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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester theatre reviews

The Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells

Directed by Chris Lawson, at Oldham Coliseum

Reviewed by Simon Belt and February 2018

 

In the programme, Chris Lawson (Director) invites us to have a seat whilst he pops the kettle on for our evening in the home of one ordinary family. That was nice. In the first scene we have the cheeky grin of Sam Glen (playing the son Billy) asking his Mum, Kath (played by Sue Devanney), if Dolly Parton's nipples on the painting he's just done are ok. For a stage set, the kitchen was very inviting, perhaps because of its design and attention to detail with plumbed in radiator for extra warmth (Anna Reid), or maybe because of the believable and delightfully sweet exchange between Billy and Kath.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Teddy

Teddy at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

With a script a heady mix between Jim Cartwright's 'Two' and John Godber's 'Bouncers' (Tristan Bernays) but set in the post war decade of Teddy Boys and Rock N Roll, this is a duologue between a young Teddy Boy and Teddy Girl as they tell their own stories of living in Blitz-torn London to poor and broken families, and how they are saved by the music. They are separate stories at first but when they meet each other and their stories become one, the story takes on a Bonnie and Clyde-ish feel (with gender role reversal), until the inevitable happens which finally finds them both in prison and having to make the biggest decision of their lives.

 

Combine this with a whole load of period music, played by actor-musicians on the side of the stage; the marvellous Johnny Valentine and The Broken Hearts, and this is quite a unique presentation which, thanks to some excellent acting skills, is extremely engaging.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Flashdance

Flashdance

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

Words like crowd-pleasing, feel-good and upbeat truly have found their home with this latest touring production of Flashdance, the Musical based on the popular 1980s film of the same name.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

An improvised Musical? Entirely original with no preconception at all of plot, character or style with no rehearsed songs or choreography, but entirely made up on the spur of the moment? 'Impossible!', I hear you cry. And I have to admit that while watching the show this evening, I too was very sceptical. I was convinced that they must have had some pre-rehearsed material that they can somehow slightly alter or shoehorn in to whatever is necessary on the evening; however I now realise that that simply is not the case. This talented crew of 6 performers work together with each other truly improvising their way through a 90 minute (including interval) Musical which is completely original and therefore completely different every time.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Man of Mode

The Man of Mode at HOME

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

For their first public production of 2018, Manchester School of Theatre chose a rarely performed and somewhat neglected comedy from the Restoration period. Written just 60 years after the death of Shakespeare, one marvels at the way the 'mode' of writing, vocabulary and character have changed so dramatically in such a short time.

 

Innovative for its time, following trends being set by French writers, especially Moliere, and supposedly lampooning The Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, I have the feeling that it would have been far bawdier and proletarian than the rather clinical version I witnessed today.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Chancer's Cabaret

Chancer’s Cabaret

at The Carlton Club

Reviewed by Katie Leicester February 2018

 

The Carlton Club is Whalley Range's premier social club, once an old Gentleman’s Club, and situated in the heart of the community. This big old Victorian mansion is quite shabby in an 80’s kind of way but oodles charm, now hosts events organised by the loyal locals to keep this community hub alive.

 

Martin Oslo and his team have been hosting open mic nights to showcase the talented locals for around 15 months - initially bimonthly they proved so popular they now run on the first Wednesday of every month.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Dancing Bear

Dancing Bear

at Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Katie Leicester February 2018


“The production is glamorous, hilarious and heart-breaking, deeply personal and uplifting making it a must see for all”.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Rattle of a Simple Man

Rattle of a Simple Man

at Lyceum Theatre, Oldham

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

Written by Charles Dyer in the first years of the 1960s, when Britain was politically and socially coming out of its shell, and finding a voice after a decade or so of poverty and rationing after the war. He capitalised on both the repressed and tight-mannered morals of the day, and the move towards a more tolerant and free 'Swinging Sixties' society, juxtaposing these nicely in the form of a 40-something Northern virgin and a confident and experienced London prostitute.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Strangers On A Train

Strangers on a Train

at Opera House, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

Strangers On A Train is a novel by Patricia Highsmith which was quickly taken up and adapted for the screen by Alfred Hitchcock; and has now been adapted once again for a touring stage production which came to Manchester's Opera House this evening.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Macbeth

Macbeth

Presented by Cream-Faced Loons

at International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Reviewed by Jane Tuttle February 2018

 

MACBETH as presented by Cream-Faced Loons, is an easy to understand re-telling of William Shakespeare’s classic Scottish tragedy, made funny yet faithful.

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