Saturday, April 13

Tag: Matthew Kelly

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...
Noises Off – The Lowry
North West

Noises Off – The Lowry

There have been a few fairly sniffy reviews of Noises Off recently. Both of this touring version of last year's 40th anniversary production and of the Michael Frayn classic more generally. The argument seems to go that the 1982 farce is showing its age and the same joke - a play within a play going all wrong - can be seen elsewhere. It is an interesting quirk of theatrical criticism that comedies are occasionally treated in this way. Dramas, on the other hand, become 'period pieces', described as 'kickstarting a trend'. What should matter, of course, is whether a play works in its own right. Yes, Noises Off is a product of its time, yes it has been lovingly ripped off in recent years but yes, in the right hands, it is still riotously funny.  The cast on the Lowry Lyric st...
The Dresser – The King’s Theatre
Scotland

The Dresser – The King’s Theatre

Since changes in restrictions have brought theatre back, sent it away and brought it back again, the number of plays about theatre and the theatrical experience have seemingly quadrupled. But Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser is different. It’s not about why we need theatre, or even why need actors. In fact, in keeping with Ronald Harwood’s dictate with didactic theatre, ‘The Dresser’ is art for art’s sake. But it soon becomes apparent that ‘The Dresser’ is more than just a bit of two-dimensional entertainment. Norman, (Samuel Holmes) is the dresser to ‘Sir’ (Matthew Kelly) a stalwart actor, who now in the depths of WWII and in the midst of emotional despair, finds himself touring ‘provincial’ theatres in the blitz with a cast of ill-prepared actors. Every night they desperately try to cobb...
The Dresser – Richmond Theatre
London

The Dresser – Richmond Theatre

The Olivier award-nominated tragicomedy The Dresser, by Ronald Harwood, is poignant, funny and a little heart-breaking. The show at Richmond Theatre last night was emotive enough to draw a tear or two from some in the audience as well as a cacophony of laughs. After it’s run at Richmond, this touring version will surely draw audiences all over the UK. Set in wartime Britain, with the rumble of bombs falling and air raid sirens disturbing the otherwise peaceful dressing room of a revered actor known only as ‘Sir’, the play opens with the dresser himself, Norman, played by Julian Clary, hard at work. Confidant, counsellor and loyal friend, it’s hard to distinguish where Norman’s job ends and where his duties to the man he admires and ultimately loves begin. As Sir struggles to prepare...
Going the Distance – Online Stream
REVIEWS

Going the Distance – Online Stream

We were all waiting for the musical and play adaptation of the Handforth Parish Council Meeting last year and it seems like Going the Distance will be the closest we will get for a while. March 2020 and the theatres have all gone dark. What happens to all those local theatres that rely on donations and local productions to get them through? Going the Distance takes us through how Matchborough Community Theatre plans to survive the global pandemic. We start with a familiar scene – the first Zoom meeting, synonymous with the ‘I can hear you, can you hear me?’ – and we are introduced to Frank (Matthew Kelly), Maggie (Penny Ryder) and Rae (Sarah Hadland). They discuss finances and ways in which they can continue to make money, despite the pandemic trying to have other ideas. They settle on...
Barnes’ People: Losing Myself – Perfectly Normal Productions
REVIEWS

Barnes’ People: Losing Myself – Perfectly Normal Productions

Adams is a man who feels he has lost everything, himself, his faith, his hope. He sits on a bench in a dilapidated cemetery that is about to be redeveloped, contemplating his life and chatting to the deceased Maurice as he tries to come to terms with who he has become. He used to be a trusted and dedicated doctor but, somewhere along the way, he realised that his ability to care was a sham and his concern for others was condescension. So he walked away from that life and became a cemetery attendant. This is a play about guilt and self-judgement, loss and rediscovery. The vastly under-rated Matthew Kelly is wonderful as the introspective Adams.  He's haggard but still smartly dressed, a man who "never thought there was anything serious enough in the world to care about." In talking...