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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

The Beanfield

Fourplay at Three Minute Theatre

by Paul Thompson and Phil Pearson

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler April 2016

 

Four short stories about love, disaster, life and redemption from two Manchester playwrights staged in one evening in the city centre. Each play is fifteen minutes long, performed by up and coming talent from England and Ireland.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's at The Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall April 2016

 

A truly disappointing, muddled and uninspiring adaptation of a classic. Stylistically confusing and not totally accessible.

 

Who can ever forget the wonderful, sparkling, real and meaningful dialogue; the truthful and highly romantically charged chemistry between Hepburn and Peppard; the beautifully underscored tragi-comedy with music by Mancini; the brilliant directing of Blake Edwards? Well quite evidently Richard Greenberg can for one.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Beanfield

Smoke and Mirrors at HOME

Presented by The Ricochet Project

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler April 2016

 

The blurb for this event says ‘circus’ and ‘acrobatics’, and that’s what you get – a physical show with a backing track but not a word spoken by the pair who bend, balance, twist and dangle in ever more improbable ways. There is a hint of mime and some deft balletic moves but most of all they are a circus act, executing a series of entanglements and suspensions that seem genuinely risky.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Beanfield

The Beanfield at HOME

Presented by Breach Theatre

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

Six young people plan to re-enact the Battle of the Beanfield, when hundreds of new age travellers were ambushed by police near Stonehenge in 1985. The six are tenacious pranksters with an eye for the absurd. They thresh the corny clichés of hippy chic and mill the monstrous wrongs of police brutality as they plough the symbolic field of battle.

 

Their analysis shuttles back and forth in time and technique, being partly an attempt to re-enact the bust-up and partly a series of interviews with folk who were there. But mainly the tale is in the telling as it zeros in on passions unleashed in the ecstasy of battle.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring

Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring.

A Quarantine, HOME and Contact co-production, supported by SICK! Festival, at Old Granada Studios, Manchester

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring. is an epic work performed in a large studio space by dozens of ordinary people including – crucially – the audience itself. The pace is relaxed, the setting comfortable and the mood convivial. Seven hours fly by.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Something Wonderful at Hope Mill Theatre

Something Wonderful at Hope Mill Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2016

 

Something Wonderful, subtitled 'A Celebration of Rodgers And Hammerstein', this was a musical concert revue of some of the pair's more well known music at Manchester's newest and loveliest Fringe Theatre, Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats.

 

The stage was decorated in purple curtains and chaise-longue with candles and fairy-lights, and the music played on an onstage piano by the Musical Director of the event George Francis. It was a very cosy and intimate setting but also gave an illusion of opulence and timelessness.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Zero by Robin J Lyons

Zero by Just Talk

at The Eagle Inn, Salford

Reviewed by Stephen Bowler March 2016

 

The Islamist zombies had been at it again (in Brussels) and I was off - at the end of the same day - to see a play about suicide in Salford. More pressing tasks sprang to mind. Like the washing-up.

 

But I needn’t have worried. The play was less about nihilistic self-destruction than the havoc wreaked upon those left behind.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Our Gracie

Our Gracie at Oldham Coliseum

by Philip Goulding, Directed by Kevin Shaw

Reviewed by John Waterhouse March 2016

 

I went to Oldham Coliseum Theatre knowing nothing about Gracie Fields except that she was a famous singer cum film star somewhere around the 1930’s, and I suspect that the same could be said today for at least half the population. Our Gracie is a bio-play that aims to remind the world that such a great and popular talent existed, faithfully telling the life story of Rochdale’s most famous daughter. It’s also a fun show, in which all the cast take it in turns to play various musical instruments whilst portraying a wide range of real people from Gracie’s life, including several very funny cameo roles.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Footloose at Palace Theatre

Footloose at Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2016

 

Manchester Palace Theatre plays host this week to the stage version of the well-known and loved film Footloose, from the mid 1980s about a city teenager and his mother who move to a small town in Bible-Belt country where the town has outlawed dancing. He falls in love with the Preacher's daughter, and turns things around, bringing back both dancing and happiness to a town living in the sorrows of the past.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Down The Dock Road by Alan Bleasdale

Down The Dock Road at Royal Court, Liverpool

by Alan Bleasdale and Directed by Hannah Chissick

Reviewed by Jane Turner March 2016

 

If I was a Liverpool Docker, I would be first in the queue to give Alan Bleasdale a close up of my Docker’s hook. What a clichéd and caricatured depiction of a group of scouse dockworkers this play is. I can’t understand why it received rave reviews on its first outing in the 1970’s or why it has been revived today, possibly because of sentimental Corbyn supporters who think looking backwards to a time when labour was more unionised is the way forward?

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