Tuesday, February 27

Tag: Birmingham Rep

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Birmingham Rep
West Midlands

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Birmingham Rep

This latest reincarnation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe explodes with delight, wonder and some truly breathtaking magic which holds its cross-generational audience enrapt for its entire course. From the first moment of a single pianist playing songs from the war through to the final thrilling anthemic chorus (via a plethora of engaging compositions variously described as “crisp beats” or “thrumming cello” by the ever attentive surtitles) Beni Bower and Barnaby Race’s music provides the aural glue holding together this magnificent edifice of a show. A packed theatre was held spellbound throughout.Various previous iterations for stage, television and film of CS Lewis’s iconic children’s book have struggled which it’s Church of England subtext but here we see a more secular and cle...
Happy Days – Birmingham Rep
West Midlands

Happy Days – Birmingham Rep

Only on leaving the theatre are you struck by what a phenomenal feat of memory you’ve just witnessed. That alone justified Siobhan McSweeney’s standing ovation from a grateful, and perhaps slightly bemused audience, last night at the Birmingham Rep. Grateful because it is a stunning achievement. Dame Peggy Ashcroft, who had a fair crack at the part herself, describes the leading role, Winnie, as “one of those parts, I believe, that actresses will want to play in the way that actors aim at Hamlet - a summit part.” And bemused, because unlike Van Gogh whose work was misunderstand in his lifetime, but in time came to be embraced, Beckett’s work continues to be defiantly cryptic, mercurial and inaccessible in any conventional sense. We are met with mounds of sands. Location and time unspec...
I, Daniel Blake – Birmingham Rep
West Midlands

I, Daniel Blake – Birmingham Rep

There’s a palpable, visceral fury coursing through the core of “I, Daniel Blake” which makes for compelling drama and infuriating truth. For those of us who first came across the story in its cinematic incarnation it’s good to see it has lost none of its bite, bile and bitterness. And, though the theatre version loses some of the reportage and cinéma vérité authenticity in its imagery, it more than makes up for it in heart and soul driven home by some startling and sincere performances. It’s the story of a good, honest man. Not a hero, not special. Just straight and centred ensnared in the obscene and labyrinthine benefits system inflicted on this country by Tory administrations. The tweets and voice grabs of living, breathing politicians expounding the virtues of their cruel system wh...
Tony: The Tony Blair Rock Opera – Birmingham Rep
West Midlands

Tony: The Tony Blair Rock Opera – Birmingham Rep

It’s not that long ago “Spitting Image” spat their saucy and sinister satire across the stage of the Birmingham Rep and seeing “Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera” has a slight whiff of deja vu - all over again. Where once well-crafted and designed puppets grotesquely caricatured well-known faces now we have real humans in a plethora of wigs (I believe that’s the correct collective noun for wigs) and a gamut of ‘tashes (same note) enacting a biog of the most polarising premier we’ve had for many a day. But unlike “Spitting Image”, which spoofed the news right up the opening night and revised the show thereafter, “Tony” seems to dwell on yesterday’s headlines and, despite occasional nudges towards the contemporary impact of his decisions, all seems a few years too late. Nonetheless it’s a ...
Spitting Image Saves The World – Birmingham Rep
West Midlands

Spitting Image Saves The World – Birmingham Rep

A healthy dose of dissent blended with bucket fulls Hogarthian vulgarity has provided the basis of British satire for many a year and there is nothing more vulgar and satirical and, indeed, British than “Spitting Image” which has been speaking the truth to power without remorse, consideration and, as times, tact since its inception in 1984. Produced at Central TV Studios which used to exist almost exactly opposite the theatre which houses its current incarnation. In its time it was subversive, naughty and very, very controversial these days every other TV show seems to aim and achieve that - so reviving it on stage may seem a bit of a risk. And it is one which Sean Foley as director together with co-writers Al Murray and Matt Forde take to with elan. Photo: Mark Senior Twelve buoyan...
<strong>Voice over artists announced for Idiots Assemble – Spitting Image Saves the World at Birmingham Rep</strong>
NEWS

