Next Salon Discussion

First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 5th Dec: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

The Wipers Times

The Wipers Times

at Opera House, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall October 2017

 

Over a period of two years, one young officer brightened up the lives of British and allied military fighting The War To End All Wars (which will be over by Christmas) by producing a satirical trench newspaper known as The Wipers Times.

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Manchester theatre reviews

One For The Road

One For The Road by Willy Russell

at The Lyceum Theatre, Oldham

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall September 2017

 

I think for the first time ever, my visit to Oldham's Lyceum Theatre this evening wasn't marred by inclement weather and I managed to arrive at the theatre dry. A very good start, which only got better once inside.

 

The Lyceum Theatre is a little strange in that it occupies the basement of the old 1839-built Lyceum Building, and the small but intimate theatre itself is actually underneath the road, meaning that nowadays we can hear the rumble of passing Metrolink trams above. It is certainly not an ideal building or location for this company of talented creatives, but somehow this simply doesn't seem to phase them, as the standard of both things technical and acting always ensure that their company remains amongst the top ten amateur companies within Greater Manchester.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Aladdin

Aladdin by Birmingham Royal Ballet

at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall September 2017

 

Birmingham Royal Ballet have done it again, and produced a piece of magical theatrical entertainment which is suitable for young and old alike. This time they have chosen the well-loved story of Aladdin.

 

When one thinks of Aladdin one either immediately thinks of pantomime or the wonderful Disney cartoon film; but there are other variations on the same theme out there too, all telling a very similar story with the odd difference here and there. One of these is the ballet score by the talented and wonderful contemporary composer Carl Davis, whose score for Aladdin is simply magical.

 

In this production Davis's music is done full justice by Paul Murphy conducting the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and on stage itself these sweeping chords and lyrical melodies are equally complemented by a simple but expertly designed set by Dick Bird. When lit by Mark Jonathan's creative design it was highly effective, evocative and simply stark and beautiful.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Oh What a Lovely War

Oh What a Lovely War

by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop

at Oldham Coliseum Theatre

Reviewed by John Waterhouse September 2017

 

Coming on the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, one of the most well-known of the many infamous (and seemingly pointless) episodes of the First World War, this new production of Oh What a Lovely War serves as a vibrant and graphic reminder of one of the darkest chapters in the history whilst providing a showcase of music, spectacle and comedy.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Up the Bunting

Up the Bunting

Theatre Pop @ Bar Pop, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall September 2017

 

At a time when the Fringe scene in Manchester is surprisingly quiet, as the summer's madness fades and the Autumn seasons haven't really kicked in yet, Wildcat and Lipstick Thespians chose to capitalise on this by presenting their latest collaboration.

 

They also chose a little known and highly underused venue too. The basement theatre at Bar Pop on Canal Street. More widely known as a night-club and cabaret venue, it has very limited lighting capacity, but being centrally located and easy to find, it does make for a sensible choice when looking for Fringe venues.

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Manchester theatre reviews

How the Other Half Loves

How the Other Half Loves

by Alan Ayckbourn at Lowry, Salford

Reviewed by John Waterhouse September 2017

 

How the other half loves is one of the best known and most performed of the 70 plus (and counting!) plays written by Alan Ayckbourn, and as with so many of his works, it uses the device of interrelating three couples in broadly middle-class surroundings. Having opened in the West End in 1970, this play is not so much dated as a time capsule both of early 70’s life and attitudes, as well the kind of issues upon which comedy was typically then based.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Addams Family

The Addams Family at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall August 2017

 

Aria Entertainment in association with Music And Lyrics have brought the creepy and kooky clan, complete with singing and dancing dead ancestors, to Salford's Lowry Theatre. This is fast, fun, slick, and highly entertaining, and even before the first note was sung, the augurs were good as an impressive and versatile set by Diego Pitarch greeted us, cleverly lit throughout with a subtle but clever lighting design including one of the best dry ice sequences I have seen (Ben Cracknell).

 

The Addams Family have been around and in our cultural consciousness for many years, in the form of newspaper or television cartoons, and then a TV series and finally on film. Their creator Charles Addams first showed the world his characters way back in 1938. Few of us therefore could be unfamiliar with who and what these ooky people who delight in the macabre were. It is therefore full credit to the Casting Director, James Orange, for finding a cast who were simply perfect.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz at Stockport Plaza

Performed at Stockport Plaza

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall August 2017

 

A pantomime in August? Oh yes there is! Regal Entertainment Ltd's latest production sees the famous and familiar story of a young girl from Kansas travelling over the rainbow in a twister and finding herself in the magical land of Stockport, sorry Oz! [or, as the best line from the show states - the place of wannabe Mancunians!]

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Manchester theatre reviews

Bring on the Bollywood

Bring on the Bollywood at Oldham Coliseum

by Phizzical Theatre Company

Reviewed by John Waterhouse July 2017

 

This is a show that delivers everything it says on the packet; a colourful, vibrant musical celebration of everything associated with the Bollywood phenomena, pleasing to the eye and leaving a feel good factor.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing at Palace Theatre

Performed at Palace Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall July 2017

Dirty Dancing, The Classic Story On Stage, by Eleanor Bergstein hit Manchester's Palace Theatre last night, but it didn't just hit the board, it scored a bull's eye.

 

I have seen various incarnations of this Musical over the years, but this one for me, has to be the definitive version. If the only 'fault' I can find with this production is that I could see the cast enter through a black curtain behind the set revealing the stage left wing, then director Frederico Bellone, his team and cast have done an absolutely sterling job!

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