Thursday, July 7

Tag: Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Calendar Girls – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Calendar Girls – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

The traditional view of that redoubtable British institution, The Women’s Institute (or WI to its friends), is one of middle-class ladies of a certain age baking and knitting in a cosy village environment, far from the struggles of the real world. Subverting this stereotype, a branch from Yorkshire decided to produce an ‘Alternative WI Calendar’ to raise money for a new sofa in the wait room of a local hospital, following the cancer diagnosis of a friend. The twist was that all the ladies appeared in various states of undress whilst posing in a variety of mundane activities. The idea was a runaway success, eventually raising over £3,000,000 for Leukaemia Research and subsequently spawning a successful play, film and this stage musical in 2015. Penned by Tim Firth (Kinky Boots, Neville’...
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....
Ross & Rachel – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Ross & Rachel – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

They were arguably the biggest on-screen couple of the 1990s. But what happened after the cameras stopped rolling on Ross and Rachel? After all, no one told life was gonna be this way. Written by James Fritz, strangely this isn't a play about the iconic couple from Friends. Instead, it is about a young couple navigating their way through life until they're delivered a massive blow. What starts off as relatively light hearted takes a more sinister turn. To add to this, the play directed by Carole Carr, is essentially a series of monologues delivered by one actor. In this case Fiona Primrose rose to the challenge. Her dramatic scenes were when she shone brightest, but personally I would have preferred a more distinguished difference between the two characters. I did have the joy of se...
Jumpers for Goalposts – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Jumpers for Goalposts – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

As the football season comes to a close and trophies and league titles are fought for, one wonders if top-flight managers have ever considered ‘taunting the opposition with Enya, possibly T’Pau’ as a legitimate tactic. Jumpers for Goalposts, written by Tom Wells, and in the safe directorial hands of Joseph Meighan, follows the trials and tribulations of the comically named ‘Barely Athletic’, part of a four-team, five-a-side football LGBTQ+ league that coach Viv, kicked out from ‘Lesbian Rovers’ for being too bossy, is desperate to win. As we see her attempts to fire up her team-mates’ competitive hackles, we discover the motivations, personal battles and relationships that may be holding them back from glory. Set within the confines of our team’s locker room, Meighan has assemble...
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

When Ken Kesey’s debut novel was published in 1962 it was an instant hit and spawned a lauded theatrical production, one of the greatest movies of all time and countless other adaptations. It’s a brave choice then for the Garrick Ensemble to take on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for only their second production. A company of 18-to-30-year-old up-and-coming actors from the local area, the ensemble aims to produce a play a year on the main stage at the Altrincham Garrick Playhouse. It’s a chance to see local talent in innovative work before they proceed in their careers. This show certainly has talent in abundance but the ambition to create something fresh may have been lost in the scale and baggage of the story they’ve taken on. Photo: Martin Ogden Randle Patrick McMurphy (Josep...
Constellations – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Constellations – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

The idea of a multiverse of alternate realities, each offering slightly different versions of our existence has become a very familiar trope in film and theatre. The Marvel Studios blockbuster superhero capers are the most successful recent iteration of this oeuvre, but classic movies (It's a Wonderful Life, A Matter of Life and Death), comedies (Back to the Future, Groundhog Day) and less auspicious examples (I'm looking at you 'Sliding Doors'), all play with the idea of how small decisions in life can change outcomes in a big way. In 2012, writer Nick Payne took the premise of a chance meeting of a Beekeeper and a String Theory scientist at a barbecue and created 'Constellations' for the Royal Court Theatre. Weaving a fantastical tale of 'if', 'but' and 'maybe' which is both hilariou...
Frankenstein – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

Frankenstein – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

These are interesting times at the Garrick Playhouse in the leafy south Manchester suburb of Altrincham. Under the aegis of Artistic Director Joseph Meighan, their programming is broadening its appeal beyond the traditional light comedy and murder mystery, into edgier and darker territory. So, we find 2022 kicking off with an absolutely cracking adaptation of the Mary Shelley gothic masterpiece, both chilling and thought provoking and with a simply stunning central performance. Those patrons expecting a hoary old 'Boris Karloff with a bolt through the neck' rendition, would have been disappointed. With Direction and Set Design in the capable hands of Barry J C Purves, this was always going to be a more delicate study on the nature of humanity. By using Nick Dear's 2011 National Theatre...
A Streetcar Named Desire – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

A Streetcar Named Desire – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

First performed on Broadway in 1947, Tennessee Williams ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ is a tragedy that highlights the inequalities of society in post war America. The play particularly shares the negative effects experienced by women during this time. Associated by many as one of the most significant of all American plays, it is certainly a brave step that the Altrincham Garrick Playhouse have undertaken in performing this epic tale. For those unfamiliar with the story, the play relays the story of Blanche Dubois (Kathryn Worthington) who arrives in New Orleans from Laurel, Mississippi having been given “a leave of absence” from her teaching role. She moves into her sister Stella’s apartment (Fiona Primrose) in the unbearable heat of New Orleans that she shares with Stella’s husband, the...
The Little Mermaid – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

The Little Mermaid – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Even if you’re not a Disney aficionado, everyone knows the story of The Little Mermaid: Girl meets boy, girl can’t be with boy, chaos ensues, true love prevails. It’s a true Disney classic. However, love story aside, I was very intrigued to see how a story that predominantly occurs underwater would be portrayed onstage, so when the chance arose to see The Little Mermaid at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse, I naturally had to see it for myself. And am I glad I did! With a dream-team of talent spearheading the dressing rooms – from renowned stage director Joseph Meighan, musical director Mark Goggins, and lesser-known at the Garrick (but still utterly fantastic) choreographer Koda Holland-Smith – it’s no wonder this show was a delight from start to finish. Photo: Martin Ogden Whilst...
Jack and the Beanstalk – St Helens Theatre Royal
North West

Jack and the Beanstalk – St Helens Theatre Royal

Christmas pantomimes at St Helens Theatre Royal are a traditional treat and now half-term pantos are a firm favourite as they coincide with local school holidays; children and families can attend a show and enjoy retro slapstick and sing along to musical chart hits whilst enjoying the dancing and singing on stage. As you walk into St Helens Theatre Royal, it’s rather like stepping back in time.  The small, old- fashioned theatre entices theatregoers to buy sweets and ice cream from the kiosk and the corner counter is twinkling with fairy lights from the colourful swords and fairy wands it sells which all the children clamour to buy. The theatre was full, and all eyes were on the stage as youngsters with their parents and grandparents waited for the curtain to rise. When it did,...