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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Dave Spikey: Juggling on a Motorbike

Dave Spikey: Juggling on a Motorbike

at Middleton Arena, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Farnworth-born comedian Dave Spikey visited Middleton, north Manchester this evening as part of his latest stand-up comedy show tour, Juggling on a Motorbike.

 

My previous knowledge of this self-confessed veteran comedian was as a team captain on the TV show 8 Out of Ten Cats, and little else, and so I was curious to see exactly what he would be like live.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Full Monty

The Full Monty

at Heywood Civic Centre, Rochdale

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

For those of you who, like me, knew nothing of the Musical, and had previously only seen the award-winning British film, then it will come both as a surprise and disappointment to lean that the Musical version is a very watered-down affair and set, not in Sheffield, but Buffalo, USA. Presumably this is because the authors of this Musical, Terrence McNally and David Yazbek are American and thought the US market would be more likely to buy tickets for and relate to something set on their shores rather than in li'l ol' England. That may well be the case, but perversely the opposite also applies, and losing something which to many is a 'national treasure', something akin to Brassed Off, is a travesty; and the grit and spirit of the film has been 'lost in translation'.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Ed Byrne - Middleton Arena

Ed Byrne: Spoiler Alert

at Middleton Arena

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Irish comedian, Ed Byrne, made a stop in Middleton, north Manchester, last night as he continues a lengthy three month tour with his latest show, Spoiler Alert.

 

Perhaps more famous as a contestant on TV panel shows such as Mock The Week, Byrne is actually a very versatile comedian, who also acts and writes, presents TV documentaries, and also works as a voice-over artist.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Daisy Pulls it Off

Daisy Pulls It Off by Denise Deegan

Pendleton Sixth Form Centre, Salford

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Not just Daisy, but the students of Pendleton Sixth Form College’s Centre of Excellence for Performing and Production Arts have pulled it off!

 

This is by no means an easy play to stage for various reasons; but the more obvious of which is that the play is set in a time and place that so very few of us still alive today will be able to recall. Indeed, how times have changed - the mannerisms, speech, demeanour, ethics, morals, in fact pretty much everything has changed (and not always for the better) since the play's setting of 1927, and the hallowed and distinguished halls of one of England's most reputable and established schools, The Grangewood School For Girls.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Actress by Peter Quilter

at Altrincham Little Theatre

Reviewed by John Waterhouse November 2017

 

Perhaps the best way to describe The Actress is a bitter sweet comedy. Set in the 1960’s, it is also an observation as to how attitudes towards women in the theatre, and acting generally, have changed. The premise is Lydia Martin, a time-served, successful actress has decided to stop whilst she is ahead (and before her looks fade), by giving one final performance. That the performance in question is ‘The Cherry Orchard’ and her past successes include the likes of ‘Hedda Gabler’ suggest this is not actress who had traded primarily on her sex appeal to achieve success.

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Manchester theatre reviews

CILLA: The Musical

CILLA: The Musical

at Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

This is the story of how one of Britain's most popular and enduring pop singers and later TV personality managed to climb that rocky road from working as an office typist and living in a terraced house in Liverpool in the early 1960's. Born Priscilla White, she had, at the age of 25, two number 1 hits, and the world (or at least the UK at that point) knew her as Cilla Black.

 

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Manchester music reviews

Never Mind The Weather

Never Mind The Weather, Halle Orchestra

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

The Halle Orchestra's POPS season continued this evening with a selection of music taken from many different musical genres from classical to rock, all with a common theme - the weather.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Welcome to Paradise @ 3MT

by A Ship of Fools Company

Reviewed by John Waterhouse November 2017

 

How to describe Welcome to Paradise? It can hardly be described as play and does not qualify as stand-up comedy. It is certainly inane and in fact extremely puerile. There are no jokes as such, to call it low-budget would be an insult to productions that actually have a low budget and it would be correct to call it witless, banal, silly and very bad. It is also rightly said to be an insult to Christmas shows, and Father Christmas may well have already spoken to his lawyers. And yet somehow, in spite of all this, or possibly even because of it, Welcome to Paradise is so bad it’s actually very good!!

 

It might seem odd to liken Welcome to Paradise to a bumble bee, but there are two parallels. By the laws of physics a bee should not be able to fly, and by the laws of comedy Welcome to Paradise should not be funny - and yet a bee flies very well and this show is extremely funny. The other parallel is that a bee can sting when you least expect it and so does Welcome to Paradise.

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Manchester theatre reviews

PICNIC at HOME

PICNIC - HOME, Manchester

by Manchester School of Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Once again I find myself going to a play of which I know absolutely nothing. I had never before heard of either the play, 'Picnic', nor it's author, William Inge; and yet, this astounds me since I have spent my whole life within the profession, and this is a play and an author one feels one really ought to know.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Trouble in Tahiti

Trouble in Tahiti & Trial by Jury

Part of The Little Greats

by Opera North at the Lowry

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Opera North are regular and welcome visitors to Salford's showpiece at The Lowry. This time, in the Lyric Theatre, they came with something just that little bit different. An offering of 6 one-act Music Dramas, all of very differing genres and styles, and all of which rarely get to see the light of day. These are The Little Greats. This evening I was there to watch two of them; Leonard Bernstein's lovely 'Trouble in Tahiti', and the more satirical and comedic 'Trial By Jury' by our very own Gilbert and Sullivan.

 

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