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Manchester reviewed
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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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Manchester theatre reviews

ImproQuo and the Bridge Street Irregulars

at Gullivers NQ, Manchester

Reviewed by John Waterhouse, January 2018

 

It’s theatre Jim but not as you know it, as Dr McCoy would have almost certainly said to Captain Kirk, had they both been at Gullivers Pub in Oldham Street on Tuesday. This is improvised comedy, performed without a script, theme, props, or anyone having any idea at all what’s coming; just six actors (or sometimes less) being given random ideas and letting everyone see where it leads them. The result is unpredictable mayhem which is fast, funny, and engaging.

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Manchester theatre reviews

North West Wonders

North West Wonders

at 53TWO, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall January 2018

 

This was an evening of 8 short plays very much in the style of a J B Shorts evening, performed on a mostly bare stage with a minimum of set, props and costuming, meaning that the turnaround between plays was swift and efficient.

 

This though was Baps Theatre; a company run by three actresses living and working in Greater Manchester, and this was their paean to the creativity and talent of the North West of England. All the writers, directors and actors in the 8 plays we saw all haled from the region, and proved beyond doubt that this region is teeming with talent.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Hamlet

Hamlet at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Andrew Marsden January 2018

 

Out of all of Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet is both the longest and the most famous. For actors the title role is one of the biggest parts to perform, in terms of lines to learn and the role’s status as one of the most iconic in the English theatrical tradition.

 

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s latest staging of the show is currently on tour, following a well-received production last year. But how can a play such as Hamlet, so often quoted and staged numerous times, be made to feel fresh? This production, directed by Simon Godwin, goes some way to reinterpreting the play and is, for the most part, successful in this endeavour.

 

Recent years have seen the role of Hamlet played by critically adored actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, while Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre shook things up by giving audiences a female Hamlet in the talented form of Maxine Peake.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Night Terror

Night Terror

at New Adelphi Theatre, Salford University

Reviewed by Andrew Marsden February 2018

 

Presented as part of the ‘Practical Research Projects 2018’ fortnight at the University of Salford, Night Terror by H & M Theatricals, Night Terror explores issues around Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in returning veterans from the war in Afghanistan (2001-present). Being part of a larger programme has placed obvious timing constraints on the piece and, as a result, the play feels like it is only just beginning to scratch the surface of the issues it wants to explore. This is not to diminish the important message of the play, or the quality of this staging of a piece which is clearly still in development, but instead highlights the amount of potential which is already instilled in the piece and deserves to be examined and teased out further in future productions.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong

by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields

at Storyhouse, Chester

Reviewed by Jane Tuttle January 2018

 

Mischief Theatre Production’s hilarious comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong, epitomises British humour at its best - the art of laughing at ourselves. The story revolves around an over ambitious amateur dramatics society (Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society); a bunch of am dram actors; an incompetent stage management team and a highly wayward set as they attempt to perform, dun dun duuuun... ‘Murder At Haversham Manor’.

 

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Manchester theatre reviews

Nina - A Story About Me and Nina Simone

Nina - A Story About Me and Nina Simone

at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall January 2018

 

I think these days, at least in this middle-class white man's perspective, Nina Simone will be remembered far more for her music output than she ever will as a political activist. This show therefore, helped me to understand and to redress the balance.

 

The play, which has evolved and re-evolved over several years, and is a co-production by The Unity Theatre in Liverpool and The National Touring Theatre of Sweden, Riksteatern, is an 80 minute long cri-de-coeur by solo performer Josette Bushell-Mingo.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Thrill of Love

The Thrill of Love

by Amanda Whittington

at Stockport Garrick

Reviewed by Simon Belt January 2018

 

The Thrill of Love dramatises the true story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, following her shooting of lover David Blakely on Sunday 10 April 1955. It uses the character of a Detective Inspector Jack Gale (Chris Rogerson) to tease out Ruth's story, by sympathetically and warmly unpicking her confession.

 

We are introduced to the theme of the play by Ruth (Rachael Stronge) stating ‘I am guilty. I am rather confused’. We are subsequently invited to speculate on the troubled state of mind behind the actions of this self-confessed violent murderer. Facts of Ruth's circumstances are less spelt out than implied which is a little frustrating but teases a desire to search out more, compelling to a degree a sustained focus on D.I. Gales' revealling of circumstances.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Wear Pearls and Smile - Kings Arms

Wear Pearls and Smile

King's Arms Theatre, Salford

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall January 2018

 

Silver Pine productions' latest offering is an evening of 5 one-act plays which tackle mental health, dysfunctional families, breast cancer, alcoholism, hospitals and being over 50 all with sensibility and humour, and with a deal of insight and truth in there too. The title being a quote from the third play.

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