The Best Exotic Stage Show Hits Town

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Theatre Severn

Tuesday 14th-Saturday 18th March

(Matinees Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, see brochure)


Well isn’t theatre a funny old game …eh? If you have a show with one of the most creative set designs you have ever seen, actor’s like Berlinda Lang (2.4 Children) Pop singer/Actor Paul Nicholas (Just Good Friends) and Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel in, Only Fools and Horses) a great director and an idea that was amongst one of the best film releases of the early teens, you’d think you’d be guaranteed a winner. Well, not always so.

Hampered by a prosaic first half where very little happened to engage the viewer this is a show that leaves everything to a clumsy denouement in the last quarter. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a show that promises to deliver but doesn’t quite measure up.

One got the impression that the writer wanted to tick every box to make the film a hit with an extra critical audience that likes their dramas served up with a large amount of issues that need fixing by the greater good. There was just too many issues to make a satisfactory ending of all of them. So  all of them got a cursory attention. Relations between the Indian’s and the English were strained a couple of times too by pointing out how lazy and useless we Brits are. One’s sure the theatre wasn’t full  of people who thought we were so hopeless and one is twice as sure we didn’t need it reminded to us constantly from a text looking for cheap laughs.

So that said one might presume that the narrative doesn’t save the show. Often one would be right. Admittedly the second half offered up more than the first but this wasn’t great or top drawer drama. From spiritual beginning to its rather saccharin happy ending this show sure doesn’t run a true path to great theatre.

However, that said the cast are worth the watch they are great. Each part played brilliantly each character utterly emersed and 100% committed. We talk a lot about Stanislavskian technique here as it is the purest, or most natural form of drama. This was indeed a masterclass in Stanislavskian techniques with the cast locked strongly in their roles safe and confident in what they are doing. That is always a joy to see. Actors just working, exercising their craft as they should. (This is often lost on TV.) That is heartening and when the narrative dragged one was aware that something would come along and delight once again as this great technique was exploited with masterly precision. One must like that!

As already alluded to the set was a breath taker. I was so wrapped in its beautiful and yet totally practical design, that I sat open mouthed in awe in at what can be achieved by theatre; and was further delighted at the thought and genius that had gone into it. Turning design into reality is also a great skill and the “Get in,” boys and girls from this company know what they are doing and my how it shows.

So a mixed bag of a review this time. Some great acting and actors, some great blocking and direction however some slow and prosaic narrative  and some highly implausible plotlines. In the shows defence by the end the audience had invested wholesale and the the spectacle finished with huge and possibly over generous ovations.

However, as I always say, prove me wrong go and see it. It’s on all week with matinees too. It’s a big show and how lucky Shrewsbury is to have a theatre that can house such a thing.

This is a Three Star Review.

Sofia Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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