Friday, May 27

North West

Rambert Dance – The Lowry
North West

Rambert Dance – The Lowry

Rambert is a contradiction of dance. Britain’s oldest dance company, created at the turn of the 20th Century, with a 40year legacy of some of the best examples of modern, contemporary dance within the dance world. Whilst Rambert is putting the finishing touches to a new tour of an adaptation of Peaky Blinders, tonight we have a company exposed (almost literally in one piece), showcasing three pieces of pure dance, stripped of any in-depth narrative, instead a celebration of the art form they have dominated for decades. Our first piece, Eye Candy, choreographed by Imre and Marne van Opstal, is an exploration of modern beauty standards and its positive and negative impact on us. Dancers wearing specially designed body suits to give the impression of nudity (minus private parts) kick a...
As You Like It – Liverpool Playhouse
North West

As You Like It – Liverpool Playhouse

In their 30th anniversary production, Northern Broadsides, under the direction of Laurie Sansom, bring a bold approach to Shakespeare’s most musical and much-loved comedy. Unfortunately, we are met more with a misguided fantasy than a great production. In a stylish but stifling court, where the Duke (Tom Shaw) is all powerful and brute strength is championed over basic human decency, the high-spirited Rosalind (Em Williams) and devoted cousin Celia (Isobel Coward) are no longer welcome. When they escape into the forest in disguise, accompanied by Touchstone (Joe Morrow), they bump into the recent object of Rosalind’s affection, Orlando (Shaban Dar), who has fallen foul of Oliver (Aron Julius) but is supported by Adam (Claire Hackett), leading to an elaborate game of fluid identity w...
The Play That Goes Wrong – Liverpool Empire
North West

The Play That Goes Wrong – Liverpool Empire

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society has finally found the play for their member numbers and the time has come for them to put it in front of an audience, but are they ready? Mischief Comedy’s The Play That Goes Wrong focuses on the Drama Society’s performance of Murder at Haversham Manor and is two hours of guaranteed laughs and enjoyment. Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, it is a comedy and a piece that will stand the test of time, as there is no actual time period mentioned throughout the piece. The comedic timing is absolutely spot on and to be able to deliver the piece straight-faced, whilst standing in exactly the right place at the right time, so as not to mess up any of the cues definitely takes a special type of skill. Just when you think nothing el...
Corrina, Corrina – Everyman Theatre
North West

Corrina, Corrina – Everyman Theatre

Even allowing for a couple of spiced rum punches in the interval, I have to say, there is nothing better after a play than hearing repeated comments of Brilliant and Amazing. So, you may have wondered about the appeal of this tale, the only woman working as Safety Officer on a container ship heading to Singapore, encountering sexism and racism, for a start – but there are plenty of comical moments, and karaoke. with the music of Muse, Dolly Parton and of course, the eponymous title, sound overall is most effective, predominately building up the tension as well as helping convey the sense of being aboard ship and highlighting emotions and actions. That said, it is sometimes perhaps too haunting, implying the supernatural. And when sinister, with the frequent references to pirates, you a...
House of Ghosts – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

House of Ghosts – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Murder mysteries are one of my favourite genres of fiction. So, I was extremely intrigued to see Alma Cullen transporting the iconic Inspector Morse from television to stage. Cullen has written some of the episodes for the TV series, so she should be able to bring some of that magic to the stage production. From the beginning this has the busy going ons of a play within a play. It was rather amusing to start with, but then got far too complicated. A lot of the actors looked and sounded very similar, so it was difficult to distinguish who’s who - which is vital in a murder mystery! The play is set in Oxford in the 1980s where a production of Hamlet is taking place. However, the young actor playing Ophelia (in this case Ciara Booker) collapses and dies on stage during the performance....
Though This Be Madness – The Studio, Edinburgh
North West

Though This Be Madness – The Studio, Edinburgh

Have you ever been welcomed into and auditorium with cushions and soft toys tucked here and there into the seats, bean bags in the front row, and actively encouraged by the ushers to grab hold of any you may like and hold it throughout (or discreetly displace it to a nearby seat if that’s not for you)? No? Well, this was definitely a first for me too – and a welcome one. There I sat, ready to enjoy the show, a small koala bear on my lap, and a lion peering over the seat in front of me. Quite the cosy setting I must say. This is exactly the sort of atmosphere that the stage set reflects: baby toys, blankets, Pilates balls and a range of other items strewn across the stage (maybe messy is a more accurate term than cosy at this point), Skye Loneragan, playing a heavily sleep-deprived mum,...
Lucia Di Lammermoor – Met Opera
North West

Lucia Di Lammermoor – Met Opera

Producer Simon Stone provides a modern take on Donizetti’s classic opera and, putting the occasional embellishment aside, delivers one of the most complete operatic productions of the season. Fallen on hard times, Enrico (Artur Ruciński) has arranged an advantageous marriage for his sister, Lucia (Nadine Sierra), but Normanno (Alok Kumar) reveals that she is in love with Enrico’s enemy, Edgardo (Javier Camarena). As Lucia and Alisa (Deborah Nansteel) wait for Edgardo, Lucia reveals a recent dream which Alisa interprets as a portent of doom. When Edgardo arrives, he explains that he has to leave on a mission and he and Lucia exchange vows. Normanno obtains forged evidence to suggest that Edgardo is involved with another woman and when Enrico shows it to Lucia, she is heartbroken and ...
Red Hot Chilli Pipers – Floral Pavilion Theatre
North West

Red Hot Chilli Pipers – Floral Pavilion Theatre

Bagpipes with attitude, drums with a Scottish accent and a show so hot it carries its own health warning – that’s what the Red Hot Chilli Pipers sell themselves as and they do not disappoint! I went in cold but came out hot. Currently performing their 20th anniversary tour, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a Celtic rock band who bring the house down with their own unique blend of bagpipes, rock music and a relentless command of the stage that screams ‘we’re here to have fun and so are you!’ A combination of guitars, keyboards, drums and bagpipes create their unique, self-proclaimed 'bagrock' sound. This is not a sit down recital of several set pieces. Picture the energy of Queen, the stage presence of Elvis and the tradition of a marching band and you have something that resembles this...
Werq the World – AO Arena, Manchester
North West

Werq the World – AO Arena, Manchester

AO Arena in Manchester played host to some of the most fabulous drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race last night. Featuring probably the world’s most malfunctioning time machine, Werq the World was full of laughs, fantastic costumes, bad lip syncing and amazing hairography. If you’re looking for a slice of diva, then you’re definitely in the right place. Hosted by the fabulous Asia O’Hara, the premise of the show is she is trying to use the time machine to take her back to Season 10 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, where she can go back and snatch the title. What was amazing to see at AO Arena on this night, is not only how much love there is for the drag queens, but that it comes from all walks of lives. Some people had waited two years to see this show as the original run was cancelled due t...
Shrek The Musical – Northwich Memorial Court
North West

Shrek The Musical – Northwich Memorial Court

Knutsford Musical Theatre Company (KMTC) return to tread the boards in Northwich again, only this time it is the swamp that takes over the stage, as Shrek and friends pay a visit! Directed by Ben Ireson, the musical is based on the well-known, Oscar winning film by DreamWorks – an ambitious task perhaps but one that KMTC have wanted to embrace for several years having been given the rights to perform it five years ago. With recent outstanding performances in terms of KMTCs productions of ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ and prior to that the fabulous ‘Ghost The Musical’, it is safe to say that ‘Shrek The Musical’ is a mammoth task, surely even for this award-winning musical theatre company. Intrigued prior to the performance and with so many questions such as ‘How will the swamp appear o...