemps at Sadler’s Wells

Zenaida Yanowsky for her performance in Liam Scarlett’s Symphonic Dances at Royal Opera House

BEST ENTERTAINMENT AND FAMILY

David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny at Garrick Theatre

Derren Brown: Underground at Playhouse Theatre

Dick Whittington at London Palladium

Five Guys Named Moe at Marble Arch Theatre

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER

Andy Blankenbuehler for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Bill Deamer for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Kate Prince for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Apollo Theatre

Randy Skinner for 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Christopher Wheeldon for An American In Paris at Dominion Theatre

MAGIC RADIO BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

On The Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Ciarán Hinds for Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic

John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Apollo Theatre

Giles Terera for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Jamael Westman for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Janie Dee for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Shirley Henderson for Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic

Imelda Staunton for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Josie Walker for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Apollo Theatre

BEST REVIVAL

Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Hamlet at Almeida Theatre

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at Harold Pinter Theatre

Witness For The Prosecution at London County Hall

BEST NEW COMEDY

Dry Powder at Hampstead Theatre

Labour Of Love at Noël Coward Theatre

Mischief Movie Night at Arts Theatre

The Miser at Garrick Theatre

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AFFILIATE THEATRE

The B*easts at Bush Theatre

Killology at Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

The Red Lion at Trafalgar Studios 2

The Revlon Girl at Park Theatre

AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Howell Binkley for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Paule Constable for Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Paule Constable for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Jan Versweyveld for Network at National Theatre – Lyttelton

BEST SOUND DESIGN

Tom Gibbons for Hamlet at Almeida Theatre

Gareth Owen for Bat Out Of Hell The Musical at London Coliseum

Eric Sleichim for Network at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Nevin Steinberg for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Hugh Durrant for Dick Whittington at London Palladium

Roger Kirk for 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Vicki Mortimer for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Paul Tazewell for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN

Bunny Christie for Ink at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for An American In Paris at Dominion Theatre

Rob Howell for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

Vicki Mortimer for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Bertie Carvel for Ink at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

John Hodgkinson for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

James McArdle for Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Peter Polycarpou for Oslo at Harold Pinter Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Bríd Brennan for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

Denise Gough for Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Dearbhla Molloy for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

Imogen Poots for Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at Harold Pinter Theatre

BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION

La Bohème at Trafalgar Studios 2

The Exterminating Angel at Royal Opera House

Semiramide at Royal Opera House

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA

Paul Brown for his set and costume designs for Iolanthe at London Coliseum

Joyce DiDonato and Daniela Barcellona for their performances in Semiramide at Royal Opera House

Roderick Williams for his performance in The Royal Opera’s The Return Of Ulysses at the Roundhouse

BEST ACTOR

Paddy Considine for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

Bryan Cranston for Network at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Andrew Garfield for Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Andrew Scott for Hamlet at Almeida Theatre

BEST ACTRESS

Laura Donnelly for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

Lesley Manville for Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Wyndham’s Theatre

Audra McDonald for Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill at Wyndham’s Theatre

Imelda Staunton for Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at Harold Pinter Theatre

BEST DIRECTOR

Dominic Cooke for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

Marianne Elliott for Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Rupert Goold for Ink at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

Thomas Kail for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Sam Mendes for The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

AMERICAN AIRLINES BEST NEW PLAY

The Ferryman at Gielgud Theatre and Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre

Ink at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

Network at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Oslo at Harold Pinter Theatre

BEST NEW MUSICAL

An American In Paris at Dominion Theatre

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Apollo Theatre

Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic

Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

Young Frankenstein at Garrick Theatre

Netflix Renew Black Mirror For Season 5

Netflix on Monday announced that its utterly addictive, Emmy Award-winning anthology series Black Mirror has been renewed for a much-anticipated Season 5.

The series created by Charlie Brooker taps into our collective unease with the modern world, with each stand-alone episode a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia leading to an unforgettable – and sometimes unsettling – conclusion.

Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a Smartphone – a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us. You can use one of those screens to check out the official Black Mirror homepage here netflix.com/blackmirror.