Thursday, February 29

Tag: Manchester

The Full Monty – Opera House, Manchester
North West

The Full Monty – Opera House, Manchester

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of watching the comedic triumph ‘The Full Monty’ at the Manchester Opera House. Our director (Michael Gyngell), the show’s designer (Jasmine Swan) and the producer (David Pugh) has immense shoes to fill, and certainly did not disappoint. Being incredibly familiar with the show, and having watched it previously in an amateur capacity, I was very much looking forward to this brand new adaptation, featuring some well-known faces.  The musical is cleverly adapted from the late 90’s British film of the same name, six unemployed Northern steelworkers, all low on cash, decide to present a strip act, for one night only, their local conservative club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. Danny Hatchard played the pro...
The Rocky Horror Show – Opera House, Manchester
North West

The Rocky Horror Show – Opera House, Manchester

Since the original show in 1973 the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ has gained generations of fans who have been seduced by its mix of horror-comedy and science-fiction script, with an excuse to dress up for the occasion. Over the half a century of the show, it has increased in its popularity with the not just the oldies but with a whole new generation of young followers. Despite the show being over 50 years old it has absolutely no signs of ageing as it continues to entice theatregoers through its doors with its bright, bold and extremely risqué script that bursts into life from the beginning through to the finale. The show is not for the faint hearted as you are guaranteed to be met with an auditorium of ladies or men in French maid outfits, an array of glittery top hats and dazzling tailcoats, ...
Jack And The Beanstalk – Opera House, Manchester
North West

Jack And The Beanstalk – Opera House, Manchester

Christmas is never complete without a token pantomime performance - and what better show to see to get you feeling Christmassy than Guy Unsworth’s dynamic and innovative reworking of Jack and the Beanstalk. Touted as “the second biggest show in Manchester”, this panto really did have it all - a star-studded cast, sensational sets, brilliant costumes, fabulous song and dance sequences, a script jam-packed full of witty repartee (and even a flying car, wholly reminiscent of theatre favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). What really brought this show to life was its exuberant characters - headlined by comedian Jason Manford, he was of course the titular character of Jack Trot, who not only had the lion’s share of the jokes but had some great musical numbers too. That said, every panto ...
Hamilton – Palace Theatre, Manchester
North West

Hamilton – Palace Theatre, Manchester

The Palace Theatre: 'The Grand Old Lady of Oxford Street', was dressed in her finest bib and tucker last night with a host of Northern glitterati present for the opening night of the much anticipated inaugural UK Tour of Hamilton. Anyone who has already booked their seats for a performance over the next sixteen weeks of its residency here is in for an absolute treat, this production brings the beauty and complexity of the West End and Broadway productions, whilst the cast to add their own unique interpretation of the characters combining to demonstrate musical theatre in its finest modern form. For those who are unaware of the cultural phenomenon that is 'Hamilton', it tells the story of Alexander Hamilton (Shaq Taylor) and his rise from Caribbean poverty to become one of the founding ...
Crave – 53two, Manchester
North West

Crave – 53two, Manchester

Sarah Kane’s poetic masterpiece Crave marked a significant departure for the playwright when it was first performed in 1998. Whereas Kane’s previous work had featured graphic violence and sex, Crave relied on language. A quarter of a century on and it is clear the power of Kane’s words has hardly subdued. Four characters - A, B, C and M - take to the simple but beautifully-lit stage under the atmospheric 53Two arches. A black curtain backdrop and four stylish grey chairs are the only set dressing. This could be a waiting room or a therapy session or both those things or something else entirely or nothing at all. What follows are four haunting monologues or conversations beautifully interwoven together in a way that is almost impenetrable and yet totally understandable on a human lev...
The Kid – HOME, Manchester
North West

The Kid – HOME, Manchester

Charlie Chaplin is one of those iconic movie characters that I am embarrassed to admit I've never seen on screen until Manchester Camerata's live orchestral accompaniment of The Kid. The beauty of his movies is that a story can be followed without the use of dialogue. At first, I thought this would be screened on one of the cinema screens at HOME, however it took place in their main theatre space. The movie is projected onto a screen at the back of the stage. Given the movie was originally released in 1921, the person who managed to digitally restore and bring it up to viewable quality should be applauded. The movie, as you can imagine, is silent. Yet it is filled with humour from beginning to end. Obviously for the movie to work without any dialogue it does rely quite hea...
The Cher Show – Opera House, Manchester
North West

The Cher Show – Opera House, Manchester

After six decades of a career encompassing pop and film stardom, political activism and television success, it was a no-brainer that the life of Cherilyn Sarkasian, aka Cher, would eventually make the transition to a stage musical. Now, the 2018 Broadway show (with a significant overhaul courtesy of Leicester Curve Theatre) lands at Opera House in Manchester to a rapturous reception on press night. The audience here is knowledgeable and primed (unlike at Sunderland Empire, where people left the theatre when they realised it wasn't Cher performing!) and they were not to be disappointed in the depth of detail with which the show represents her early life. Cher has long been a spokesperson for LGBTQ+ rights and her story of early marginalisation, mistreatment and oppression is a story tha...
Footloose – Manchester Opera House
North West

Footloose – Manchester Opera House

Hooray theatre land is beginning to get back to some normality after being hit hard by the pandemic, for the first time there was no need for Covid passes or compulsory wearing of masks. For that alone there was a heightened sense of excitement, and it was clear theatre goers are feeling more confident to mix as the Opera House in Manchester was packed to the rafters with barely one seat empty. Footloose the musical is the brainchild of Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobby with Music from Tom Snow it’s based on the 1984 film which starred Kevin Bacon as city boy Ren McCormack (played by Joshua Hawkins), who arrives with his mother Ethel (Geri Allen) in Beaumont from Chicago in a rebellious mood after learning of the town’s dancing ban. The ban came following an incident five years prior ...
Waitress – Manchester Opera House
North West

Waitress – Manchester Opera House

In order to bake a perfect pie, it is necessary to have quality ingredients mixed in the correct proportions by an experienced baker; add in heat allied with perfect timing and a scrumptious pastry is produced. Just such a dish was served before the hungry and eager capacity audience at Manchester Opera House this evening as 'Waitress' begins a two-week residency in the city centre. The show arrives in Manchester in the midst of a UK wide tour, having been a huge Broadway and West End hit following its premiere back in 2016. The all-female creative triumvirate of Sarah Bareilles (Music & Lyrics), Jessie Nelson (Book) and Diane Paulus (Director) have crafted a warm and funny piece which simultaneously tugs at the heartstrings whilst also being unafraid to confront issues that women ...
Rock of Ages – Manchester Opera House
North West

Rock of Ages – Manchester Opera House

We were asked for proof of COVID vaccinations as we entered the theatre; those who couldn’t produce them were asked to take a temperature check at the side entrance.  All theatre staff were wearing masks. The theatre was two thirds full: mostly with a 23-35 year old age group with a sprinkling of older theatre-goers.  There was an air of anticipation as we waited for the curtain to go up.  Once it did, two lone guitarists appeared beneath projected images of USA; the set was a nightclub, The Bourbon Room, with a small stage and a bar with tables and chairs. Rock of Ages doesn’t have much of a story, but for what there is, it is a typical love story, well three love stories really but the main story concerns a small town girl, Sherrie (Rhiannon Chesterman), who relocat...