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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

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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Manchester theatre reviews

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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Manchester theatre reviews

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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Manchester theatre reviews

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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Manchester theatre reviews

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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Importance of Being Earnest

A Library Theatre Company Production of

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Chris Honer

Reviewed by Jane Turner 08 June 2010

“The Importance of Being Earnest” was the first and is also sadly, the last play to be performed in the basement of Manchester Central Library by The Library Theatre Company. After 58 years in this spectacularly housed library, the theatre is moving. For the next four years while work takes place on a newer and larger venue at the Theatre Royal, the Library Theatre Company will continue to perform at The Lowry Quays Theatre and also put on some exciting site-specific shows in Manchester. A sad but necessary move from what is a beautiful and intimate theatre, in order to increase capacity and improve facilities.

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Pygmalion Royal Exchange Manchester

Pygmalion - The Royal Exchange Theatre

Major revival of Bernard Shaw classic directed by Greg Hersov, designed by Ashley Martin-Davis, and starring Cush Jumbo, Simon Robson, Ian Bartholomew and Terence Wilton

12th May 2010 – 19th June 2010

Reviewed by Dave Porter on 18 May and Anne Ryan on 22 May 2010

Dave Porter's review is:

It takes a lot of chipping away at the crust of Shaw’s play to reveal the original underneath the melodrama that Hollywood has imposed on it, notably in the form of My Fair Lady. Even in Shaw’s own day there were attempts to turn it into a rom-com for the masses.

 

But in this production the Royal Exchange has rediscovered a jewel of English (or should that be Irish?) theatre. Faithful to the text, it is Shaw at his painfully funniest and most philosophically astute, and appeals to the sense we have of reinventing ourselves.

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Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross  

A Library Theatre Company Production

By David Mamet
Directed by Chris Honer

Reviewed by Iain Brassington 16 March 2010

So who, in the end, screwed whom?

 

John Williamson can barely open his mouth to breathe, such is the flow of words from David Fleeshman’s Shelley Levene.  But Levene is pathetic, imploring Williamson to feed him the premium leads.  Williamson is unmoved; to get the leads, you need to have made the sales.  Success breeds success, and success deserves success.  (It’s very New Labour: just think of the predication of Olympic training money on past medals, or of the predication of higher education funding on the short-term impact of research already carried out – and if you’ve not been successful… well…)  But maybe there’s an agreement to be made, a deal to be cut.  Maybe.

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