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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

The Importance of Being Ernest

The Importance of Being Ernest

Directed by Alastair Whatley at Opera House

Reviewed by Johanna Hassouna-Smith, March 2018

 

The Importance of Being Ernest is a comedy by Oscar Wilde and takes a satirical look at the lives of two men who lead double lives in order to escape their responsibilities. The men, Jack Worthing and Algernon seek better lives for themselves and the story raises the questions; how important is it to you to be who you are? And would you change yourself to lead a more adventurous or less complicated life?

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Manchester theatre reviews

Cinderella - Lowry Theatre

Cinderella at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Katie Leicester March 2018

 

Being a person who loves all the glitz and glamour of the theatre I have to confess that I have very little experience of ballet, so would be foolish in this review to try and focus on the moves and lifts of a ballet dancer, but simply describe what I saw as a novice to this elegant world.

 

Of course I had the stereotypical idea in my head what the dancers would look like and would be wearing for a ballet. I had read that Matthew Bourne was an extremely versatile and talented choreographer with 30 years experience behind him, with a vast amount of awards and nominations for his work. So I can say I was a little intrigued to see what all the fuss was about, but had absolutely no idea what I was about to see. It was quite obvious his production of Cinderella was popular as I couldn’t see a single empty seat in the auditorium and tickets for the 5 day run were almost sold out.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2018

 

When presenting such an iconic and classic musical such as this which is famous throughout the world as one of the most watched and enduring film musicals ever - even the Austrians now know and love the show - it is terribly difficult for any casting director / producer to find the right balance between audience expectation and creativity / expression. Did Bill Kenwright therefore manage this? I believe he did, yes.

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Manchester theatre reviews

An Evening with Eddie Fontana @ 3MT

by Liam Moody

Reviewed by John Waterhouse March 2018

 

At first glance, An Evening with Eddie Fontana is exactly what it says on the packet; an evening with a ‘celebrity’ TV-show host, aided and abetted by a plethora of co-hosts and guests. This is a well-worn comedy sub-genre which considerably predates Alan Partridge and Ron Burgundy.

 

Back in the 70’s during his hey day, spoofs of popular TV-show hosts such as Hughie Green and Simon Dee were a regular feature on the Benny Show and before. Then at the dawn of Python, John Cleese in a memorable sketch, perfectly satirised the mid-Atlantic voice egotists who filled prime-time Saturday night TV slots on both sides of the pond. And let’s not forget Eric Idle’s Rutland Weekend television from around the same time.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Circle Mirror Transformation

Circle Mirror Transformation at HOME

By Annie Baker, Directed by Bijan Sheibani

Reviewed by Johanna Hassouna-Smith, March 2018

 

HOME is currently presenting Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece of modern naturalism, Circle Mirror Transformation. Set in a community Centre in Vermont, the play centres around five characters who undertake a 6 week series of Drama classes and features an all-star cast of television and stage performers.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Little Matchgirl at Buxton Opera House

Written by Joel Horwood and adapted with Emma Rice from stories by Hans Christian Andersen

Reviewed by John Waterhouse March 2018


I went along to Buxton Opera House with an open mind, expecting to see a fairly entertaining children's show and can only say it just shows how wrong you be sometimes. The Little Match Girl is a pure delight, encompassing action theatre, folk music, comedy, pathos, dance and a lot more. Yes, children will enjoy this spectacular journey through the stories of Hans Christian Andersen but this is unquestionably a show for adults. Dickensian settings and costumes blend with bang up-to-date satire, and folk music from the 16th and 17th centuries is interspersed with easy-listening songs from the 60’s and 70’s.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Hard Times

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Adapted for the stage by Deborah McAndrew

Directed by Conrad Nelson at Lowry Theatre, Salford

Reviewed by Johanna Hassouna-Smith, March 2018

 

Charles Dickens’ classic novel Hard Times is a story set in the 19th century, amidst the fictional setting of Coketown; a northern industrial town in England. It features the typical Dickensian characters; from the stoic to the eccentric and it deals with the theme of emotional repression in a world full of facts. Writer, Deborah McAndrew has revived this classic story to a stage masterpiece with an exuberant script and highly energetic dialogue. Director Conrad Nelson uses an eclectic collection of contemporary theatrical devices mixed with classic theatre acting to create a vibrant performance which was entertaining and engaging for audiences young and old.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Vincent River - Hope Mill

Vincent River by Philip Ridley

at Hope Mill Theatre

Reviewed by Katie Leicester February 2018

 

Vincent River by Philip Ridley premiered in London at the Hampstead Theatre in 2000; the script has been cleverly adapted to accommodate the town of Manchester where Hope Mill Theatre hosted this compelling and gripping play directed by John Young.

 

Hope Mill is notorious for its versatility and creativity in set design and the use of their fabulous theatre space, and they did not fail to deliver again for this performance. On a freezing evening guests were given blankets and lead into the auditorium where you walked through the set to the seating area giving you an authentic feel of entering an apartment through its front door.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Up and Coming

by Eric Chapell

at Altrincham Garrick Theatre

Reviewed by John Waterhouse February 2018

 

Politics, like it loathe it, is always with us; the subject of Brexit seeming exhaustible and political satires can give some respite with certain issues giving rise to complete plays. Up and Coming is set against a political backdrop but there is not a single issue or political policy mentioned in the entire play and there is nothing to identify any of the characters with any political persuasion.

 

The target here being simply the egos and failings of MPs with the politicians - who are all male - more akin to jockeys in a horse race, all trying to get the most powerful position possible by whatever means whilst enjoying their vices along the way. There is no attempt to look in any detail at the political processes, as in ‘Yes Minister’ or set the action against any event or issue. Up and Coming could be placed in the same genre as the classic Ray Cooney farce ‘Out of Order’, again set in a posh hotel bedroom with an MP trying to keep their indications under wraps.

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Manchester theatre reviews

West Side Story at Buxton Opera House

Directed by Paul Kerryson

Reviewed by John Waterhouse February 2018

 

This production of West Side Story can only be described as superb. After seeing the show, it came as a real surprise to discover that this was a local community production, directed by the CEO of Buxton Opera House, Paul Kerryson. The level of professionalism and polish could hardly be bettered by any West End production, with the energy and enthusiasm of the cast never wavering from start to finish.

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