Thursday, February 22

Tag: Hope Mill Theatre

The Gap – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

The Gap – Hope Mill Theatre

The small (but perfectly formed) Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats has firmly established itself over the last decade as the place to see innovative and exciting musical theatre productions, their ability to produce consistently excellent shows during this time has seen this Mancunian gem showered with deserved praise and awards galore. That success looks set to continue into 2024 for owners William Whelton and Joe Houston, as in something of a theatrical coup they have secured the premiere of a new Jim Cartwright play ‘The Gap’, featuring bravura performances from two very familiar faces from stage and screen. Matthew Kelly and Denise Welch may be known to a large percentage of the population for their presenting roles on television shows such as ‘Loose Women’ and ‘Stars In Their Eyes’, bu...
LIZZIE– Southwark Playhouse
London

LIZZIE– Southwark Playhouse

London's Southwark Playhouse is currently playing host to a riveting and unapologetically fierce production of ‘LIZZIE’, the true crime rock punk musical. This fresh and dynamic production of the first UK staging, presented by the accomplished team at Hope Mill Theatre, is edgy, bold, and nothing short of brilliant. It brings a thrilling blend of music, drama, and history to the stage, redefining the boundaries of what a musical can be, and quite frankly goes toe-to-toe with some of the other similar historical productions that are currently playing in the West End and round the globe. Set in the backdrop of the infamous Lizzie Borden murders in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892, ‘LIZZIE’ weaves a gripping narrative that blends fact, fiction, legend, and female sass, into an intoxicati...
To Wong Foo The Musical – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

To Wong Foo The Musical – Hope Mill Theatre

Back in 1994 a struggling playwright called Douglas Carter Beane went to Hollywood and sold the rights to a screenplay he had written, a year later a movie called 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar' was born. This 'road movie in drag' was a modest hit on release, helped by the star power of Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes donning sequins and high heels for the silver screen. Now nearly thirty years later Carter Beane has teamed up with Lewis Flinn, added music and lyrics and brought the world premiere of 'To Wong Foo The Musical' to the home of the innovative new musical, Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester. When Vida Boheme (Peter Caulfield) and Noxeema Jackson (Gregory Haney) jointly win 'New York Drag Queen of the Year', with an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood as the...
LIZZIE The Musical – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

LIZZIE The Musical – Hope Mill Theatre

On a late Summer Sunday afternoon when the sun had finally decided to grace Manchester with its presence, I forfeit the chance of barbeques with friends (or beers in the pub garden) to attend the UK rebirth of 'Lizzie', billed as 'A True Crime Rock Musical'. Some two hours later, I emerged blinking into the light having witnessed a 'tour de force' of musical theatre with powerhouse performances and cracking choreography. A production which will stay with me for a very long time, I definitely made the right decision. 'Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one.' This nursery rhyme is as well known to American children as 'Ring a Roses' or 'Three Blind Mice' is to their British counterparts, and i...
Things I’d Like To Get Off My Chest – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

Things I’d Like To Get Off My Chest – Hope Mill Theatre

Turns out there are quite a few things that Eva Lily would like to get off her chest and having big boobs is just one of them. This highly entertaining one woman show currently playing at Hope Mill Theatre takes a very honest and open look at the long-term failings of female healthcare and the constant narrative, and subsequent judgement, that the mere existence of women’s bodies creates in our society. But firstly, the boobs. They are big. Really big.  At a size 38K, (‘average’ UK woman is a 36DD) they are prohibitively big and the impact of them upon Eva’s life cannot be underestimated. The piece opens with a 13-year-old Eva in the dressing room at Rigby and Pellier, brassiere makers to the late Queen and the scene of the ritual humiliation of her first bra fitting. I don’t beli...
Leaves of Glass – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

Leaves of Glass – Hope Mill Theatre

This play is exceptional. If only I could end my review there! Philip Ridley has written a truly heartbreaking exploration of how we use memory to protect, to manipulate and to hide; and I was captivated from start to finish. As we see glimpses of Steven’s life in the present day, and flashbacks to his childhood, we start to build a picture of Steven and his family. But is everything as clear as it seems? The acting in this play is outstanding. Director Max Harrison has brought out every drop of subtle emotion and humanity from this incredible cast of four. Ned Costello as Steven never leaves the stage. He gives a stunningly authentic performance, whether in the middle of a monologue or with one of his scene partners. His ability to move us from present to past with just a clench...
Julie: The Musical – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

Julie: The Musical – Hope Mill Theatre

To most, the name Julie D’Aubigny may not mean anything at all, but once you’ve seen Julie: The Musical, you’ll be enthralled by her life, leaving as if you’d almost known her. Julie D’Aubigny (otherwise known as La Maupin or as known as in this musical, ‘that b*tch’) was a 17th century opera singer, who was quite a dab hand with a sword, and widely believed to be one of the first openly bisexual public figures. Julie: The Musical takes us on a journey of her flamboyant life, through her turbulent career, scandalous love life and of course the tale of her romp with a nun (I’ve tamed the language for the sake of this review). From the offset, audiences know they’re in for something a little different. The gig style performance is led by a cast of 5 wonderfully talented actor/musician...
Lear – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

Lear – Hope Mill Theatre

The opportunity to see any new interpretation of one of Shakespeare's 'biggies' is never one that this reviewer will pass up, so when my June list included HER Productions' all female twist on ‘King Lear', I was excited to see what fresh perspective they could offer. Unfortunately, what we witnessed was uneven performances, poor delivery and confused themes, only partially redeemed by a couple of strong performances. We open with a sparse set and red curtain backdrop with the small brick lined theatre at Hope Mill harshly lit by overhead fluorescent strips. Lear (Christine Mackie) is relinquishing her power and dividing the realm between her three daughters according to the love they demonstrate, the resulting decisions leading to civil war and the fall from grace of this all powerful ...
Animal – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

Animal – Hope Mill Theatre

A hilarious, laugh out loud comedy which at the same time punches you straight in the gut.  Animal is an unapologetic portrayal of a young gay man’s sexual expression and exploration as a person with a severe physical disability.      David (Christopher John-Slater) is 'gay, disabled and profoundly horny'.  Cerebral palsy affects his mobility and co-ordination which hampers his enjoyment of his 'auto-suck' sex toy, leaving him unfulfilled, frustrated and annoyed.  David's friends/carers, Jill, brilliantly played by Amy Loughton, Mani, pitched perfectly by Harry Singh, and Derek, splendidly portrayed by Matt Ayleigh, who David refers to as ‘his arms and leg’ as they assist with all elements of his care needs.  The differences in approach by Jill, Mani and D...
New play Animal to premiere at Hope Mill Theatre
NEWS

New play Animal to premiere at Hope Mill Theatre

Winner of the inaugural Through the Mill Prize and shortlisted for the Papatango Prize, Park Theatre and Hope Mill Theatre present brand-new play ANIMAL, exploring how disability, sexuality and lust co-exist for people who require round the clock assistance. Written by Jon Bradfield (Ghosted: Another F***ing Christmas Carol, The Other Palace Theatre; Missing Alice, BBC4) and developed by disability activist and equality trainer Josh Hepple, ANIMAL is an authentic, hilarious, and heart-breaking look at hook-up culture, navigating relationships and how they intersect with practical needs and social barriers for disabled people. The play tours to Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, the Tobacco Factory in Bristol and Park Theatre in London. Christopher John-Slater (All of Us, National Theatre...