Sunday, April 18

North West

West End In Blackpool – Winter Gardens
North West

West End In Blackpool – Winter Gardens

That entertainment mecca of the Lancashire coast, the Winter Gardens, Blackpool celebrates its star studded heritage with the sparkling streaming event: West End In Blackpool. Described by its director and choreographer, Ashley Luke Lloyd as a “docu-concert stageavaganza”, this combines performances from West End artists with commentary detailing the history of the iconic building. It features Blackpool born Jodie Prenger (Oliver!) with former on screen Emmerdale siblings, Tom Lister and Kelsey-Beth Crossley. Others appearing include Top Hat co-stars, Charlotte Gooch and Alan Burkitt along with Luke Lloyd himself. Prenger breathes new life into Sondheim’s evergreen Send In The Clowns whilst Lister pays admirable homage to Frank Sinatra (who appeared at the venue) with All Of Me....
Romeo and Juliet – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Romeo and Juliet – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

"We are two worlds apart."  Joseph Meighan's melding of 1990s pop culture with the 16th century tale of two tragic young lovers is a bold and innovative take on what is probably Shakespeare's best-known play.  As with much of Shakespeare's work, the story of Romeo and Juliet is timelessly malleable and has been retold in countless formats, including as musicals, opera and on film, since it was written in around 1595. It has been set in any number of time periods and situations with the deep-seated hatred between the Montague and Capulet families reflecting every conflict throughout history, as the cast movingly reference at the end of the play. Everyone knows the plot: Romeo, a Montague, sneaks into a Capulet masked ball and it's love at first sight when he sees the young and be...
The Royal Court Selection Box – Royal Court, Liverpool
North West

The Royal Court Selection Box – Royal Court, Liverpool

Last night i was in a magical theatre known as The Royal Court Theatre Liverpool. If you haven’t been to the Royal Court, then well where have you been? It’s a must thing to do in Liverpool. Supporting local Liverpool writers, directors and actors the whole 9 yards while indulging in a theatre style dining during experience whilst the show that’s being performed for you. Understandably there’s been a lack of anything this year especially theatre, so it was nice to be in a room where magic is happening. The show started with a montage of news clips, empty streets and old Royal Court show memories. It was a sad yet lovely way to begin the show. From then on it was non - stop laughter and entertainment. The cast walked on portraying their new day jobs ranging from Uber Eats to B&Q. Th...
Beauty and the Beast – Theatre Royal St Helens
North West

Beauty and the Beast – Theatre Royal St Helens

Last night it was nice to have some sort of normality in the theatre world. I got to review my first show in 2020 inside an actual theatre. It was nice to be back. The things that would normally annoy you in the theatre, such as people getting past you in the aisle or the rustling of crisp packets was strangely welcomed as it was just nice to have that experience again. However, I digress the reason why I was there was to review 2020 pantomime Beauty and the Beast at the St Helens Theatre Royal. The show start time was at 6pm which I was surprised at because you’d think that was to early due to audiences working even if it started at 7:30pm it would have finished before 10pm. the show itself was as flamboyant and as funny as you expect a panto to be with little hidden gems of the cast ...
The Royal Variety Performance 2020 – Blackpool Opera House
North West

The Royal Variety Performance 2020 – Blackpool Opera House

Well, it’s that time of year again! Christmas TV is well under way and so we are welcomed into the Blackpool Opera House (via our screens) for this year’s Royal Variety Performance. With the stage set, and the virtual audience in their seats, the night fulfilled the show’s yearly promise of talent and festive cheer. Jason Manford opened the show by journeying through the theatre to the stage, whilst singing Webber’s “As If We Never Said Goodbye”. A poignant and rousing start to the night. As Manford also hosted the Oliviers last month, it seems he is the voice of the theatre world at the moment. He used this position to present with humility, humour and class. The show was filled with its usual spectacular line-up of stars. From Gary Barlow singing his new hit “Incredible”, (an adje...
ALLO Opera – Online Opera Gala
North West

ALLO Opera – Online Opera Gala

Tonight, I had the absolute pleasure of viewing ALLO Opera’s inaugural recorded Opera Gala. We find ourselves in a time when live performances are scant so any opportunity to enjoy a fantastic evening of singing is to be grasped with both hands. Of course, with the current climate, social distancing is the order of the day and I was delighted to find that the performers found a perfect way to maintain the 3-meter rule for singers to make sure everyone was safe. Ross Cumming took first performance and also doubled up as a more than capable compare for the evening. His rich tone and strength of voice complimented the Mendelssohn Elijah piece, Lord God of Abraham, and it was sung with a great reverence and sensitivity. He presented a totally different tone for Ach wir Armen Leute from Hum...
Panto.Demic – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Panto.Demic – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Pantomime is well and truly a British institution, and although the traditional festive offering might not be playing in theatres up and down the country this year as it normally would, the tradition of Panto has always had the capacity to adapt with the times, and even during a pandemic, the team at the fantastic Altrincham Garrick Theatre continue to entertain their audiences even during a national lockdown with a special pre-recorded ‘Panto-demic’ short for the whole family to sit down together and enjoy! The Altrincham Garrick have a well-deserved reputation for delivering one of the best family-friendly pantomimes in the North West and I’d be the first to say I was thoroughly excited to be sat in those red theatre chairs with a packet of wine gums in hand ready to sit back and enj...
The Bald Soprano – Magpie Theatre
North West

The Bald Soprano – Magpie Theatre

The Bald Soprano is an absurdist play by Eugène Ionesco, first performed in French in 1950, consisting of meaningless banter and nonsensical truisms – probably drawn from an English primer – and holds the world record for the play that has been staged continuously in the same theatre for the longest time. The play opens to an English couple, Mr Smith (Alex Burke) and Mrs Smith (Solenna le Goff), sat in their living room engaging in small talk about what they ate for dinner. Their conversation quickly turns to an almost incomprehensible discussion about Bobby Watson, who it transpires was the name of several people all at once: a man; his wife; their children; and most other members of their extended families. Their maid, Mary (Tsen Day-Beaver), enters to announce their guests have arri...
RENT – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

RENT – Hope Mill Theatre

Seasons of Love 525,600 minutes 525,000 moments so dear 525,600 minutes How do you measure, measure a year? The opening refrain of the most iconic song in Jonathon Larson's stunning 1988 reimagination of  Puccini's 'La Bohème', never felt more timely and relevant than it did last night. As the first night of this radical and exciting new production simultaneously became the closing night, due to the imposition of the latest lockdown, we were left to ponder how much more the theatrical community has to do in order to be allowed to make a living in 2020. It has been 229 days since I last was allowed to review a live piece of theatre (329,760 minutes if you're counting), and I floated on air past the temperature checks, socially distanced staff and in house screens, just so ha...
Stowaway – Liverpool Irish Festival
North West

Stowaway – Liverpool Irish Festival

Liverpool Irish Festival was established to provide a permanent, annual event to celebrate the Irish contribution to Liverpool’s cultural identity and heritage, regularly providing a rich array of arts, literature, film, music, and drama. The current pandemic has provided a new challenge for the Festival to overcome with normally staged performances now transferred to Zoom and Barbara Marsh’s fifth play is no exception to the rule, with the romantic drama – written in response to a Scriptshop theme of ‘leaving’ – put together as a scratch reading under the direction of Zara Marie Brown. Ted (Steve Dean) works as a steward on a passenger ship with Paddy (Daryl Holden), and is bringing pregnant wife Annie (Mairi-Claire Kennedy) and teenage son Jimmy (Lew Freeburn) on the next sailing as ...