Voice over artists announced for Idiots Assemble – Spitting Image Saves the World at Birmingham Rep

Twelve voice-over artists, a mix of actors, impressionists and comedians have just started work on recording voices for over one hundred Spitting Image characters for the World Premiere of the stage show, Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World which previews at Birmingham Rep from 1st February. They are:  Al Murray (The Royal Variety Performance, Al Murray’s Happy Hour, Why Does Everyone Hate the English? We Have Ways of Making You Talk), Debra Stephenson (The Impressions Show, Dead Ringers, Rich Hall’s Election Breakdown, Newzoids, Coronation Street and Bad Girls), Jess Robinson (Spitting Image, The Last Leg, Stars in Their Ears, and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Britain’s Got Talent, Jojo Lin (Spitting Image Puppeteer), Jason Forbes (The Tracy Ullman Show, The M...
Much Ado About Nothing – Birmingham Rep
West Midlands

Much Ado About Nothing – Birmingham Rep

I always approach Shakespeare tentatively. Not that he’s not good. In fact, I’ve heard many reports that’s he’s one of the best, but I just don’t have the ear for his words. I have trouble keeping up. So, being a thoroughly professional reporter and not wanting to lose the thread or the point or the plot, I chose to bone up prior and read up in the plot. I needed have bothered. Robert Hastie’s production made the entire plot easily and clearly accessible with a proliferation of signing, signage and surtitles designed to include just about everyone in this all-inclusive, highly-accessible, disability-friendly production. Despite some of the bard’s more esoteric images and clunky metaphors the notions, ideas and thoughts came over crystal clear easily vaulting the Shakespearean language ...
Bugsy Malone – The Rep, Birmingham
West Midlands

Bugsy Malone – The Rep, Birmingham

This revival production, originally seen in the West End in 2015, has come to Birmingham for two weeks, in the summer holidays, as part of its first professional tour. Bugsy Malone first started life as a musical film where it’s use of child actors playing every role as adults, made it stand out from the crowd. Keeping to this idea, seven of the principal roles are played by children. The adult ensemble takes all the other roles filling the stage and performing with the principals in the musical numbers. Set loosely in prohibition America, Bugsy Malone transports us to the age of gangsters, flappers and mob rivalry. However as this is a family friendly show, the gangs are running a soda business and the guns fire “Splurge” the next step in custard pie weaponry. Fat Sam’s Speakeas...
Playboy of the West Indies – The Rep, Birmingham
West Midlands

Playboy of the West Indies – The Rep, Birmingham

This new musical has its world premiere taking to the stage as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival which is part of the Commonwealth Games Cultural programme. Based on an old Irish 3 act comedy (Playboy of the Western world), this reinvented play by Mustapha Matura has taken on another lease of life in this upbeat, but sometimes dark musical. Matura came to the UK from Trinidad as part of the Windrush generation and wrote about life in the West Indies. Set in a rum shop in a quiet village on Trinidad, we meet Peggy who is resigned to a life of routine and work and a marriage to a man her father has chosen for her. When a stranger comes to the village the whole place seems to come alive. Who is this man and is he all he really seems? The music (composed by Clement Ishmael) transp...
Birmingham Rep Announce Free Open Day
NEWS

Birmingham Rep Announce Free Open Day

Birmingham Rep are offering members of the public a chance to take a peek behind the scenes at the city’s only premiere producing theatre with a free Open Day on Saturday 26th February. The full day of activities for all the family will take members of the public behind the scenes of Birmingham’s famous theatre, the only large-scale theatre in the city that builds all of its own productions on site from scratch, including huge sets and beautiful costumes. From 10am-4pm, families can enjoy backstage tours, workshops, performances, technical demonstrations, heritage talks plus the chance to purchase incredible garments in The Rep’s costume sale. Artistic Director, Sean Foley and Executive Director, Rachael Thomas said; “We are thrilled to be throwing open our doors and inviting the...