Posted in Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes, Writing Classes

C2 Proficiency: Review of a West End Musical

This is a lesson plan for C2 students based around a review of a West End Musical. Students will learn vocabulary related to the theatre and performing arts that can then be recycled in their own reviews of live performances as practice for writing part 2 in the Proficiency exam.

Download the handout below:

Here is a possible part 2 task you could set as follow up to the lesson plan:

Review of a live performance

An online entertainment website is asking for reviews of live performances. They want reviews of any type of performing arts including plays, dance, musicals or concerts. You should explain why you decided to go to the performance, describe the highlights and point out any weak points that you think it had. You should also recommend the show to a specific audience or demographic.

280-320 Words

Quizlet Set

Here’s a quizlet set of the vocabulary to use for recall.

Pre-reading

  • Are you a fan of musical theatre? Why/why not?
  • Read the title to this review and predict:
    • Will it be a positive review?
    • What was the audience’s reaction?
    • What is the rehearsal process like for a big west end musical?
    • What is the experience like for the actors?
  • Read the review. Were your predictions correct?

Mamma Mia! Opens to Rave Reviews

A new adaptation of the jukebox musical Mamma Mia! opened to a packed house in London’s Theatre Royal last Friday night. The popular show, co-written by playwright Catherine Johnson and lyricists Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, will run for the next 6 months after a series of successful preview showings over the last week.

The audience gave the cast a unanimous thumbs-up by giving them a 10-minute standing ovation at the curtain call. The classic Abba songs such as Dancing Queen and the title-track Mamma Mia really brought the house down with hoards of backing dancers filling the stage right on cue for the final chorus.

In spite of leading lady Betty Harris’s dazzling performance, she admitted backstage after the show that it hadn’t all been plain sailing during rehearsals. “The dress rehearsal last week was an absolute disaster, one stagehand was nearly hit when a light fell from the rig and the leading man came down with a migraine half-way through the show. His understudy had to stand in at very short notice.” Harris, who has admitted to suffering from crippling stage fright in the past, explained how she had used the emotional recall of her own troubled relationship with her late mother to conjure up the necessary feelings for the nail-biting finale. Despite the emotional rollercoaster of the last few weeks, she said that seeing the beaming smiles of audience at the end had made it all worthwhile! She really is an accomplished actor and I have to admit that the poignant final scenes really brought a tear to my eye.

The show has received glowing reviews across the board and tickets are selling like hot cakes so get yours while you can!

Post Reading

  • Would you like to see this show? Why/why not?
  • Have you ever acted in a play/show/film? Or performed in front of an audience?
  • Look at the expressions in bold, use the context to guess the meaning.
  • Test your partner on the language and expressions

Recall

Can you remember the expressions?

Mamma Mia! Opens to _______ Reviews

A new adaptation of the ________ musical Mamma Mia! opened to a _______ house in London’s Theatre Royal last Friday night. The popular show, co-written by _______ Catherine Johnson and _______ Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, will run for the next 6 months after a series of successful _______ showings over the last week.

The audience gave the cast a u__________ thumbs-up by giving them a 10-minute standing ______ at the c_________ call. The classic Abba songs such as Dancing Queen and the title-track Mamma Mia really brought the _________ down with hoards of _________ dancers filling the stage right on ______ for the final chorus.

In spite of ________ lady Betty Harris’s d________ performance, she admitted b________ after the show that it hadn’t all been ________ sailing during rehearsals. “The ________ rehearsal last week was an absolute disaster, one stage_______ was nearly hit when a light fell from the rig and the leading man c______ d_______ with a migraine half-way through the show. His under________ had to _______ in at very short ________.” Harris, who has admitted to suffering from c________ stage _______ in the past, explained how she had used the emotional ________ of her own troubled relationship with her late mother to _________ up the necessary feelings for the n_____-b_______ finale. Despite the e_________ r___________ of the last few weeks, she said that seeing the ___________ smiles of audience at the end had ________ it all worthwhile! She really is an a___________ actor and I have to admit that the p__________ final scenes really brought a ______ to my ________.

The show has received g__________ reviews across the ________ and tickets are selling like ______ _______ so get yours while you can!

  • Which ones were easy to remember?
  • Which ones were difficult to remember?
  • Which are your favourite expressions?

Author:

Barcelona based English Teacher, blogger and sometime actor and director.

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