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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

Dick Whittington at Oldham Coliseum

By Fine Time Fontayne and Kevin Shaw

Reviewed by John Waterhouse November 2017

 

Panto-season is traditionally the time many theatres clean up financially after what may have been an otherwise lean year and it is not hard to see why. Just as weddings and funerals are often the only time many people step inside a church these days, so too that pantomimes are when many walk into a theatre, largely because children still want to see them. That’s all well and good and the Oldham Coliseum panto retains a reputation as one of the most popular in the region, boasting a stunning three-month run.

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Manchester theatre reviews

J B SHORTS 18

J B Shorts 18

at 53two, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

Manchester's theatrical institution, J B Shorts, a collaboration and collection of 6 15-minute plays written, directed and performed by resident theatre and TV talent, has made its way once again to a venue ideal for this type of event, 53Two.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Spamalot

Spamalot

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Monty Python's shamelessly camp Mickey Take of itself rolled into Manchester for a 5 night run this evening, and proved to be a highly entertaining newer rewritten version from the one I remember with great fondness on the West End when Spamalot first burst onto the stage in 2006. None of the irreverence in this Arthurian parody has been lost - in fact, it has probably gained some along the way!

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Manchester theatre reviews

Collision Course

Collision Course by Front Row Theatre

at The Kings Arms, Salford

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall November 2017

 

Front Row Theatre are from Preston and were established in 2014 by graduates of UCLAN, and their latest production is a dark and moody suspense drama written by Craig Baxter, Collision Course. The collision in question here being the impending apocalypse which Earth will suffer colliding with another planet.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Haunting of Blaine Manor

The Haunting of Blaine Manor

Written and performed by Joe O’Byrne

at The Kings Arms, Salford

Reviewed by John Waterhouse October 2017

 

Joe O’Byrne is best known for ‘Tales from Paradise Heights’, a series of plays set in a present day, tough, inner city estate, so there was some intrigue not to say surprise when news broke he had a written a ghost story, set in the 1950’s within the realm of a country house.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Slava's Snow ShowSlava's Snow Show at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

It is quite incredible to think that a devised piece of physical theatre based clowning can have achieved such popularity and longevity. Slava Polunin first created this piece and showed it to audiences way back in 1993, and although it must have been through certain metamorphoses during this time, the basic premise of the show remains constant and continues to delight audiences around the world seemingly with no plans to stop.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Oliver! Sale Nomads

Oliver! - Sale Nomads

at The Waterside Arts Centre, Sale.

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

Of all Lionel Bart's Musicals, Oliver! is the only one to have survived, and continues to be popular with both amateur and professional companies. It's full of good tunes, it has a worthy storyline, it's based on a classic novel, it has children in it, it's family friendly, it has great characters, a great balance between tragedy and comedy - basically it has everything for an entertaining evening out at the theatre.

 

No wonder then that this Musical is the one I have, I think, seen more times than any other. And so I must take my hat off to Sale Nomads and say a huge congratulations - it is the first time I have ever seen both boys and girls in the workhouse scene at the beginning. Yes, I know historically that boys and girls had separate lodgings but somehow I have never bought into girls pretending to be boys here and so having the girls in the ensemble actually being girls and not boys was a first for me, and an absolute delight. Well done.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Suicide

The Suicide - at HOME, Manchester

by Manchester School Of Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

As part of their final year of three year's study, students at Manchester School Of Theatre have the privilege of performing in public performances of some rather wonderful, and usually lesser known masterpieces of theatre. At the moment they are using HOME Theatre whilst they await the completion of the renovation to their own 'home' The Capitol Theatre. The plays chosen for them are on the whole certainly not mainstream fayre, and although classics, are a little obscure, and this one was absolutely no exception.

 

The Suicide is a play by Russian dramatist Nikolai Erdman, and when it was written in 1928 it was immediately banned by the Soviet authorities as it quite clearly was anti-communist propaganda. It also saw Erdman transported to Siberia, and he had to wait 41 years before the first production (in Sweden), and until after his death before it was ever performed in Russia.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard at Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

Writing reviews for shows which are practically perfect are always much more difficult somehow because they can come across as sycophantic and gushing rather than genuine. Therefore I am warning the reader now, this review is neither sycophantic nor gushing but completely heartfelt and genuine. I was totally blown away by this show!

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Manchester theatre reviews

Stay Happy, Keep Smiling

Stay Happy, Keep Smiling

at 53two, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

Presented by Manchester Actors' Platform, and directed by MAP's founding director Simon Naylor, this is a piece of theatre that will stay with me for a long time.

 

The play is an amalgam of 5 separate stories seemingly unconnected apart from one simple, but shocking and life-changing thing. They are all eye-witnesses to a brutal murder by an assumed Isis terrorist of a soldier on the street near where they all live. And although the terrorist's actions didn't touch them physically, this play deals with the emotional response and recoil that witnessing the event has on them. How they are forever changed by it and how they try and cope with the vision and knowledge of it, and how those they love and those they live with try and understand too.

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