Thursday, April 25

REVIEWS

The Addams Family – Daneside Theatre
North West

The Addams Family – Daneside Theatre

Trinity Amateur Operatic Society (TAOS) presents The Addams Family at the stunning Daneside Theatre in Congleton from the 23rd – 27th of April 2024, directed by Paul Downham, assisted by Izzy Rowe and based on characters created by Charles Addams and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. The Addams Family has become enormously popular over the years for many theatre companies, this being my fourth viewing of the show in less than 6 months. I have witnessed some great performances of this show but none as outstanding as TAOS’s delivery of this classic spooky tale. I feel quite anxious about writing this review as I want to ensure I pay justice to this phenomenal cast and crew on their outstanding delivery of The Addams Family that they so right...
Oh What a Lovely War – Theatr Clwyd
Wales

Oh What a Lovely War – Theatr Clwyd

Joan Littlewood’s iconic, satirical masterpiece O what a lovely war! was first performed sixty years ago and is still as memorable and important as ever. Blackeyed Theatre’s new touring production is imaginative and confidently performed by a small troupe of six multi-talented actor-musicians.  As its aesthetic is a stylized circus theme, it suited Theatr Clwyd’s beautiful temporary ‘tent’ which if you haven’t seen, the word doesn’t do it justice: it’s a wonderful space and well worth a visit. Into this, Director Nicky Allpress brings a small and somewhat subdued colour-toned group of circus performers with just a splash of red from the ringmaster.  The simplistic set of a big top entrance is itself drab but works well as a khaki background to the war games that are to be ...
Ghost the Musical – George Lawton Hall
North West

Ghost the Musical – George Lawton Hall

Ghost first premiered just down the road in Manchester back in 2011 and is based on the hit 1990 film written by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore alongside Whoopi Goldberg. The movies transition began its journey to the stage in 2008 as detailed by Bruce Joel Rubin in a revealing 2021 interview with North West End UK which you can see HERE. Following its sold-out run in Manchester a transfer to the West End followed and subsequently Broadway. Australia and Asia tours followed and subsequently a UK tour followed. Now produced by Bill Kenwright LTD, the show starts a new UK tour later this year. The original production was lauded for its technical innovations, showcasing mind-blowing illusions and changing the face of musical theatre forever. The latest vers...
The Kite Runner – Liverpool Playhouse
North West

The Kite Runner – Liverpool Playhouse

Settling into a packed auditorium, there was a palpable expectation. Another world class story has been taken to the stage and I was keen to see if it was going to work. Hanif Khan takes his place at the front of the stage. A hush descends, but the play is yet to start. Filling the space with sound, he plays his tabla drums with gentle tenacity, bringing the Liverpool crowd into another world. This musical intro is something familiar to theatre goers that can go one of two ways, either the performance that follows is over-acted to the point where our presence in this new world is glaringly false or where we are truly transported. I’m glad to say this performance is of the latter. Amongst frequent soundscapes made by performers, this production aptly delivers the essence of Khaled Hosse...
2:22 A Ghost Story – Blackpool Grand
North West

2:22 A Ghost Story – Blackpool Grand

I don’t usually sign up to review performances that aren’t musicals, but something about this one drew me in. Coincidentally an article written by ‘The Stage’ popped up today, talking about the West End transfer of this production, so already I was expecting good things, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I was so pleased to see such a full venue this evening at The Grand Blackpool. Written by Danny Robins, 2:22 has a very small cast featuring only four principles and two supporting cast members. All of the action takes place on the same set, a living room/ dining room open plan downstairs of a house, the events take place over the period of one evening. I don’t want to give too much away, because I really don’t want to spoil anything; But I can say that the cast members were each ...
Edward Scissorhands – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Edward Scissorhands – Hull New Theatre

The 1927 song “I Danced With A Man, Who Danced With A Girl, Who Danced With The Prince of Wales”, refers to the oft-desired human condition of forging connections with famous people - however remote those connections may be. Well, I possibly suffer from the same condition and can claim family folklore has revealed that my nephew’s daughter’s mum is Liam Mower’s cousin. Impressive eh? Mower, for those not in the know, has the lead role of Edward Scissorhands in Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production of the same name, which began a run at the Hull New Theatre on Tuesday night. As I took my seat, I wondered if the Hull-born dancer’s performance would cut it (pun intended) with his home crowd. I needn’t have worried, he was stupendous. And that goes for everyone on stage that n...
Life of Pi – Wolverhampton Grand
West Midlands

Life of Pi – Wolverhampton Grand

I remember reading Yann Martel’s dazzling Booker-prize-winning novel “Life of Pi” in a youth hostel in San Francisco and being so consumed with it I nearly missed a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. It really is a cracking novel and such a wonderful whirl of magic realism and bright, laugh out loud comedy. I dodged the film when it came out in case it spoiled my memories of the book, so it was with some trepidation I approached the stage version. I needn’t have worried. Piscine “Pi” Patel is the son of a Pondicherry zoo keeper who tells a tall, but convincing, tale of surviving days adrift in open sea with only a Bengal tiger for company. A Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, no less. The playwright Lolita Chakrabarti takes the story and deftly reassembles the narrative into a spectacular...
London

You Are Going to Die – Southwark Playhouse

It was noteworthy that the Southwark Playhouse was fizzing with an unlikely joi de vivre for the launch of You Are Going to Die. On a Monday? For a ‘nail-biting descent into existential anxiety’? The bar was jumping with a young, up-for-it crowd, and it was mystifying and exciting to be among them. Who told them and why are they here? As a long time supporter of the avant garde, I’ve endured excruciating boredom, genuine fear and questionable thrills, but the audience at such events always leans towards the gothy fringes of artistic society. That crowd were oddly absent and in their place were fresh faced Londoners, keen to party and free from the frosty demeanour of the serious aesthete. In attendance was Michelle Greenidge, who plays Lola, Mandy’s best friend in Diane Morgan’s BBC co...
Derek’s Mojo: Questionable Behaviour – Unity Theatre
North West

Derek’s Mojo: Questionable Behaviour – Unity Theatre

A much more adult addition to Liverpool Improv festival than the shows that had come earlier in the day, Questionable Behaviour was performed by the comedy duo Derek’s Mojo, made up of Monica Gaga, and Jodyanne Richardson. If I’m honest, I didn’t really understand what was going on, but the story did not seem to matter too much when there were two such likeable, funny performers on the stage. The improv work here was outstanding, the ability to take dialogue in one direction, and then another, and another, but do it with such synchronicity is a skill that only two people who have worked together for a long time can achieve. Gaga and Richardson have a chemistry that is simply unmatched, they clearly have so much respect and love for each other. They maintained a sense of realism even in...
The Oickers: Fruit Smoothie – Unity Theatre
North West

The Oickers: Fruit Smoothie – Unity Theatre

The Oickers performed a ‘Who’s line is it anyway?’ style game show as part of Liverpool Improv Festival. There is something truly remarkable about this kind of improv. You are not a character, you are yourself, and you are exposed. Hats off to The Oickers, who were brave and bold, and put it all on the line whenever they go out and do this. The performance was a resounding success. The audience spent 40 minutes in stitches, and such a huge percentage of the jokes were well received. Even the ones that fell flat were followed through, and the ability to laugh at yourself is absolutely crucial in this scenario. If anybody gets the opportunity to watch The Oickers at a future event, I would strongly recommend it. There is something extremely recognisable and likeable about them. We...