These days, there's quite the trend for stage musicals inspired by hit movies, and the Opera House at Blackpool Winter Gardens is proving a popular stopping off place for them as they tour the country. Why, only last month I was at the venue seeing Sister Act, and now it's the turn of Hairspray, with a 2007 film version famously starring an unrecognisable John Travolta in the role of Edna Turnblad.

I have always been a big fan of Willy Russell. He is an expert at writing great roles for women, roles that are empowering and funny and have the story and script to last the test of time. This can be seen in Rita from Educating Rita, Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers and of course, Shirley Valentine which celebrates its 30th birthday next year.

Of all the weird and bizarre shows I've seen in my life, nothing truly has been as surreal to what I just saw at Blackpool Winter Gardens; Spamalot really takes the crown for that.

If you didn’t already know ‘Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage’ is not a musical. In fact, it’s an epic scene-by-scene recreation of the movie which has been made for the stage, written by Eleanor Bergstein and Directed by Federico Bellone. Sure, all the scenes are there (with some others thrown in for artistic/theatrical licence) and the soundtrack accompanies the story throughout (with some added vocals).

It's the day after Alexandra Burke was announced as a contestant in the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing and she's performing in a theatre that's a mere paso doble away from the Tower Ballroom, in a musical directed by Craig Revel Horwood, no less. Do we need a crystal ball to see a glitter ball in her future?

Teenager Ren McCormack's (Josh Dowen) world has come crashing down. After the breakdown of his parent’s marriage he and his mother Ethel (Lindsay Goodhand) find themselves having to move away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, to living with his uncle in the rural small backwater of Bomont. Attending church along with all the other residents he is attracted to the Reverend Moore and principal clark Vi Moore's daughter Ariel (Hannah Price), maybe it won't be too bad living there!

The National Dance Company of Ireland was created in 1998 and has gone from strength to strength since then touring the world with a very talented cast of national, international and world class dancers, a fabulous band and although the programme and online advertises three Irish Tenors, tonight it was slightly disappointing that they were not on this leg of the tour.

Charlotte Josephine, Ian Townsend and Shauna Mackay were the first winner of the Octagon’s National Prize that aims to showcase new writing, although it might have been a braver choice to have at least one winner who was actually a newer writer.

Musicals based upon 'chick flick' movies are something you either love or hate, this evening at Blackpool, love was definitely in the air for the audience if not for wedding singer Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) who finds himself jilted at the altar by fiancée Linda (Tara Verloop).

I currently have the Hamilton: The Musical soundtrack playing on repeat on my sound system. I love its originality, exuberance and chutzpah and the fact that it manages to teach me history in a totally painless way. I'm betting when Lin-Manuel Miranda first mooted the idea he was greeted with disbelief and derisive laughter.

Now I know this is a classic childrens story by Edith Nesbit and a successful film but I have to admit to having no idea what it is all about as I have neither read the book nor seen the film, so it was with an open mind I went to see this musical adaptation by Stephen Kingsbury and Ben Sleep this evening.