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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

Hamlet by The National at CornerhouseHamlet by The National Theatre at Cornerhouse

Filmed live in high definition from the National's Olivier Theatre and broadcast as part of National Theatre Live, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Reviewed by Anne Ryan December 2010

For most of us the National Theatre is a building a couple of hundreds of miles away – despite the fact that our taxes support the institution, performances are restricted to Londoners and the odd 'provincial' tour. So three cheers for the screening at Cornerhouse and in cinemas worldwide – and why did it not happen a few decades ago?

 

Viewing a play in the cinema is a strange experience – I was never quite sure whether to clap or not! But this was a fascinating and rewarding night at the theatre/cinema.

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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol at The Lowry

Written by Charles Dickens, presented by the Library Theatre Company, adapted by David Holman and directed by Rachel O’Riordan

Reviewed by Jane Turner December 2010

 

This year's Christmas production by the Library Theatre Company in their temporary home at The Lowry Theatre is A Christmas Carol.


I’m not a connoisseur when it comes to Dickens, and I confess a little shame-facedly, given that I am reviewing a production of his work here, to having never read one of his books from start to finish. I own quite a few of his works, and have started and re-started many of these plenty of times, and almost finished one or two. I could probably recite the front page of several right here, right now.

 

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The Followers of Dionysus in THE BACCHAE. Photo by Jonathan Keenan

The Bacchae at the Royal Exchange

An all new version of this dark and liberating play, produced and created by artistic director Braham Murray.

Reviewed by Iain Brassington November 2010

I once had a politics tutor who decided that it was important that we should study The Bacchae, and that we ought to be drunk before the tutorial started, on the basis that… well, on the basis that it’s The Bacchae.  Since then, there’s been a small part of me that’s wanted to try my hand at directing it. But how? 

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Macbeth @ Capitol Theatre (MMU)

A Song of The Goat Theatre production and co-promoted by Library Theatre

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey October 2010

Manchester is in some respects a second home: the Song of the Goat Company has very close connections with Manchester Metropolitan University through the MA Acting programme run (mainly in Poland) with the university’s School of Theatre. The director, Gregorz Brai teaches on the collaborative drama course – based in Poland, the Teatre Pieśń Kozla/MMU MA. Gabriel Gawin (Macbeth) and most of the other performers have close working links with the same programme.

 

This production complements the larger venture of promoting the richly diverse culture of Poland during the 2009/10 period, coinciding this year with the anniversary of the birth of one of Poland’s great composers, Chopin (click on Chopin & The Poet to read Charlotte's review of that).

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The Lady From The Sea at Royal Exchange

A new version of Henrik Ibsen's passionate and sweeping drama by David Eldridge

Reviewed by Dave Porter October 2010

When the lighthouse keeper's daughter Ellida meets the widower Dr Wangel, she tries to put her long lost first love behind her and begin a new life as a wife and stepmother, but the tide is turning and an English ship is coming down the fjord and the undercurrents threaten to drag a whole family beneath the surface in this passionate and sweeping drama.

 

Described as "Anna Karenina meets The Piano".

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Greg Barnett as Keith and Kirsty Hoiles as the young Viv

Spend Spend Spend at The Lowry

A Musical based on the life story of Pools winner Viv Nicholson.

Directed by Craig Revel Horwood and Performed by The Watermill Theatre.

Reviewed by Jane Turner October 2010

At first glance, it seems hard to imagine what Viv Nicholson – a blonde-haired, white Northern working class woman could possibly have in common with Daniel Ben-Ami – a dark, Southern middle class man; and in all honesty it’s probably not that much, except for one crucial trait. They both like the idea of being able to spend money!

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Arcadia by Library Theatre Company at The Lowry, Salford

Alasdair Craig (Valentine Coverly) and Cate Hamer (Hannah Jarvis) in Arcadia

Tom Stoppard’s ingenious Olivier award-winning time-twisting drama Arcadia

Directed by Chris Honer

Reviewed by Anne Ryan September 2010

 

If you like Stoppard you will love this production of 'Arcadia'. Typical of the writer's work this is an evening which is truly a cerebral work-out. Switching between the early 19th century and the present day and touching on questions of literature, philosophy, mathematics and... gardening. A familiarity with Newtonian theory may help, but is probably not essential.

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Dr Faustus - Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

faustus

Directed by Toby Frow, designed by Ben Stones

Wednesday 8 September – Saturday 9 October 2010

Reviewed by Mark Iddon and Anne Ryan

When Dr Faustus' desire for power and knowledge leads him to conjure up the demon Mephistopheles, he finds himself offered the ultimate bargain; he will be granted everything he desires for 24 years, but at the end of this time will have to hand his soul over to the devil.


An epic new production of a stunning and savage tragedy by Christopher Marlowe.

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Les Miserables at The Lowry

Les Misérables at The Lowry

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, presented by Cameron Mackintosh, directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell

Reviewed by Jane Turner August 2010

 

Introduction

Hooked on “musicals” since Gene Kelly danced over a sofa singing “it’s great to stay up late” and then splashed and danced his way down the high street “singing in the rain”, I’ve long since enjoyed this particular genre and have occasionally been known to impersonate Kelly splashing about in a downpour. I always manage to find a big puddle, but the rest?  Well, Kelly was a genius in tap-shoes and me, I just get very wet.

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Scene from the play

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

A Liverpool Everyman Theatre Production

Adapted by Howard Brenton,directed by Christopher Morahan and based on the book by Robert Tressell

Reviewed by Jane Turner July 2010

The world premiere of a new stage version of Robert Tressell's autobiographical novel takes place rather fittingly in Liverpool where the author died and is buried. It is essentially an anti-capitalist story on a human scale revolving around the working lives and hardships of a group of painters and decorators working in the fictional town of Mugsborough c1904. Among this group of workers is the character Owen, largely based on Tressell, who has a vision of society that is fair and just and he makes it his mission to enlighten his fellow workers about how socialism could rid them of inequality forever.

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