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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

Fat Friends

Fat Friends

at Opera House, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall March 2018

 

This is writer / director Kay Mellor's foray into Musical Theatre after her hit comedy TV series of the same name. The show opens with lycra and spandex clad overweight bodies bumping and gyrating at a Zumba class at the local church. The year is the present, not a flashback to the 80s, and so this is an instant fail, and sadly the show never recovers.

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Manchester theatre reviews

East is East at Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Directed by Ben Occhipinti

Reviewed by Johanna Hassouna-Smith, March 2018

 

Ayub Khan Din's play, East is East, is a comedy about an Anglo-Pakistani family living in Salford in the 1970s. Produced in the mid-1990s, the play was one of the first mainstream theatre productions to deal with Asian culture. The 1999 film adaptation garnered critical acclaim and became one of the most successful British films of all time.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Dinner Party

by Neil Simon

at Altrincham Little Theatre

Reviewed by John Waterhouse March 2018

 

The Dinner Party is a genuinely intriguing play partly because the premise is a very imaginative twist on an old stalwart. A standard Agatha Christie device (a la ‘The Mousetrap’ and ‘Ten Little Indians’) finds a random group of essentially middle class individuals all invited to a party by an unseen host and old dirty secrets are gradually unfolded. Interestingly, the playwright Neil Simon farced this idea in his screenplay for the film ‘Murder by Death’.

 

With The Dinner Party there is no murder mystery; no under-cover murderer or detective masquerades as a guest and no crime has been committed. This does not mean however that the secrets to be unfolded are not of an excruciating nature and that some surprising interpersonal relationships are revealed, making this a complex play which leaves the audience thinking.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Whisky Galore at Oldham Coliseum

Written by Philip Goulding, adapted from the Compton Mackenzie novel

Reviewed by John Waterhouse March 2018

 

At first glance, a curious if not bizaarre combination - a very-dated 1949 Ealing Comedy featuring largely male characters, based loosely on a real World War event, but played by an exclusively female cast.

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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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