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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking
Theatre: Billy Elliot

A chance lunchtime meeting near the Victoria Palace Theatre meant that I snapped up one of the few remaining tickets to Billy Elliot tonight. Now the critics have been raving (well some at least) that this is the greatest British Musical ever. Well, I don't know about that (I may have found it more enjoyable than Mary Poppins but that was pretty good too) but whatever ranking you give it, it certainly was an entertaining time. I was suspecting that they surely must have broken child labour laws given how heavily the show relies on its young male star. And of course no musical is complete nowadays without its star flying through the air (no matter how preposterous this may appear). But all that aside, tonight's Billy (there are three that rotate through the role) was quite good and you get the impression the adult cast are quite protective and supportive of their young stars which gave a great dynamic to the show as well.

As for the music, there actually are some very good songs in this show, along with some great dance sequences. The songs the individual cast members sang I thought were the best, but there were some rousing anthem-like union songs, and an interesting song that marked the class divide between the police officers and striking miners (now that's something you don't always get in the West End).

It's not all ballet but I guess it is a musical so these things shouldn't be argued about too much. Unlike the film there is even stronger focus on the miner's strike and matters of class warfare. I sat next to an American who loved the show but wasn't so sure about how the union struggle would translate to the US. But I wondered more about how the Geordie accents would translate outside of London. Actually I could have done with surtitles at times as who knows what they were saying, but that's probably just me.

Given the full house (interesting for a Monday night) this show looks like it will be destined to run for some time. The punters tonight loved it. And for three hours it was a great story that transported you back to the heady days of 1984...

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