Saturday, September 18

North West

Jordan – The King’s Arms
North West

Jordan – The King’s Arms

Writer Anna Reynolds drew on her own personal experience when she wrote about the fictional character Shirley Jones.  The character is based upon the true story related to her by her fellow inmate that the teenage Reynolds met whilst she was in prison.  The Writers Guild gave Reynolds the Best Play of 1992 Award, and at Buxton Fringe Festival 2019, the play was nominated for the Best Play Award and Sara Gray won the Award for Best Actress.  Produced by Easy Company, the play is set in 1987 and begins with Sara Gray sitting in an easy chair, feet crossed ready to tell us a fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin to be exact.  This is a tale of a bargain between a father who promises a King that his daughter can weaver straw into gold in exchange for him marrying his daughter, an...
Dial M for Murder – Liverpool Playhouse
North West

Dial M for Murder – Liverpool Playhouse

It sure is a tangled web we weave and more so for Tony Wendice, the leading man in Dial M for Murder, made famous in 1950 by a film of the same name from Alfred Hitchcock. Wendice is an ex-tennis pro, who has given it up for his wife Margo. When he discovers that she’s been having an extra-marital affair, he starts to plot his revenge, but will his tangled web be found out or will he get away with the perfect crime? Tom Chambers was ideal to lead the cast as Wendice, taking us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. From laughing with him, to feeling for him, to disgust, Chambers was really able to take us on the full character’s journey throughout the piece. Diana Vickers as Margo portrayed her as away with the fairies and whilst it worked well through act 2, it didn’t quite feel righ...
Rock of Ages – Liverpool Empire
North West

Rock of Ages – Liverpool Empire

Theatre! Theatre! Theatre! So good they said it thrice! How absolutely wonderful to be back in the theatre watching live performances once again! This was my first visit to the theatre in 18 months (as it probably was for a lot of people here at the grand Liverpool Empire this evening) and I was to see a show that, although I have seen before, I was gasping for breath to see. I needed a laugh, some upliftment and an escape from the fear and dreariness of the last year or so and I was hoping that ‘Rock of Ages’ could do this.  So, on entering the theatre, I wasn’t that surprised that the auditorium was half empty, people are still cautious, I appreciate that – although I must add that there are safety measures in place at the Empire (evidence of negative lateral flow test or proof ...
Bat Out Of Hell – Opera House Manchester
North West

Bat Out Of Hell – Opera House Manchester

The award-winning musical featuring Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf’s greatest hits has rock n rolled back into Manchester where it opened back in 2017 and my goodness has it made itself heard! Of course, when you hear the title ‘Bat Out of Hell’ you can’t help but sing it. Packed to the brim with rock anthems, the production is exactly as you would expect it to be paired with the dramatic, rock songs produced through the years by the well-known pair. The story follows Strat, the leader of the rebellious gang ‘The Lost’, as he falls in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian, Falco. There’s a real sense of a Romeo and Juliet, star crossed lovers plot, mixed with a hint of the story of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, as the rebellious crew are forever young, t...
Charlie and Stan – The Lowry
North West

Charlie and Stan – The Lowry

It seems quite remarkable that two of the greatest comedians England has ever produced shared a cabin on a ship before they were famous. Yet it is true that Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel did just that as part of Fred Karno’s comedy troupe as they sailed over the sea to tour America. One of the reasons they were both successful comedians was that they learnt their trade in the English Music Hall. This was their heritage and where they honed the skills of mime and pantomime that would be invaluable to them as silent movie stars. Charlie and Stan is a silent movie as a play. There is no dialogue, and the action is performed as if it were an old Charlie Chaplin film full of slapstick with the odd bit of pathos. Like every silent film we had musical accompaniment. This was performed...
Something about George – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Something about George – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Something about George is a concert with a difference. Written and musically directed by Jon Fellows, it utilises live musical performance, storytelling and contemporaneous recordings to tell the story of the youngest member of one of Britain’s most famous most successful and enduring bands. Opening with the iconic screams of girls hysterical over Beatlemania, and the announcement that the Beatles have broken up quickly brings a halt to the story of the Fab Four. Performed by three musicians: Daniel Taylor and Fellows on guitar and Ben Gladwin on keyboard, the show combines a showcase of George Harrison's post-Beatle repertoire with anecdotes and stories from his life after the breakup of the band. Taylor narrates the story of Harrison's life and tells us that George was both the yo...
The Laughterhouse Comedy Club – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

The Laughterhouse Comedy Club – Liverpool Theatre Festival

What a joy it is to be back at Liverpool Theatre Festival once again, in the beautiful surroundings of St Luke’s Bombed Out Church. Having reviewed a number of shows in this festival, it was a pleasure to return tonight to see further variety unfold in the form of pure humour from “The Laughterhouse Comedy Club”. Laughterhouse are the longest running comedy club in Liverpool having showcased thousands of sell-out shows for well over a decade. They pride themselves on understanding what makes the best comedy nights, taking their venues, acts and overall atmosphere into great consideration. The show was hosted by laughterhouse’s resident MC Chris Cairns who is no stranger to both the local and international stage. Chris’s charming welcomes and witty introductions warm the audience up nic...
Twelfth Night – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Twelfth Night – Liverpool Theatre Festival

The Boaty Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night is a pirate themed version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy of unrequited love and mistaken identities. Live music, physical comedy and a reinterpretation of the use of gender in the play, make this an original and fun performance which is suitable for the whole family. The set features a barrel table and bar stools, giving this version of Illyria a feeling of Nassau during the reign of the pirates, and this version of the play features its very own Pirate Queen, Captain Orsina. The Captain is deeply in love with Countess Oliva, who is grieving for her father and brother while trying to maintain order on the island with the help of her overseer, Malvolia. In the meantime, a violent storm shipwrecks twins, Viola and Sebastian, each of whom assume...
Lydia – Greater Manchester Fringe
North West

Lydia – Greater Manchester Fringe

She’s capable, skilled, eloquent. Without a doubt Lydia will go places in life. In that case why does she never reach her destination? ‘Lydia’ is an auditory gem in which we hear us our protagonist growing up solely through the voices around her. On paper everything seems like it will work out, her family has high aspirations, and she has the skills to accomplish it all. However, as her life steadily journeys downhill, we realise that some things do not stand the test of time and soon will become forgotten. The entire world the audience perceives is built up with soundscapes, voice acting and special effects. This leaves us entirely immersed through every segment and trial faced. I must commend the sound designer Raimundas Paulauskas for the gritty, unnerving, surreal atmosphere ...
Bouncers – Rainhill Village Hall
North West

Bouncers – Rainhill Village Hall

Rainhill Musical Theatre Company return to the stage with a bang and a bounce with their production of John Godber’s classic 1977 play covering an evening working the doors of a nightclub for four bored doormen and their likely clientele: four young beer swilling lads hoping to get lucky, and four excitable teenage girls out for a bit of dancing, drinking, and whatever the eye might fancy, including visits to hairdressers in its build-up and fast-food vendors in the climactic come down. Other than the excellent writing, what makes this such a clever piece of theatre is that all the roles throughout are portrayed by four bouncers – Lucky Eric (Paul Robinson), Les (Ben Evans-Clarke), Judd (K. Ellis), and Ralph (Aidan Maj) – who, with the simplest of sets, the minimum of props, and no cos...